Finding the Quality Work You Want On the Web

by Greg Hutchins

I've got good news for you. Quality is coming back after having been cold for several years. I don't know the reason. It could be the ISO 9000:2000 revision. It could be the Firestone-Ford debacle. It could be the need for product consistency.

Whatever the reason for the resurgence of quality, however, now is the time to shop yourself. In this article, we'll continue our discussion from November's issue of QP ("Finding Your Next Job Online," p. 121) about how you can do this safely on the Web.

Follow these steps in your hunt:

Read the policy statement you'll find on each site. You have the right to expect confidentiality. If you can't get it, stay away from the site. We discussed the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality in our last column.

Organize your search. Keep a journal in a notebook or on a computer or palm pilot. The journal should include what you're doing and what you've done regardung your search. You'll find that you do a lot of things right. In some cases, you'll head down dead ends. You don't want to repeat mistakes. The journal will keep you on the right path and help you focus your search.

Figure out what you want. Money? Freedom? Location? If you don't know where you want to go, you won't get there. It's that simple.

Figure out a job search strategy. Are you going to use a shotgun or rifle approach? Are you going to go after specific companies, or are you going to post your resume in the job banks? Are you going to be active or passive? An active search means you bird-dog opportunities and do follow-ups.

Or if you've got quality skills that are in demand (see later paragraph), you can post your resume and wait for the hits to come in. It's your call.

Hammer out several resumes. You may want to have a traditional functional or chronological resume in e-mail, paper, faxable and, most important, online forms.

Here's a heads up. Online resumes are not like your standard resume. Online resumes must be scannable. The new job search game is based on numbers. Companies want thousands if not hundreds of thousands of resumes on file. They use software that automatically scans your resume and then use search engines to find skill matches they need. So it's best that your electronic resume be in an ASCII format.

Know what's hot in the quality market. Process improvement, capability maturity, quality management, risk analysis, Six Sigma, software quality, information technology, product reliability and so forth are hot. Sprinkle these tools and methodologies into your online resume. The search engines will hit on these. Caveat: Don't embellish. If you say you can do something, make sure you've done it.

Have a human resources professional or recruiter read your material. Talk to a local internal recruiter as well as a retained search recruiter. They'll want to meet with you if you've got something marketable for them. Find out what works for these people and what doesn't.

Research online sites and companies. In our last column, we discussed the three basic types of job sites--company sites, general job databases and job auction sites. Check them out.

Do several practice runs. Post your resume, respond to some ads and go through the job search process. If you've got quality skills that are in demand, you'll get a screening call. This amounts to finding out if you can talk the quality talk.

If you pass the screening call, then the clincher face-to-face interview cuts the deal. Do several dry runs so that when it counts, you're ready.

Know the game rules. Online job searching is not like traditional job hunting. Know the rules. They change every year. Sites change and offer new services. You can become an itinerant project professional. You can now auction your skills. There are now more niche sites.

Network, network, network. Attend ASQ meetings and become a volunteer leader. Consult so you know what's in demand and what's not.

Remember, online job searching is by the numbers. Job banks and employers get thousands of resumes. They're shopping the market. You're also expected to shop around. So, don't put all your expectations and resources into one job.

Finally, have fun in the game. Remember, you're in the driver's seat. Companies are people resource constrained. For whatever reason, quality is emerging from the doldrums it's been in recently. Go for it, and have some fun.

GREG HUTCHINS is a principal with Quality Plus Engineering, a process, project and supply chain management company in Portland, OR. He wrote Working It: The Rules Have Changed. Hutchins can be reached at gregh@europa.com or 800-266-7383 or on ASQ's members-only career forum at www.asq.org

If you would like to comment on this article, please post your remarks on the Quality Progress Discussion Board, or e-mail them to editor@asq.org

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