Economic Update

Sorry for the time between posts.  We are starting to see some thawing in the job market for engineers, and generally for higher experience levels.  LinkedIn, as well as other sites have numerous postings looking for qualified individuals in the US and around the world.  So perhaps there is hope.

Now for a few minor points for recruiters and job seekers.  These are my pet peeves, and your mileage may vary.  Take the following with a grain of salt.

Recruiters:

  • On LinkedIn, a post that is titled “I’m Hiring” is a waste of time.  I personally don’t look at them anymore.  If you are interested in attracting candidates, spell out at least the position description and discipline.  If you can’t be bothered to tell me what you are selling, I can’t be bothered to look.
  • Also, a location, either state or region goes a long way towards getting interest.  Yes, some people may be desperate for any job, but why not tell people where it is located.  Unless you’re trying to hide something.
  • How about putting any special requirements for residency?  Those of us in the US automatically assume that you need valid permission to work in the US to apply.  Some jobs require US citizenship (security concerns).  One posting months ago for a position in Saudi Arabia was aimed at men only.  One woman thought that was outright sexist (it was) and posted her thoughts to the thread.  She removed it after I sent her a note explaining that women were not allowed to work in Saudi Arabia.
  • It may be helpful for recruiters to allow private messages (the “Reply Privately” option).  I cannot tell you how many times I did not reply to postings because the recruiter does not accept private messages.

Seekers:

  • Especially on LinkedIn, you should watch your responses to job postings.  If you are out of work, that is one thing, but if you are already employed and looking to change, think before you post!  I’ll bet some of your connections are coworkers, and that could lead to unpleasant conversations, especially with superiors.
  • Don’t be desperate.  Recruiters and potential employers can sense desperation as well as a shark can sense blood in the water.  Don’t apply for everything; a little selectivity goes a long way.  Face it, the more things you apply for, the more times you’ll be rejected.  If you are looking to get your dreams crushed on a regular basis, by all means apply for every job that is out there.
  • Give the recruiter time to do their job.  Just because you sent a resume yesterday, don’t assume you are at the top of the TODO list.  Everything has a residence time.  Some people do not check their e-mail every 2 minutes.  This goes for the recruiter and the hiring manager.  Give any contact a week.  Follow up with an e-mail first.  Do not pester the recruiter; that will not win you any points.
  • One hint for those looking for opportunities in the US: in general, if you don’t have a right to work in the US (i.e., citizen, green card, visa, etc.) assume that you will not be considered so don’t bother to apply.

Good luck in your search.

Update (4 Feb 11):

A reader makes the following good points:

If you qualify for 80% of the job posting, don’t apply. With the number of people that are searching for jobs, 80% isn’t enough to get your foot in the door. If you’re at 95+% of the posting and what you’re missing is something minor go ahead.

A reminder to seekers about timing is that with the advent of internet posting, anyone who posts a job is going to get flooded with resumes. The bulk of them will not meet the qualifications for the job but still need to be gone through by the recruiter/HR to identify the candidates. I’d even say that a week may be too early but contact should be made within two weeks.

Both excellent tips for job seekers.

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Economy Improving?

Regardless of the blather coming from Washington, I am beginning to see that the employment prospects for engineers are starting to pick up.  In fact, I have received calls and e-mails from at least 5 recruiters in the past 3 weeks looking to fill various science and engineering positions both in the US and overseas.

For various reasons, these positions are not of interest to me, but that does not mean I tell the recruiter “no thanks” and hang up.  Instead, I ask if I can see the position description and promise that if I know of anyone who might be appropriate for the role, I’ll direct the person to the recruiter.  This is good advice, whatever the state of the economy, because you never know whether a) the recruiter calls you with another, more appropriate opportunity, or b) the referral refers you to another recruiter.

This is the way one builds a network, not by collecting a ton of LinkedIn connections, but by being selective in inviting and passing on information to the right people.

In any event, there seems to be some interest in finding some good people to fill either Management or Senior Scientist slots in the fields of Mathematical Modeling, Polymer Science, and Polymer Engineering.  If you, or someone you know, would be interested, please send me an e-mail and I can get you in contact with the right recruiter.

Please note that I am not a recruiter and I usually do not know the company any potential position is with (although I sometimes know the location).  I am not in the business of making matches; my goal is to help fellow engineers find the right opportunities.

And who know, maybe I’ll wind up getting some business out of it down the road.