InformIT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! latest blogs from The Laid Off IT Guy! on InformITen-usBlog :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Value of LinkedIn Endorsements<p> If you&rsquo;ve been reading my blog for very long you probably have determined that I&rsquo;m a big fan of using LinkedIn for networking.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a great professional networking site.&nbsp; One of the newer features that has generated some real interest is the&nbsp;Endorsements feature.&nbsp; In this article let&rsquo;s discuss what Endorsements are and what they are not.</p>Wed, 03 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Mentoring Future IT Employees<p> I have benefitted my entire career from mentoring.&nbsp; I have also helped young men and women looking to get started in the career of Information Technology by mentoring them.&nbsp; When I have had the pleasure of that opportunity I like to explain that I believe that IT today is broken down into four categories.</p>Mon, 13 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Be a Lifelong Learner<p> I suppose that there are those that believe that they learned everything that they needed to know in life in high school or college.&nbsp; I tend to think that you make yourself a more well-rounded individual by continually updating your professional education by attending seminars, reading books and taking classes.&nbsp; One of my goals is to be a lifelong learner.</p>Fri, 10 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Following Up with Network Contacts<p> Throughout my article series I&rsquo;ve shared the many benefits of using networking for a job search.&nbsp; Most jobs aren&rsquo;t found on job boards or the newspaper, but by meeting people. Today&rsquo;s message is about keeping in touch with your network contacts.</p>Mon, 06 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Heartbreaks Continue<p> A few weeks ago I shared a story about how I narrowly missed out on a great job opportunity, coming up just short of a final round interviewing process, which included three finalists. That position went to another candidate, who ultimately didn't work out, yet I wasn't reconsidered. That was heartbreaking. Today I&rsquo;m sharing a story in which I was once again a finalist for a position, but this time I was one of two candidates.</p>Mon, 15 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Keep Your Interviewing To Yourself<p> The advice that I give to job seekers today is to keep your interviewing to yourself.&nbsp; What I mean by that is not everybody needs to know your business.&nbsp; Well meaning friends and family will ask, &ldquo;How are you doing?&rdquo;, meaning, &ldquo;How is your job search going?&rdquo;&nbsp; You might say that you have an interview coming up tomorrow and then they&rsquo;ll want to know who you are talking to.&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t need that pressure.</p>Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Observations on the Job Search<p> A little more than two months ago I wrote an article about whether or not you, as an IT person, identify yourself with being a specialist or being a generalist and pros and cons to those situations.&nbsp; Today I learned about a specialist friend of mine getting a new job.&nbsp; In addition, I&rsquo;ve had two other friends that have ended their job hunt within the past two weeks.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll share some of their stories, as well.</p>Mon, 18 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Evaluating the Job Offer<p> In the progression from second round interview, where you know you are among the finalists for the position that you have applied to, the ultimate conclusion from the interviewing process is that the employer will select you for the position and offer you the position!&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t accept or reject an offer on the spot.&nbsp; Always take some time overnight to consider everything that you are being offered.&nbsp; There are things you want to carefully consider.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll never have this much bargaining power again.</p>Fri, 08 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! What To Do During Second Round Interviews<p> Congratulations on getting invited back!&nbsp; The second round interview is your golden opportunity to win the job. To have made it this far in the interview process you have likely survived a phone screen and maybe an initial face-to-face meeting. For the employer to ask you back for a second time, you&rsquo;ve obviously impressed them with your abilities, and now they just need you to validate that you are the best person for the job.</p>Thu, 28 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Conducting the Phone Screen Interview<p> While, in general, I&rsquo;d prefer to interview face-to-face, the phone screen interview does have its place during the initial selection process.&nbsp; Here is how to use the phone screen interview process to your advantage as the candidate.</p>Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Communicating with Recruiters<p> You don&rsquo;t normally have to go looking for recruiters.&nbsp; They usually find you.&nbsp; Just place your resume at some of the most popular job boards and it&rsquo;s &ldquo;open season&rdquo; on recruiters seeking you out to fill their contract jobs.&nbsp; When you are unemployed, that can certainly be a good thing.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve found, however, that not all recruiters are created equally.&nbsp; Some are not worth your time and are just not a good match to help you.</p>Fri, 15 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! New Opportunities after the Holidays<p> When I lost my job at the end of November, I knew that it couldn&rsquo;t have come at a worse time.&nbsp; There were those that told me that there would be few opportunities through the end of the year, and as hard as I worked to try to prove them wrong, they weren&rsquo;t. </p>Fri, 08 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Working with a Career Coach<p> As part of my severance package for the job that I lost at the end of 2012 the company provided to me a company to help me through the job transition.&nbsp; I call the person assigned to me my Career Coach.&nbsp; Her name is Carla and she has been terrific to work with.&nbsp; Not only does her company provide group training sessions on such topics as interviewing and networking, but they also provide 1:1 guidance sessions.</p>Mon, 04 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Heartbreak After an Interview<p> Friends, I&rsquo;ve come as close to NOT being unemployed any longer as I have recently.&nbsp; About 2 weeks ago I interviewed with a company where they revealed to me that I was 1 of 3 final candidates and that they would make a decision the next day.&nbsp; When I didn&rsquo;t hear anything the next day, I was still undeterred.&nbsp; It seems unlikely that a company would interview 3 candidates and make an immediate decision.&nbsp; What transpired beyond that is a bit bizarre.</p>Fri, 01 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Are You Working in the Wrong Industry?<p> I&rsquo;m not talking about working as an IT guy in healthcare versus working in IT in the finance industry.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m talking about have you ever considered getting out of IT and doing something completely different?</p>Fri, 25 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Are You an IT Generalist or a Specialist?<p> I certainly remember starting my career where being in IT meant you knew <b>everything</b> about computers.&nbsp; You knew how to build one.&nbsp; You knew how to program one.&nbsp; Everyone came to you for advice on everything from writing software to creating a network.&nbsp; All of your family relied upon you for support.&nbsp; Okay, <i>that</i> part hasn&rsquo;t changed!</p>Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Have You Felt Age Discriminated?<p> I&rsquo;m getting to the point in my life where I&rsquo;ve got a few gray hairs.&nbsp; OK, maybe more than a few.&nbsp; Who am I kidding?&nbsp; I&rsquo;m middle aged, but at the peak of my career with experience, wisdom and leadership.&nbsp; During my recent layoff I lost my job along with several hundred other folks at my company.&nbsp; One of the things that got me thinking about my age for the first time was that they included a letter in my severance package that showed the titles of each of the persons in my department and their ages.&nbsp; The only 2 of us relieved from duty from my immediate team were &ldquo;over 40&rdquo;.</p>Mon, 07 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Job Lead Log<p> I invited my friend, Joe, over last night to hangout, shoot some pool, drink some beer and talk about life.&nbsp; Joe's been out of work for awhile and I was interested in talking about our job searches.&nbsp; He and I have been working in Project Management in recent years and I wanted to pick his brain about what he&rsquo;s been seeing out there and what industries and opportunities he&rsquo;s looking at.&nbsp; In some cases we&rsquo;re competing for the same spots, but I was more interested to see what he is learning about the local job market since he&rsquo;s been looking for about 4 months and I&rsquo;ve only been looking for about 4 weeks.</p>Sat, 29 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Finding Job Leads (what works and what doesn't work)<p> With the resumption of &ldquo;The Laid Off IT Guy!&rdquo; blog my hope is to dole out good advice about what I&rsquo;ve seen that works and what doesn&rsquo;t work while performing a job search.&nbsp; In this addition, let&rsquo;s talk about finding job leads.&nbsp; There is time well spent and time wasted.&nbsp; Doing it the right way will save you hours of time spent in front of the computer.</p>Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! I'm Back!<p> The Laid Off IT Guy! is back!&nbsp; I started this blog back in the spring of 2009 and posted 68 blogs, documenting the trials and tribulations of my first time being laid off.&nbsp; It did take me over a year to find my next role and I did lots of stuff wrong, but, eventually, I did get back to work. Yet just over 2 years later I find myself on the job hunt once again.&nbsp; I thought it&rsquo;d be a good idea to pick up the blog where I left off.</p>Thu, 13 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! How to Prepare for the Interview<p>To be honest with you I hadn&rsquo;t had much experience in life with interviewing.&nbsp; I had worked for a company during college that led to having a job lined up after graduation.&nbsp; I got the next job that I wanted after interviewing with one company.&nbsp; I only interviewed with three companies to find my third employer, and I was there for most of my&nbsp;career.&nbsp; Now things are different.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m looking for a new opportunity, I&rsquo;ve learned interview skills and have been honing the process.&nbsp; I think that I interview very well now.&nbsp; I just haven&rsquo;t found the right match yet.</p>Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! How I Handle Stress<p>On the heels of my post earlier this week, entitled, &ldquo;What Keeps Me Up At Night?&rdquo; in which I talked about how worry over job loss can lead to health problems, including stress, I&rsquo;d like to share with you one of the ways that I&rsquo;m dealing with stress.</p>Wed, 24 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! What Keeps Me Up At Night?<p>If you are out of work, or have been in this situation before, I&rsquo;m sure you&rsquo;ve likely heard the expression, &ldquo;Job loss is like coping with a death in the family.&rdquo;&nbsp; There is a grieving process and everyone has to go through it at their own pace.&nbsp; When I lost my job it was no different for me.&nbsp; I had trouble sleeping, and sometimes still do, wondering, &ldquo;Why did this happen to me?&rdquo;</p>Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Have You Been Told That You Don't Have Industry Experience?<p>I&rsquo;ve come so close to landing full-time IT Management roles that it isn&rsquo;t even funny.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve been a finalist (top 3) for at least 6 jobs, and just keep missing the offer by a tiny bit.&nbsp; The only feedback that I can get out of the interviewer is that they selected the other candidate who had more industry-specific experience.</p>Fri, 19 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Condo Rehab<p>After completing the work detailed in my recent article, &ldquo;<a href="">Unextreme House Makeover</a>,&rdquo; where I painted a few rooms in my house, my cousin, Kendra, decided she&rsquo;d like to spruce up her place a bit and offered to have me help her.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t mind getting my hands dirty; besides I could use a break away from sitting in front of the computer all day looking at job boards.</p>Wed, 17 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Earning Consulting Work<p>Many people choose consulting work to bridge the gap between full-time employers.&nbsp; Making the decision to become a consultant is not an easy choice for most people, as it isn&rsquo;t as comfortable as working for a stable employer.&nbsp; I use the term &ldquo;stable&rdquo; loosely, as those of us that have lost their jobs within the past 2 years can attest to.&nbsp; Anyone can lose their job at any time without reason, so it is always in your best interest to have a plan in place to be able to do some consulting work on your own to keep the family fed.</p>Tue, 16 Mar 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Unextreme House Makeover<p>With the extra down time I have while searching for my next full time gig, my wife has had time to fill my &ldquo;Honey Do&rdquo; list with all sorts of things.&nbsp; You know, &ldquo;Honey, do this. Honey, do that&rdquo;?&nbsp; Well, I really don&rsquo;t have the excuse that &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have enough time,&rdquo; so I&rsquo;m making a good dent in the list.&nbsp; Here is what I&rsquo;ve been up to recently.</p>Fri, 26 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Using Boy Scout Virtues To Find A Job<p>This month, Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100<sup>th</sup> year of existence.&nbsp; As a Scout leader I&rsquo;m constantly reminded of the sacred oath that all Scouts commit to, as it is recited thousands of times per day around the country:&nbsp; <b>&ldquo;On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.&rdquo;</b>&nbsp; That pledge is intended to remind each Scout: &nbsp;to put other people before themselves, to choose the right thing to do, even when not convenient, and to put God above all else.</p>Mon, 22 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Seeking Hope, Seeking Employment<p>I&rsquo;ve networked with a couple of different job clubs.&nbsp; I received some outplacement services when I lost my job last year and they have a nice group that meets once a month.&nbsp; Recently I just completed a six week class through my church entitled, <i>Seeking Hope, Seeking Employment</i>.&nbsp; This faith based program was unlike anything else that I&rsquo;ve participated in thus far.</p>Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Franchise Opportunity<p>I hope that I&rsquo;m not the only person that has bogus job opportunities disguised in my daily job board search results.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve had many recruiter harvesting ads pop up disguised as legitimate open IT positions.&nbsp;&nbsp; Others think that I&rsquo;d be interested in starting a new insurance branch office as part of their franchise.</p>Tue, 16 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Opportunities Happen When You Least Expect It<p>I was out of town recently with my family when I received a call from a recruiter.&nbsp; They had a client that wanted to meet me for an open position that they have been searching for.&nbsp; Since I wasn&rsquo;t into my job search mode, I certainly wasn&rsquo;t expecting that pleasant surprise.</p>Fri, 12 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! How To Make Ends Meet<p>After my job loss in April 2009, my family went into conservation mode immediately.&nbsp; Even though I thought that I&rsquo;d find another job in a few weeks, or a couple of months at the most, we really started saving from the beginning.&nbsp; I think that mentality up front has set the tone for what has become our long stint without regular income.&nbsp; Along the way, I&rsquo;ve been able to find enough projects to keep us out of bankruptcy.</p>Thu, 11 Feb 2010 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! New Opportunities Appear<p>I was contemplating a contract position with one of my recruiters when I got a phone call about a full-time gig.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d apparently responded to a blind ad and didn&rsquo;t recognize the name of the company that was calling.&nbsp; Once I got it straightened out I realized that I had applied with this company and they were interested in interviewing me, a welcome blessing.</p>Fri, 11 Dec 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Handyman Neighborly<p>Many friends and family attended a birthday party that I threw for my wife a few months ago.&nbsp; Among them were friends Rick and Jerri.&nbsp; We sat outside on the back screened patio and enjoyed the evening.&nbsp; Jerri noticed that I&rsquo;d installed an additional door to the patio.&nbsp; I mentioned that I&rsquo;d also replaced and tightened the screens, replaced some boards and repainted the whole thing while I was at it.&nbsp; Jerri saw my handiwork as an opportunity to update their dilapidated screened porch and asked me if I wanted a job.&nbsp; I definitely did!</p>Tue, 08 Dec 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Website Project<p>A good friend of mine started his own accounting practice about 6 months ago.&nbsp; A few weeks ago he invited me to dinner and told me that he had a project for me.&nbsp; I graciously accepted, as I&rsquo;ve wanted to do some consulting work.&nbsp;What he shared with me is that he wants to build his brand by having me build a website for him. Sounds good to me.</p>Mon, 26 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Resume Redo<p>In my last blog I discussed &ldquo;Getting Back to Basics.&rdquo;&nbsp; For me, that was reviewing my r&eacute;sum&eacute;, building my network, applying for more jobs and attending job clubs and workshops.&nbsp; The first point of contact you&rsquo;ll likely have with a prospective employer is your r&eacute;sum&eacute;.&nbsp; If you aren&rsquo;t getting the number of interviews that you think you should, it might be time to redo your r&eacute;sum&eacute;.</p>Fri, 23 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Getting Back to Basics<p>Last week, after coming as close as I have to receiving a job offer thus far, my hopes were dashed when the opportunity fell apart.&nbsp; Once I lost out on that prospect, I took a pessimistic attitude for a couple of days.&nbsp; When I bounced back from that funk, I decided that what I needed in my job search is what I&rsquo;m calling &ldquo;Getting Back to Basics.&rdquo;</p>Mon, 12 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Contract to Hire to Nothing<p>This post describes both the best and worst job search experience that I have had since losing my job almost six months ago.&nbsp; I was asked to provide some consulting services for a client.&nbsp;&nbsp; Then the client got excited and wanted to hire me.&nbsp; Then they went a completely different direction and I got nothing out of it.&nbsp; It took my emotions on a roller coaster, for sure.</p>Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Recruiter Becomes a Coach<p>If you have been following my blog for the past 5 months or so you might recall some posts that I have written about my recruiter friend, Andy.&nbsp; Recently, we had lunch where he revealed to me that I have had some profound effect on his career.&nbsp; Naturally, I was curious about what I could have done for him to decide to take his company in a different direction.&nbsp; </p>Wed, 07 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Working While Unemployed<p>You can work a little bit while looking for your next career and still collect unemployment.&nbsp; Work too much, however, and you will begin to see a deduction from your weekly payment.&nbsp; There is a limit to how much money you can earn from odd jobs before your unemployment payment begins to be reduced.&nbsp; In today&rsquo;s article I will explain what I&rsquo;ve been able to gather.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m certainly no expert and this information isn&rsquo;t intended to provide legal advice.</p>Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Contributing Author<p>About five years ago I had the unique experience of being asked to be a contributing author in the first edition of the book entitled, &ldquo;Project Management: On Track From Start To Finish.&rdquo;&nbsp; Now my friend and author of the book, Joseph Phillips, has asked me again to contribute to the third edition of his new book, which is coming out soon.</p>Mon, 28 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! In Need of Repair<p>Expensive repairs never come at a good time.&nbsp; When you are unemployed, as I am, big expenses could not have come at a worse time.&nbsp; It reminds me of the old saying, &ldquo;When it rains, it pours.&rdquo;</p>Thu, 24 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Start a Fitness Program<p>Something that I wish I had put a lot more emphasis on at the beginning of my layoff was using the spare time to start a fitness program.&nbsp; I saw my doctor this summer.&nbsp; He and I both know that I need to lose some weight.&nbsp; He told that he&rsquo;d really like to see me use this extra time to drop a few pounds.&nbsp; I took his advice, even if it was a couple of months late.&nbsp; Hopefully, you&rsquo;ll take mine.</p>Fri, 18 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Taking a Sabbatical<p>People say that looking for work is a full-time job, and after awhile--5 months for me thus far--you get burned out.&nbsp; It is a grind to search for new employment every day.&nbsp; It is time to take a sabbatical.</p>Wed, 16 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Fan Mail<p><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document" /><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11" /><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11" /><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\ubortje\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_filelist.xml" />OK.&nbsp; Fan mail might be too strong of a statement, but I do get emails from people that tell me that my weekly blogs are encouraging and helpful.&nbsp; I find it inspirational and motivating to know that I'm helping others.</p> <p />Tue, 15 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Kids Back in School<p>After Meet the Teacher Night last week, our kids returned to the classroom this week.&nbsp; This summer has been more different than any other because I have been home all day.&nbsp; I have to say that the best part of my experience being unemployed is that I got to be home to play with my kids all summer.</p>Tue, 08 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Go Golfing or Just Get Away<p>In my last blog I told you about an opportunity that just slipped through my fingers.&nbsp; In my despair I seized upon the opportunity to take a few days off.&nbsp; I went golfing with my dad and brother.&nbsp; Sometimes you just need a vacation from the job hunt.</p>Fri, 04 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Meet the Teacher Night<p>It is almost that time again, back to school.&nbsp; A couple of days ago we got the chance to grab an ice cream bar and meet our kids' teachers for the coming school year.&nbsp; Fortunately, our kids like school and they are looking forward to getting back to see their friends, too.</p>Thu, 03 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Getting Bad News from an Interview<p>Have you had an interview where everything seemed to go right, you think they like you, and you are waiting to get the call asking you when you want to start?&nbsp; Then they drop the bomb that they have selected someone else!&nbsp; Hurts, doesn&rsquo;t it?&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s what happened to me last week.</p>Wed, 02 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Football Practice<p>What possibly do I have in mind when I mention &ldquo;Football Practice&rdquo; in the context of searching for a new job?&nbsp; It is simply this: you can make any situation a networking opportunity.&nbsp; Let me tell you a story&hellip;</p>Tue, 01 Sep 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Kids Eat Free<p>In my last post I mentioned that I was looking to cut out the remaining luxuries from our ever tightening home budget.&nbsp; In this post I discuss trimming the dining out fund.</p>Mon, 24 Aug 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Watch Internet TV<p>My severance ran out.&nbsp; Then I filed for unemployment and am waiting for that to kick in.&nbsp; Even when it does it will be a paltry amount.&nbsp; We cut expenses down immediately when I lost my job, but now we are getting creative at saving money.&nbsp; In my last post I mentioned that I was looking to cut out the remaining luxuries--dining out and cable TV.&nbsp; Here is some good advice about alternative TV programming.</p>Thu, 20 Aug 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Filing for Unemployment<p>I was lucky enough to have had a severance package during my lay off, but today marks the last paycheck I&rsquo;ll get.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s time to file for unemployment.</p>Tue, 18 Aug 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Ending Severance<p>If you have been laid off, like I have, hopefully you are lucky enough to have been granted a severance package from your past employer.&nbsp; I have a friend who worked for the same company for 15 years and got nothing.&nbsp; Talk about cruel!&nbsp; I was fortunate enough to have received a package, but sadly, the time period has lapsed and I&rsquo;m looking at filing for unemployment.</p>Tue, 28 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Targeting Companies<p>You&rsquo;ve been networking like I&rsquo;ve been talking about, but eventually the job leads dry up.&nbsp; The ads in the paper disappear and you stop seeing new posts on the job boards.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s time to start a targeted search.</p>Mon, 27 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Making the Perfect Pizza<p>What does this issue have to do with finding my next job?&nbsp; Well, nothing, unless I decide to open up a pizzeria!&nbsp; The thought has occurred to me, actually.&nbsp; At times I&rsquo;d love to go into business for myself.&nbsp; But for now, I&rsquo;ve been obsessed with making the best pizza at home.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s at the point where my kids have said, &ldquo;Not pizza for dinner again&rdquo;!&nbsp; What kid doesn&rsquo;t love pizza every day?&nbsp; I think mine are getting close.</p>Fri, 24 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Honey Do List<p>With all of the free time you have on your hands while searching for your next job, you might as well make time to catch up on your Honey Do list.&nbsp; You know....the list of handyman projects that you promised your spouse you&rsquo;d do months or even years ago.&nbsp; Break up your day of searching non-stop with some additional activities to keep you stimulated and energized.</p>Thu, 23 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: Make Business Cards To Promote Yourself<p>Most business professionals today carry their business card to promote their business and exchange them with new people they meet in order to be remembered and hopefully build a business relationship.&nbsp; But what happens when you aren&rsquo;t with a company and meet new people that you&rsquo;d like to remember you?&nbsp; Hand them a copy of your resume (that you just happen to have on you)?&nbsp; No.&nbsp; Make a business card for yourself to aid in your job search.</p>Wed, 22 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! More Interviews<p>Interviews during my job search have not been plentiful.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve not had a real in-person interview for a real available job in 3 months.&nbsp; The 3 in-person interviews that I have had have all been Information Interviews (<a href=""></a>).&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t get me wrong.&nbsp; Those are great to have.&nbsp; They help you get out there and expand your network and are great practice for interviewing at the same time.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s just that all I&rsquo;m getting are phone interviews (screening interviews).</p>Tue, 21 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Job Clubs<p>I want to discuss the benefit of the Job Club itself.&nbsp; Job Clubs bring unemployed people together for the common purpose of networking to find a new job.&nbsp; It is a support group, in essence.</p>Mon, 20 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Get a Free PowerPoint Presentation on How to Use LinkedIn for Job Hunting<p>Through my blog and an interview with the <i>Indianapolis Star</i> newspaper, I&rsquo;ve become &ldquo;slightly famous&rdquo; on the topic of Social Networking for Job Hunters.&nbsp; Last week I was invited to give a 90 minute presentation to a Job Club at Oi Partners.&nbsp; Twenty such job hunters attended, all hoping to learn how to use the social networking site LinkedIn (<a href=""></a>) to help them find jobs.</p>Fri, 17 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Government Jobs<p>I&rsquo;ve been reading about how new government job creation is outpacing the private sector.&nbsp; I was curious about that so I contacted my cousin who works for the state government.&nbsp; She put me in touch with the Director of the Project Management Office for her division and lined up an interview for me to come it to meet with him.&nbsp; I asked about life working for the government.</p>Thu, 16 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Free Time with the Kids<p>How are you doing with your job search?&nbsp; I&rsquo;m doing well.&nbsp; Still optimistic.&nbsp; Getting enough nibbles to keep me that way.&nbsp; Interviewed last week for a Project Manager job.&nbsp; Interviewed Monday with a medical device company for IT Director.&nbsp; That has a lot of promise. I just applied online for another IT Director job (blind ad).&nbsp; I probably have 6-7 active leads that I&rsquo;m presently pursuing. </p> <p>The bright side of this layoff is that I&rsquo;ve reconnected with my kids.&nbsp; I had turned into a workaholic, getting home in time to put them to bed and being stressed all of the time.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m still working hard at finding a job, but taking time to &ldquo;stop and smell the roses&rdquo; along the way.&nbsp; </p> <p />Wed, 15 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Starting COBRA<p><a name="What_is_COBRA?"><b>What is COBRA?</b></a></p> <p>The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires most employers with group health plans to offer employees the opportunity to continue temporarily their group health care coverage under their employer's plan if their coverage otherwise would cease due to termination, layoff, or other change in employment status (referred to as &quot;qualifying events&quot;).&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;I&rsquo;m not an insurance man, so for a detailed look at COBRA, visit <a href=""></a>. </p> <p>Here&rsquo;s something great the Obama administration has done to help unemployed workers.&nbsp; The recent provision approved through Congress reduces the cost of COBRA by approximately 75%.&nbsp; So, instead of paying about $1000/mo for health/vision/dental insurance for my family, I&rsquo;m able to pay only about $350/mo, which is in line with what I paid through payroll deduction previously.&nbsp; That, I believe, is available for 9 months at the reduced rate.&nbsp; You may maintain coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months.</p> <p />Tue, 14 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Freelancing<p>The topic of today&rsquo;s post is Freelancing.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m doing some of it right now under my alias.&nbsp; I also write other articles under my real name.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve also been a contributing author to Project Management books and newspaper and magazine articles, and will be a featured guest speaker at an upcoming Job Fair on the subject of Social Networking.</p> <p>The satisfaction that I get out of writing this series of articles is that I hope that I&rsquo;m helping people find jobs through advice and encouragement.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d love to hear from more of my readers.&nbsp; You can help make this blog interactive by posting comments and questions at the bottom of this or other &ldquo;<i>The Laid Off IT Guy!</i>&rdquo; blog posts.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll answer every one of them.</p> <p />Fri, 03 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Take a Vacation<p>I&rsquo;ve written over 20 blog posts about how to help your job search through networking and other skills, such as resume writing, etc.&nbsp; Even though I haven&rsquo;t been employed for 2 months, I hadn&rsquo;t had a vacation this year!&nbsp; It was high time I took some time off with my family.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m advising that you do the same.</p>Thu, 02 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Networking at the Indy 500 Carb Day<p>I believe that networking is going to find me my next job opportunity.&nbsp; Last month I was invited to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for &ldquo;Carburetion Day&rdquo; by Microsoft.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m an IT guy looking for his next gig, so you can imagine that I was quick to RSVP affirmatively to attend the great event and meet lots of new people.</p>Wed, 01 Jul 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Getting Recommended<p>I&rsquo;m a big fan of social networking for job hunters.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve written about the benefits of professional networking sites like LinkedIn (see prior blog posts). They can help provide you (the job hunter) with a larger network of people that might lead to a new job opportunity for you.&nbsp; One of the great features that I like about LinkedIn is Recommendations.</p>Tue, 30 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Job Boards<p>If you&rsquo;ve been following my blog since its inception 2 months ago, you see a big theme among my stories about how to network effectively.&nbsp; While I feel that I&rsquo;ve been doing that, the fact is that I&rsquo;m still looking for my next gig.&nbsp; When I needed more job search exposure I turned to the job boards.</p>Mon, 29 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Telecommuting<p>I read stories that say the next big wave of employment will be work from home opportunities.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d sure like that to be true.&nbsp; The writing assignments that I&rsquo;ve shared with you over the past 2 months have been done from the comfort of my home on my own schedule.</p>Wed, 24 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Finally! Some Interviews<p>I finally got my first interview.&nbsp; But once I scheduled it another opportunity appeared for the very same day!&nbsp; &ldquo;Feast or famine,&rdquo; you might say, but mostly famine.&nbsp; Interviewers aren&rsquo;t wearing out my phone yet.</p>Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Bolster Your Experience<p>A couple of posts ago I shared with you that I&rsquo;ve been working to bolster my experience, not just sit around idle during my job search.&nbsp; I believe that a great way to accomplish this is through Continuing Education.&nbsp; </p>Mon, 22 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Interview Training<p>As part of the outsource placement service, upon departure from my firm, I was given a Career Consultant (see blog #2).&nbsp; Her name is Debbie Kukla, and she&rsquo;s been a terrific coach throughout this process for me.&nbsp; Her company, Oi Partners (<a href=""></a>), provides individual career transition services.</p> <p>Recently Oi Partners conducted an Interview Training program as part of their Job Club, a group that meets periodically as a network support group to help job search skills.&nbsp; I attended that session and got some good things out of it to share with you today.</p> <p />Wed, 17 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! To Contract or Not Contract?<p>If you are like me you are looking for a new full-time opportunity making as much or more money than you were at your last job.&nbsp; That&rsquo;d be ideal, right?&nbsp; However, I get the impression that the talent pool is flooded with great people like you and me for fewer open jobs, so consequently, competition is much higher, so you have to keep your options open.&nbsp; Already I&rsquo;ve had 3 offers to do some contract work:&nbsp; 3, 6, 8 months or so in length.&nbsp; All hourly pay from decent to not worth my time, but none allowing overtime.&nbsp; Sure, it&rsquo;d help cover the gap and some income coming in is better than none.</p>Mon, 15 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Network Lunches<p>If you&rsquo;ve been following my blog series, you have seen that Networking is a consistent theme that I&rsquo;ve been promoting throughout my job search.&nbsp; It's unlikely that I&rsquo;ll find my next big break from an ad in the Sunday paper.&nbsp; Plus, a great way to spend your time is talking with people over lunch. You gotta eat, right?</p>Fri, 12 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Continuing Education<p>It&rsquo;s been 6 weeks on my job search and it is evident that there are not lots of IT Director position vacancies at the moment.&nbsp; A good friend of mine, Joseph Phillips with Project Seminars, Inc., has encouraged me to broaden my skill set by getting certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP).&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve been doing project management throughout my career, just not in such an organized manner.&nbsp; I thought to myself, what better time than the present to enhance my skills and marketability?&nbsp; So I got started.</p>Thu, 11 Jun 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Information Interview<p>Here is a great networking idea.&nbsp; When you meet someone that you are interested in networking with, that you think might be well connected, even if they aren&rsquo;t hiring, ask for an information interview.&nbsp; OK, don&rsquo;t come right out and it call it that, but that is really what you are doing. Find out if they&rsquo;d be willing to talk to you for 30 minutes or an hour about their career and the company they work for and see where it leads you.</p>Mon, 25 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Newspaper Interview<p>My success thus far in networking has given me the opportunity today to be interviewed for a feature article in the Careers section of the major local newspaper.&nbsp; The article is going to be about Social Networking for Job Hunters.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t know if that is going to be the title or not, but that is what I suggested.</p>Thu, 21 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Becoming a Recruiter?<p>If you&rsquo;ve followed me so far you know that I&rsquo;ve got a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m writing this blog from my own interest in freelance writing for InformIT, after all.&nbsp; My friend Andy, the recruiter, told me about how well he was doing since he went out on his own to start his recruiting business.&nbsp; He controls his own hours, has fun meeting new people, talks to them all of the time, etc.&nbsp; An idea popped into my head, &ldquo;Have you ever thought of expanding your practice to include IT?&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes&rdquo;, he said, &ldquo;But I don&rsquo;t have the experience in that industry.&rdquo; &nbsp;&ldquo;Well, I do&rdquo;, I replied.</p> <p />Tue, 19 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Relocation?<p>I had a networking lunch with my friend Wendi the other day.&nbsp; She&rsquo;d emailed me that she had a lead for me and would I like to join her for lunch?&nbsp; Absolutely!</p> <p>Her boss had been at a Job Fair trying to pick up some new talent for their copying business and he met someone from the booth next to them that was starting a search for a new IT Director for their bank.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s me! All of my experience has been on the financial side of computing. Where do I apply?</p> <p>The catch&hellip;it is 3 hours away!</p>Mon, 18 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! This Old House<p>This is a true story.&nbsp; The first night, after being separated from service from the job that I&rsquo;ve held for a long time, I was having a lot of trouble falling asleep.&nbsp; On my bedside alarm clock I remember seeing 1:00 am, then 2:00 am, and somewhere before 3:00 am I finally drifted off.&nbsp; But what I woke up remembering is that I was terrified that I couldn&rsquo;t pay the mortgage on the house we built 4 years ago and that our old house came on the market and we moved back into it.</p> <p>It did!</p> <p />Wed, 13 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Recruiters<p>My friend Andy is a recruiter.&nbsp; He owns his own firm, CGP Network (Connecting Good People <a href=""></a>), but he specializes in Accounting, Finance and HR.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m an IT guy, and I didn&rsquo;t think he&rsquo;d have any advice for me, but boy was I wrong!&nbsp; He shared some great advice with me about what it is like to search for a job in today&rsquo;s market that I needed insight into.&nbsp; </p>Tue, 12 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Consulting<p>Andy, a friend of mine that is also a recruiter, showed me a idea that I had only allowed myself to marginally consider.&nbsp; He took a chance and started his own practice and it is working out very nicely for him.&nbsp; He said, &ldquo;Take those networking contacts that you have and turn them into prospective clients.&rdquo;&nbsp; Why not?&nbsp; If I really want to take charge of my destiny I should go out on my own and sell my time for my expertise and never have to work for another boss again.</p>Mon, 11 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! Networking<p>You can forget about reading the Sunday paper&rsquo;s employment ads for most Information Technology jobs.&nbsp; Your next job is going to come from networking.&nbsp; Believe in the old adage, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what you know, but who you know.&rdquo;</p>Fri, 08 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Resume<p>After working for 12 years with my last company, and finding myself suddenly in the job market, I&rsquo;m panicked!&nbsp; I&rsquo;m out talking to people and they all want to see my resume.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s natural, but I don&rsquo;t have a resume.&nbsp; The last time I wrote one was 1997 and technology has sure changed since then.</p> <p>Step One in your job search needs to be a really well written resume.&nbsp; Invest the time to do it right.&nbsp; Remember that the purpose of the resume is not to tell your whole life story, but rather to convince the person reviewing it that you deserve an interview.</p> <p>The resume for me was starting over; trying to remember all of those relevant projects that I&rsquo;ve completed to demonstrate achievement and show value to my potential employers.&nbsp; THAT is hard work.&nbsp; A great source for this information is past performance reviews.&nbsp; Fortunately, I had copies.</p> <p />Wed, 06 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Entrepreneur<p>I&rsquo;m normally too busy to mow my lawn.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d work until late at night, and it&rsquo;d be dark when I got home, so my wife would usually take care of the chore.&nbsp; But with all of this free time on my hands I thought a little sunshine, fresh air and exercise might do me some good.&nbsp; I live in a suburban neighborhood where neighbors' homes back up to one another.&nbsp; So I was day dreaming while riding along on my mower when an idea popped into my head.&nbsp; </p>Tue, 05 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy! The Career Consultant<p >Instead of leaving town for the reality break that I craved having just been fired, I kept a networking lunch that I had previously scheduled.&nbsp; I received such encouragement from one of my mentors there that I decided to seek additional counsel.&nbsp; </p> <p >I was told at my termination meeting to &ldquo;update my resume&rsquo;&rdquo;.&nbsp; Ha!&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t have a resume.&nbsp; I hadn&rsquo;t been on the job market since 1997!&nbsp; I think technology has changed a bit since then.&nbsp; I sought the advice of a Career Consultant; a person, whose job it is to help me find a job.&nbsp; Interesting&hellip;</p> <p />Mon, 04 May 2009 00:00:00 GMT :: The Laid Off IT Guy!<p >&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the economy!&rdquo;, has got to be the greatest excuse for companies to downsize, restructure, retool, reorganize, lay off hard working people.</p> <p >Sure, companies have to maintain their bottom line and remain profitable.&nbsp; Some folks truly are not cut out for the line of work they&rsquo;ve chosen, but it is those of us that have dedicated our lives to our careers to make the companies that we have worked for as profitable as they have been during the &ldquo;hey days&rdquo;.&nbsp; Then they send us on your way at the first sign of a down turn.</p> <p />Thu, 30 Apr 2009 00:00:00 GMT