Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Job Tip of the week.....random thoughts!

Here are a few things you can and should do to be prepared and rock the onsite interview:

- Take notes during the interview.  This will allow you to keep track of conversations and then follow up with people and refer back to the conversations.

- Have a few talking points with you.  Write down a few key thoughts in your notebook.  Nothing crazy but enough to keep you on target during the interview.  Think things like “Talk about project X”, “Ask everyone about corporate culture.”  Get it?

- Show up early...but not too early. Try to get to the interview between 15 and 20 minutes early.  Too early and you’ll feel awkward.  Too late and you’ll be rushed.  15 minutes is the sweet spot.

- Ask for contact information, for follow up.  You want to follow up with people after the interview, don’t assume you can guess their address or ask someone to forward a message for you.  Get a card or write it down....and follow up later.

More later this week!  Good luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Take a Class...for free

I’ve spoken a lot on the past about ways to prepare for an interview or build up your skillset....but I’ve been following something that hopefully a lot of you have seen but I wanted to make SURE you see it because I honestly think it has a chance to change the way you think about education.

It’s called Udacity and it’s trying to dramatically alter the education system in the US.  I could go on and on about how cool this idea is...but um, you’ll get more info reading this article.  There are a lot of amazing people in the program but more importantly for those of you looking for a job or trying to break into the software industry...there are a TON of resources to get you started.

These are online, video courses taught by some of the biggest names in Computer Science.  So, if you are thinking interview prep....these are great.  I’d recommend starting with “Building a Search Engine” and “Design of Computer Programs” and assuming you have more time....digging deeper into the curriculum.

Remember, your job search and career are a journey....meaning, they never end.  Leveraging resources like Udacity, or the MIT Open Courseware help you keep building your skills and becoming a better engineer.  The better you are, the more jobs and opportunities you’ll find....or even better, will find you.

Good luck out there, let me know if you take one of these classes I’d love to hear from direct feedback on them!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Does your resume matter anymore?

Earlier this week I spoke a little bit about social media and your job search...and someone asked me “Does your resume matter anymore?”  Which seemed like a great follow up to my earlier post.

So....with all the stuff in the world now between profile pages, LinkedIn profiles and other social networks...does your resume matter?  In a word, yes....but not as much as you’d think.

The Ladders recently did a study that talked about how most recruiters can review a resume in about 6 seconds.  Crazy right?  I mean, I can’t believe it takes that long.....kidding!  But the point is, your resume matters and you HAVE to get to the point.  Long, rambling resumes just aren’t read anymore.  Take some time and look at the study above, pretty cool stuff.  A few other quick take aways from this data:

- Recruiters focus what they think is important....education, current experience and location.  Not rocket science if you think about it. Recruiters are basically asking 1) Does this person meet my educational requirements 2) Does their current experience map to the role I’m looking to fill and 3) How realistic is it for them to work in my office from a location perspective.

- You’ve got 6 seconds...........when people are writing resumes or doing “elevator pitches” the golden rule should be “Short and Sweet”

- Employee Referrals are REALLY the way to get hired now....recruiters are swamped and screening people in seconds.  Your best way into a great new gig.....finding a friend or former colleague who can get your resume to a hiring manager.

That’s it for now....hope you are all having a great week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Using social media for your job search

Lately I’ve been writing a lot of short blogs that are more advice than really anything hardcore you can use for you job search....until this week.  I really want to talk about how to use social media to help jumpstart your job search.  So, here’s the deal.  This post is your playbook on how to go from unsocial to social....and have more success finding a great job.  Ready....set...go:

1) Get an email address that’s not embarrassing - Wait, I said social media...not email.  Correct. However, if you have a stupid email address like “superhero314”.....um, you’re not doing yourself any favors.  Ok?  Think name and or initals @gmail.com.  You’ll want this to be a gmail account, trust me later in the post.  Anyway, moving on...

2)  Open up a LinkedIn Account - LinkedIn is like a modern day resume.  Really, it’s that important.  You should open an account, fill out the profile COMPLETELY and then connect to people.  You want to be aggressive with the connections and go after former colleagues, classmates, friends, family, networks and recruiters at companies you admire....the goal, build up a network you can use.

3) Start a Twitter Account - Half of you just got queasy...don’t.  Twitter is an amazing tool for your job search.  You can meet people, learn from industry experts and also build great networks and connections just like other social platforms.  Honestly, I’ve had more networking success from Twitter than most any other site.  Anyway, open the account, fill out your profile and find people to follow who are in your target industry.  For example, looking for recruiters?  Got to a tool like TweetGrader and pull a list of the Top 100 Recruiters on Twitter (ahem, you’re missing someone there people...), follow them and interact.

4) Start a Facebook Account - And only use it the same way you’d use LinkedIn...you can use tools like BeKnown and Branchout that make Facebook act like LinkedIn.  Other than that, I’d avoid lots of status updates about your search.  That’s right, with the stories of companies asking people to hand over their passwords I feel like this whole thing has the potential to  jump the shark for anything beyond posting photos and generally keeping in touch w/ people.  I still use Facebook, I’m not a hater but I think for job search you can use some of the tools and focus on other platforms.

5) Start a Google Plus Account - I really like Google Plus it has some great attributes but the killer feature is hangouts.   Hangouts allow you to do a video chat with anyone in your circles (Hangouts on Air are basically WebTV).  Using Hangouts will allow you to build better relationships with people in that you could do a quick video chat and have a way better conversation than you would over the phone.  Try it, trust me, you’ll love it.

We interrupt this blog to warn you...the next tip is REALLY aggressive and most people will not want to do it.  I think you should but if you aren’t up for it, skip this section and go right to the conclusion.

6) Start a blog about your job search - Those of you who were squirming with Twitter probably just go ill but I think this is a great idea. A short blog that will allow you to talk about your experience and share insights with other job seekers would be great exposure and a great chance for you to meet people who are like you.  Now, you don’t want to do rants or freak out over jobs you didn’t get (clearly that would not be cool) but sharing your experience and learning how to blog will help you in the long run as blogs are a great way to “get out there”.


Social media is a critical component of any job search at this point.  You can really go crazy and do video blog on YouTube or even set up ads that advertise “you” but the point here isn’t to go crazy.  The point is to take these tools that literally have connected millions of people around the world....and leverage them to get a great job.

I should have another short post later in the week.  Let me know if you have any topics/ideas you’d like me to hit on.  Busy week as I’m speaking at MIT on Tuesday and also starting my class at Northeastern so I’ll be online a lot!!!

Good luck out there!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Job Tip of the Week - Pay it Forward

The tip this week is one that I really, truly believe in.  Paying it forward.  If you don’t know what the phrase mean....check it here.  Assuming you know what I mean, keep reading....

Maybe I’m a little crazy but I’m a believer in karma and good vibes when you’re in a job search.  You know, the little things like a thank you note, being polite to the reception staff, being honest, etc etc.  I think, those “little” things add up over time and make you a better candidate...and thus help you find a better job.

So...the tip....even when you are NOT in a job search...pay it forward.  It’s not rocket science (none of my blogs are, I have a History degree after all....) but if you help those looking eventually I think it all comes around.  So, next time someone connects via LinkedIn or asks you for a referral or comes out of left field to network over coffee.....take a minute and give them a little help.  Not saying you have to go out of your way but just do something to help them in their search.....because really, in the end you never know when you’ll be the person asking for help and you’ll be happy other folks are willing to pay it forward for you.

Until next week....happy hunting and I owe you guys a big blog...I know!!  Also, more Hangouts on Air next week via the Google+ channels so keep an eye out!