Searching for a job in Seattle 1/2

The diary for first three months of a job search: what did I do, how did I approach it? Posted by Lena Barinova on July 24, 2016 Know-how

In this and next post I’m going to reveal my diary from almost two years ago. This is my story of searching for a job. I’ll be glad if someone finds it useful or interesting.

October, 2014. This is it - I’ve moved to Seattle, WA (my husband got an offer from Amazon and I decided to bring my career to next level and continue it in USA). With this I got a new challenge - find a job that I would love and be able to deliver value to people. I decided to think of this job search as a project with a very specific goal: to get employed; a huge number of requirements: job should be the one I would be happy at, would match my skills and experience, the employer should be willing to sponsor H1B for me, etc. I have a hard deadline I need to get an offer before March 2015 (in this case there will be a month left to prepare and fill H1B application to submit it on the 1st of April, 2015 in order to start working from October, 2015). So roughly I have 6 months. I have many different tasks to complete and 3rd parties to coordinate and communicate.

I’ve created a backlog with tasks to complete and major milestones to deliver (such as list of companies to apply, connections to establish, list of positions, CV, cover letters, etc.)

Job search task list

In this and following blog posts I’ll try to capture my journey to the goal of being hired by some awesome company.

Month 1 - October: Slow-slow start

It is October - the first month at a new work for my husband and the first time of being unemployed for me. I need to accept it. It still bothers me.

I did very little for a job search this month because I had lots of thing to set up due to reallocation. Here is the list of tasks I have accomplished by now:

  • Updated LinkedIn account for Job seeker premium: 1 month free, $29.99 monthly fee
  • Prepared “awesome job search” backlog
  • Made updates to my profile: changed location to Greater Seattle Area, updated the dates of my last employment
  • Asked my colleagues for references and recommendations
  • Asked my HR colleagues to share the best CVs they had ever received for an example
  • Started updating my CV - decided to do one (two at max) pager
  • Got recommendations!
  • Made a list of companies to check. Here it is: companies to check
  • Redesigned and rephrased my resume - check it out here
  • Also after browsing nearly 30 LinkedIn profiles of people having similar positions I want to have, updated my LinkedIn profile

Month 2 - November: Sad but true

Finally I got several calls with recruiters from different rather small companies scheduled. Yey! Not a dream jobs seems to be, but will be a great practice before desirable interviews, I thought. But very quickly I realised, these “screening” calls will not help me “practice” interviews at all, because all of them ended after the very first question: “Are you authorised for work in US?”. No. Thanks. Bye.

After constant work with LinkedIn profile, I got into top 2% profile views among all my connections.

LinkedIn Report

This is a list of tasks I have accomplished during November:

  • Got enrolled into Microsoft referral program.
  • Applied for 30 MS positions.
  • Attended 2 meet-ups, met many Agile enthusiasts, developers, Product Managers

Month 3 - December: I have a chance!

Made a mini research about ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and got a critical look at my cv, analyzed tons of job ads and requirements. All findings from these activities resulted in changed resume. Here is the new version, I’m happy with this one - it’s confident, strict to the point and result oriented, at least I think so now :).

After heavily applying online to lots of companies with this new resume :) I finally got a response - meaning I passed through ATS! Huraayyy! Got 3 promising emails to schedule possible screenings. 2 of them somehow just stopped in the middle of arranging the date of a call. But one - ended-up in a screening call with a hiring manager.

Oh boy, how excited I was! I’ve did all the preparations I thought would be needed:

  • starting from reading everything about the company, news, CEO interviews, trends, teams, open positions, technologies, business, clients, etc,
  • taking a walk in the morning and bringing my self to the good, positive mood;
  • did some exercises right before the call to lift-up the energy.

The call went very well. I enjoyed it myself, we had a very interesting conversation, I was truly excited and liked everything hiring manager told, asked, answered. I think he liked this call too, he even mentioned he wanted me for the interview on-site. Next day I got an email from the HR, unfortunately they needed to fill the position right now and could not wait for the visa process. I am getting used for this response. I need to somehow solve this challenge.

So this is a list of tasks I have accomplished during December:

  • 0 value from Microsoft referral program, consultant “worked” with me for 3 weeks. To tell the truth I didn’t get what exactly was his doing except of sending me 2 template emails.
  • Attended Career Excellence seminar and a Career Mixer
  • Spend a lot of time on algorithms and data structures, as well as solving various coding challenges.