Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Welcome to part 2 of my advice on executing a job search and also staying active to better justify gaps, and really continue to improve yourself when not working. In reviewing my entry from yesterday, I realized I forgot to mention one of the most vital tools I use to help maintain focus: The TODO list. In part 1 of this series I started walking through my list - going into painstaking detail on the initial steps of starting your job search, making the most of your time, and showing quality interest in your applications themselves. Towards the end I summarize the self improvement time to help fill in your day. As advertised, here's what I've been up to and an example of the TODO list in action.
So now you have a complete CV to share with placement firms, and the ability to quickly make customized resumes per job your are applying to. To show I practice the same - here's my CV and an example Resume.
You may note I excluded contact information - that's more for my privacy than anything else. As it is, I'm sharing a great deal of information on this site and in the blog. I get enough junk mail and spam phone calls as it is, I don't want to make it any easier for would be attackers. Anyways, continuing on.
The TODO list is something I like to use because it helps me refocus on the tasks at hand and loosely prioritize what I intend to do. Light planning that is also flexible to accommodate interviews or home-life activities that arise. Here's one that I posted on LinkedIn about a week ago:
1. Check job boards. Apply to good/great matches. DONE!
2. Stand up Server 2019 on a refurbished gaming PC as if it were for a SMB - including AD and Hyper-V. Then Patch and configure. CONFIGURATION IN-PROGRESS
3. While installs are running, setup new laptop and patch. DONE!
4. Once Server and laptop are working, configure Server to be your Unifi Controller. DONE!
5. Install and configure Ubiquiti Unifi network and disconnect ISP issued garbage. DONE!
6. Redesign your home office space to resemble a business office or cubicle. DONE!
7. Take a break, you've been at this for hours. Eat. Drink. Post about your projects on LinkedIn. Be sure to add photo for the visibility algorithms. DONE!
8. Check-in with recruiters in your network.
9. Finish initial configurations for the Server.
10. Download and install Kail Linux as VMs for both laptop and server.
11. Download and install VMs for PenTest+ and CEH training courses.
12. Take some time for your family and faith.
13. Read something new - IT security, management, or resume writing related.
14. Plan your next steps and schedule time for training and practice.
15. Hug your family, thank your deity for being able to do a list like this, the world is not ending and tomorrow will come.
You may notice some humor as well as the fact that many of these tasks can be done simultaneously, or are not strictly linear. This is by design because you may need flexibility in scheduling as things may be added or have their priority bumped as new ideas come or life happens. The humor bit - the crack about posting progress on linked in and adding a photo - is also by design. If someone takes the time to read anything I publish - this blog included - it's a good idea to show of character and not be a serious robot. Companies that I want to work for don't want their senior staff ( or any staff really) to be mindless automatons. They should want you to have a life outside of work, they want you to have a creative side and some personality. So how better to express such things than to do so by example? This is also why I intentionally add line items in the list for breaks as it shows a bit of personality by including it, and also makes sure I don't get lost in some hyper-focused zone I forget about work-life balance and self-care. Also important - keep updating the list as you cross things off.
The last crucial piece of filling your time in a productive way, is showing it. I joked a bit about being a millennial and posting to social media - its a bit funny being a stereotype in jest - but in all seriousness, it is important for yourself, and for potential employers to see that you are actually doing something good with your time. Even if the things to choose to make part of your day are not work-related, show that your are doing something. It can be inspiring to others along with having evidence to do the least: justify gaps in employment.
In closing, I'd also like to announce that I've invited a friend to post some blogs as a guest on my site. They're working on completing a Data Science Bootcamp and has several blogs to write. After working for companies like Splunk!, I'm sure they have a few things to say on the subject. Have a great day and stay safe and secure!