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Yes, things are tougher now than they were back in '99, but I don't think they are worse than when I got out of grad school in '92. Back then, I had a master's degree in astrophysics and had to work cutting lumber for $6 an hour. I did that for six months, then I got a job doing data entry, which led to ...

Some good advice has already been given, but I would like to add my own observations. You see, I bought my first house back in January and got laid off two weeks later. That's why I will echo the idea of keeping yourself flexible and willing to move. That house anchored me down and it really crimped my ability to find work. I finally found a job, my current one, in June.

Along the way, I applied at several places, particularly those where I knew someone and had a potential inside track. Keep those contacts fresh. This did not land me my particular job, but it gave me many leads (and leads to leads) that I would otherwise not have had. It also was the big reason I got my NASA job way back when.

Also, be willing to work. I know, everyone regards themselves as hard-working, but don't be too haughty or 'too good' to do a job. One of the things that impressed my current boss during our first interview was that I said I was willing to learn and willing to work. I cited the above lumberjack job while having a Master's degree. It wasn't the only thing that got me the job, but it gave me an advantage.

With this being your first job, I will suggest you practice an interview or two with a friend of the family or acquaintance who may be involved in computing or engineering or HR. Even if they cannot offer you a position, they can offer advice that is priceless.

Also, appearance is important. Yes, we can bemoan this, but it cannot be escaped. Make sure you practice hygiene well. Wear business dress to the interview, even if you know the place does not have that dress code. If nothing else, it conveys a "better safe than sorry" message that people like. Make sure your hair is cut and any facial hair is trimmed. A bad first impression can be impossible to overcome.

Most importantly, have a positive attitude. This is not easy for me, but I have been told by our HR person that, even though I was not the most qualified technically, my ability and willingness to learn, my work ethic, and my "bright, positive personality" sold them on me. (If my ex-fiance' could hear that ...) Even if you don't get the job, be sure to contact them and thank them for their time. This will leave a good impression, and if they suddenly need another person, your name will be more likely to pop into their collective head.

Really, a lot of things are common sense. However, as Abe Martin once said "Ther hain't nuthin' as uncommon as common sense." Get advice from people who are already working and ask them to be open and critical. You may not like it, but unemployment is worse. Believe me.

--
tbone1
As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.


In reply to Re: Job Market Fall '02 issues by tbone1
in thread Job Market Fall '02 issues by monkMAC

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