Friday, July 2, 2010

Almost There...Plus, Ranking the Job Search Methods

Well, folks the end of my nightmare may be drawing near. I recently received word that I've been accepted for a temporary position.

Now, that may not seem like big news, but I have received strong assurance that should things work out, the position will be made permanent. It looks like a great company, and I think if things do work out, I will be in a good position to put my career back on track.

I'm going to hold off on giving any further details or analysis about the position and how I got it until I see what happens at the end of the trial period.

As a bonus, let me break down the levels of success I've had with the various job search methods I've used.


Grade: D-

This is the bread and butter of CSO and job search guru advice, but I've seen almost nothing but failure from using this method. I've e-mailed, called, and talked with people in person. I've talked to friends, alumni, school officials, former employers, and even potential employers.

Sure, I've received plenty of encouragement, promises, and even a bit of advice, but most of what I've received has been pretty worthless. I've seen multiple promises broken; I've been blown off more times than I can count, and I've even been outright ignored by people who I know.

Sure, the critics will say, Esq. Never, this is probably because you're a huge jerk and nobody you know wants to help you. It's a possibility, but given what I've heard from plenty of others, the majority of job seekers must also be "jerks" and this method simply doesn't work for us.

I give it a D- because I did get put in touch with ONE person who was hiring, but was in a part of the country I wasn't able to move to at the time.


Ranking: C-

These guys (and gals) tend be quite friendly when you first contact them. Once they realize that your J.D. and minimal to non-existent work experience makes it more likely that they could place Dean Matasar on a date with JJD, you'll be lucky to ever hear from them again.

Let's face it, these folks don't eat unless they can place candidates into positions, and this usually means taking cookie-cutter IT, financial, and administrative professionals and dumping them into corresponding positions at big companies.

I got a few temporary employment offers through recruiters...or more specifically offers to be offered to the companies, but none of them actually turned into real interviews.

One recruiter actually called me in to interview me a few days after contacting me. Meanwhile the company filled the positions with somebody else.

Unless you have a cookie-cutter resume (and if you have a J.D., you don't), these people won't be much help.

Job Fairs

Ranking: C+

Job fairs can range from depressingly pathetic - just showcases for commission-only positions with insurance and financial advisory companies - to somewhat helpful - larger events that bring together serious employers.

The best thing about job fairs is that they give you the opportunity to actually speak with people who may have influence on the hiring process. Unfortunately, in many cases, plenty of people manning the booths are just there to promote the company, and it won't give you a leg up in the hiring process. They'll be happy (maybe) to explain the position, but then point you to their website to apply. (If you're lucky, they may take note of your presence at the fair.)

I got a couple bites after speaking to HR reps at a couple fairs, but unfortunately, the positions didn't turn out to be good fits for me.

(Bonus Tip: If you're an attractive woman and don't mind being hired primarily for your looks, you should definitely investigate being an HR rep at these sorts of events. The women at many of these booths look like they also have side jobs as super models.)

(Real Bonus Tip: Many times they have free resume critiques and other workshops that are surprisingly helpful.)

Job Listings/Job Fairs

Ranking: B

I know what many of you are thinking - you mean the black holes into which I've thrown my resume multiple times only to never hear a word back?

Hey, I've been there. Between November and March, I had one single interview. I was lucky if even got rejection letters.

Nevertheless, all of my substantive interviews have come from responding to jobs listings. In fact, virtually all of them have come from using my local Craigslist. I think this is the case because CL tends to attract smaller companies that are more likely to consider those with unconventional resumes.

The key to finding employment via the job boards is to have a resume and cover letter that stands out. How do you write such cover letters and resumes? Well, for only $19.95, you can purchase my new e-book "Esq. Never's Guerrilla Tactics for Making Money off of Desperate Job Seekers"!

Actually, I think I have found a good formula, and I plan to share it for free in a subsequent post.


  1. Congratulations!

    But I will warn you that you probably shouldn't stop looking for another job, especially if the terms of the job propose a performance-based pay increase or if you will actually receive benefits if they hire you permanently.

    Maybe that sounds cynical, but I know of at least two firms that use these bait and switch tactics. Sure, you might find some people in that office who have been there for several years which supports their claim that they are the most wonderful place in the universe to work, but there is also a mass grave of skeletons out back that they might hint at, but won't tell you the truth about.

    Phrases such as "So & So quit because they realized the job wasn't for them" and well-oiled machines that seem highly protective of the management in driving home the point that they can fire you at any time are warning signs. Seriously, if it is that great of an office, this was a great area of law, and the job market is terrible, who gets a crazy idea in their head that they should go somewhere else? Trust me, they "helped" a lot of people realize that they don't want to work there.

  2. Well, I'll go into more detail in the future, but this is NOT a law firm, so I think this is a different situation.

  3. I agree w/Craig's List. That's how I've met people in the business. But I can write you a damn good resume & cover letter if you don't give a shit about impressing anyone + want to be completely honest about your views. I've written some downright nihilistic inquiries to people (no one gets a resume/cover letter from me unless they say they'll actually look at it) & for some reason, they still wanted to talk to me. I point blank said I didn't want to work in a law firm as an associate & deal w/the 7th grade mentality; some people still responded to me.

    Not giving a damn seems to have benefited me in finding some jobs. I just do it w/some humor & flair that only a creative type can pull off.

    Entertainment's a better field for networking b/c if you piss people off there, they'll tell others. Plus, there's a fast upward movement so an intern could be an executive you have to impress a few years later. You won't be interning in 10 years unless you're really horrible to deal with.

    I also have no hesitation in keeping track of who ticked me off or was unprofessional at this stage; I remember & will make life hell for those people if they dare to speak to me in the future. Everyone I know will know the stories as well; you're expected to have & share them in my field. Not doing it is a dick move.

  4. There's networking, and then there's networking.

    Organic networking can be very effective. These are the people you meet without being on a mission to network. For instance, a writer I follow posted a question on Twitter, looking for info to help him in a new article; I responded, he followed up with some more questions, and it eventually led to me editing the article, and now I have a good contact.

    But then there's forced networking, with two equally sad varieties. The first is a bunch of people with nothing to offer trying to mooch off of each other. It's basically like a party with no girls. The second is when you pound on the doors of people who might have something to offer, and beg them to put you in touch with the right people. If you feel like you're a used car salesman trying to unload a lemon on an unsuspecting buyer, you're doing it right.

  5. Congratulations. But I have a question: If you get the permanent position, and if it proves to be a successful career path, does that change any of the advice you have given about not going to law school?

    Some would say, see -- law school ultimately provided a career for you.

  6. No, because law school played a very limited role in me securing this position. Nothing I learned in law school applies to the current job. A law license certainly isn't necessary, and most other people who work there do not have graduate degrees. For the most part, I was given this opportunity in spite of law school rather than because of it.

  7. Rick Allen is one of the most successful drummers of all time. Law school admissions and career counselors would point to this as a reason to hack off your limbs.


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