How to get a Linux Job in 30 days or less!!!

First of all let me state that I am not a recruiter, job search expert or in any way in the field of Human Relations.  What follows is information I use and if you try these I can make no guarantee about your chances of success.  All I now is that they work for me.  They should work for you but everyone will need to figure out how to tweak them for their own career path.

Photo Taken by Nanagyei

Over the last thirty days I have received no less than two phone calls every business day and over 120 E-mails about jobs.  Are they all great quality contacts?  Nope, about 60% of them I deleted right away.  They were either situations or positions I was not qualified for,  things that don’t use my talents, or things I was not interested in doing.  The next 20% required me to relocate to where the job was, which is something I cannot presently do.  So that leaves me with 20% of the people contacting me with viable jobs within North-East Ohio.  I then add to that the companies I actively want to work for or jobs I thought would be great that I applied for directly without someone contacting me.

I have done basically the same things I list here for most of my career.  Even when I was a consultant, I applied the same rules and techniques with similar results.  When I was consulting I generally had 30 day notice clauses for ending my employment.  The contracts I did running less than 3 months generally wouldn’t accept that clause but some of them did.  The only exception was an 18 month period right after the .com bubble burst.  I picked up random odd jobs that kept my head above water but at times I had to wait more than 30 days for things to work out.  What I have below is an example of what I have done for the last 6 weeks.

On December 15, 2012 at 10:30 in the morning, I was summoned to the Presidents office for a meeting with him and my boss.  The company I worked for was small so I wouldn’t normally have thought twice about it if my boss hadn’t been acting strange when he asked me to come with him.  Within a few moments it was over.  Much like ripping off a band aide, I was unemployed.  Well, I would be as of December 28, 2012.  I can’t say I was surprised, but the details of why are a tail for another time.

So at this point what did I do?   I started making phone calls and sending text messages to everyone I had ever worked with.  Then I touched up my resume and updated it on Dice and Monster.  I did not post or make it searchable but more on that later.  I also logged into Linked-in and made sure my job history was updated.  Being two weeks before the end of year holidays and when most enterprise shops are down to skeleton crews, I knew there wasn’t much else to do.  So I put the problem as far out of my mind as my mind would allow and did my best to enjoy the holidays with my family.

First Tip:

I don’t ignore anyone who calls or writes me.  I respond to everyone with something.  When it’s something I am not qualified for I simply tell them so.  My most common request was for Java Developer positions.  While I can write Java code, it’s not something I excel at or something I am eager to get better at.  I like tuning Java systems, building out automated operational system deploys and developing overall infrastructure architectures.  It’s what I have worked hard to learn and hone as a skill.  It’s also something I know I need to keep up with or I will start to lose it.  So I politely tell them it’s not for me and that I will forward it on to my network of friends who might be interested, which I do.  This tip is important because the people that don’t send me automated messages will appreciate it and try to send me things more suited to my talents, which they normally do within the next couple of weeks.

January 1, 2013

This is when the real work began.  Until this point the only return calls or interest I received was from the hand full of friends whose companies had openings when I called them.  There was a lot of talk about giving me a job but at this time no contracts were signed or job offers on the table.  So, I acted like I had nothing and didn’t let myself think that they might work out.  This is something I have learned to do until I have a signed contract.  I do not stop looking for work.  

In December when I lost my job I updated my resume but didn’t make searchable.  This was done for a reason.  Now that everyone is back at work or will be in the morning, I want my resumes to be on the top of their list.  So I make them searchable.  Since it’s been activated within the last 24 hours it looks fresh and when they are sorting newest to oldest I will be on top.  The people combing Dice and Monster don’t want to look at two week old resume’s.  They want the hot fresh new ones.

Second Tip:

Update something about your resume every two weeks.  Seriously changing a single word is all it takes.  This is something simple that works because computers are basically dumb and only see a change as a change.  On Dice I actually have two almost identical resume’s stored and flip between them every two weeks.  This keeps my resume in peoples search streams which hopefully will improve my chances.  When I do this trick I see at least a 1 week spike in inquiries from it every update.

Ok, my resume is now out there, why are people going to see it?  I have been tweaking the look and feel of my resume for years.  I have been doing search engine optimizations on it during the whole time.  I try to keep up by adding new buzz words and limiting old ones.  For instance, on the latest ones I changed my comments about my VMWare experience to reference that I had cloud experience.  It adds a few words I need to get a few more hits.  The HR departments and headhunters looking for resume’s aren’t generally technical.  They have a list of requirements given to them and they start looking for people who meet those requirements.  

This is why I receive several emails almost daily telling me that someone thinks I should develop Java applications.  My resume is full of Java related technology like WebSphere, Tomcat, and various other applications.  It’s true I do have a lot of experience with Java.  The problem for them is that my experience is with pointing to the problems with the Java code and not actually fixing it.  I have more than once been forced to go find and point out where the problem with the code is.  But I am a dev/ops person, not a straight up developer.

I have been on both sides of the interview process.  Listening to how my team perceived candidates based solely on their resumes taught me to keep it all real but meaty.  If you did a deployment/roll-out for a technology say that.  But unless you then worked on it for years afterwards you will not be an expert, so don’t stretch the truth too far.  Remember that your resume is not the sales pitch to get you hired.  It has to get you past the HR person and whoever is filtering the resumes before the interview even begins.  

Third Tip:

Just like making your website searchable, having the proper keywords in your resume is extremely important to the quantity and quality of inquires you will receive.  If you want to move towards a specific area, focus on increasing the buzz words in that area of your resume.  Figure out which jobs you enjoyed most and if it was working with a specific technology.  Focus on adding as many of those keywords as you can.  Also, make sure that the sentences all read properly.  Your goal is not to scam the people reading the resume and if you try that,  it will fail when they do the first interview.  In some companies, you will even get put on a do not call list of sorts for doing things like trying to mislead or scam them.  

So what’s next?  Normally, I start getting calls the first week.  Currently it takes about one to two  weeks to get an interview.  When I get turned down before the first interview, I try to write back and ask why I was not qualified for the position. I then either fix my resume to fill the missing area they were looking for if i have the experience.  If I don’t have the experience I try to focus on jobs that will let me get it.   If I feel I did have the specific kind of experience mentioned in the response I look at my resume and try to figure out why that didn’t come across properly.  I very often ask friends to look at those sections and tell me what they think it says about me.  Some of the best people for looking at these things are managers I  have worked for in the past.  As long as you aren’t annoying about it, I have generally found that people are willing to spend a half hour looking at your resume.  Normally they read a lot of resumes and can point out things that make them drop people.  These are all things that you can use as feedback and help you keep updating every two weeks.

Next time, I will write up how to handle doing technical and interpersonal interviews.  If you have any additional resume job seeking tips please share them here or on the forum.  I will do my best to help anyone who asks.  If I can’t answer it, I will find you someone who can. 🙂

PCWorld is at war with itself over Linux on the Desktop…

So the story all starts with a very misguided reporter,  Tony Bradley,  failed to give Linux a chance to grow and change.  So much so that he declared it dead on the desktop.  He tried linux as his primary machine for 30 days.  Sounds like a good trial?  Well maybe it was but that was almost 2 years ago.  In the last two years for example Unity came from Shuttleworth’s dreams to reality.  OpenOffice forked and LibreOffice has seen development explode. In general the world of Linux marches on and at an impressive pace.  Microsoft and Apple have been around for since the 1970’s which makes them a little more than 30 years old.  As everyone will remember Linux just turned 20 last summer/fall.  So all things considered it’s amazing how far it’s come with no major financial backers.  You can read my own account of my life with Linux.  Oh yeah I am still using it as my main OS and using Windows 7 as little as possible.  I have found the latest versions of LibreOffice function nearly flawlessly and transparently with their Windows counterparts.  I digress though because this is supposed to be about the fact that even his fellow reporters at PCWorld don’t agree.  This where things get interesting.

Katherine Noyes wrote a rebuttal that pretty much attacked Bradley for saying Linux only makes up 1% of the desktop market.  She goes on to rant amazingly for Linux on the desktop is not dead yet.  She makes some great points and finished by agreeing with us on the fact that while Tablets are here we certainly not seeing the end of the PC era as lots of people would like us to believe.

Bradley can’t seem to just let this die and write another even more insulting response.  He goes off again about how few people are using Linux on the desktop.  He is of course forgetting that Linux is only sold, the numbers he is using, on about 30-40 models of PC’s.  Most of those are from Linux Speciality builders not the mainstream builders.  This isn’t to say none of them are the big builders, except Apple of course, all have a few PC’s you can buy with Linux.  What he is missing is people like me and many friends of mine who are repurposing old PC’s as Linux machines.  I know of a few companies that are also doing this for Kiosks, Point of Sale/Service Machines, School terminal servers and Terminal emulators.  So while Linux may not be a contender yet they are moving in and picking off the low hanging fruit.  So like the improvements we have seen in the interface and easy of install the number of users is growing fast.

At this point I thought the story would be over.  Then the Mayor of Munich came out last week and gave an interview about how easy, fast and cheaply they have managed to switch over to their own custom version of Linux called LiMux.  Even with them spinning their own version, standing up a development environment, hiring staff to do all of this, they still will save 4 Million Euros in the switch.  Then an additional 2.8 Million Euros each year in lowered/eliminated license fees.  Then there is the fact that helpdesk calls complaining about the change dropped from 70 a month to just 46 as the number of PC’s running LiMux increased from 1,500 to 9500.  It’s stories like these that will make CEO’s and more likely CFO’s sit up and take notice.  This isn’t a small business, it’s not a simple environment, it’s a large cities entire infrastructure being converted to Linux.  What else comes close to a modern Enterprise.

So in conclusion, yes you should look to see if you could switch out some Windows machines with Linux.  The exercise and evaluation of whether it’s possible is relatively cheap, fast and low impact.  If you could save even 25% off your Windows related software fees wouldn’t it be worth it?

Episode 67 – Bring out your dead Linux Desktops…

HP Doubles down on Linux…

HP has been seeing an interesting trend in business.  Both Windows and Linux are more and more becoming key parts in critical infrastructure.(Yeah we know DUHHHH)  They want to act on this and have choosen to put some money into Linux.  Their first big thing is joining up with Red Hat to work on kernel issues with their hardware.  We are sure there is more to come and welcome HP to the Linux fold.  Check out the full article over at theinquirer.net.

Episode 64 – The Showdown Open API’s VS Open Source

There is money in Linux….

Great news to our ears…Linux is where the money is. Well at least we should have all gotten raises. Hopefully employers are looking at this and adjusting things appropriately.

Who is saying this ? Just about everyone is saying there is money in that there Linux thing…

http://www.muktware.com/news/3307/linux-professionals-high-demand-report

http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/14/need-a-job-learn-linux/

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/02/10/linux-popularity-sparks-salary-jump/