Happy Birthday to Me…Love, The Internet

Today is my birthday. What a way to make a plug for yourself. Then again a real plug would include my email so I can get random wishes of good will and pleasant celebrations. That leads me directly into the message behind today’s posting.

The mass evolution of the channel’s of communication has allowed for a global stream of celebration and self worth initiatives on one’s annual remembrance of birth. As of early afternoon I have gotten birthday wishes from high school friends to co-workers to ex-girlfriends on Plaxo, Facebook, IM, Email, Texting, Phone and Linkedin.

How does one keep up. More importantly how can I respond to the many many people that once a year go out of their way to show they care? There is the critical question of the day.

As you watch the Olympics and Days of Our Lives think about this question and I welcome any responses that help bring this challenge to a successful result.

I want to thank each and every person and perhaps I may do that this evening but I also want to maintain my sanity level.

This will involve some thinking on my end.

To add one more mode of communication to the list: The Blog

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Are Career Fairs Worth It? – A Little Q&A Time

Q: Do you recommend job seekers attend local career fairs? What kind of prospects can you expect at a career fair?

A: Web 2.0 has redefined the perception and implementation of the modern job search process. New technology has created competition that helped some, while adversely affecting others. At the campus level career expos/fairs are still a valuable part of the portfolio of career placement activities. National and regional organizations will continue to bring awareness via conferences/seminars/career fair events (for example, http://www.shrm.org and http://www.nbmbaa.org).

The Virtual Career Fair
As we continue down to the regional level, traditional career fairs are subtly being replaced with virtual career fairs. Without the need to shower, put on your best professional suit and show off your affluent communication skills, career transition professionals can sit in their pajamas and create an avatar that is wearing a fancy suit and walk up to a virtual company booth in the privacy of their own home.

Increasingly, resumes and business cards are now exchanged using v-cards and Linkedin profiles.

What if I am not computer savvy? Can I still compete? The advantage of virtual career fairs is that the many competitors in this arena of technology have developed software that is so user friendly that all you need to do is point and click and the work is done for you. The combination of gaming technology and professional infrastructure has blended generations into a melting pot of new and exciting paths.

How beneficial are on-site career fairs?
Local/regional career fairs are tailored toward associate and non-exempt level roles, non-profit, sales/commission based, retail, hospitality and academic institutions. If one of these career paths interests you, attending local career fairs will be an effective tool in your career transition strategy. However, if you career has taken on a different path, virtual careers fairs will be an potentially very effective means of marketing your skills.

What is wrong with my resume??? – Inquiring minds want to know

Q: Is your resume sabotaging your job search? What are some resume faux pas you see often?

A: I was speaking to a candidate recently and I was asked whether it was better to have a functional resume or a chronological resume. I explained that it is personal preference, but to choose the format that will best outline your strongest attributes as they relate to a potential career opportunity. Some talent acquisition specialists swear by one method while others are versed in the other. Debate aside, a resume that is structured effectively, regardless of format will be the one on the top of the pile at the end of the day.

Your resume is your audition tape. This is your first impression to wow the producers. Like any Broadway show, you may only get thirty seconds to a minute to prove your worth. How can any of us ever compete with those odds against us?

The answer is simple. If you follow a few key recommendations, you will have a resume that will shine when that day comes.

1) Be very strategic with the career role choices you make. A common mistake is to play the rule of volume over quality. If you over apply and hope someone notices, the likelihood of mistakes may occur including cover letters with the wrong title or wrong company, generic resumes with no flow or purpose or applications to roles far above or below your skill level. Focus on only a few small companies and specific roles that are closely aligned with your background or next career progression. Tailor your resume to emphasize the skills that best meet the needs of the role. Steer away from providing an objective unless it is specific to the role and/or company.

2) Place a specific emphasis on measurable performance results. Be very clear about your successes and how it affected the bottom line fiscal performance of the company. How many staff associates did you manage? What amount of budget did you manage? If you cut costs, by what amount and what methods? If you were promoted within a company, make a separate note so your career advancement is outlined clearly. If you had a 97% customer satisfaction rating, highlight that. These achievements will set your resume apart from others.

3) Generic chronological outlines may create the perception that you have something to hide. For example if you were with company A from 1998 to 2000 and then company B from 2001 to 2002 and then company C from 2003 to 2005, that could indicate a one month or twenty-two month gap in employment from company to company. Include the month and year in your chronological listing. If there is a gap, explain why in the resume or a cover letter. We are living in unprecedented times where many of us are undergoing uncontrolled gaps in employment.

4) Be very careful to proofread grammar, spelling and formatting. With so many web based search engines and URL resumes with specific formatting structure, a resume can look sloppy with symbols or errors that may not have been on the original draft. Always proof and reformat your resume if you put it out there for the public to see. Whether it was a user error or not, your name is on the top of that document.

5) Research industry specific resumes to help educate yourself on current terminology and jargon. Each industry has specific terms, phrases and catch words that show the true level of knowledge breath in that industry. There are hundreds of resume sample sites to choose from. Review them and see how your resume matches up. (http://www.bestsampleresume.com/)

6) Length can be one of the biggest unconscious errors a candidate can make. A strongly worded and focused resume should never exceed three pages. The ideal length is two full pages for a mid to senior level professional and one page to one and a half for an entry to mid junior level professional.

Is There Value in Professional and Personal References…

Let’s find out…Shall we

Q: When a prospective employer asks you for written references, is it ok to show your LinkedIn recommendations?

A: References tend to be an addendum to the application process. Soft skills, technical skills, fit, domain knowledge and professionalism will be the tier one basis points. How much weight is put on references depends on the business alignment, detail of the reference and reputation of the individual providing it.

Over the last decade technology has allowed us to communicate much more efficiently at a global level. References on professional portals such as Linkedin are as acceptable as traditional paper references. However, if you choose to provide those references, it would serve your benefit to put them in a well structured word document or email. This will show strong initiative and commitment to the role you are seeking. If you can get a reference that outlines your background against the specific role you are applying to, that will set you above the competition.

Q: Who are the best people to ask for references?

A: The number of references is less important than the quality of the feedback. References that will be weighed the most heavily will come from individuals that are more senior than yourself. They have had first-hand knowledge of your day to day roles and your accomplishments. Teammates who have worked closely in a project setting can be a valuable source of references as well. A subordinate who views you as a leader, mentor or supervisor should be the only individuals you should chose for a reference that are at a lower level of responsibility than you.

Q: What if you left your old job on not the best of terms? Who should you approach for a reference?

A: If you left a company on poor terms, try to align a reference from a business unit or team member that had a positive interaction with you. One of the most common mistakes is waiting until the end of a role before asking for a reference. If you were part of a major project or took on a new role in the organization, do not be afraid to ask for a professional reference to outline your successes. Many look at a reference as a part of your portfolio to seek another career opportunity. It should be viewed as a personal recognition for successful and well received performance.

It is a jungle out there and we are all in pursuit of the same prize, survival and career satisfaction. We must all remember that we are in control of our destiny. Through job performance, networking, research and implementation, we have the ability to blend in with the crowd or achieve that rare pinnacle of success.

Search Engine Optimization – Can it work…You Betcha

Maximizing content and output on the web with minimal and effective cost and time limitation.

Did you appreciate my personal Dictionary.com and Wikipedia.com rendition of the latest and greatest in internet based technology. Ok, perhaps it is not the latest, but clearly not all users take advantage of the tools.

In fact, some may see this as a blog while others can see through the sheer exterior and uncover the marketing plug aligned with this posting.

I am a big fan of the Google profile application not only as a virtual business card for an individual but also as a simplified tool for corporations to funnel out information pertaining to their organization including career opportunities, financials, community service, volunteer work, positive press, location sites and network alignment.

Today a new vision arose: The utilization of Google Profiles to promote career opportunities and maximize search engine exposure

http://www.google.com/profiles/Hewittassociates2010

This page is designed specifically for career opportunities with Hewitt Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina only.

Could this be the latest and greatest in Talent Acquisition process improvement.
I cannot forecast the future. Believe me I have tried but I think we may be embarking on the start of something bigger than the ever expanding Universe of Tweet This and Tweet That.

When you are sitting in a strategy meeting thinking up new ideas to promote career opportunities, let me recommend Google Profile pages.