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Scott Spence

Job hunting, one class 'A' ballache

6 min read
Hey! Thanks for stopping by! Just a word of warning, this post is over 7 years old, wow! If there's technical information in here it's more than likely out of date.

This is basically a rant about the job market, I was laid off back in August, this is a terrible time of year to be looking for work, everyone is on holiday so things are generally pretty slow so when this happened to me I did the same and went on holiday for the end of August and first week of September. Coming back from holiday I found that things were still pretty slow with the occasional phone call about roles that were not really suited to my skill set. It was at this point that I began to struggle and stress about ever being employed again.

No one wants to hire you


For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with my CV so I read up on ATS’ and added what I thought was needed to at least meet the minimum requirements for passing the ATS if there was one for the roles I was applying for.

What I have also found is that my skill set is now in a minority, that’s not to say that banks are going to stop using Excel overnight but it does mean that there are other technologies being used here, Visual Studio Tools for Office and Excel DNA mean that there are .NET controls that can be used in little old Excel which a lot of organisations want now.

This has basically brought me to the conclusion that I should be expanding my skill set, so I have been busy getting the skills I need to become a full stack web developer using the awesome free course material at freeCodeCamp (fCC) I’m still in the very early stages of this and am not about to start looking for full stack web developer jobs but it is something that I’m going to commit a lot of my spare time to so I can build a portfolio to showcase my skills for prospective employers. This will be an additional tool to my toolkit I’m also hoping to gain a lot of insight into general purpose programming languages, something currently lacking from my ‘skill stack’.

What I found whilst searching for roles is that someone with VBA, SQL and C# there is also the need now for Tableau, ClikView or some other data visualisation software which stands to reason that now we have all this data that we should actually be able to gain some insight from it, this is something I’ll be looking into with the scripting language Python (general purpose programming language) once I have progressed with my FCC certification.

It’s an employers market

Another thing which is bad, because it’s an employer’s market (apparently) employers are being very specific about the skills they want potential candidates to have and currently they are driving down the cost of resources with these job specifications, like: C# developer with 5 years commercial experience + x,y,z unrelated skills for £37k, that is at very least a mid-senior level role £50k+ but once one of these is on the market then other employers see this and decide to put their role at the same level.

Lessons learned

Things I have learned, most of the time the job doesn’t exist (lead generation) If it does exist and you match one of the skills on the spec you will have every recruiter in the country [and abroad] calling you for the role. Wild salary ranges £40k-£80k that’s a pretty big range, these ads usually come with every skill imaginable so it’s safe to say that they don’t really know what they want or the role doesn’t really exist.



So this is where we get all warm and fuzzy talking about recruiters and what great jobs they do. How they are always busy talking to hiring managers for many different roles and juggling multiple candidates.

I have worked in the past in the same office as recruiters and understand what they do for a job, and the time and effort needed to find good candidates.

What the recruiter says:

hi Scott, just seen your profile and think you will be a really good match for a role I’m recruiting for

What it actually means:

you have come up in my keyword search and I’m blindly calling you, I haven’t really read your profile

This was incredibly frustrating experience for me, yes I could have done things better and like I said this was basically a rant, this is so people can relate, BUT!

Gone are the days of carefully crafted covering letters and tailoring your CV for that specific job, most of the time your CV doesn’t even get seen by a human and is instead rejected by an ATS.

If we all went back to the days of trust and real relationships with recruiters that we trusted and had met and that understood our needs would they have the role we needed?

Just because we have an understanding with a few recruiters doesn’t mean that they have the perfect role waiting for us when we start looking for work, although you will be at the top of their list if they do get that role.

What I like and respect in a recruiter is if I can get five minutes into a phone conversation with a recruiter that has actually read my profile or my CV.

What I found with recruiters is first a ten minute conversation asking me how I’m finding the market and then asking me what my ideal next role would be.

This is basically their due diligence, what they should have determined by looking at your profile before calling you.

After this it goes one of two ways, the recruiter then being honest with you [in some cases] and telling you they actually don’t think you are suitable for the role (which they could have done if they took the time to read your profile) let’s just bear in mind ten minutes before it was,

Hi Scott, just seen your profile on LinkedIn and I’m really keen to talk to you about a role with one of our very high profile clients I’m recruiting for.

The call usually ends with a “I’ll send the spec through for you to look at let me know what you think” and the mail never turns up or the old chestnuts “I’ll pass you details on to my colleague” and “I’ll update your details on our database”

So now we’re near the end of Ranty McRantRant’s post, if you made it this far thank you for persevering, if you can relate I’d be keen to hear your story.

Take a look at these posts too which have partly motivated me to make this post:



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