I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.
But I have an open secret. I was unemployed in GIS for 6 long months. I thought I had a great resume, I thought I had a great portfolio, I thought my social media footprint would get me hired… turns out I had a few things wrong.
Before I go any further, here are a few statistics about being unemployed I didn’t realize until I was unemployed so long in GIS.
The average length of unemployment is 5 months
A person will lose $15,000 (at least) being unemployed in that time.
You will become depressed, maybe seriously, the longer you are unemployed (I was)
I don’t tell you these things to scare you, I tell them to you so you know what to expect. And knowing these things is half the battle.
I couldn’t figure out why companies weren’t jumping on the change to hire me. I had a great resume (Turns out my resume sucked… and my portfolio was wrong).
I had been applying for every single GIS job I could find. I was spending 2 hours crafting a cover letter, changing my resume, and filling out paperwork for every application I submitted.
I was submitting 5-8 applications a week and getting almost no response.
After several months, I took my resume to a professional resume person. They pointed out a few problems with my applications and I changed things up. I landed a couple of interviews because of this change, but no offers.
After months of no offers, I went to bed one night vowing to quick GIS in the morning and do something else.
Laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, I had a revelation.
I realized I had been doing my GIS applications all wrong. I had been submitting applications as if I was the most important person.
The most important person was the company I was applying to and the people reading my resume. I had to change my resume, my portfolio, and my cover letters so that they were about them, not me.
That is when I developed “Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Job Interviews NOW” and I had instant results.
I got to work changing up everything, and something amazing happened. I landed two interviews in four applications the first week… and two interviews from four applications the second we!
I went from 1 interview every 25 to 30 applications to 1 interview every two applications.
Using Permissionless GIS, I had three job offers in 4 weeks.
I have a ton of details, tips and tricks, massively valuable information in my book, but I am going to give you the top 3 tips I discovered right now.
Ask your network, friends, former classmates, former coworkers about GIS jobs,
Turns out most jobs that are available are not even advertised. Instead, jobs are filled by people who ask, referrals from friends, or internal hires. Asking is a powerful tool to getting a job faster, in fact, it might be the fastest way to get a job.
Show Don’t Tell
GIS is a visual medium. That means, make sure your portfolio stand out the most.
People like to put their qualifications on resumes, and this is important. However, what matters most is SHOWING that you can do GIS through your portfolio. Your portfolio tells the only GIS story that will matter… your results.
This brings me to:
Make your Submission about THEM, not You.
You are 1 in a thousand job applications. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves, so give them more of themselves.
How do you make your portfolio about them? Make every single map of your portfolio about THEM. This means, find out where they are working, and make a map at that location using open source data. Find out what their operations are like, and make a map about it.
Yes it will take time (20 hours for a 5-page portfolio… more in my book), but you will land more interviews and get job offers sooner.
More in my book.
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