Sunday, October 10, 2010

Here's how I thought job-hunting would work:
  1. Find job listings on Craigslist and other online job boards
  2. Email resume for jobs in San Francisco for which I'm qualified
  3. Sweat profusely during interviews
  4. Collect a few offers
  5. Profit!
I got the first couple steps right.  I pored through various online lists and carefully identified those jobs that looked like a good match.  What I failed to realize is that there's an invisible step between Step 2 and Step 3 where the hiring company lights my resume on fire and then extinguishes that fire either by pissing on the resume or by taking a dump on it.  I'm not sure which of those two is more common.

Before you pronounce me a naive idiot for assuming that my resume would stand out in a flood of recession-affected applicants, let me say that there are a ton of technical companies hiring out here.  Every day I saw decent new jobs being listed.  The recession may indeed still be going strong, but in my industry, there are plenty of jobs to be had.

Ok, NOW you may pronounce me a naive idiot.

I really didn't understand that unless someone on the inside is pulling you along (or you're working with recruiters who are motivated to get people hired), your resume is virtually ignored.  This drives me nuts.

I wasn't applying to be a gynecologist, astronaut, CEO, or long snapper.  The jobs I applied for were the EXACT kind I'm qualified for, featuring all the skills I possess and all the buzzwords I crammed on my resume.  Apparently software startups here in San Francisco get inundated with resumes from rockstar data wranglers, or maybe data wrangling rock stars.

Thankfully, I did have some ins at some companies that ended up contacting me.  It's hard to say which interview went the worst.  Was it the one at the giant search engine where I stood at the white board and just completely forget how to program?  Or was it the one at the fast-growing micro-blogging service where they demonstrated that they're even worse at interviewing than they are at keeping their website up.

Nope, the winner was the large multimedia software company that didn't tell their phone screener how to reach me, and thus ended up giving me a very angry technical phone screen while I stood on a busy San Francisco street having just had a beer at a co-worker's going-away party.  That sure did go well.

Thankfully, a few of the interviews went pretty well. I got a couple of offers and will be starting my new job next week!

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