Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Brian Rickman and I have 25 years of experience as a Software Engineer working with computer programming. I was working remotely for a company based in Boston before I lost my job.
Why were you looking for a job?
About a quarter of the workforce was laid off included me at the end of March. We were laid off due to the initial outbreak from the Coronavirus.
How did you discover PAGCG?
A friend of mine in the city knew that I was looking for a job. He saw an ad for a Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) meeting about updating your LinkedIn profile on the Philadelphia Free Library’s website Jobs & Job Seeker events and encouraged me to attend. I joined that meeting and liked the people. It felt like the right place to be. I am also a volunteer for the group, even though I am employed. It’s a way of giving back.
How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
The biggest thing the group gave me was the confidence and motivation to work on my job search. Many things were secondary, such as updating my LinkedIn profile and resume, but the social aspect was most important. In the meetings, we would go around the room and talk about what we had done the previous week related to our job search. It gave me and others a sense of accountability.
How did you find your job? How long did it take?
A recruiter reached out to me through LinkedIn after they saw my newly updated profile. I landed an interview and, eventually, the job itself. Luckily, I was only out of work for a month between losing my job and landing the new one.
What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
The connection I felt with the other job seekers in the group helped me. It also helped to put a plan in place and treat my job search as a job – I would wake up in the morning, update my profile, spruce up my resume, and keep moving. I always made sure that I had something to report to the group at the next meeting.
What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
You really must make an effort to get up and work for it. It’s not going to happen by itself, and the job won’t land on your lap. During better times, I had recruiters reach out to me every week, but that’s not happening right now. You have to get out there and make that effort.
Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Reach out to anyone who could help you, even friends and neighbors. I was so surprised when I reached out to neighbors, and they would say, “Oh yeah, I can connect you to someone here. I can help you!”
On LinkedIn, especially, almost anyone will connect with you if you give them a reason. If you reach out and say you want to connect, they may ignore your request if they don’t already know you; however, if you reach out and say, “Hey, I’m interested in your company,” you are more likely to get a response.
What will you do in your new role?
My new job title is Camera Engineer. This role is a software engineer role with the primary focus on writing programs in C++ that run inside internet-connected security cameras.
What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
I found a quote in an online class that was quite relevant: “Lady Luck favors those who try!” You will have better luck if you go out and make an effort. If you sit around doing nothing, then nothing will happen.