Tuesday, September 16, 2008

EMIDA Interview

I interviewed with EMIDA today. No gas problems or long drives. The interview seemed to go really well and I think I am looking at a call back here.

The interview process wasn't very long, I was only there about 30 minutes. It feels like it was plenty of time to get my experience across as well as understand more of what the position will be. With the experience I have, I really believe I could help this company and be a great asset as a Software Engineer.

The job would be dealing mostly with Java and C# development. I had thought initially the job would be using some database programming from what I had read in the description. However, I learned in the interview all of the database work had already been finished and I would only be responsible for more of the software application side.

Hopefully I get an email or phone call from them today and either talk over the phone or go to their office again. I'm liking where this is headed so far.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Extron Interview

Today I had an interview with Extron Electronics for a Software Applications Engineer position. I didn't realize how tough interviews could be when you're asked the easiest of questions. Questions like "Tell me about yourself" and "Describe your experience at X" seemed to be like asking to derive some equation.

It was just my nerves though and I knew that.

Gas problems

The morning starts out well. I get dressed and gather my things. I leave with plenty of time to get there. Anaheim is about 30 minutes away and I leave with an hour until my interview.

When I get on the freeway, the traffic is somewhat bad and I realize I should have gotten gas in Lake Forest. I look for the nearest exit. I find one station and it's being fixed so I can't go there. I'm panicking by now and wasting time. Luckily there is another across the freeway and I fill up there. By this time, I'm sure I am going to be late so I'm trying to accept that fact.

Back on the freeway, the traffic is much better. I drive the speed limit and come up on the exit with about 20 minutes left. I roll in to the main Extron building 10 minutes early and fill out the application ON TIME!

Interview

After filling out the application, I walk over to the Extron Research and Development building to interview with David Libman, one of the heads of Product Development at Extron. He asks me these simple questions of "What is your experience", "How do you think it qualifies you for this job" and "What do you think a Software Applications Engineer does?"

The first two are pretty easy for me and I try and answer them with as much information as I can. Thinking about it afterward, I could have been a little more detailed and organized, but I'll have to remember that next time. For the third one I only had what was on the job description sheet to go off of. What I answered didn't seem to be anywhere near what David described to me after I answered. He described so much but I got the feeling I hadn't answered wrong, I just didn't know what it meant besides what was on paper.

Coming out of his office, I felt I answered all of his questions very well and think I did a good job.

Human Resources

I had to wait about 45 minutes for the HR part of the interview. This was just going over some of the questions I answered on the application and some others. Some other questions involved:
  1. Verify I can work in the US
  2. All of my answers are accurate
  3. Past work experience
  4. What work I am looking for
  5. My work ethic
  6. How I think others perceive my work
  7. My previous managers
  8. Salary requirements
After that I was done and it was time to go home. For 3 hours or so, it wasn't bad at all. I'm looking forward to tomorrow with EMIDA. I will try and give the same kind of update as I did here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interview Tommorrow

Tomorrow I have my first sit-down interview at Extron Electronics. It's at 10:00 AM so I'm leaving my house a bit early. I ironed my clothes, readied all of my documents, and got the directions sorted out. It's a really easy place to get to, on the corner of two main streets in Anaheim so I won't be panicing.

I ended up not having to buy any new clothes just yet. I have a greyish jacket with a grey shirt and black slacks. I sent some pictures to a couple friends of mine for opinions because I'm not an expert at what good looks with what. I just want to work. I'm also going to ask the people at Extron their opinion.

When I get there, I'll be filling out an application and some other administrative things. I don't know if I will be the only one or if there will be others before/after me. I will post when I get home about how everything went and what I did.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Starbucks Bottled Frappuccinos!

These things are awesome. I could easily drink 3 or 4 of these a day but that would be 1) Expensive and 2) Dumb. Being unemployed and tight on money, I need to be thrifty with my cash.

Value

I'll just say that if I have one of these at around 10 in the morning, my day is going to rock. I feel 100% productive and really motivated. Despite there being a lot of caffeine in them, I don't have any problem focusing or maintaining concentration. I've discovered I can apply to jobs a lot faster and the information I need instantly comes to me.

Also, there's a ton of different kinds so I won't be getting tired of them anytime soon. You can choose from Mocha, Mocha Lite, regular Coffee, Caramel, or Strawberry flavored.

Reward

Like I said, they give me a lot of energy to keep my job hunt going. I used to drink a lot of Dr. Pepper but that made my eyes super sensitive and I was prone to crashing mid-day. Also, I got some leg cramps from the high combined amounts of sugar, syrup, and caffeine.

With the frappuccinos, all there is milk, cream, coffee, and probably a little sugar. Not as bad as drinking soda all of the time, but definitely not going to add years to my life.

Desperate?

I guess if I ever get desperate I could make my own. I did some Google searching and found a recipe:

1/2 C. Strong Coffee - espresso if you can
2 C. Milk
1/4 - 1/3 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Ice Combine all in a blender and blend well.


Don't know how it tastes but it's definitely worth a try. I would be so thankful to anyone who left a palette of these tasty things on my driveway. I can dream, right?

OK. Typing really fast. Too many frappuccinos.

Interviews

Next week I have a couple interviews setup. One I have Monday with Extron Electronics in Anaheim. They design and manufacture high end networking and audio/visual components.

On Tuesday I go to Foothills Ranch, not far from Lake Forest. This one is with Emida, a company working with prepayment products and value transfer.

I need to find a suit jacket sometime before then. I was thinking Men's Warehouse or anything like that. I was also hearing that Target and other similar stores are having some sales too, so I could check them out as well.

But I'm definitely excited about all of this. It's rewarding to see all of the effort I've been putting into this hunt producing so many results.

Ok, going to prepare.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monster and CareerBuilder Rants

I want to get a couple things out of my head about them.

CareerBuilder

I'm tired of having to click through business school and deal ads using CareerBuilder.com before I submit a job application. For instance, I saw one ad about a Masters degree from DeVry University Management School. That's all nice but I'm not looking for more schooling, I'm looking for a job. I want to go from job search results, to the job application, itself and finally to a screen saying my application was successfully submitted. Nothing else.

Also, this website needs to make the 'Apply Now!' and 'No Thanks' buttons more distinct, and separated. I've clicked a couple 'Apply Now!' buttons and it's annoying. It's too much information not directly related to job searching. Find another to make money on your website, please.

Monster

Monster.com
is also pretty good, but I have a gripe about their resume system. Every time you submit a resume, you have to fill out a questionaire about your work history, the job youre looking for, industry etc. What if I'm applying to 10 jobs on Monster a day? I don't want to fill that out every time.

Also I think there is a maximum resume limit per account. If you're submitting to a job and have too may resumes, it's not easy to make room to upload a new one without navigating away from your application.

Hopefully this made some sense. Had to talk about it.

I feel better.

Staffing Agency Office Visits

I've had a couple visits to different staffing agencies here in Orange County. I was contacted this week by ConsultNet and MacArthur Associates about dropping in for an hour and going over what it is I'm looking for and what they can do to help me.

Before these visits, I had only been called by a staffing company about open positions. I never thought I would be going in to talk to them personally. I think the main reason I had made a walk-in visit was a distance issue. ConsultNet and MacArthur are local to me, with no more than a 15 minute drive. Others were probably too much of a drive.

How it works

From what I understood, staffing companies are paid by the companies being staffed. Nothing will come out of my paycheck and I don't pay any fees. The staffing companies work directly with hiring managers and try to satisfy a skill requirement rather than fill an open position.

How it went

The office visits were great. I came and signed in, didn't wait any more than 5 minutes, and met with the particular person that had contacted me. They are all great people and really want to understand what you are looking to do.

After taking a lot of notes about my work history, college experience, and my desired career direction, I met all of the people working to help me land my next job. I was happy with what they were doing for me and hope it works out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

OC Engineering Companies Sept 9 2008

I wanted to post the first version of about 50% of the engineering companies I have researched here in Orange County. I've organized them by industry type and have applied to several of them.

They are all located in Orange County and are all no more then a 30 minute drive from my house which is awesome. Some are big names, like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and some are small such as MicroSemi and Clinphone.

Here's the link: (No viruses or spyware so you are safe!)

http://www.mediafire.com/?grhp8i3qvyf

Feel free to take a look. Let me know what you think, or if you have any tips or businesses you'd like to see added. I'm going to be updating this document frequently so be sure to check back for future posts.

Formerly Unemployed Perspective

I had a chance to ask a formerly unemployed engineer some questions this weekend and I wanted to share his responses. I posted about him earlier this week, and got his answers back today. These answers come from Zeus, over at HeyZeus.org. Be sure to check it out if you get a chance.

Here are my questions and what he had to say:

Me: What were you doing when you weren't looking for jobs?

Zeus: I was working on my house, fixing it up, doing some chores/tasks that I had been putting off. I went organizing crazy in my office. I also officially started a business, but I didn't let it take off because I got a job with Lockheed within 2 months. I did have job interviews and career fairs that I would attend. I had a goal to find a job within a month and when that didn't happen I really cranked on the effort.


Me: How long per day did you look for jobs and how did you set out about looking for jobs? Did you use recruiters, phone calls, internet job applications?

Zeus: I spent around 2-4 hours per day posting on jobs online, and used some recruiters. I also
went to a career fair when I heard about them.


Me: Did you do anything temporary to make money?

Zeus
: No, my wife and I had some extra money saved because we knew my job loss was coming. I started a business, but it didn't take off because I didn't put in the effort I should have.

Hopefully this answers some questions out there about what people do when they're not working. I'm glad I got this opportunity to share this info and hopefully more will arise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Time Is Important

This is just a short post but I wanted to emphasize the importance of time. The time it takes to read/write a resume, a cover letter, or research or staff a job position is limited and valuable. Obviously there are other things that they could be getting done as well.

I've learned to always keep others time in mind, and be sure to thank them for taking time out of their work day to help me. Also, it's a good feeling when someone appreciates your time as well.

Job Recruiter Phone Calls

I have been getting some occasional phone calls from job recruiters located throughout the US about open engineering positions. Most of the calls I get are a result of their company finding my resume on CareerBuilder or Monster or something.

I don't think I am submitting to any jobs they are staffing. Most of them are staffing companies that I don't have on record. Obviously I add to them my little system. Just another resource I can use to change my employment status.

One bad thing though

The only bad aspect about most of these calls is the jobs they are recruiting for are located outside of California. I appreciate their calling me, but I wish I would do a better job of indicating on my resumes I am looking for jobs around Orange County. This way these companies aren't spending time looking for jobs outside CA, but rather letting me know of opportunities I can use.

A couple positive aspects

From now on I need to make sure to list I do not wish to relocate from Lake Forest, CA and I am looking for jobs in the Orange County, California area.

Also, from these calls, I am learning of new types of job qualifications I should look into. For instance, being able to code to some standard, or knowing a particular terchnology. Some of it is possible to learn on my free time but some of it is out of my league. I'll see what I can do with what I hear.

Lesson learned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Emurse Resume Creation

Emurse is a new tool for creating a web-based resume. It's a really good way to have a document with all of your qualifications and achievements listed in a single place. In most resumes submitted to employers, they're usually no more than a page and sometimes information is cut due to space.

Setting up your account

Sign up is easy. Just follow the instructions and create an account. When you're finished entering the basic information, you have the option of creating your own website link to display the resume you make at Emurse. This is a really good idea.

There is a also free option, and 2 other for-pay options. I did the free option obviously. The 2 pay options allow you to create multiple resumes and offer other bonuses.

Start making the resume

After you've signed up, you can begin entering all of your information. There are 5 main categories:
  1. Personal Information
  2. Objective
  3. Skills
  4. Education
  5. Work Experience
I chose to add a couple sections including References, and Course Work, however you can also add the following:
  1. Awards & Honors
  2. Certifications
  3. Clubs & Organizations
  4. Community Involvement
  5. Field Work
  6. Interests
  7. Keywords
  8. Publications
  9. Research
  10. Summary
  11. Training
You can change the ordering and rename the sections if you want. You can also create new sections if you have anything not already addressed by the categories provided.

After you've finished, you can name your resume, modify the look of it using a few custom templates (there are more but they cost money), and print it if you want. This service is similar to what I initially used to create the resume I use now. It was a computer program offered by the University of Arizona that I mentioned in an earlier post.

More to come

There are many more options to this service which I haven't gotten around to exploring yet. I'll post on them as I find out more information.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Unexepcted Unemployed Story

OK so I was doing some searching today about Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, IBM, and Boeing jobs around Irvine and I found a blog of someone who went through a similar situation like mine.

He was in a contract engineering position and was out of work for almost 4 months before finding a permanent engineering position. Here is a link to his blog post. I definitely recommend giving it a read.

I'd like to ask him some questions about the different things he did during this time and post his responses here. I think it'd be a great benefit to me, as well as anyone finding themselves in the same position.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Updates - September 3, 2008

Just to update everyone:

So far since moving out here I've had a few phone interviews with several companies in the Orange County area. Nothing has really come together yet but I'm glad to be getting results so soon.

I've also gotten a lot of new leads on possible job opportunities in Orange County. I knew there were a ton of openings, but every time I do a search I find hundreds more! Now I know why they call it the City of Industry.

Linkedin.com is quickly becoming another of my favorite job search tools. It's a great service helping you network with other people in your geographic area and that have similar career interests. I haven't had a lot of time to do much networking on it, however I'm getting into it. I plan on getting some introductions set up to some engineering and human resources employees at companies listed on Linkedin.

Lastly, I keep improving my little job application system. It's definitely helping me to keep everything organized and it saves so much time. I hope to be able to show all of you readers more information about it. I'm planning on creating an e-book sometime in the near future as well to illustrate how it works.

Ok that's all for now. Back to work.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Follow Up Emails

So it's been about 3 weeks since I started sending out job applications. I haven't heard back from some companies, but some I have. I want to find out what the status of my application is so I think I'm going to start sending some follow-up emails.

I'm not going to make them long and descriptive, just something to ask information and reiterate some of my experience. Then thank them again for reading your email.

I think its going to go like this:

Dear Mr/Ms. SoAndSo:

I am writing to inquire about the status of my application for the (whatever the position name) position, #(ID number for the job). My resume was sent to you in response to your advertisement on the (website I found the posting) website.

I am very interested in the position and feel that my computer engineering degree, programming classes and prior software development experience make me a strong candidate.

Please let me know if you need any further information. I look forward to hearing from you regarding an interview. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Steven Wright

Hopefully I get some responses. There were quite a few software engineering positions using C#, Java, and SQL so I could pretty much just change the contact name and company.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What It's Like To Be Unemployed

I started thinking this morning about what it has to be like to be unemployed. I've been out of a job for only a month so I don't have a clue what that really means. How do people do it? I mean I come from a job where I got a check every two weeks and didn't really have to worry about not having work. My managers always took care of me and made sure there was business coming in.

There are a lot of jobs out there where the pay isn't so regular and business isn't guaranteed. Like being self-employed, or being a writer or something. I was watching Californication on Showtime and thought how does this guy make it? He's got to have money coming in from somewhere. He's got a Porsche, a nice house, and writes books for a living. But he had'nt written one for years so what's the story?

I want to find someone who's unemployed and doesn't have any source of guaranteed income. I think it would be good for me to see I'm not the only one. Ask them what they do and how they're getting by.
 
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