The Job Hunt Begins

This week I’ll be starting the job hunt, albeit more passively at the start. So I figured I’d write about that.

Updating my Resume

Updating my resume to add all my current certifications and such wasn’t too difficult. About every six months or so I update it anyway so it was just adding anything specific from the last six months that I’ve done.

Since my last job hunt I’ve gained some experience working in a chemical plant, designing reliable systems for a chemical plant, general plant reliability projects, and specifying bills of material for the spare parts on site. I’ve also received a certification to use a camera they bought that can be used for vibration analysis. I’ve wordsmithed this a little more artfully in my resume with the sections that I’ve laid out.

What am I looking for?

I’m mostly looking for anything that would make for an interesting job. Preferably something more design focused but I would be fine staying in some kind of reliability position, I get to do a lot of projects at the moment. Right now I’m still working on learning, so another reliability position would be good since I can learn how other locations approach reliability. At the end of the day, I’m only stuck in a position for one to two years if I hate it.

Where am I looking?

I’ve got the following locations in my job hunt feed: Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

Currently my search is only domestic but down the road I may throw some additional places outside of the US into the mix. 

I picked some places that I thought would be interesting to live in, or areas I already like. I know some, if not most of these areas will have a significantly higher cost of living and I’ll be incorporating that into my requested salary in these areas.

How much more am I looking for?

I’m going to aim for somewhere between a 5-7% raise from my current salary, depending on the cost of living difference in that specific area. I’ll probably bring about 10% as my first offer in the negotiations and then allow it to be brought down to about 5-7%, assuming they do not walk at that higher amount.

My Concerns

The only real concern that I have at the moment is that maybe I’m starting my job search a little too early at 1.5 years at my current company. But if this job search lasts as long as the last one, I’ll have about 2 years of service at my current company before I decided to leave. On the flip side of this concern, I’m still relatively new to the workforce so I can always use something like “well I wanted to see what else the engineering field has to offer.”

Bonuses and other incentives

Obviously I’d like great bonuses and the like. But at an absolute minimum I’m looking for a place with standard benefits, a decent 401k match, and enough of a retention bonus to cover my moving expenses. Any bonuses and all that are quite literally that, a bonus on top of the offer the main goal of that is to cover the added costs of taking a new position.

Interview questions

For when they ask if I have any questions I’ll probably use some or all of the following:

“When researching the company I found (thing), can you tell me more about it?” – It shows I at least did some research into the company before showing up for the interview. This could be anything that catches my eye.

“What is the most interesting project that the (the company/site/area) has had in the past few years? Would I be working on similar ones?” – I use this question to try and feel out what the kind of work will be.

“What are some day to day tasks that I would work on in (role).” – Again I’m trying to feel out what the type of work would be in the role.

“What does the hiking look like in the area.” – Hiking and outdoor activities are a hobby of mine, and this is one of the reasons I’m looking for a new job. I’d skip this in areas that I am familiar with.

“What do people do for fun around here?” – Again I’m trying to feel out what the area will be like to see if it will be a good fit for me.

“How many other roles are you hiring for? What are these roles? How long have they been open?” – This question helps me feel out the number of open positions at the company, are they clustered around specific groups, and are they having trouble keeping roles filled. I’m just looking for some general red flags such as high turnover rates in the type of role I’ll be working in. If the other engineers have been there for a long time that’s a good sign.

“What are my options for growth in this role? If I want to remain technical track is that an option?” – Engineering essentially has two choices, technical track and management track. I prefer the former so I want to know what my options for growth in that direction are.

“What software do you use for (task)?” – This one again is showing I did some homework or was paying attention in the interview. If my task would be some form of design I could ask about the CAD softwares I’d be using (if they aren’t mentioned in the job add), the FEA program, the CFD program. This can lead to easy follow up questions as well as noting my experience.

“If you hired me for this job right now, what would my first tasks be?” – This gets the interviewer to stop thinking about me as a candidate and as already hired. It also might help me get more insight into what my day to day duties will be.

Most of these are based on lessons learned from my previous job hunts, a few are designed to change how they’re thinking about me as well. I’m sure I can get some fascinating data too based on what their answers are to these questions.

Wrapping up

I know this is a shorter than usual post but my job hunt is just beginning. I’m going to be giving a few updates on it from time to time as I embark on this hunt. I’m in no hurry to find a new job and I’ve got plenty of time to see what comes my way (or what my current employer offers me as a counter). I’m sure I can make some fun graphs based on my job hunt as well.

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