My job search

"Impressionist painting of someone looking for a job."

So I've been ramping up my search for a job in what is without a doubt the worst tech job market in a decade. If you haven't seen it's pretty bad out there! I've been applying to Senior Technical Product Manager positions, but my experience with that isn't as good as my Developer Advocate / Technical Evangelist position, so I've recently begun applying for those jobs as well. I enjoy both roles, so either would be good. Better than asking if you want fries with that.

Despite making an effort, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) still absolutely hate my resume in either PDF or DOCX form. I've tried to reformat the damn thing a few times - making it simpler and re-arranging job title and employer, etc. but the systems are just random as hell and make a total hash of it. I'm still not sure if it's just the low-quality of the various job systems out there or my resume - I'm starting to think it's the former. Seems like a great area to disrupt an established market, honestly. There has to be a better way to find good new hires. I did find a great Chrome extension called Simplify which is great - you fill in your details once, and if it detects an applicant system it recognizes, it fills in all the details for you. This is seriously a time saver and has helped me really buckle down and apply to just about everything I can find.

So far, I've applied to 50+ jobs: 

Seems pretty crazy, and somewhat futile as my resumes are undoubtedly just going into a black hole of systems, where it's compared to a hundred other candidates. I have 25+ years of experience, but only the most recent decade or so really count. I do have a couple patents in my name from Yahoo! but they don't seem to be impressing anyone (and actually expire in the next few years! Time flies!!)

The best way to find a job of course is through recommendations. My previous boss at Nokia is now at Nvidia and has put a good word for me in there, I've had several people at Google recommend me as well and some others. Thanks to everyone who's recommended me, I really appreciate it!

Pro tip: You can whip up cover letters in no time using ChatGPT! Just paste in your resume text, position title and company name and ask it to write a cover letter for you. It summarizes your skills really well in context of the position and company. Such a time saver. Like everything else AI does lately, it's absurdly good and in Ryan Reynold's words, "mildly terrifying." I have no idea who actually reads cover letters, but making them isn't nearly as much of chore as it was before.

The resume recommendation articles talk about how resumes should have clear results on them, not just descriptions of what you do, but they all seem somewhat impractical. As a techy you generally work on the project and then hand it off to some project manager or exec team to track results in terms of revenue, growth, etc., and you focus on bug reports, feature upgrades and the next release. Also, as time goes by, a number that seemed amazing in 2015 (say, 150,000 installs in three days) is pitiful in 2023, even though at the time it represented more than 25% of the devices in the market. 

One of the things I really need to do is go through the online interview prep articles out there so I'm more prepared if I ever actually speak to anyone (I haven't gotten so much as a phone screen yet - it's absolutely insane.) I haven't actually gone through the process in a decade, since I joined Amazon in 2013, so I know I'm way out of practice. I need to get those "what's your greatest weakness" questions down pat. 

The other thing I need to do (and will do next, actually) is organize and flesh out my "portfolio" of work. As time goes by, this is getting harder to do as websites disappear (all my Nokia Research Center effort is totally gone, for example). This basically involves me going out and finding all the blog posts, sample code, media, etc. that I've done and put it into a single spot. Probably should have been doing that for years! 

Anyways, that's an update. Will also be posting about Hypertext as well, and finally (after a three month hiatus) updating the editor (which I'm using to write this) to include an all-in-one document format in HTML. So many things to do!


P.S. The AI image generators out there are great for coming up with quick illustrations for blog posts!