in Community, Employment, Friday Inspirations, Technology

Lessons Learned From An Impromptu Job Search

When I lost my job on October 12th, I knew that the PHP community was an invaluable resource for finding a new one. What I didn’t expect, though, was the outpouring of support and assistance I would receive from that community. I learned a lot of lessons from the job search, and thankfully, largely due to the involvement of the PHP community, I have a long-term contract that is both paying the bills and letting me form my own consulting company – a long term dream I’ve had (more on this in a future blog entry).

I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned, because I think that they are important, and they helped me to find a position quickly, effectively, and easily. I actually had more than one opportunity to choose from – something that’s almost unheard of in the current economy.

Network before you need it.
This may be cliche at this point but it’s also the most true and important point: build your network, before you need it. Go to conferences and talk with people. Don’t be a jerk, but instead be a part of the community. Take the hallway track at conferences and be involved in your developer’s group. It matters and it will make a huge difference when you’re looking for a job.

Be involved in writing good content for the community.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard “I read your blog and…” as an introduction from a possible employer. I probably responded to well over 100 leads just from this blog. Writing on your topic of expertise will draw attention. Make sure that if you’re a PHPer that you’re syndicated on Planet PHP and PHPDeveloper.org. And make sure that you put out good content.

Make use of social networks.
I was retweeted more than 200 times during my job search. This process was helpful because ultimately it was a retweet that got me the interview that got me the job. Make use of the social networks that you are a part of – Twitter seemed to be most effective.

People are generally good and are willing to help you.
The PHP community is full of good people. They’re willing to help you, if you need it, and if you’re deserving. Without asking, I had lots and lots of people retweeting me, and the goodwill that was generated made me very proud to be a member of this community.

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
As a component of my job search I offered a $100 gift card to anyone who referred me to a company that hired me. Though I never posted any official rules, the unofficial rules that I had were as follows:

  • You had to refer me to a company other than your own.
  • Your referral had to be responsible for generating a job offer from that company.
  • I had to accept the job offer from that company.

I had lots of referrals, but only one led to a job offer. Even though I declined that offer, I still feel it is appropriate to award the $100 Amazon gift certificate to this individual. This person is none other than Cal Evans, who unfortunately is also looking for a job himself at the moment (p.s. hire him!). Congratulations, Cal.

Thank you to everyone who helped me during my job search. I appreciate each and every one of you and your contributions. Ultimately, I have a job now because of the community. And I can’t thank you enough.

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14 Comments

  1. Wow great . Happy to hear you got a job and my hearty congrats .
    I am sure Cal Evans too will definitely get a good offer . Good luck to you too .

  2. Congrats with your new job! I have been following your blog for a few weeks and I am glad to see that it only took you a couple of weeks to get yourself a new job.

  3. Having experienced a similar thing a couple of months ago, I really recognize your experience. It is a truely amazing experience, and I’m happy that it worked for you in the same way as it worked for me :) Congratulations with the new project.

  4. Brandon,

    It fills me with joy that you’ve found a new challenge that will take care of bills and provide you some extras for the future. Congratulations !!!

    Secondly I would like to thank you for your kind words regarding the PHP community. As a member of this community I can only say: you’re welcome. We give because we want to give and expect nothing in return, it’s in our DNA. If I talk about communities again at a conference in the States and you’re there, I would like you to participate as you’re an excelent example that the PHP community works.

    Again, congrats and if I can help you out on your consulting business, you know where to find me.

  5. Brandon,

    Congrats on your new ventures and thanks for the tips.

    I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the value of Zend certification in the search proccess

  6. I think that Zend certification is great for new developers who have little experience, but in my case it didn’t matter. I’m not Zend certified but clearly qualified in PHP, so certification didn’t matter for me.

  7. Ugh, Brandon, you didnt listen to me at all!!!! You are obviously smart enough to be self employed. Why are you working for somebody else? Why did you ever see working for someone else as your goal? The core conference speakers are sharing with you that are very valuable. You have the ability to make use of those skills for your own ideas, instead of giving them away to people who will have a hard time accepting them in their institution, coming from you a subordinate. You are stronger than the people that you are going to get stuck working for.

  8. Peter, I accepted a contract, not a job. The contract is long term and provides largely full time work, but still, I spent last week forming an LLC and working on a business plan. I am working for myself.

    When you go into business you’re always working for someone else; you simply set your own hours and run the business your way.

    But yes, I am now self-employed, and I plan to stay that way. In the coming weeks I’ll announce my consulting company and you’ll be able to see that. :)

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