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11/24/2006: "I've got some serious work to do"

Last night I attended a networking workshop put on by my favourite alumni career advisor at the university. Although I did learn about more networking techniques, I came away with much more than just that - I came away with a HUGE to-do list that will help get my career back into the swing of things. I need to start marketing myself - I need a website.

Oh, and I just became a member of the Canada Green Building Council and ordered my LEED reference material. With luck, I'll have it as an early Christmas present and can start working towards my accreditation.

I'd been putting off doing the LEED thing all week for some reason, so I just had to sit down and do it. It's good to have it done and over with finally. Now I can legitimately say that I'm working towards LEED-accreditation, and even just have that I'm a member of the CaGBC. That's worth something right there, as now I have full access to the membership list, which is also going to be a potential client list as well as a potential employer list. Whee!

Now, let's get to my to-do list. First, I got some good content for my resume. I'm in the process of reworking it into a skills-based resume, as opposed to the ubiquitous reverse-chronological one that everyone and their red-headed stepson does. With so much jumping around, I have to highlight the consistencies in my experience base, and I think that's the kind of resume to do that with. My career advisor will tell me in just under 2 weeks when I go see her and show her what I've come up with. Oh, the content? Listing memberships! Even if they're online communities, they show interest, effort, and involvement. So down they go.

Next, I have to develop a calling card. When she asked last night, "Who here has a calling card?" I excitedly put my hand up, as I came uber-prepared with a pocketful of my business cards. I had to put my hand down, as a business card is NOT a calling card, it turns out. The difference? A business card has mostly contact information. A calling card, on the other hand, has select contact information, but also includes a summary of qualifications, experience, and possibly even goals and/or interests, depending on how you're going to use it. Think of it as a business card-sized distillation of your resume. Way back in university I had actually developed a business card resume, but never got it printed. Well, it's coming back.

Lessee, what else was on that list? Oh yeah, I need a website. You see, not only am I not networking very well, but I'm not marketing myself very well either. A website will help me with that. Many years ago I had developed a sort of work portfolio, and I put it online for potential employers to look at. It hasn't been updated in forever, and I've taken it down long ago. To really help my career search, I need to re-develop that portfolio. Of course, I'm long past the point of being able to ask permission to take drawings and images of what I've done, so I'm going to have to be creative. I'm going to see what images and information I can find in the public domain, and create something out of that.

But back to the website. It will be a portal of everything Andrew. The way I envision it being laid out (and this may change, on consultation with my best friend who happens to be a web developer) it would have an introduction and navigation page, some mostly static pages that will contain my contacts, links, resume, and possibly even a sales pitch of sorts. It will also have a brand-new blog, one that will be 100% professional in nature. It is where I will regularly (but not daily) post information about the industries I'm interested in; green building/LEED, product design, 3D solid modeling... and who knows what else. Basically, I'm going to show that I'm not just another employee or contractor, but a resource of cross-industry information. I'm not sure how many other product designers with extensive 3D CAD skills are seeking LEED-accreditation, but I'm damned sure going to be the one that gets Googled first.

Getting a website like that up and running is going to be quite an effort. I'm going to have to come up with content - and GOOD content. I am also going to have to develop a system that will allow me to find interesting industry information to blog about - likely that will be Google Alerts, largely. I'll of course have a feedback system in place such that any readers I get can also suggest stories.

Oh, one other neat thing from the networking workshop - one of the participants was an MBET graduate! He was actually asked to come to the workshop, as he had some excellent information to share. I gave him my card and told him that I'm going to be doing MBET in September, so hopefully he'll e-mail me and I can pick his brain. He did ask why I wanted to do MBET, and I told him what I've told everyone, "I've always had many business ideas, but I lack the skills needed to determine whether those business ideas are viable." His eyes went wider and said, "That is the EXACT same reason I went into it!" Good to know. I hope I run into him again.

It's pretty sad that I was the only one (other than the person putting the workshop on) to bring business cards with me. I gave out a bunch, but didn't get one back. Maybe I'm doing a little bit better than I think. Ah well.

And now for something completely different.

Our first big public cohousing information night is tomorrow. Everyone is getting excited, I think. I am, and I know others that are too! People are coming out of the woodwork for it. Even our midwife from when we had Isabelle will be there! That is VERY exciting. I got permission today at work to use their large-format printer, so I printed off 3 huge drawings I did of my proposal for a new cohousing development. Tonight I spent some time colouring it - I couldn't figure out where Jannette hid the pencil crayons on me, so I broke out Isabelle's watercolour paints instead. It's not exactly what I was going for, but I think it turned out fairly nicely. At the very least, it's better than three huge white pieces of paper with black lines on it. Colour will fire the imagination, I hope!

Time for some sleep. I have a lot of honey-do list left for tomorrow, and I also have to bake bread for the dinner that comes before the meeting.

Yes, I've got some serious work to do, but I'm also making some progress. And that, for once, feels good.

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November 2006

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