Under the Rainbow

The job search continues.  I am keeping my parameters broad because what I do best cannot be easily pigeonholed.  This is often a problem because most job search engines and software desperately want to pigeonhole applicants.  While it is simple to search for particular job titles, that would limit me.  I largely ignore the titles now and put my focus on the descriptions.  I have more data to sift through, but in the end I will have a more relevant result.  Slowly I am building up a catalog of titles that are most likely to contain my particular skills.

While I search I am working.  I have returned to my old standby, Kelly Services. They have been a god send to me over the years.  When I was between jobs in the past I would often sign up with multiple agencies, but it was always Kelly that found me the best positions and kept me regularly employed.  I obtained five of my last eight positions as a result of starting on a temporary contact and received job offers on other contracts that I knew enough not to accept because I had experienced the position and, more importantly, the culture of the employer.

This time has been a little different.  No surprise there.  Everything has been different this time.  However, there are two key factors in play now.  The way jobs are sourced has, at least on the surface, changed dramatically from five years ago when I last converted from temp to perm.  Those pigeonholing search engines, resume filtering software and other computerized gatekeepers play a much larger role in preventing candidates who have not followed traditional career paths from being seen by hiring managers, even for temporary positions.  In addition, Kelly Services does not have the market share they once did.  Now there is a temp agency almost on every corner.  I mean that almost literally.  I counted more than ten agency offices just on my nine mile drive home from my temp job yesterday and more than half my drive was on the freeway!

It used to be that you would work with a specific person at the agency who knew your skills and your work record.  They would get requests in for a temporary worker, decide where you best fit and send you on out. It still sort of works like that but now they do not just send you out to a job.  They have to pull together a selection of candidates and we go interview for the temporary job.  I know it makes the customer feel like they have more control in the process, but I suspect they do not get any better results and it takes more time and probably cost for everyone.

I am fortunate enough to be working with the coordinator at my local Kelly Services office that I worked with five years ago and the time before that and the time before that.  She recognized me the minute I walked into the office, although the fact that I did month long job that had me working in her office as part of a small team because the client had no office space for the project may have helped.  She knows my skills and knows that I made Kelly money by converting to permanent on several jobs.  She is also a strong advocate for me with potential employers.

She also knows from experience that when I am looking for work I am willing to take on any short term position she needs me for even if there is no potential to convert to perm or it falls completely out of my job search parameters.  I have stepped in to proctor an engineering certification exam.  I took the role of general dogsbody for the instructor of a 2 day advanced excel class and was able to attend the class as well.  I have learned to use a multi-head embroidery machine and done inventory in a food freezer.  It is fun going out to spend a day or two doing a job I would not normally have the opportunity to try.  It also helps my Kelly rep out because she knows she can throw me wherever she has the most need and I will do my best for her. In return she promotes me when a job that really fits me comes up.

Right now, there isn’t a lot available.  I’m working a long term temp job at a good company with pleasant enough people, but I am more than the administrative assistant I am currently portraying.  So I keep scanning the job boards, watch all my alerts on LinkedIn and with Ella, the Lee Hecht Harrison automated assistant and apply, apply, apply.  I still have hope that opening I am waiting for is just around the corner.  In the mean time I learn what I can from every place I go.

We have hit the rainy season here.  Right now I am in the under phase, but things will look up.   Maybe my “real” job is somewhere over that next rainbow.