Welcome to this exploration of job hunting. Enjoy these stories and add your own! Please comment, by clicking on the link beside the envelope icon at each posting. Tip: For an overview see 'Contents'. Or scroll through the 'Blog Archive'. On this home page, blog postings appear in date order with the most recent first. In the right column you'll find several groups of links and pics as well as polls for you to cast your votes. Thanks for your suggestions to improve this site. (Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)

Contents - search terms

Contents - search terms
Applications - Instructional Designer - Editor - Tutor - Writer - Online Copy Writer Editor - Web Content Coordinator
Postings - Casual - arts industry - Council officer - Editing - From the gym - Gardening - Hospitality - Instructional Design - Lessons - Menial jobs, street to Palace - Novelist, Julian Barnes - Philosopher, Marcus Aurelius - Playwright, David Bardas - Puppet Theatre, Polyglot - Real Estate - Skills - Specialists vs Mixers - Teaching - Volunteering - Waitressing - Writing Company
Links - Interview tools - Permissions - Pics - Polls - Professional organisations - Recruiters - Resources - Templates

Friday, May 6, 2011

What have I learnt about job hunting?

The past three months have taught me many lessons. I'll share a few:

* The job market has changed dramatically for instructional designers, editors, and teachers.
* Referees are more important than ever; without people who can vouch for you don't bother applying.
* Past colleagues will be sharing info on Facebook and other networks, so be careful what you say to whom.
* Recruitment agencies may be useful or rude; they'll gather information for their databases, mention who they know at your old workplace, and then neglect to follow up on results of interviews.
* Some employing organisations act like recruitment agencies, wasting hours of your time populating their new database systems with precious private information like your referees' contact details, wasting the time of your referees by asking them to complete pages of online forms (performance appraisal style). See the fine print conditions, there is no choice if you want to apply for this position.
* Friends and relatives are well-meaning and supportive but only you know what you are actually qualified and experienced in and feel that you could do with passion and integrity.
* Skills change and if a job is not allowing you to exercise them it's advisable to leave (3 more people have left the organisation I walked away from end of January - all were expensive new recruits).
* Never burn your bridges, but also don't let people walk all over you - you want to keep your head up and save some self-esteem.
* An hour and a half in a classroom with a bunch of kids can be so good for the soul and keep you smiling for a week even though the pay doesn't cover the petrol return costs, or the time spent preparing and marking test papers.
* It is expensive to keep up all the yearly registrations and membership fees (state teaching boards, editing societies, etc.) especially without incomes (irrelevant that they are tax deductible) but without them you're unemployable.
 * Professional development points or experiences are harder to accrue and document if you're in an organisation that doesn't mentor you,  or if you've left and you're on your own.
* Preparing job applications is a huge task with a different set of requirements for each recruitment agency (e.g. some want separate documents on referees, or to state relevance to job criteria).
* Some organisations want to interview you before they even say what the job is, or provide a position description with a salary benchmark.
* Some interviews are conducted by lovely kind people on panels, others by functionaries who are going through the motions (the number and style of interviews in the process is hard to anticipate).
* Just because all your private information is on their database and you have an ID card in a lanyard, with a number and a photo (that you've obtained and paid for yourself) doesn't mean that an organisation will follow through and offer you sessional work or even just a courtesy email or phone call.
* Running your own business enterprise (contractor, consultant, trainer, facilitator) is definitely the way to go to set your own goals and keep control.
* Make your own contacts, speak to people about your own terms of work, make clear what your current skills are and what you can offer.
* If your skills have become redundant (if a new graduate pips you every time) then the only choice is retraining, again and again; ask lots of questions to check.
* When people raise eyebrows about the number and level of your formal qualifications, start deleting them from your CV!
* Being underemployed is no fun at all if you're used to congratulating yourself as a high achiever - friends assume you have bags of spare time, but mostly you are just stressing out worrying about the next steps to take and the narrowing options due to a dwindling budget.

In spite of the negatives, I'd walk again. I gave notice of course, completed a thorough handover and have fielded follow-up text questions since I left, so I have a clear conscience. Perhaps I should have left sooner.

There are good, well-managed organisations out there that value their staff and reward them appropriately. I'm lucky to have found a few and I recognise them by the little things: Christmas bonuses, no matter how small; personalised considerations like paying extra for my travelling time; fair and even-handed treatment, looking after my wellbeing and that of my colleagues. Other organisations, with a culture of bullying and undervaluing their staff (no matter how fun and friendly the individual managers are), can leave you and waves of your colleagues deskilled and demotivated.

I know - that's life - and that's the end of my rant!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Looking forward

Today I've pencilled in yet another job interview for next week, to be squeezed in between a rush of teaching sessions. I'm on the books of about 5 or 6 different organisations now with enough sessional work to cover my petrol costs. Next week will be a blur of activity with my masters assignments due on the Friday. This blog will soon limp to a speechless close!  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Which famous scifi writer was once a porter, builder, cleaner, bodyguard?

Clue: He wrote, performed and directed stage revues in London, Cambridge and for the Edinburgh fringe. As well as writing books about the universe and everything,  he was a radio producer and script editor of Doctor Who.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Met my new class today

Yes, some classes run on Sundays - they're keen Year 9s - as you'd expect if you were paying for extra tuition on the weekend. I see them again in a fortnight. They're using a friendly Australian workbook in the Excel Essential Skills Series published by Pascal.

Online training

There are some excellent tools and learning management systems out there.  Some workplaces expect their recruits in training and development to have experience using particular systems. Moodle is one. Webducate is another: http://www.webducate.com.au/blog

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Illustrator/writer - Shaun Tan's beginnings

Everyone has to start somewhere! This snippet from award-winning children's book writer/illustrator, Shaun Tan:
'...to see if I could make a living as a freelance artist. I had actually been illustrating things while a student as way of making money – drawing for magazines, newspapers, book covers, music posters, flyers and newsletters, mostly around campus, plus selling the odd painting. I pretty much learned all my current illustration techniques through doing these small jobs.' See http://www.shauntan.net/faq1.html

Monday, April 4, 2011

Small successes...

Some class tutoring work I applied for two months ago has suddenly come through as a job offer (it's only an hour and a half a week but will cover the cost of travel to the location and then some...). (Thanks Lyn and Alex for your encouragement.) And another group I do work for said of my failures at interview: 'Ah, their loss, our gain!' and offered me extra sessions. Thirdly I've rejigged some tafe offerings to maybe attract people on Saturdays.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trust your bookkeeper (Skills Lesson 4)

More than that...

Employ your family and friends (Skills Lesson 3)

Those dearest to you may not be in the top one percent...

Prove your worth (Skills Lesson 2)

One day a woman came into my flower shop asking for work as a florist. I explained I couldn't afford to pay extra staff, but she pointed out that Valentine's Day was coming up...

Know and demonstrate your skills (Skills Lesson 1)

From the point of view of the employer, a person is needed to do a job based on a definite skill set.

Alex B reveals source!

Go to...

Performers, buskers, volunteers...

...at the Yackandandah Folk Festival at the weekend. Parents raised $$$KKK for their primary school by providing budget meals in the memorial gardens. Big thumbs up to bands BluGuru and Orange Blossom at the Star Hotel.