breaking the code between jobseekers and employers

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JobSyntax launched in the spring of 2006 as collaboration between
Zoe Goldring and Gretchen Ledgard. JobSyntax was built from our
shared passion to help technical jobseekers and technical employers
better understand one another and speak the same language.

We worked 1:1 with software engineers, helping them develop
effective resumes and coaching them through tough job search,
interview, and negotiation situations. We also partnered with small
software companies in assisting them in building basic recruiting
infrastructure and sourcing and marketing strategies, tactics, and
materials.

As of August 2007, we’re no longer actively offering our services, but we’re still passionate about breaking the code.

Meet us and check out our blog archives.

We wish you all the best in your job or candidate search!


//what we think

  • 0

    Comments

    859 Views

    Check out the JobSyntax archives!

    Thanks for visiting JobSyntax! We closed the JobSyntax blog in
    August 2007, but check out the archives … there’s lots of employer
    and jobseeker tips still hanging around.
    Best of luck in your job or talent search!
    Share this post: digg it | …
    03-30-2008, 1:13 PM
    by
    jobgals
    to
    The JobSyntax Blog
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    Comments

    2119 Views

    JobSyntax: What’s next?

    Hello there! We realize there’s been an extended period of
    darkness here on the JobSyntax blog, and we wanted to update everyone
    on the latest with us! Lately, we’ve found an FAQ to work the
    best :) so here goes …

    Where’s…

    08-29-2007, 2:33 AM
    by
    jobgals
    to
    The JobSyntax Blog
  • 12

    Comments

    4592 Views

    Degree or no degree?

    I’m an incredibly lame blogger of late, I know. Let’s just say
    I’m taking a little “break.” I think every blogger is entitled to
    a break every now and then. :)
    But anyway …
    An interesting conversation going on in the comments section…
    04-18-2007, 9:20 PM
    by
    gretchen
    to
    The JobSyntax Blog
  • 1

    Comments

    4416 Views

    Microsoft and cool: so close yet so far :)

    The cover story in the upcoming issue of Wired focuses on
    corporate transparency: Get Naked and Rule the World … a
    topic I’m obviously passionate about. I’m waiting for my hard
    copy to arrive in the mail, but I did check…
    03-26-2007, 3:10 PM
    by
    jobgals
    to
    The JobSyntax Blog
  • 1

    Comments

    1904 Views

    i agree. blogs aren’t all that – but they do have their place

    I was traveling last week so I’m a little behind – but I finally got a
    chance today to listen to the Recruiting Animal’s radio show (aka live
    podcast) on the topic of recruiting blogs: Have Recruiting
    Blogs made it big? I wish I could…
    03-12-2007, 7:26 PM
    by
    gretchen
    to
    The JobSyntax Blog

Check out the JobSyntax archives!

Thanks for visiting JobSyntax!  We closed the JobSyntax blog in August 2007, but check out the archives … there’s lots of employer and jobseeker tips still hanging around.

Best of luck in your job or talent search!

JobSyntax: What’s next?

Gretchen Zoe

Hello there! We realize there’s been an extended period of
darkness here on the JobSyntax blog, and we wanted to update everyone
on the latest with us! Lately, we’ve found an FAQ to work the
best :) so here goes …

Where’s Zoe?
As many of you know, Zoe’s little JobGuy, Liam, was born over 6 months ago now.
Mom, Dad, baby, and kitty cats are all doing extremely well.
After much thought and consideration, Zoe decided to continue being a
full-time Mom, at least until Liam’s first birthday. After that,
who knows what the future might bring. In the meantime, she’s
planning to focus 100% on her family and herself … and just enjoy
life with her new little man!

Where’s Gretchen?
Since Zoe went out on leave,
Gretchen has been heads-down, focused on a few corporate clients and
working with lots of jobseekers. As of last week, Gretchen
re-joined the ranks of the Empire … er, we mean … Microsoft … as a
Marketing Manager with the Talent Acquisition & Engagement team
(her old stomping grounds!) She returned as the online content
manager for the external web presence and the PM for a program to get
employees more involved in attracting awesome talent to the
company. Online communications and employee involvement in the
recruiting cycle … two of her favorite topics!

Lots of people have asked why Gretchen wanted to return to MS, and really,
it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up … a chance to work with an
incredible team in producing big-time industry-leading employment
marketing initiatives … and specifically tackling some seriously cool
projects.

Was JobSyntax just sucking or what?
Good
question, and actually, no. JobSyntax lived a good life and
served its purpose valiantly. We started JS so we could 1) work
together, 2) gain valuable external experience, and 3) help the
underdog … career-minded software engineers and small,
resource-strapped employers. Some things we thought would be
difficult were easier than expected; some things we thought would be
easy were way more complex than we anticipated; and overall, we learned
~ a billion new things about ourselves – both professionally and
personally.

Zoe’s decision to focus on Liam and Gretchen’s decision to return to
Microsoft had absolutely nothing to do with the trajectory of the
company. When we started it, it was only a 2-3 year plan anyway,
and our journey led us to our “next steps” more quickly than we
expected.

What will happen to JobSyntax now?
To be honest,
you probably won’t hear much out of us. One thing we did learn
was that – at least for the next phase – we want to focus on our own
priorities and be spectators – not necessarily leaders or even
participants – in the larger recruit-o-sphere conversation. But
we’ll still be out there, listening, learning, and
critiquing. :) You know us!

But I’m a technical jobseeker and/or hiring manager, and I need help!
Our blog probably won’t have much activity from here on out (check out the archives!), but we’ll still hang around (and hope others will, too!) on our jobseeker and employer forum if you have burning issues. If you need more personalized help, give us a shout.
Depending on your situation, we may be able to help or find you someone
who can … but no promises. ;-) JobSyntax has now moved from an
official labor of love to unofficial shared passion.

Thanks to everyone for a great ride, and we’ll keep seeing (and reading) you around!

Zoe & Gretchen
Co-JobGals

What’s a job title worth?

What’s a job title worth?

Hey folks,

I’ve been reading a couple of old forum posts and blog entries from people wondering about “breaks from IT” (in some cases at the start of a career) and “switching to IT” (somewhat later in a career) and it’s sparked off some thought (result!) about a kind of pet peeve of mine.

Job titles.

I’ve had quite a lot of jobs over the last 12 or so years, and more job titles than I can shake a stick at. I’ve been, from memory:

  • Technical Support Operative
  • Technical Support Team Leader
  • Contractor (descriptive, huh!)
  • Network Administrator
  • Database Administrator
  • Consultant Developer
  • Systems Architect
  • Database Architect
  • Developer (New Technologies)
  • Developer (Legacy Systems)
  • Manager – Special Projects
  • Project Manager
  • Business Application Development Manager (my boss and I thought “BAD Manager” was funny)
  • IT Manager
  • IS Manager
  • IT & IS Director
  • Senior Systems Analyst

…and there’s probably others I’ve forgotten about. 6 of those were at the same company, and some other companies have managed 2 or 3 each. And yet, despite having had all these job titles myself, I still don’t really have any idea what someone who presents a business card with their IT job title on it actually does.

Moreover, my current employer is a relatively small company – we have 14 staff – and yet grosses a reasonable amount (c. £2m/year). We have two IT people, and we do literally everything from writing our upcoming customer portal to interfacing with suppliers I actually thought had died out before I was born (remember XMODEM?!), to plugging in new computers, ordering LAN and WAN connections, configuring routers, switches and hubs… you name it, right down to ordering laser toner cartridges. There’s a running joke in the office that if it has a plug on it, it’s our responsibility. If it doesn’t have a plug on it, it’s our responsibility to put one on it. My current title is “Senior Systems Analyst” – I think largely because they had no idea what to call me when I started. And yet I do more, and have more managerial and budgetary control of deadlines, projects, contractors, consultants etc than I did while in charge of development for a Fortune 500 company with 4500 staff.

Titles don’t reflect what I do… but they’ve never really reflected what my staff do either. I’ve had DBA’s who’ve been expected to know two or three programming language and spend 70% of their week developing. I’ve had developers who’ve been expected to administer AD forests, and Network Engineers who are expected to understand stack traces in applications. It’s a world gone crazy. :)

As a result, I’ve kind of reached a point where I don’t even bother with them – my cards don’t have a title on them, my email signature doesn’t, and if asked for a job title now on web forms I generally answer “IT” and leave it at that.

So, here’s my question:

What – if any – stock do you guys (and by that I include girls obviously!), as recruiters, employers and employees, put in a job title on a CV or resume? For example, two otherwise identical looking CV’s land on your desk, but one candidate lists their job title as “Lead Software Developer” and the other as “Development Manager” – yet both, on the next line, say “Managed a team of 30 developers”.

Kev

Re: What’s a job title worth?

Kev, i think you need to count on potential employers, recruiters, etc taking the time to read the content ob your positions description – not just your title.  Reason being, you need to put your real title on your resume, not an “equivalent” title that sounds more grandiose.  Last thing you want is for a potential employer to think you’ve lied on your resume to inflate it.

just a thought.

dsm

btw – check out www.templife.com.  Some cool information and forums.

default forum filter makes things appear broken

Apparently nobody had posted in the past two months, so when I went to the forums, nothing showed up and there was some error text. It took me a while to figure out that the default was to only show posts in the last two months. I think something more approriate is to show the (10 or so) most recent posts so that something is guaranteed to appear and it does not look broken.


Brant Gurganus

http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~gurganbl

Degree or no degree?

Gretchen

I’m an incredibly lame blogger of late, I know. Let’s just say
I’m taking a little “break.” I think every blogger is entitled to
a break every now and then. :)

But anyway …

An interesting conversation going on in the comments section of Microsoft’s JobsBlog
got me thinking about that age-old communication gap between jobseekers
and employers … this being JobSyntax’s (whose mission it is to bridge
that gap) 1 year anniversary and all!

In Why I Wish I had Studied Computer Science/IT/Technology in College,
Janelle discusses the decline in computer science college
enrollment . She lists a few assumptions – don’t need a
degree to get a job; your major isn’t important; the
material is too outdated and irrelevant – and asks readers why they
think the decline exists. This is a topic that I’m also very
passionate about, and I have to say I’ve just always assumed the
decline existed because people who may be interested are too gun-shy of
the technology industry. They think opportunities will
dwindle and/or be off-shored – so there isn’t a strong future in the
field. Certainly, those reasons were mentioned, but they
weren’t the majority.

While the blogosphere hardly serves as scientific research, it does
provide good data points. And the data points here tell me that
there’s yet another disconnect between what jobseekers think and what
employers think. A large share of the responses mirrored this
sentiment:

A formal degree in Computer Science is not really essential to
get into the Software/IT industry. What is more important is having
passion for what you are do.

Now, I’m all for passion, and I’m not here to kill the
dream, kids. (And to be fair, the person who wrote this specific
comment has an advanced degree in CS.) I have seen many people
have great careers in the technology industry without degrees.
But I was just really surprised to hear that same reasoning echoed over
and over again. It NEVER occurred to me people may not be
majoring in CS because they don’t think they need to.

In my experience working as a technical recruiter, I have
encountered maybe 2 or 3 hiring managers who have said a CS or related
degree is not a requirement … or least a very, very, very strong
“nice to have.” (And those hiring managers were usually ones
who didn’t have degrees themselves.) As a recruiter, education is
usually the first thing my eyes notice. And back in the day when
I’d mined resume databases or job boards, “computer sci*” OR “computer
eng*” were always in my search string.

I’m not arguing that you aren’t qualified if you don’t have a degree … but I am arguing that you will be perceived
as unqualified if you don’t have one. The standards and
requirements will only continue to increase – and those without degrees
(and lacking experience to back it up) will only find it more
difficult to break into the field with a good job. You may find a
job – but you also may find that those 4 years of time and tuition
costs were more than worth it in the end.

Like I said, just an interesting response. “I don’t
need a CS degree” was something I never expected to hear. In
1999? Sure. In 2007? No way!

Am I off-base?

g

Microsoft and cool: so close yet so far :)

Gretchen

The cover story in the upcoming issue of Wired focuses on corporate transparency: Get Naked and Rule the World
a topic I’m obviously passionate about. I’m waiting for my hard
copy to arrive in the mail, but I did check out the case study on Microsoft by Fred Vogelstein, my favorite Wired writer (who also wrote an interesting piece about Yahoo!
a few issues ago.) (Disclosure: Fred interviewed me for the
article but my material didn’t make the cut – but it was fun
nonetheless.)

Anyway, I love the end of the article, in which Fred reveals that a Microsoft employee inadvertently emailed him PR’s file on him, Wired,
and Microsoft’s talking points surrounding efforts like Channel 9
and On10. Love it. So classic Microsoft. Cringe,
cringe, sigh.

But its efforts to be transparent go only so far. Someone at
Microsoft unintentionally emailed me the confidential dossier the
company keeps on reporters writing stories about it (presumably a
common practice among big corporations). My file ran to 5,500 words and
included all the angles I had been pursuing (along with suggested
responses to my questions), the people outside the company they thought
I had talked to, detailed background on Wired and how it has covered
Microsoft, and notes on me and my interviewing style. “We need to
reinforce with Fred that these efforts [Channels 9 and 10] are a
natural extension of the company’s DNA,” the file reads. “Microsoft has
been using a wide variety of communications mechanisms to reach out to
developers since the days of yore. This is simply the latest
manifestation of those efforts.” The irony is thick. While working with
me on a story about its newfound openness, Microsoft and its PR agency
were furiously scurrying behind the scenes to control the message. One
thing about transparency is clear: It’s harder than it looks.

So close, yet so far. :)