Jan O'Biren

Jan O’Brien

Hi, I’m a technical recruiter with 20+ years’ experience. As a part of being a good recruiter, I have often written and rewritten technical resumes. I specialize in the IT environment, from company management, to IT management, software/hardware/database/web people, DevOps and infrastructure, systems and operations. As the business has grown, I’ve expanded my experience to include product development, marketing and sales, HR, finance and consulting in all flavors.  I love what I do and I’m told I’m pretty good at it.

Of all the parts of recruiting, I like writing the resumes the most. I love reading a very compelling story.  I like writing compelling stories too.  So now I’m devoted to helping you create your brand, tell a compelling story and have a great resume.

A bit of history

I became a recruiter out of revenge. I had moved to a new city, didn’t have much of a network and suddenly my company went out from under me, so I started working with agency recruiters. I was a mid-level manager in a not-very-sexy industry (wholesale mortgages) with a mediocre resume. Of course I didn’t know all that at the time and I wasn’t getting very many calls. I thought I was pretty good material, what the heck was the matter with these recruiters?  And the few that I did talk to weren’t very helpful. “I’ll call you when we have something”.  Yeah, right. At that point I decided I could do that job at least as well as they did, after all, how difficult could it be?

After three weeks of talking to a lot of different firms, I landed at the agency of my choice and began my training.  On the 3rd day I had my first “Oh MY” moment. It wasn’t an inspirational AHA, it was a chagrin-filled moment of discovery that was more than a little bit painful.

Oh MY #1:

I discovered that as a candidate, I wasn’t the customer. I didn’t pay for the service, it was free to me. The client paid the bill and therefore I was the PRODUCT! The client was paying the agency to find exactly was they were looking for and I wasn’t it.

Seems pretty obvious now but it was a lightning bolt moment then!

Had any one of those recruiters spent just a minute to explain the rules of the game, I would have been a much better candidate. I’m comfortable being the product; I’m happy to help promote myself, and a moment of truth would have been helpful. And that lead to my golden rule.

My Golden Rule: Tell the candidate the truth, even when it’s difficult.

Everything else I learned about the business from that point forward was shaped by that moment of realization and I want to share it with you so you can be more successful in your career search.

Before I go too much farther, I’d better get a couple of disclaimers out here:

All of this information is based on my experience, and is only my opinion. We had a maxim in my family “Opinions are free and that’s what they’re worth.” We had another much more colorful way of saying that but I won’t get into that here.

Any experiences you might have had, or will have, with other agency recruiters are valid in their world. We work differently, depending on our agency and its rules about what we can and can’t do.  Some of us work in very rule intensive and constrained environments with huge quotas to meet. Fortunately, I don’t. There’s more information in my blog if you want explore further.


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