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Need advice for starting a job in UK

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by koderider, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. koderider

    koderider New Member


    I am in UK for some time and trying to get a contract ...
    Already been contacted more than 100 times by agencies, got a couple of phone interviews and one face-to-face with no luck. They told me the technical part is fine, which means that my attitude or something else is not good ...
    I think my profile is quite good, 4 years .net/VB.NET/C#/MS SQL development out of 8 total (4 years delphi etc), I am certified (MCAD), my last job was a nearly 3-year home-based contract for an american company ...
    I think I am doing something wrong because of my ignorance of the specifics of the UK job-market ... I've been looking actively for about a month - is it a too short period for making conclusions ? My concerns are that a longer period would further reduce my chances.
    I am trying to play with my daily rate to encourage agencies to promote me, but that seems to have the opposite effect very often, making them suspicious about my qualifications and experience, which is from outside UK.
    I am afraid my accent also plays against me, as english is not my native language, and often the roles are told to require customer-facing /or just a way to refuse may be /...
    I realise that most of the calls I receive from agents are to get some information from me, usually about vacancies I've been interviewd for, and not really for jobs they are willing to offer .
    It seems any kind of experience here would help me in the future, so I am looking even for some junior position ...
    As I am from bulgaria, and all my professional experience and education is gained there, it seems very hard to break into the market here .

    Thank you in advance for any thoughts or advice you would share.
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2
  2. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

    Take comfort in the fact that it's not just you. I've been looking for three months now and in the past I've had very little trouble getting a new contract.

    One word of caution. NEVER give an agent information about places you've interviewed and NEVER give them the name or contact details of your previous managers.

    Bottom line - agents are scum. They constantly pick away at people for information they can use. They then contact your past employers and try to offer their services. They have no intention of getting you a job and you'll never hear from them again.

    Simply refuse to give that level of detail until an offer of employment has been made. At that point they can contact your past employers for references.
  3. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    I agree. Recruitment agents are a horrendous obstacle in jobhunting. Most of the time, they don't understand the job specification they're dealing with, refuse to put you forward unless you give them your referees in advance or endure a half-hour grilling session.

    Your skills are certainly in demand - do you want to post your CV on here so that we can help you with it?
    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia
  4. jammed24

    jammed24 Bit Poster

    I understand how it feels. I had an interview for a call centre job not a long ago, during the assesment (2nd interview) there was 4 other candidates aswell. The interviewer completely ignored me during the role play stage and it totally destroyed my confidence, each candidate was assigned to a seperate room for the role play but there was five candidates with just four room. I had to wait until one of the candidate to finish first before I could start! Afte the assesment I felt really bad because I don't know if my diverse background played a signaficant part not getting the job. But I can only take the job interview as experience, the more interview the better are the chances to get the job..

    Most 1st line support jobs or IT jobs require some sort of customer facing skills. If this is not your strength. maybe you can consider volunteer to improve this type of skills. I don't know if this is true but IT sectors do not just look for technical skills they want other transferable skills too, like customer service skills..but i might be wrong.
  5. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    Roleplaying??!?!?!?!! For a call centre job??!?! Sounds like you're much better off away from there!

    I guess there are call centres where they just want people they can put on the phones and log calls, and actual technical helpdesks where it's the technical knowledge that matters (the first helpdesk I worked on, I was the only person in first-line without an MCSE. One of the guys had a terrible stammer so he wasn't exactly suited for phone-based work, but he knew his stuff...).

    We're recruiting right now at work for someone to replace me (and end the pretense that I'm doing the job I was hired to do :rolleyes:), and it's just as bad at this end - the job is with 6 agents, yet it's only advertised on one site that I've found so far (totaljobs), and the agencies are mostly sending us unsolicited CVs from their database, so that even when we find someone we like, they can't contact them.

    Back to koderider, January is always a bad month for jobhunting, and although it's starting to get better now (judging by the emails I'm getting from agents), it's still two months to go before the end of the financial year, so many companies may be holding off until then, especially for the kinds of programming jobs I expect you're looking for (as you cost them more money!) :p What kinds of jobs have you been looking for? Programmers aren't expected to have social skills! :dry
    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia
  6. koderider

    koderider New Member

    Wow, I have never thought of that end-of-financial-year tendency ...
    I am looking for a .net/asp.net/vb.net/c#/mssql developer contract-based role ... My english is not that bad in fact, but still not sufficient for intensive customer facing ... And I did think so far it's pretty enough for the kind of job I am looking for.
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2
  7. koderider

    koderider New Member

    Many thanks to all nice people here that have replied to my post ... It's really encouraging :)
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2
  8. koderider

    koderider New Member

    Thank you for your readiness to have a look at my cv ... any advice would really be in help :)

    Here it is /formatting is not as good as it is in word/.
    Do you think it looks *TOO* demanding or pretending and I should cut it down to the last 4 years .net-relevan exp only ?

    Curriculum Vitae

    Name: P********* K******

    Contact information:
    mobile: *********
    email: ********
    Marital Status: single


    Seasoned software engineer with 8+ years professional experience in developing web-based and windows-based database-driven applications. During the last 4 years was mainly involved in .NET based development. Microsoft Certified Application Developer /MCAD, MCP/. Expertise covering a number of languages, technologies, libraries and tools involved in server-side and client-side development including VB.NET, C#, ASP.NET, Managed C++ , .NET 1.0, .NET 1.1, .NET 2.0, MS SQL SERVER 2000, MS SQL SERVER 2005, Sybase SQL Anywhere , HTML/XHTML , XML, XPATH , Javascript, CSS, ASP.NET AJAX, heavy custom client scripting, template processing libraries and template-driven code generation, version control systems / CVS , SubVersion/, custom Object-Relational Mapping /ORM/ implementations, nAnt-based build automation, Regular Expressions.


    April 2005 – January 2008:
    Software Developer, contractor to ******, USA

    - Participated in the development of a web-based work time tracking system using .NET Framework 1.1, ASP.NET, MS SQL SERVER, Visual Basic.NET . Was responsible for resolving certain performance problems of the application, refactoring and re-implementation
    - Migrated a legacy ASP.NET 1.1 based project to ASP.NET 2.0
    - Integrated ASP.NET Ajax controls and custom client-side behavior in existing application for improving user-friendliness and interactiveness
    - Developed a series of custom user controls, server controls, client-side behaviors to replace legacy code and implement newly required functionalities
    - Implemented code-generation tools for custom Object-Relational Mapping and UI layer generation using Ruby, XML/XPath, NAnt, VB.NET, MS SQL Server.
    - Build a custom web based help system that integrates with existing ASP.NET applications and provides context-sensitive help and content management using APS.NET, VB.NET, MS SQL SERVER
    - Established and maintained Version Control System to be used by the team, initially CVS/CVSNT , later replaced by SubVersion over Apache

    January 2005 – April 2005:
    Independent Consultant, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - Developed a file-based menu initialization module for a document management system used by courts and prosecution office. The system was developed using C++/MFC and Visual Studio 6.0. Low-level Windows API was used in the development of an additional report module.
    - Implemented a phpBB extension as a PostNuke CMS module. That included php/mysql development.
    - Developed an OpenGL / C++ asteroid demonstration project using MS Visual C++, GLUT.
    - Implemented a Mozilla/Firefox extension for automatic populating of form fields, using Mozilla/Firefox platform/ XML/ JavaScript.
    - Implemented a data exchange and synchronization tool operating between two different systems for medical treatment and patients details tracking. The first was using Firebird for storing data, while the other had its own custom database engine and custom storage format.
    - Developed a wrapper library for processing of different archive types

    October 2003 – January 2005
    Software developer at Softsys OOD, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
    - Built a POS / retail management system using MS SQL Server, .NET Framework 1.0/1.1, Managed C++
    - Implemented a custom report template system using .NET framework 1.1, Managed C++, with heavy use of regular expressions.
    - Developed a custom document and workflow management system for the technical support department of a security services company, using .Net framework 1.1, C#, MS SQL Server.
    - Developed code generation tools using Perl, MS SQL Server.
    - Participated in the development of a custom Object-Relational Mapping library using .Net 1.0/1.1, MS SQL Server, Managed C++, C#, Java-based ANTLR Parser Generator, ADO.NET
    - Implemented a number of custom windows controls using .Net 1.0/1.1, Managed C++
    - Developed a module for generation of Managed C++ code for ANTLR Parser Generator using Java.
    - Built a parser for a custom UI Layout definition language using the Java-based ANTLR Parser Generator, .NET framework 1.1, Managed C++.
    - Implemented a custom web application server using the open source Cassini web server, open source Gigabase database engine, .NET framework 1.1, C#, C++.

    August 2001 – September 2003
    Software developer at Orak, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - Participated in the development of a restaurant and hotel management system using Delphi 5-7, Sybase SqlAnywhere 5.5, MS SQL Server 2000

    January 2000 – July 2001
    Software developer at UNICONS OOD, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - Participated in the development of a retail and stock management system, and a custom workflow management system for a machine building enterprise; Delphi 5, Paradox, MS SQL SERVER 2000


    - Master Program in Software Technologies
    2006 - 2007, Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski", Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - Master Program in Macroeconomics and Accounting
    2003 - 2006, Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski", Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - Bachelor of Mathematics
    1996 – 2003, Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski", Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    - English Language School, Plovdiv, Bulgaria: Intensive learning of English language.
    1991 - 1996


    - 2005: MCP /Microsoft Certified Professional /70-316/, score 820 of 1000, “Developing and Implementing Windows-based Applications with Microsoft Visual C#. NET and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET”
    - 2006: MCP /Microsoft Certified Professional /70-315/, score 1000 of 1000, “Developing and Implementing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual C#. NET and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET”
    - 2006: MCP /Microsoft Certified Professional /70-320/, “Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# and the Microsoft .NET Framework”
    - 2006: MCAD /Microsoft Certified Application Developer

    - 1999: Won a 1-semester scholarship at Plovdiv University for high grade

    - "Enhancing the ASP.NET LinkButton control"; Published on The Code Project developer's community site, November 2005.

    - "NTemplate Engine: XML based template engine for.NET "; Published on The SourceForge.net community site for open source projects development, February 2006

    English: fluent.
    French: intermediate

    Recommendation Letters and Referees provided on demand
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2
  9. Toadeh

    Toadeh Nibble Poster

    1000 out of 1000????

    I am looking for the same sort of thing (just vb). there are loads of roles out there but team fit seems to be 100% on their list so some of the roles i struggle to get an interview for.

    You can manage it, some of your certs might scare people away so it might be worth shortening the to MCP in x, y and z and let them ask the questions.


    Certifications: BSc(Hons), MCTS Web Development
  10. koderider

    koderider New Member

    A bit of luck indeed for the score , although I was quite prepared and had experience when got the exam ...
    I really wonder to whether cut down the cv a bit ... That early years with delphi, etc are irrelevant to the positions I'm after anyway
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2
  11. Toadeh

    Toadeh Nibble Poster

    Yeah, just mention that you can do it and let them ask if they want.
    Certifications: BSc(Hons), MCTS Web Development
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    I'd try and keep you CV down to 4 pages max, probably 3 for your ammount of experience. Put all the most important stuff on the front page, most people won't even look at the rest, the rest can just have your experience on mainly.

    I'd just list your main certs like MCAD, nobody really cares much about individual exams.

    I'd say all your programming experience is relevant regardless of whether it is in the flavour of the moment language so I would list Delphi.
  13. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    I've pasted it into Word and it just fits onto 3 pages 8)

    It might help if you break down the intro paragraph, maybe list certifications and languages so that it's easier to see what you work in - even if it's 'Main skills: x'; 'additional skills: delphi etc'. (And certs on another line, but just MCAD and MCP, and any others). Or whichever way you prefer to do it.

    I think that way, it will be easier for agents and potential employers to see at a glance what your main skills are, plus it will be easier for recruitment agents to enter your skillset into their databases for when future jobs come up.

    The last training centre I was at recommended having the summary paragraph, but from what I can tell, agents never seem to read it, and they usually remove it when forwarding CVs on. I'm not sure whether or not to keep mine - maybe see what yours looks like once you summarise the skills separately?

    I'm shocked though that you're having a hard time finding work - last time I looked (last spring), there were a mountain of .net jobs out there!

    Again, I'm surprised at the emphasis on the client-facing skills, unless the jobs you're seeing are consultant roles? Unless they mean meetings with clients, in most of the programming roles I've seen (my own and friends'), the programmers program and their managers do the majority of the client-facing bit. Which I resent as I enjoy that bit! :tune
    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia
  14. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia
  15. sunn

    sunn Gigabyte Poster

    Aside from the CV, what is the interview process like? What types of questions are employers asking, more importantly how are you answering? I'm not talking details, but be confident without being arrogant. Try to answer questions without telling the employer that their current methods are bad.

    In other words since the CV is fine (some tweaking as suggested will probably help) perhaps it's time to hone the interview skills. :sunny

    Good Luck in the hunt.
  16. koderider

    koderider New Member

    Thank you very much for the encouraging replies.

    Yes, there are really tons of jobs out there ... It seems agencies are suspiscious about my background. Seems like I need to act much as an enter-level tech-guy here for the lack of UK-based experience. May be some charity contribution or some other activity to gain local references would help ... It seems also easier to get a permanent role, while I am strictly focused on contractor-based. The reason for that is not just the higher rates, but current employment regulations according to which I need a work permit for permanent.

    I certainly do have what to learn in regards to inteviews ... I think I did not *demonstrate* enough enthusiasm and interest towards the companies in terms of their business, management style, team values ... probably should have asked more about that to gain extra points. Instead, I have payed attention mostly to the technical details, technologies, etc. And I am still not that used to all aspects of the etiquette :)

    Do you know some good freelance sites to try ?

    Thanks again for your replies and advice .
    Certifications: MCAD, MCTSx2

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