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Re: Climbing the corporate ladder

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Jun 11, 2004 at 21:19 UTC ( #363526=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Climbing the corporate ladder

I know that you say that you know about the benefits of networking, etc. But I still have to say that how you look for a job should be the first thing that you focus on to overcome the lack of a degree.

First of all if you don't have a degree, then it is likely that any kind of automated cut will cut you. Unfortunate but true. And, short of getting a degree, there isn't much that you can do about it. Therefore it pays to look for jobs in ways that are unlikely to be hit by an automated filter like that.

Since you've got Perl experience, I have to recommend http://jobs.perl.org. Anyone posting jobs there has someone involved in the hiring process who understands the Perl community. Such people are more likely to be able to evaluate the quality of an applicant. Likewise get involved in your local perlmongers group if there is one. (You can always start one if none exists...) That is an excellent way to get contacts. For instance if you were in LA, you'd have heard about 3 different companies hiring within the last month. And you can ask on the list for the names of good headhunters.

And if you're spending time on the job boards, don't. To understand why not just read this article. About 2% of hires happen through job boards. And your lack of a degree puts you at a disadvantage there. No amount of work on your resume will change the fact that those are not effective for finding you jobs, and that your lack of a degree really hurts you there.

And a last option to consider. Work for yourself. There is no question that you're willing to overlook your own lack of a degree. When people hire consultants they generally ask different questions than when they hire employees. You might just find that your lack of a degree is less of a barrier there. But be warned that being successfully self-employed has its own challenges. Nor is this an easy market to do it in.

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Re: Climbing the corporate ladder
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jun 13, 2004 at 13:39 UTC
    I have to recommend http://jobs.perl.org. Anyone posting jobs there has someone involved in the hiring process who understands the Perl community.
    That I know not to be true. I've pointed recruiters to jobs.perl.org (and seen their offerings appear there) who had no knowledge what so ever about any "Perl community" except for the fact the only person they knew with significant Perl knowledge was me. I know of others who succesfully point recruiters to jobs.perl.org. Being able to figure out a webform to post a job opening doesn't make one understand the Perl community.

    Work for yourself. There is no question that you're willing to overlook your own lack of a degree. When people hire consultants they generally ask different questions than when they hire employees. You might just find that your lack of a degree is less of a barrier there.
    Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know how the situation is in the USA, but I've worked for a consulting company in .nl for a couple of years. And unless you have been hired by a company before, almost every application for a consulting gig starts with sending a resume, which is used as a first filter for the company potentially hiring you. Now the difference is that for many consulting gigs, you have to do a very specific thing - so they might weight experience more than degree. But that's a chicken-and-egg problem, to be able to get (more) experience, one must have experience.

    Abigail

      And unless you have been hired by a company before, almost every application for a consulting gig starts with sending a resume, which is used as a first filter for the company potentially hiring you. Now the difference is that for many consulting gigs, you have to do a very specific thing - so they might weight experience more than degree. But that's a chicken-and-egg problem, to be able to get (more) experience, one must have experience.

      I agree, indeed it is a chicken-and-egg problem, but I don't see that much as a big problem. From 1994 to 2000 I've contracted 60 people and to be able to hire the better ones, I had to read and analyze hundreds of resumes. I discussed this work with several other (personnel) managers and almost everybody does stress the importance of experience, but there are several forms of experience.

      The form most considered is experience in a paid job, for an employer. Quite often, applicants for a job at my cmpany, didn't have such experience, but they had exerience in working at home or (as a student) at university or high school. And they could show that experience: websites, database-driven, several scripts, server logs and statistics.

      For me, and quite a lot of managers of small companies, a degree is absolutely not important, and neither is experience in a paid job. Just be able to show you have experience.

Re^2: Climbing the corporate ladder
by drewbie (Chaplain) on Jun 11, 2004 at 22:36 UTC
    As always, tilly you have some excellent points. I decided today that it's time to go back to school and will be filling out an application for UMass Boston this weekend. I'll probably only do 1 class a semester for a while, but that's better than nothing!

    I've been on the perl jobs list pretty much since the start. That is my gauge of the perl jobs waters, and I'm happy to report that the water is definitely getting warmer. Unfortunately, nearly all the jobs posted are not in the New England area. If I was in CA I'm confident I could have gotten a new job a long time ago. But I'm in Boston, which has been slower to recover from the tech job losses in the last few years. It's picking back up, but the volume (for perl anyway) is still much smaller. Now if I was a Java guru ...

    I don't think I've looked at job boards in months. I occasionally troll for "perl" in Boston but I don't waste more than a few minutes doing so. I read the Ask the Headhunter article you referenced, and completely agree with Nick's conclusion. BTW, I highly recommend his email newsletter to everyone. He has some spot on advice regardless of your specialty.

    Finally, long term I would love to work for myself. But I'm not there yet, and will probably finish school before I try striking it out on my own. What I'm trying to do now is start some small projects I can work on the side that could turn into full-time ventures. Again, that's all in the future. I have a family to think about, which unfortunately limits my entrepreneurial abilities.

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