by Mark Cummuta

Week 8: Handling Slow Periods in a Job Search

Sep 26, 20075 mins

In most job searches there come times when the job leads seem to slow to a trickle, your enthusiasm wanes and your frustration rises. Here’s how I handled that and more this past week.

To start, I lost another generation in our family this past week with the passing of my maternal grandfather. He was our family’s last surviving grandparent for both my wife and me. Being the eldest grandson, I was asked to give his eulogy, as I did for my other grandparents. So this past week was emotionally draining to say the least as we realized a new place in our family tradition.

Last week was also my first full week with the Midwest defense firm who has hired me as a management consultant to evaluate my skills and ability to impact their organization, with the longer term intent once successful to be a full time position.

Between the above two events, the time available for my job search this past week has been minimal–five to ten hours maximum. Emotionally, I was feeling overwhelmed in one sense and frustrated at not being able to get “enough” done.

However, I did make some progress on all my channels.

And making “some progress” is the simple key to getting out of the occasional slow and/or frustrating times we can experience in a job search. Identify a few things that still excite you, and make a little progress on just those few. That tends to lead to just a few more, and soon you can see a new light at the end of the old tunnel.

When I hit slow periods or get frustrated I have also found that rejuvenating myself with my family is a huge positive jolt, too. For example, last night, after getting the kids to bed, my wife and I watched ventriloquist Jeff Dunham on Comedy Central together. Just enough “umph” to get me to complete a needed task, which got me rolling again.

So here’s what I was able to accomplish this past week:

* I updated my resume and the key job search websites I am using to include the new defense project I am on.

* I finally connected with the major satellite and systems integration defense contracting firm and have started working with recruiters in the three divisions I am interested in.

* I am continuing to work with one of the top contractors for the Department of Homeland Security and have found a champion or advocate internally who is introducing me to several key executives.

* I attended a ComputerWorld IT Executive Summit meeting in Chicago. In addition to learning best practices to improve IT and business alignment, I met several individuals who expressed an interest in my skills and experience. It definitely pays to attend these kinds of sessions and be a vocal participant because these individuals, and two of the speakers, approached me because of my comments and questions during the open session.

* I have applied to several positions with two of the top management consulting firms in the US, and have actively networked with my contacts in those firms. This past week both efforts paid off as I am scheduling initial phone interviews with both firms this week.

* Similarly, my new contact from the cigar store called me when he heard of a divisional vice president position in his firm, which is one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the U.S. We submitted my name for that and another position.

* I had applied for a position with a competing pharmaceutical company a few weeks ago, and they contacted me last week to discuss my background. So I am working to schedule an initial phone interview with them.

* I learned that I am among the top three candidates for the marketing software and services firm. The vagaries of public email may have hindered me a bit, though. I had emailed them over the weekend with some key highlights of my technical and strategic experience, but that email disappeared into a black hole and has still not surfaced. So while I recreated it and resent it last night, they have already started scheduling next interviews. So that means I won’t find out my schedule until later this week.

* I also found out that the COO position for another IT defense contracting firm down south has already been filled.

With so much going on in our lives, my wife and I decided to officially celebrate our anniversary, which was yesterday, in a week or two. (I did buy her a small gift, but will be sure to get something better for her for our night out.)

This week, I hope to see my project plan come back to normal again.

Thanks again for all of your comments and ideas!


Mark Cummuta

CIO Job Search: A Real Life Chronicle