January 28, 2007

How did you find your jobs?

People always talk about how they want to find jobs, but not that often about how they've actually done it. So here's me.

Before/during college, it was:

  • replying to newspaper ads (bookstore worker/manager, waiter, bartender)
  • tagging along with a buddy who knew somebody (shady 'charity' telemarketing, dishwasher at nursing home, making concrete)
  • knowing my mother (two internships at the National Geographic Society)
  • randomly applying to a job without knowing what was open (Pitt library)
  • </ul>

    Since college, I've got most of my jobs through responding to want ads. But I suspect that as I get older I'll do that less, just because companies like to hire senior developers they're comfortable with.

    1992, Research Assistant: Responding to an ad posted on the Political Science Department bulletin board at Pitt for a position at George Mason University (outside Washington, DC, about 4 hours away). I don't know how widely the ad was circulated, or if they had a lot of applicants for the position.

    1993, Transportation Planner: Referral to a family member by someone I worked for. The early 90s were a difficult job market. After my previous position's contract expired I went through a few temp jobs while applying to a ton of jobs and got a few interviews. One temp job was at the Institute of Medicine. I must have done a good job because the woman I worked for gave her husband (who was high up in the Montgomery County Planning Department) my resume, and I got an interview and a position shortly after that. Planning wasn't something I aimed to get into but the writing, research, and public focus group interaction wound up being a pretty good job.

    1995, Writer: Found this through a want ad in the Washington Post. I applied because of my experience over the previous two years with transportation -- this was at a non-profit, transit advocacy organization. The main part of the job was writing (articles for a trade magazine, whitepapers, memos), but one thing that set me apart was my familiarity with bulletin board systems (dialup, not internet). The position evolved into more IT stuff as I became the Netware admin, hooked up GroupWise to a single dialup account multiplexed for email, and put the first website up along with some dynamic.

    1997, Webmaster: Another Washington Post ad, although I knew someone who worked at the educational non-profit. I'd gained enough experience with the web at the previous job to do it full-time, although I also had to do some helpdesk and other IT work (including building cheapo computers with unfinished metal, ouch).

    1998, Software Developer: I started a company with a couple of the guys I worked at in the previous position, so this was definitely through personal connections.

    2000, Software Developer: Company found my resume on the Pittsburgh Technology Council website. The position was kind of ill-defined and shortly wound up using Java, which I didn't know going in

    2004, SQA: Found posting on Pittsburgh Technology Council website. I didn't have any explicit SQA experience but I was interested in being part of a software process. And I liked the company so much that I figured if SQA didn't work out I could move somewhere else...

    2005, Software Developer: ...which happened 9 months later when I applied to a position on a much smaller team looking into new markets for our technology...

    2006, Software Developer: ...the first new venture of which was spun off bout 9 months later, where I'm the lead architect on a rewrite of the server-side software.

    How about you?

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