Tag Archives: job search

Acronyms aren’t always your friends

I am looking for a job again. One set of skills that I keep coming across is for ETL processes. I had no idea what that is, but whenever I see a job like that I would just disregard it and look at the next one in the list.

Today I decided to find out what ETL means. In my mind, I am thinking it is something along the lines of Six-Sigma for databases, but I have no real understanding of Six-Sigma either so that should have been the first clue that I needed to do some research.

According to Webopedia, ETL stands for Extract Transform Load. All it is means is you read a database, change the raw data into something usable, then you write the processed data into another database. “ETL is used to migrate data from one database to another, to form data marts and data warehouses and also to convert databases from one format or type to another.”

That’s it?

I do that same process every month to get the download numbers for the podcasts in the Deliberate Noise Network. I download text files with the information I need, I manually extract the numbers I need, upload them to an Access database, parse the data for each show into its own query, then export that query to an Excel spreadsheet for mailing to the show hosts. The details are different, but the process is pretty much what they are describing.

Hell, I used to do ETL for fun. My old laptop has a bunch of Access, MySQL, and Oracle databases on the hard drive because I would move the data from one format to another. At a couple of my more data intensive jobs, ETL was pretty much all I did.

Without a doubt, I have missed out on applying for a number of jobs (some I may have even gotten) because I didn’t take the time to understand the acronyms they used. Time to re-evaluate my resume and job searching routine.

A Particular Set of Skills

I was walking around minding my own business when I got a phone call.

Me: Hello?

Him: Hello. Is this Derek?

Me: Yes.

Him: Hello, Derek. My name is (something I couldn’t hear properly) and I’m calling from (again something unintelligible) Insurance Company. My manager and I found your resume online and we think your skill set will be a good fit from a position at our company.

Me: Oh, OK.

Him: The position is for an entry level Insurance Sales position and (more unintelligible stuff I couldn’t hear because of his connection but was definitely from a script)…

Me: Wait a minute, I have a question.

Him: (obviously ticked off because I interrupted his script reading) Sure…

Me: You said you’re calling me because of my skill set. What part of my resume makes you think I would be a good candidate?

Him: According to your resume, you were a Data Analyst…

Me: And so you think that being a Data Analyst somehow translates into Sales.

Him: Well, no but…

Me: (being an interrupting dick) So what was it on my resume that makes you think I would be good or even interested in Insurance Sales?

Him: Well, you have a lot of work experience and we don’t really look for Sales experience. We will train anyone who we think has a…

Me: So work experience is all I need?

Him: (sounding a bit desperate to get off the phone with me) Yes, can I set up an appointment so you can meet with my manager?

Me: (ignoring what he said beyond ‘Yes’) So the only real particular skill set I need in this case is to be unemployed and looking for a job?

Him: (long very noticeable pause) Well… (another one) Yes.

Me: I don’t think this would be for me.

Him: Me either

With that, one of us hung up the phone. I’ll let you be the judge about which of us it was.

The Bad Mouth

I’m still looking for a job, but something really weird is happening. Someone will get a copy of my resume. I am posted on Monster.com, Michigan Talent Bank and I have been sending it out at least twenty times a week to various job listings that I see. I have been getting a pretty good response with employers checking it out on the sites.

A few weeks ago, things really started to look up. I started getting calls from prospective employers and had a few phone interviews. Things would go great and at the end of the call I would be asked to send an updated version of the resume, usually with salary requirements and references.

This is where things would get weird. I send the updated resume with a cover letter tailored specifically for the recruiter and the job. Then, nothing. No follow up at all. With one contract house I even had a sit down face to face with their recruiter, who helped me update my resume. After I left his office, I heard nothing back from him. With another, I sent the resume for a specific job and never heard back. I sent a follow up email asking about opportunities with other customers. She responded that the first customer was still reviewing resumes (after two weeks), but she would keep me in mind. Since then, nothing.

Back in 2001, I found out that my last employer at the time would stonewall people calling for references. The only thing my boss (who I worked with directly for five years) would tell them was “All I can say is that he worked here from 1996 to 2001.” That’s not exactly putting the bad mouth on someone, but if I was considering hiring somebody and I heard that, then they would be taken off my shortlist.

Anyway, I wonder if someone is putting the bad mouth on me. I keep in contact with three of the four people i have listed as references, so I doubt if it is any of them, but I am thinking that I should send the next resume without that fourth person and see what the results are.

BTW, I hate being unemployed. It makes me paranoid.