Tips and Tools for Job Hunting

resume-0410This economy is a tough environment to look for a job. Add together the high unemployment rate and the specialized nature of AV work, and you probably feel pretty screwed. While we may think that the world revolves around AV (and audio, acoustics, video conferencing, etc.), we are considered a niche field in the grand scheme of job listings and job openings.

And if your family members are anything like mine, they may look at you quizzically when you try to explain what AV is and what kind work is available. For example, here’s a transcript of every conversation I have at family gatherings:

Clueless but well-meaning family member: “So, how’s business? And what is it you do again?”
Me: “I write for professional AV. You know – audiovisual products and technology.”
Them: “Oh… Like for Bose?”
Me: “Well, no. Not exactly.”
Them: “Oh, technology – like computers?”

And it goes on and on. Unfortunately, this kind of conversation also happens with clueless but well-meaning recruiters who don’t really know AV. So you can imagine the importance of having partners in your job search who understand what we do. Dan Croteau, president of FPC Personnel Consultants, Inc. in Salem, NH, spends about half his time working to place AV people in open positions. “The job landscape is spotty,” he says. “Hiring activity began to increase as of Fall 2009, but the uptick hasn’t been dramatic.”

Croteau also advises that “One resume doesn’t fit all jobs. Your resume must speak to the requirements of the position. Treat your resume like the front page of a newspaper. What will make someone read further? Also, understand what the company is all about before you apply for the position.”

Kevin M. Kappler, president of Kappler Executive Search in Charlotte, NC, thinks it’s a misnomer that companies aren’t hiring. “They are, but the marketplace is flooded with candidates. Therefore, the criteria have shrunk while the pool of job seekers has gotten much larger. Any job candidate must meet all the criteria and not just some,” he says. “Any certifications, logos, or manufacturer’s training should be called out on a resume. Be specific as you can on training details. If I am looking for someone with Hitachi expertise that is what I will use for my keyword search.”

Listings on probably aren’t going to land you your dream AV job. “Job boards are good for research but there are inherent disadvantages to job boards,” says Croteau. “A resume can become a commodity if blasted out to anyone and everyone. It’s better to conduct an intelligent, coordinated search with a well-structured resume. And recruiters may have access to jobs that will never hit a job board.”

Kappler also says to “network like crazy and work who you know. The biggest mistake people make is not waving your arms enough to let people know you’re out there. Being laid off is not shameful – people are open to helping out others now more than ever.”

And, finally, be patient. “It may take a day or more for me to review a new resume. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. Be patient. I’ve seen a candidate’s panic lose him or her a job opportunity,” he explains. “And if you interview and don’t get the position, it’s not a reflection on you as a person. Companies are following their requirements to the letter. If they want two years of wiring experience and you have only one year, then you’re not it.”

So if you’re ready to do some research, here are some AV-specific online job resources (listed in alphabetical order):

Linda_Seid_Frembes-0909Linda Seid Frembes is a rAVe columnist who covers AV technology, installs, market trends and industry news. Linda has worked with high profile AV manufacturers, trade organization, systems integrators, rep firms and dealer/distributors in the industry including John Lyons Systems, Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW), Northern Sound & Light (NSL), and InfoComm International, among others. Reach her at