How the job hunt is actually going

Beloved blog readers and job seekers! I seem to have missed my point a little bit. As I’ve posted here, I’ve realized that I haven’t given my readers much of an idea of how things have actually been going. I’m a logical person so I like to see how the big picture works before explaining things, but that’s not really the point of this blog. I want to tell people about it as I’m going through the experience, not just how it worked out after the fact. I’m approaching my job search differently than many – I’m networking and reading as much as I can, and haven’t seriously applied to any jobs online. (In person, yes – just not through online job postings, because over 80% of jobs aren’t posted online!)

After about 2.5 months of working with “6 Steps to Savvy,” here are the highlights of where I stand with my job hunt situation:

I’ve been referred to a number of jobs around Denver that I’m not interested in, so I’ve respectfully declined those upon hearing of them. I did get referred to a psychology based sales coaching firm inDenverand I talked with them for about a month. I met with them a few times, and eventually their President had me go through a few personality tests which apparently went well. I think they do very well and there are great people involved, but honestly I’m looking for something a little bit more neuroscience related than being in a sales role again. I respectfully rescinded my application there and told them I’d be happy to refer others to the opening they have for a new associate. Since I was introduced to the firm through a referral, sending my resume was basically a formality after meeting with them a few times. That seems to be a recurring theme.

There is another person I met around Denver (through Twitter, actually) who is helping a South American neuromarketing company expand operations to the US. She and I met for a couple hours in Boulder, CO, and she mentioned that they might want me to help out starting US operations in early 2012. It’s a young company, but both her ideas and that situation are intriguing for me.

One of the more important things I’ve done (other than following the “6 Steps” plan) was to go to Pubcon, a search engine optimization/social media conference in Las Vegas. A person fairly influential in the neuromarketing industry was set to do a few presentations there, so I decided to go and meet him. I booked the trip without actually talking to him first, and without knowing anyone that would be there. After a few attempts to contact him, we were able to set up a meeting over lunch at this conference. When we met, he suggested that I do a guest blog spot on his website and also referred me to the co-founder of one of the largest neuromarketing company in existence. However, my purpose of the meeting was truly to get his perspective on the industry, which was very helpful. One of the things that he mentioned was to not necessarily disqualify a company based on the specific technology they use, and to look more comprehensively about how they’re doing their consulting.

I also did my best to network all over the conference in Vegas. I ended up meeting (at least) 2 people that have been important to my job search. The first I met at a networking event the first night of the conference – I went up and introduced myself (I’m at a networking event, what else am I going to do?) and after a few minutes of conversation and communicating via email we decided to have coffee the next morning. He is actually this company’s director of operations, and we talked for about three hours over coffee. He then referred me to talk to some of the rest of their executive team, and his company is flying me out to their headquarters in Milwaukee and putting me up for a couple nights next week to take a look at their HQ. It sounds like a great business and has a way to work in the neuromarketing that I’m looking for. Again, the resume was almost an afterthought – after the flights were booked and the hotel chosen (they’re gracious enough to sponsor both) they asked for a resume just so they can give their other execs a heads up before I get a chance to meet them.

Another valuable connection came from a vendor at the expo hall at Pubcon. Again, I went up to him and introduced myself (probably introduction #100 or so that week) and we talked briefly. He mentioned that he has a neuromarketing connection in the UK that he’d be happy to refer me to. He also said that he was having a get-together at his hotel that evening, so a friend of mine and I stopped by the MGM to say hi that night. (Not all business connections have to be done in the “formal” sense) We all had a great time, and we were able to communicate after the conference. He introduced me via email to his friend, who is the founder of a neuromarketing company outside of London. This individual and I are planning on chatting via Skype next week. (I’ve always loved the UK and I have some family doing work over there these days)

All in all, I’d say things are going very well on the job hunt. I’ve turned down more jobs than I’ve applied for, and I’m talking with companies on 4 continents. I will only work with an opportunity that I’m extremely interested in. A challenge I have that I didn’t anticipate is that many companies that work with this sort of research tend to keep it fairly quiet, due to some public perception and fear of neuromarketing. I personally don’t believe that the fear is justified, but I can see why these companies would keep things on the down low. (Just makes it a little tougher to find things online)

If I don’t run across what I’m looking for within the next couple months, I’d rather bartend (or do anything short term) than to accept a job I don’t want just because it pays. I don’t consider myself “above” or too good for any particular job; I just have an idea of what I’d love to do. If I end up having to hold out a little while to find my dream opportunity, I’d honestly rather dig ditches to make money than to work with a company I’m not interested in. However, bartending has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had so I’d probably look there first. All in all, I’m not too worried about it.

Takeaways for job hunters:

1) Read and follow “6 Steps to Savvy”

2) Figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do

3) Build your brand and don’t rely on your resume

4) Network, network, network!

5) Follow up with referrals quickly

6) Stay positive! Have fun!

(p.s. – I keep names of individuals and companies here quiet because some of them want to keep things quiet on their end, so I won’t post any identifying information unless they have specifically granted permission)

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