04/26/2005: "focus is good"
After my second career advisor appointment back in January, I decided that networking myself into a job is a method well worth a try. I got one letter off, and am still working that contact, but my second one was destined for a company that apparently no longer exists. After that, things petered out pretty quickly, much to my distaste.
Over the past few days, however, I have not only send out a number of broadcast letters, but have a relatively large list of further recipients that I wish to send my information to. The difference between then and now? Focus.
No, I'm not talking about the car, I'm talking about the mental state of directed concentration. Back in January and February I was "targeting" local companies that would be interesting/fun to work for, that might conceivably have need of my services, and that aren't going bankrupt (heh-heh). Even with this broad scope, my list of target companies was only moderately interesting. I had to struggle with each letter I attempted to create, as I was pretty much addressing totally different industries and business models with each company that I targeted. No wonder I didn't get far.
Today, it's a different matter altogether. It all started when the president of a local solar energy company spoke at our church. A classmate of mine has been working for the same company for a number of years, and was on my hit list already. Now that I had the name of the president (which I hadn't bothered to look up before) and a decent opening (I saw you talk at church) I moved that company to the top of my list and sent a letter of a couple of days later.
Instead of dancing around the issue of asking for a job, I decided in this instance to simply ask for information. Although I have a great interest in solar energy, my credentials don't exactly make me a logical choice to be hired into the industry right away. There has to be companies around that DO need what I can offer, and I figured that the best way to figure out who those companies are would be to ask someone in the business. And that's what I did.
I got a reply very quickly. He said that they are not hiring right now (although I never brought that up in my letter), and referred me to my classmate to discuss the information that I needed. Unfortunately both of them are quite busy right now, so I have not been able to have that meeting and get that information, but it will come in a few weeks. Meanwhile, it started the ball rolling again in my letter writing campaign.
With a bit of basic browsing, I uncovered an association between this local company and another company an hour away. I decided to send them a letter to, again asking for information, but knowing full well that I might actually have a shot at finding a position at this second company. From there more and more links, associations, and strategic partnerships have provided me with a good list of companies to target. Most of them will not need my professional services, but will be good resources of companies that might. To date I think I've send out at least 4 letters, with two more that are done that I will hand deliver to the companies, and another 3 or so that I have yet to compose letters for. Hopefully I'll start getting replies from these first letters, which will add fuel to this letter writing campaign.
Now that I have the focus of wanting to work in the green technology industry, selecting target companies and writing letters has become much easier. It also helps that I can pretty much use the same letter over and over, with only slight modifications. That really, really speeds up the composition process.
Meanwhile, I'm still at home waiting to hear when/if someone wants me on a contract basis. It's frustrating waiting like this, only weeks after I was told that I was "easy to place". Oh well... not much I can do but keep writing letters and making phone calls.