Having fun on the job search

Looking for a job isn’t usually very high up on the “fun things to do” list.  It can be stressful, not knowing how long you’re going to be in employment limbo, being unsure how much to scrimp while waiting for Employment Insurance to kick in, and making the first move and asking for information interviews.  But these things aside, I am definitely having fun!

Now is a good time to be a communications specialist.  Sure, most of the jobs are in larger centres like Vancouver and Toronto.  I need to stay in Victoria because this is where my family and loved ones are.  What’s more, I love it here.  Fortunately, I’ve found new communications positions being posted on average every 2-3 days, right here in Victoria!  Compared to job hunting here in the 80s, when Victoria had double-digit unemployment, and I was a new UVic grad, green as grass, this feels like a treasure hunt.

Part of the joy of this search is that I’m being strategic.  I started by talking to a friend who is also a Human Resources (HR) consultant.  Her name is Judith Frost, and she’s a gem. (gem… treasure…. Iknow. I couldn’t resist.)  We talked about my work history and my goals, and she pointed out that it’s probably time for me to move into a more established, institutional environment.  Somewhere with some built-in mobility, pensions (!) and enough scale to need communications staff.  So that rules out most of the small businesses in town, where I have spent my career over the past 8 years.  I’m now looking at the learning institutions, as well as local and provincial government.

My next move was to talk to a contact I’d made through Twitter, Melanie Friebel (@scribbler9 on Twitter) who works in recruitment for the BC Public Service.  Melanie and I have only met each other once or twice, so getting together over a glass of wine after work pushed our connection to a new level, and I’m so glad I did.  Not only did she point me in the right direction, I also feel like I made a new friend.

Melanie’s suggestion was that I chat with Pat McCallum, whose job it is to advise people looking for positions in government.  I spend a wonderful hour with him in a dark little office decorated with cardboard boxes (turns out he’s abandoning his government desk in order to telecommute, and I found him on one of his last days in the “shop”).  Pat had lots of great advice – read my next post for what he said – and I left there with a great to-do list for improving my hiring chances.

So now, I’m hunting for that gem of a job that I know is out there.  It might be at UVic, Royal Roads, Camosun, a government department, one of Greater Victoria’s many local governments, or a Crown corporation.  It might surprise me and come from a public or private school, an established tech company, or even one of the media outlets.  In the four weeks I’ve been looking, I’ve found easily a dozen that might do the trick… and those are the posted jobs.  Any pro job hunter will tell you that some of the best jobs aren’t even posted.