And sometimes it's different …

So, another week of busy-busy and I've not had a chance to keep up with Twitter, or much else that's not related to the two projects that I'm currently working on, so I don't have links to bring you today. Those 12 links, week-in and week-out, represented the fruits of something like 25 hours of research a week, and that's not something I can do when I have other things on my plate.

I'm also a bit late bringing this weeks musings to you, as they're about stuff that happened a couple of weeks back. For those of you not in the orbit of the local tech start-up world, there recently was the “Tech Week” conference down at the Merchandise Mart, for which I had an “expo” pass (I could hang out, see the exhibits, but not get into the programs). One key thing that I was down there for was the “Hiring Fair” on Saturday. Now, as regular readers of this space know, I have a generally negative opinion of most job fairs … I've been to a few that have been good, but most are a colossal waste of time, unless you want to sell insurance (I've been to some where as much as a quarter of all exhibitors are looking for insurance sales people!). This one, however, was very good, and I had “positive” conversations with at least a dozen exhibitors, and ended up leaving a couple of dozen resumes in various people's hands. Because this was Tech Week, most were looking for assorted types of programmers, but there were quite a few in the market for MarCom services, giving me at least some hope.

So, what does a “useful” job fair do? Well, in this case it also led me to question one of my hard-and-fast rules (shared by many in the “job industry”): that if you're asked to pay to access a job listing (ala notorious operations like The Ladders), you should run away as fast as you can, because that's a sure sign you're getting scammed. One group there had a totally different model for job applications … one that gets around the 80% usage of ATS (as discussed here recently, somewhere around 80% of all companies are now using some form of Applicant Tracking System that automatically processes resumes by keyword, etc., and results in the resumes almost never getting looked at by an actual human being). The company is called, and the picture up there is of their “poker chips” which is the image they use to conceptualize throwing some money at the job search. The deal is that you can, by “chipping in” a $5.00 payment, get in a “preferred” feed to the hiring managers, and you're only actually charged that if your resume is reviewed by them. They also have free listings/applications available for jobs that you're not as interested in, but spending five bucks to escape from the ATS meatgrinder for something that looks particularly promising, seems a very reasonable investment!

Now, I want to be clear: I have no relationship with this group, and have not even signed up (yet) on their site, but the concept was so attractive that I really felt that I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't bring info on it to you. Obviously, you wouldn't want to be throwing money at dozens of jobs a week, but when one that's “dead on” for your skill sets and experience comes along, this looks like a great way to at least get some “real people” eyes on it.

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