Job Search – The Series (part 2)

 For those who have been reading along with me for more than a few days, you are aware that I am, at once, participating and not participating in the current recession.  While I have improved my fiscal fitness, I have also fallen prey to my previous employer’s lay-off schedule.  That puts me in a unique place today… on the job search but not desperately so.

Additionally, there exists a pair of realities that make my job search – planned or otherwise – unique.  Yes, the economy and collective job market stinks, but perhaps more impactful to me is my relative inexperience in the actual job market.

I dutifully (and metaphorically) punched my last employer’s time clock for well over 12 years and seeing that I interviewed and accepted this job midway through my 2nd year of grad school – many months prior to reporting for day 1 duty – I am new to a job market and job search not sheltered by a university career center.

While my history of loyalty is a positive trait, it is small potatoes as compared to the actual task of a job search.  For this reason, I am quite pleased to have the assistance of a transition services company – as described in part 1 of this series.

Since my first installment in this strand, I’ve been busy with being busy – which is not, necessarily, the same as my being productive.  This is especially true when my lone deliverable is simply my gainful employment.  However, it is fair, given the fullness of my reality that my first step is to learn once again the true nature of being “on the hunt”.

And so begins this installment of my Job Search Series.  In this edition I’ll highlight some of the initial activities I’m taking so far:

Update the ole Resume

Yes, this is an obvious first step… or at least it should be (you might be surprised).  Frankly it had been many months since I last updated my CV and, at that time, I did so with assistance from one of my more favored mentors.  I believe this gave me a significant leg up as he helped me craft a smart and results oriented resume.

Key resume points to highlight?  I’ll cut and paste a portion from my resume to help illustrate.  As I worked for only a single employer, I inventoried my experiences according to my significant project experiences.

Project Manager – Top 5 National Health Plan

Led 10 person team comprised of client and (former employer) personnel in performing an operations compliance assessment against CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) regulations.  Scope of assessment included all CMS regulated Medicare Part C and Part D operations. 

  • Assessed client operations across 12 functional departments against approximately 400 individual compliance elements as identified in one of five CMS audit guides
  • Identified and documented over 250 compliance gaps for client resolution and highlighted over 4500 evidence documents requiring maintenance plans
  • Created robust action plans and training guides to facilitate a smooth transition from project team to dedicated operating staff
  • Managed $2M+ project budget including client billings, team expense budgeting, revenue forecasts, and Accenture profitability accounting and reporting

Results Achieved – Launched 10 person CMS Contract Management Unit chartered to ensure client compliance with CMS regulations while maintaining a state of audit readiness.

The 3 phases of this documented experience I want to highlight are:

  • The Project or Experience description – this is the “Led 10 person team…:” line. In this space my intent is to define the project while also highlighting key elements – 10 people, cross functional team, government compliance across a robust product range.
  • Action oriented bulleted activities performed during the execution of the project. Again, these are highlights but I try to demonstrate measureables along an activity range – 12 departments, 400 compliance elements, 250 gaps, 4500 evident docs, action plans, and even administrivia such as project finances, budgets, and billings… measureable and diverse, I’d hire me!
  • Results achieved… project descriptions and fancy activities are useless unless significant objectives and accomplishments are achieved, so be sure to highlight these as well

Another important lesson when crafting resumes is to consider your audience.  The text here is baited to a specific industry audience.  If I elect to expand my search I should feel empowered to modify my language to another industry or to genericize the experience to a universal audience.  The key is not to falsify or fabricate experiences.  For example, I could accurately rebrand this project as involving Federal Government compliance assessments but I’d be wholly incorrect to reposition it as IRS or Sarbane-Oxley in nature. 

Transition Consultant

I’ve now had the opportunity to meet and discuss my situation with an assigned transitionconsultant.  For these purposes I’ll call her Kate.  Kate has so far been a fantastic resource for me.  She is a former HR professional who can recount numerous examples – good and bad – to augment my experience.

She is also something of an accountability partner (a very important role in all our endeavors).  I have regular meetings scheduled with her and where I might find it easy to rationalize a lack of progress to myself, she (polite as she may be) is less forgiving.

Job Alerts

I was previously a member of The Ladders (love their commercials), ExecuNet, and JobFox, but Kate pointed me to a couple other job search aggregators – and have proven valuable so far.

Simply log into these sites and set up searches based on industry, location, title, salary, etc, and elect to have these search results delivered to your email each morning.  Multiple searches may be established so you can experiment with key words, role titles, or industry searches.

This is valuable on multiple levels in today’s economy.  Obviously this is a connection to live jobs – and I need one!  But it is also a positive reinforcement to see that there are so many openings in the market.  Surely this is not being reporting by the media and Kate cheerfully shared that the job market in late Feb/early March is significantly more active than even just 30 days ago – something I was certainly glad to hear!

Stay tuned… I have more tools and experiences to share this week and as I continue my search!

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