April 10th, 2009
I run a networking group for HR professionals in transition in the New York area. In conjunction with this, I oversee a Yahoo group where members can share job leads and network with other members. Today I looked at the board and noticed someone had visited the board to post their resume. It was obvious that this visitor didn’t spend any time viewing what the group was about because if they had they would have realized that it is not a job board. By neglecting to review the nature of the group, this job seeker has already damaged their reputation within the group. Message boards, social and business networking sites, blogs, and microblogging sites are communities that have protocols and appropriate etiquette just like any other group. In the online world, it’s important to study the community, reflect on the tone of the posts, uncover who the major players are, and have a plan to give before you get. Please look before you leap!
March 31st, 2009
Seth Godin’s guest post, Don’t Try and Get a Job, on GL Hoffman’s What Would Dad Say blog suggests that you are better off starting your own business than trying to get a job. And this is exactly the advice I would expect from this unconventional marketing guru and author of such great books as Purple Cow and Small is the New Big. And I think the post contains sound advice for some. But I think there is a much bigger message in his post and my interpretation of it is that everyone in a job search needs to be either an entrepreneur or an “intrapreneur” and everyone needs to control their career destiny in order to achieve the best results. Since I advocate for job seekers looking to find their place inside a company, here are my observations on being a successful “intrapreneur” and better managing your career.
- “Intrapreneurs” know that job search is an entrepreneurial venture. Everyone who is in a job search is the owner of a company called I Need a Job, Inc. And you need to run your search campaign like a company. In this scenario you are the product and your customer is the hiring manager. You need strong marketing collateral (resume and branded bio), an online presence (LinkedIn, Zoom Info and other identity and networking tools), and a sales force (people who advocate for you including your network and recruiters).
- “Intrapreneurs” know the best jobs do not have a job spec. The best jobs are created by the job seeker. Savvy job seekers make their own opportunities and convince hiring authorities that they don’t need to fill a job spec but rather they need them. They prove to employers how they can do things smarter, faster, or more efficiently and they showcase how they support organizational goals to make money, save money, save time, grow the business, or keep the business.
- “Intrapreneurs” solve business problems. They don’t talk about their competencies and their job tasks. They pinpoint an employer’s needs and talk about how they can deliver results.
- “Intrapreneurs” recognize that they ultimately control their career. Yes, this is a tough market, but people are landing great jobs every day. People who are continuously managing their careers consistently seek out opportunities to control their career destiny. They create a strategic networking plan that increases their visibility, builds credibility, and positions them to be found by key decision makers. They don’t wait for stuff to happen…they make stuff happen.
March 30th, 2009
Today is the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge (also called the 59th Street Bridge) that connects the boroughs of Queens and Manhattan. I have a special attachment to this bridge because for me it represents the link between my past, present, and future. As a kid growing up in Queens, I remember the first time I was allowed to travel by bus to Manhattan over that bridge and how magical it was to leave the more suburban feel of Queens and quickly be transported into the hustle and bustle that is Manhattan. And I remember traveling over that bridge again when I moved from Queens to my first apartment in Manhattan, excited about leaving my childhood behind and coming into my own. These days I spend a lot of time going back over the bridge to visit my parents and friends who still live in Queens. I often walk or jog across the bridge and I frequently think about the bridge as a great connector as I watch the cars, buses, and subway cars whiz by. It might not be the most beautiful bridge in the world, but to me it is spectacular, despite the rust, grittiness, and what seems like endless repairs and delays. Networks work in a similar way. A good career management strategy requires a comprehensive look at all your connectors…those that link you to your past, current relationships, and the relationships you should be building to help your career grow and prosper. Like the bridge, not every relationship is perfect, you may experience delays, and you shouldn’t expect all things from all people. Look at every relationship for its potential and be forgiving of what your contacts can and cannot do for you. Bridges connect people and places and make many things possible. So do networks. Nurture yours, travel across it frequently, and enjoy the view!
March 27th, 2009
The explosion of online networking sites has turned job search on its head and prompted many to supplement their traditional job search strategies with a Web 2.0 component to better market their candidacy and extend their career brand footprint and reach. I’m a huge fan of leveraging Web 2.0 tools to complement a career management strategy, but it is important to understand the implications of your involvement on these sites and methods for successfully managing your online presence. Today I sat down with Rania V. Sedhom, Esq. who has researched the ramifications of these sites as they relate to employment decisions. She answers the questions that every job seeker should be asking before they set up their online profiles.
- How are recruiters and hiring managers using networking sites to check references? “It varies, of course. But at a minimum they are reviewing candidate profiles to either support or refute information placed on resumes. If the recruiter or hiring manager knows some of a candidate’s “friends” s/he likely reaches out to them to discuss the candidate. If a candidate has a posted recommendation, some recruiters or hiring managers may reach out to the referrer for more information about their experience with the candidate. If there is information on a profile or a friend’s profile that makes the recruiter or hiring manager feel uneasy about a candidate or if the candidate is caught in a lie, then all inquiries stop and the candidate loses the position. If these hiring managers and recruiters are internal to the company, the candidate is not protected under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (but may have some rights under state law.)”
- How does downloading applications on social networking sites affect my privacy settings and potentially my job search? “Some sites allow you to make certain pieces of information private. That means that only your “friends” see that information. However, once you download an application, your privacy settings may be for naught. For one thing the site’s administrator has access to all your information. Also, even when you erase something from the website, the administrator retains the information so your information may never truly be purged.”
- If I am in job search, why do I need to be concerned about what my friends display on their profile pages? “Some of your friends may have inappropriate pictures or contents on their profiles. How would you expect a would-be employer to react for example, to your picture or name on a friend’s page where your friend says that s/he and his/her friends enjoy smoking blunts? What if some pictures were lude? Or perhaps your friend’s page also has a blog and that blog happens to say something negative about your would-be employer or some of their recent press?”
- I thought that the LinkedIn endorsement feature was a great way to build my credibility as a candidate. Are there any downsides to posting endorsements? “It is a great way to build credibility. Some caveats though. For instance, make sure that your endorsements come from a business associate. Second, don’t have mirrored kudos because that sends the wrong message to people.”
- What are your top 3 cautions when using business/social networking sites? “Assume that (1) everything is visible by everyone, (2) you are being judged by what you and your friends say about you, and (3) it is a great method to boost your career if done correctly.”
Rania V. Sedhom Esq. is a principal at Buck Consultants, LLC where she specializes in employment law, executive compensation and employee benefits consulting. She is a national expert and publishes frequently. Rania can be reached at 212-330-1208 or email@example.com
March 26th, 2009
Someone recently asked me for advice on how to stay positive during a job search. Here are my top five tips.
- Find an accountability partner. Find another person in job search to share advice and leads with and help you get back up when you are down. Partner with someone who you will not be competing with for job leads…perhaps someone more junior or more senior than you, or someone in a different industry or job function. Sharing strategies and feelings with someone who is going through the same thing as you can be extremely therapeutic.
- Keep a job search journal. Record your search and make special mentions of how you are feeling on your up days. This will remind you on your down days that you will have up days again. A journal can also help you track patterns in your job search campaign that have contributed to both up and down days. Once you recognize the patterns, you can make the necessary adjustments to your search strategy.
- Join a support group for job seekers. This might be a Meet-Up group or community group or a professional association that has a special interest group for members in transition. These groups are great for building your network, sharing leads, and staying current on job search and industry information.
- Think about those less fortunate than you. Find ways to give back to your personal and professional communities through volunteer work. It is a rewarding way to show good will and build networking relationships in the process. It will also help remind you that even though you are in job search mode there are many things in your life to still be thankful for.
- Enjoy your family. While job search is a full-time job in itself, it does afford you some flexibility in how you plan your day. Take advantage of your flex schedule to attend a child’s soccer game or go to lunch with a spouse.
March 7th, 2009
I receive a lot of invitations on LinkedIn and while I am happy to accept most of them, sometimes the invite process is so poorly managed that the last thing I want to do is connect. Since I seem to see the same LinkedIn networking mistakes repeated over and over, I decided to post them here. Here are my top four.
- Not enough information. I recently received an invitation from someone that read “I would like to introduce myself.” That was it. I searched their profile but all that was listed was company names, job titles, and employment dates. Please do not make me work so hard. Just give me the facts. Create a branded, detailed profile and explain to me what possible synergies we might have.
- Expecting too much too fast. Sometimes I receive invitations from people asking me if I know of any job openings. I don’t even know you yet. If you take the time to get to know me first and prove your value to an employer I will certainly open up my network and help you if I can.
- Just plain laziness. Frequently I receive invitations that were simply copied and pasted from a LinkedIn boilerplate template. How can you send me an invite that reads “you are someone I know and trust” when I have never met you? Please respect me enough to send me a personalized invitation that explains why we should connect.
- Unwillingness to share. Some people send me invitations to connect so they can mine my database, yet their contacts are protected. I think the concept of sharing was covered in kindergarten. If you have no intentions of creating a reciprocal relationship, don’t bother sending me an invitation.
Two great books for understanding the mechanics and nuances of LinkedIn are I’m on LinkedIn…Now What??? and 42 Tips for 24 Hour Success on LinkedIn. Study up and create a LinkedIn strategy that includes thoughtfulness, respect, and fairness and in no time you will be increasing your network exponentially and building meaningful connections.
February 17th, 2009
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of status updates on LinkedIn and Facebook that say things like “Project Manager professional looking for work” or “Looking for work in a tough economy” or “Just received my degree in accounting-looking for work.” While I understand that these job seekers are trying to create visibility for their candidacy online, I don’t recommend broadcasting this specific message in your status updates. Here’s why:
- Blasting this message to your entire network makes you look desperate. You might as well rent a billboard to promote your job search…yes, I know there are stories about people landing a job this way, but these tactics get old very quickly (and by the way, the guy who landed a job by wearing a sandwich board saying he was looking for work is “so 2008.”)
- Posting this message makes people in your network uncomfortable. Imagine agreeing to meet someone for coffee and before the coffee is even cool enough to drink you say “I’m looking for work.” It’s awkward. It places an unrealistic expectation on you contact to come up with a solution for you. The same thing happens online when you post that you are looking for work.
- Sending this message leaves you little wiggle room for a follow up message. Think about if. If you are still in job search next week, what will your status update be? “Still looking for work” isn’t going to cut it.
Status updates on business and social networking platforms are a way for you to build rapport and community and deepen the relationship with your contacts. Chose messages that showcase your expertise, share valuable information, give kudos to others, or broadcast an exciting endeavor you are working on (even if it is volunteer work). Here are some examples of alternative status updates you might want to adapt for your situation.
- For a professional fundraiser: volunteering at the American Cancer Society walkathon on Sunday; hope to raise more than $2M.
- For an HR professional: attending a seminar on compensation plans for 2009 and beyond at (share the link)
- For an advertising professional: My colleague, John Smith just landed a major account with a leading luxury goods company. Way to go John!
- For a marketing student: just returned from a campus panel discussion on leveraging social media tools to build relationships with customers…fascinating!
- For a CIO: reading an interesting article on new technologies in healthcare at (share the link)
- For a Financial Analyst: Boning up on study materials for the CFA Level II exam…looks like it’s going to be a long night!
Create status updates that invite questions and further conversation, not ones that make your network run for cover. Remember, online networking, like traditional networking is a process. Whenever possible, give before you get and you will be surprised how quickly you get something back in return.
January 22nd, 2009
Something big is happening today, Thursday, January 22nd. When you purchase Chris Muccio, Peggy Murrah, and David Burn’s new book 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn, you will receive my book, Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips for Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future for free along with hundreds of dollars worth of other free career and business management resources. I’m working with the authors of 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn because I believe it is a great resource for people who want to use LinkedIn to generate professional success but don’t really know where to begin. They even offer you a free workbook to more effectively help you reach your goals. The offer is only good for today, so check out this great offer now here and follow the link to purchase your copy at Amazon.com.
January 20th, 2009
A friend told me a touching story today about going shopping with his Mom on January 20, 1969, when he was 8 years old, and stopping by a local appliance store to catch Nixon’s inaugural address along with other people in the neighborhood. Today, 40 years later, he returned to the same location and watched Obama’s inaugural address at the Circuit City, right across the street from that long gone appliance store. I think it has always been the case that people want to connect with other people during historic moments such as these and there were ample examples of people gathering today in Times Square and other hubs across the nation. My community of choice for this inaugural address was web-based. I jumped back and forth between Twitter, Twemes, Facebook, CNN, MSN, AOL, and The New York Times online while surfing the various television stations to check out how the event was playing out on the major stations. I was able to pick up on snippets of everyone’s online conversations…the hopes, the skepticism, the humor…from people all over the world. It was a truely amazing experience. According to Mashable, 3,000 people commented on the Facebook CNN feed per minute and millions of people logged into Facebook during the broadcast. The experience reminded me once again of the breathtaking potential of all that is Web 2.0 and the incredible conversations that can occur online to bridge geography, culture, professions, industries, and social standing. The web really is a great equalizer and a great way to build community. And community is what you need to drive a strong career management strategy. Stay connected online and have meaningful “conversations” about topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about. The web is the 21st century global water cooler, barber shop, coffee shop, and appliance store all rolled into one. Make sure you are not left out of the conversation.
December 24th, 2008
I still meet a lot of people in job search who are not familiar with LinkedIn or if they are, they have no idea how to leverage its power for an effective job search campaign. I just finished reading 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn. This is a great book for the LinkedIn novice because authors Chris Muccio, David Burns, and Peggy Murrah offer the reader guidance on the strategy of LinkedIn and a step by step tutorial on how to use all of its features. You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by reading the book and then applying the information to your LinkedIn strategy. You really can get up to speed on LinkedIn in 24 hours if you read this book. From front to back cover, you should be done with the book in an hour. This leaves you 23 hours to create your strategy and get comfortable with navigating the site. If you have been thinking about adding online networking to your search strategy in 2009, this book is a great place to start.