When Stephen Bhadran took a job as a Java developer with a Florida startup in July 2007, he was excited about the opportunity. He moved his family from Los Angeles to Florida and dove head first into the work.
"It was a small company, but they were going to build a big product," he said. "It was going to be something that would compete with Google. It was very exciting. The company had a little money, they hired smart talent. I was one of 40 developers."
But within seven months the company's Web site started losing traffic, revenue went down and the company started laying people off.
"I survived the first round," he said. "But if you have one layoff, you'll have another one. I was laid off on March 17."
Bhadran said that even though he knew being laid off was a good possibility, he didn't start looking for new jobs until his layoff became certain. He had always had good reactions to his resume. But in the current economyin March, that wasn't the casethings didn't go so smoothly.
"I used to put my resume on Monster, and I would get a lot of hits. But in March, I had just 10 hits, and I was getting worried," he recalled. "There are so many resumes on the job boards, employers are not finding them in searches, they are not even looking at them, because there are thousands of them."
His search on Monster also proved that Florida was not the best place to be looking for a job. "I went to Monster, and got seven listings; six of them were not Java related," he said. "I saw one or two Java positions in Miami; in Dallas and Los Angeles, there were about 150 each. That's when I decided Florida is great as long as you have a job, but it's hard to find one in this market."
That's when Bhadran became a TechnologyLadder member. "The jobs on TheLadders paid better, and they had the type of jobs I was looking for. I thought I'd get noticed there."
Bhadran also utilized used LinkedIn in his search. After he lost his developer job in Florida, he asked supervisors, project leaders and senior management to write recommendations, and loaded his resume onto the site. "Anyone who opened my resume saw all the references," he said. "I think that really helped."
Bhadran knew he was up against stiff competition for the job. "There were 13 of us laid off from my previous job. Everyone was sending resumes, so I decided to build a small Java application. I didn't launch it, but instead, I sent it with all my applications, with instructions on how to run it, so employers could get a sample of my work."
One of the places he sent his resume was the University of California at Los Angeles. The university had a contract position for a Java developer , and liked what they it saw. But, even though the recruiter thought he was a good fit, UCLA would not fly Bhadran to Los Angeles for an interview. Bhadran said he told them, "'I can do the interview on Skype.' And then I gave them a demo of the app that I had built, and they were able to watch it, and they were pretty happy with it. I explained to them how I built it, and told them it took me only three days; it showed that I could quickly build apps, and that was a great selling point."
In early April, Bhadran was offered the position of principal system analyst at UCLA. It's a nine-month contract position, but he's hoping he can once again impress them with what he can do, and extend his tenure.
"I shared my idea of building an app to show potential employers with all my colleagues," he said. "If all they are doing is sending a resume and writing cover letters, everyone is doing the same thing. This was different, and it's what got me the job."