Archive for ‘Career Management’

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Don’t Spam Your Resume-There are no Hail Mary passes in Job Searching


Makes me smile every time I watch that  clip. Wow, they achieved the possible but highly improbable outcome and won the game with 0 seconds on the clock.

These days it is a Hail Mary just to send in a resume for a job posting you are qualified for, because there are 1,473 others hoping to make the catch along side you.

One of the problems with job boards and online job sites is the ease of submitting ones resume.  It only takes a click, attache a resume and off it goes. It is so easy to fling that Hail Mary resume out there.

Maybe the thinking is, “I shouldn’t submit my resume, I’m not qualified for this job, but who knows, Doug Flutie scored a touchdown on a pass that shouldn’t have been caught, so what the heck”.

I can understand the urge, but don’t do it. 100% of the time you won’t get the job. It’s not the same thing.

Dan Schawbel just wrote a piece about The Demise of the Job Boards…. In it he refers to a women that has sent her resume out 1,700 times. Could she have been a fit for all of those jobs? No Way.

I suggest that a better use of time would be to research to determine which companies fit her requirements first. Once the list of companies has been defined, it becomes about references, referrals, affinity groups, the professional graph and personal contact. Work your network out to three degrees and find your best connection to the hiring manager. Ultimately, it is all about minimizing the perceived risk for the hiring manager. ( A lot more can be said on this topic in another article).

Back to the subject at hand, don’t spam your resume. Concentrate on the opportunities with the higher probability of fit and success that are based on minimizing the hiring mangers risk by building or mining connections from you to them.

Spend your time with opportunities that have your highest probability of success, rather than tossing your resume out to places that you have 0% chance of getting hired.

At the minimum, be a good fit for the job, otherwise you have zero chance.

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The Resume is Alive and Getting More Lively

There has been a lot of recent talk of the resume being dead, hiring 2.0 and the newest whatever …….con-ver-blog-vid-podmetrical-seo’d… way to find your next career move.

It is time to set the record straight. The resume is not dead. The tendency to proclaim something dead might garner a little more attention with a dramatic headline, but as in life, things mostly adapt rather than die off.

The “old” resume used to be a piece of paper with an objective, describing the next job you desire, and a listing of companies you worked at along with some accomplishments for each position. It is more correct to say that the resume has evolved.

In general a resume is a summary of accomplishments. Reputation is derived from others acknowledgment of those accomplishments. So a resume is not really tied to the medium on which it is delivered.

If someone tells me about one of the attendees at a party, “he created the concept for public libraries, was an accomplished author, created a more efficient wood stove, invented the bifocal lens and was the ambassador to France“, I would say he has an impressive resume, even though I didn’t read this on paper or online.

Let’s consider the source of the resume is dead idea.

It is the SM (social media) folks flogging us with the standard,”it’s a conversation” “your blog is your resume” cat-o-ninetails. I sense more than a little self interest and sensationalism in declaring the resume is dead.

What has changed is the available tools and methods to drive attention to yourself and your acomplishments.

Certainly blogs are the easiest way to promote yourself. All you need are typing skills, command of your language and ideas that establish you as a contributor in your field. The search engines will find you and people (including recruiters) will visit your blog.

A blog post can certainly prompt contact from a recruiter. But don’t be distracted by the idea that all you need to do is write some posts that will attract organic recruiter search traffic. Ultimately, you will have to have a track record of accomplishments.

I agree that ideally, as Seth Godin points out, if you are remarkable at what you do, you dont need a resume. He did not say “the resume is dead” BTW. Remarkable people have a reputation that precedes them.

But it all circles back to accomplishments which create a reputation.

Certainly the traditional resume has evolved to include blogs, videos, podcasts, social networking profiles-such as Linkedin or Facebook, twitter and friendfeed accounts etc…

Compared to the static resume document of yore, there now are alot more ways to get internet juice to promote yourself with a resume enlivened with new media, but there is nothing worse than responding to a promotion and finding there is no substance to the promotional item.

Bottom line, a resume is what you have delivered in your career, whether it be code, sales dollars, cost savings or increased market share. No amount of social media promotion will over come lack luster accomplishment.

On a more practical note, a resume is for the hiring company and should demonstrate how you can do the job they are looking to fill. So, if you are reaching out to a company, make sure your resume is tailored to their specific task at hand, if you want to stand out.

Oh, and don’t forget to link to your lively self on your blog and LinkedIn profile.

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Risky Job Changes

Risk is always a consideration when changing jobs. What are the downsides of making this move and is this a risky move for me?gambling

Usually when you hear the word risk, reward is not far behind. With job change, the reward does not necessarily increase along with the risk.

So first, let’s look at what the downside could be when making a job change. First we should note that when someone is just getting going in their career, there really isn’t much risk to any job move you make.

1. low job security: Once you realize that your job security is not provided by the company you work for you will realize that a job change is not risky in that sense. Your job security is derived from your skills and value in the market. If a company is having financial problems, you can move along if you have built up your career equity. The risk is more about the fact that it is a pain and inconvenient to look for another job when you weren’t planning on doing so.

2. skill atrophy: For example, if you move to a company that is using legacy or proprietary technology then the risk is that you are limiting your options in the market and not growing your knowledge and skill set. Interestingly, skills can atrophy if you stay at the same job too long as well.

3. network dilution: If you are the best performer in your group or company and no one challenges you or motivates you to higher performance you risk losing your “edge”. Cultivating a network where you are the star does not provide you with the kind of reference network that will increase your value in the market. Chances are you will sink to the level of your peers if you stay around them too long. The risk is that your value will decrease with the quality of your references.

The other kind of risks are related to the “fit” of the specific job change you are considering. In this case both you and the company have risks.

The important relationship to consider is the inverse relationship between a risk hire and the quality of the company. Companies assume risk when they hire someone to do a job they have never done before. The risk is; will the new hire be successful at the new position, will they come up to speed soon enough and how much resources will be required to get them productive. If you analyze why a company would offer you a “risk fit” job, at some point you will ask the question, why couldn’t they hire someone that is qualified for that job? The answer will be that the quality of the company cannot attract qualified candidates.

The risk to you is similar, will I be able to perform this job at a high level? A case can be made that a good strategy is to move to a new company in a position that you know you will excell. Then grow into new roles and responsibilities once you are a known performer and the promotion can be done with less risk on both sides.

The point is not that you shouldn’t make risk moves, sometimes it works, but be aware of what you are getting into by taking a job you have never done before.

In general, great companies hire people that are qualified and a company that gives you a promotion and a job you have never done, may have some downside issues to be aware of.

So risk can be managed by understanding the downsides and the factors involved in a job change. With this knowledge you can make the decisions that will minimize your risk appropriate to the goals you are trying to achieve.

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5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Manager

How many people followed you over from your last company?

Who do you consider your best hire, why, and where are they now?

Why do you think I should come and work here?

What qualifications do you consider the most important when making a hiring decision?

How many people followed you over from your last company?

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Career Traction

When managers review resumes, one of the key points they look for is traction. If there is a succession of moves after only one year for the last seven years, there is no traction. If the job titles or amount of responsibility don’t increase over time, there is no traction in the job history.

Traction equates to passion, commitment, willingness to learn and take on more responsibility. All attributes required by startups. Without traction, it is clear that the person is a 9 to 5er and not the caliber of employee desired by a startup or any performance oriented organization.

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5 Reasons to not work at a Startup

1. Getting two to five times more accomplished and building my experience and therefore my resume much faster is not my kind of thing.

2. Working with the top 20% in my field and learning from some of the brightest individuals in my industry means I won’t be the big fish in the little pond.

3. I’m much more interested in collecting a paycheck than looking forward to getting up in the morning and building something useful with a group of other people that share my enthusiasm for what we are doing.

4. I rely on the stability of my established employer even though I know that job security doesn’t come from my company. I prefer to rely on a faceless, impersonal corporation whose sole concern is self preservation, rather than on my skills and experience which provide my real job security.

5. That sounds like a really good opportunity for me but I hadn’t planned on making a move now.

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Job Postings are Dead

Are job postings going to go away? No. The point is that a posting is a requirement that is fixed in time, when in reality a position’s requirements are dynamic and “alive” in the sense of being subject to change. This is especially true when an early stage company is building a team. The analogy is akin to building an amorphous jigsaw puzzle where each subsequent piece changes to fit in with the one preceding it. Hiring managers put the team together based upon the skills and experience of each additional member. The six job requirements that were posted originally have now changed, and the remaining three positions are much different than the originals.

The point is, not applying for a role at a company that is a match for you because you do not see a job posting is a major mistake. Good companies make roles for great candidates based upon the availability of the candidate.

Another fact to consider: The majority of hires are made prior to or without a job posting. Not submitting a resume to a “good fit” company is a very limiting proposition.

Bottom line: As you cannot really be described by a resume, neither can the opportunity available to you be described by a job posting. There are probably several different positions for you to consider. Don’t depend on seeing a job posting that fits your experience and interest. Find a great company first and then explore with them what you can bring to the team.

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Resume writing

Your resume does not get you a job. It gets you an interview. Therefore it should be written to succinctly describe your quantifiable accomplishments and create interest with the hiring manager.

When a manager receives your resume, they are going to read every line and take their time to delve into the details of your career……….. not.

Usually a manager will have a stack of resumes and quickly pass over them all. What stands out for managers is where you work or have worked, quantifiable accomplishments such as what products you have shipped or how much you have exceeded quota. What they do not look at is a summary or objective. At this point they are trying to fill their needs not yours.

As much as some people dislike the idea, buzzword compliance is necessary. Mainly to make it through the recruiters screen. But do not just throw a skill on without the experience. This will quickly kill an opportunity when a manager finds you don’t have the skills you said you did.

Beyond accomplishments, personal details can potentially create interest with a hiring manager. Certainly a blog is a good idea.

Here is a perspective on resumes from a managers point of view.

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Mark Andreessen Knows what he is talking about

In a post on Career Development, Mark Andreessen hits the nail on the head.

Take Away Points

Grow your value in the market

Be aware and available for opportunity

Manage risk and reward

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“I hate my job” Career Site Advertising

 

Scene- ……..Panning view of chaotic office filled with chimps as viewed by a fellow worker through a glass conference room window. Papers flying, bubble wrap snapping, a lot of screaming and throwing of office supplies….
Voice over- ……”Do you work with a bunch of monkeys?”

Cut to- …….Focus shifts from the office scene to the fellow workers reflection in the conference rooms glass. Slowly the face of the viewer emerges from the blur, big hairy ears, buck teeth,…. it is the face of a donkey.

This is our take on the standard “I hate my job” ads run by the big job boards. You might be an “ass” if you work with a bunch of monkeys. Our point is, if you manage your career successfully, you will be at a good job and looking for a better one. Sure, sometimes mistakes are made or the job isn’t what was presented in the interviews, but the general point is , if you know what to look for and focus on the right type of opportunities, you won’t be working with a bunch of monkeys. They don’t make good references in any case.