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Posted 6 Oct 2002

Career 2.0: Career Management Strategies, Part 1

, , , 6 Oct 2002
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Removing unnecessary layers between you and your new job.


The number of layers between you and hiring managers depends on the contact protocol you follow in your job search. The goal is to remove all but the most necessary layers between, and that’s what we’re going to help you with in this article.

People spend hours searching company job sites for job openings. Next, they carefully compose cover letters and then - far too frequently - they rely on a corporate recruiter’s Boolean query to match their skills and experience to the job, precipitating contact. This job search protocol looks like this:

A far better protocol looks like this:

Target your effort and resources.

The first step in building a strong career resource network is to understand who to contact, what their interests are, and how to convince them to help you. You can help yourself by expanding your existing career resource base:

People are usually a finite resource. If you over-utilize friends and professional resources at the beginning of your search, realize they will likely not be available later on when you need their help most.

Concentrate your industry resources and your outreach efforts on jobs and technologies that directly match your current skill and experience level. Go ahead and identify technologies, jobs, teams and companies for you to target for the long term as long as it doesn't take away from the initial priority of finding the job you want now.

Identify and contact hiring managers to gather, first-hand, the business needs this job holder must solve(?), other key job information, build a relationship with a potential employer, and as a key component of long-term career management strategy. This information helps us better target our applications, and helps us prepare for interviews.

Leverage company and industry website content to build job search and career management strategies. These sites include technical and product information; user group information and chapter contacts and sites; case studies, and past and current event offerings. Product developers and product manager names are available to you in archived technical chats and webcasts, white papers with author credits; and knowledge-based articles with author credits; developer-specific areas within each site; and more.

Personal Referrals/Recommendations open doors - particularly in today's job market.

Friends, college alumni associations, current or former colleagues and employers, and employee alumni groups each help you generate job leads, referrals, networking opportunities, and career opportunities.

Peers are valuable career resources. community members are one of your best resources for researching jobs, teams, companies, and development technologies. Post your career and company research questions here or in The Lounge. There is a very good chance at least one community member works at a company you are interested in, and will share information on company culture and hiring bars, interview tricks and tips.

Visibility is important.

Actively participate in user groups, mailing lists, websites, and newsgroups for the products and technologies that interest you. These community resources frequently include industry stars - and industry lurkers - who closely follow the technical discussions, and track individual contributions to the group. For example, developers with Sun, BEA, and other competing tools and product companies are active on the developer lists and sites specific to their products and technologies. Also, a number of Microsoft .Net development team members participate in the, and in other developer communities.

Speaker lists and presentation archives are powerful research tools.

Conference programs and user group archives list event speakers by their area of expertise and technology focus. Session topics detail their product's technical and business challenges. Speaker biographies help identify which skills and experience their technology team values for new hires, and may help you identify an interest or credential you share with a particular speaker. All are valuable resources for job seekers.

Coming Soon…

In our next column we tackle the good, the bad, and the ugly ways to contact the potential career resources you identify within the next two weeks.

In the meantime, please share your resource building results, successes, and suggestions for improvements.

As this column's title noted, this is only one of a series of articles on this topic, since the best ideas and strategies are those that work for you.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Authors

United States United States
Catherine Björk is a eight year veteran of Microsoft’s recruiting organization. Currently she is a Lead Senior Account Manager Recruiter for Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing and Services Groups. Her first recruiting job at Microsoft was identifying and recruiting software engineers and program managers for Microsoft’s Games Group. In her limited free time, Catherine enjoys gourmet cooking,playing a competitive game of golf, skiing and cycling the Burke Gilman Trail which rings Lake Washington and parts of Seattle.And when time permits...traveling.

Andi Levin
United States United States
Andi Levin heads Western Technology Group. Since 1996 she successfully recruited technical employees for Compaq, EMC,, Fidelity Investments, IBM, Microsoft, Real Networks, TKS Industrial, and several dot coms. Most recently she worked with several of Microsoft’s .Net Server marketing teams to staff technical marketing and technical evangelist positions. Her passion is teaching job seekers methods and tools to use in their job search to create their competitive edge.

Julie King
United States United States
Julie King is the Editor for Career 2.0 and started in tech with an Oregon bank when the first ATM’s were being planned and installed (really!!!), has written since she was old enough to hold a crayon, edits paperback novels on the fly, and after a dot come-dot gone experience last year, uses Levin and Burk’s advice regularly.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionWhat company do you want to work for? Pin
Andi Levin9-Oct-02 8:53
memberAndi Levin9-Oct-02 8:53 
AnswerRe: What company do you want to work for? Pin
Marc Clifton11-Oct-02 0:43
memberMarc Clifton11-Oct-02 0:43 
GeneralUnimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Marc Clifton8-Oct-02 4:16
memberMarc Clifton8-Oct-02 4:16 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Andi Levin8-Oct-02 18:51
memberAndi Levin8-Oct-02 18:51 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Marc Clifton9-Oct-02 1:28
memberMarc Clifton9-Oct-02 1:28 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Andi Levin9-Oct-02 8:37
memberAndi Levin9-Oct-02 8:37 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Chris Maunder14-Oct-02 8:16
adminChris Maunder14-Oct-02 8:16 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Tim Smith16-Oct-02 7:05
memberTim Smith16-Oct-02 7:05 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Andi Levin16-Oct-02 8:42
memberAndi Levin16-Oct-02 8:42 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Kevin Glover1-Nov-02 4:54
memberKevin Glover1-Nov-02 4:54 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Marc Clifton1-Nov-02 5:01
memberMarc Clifton1-Nov-02 5:01 
GeneralRe: Unimpressed, fairy-land Pin
Andi Levin1-Nov-02 15:28
memberAndi Levin1-Nov-02 15:28 
QuestionThe value of writing articles? Pin
Paul Watson8-Oct-02 0:26
editorPaul Watson8-Oct-02 0:26 
AnswerRe: The value of writing articles? Pin
Andi Levin8-Oct-02 21:03
memberAndi Levin8-Oct-02 21:03 
GeneralRe: The value of writing articles? Pin
Paul Watson14-Oct-02 22:24
editorPaul Watson14-Oct-02 22:24 

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