Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beginning the Job Search

Good morning, Central Daylight Time Zone!  Fresh off my internet binge of yesterday, it has become time to use the internet for good rather than evil.  I found some rather encouraging news about my job search prospects during Internet Darkness Month (IDM).  Turns out I will be able to work here legally without qualifying as a super-specialist as was previously feared.  I will be able to work for almost any business for almost any salary with almost any number of hours with a reasonable amount of paperwork done by my prospective employer and myself.

On to the job search!  My previous two full time jobs in education in Iowa were done the very old fashioned way.  The search involved reading classifieds in the newspaper (the Des Moines Register always had the most comprehensive listings), compiling a paper copy of a cover letter, resume, reference list, and letters of recommendation, sending them in the mail, calling a friendly and very hard working school secretary on the telephone, to follow up the application, wait by the telephone for a call for an in person job interview, going to the in person job interview, and waiting again by the telephone for a good news/bad news phone call.  

As retro as that may sound to some readers, anyone who works in our around the American public school system knows that many schools are lacking in technology funding and training so, by no fault of their own,  many are stuck using these rather dated, expensive, and inefficient methods of job applicant searching.  My hope and heart goes out to those schools who are dealing with this obstacle as new college graduates are more and more engrossed in new technologies and are literally having difficulty communicating with potential employers as this gap grows larger and larger.

This means that I have never (effectively) used  more modern forms of networking, job hunting, and job application.  The public schools back home did have large employment databases with extensive mid-2000s era profile building, personal statement writing, and automatic job posting notifications.  I remember (not so fondly) spending tedious hours building the perfect profile on the Iowa REAP network, going through page after page of information line by line.  I entered my entire college transcript, gave long essay responses to a long list of questions (like a written job interview), entered in proof of my background check, blood pathogens training, mandatory reporter training (for both child and dependant adult abuse), and current CPR certification.  If that sounds boring to read, imagine spending more than a week's worth of evenings working on it.  This gauntlet seemed, from the outside, a test to filter out lazy candidates.  Teachers have to go through a lot of unnecessary busy work in their careers, so giving them a big task like the up-front might be the perfect tool to make sure all candidates are well versed and practiced in meaningless paperwork.

I received very little from this site, and was not surprised to learn much later that many schools (at that time) had never even heard of this site and their administrators would not know how to use this database if they had been aware of it.  Again, this is not the fault of these overworked individuals, but a product of years of technology stagnation in schools.  Discouraged, I went back to the old paper and pencil method and successfully landed two different teaching jobs with this tried-and-true practice.

Fast forward to today.  I need to begin some professional networking using the internet.  My networking social media presence was in great need of an update.  Facebook, which lied dormant and fallow from the time I graduated college until just a few months ago, had my current information circa 2007.  It still listed my old AOL screen name, BVU email address, and a profile picture of four pandas photoshopped to look like members of KISS.

Four giant pandas in a photograph altered to look like members of the band KISS

It was just by luck and good sense that I had updated my marital status from 2007!  All of the photos and information about me was posted up by my loving family and friends.

My Google account (Google Plus, Gmail, YouTube, and this Blog host) were similarly empty and worthless.  They featured a photo of my favorite movie character, RoboCop.

RoboCop stands proud on a blue background

As entertaining as Robo is for me and his dedicated fan base, that face showing up on every email I send, comment I post, YouTube video I share, and Blog post I write does not put the best face up for strangers.

Suffice it to say that other social media channels needed some attention due to similar photographing and informational lies, jokes, and voids.  I made it my plan for the day to improve and mature my online presence before I start to build profiles on job sites and start making online contacts.  I renovated Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype with an improved headshot and better contact info.  I am even planning to create a LinkedIn page to attach to the Irish job posting databases.  Unless, of course, LinkedIn proves to be like the Iowa REAP site in 2007 with philosophical questions and proof of blood pathogens, mandatory reporter, and CPR training, all of which are expired.

Cory's headshot with water in the backgroud
My new online headshot, cropped from a picture taken
by the river in Coralville by my gifted photographer Mother-in-Law.
Photo trivia:  I have such a big smile here because I am holding
a large, freshly caught carp just out of frame.  Really!

Cory on the trail at Glacier National Park, Montana
My new "cover photo" because those things are so
popular right now.  I don't know why, but apparently one
photo to express oneself isn't enough, there must be
a background photo behind it.  Oh well.

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