Posts tagged: employers

Creating Work You Love (Sounds Scary or Ridiculous)

Why am I an entrepreneur? “We’ve made the decision to let you go,” my boss said over the telephone.  I was shocked and upset.That was, the first time.

The second time I was let go, not so much. By the third time I said to myself, “Never again.” I am not going to put myself in a position where how I earn my living is dictated by someone else’s priorities.

I learned to work hard when I was young and frankly, since I’m a Baby Boomer, being a workaholic is normal and I always wanted my own business. I remember more than one person saying to me, you can’t start a company (you girl, you), what could you possibly do? As angry as I was at them, I used the anger to motivate me.

Assessing the possibilities I had a bunch of skills, foreign languages, marketing, healthcare, blah, blah, blah. They didn’t really fit together into a solid plan for earning a living being an entrepreneur. So I devised a three pronged strategy for creating income.

1) Teaching

2) Speaking and workshops

3) Consulting

Getting started I met with a lot of people and talked about my idea. Some nodded, “Hmmmm, I could see them thinking, she’ll never make this work.”  Some tried to discourage me, “Get a job,” and a few encouraged me, “You can do it!”

I can report that 5 years in, I am doing better than I ever hoped. It isn’t what I expected and that’s not only good, it’s fun.

You can do it too.  So if you are wondering where your next job is going to come from… I will ask you this; what will it take for you to say, “Enough. I’m gonna try something different?  I can guarantee you will learn more in 1 year on your own path than you will in 5 years working for someone else. If, at any point,  you decide to go work for someone else, you’ll be even more valuable to that employer. You will be a better problem solver, see the big picture and actually empathize more with your boss in a different way.

But I can’t…. I have responsibilities   The first time I co-founded a start up I was the single mother of 2 kids, 14 and 12 with no family to help me. That start up only lasted 2 years, thanks to 9/11, but I learned so much and my actions showed my children how to go for what they want and to not be afraid.

Just Do It. Join millions of others who are finding a way to create meaningful, interesting work.

Photo credit: You Can Do It

Key Hiring Question: When & Why Will You Leave?

When you are interviewing for a job… probably one of the last things on your mind… is why and when you might leave. You’re thinking… I don’t even have the job… why would I think about when I might leave?

Great companies make this complex question part of the interview process.

In an insightful article by someone I admire, Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, How I Hire: Figuring Out Fit — And The Exit Strategy… she outlines the criteria and process for assessing candidates based on culture, skills and my favorite and what I consider relatively unique…  sense of purpose.

“As part of the hiring process, I also talk with people about how they will leave Altimeter one day. The idea of lifetime employment is dead, so why not face up to the reality that this person we’re hiring will one day leave? It’s a core part of us living the value of Integrity — that openness and transparency develops trust.” Charlene Li

The last regular, ‘show up in the office’ job I had, I actually negotiated my departure date as part of my hiring package. When they offered me the job, I told them I would stay one year.  It allowed me to focus on getting the job done without worrying about how I’d leave. It was very empowering.

I am not suggesting that every time you take a job, you should negotiate your exit. What I am suggesting is that you think about what you want to get from the assignment… even it it’s just to earn some money or stay for 6 months.  Be conscious of what it will look like when you have reached that goal.

By the way, this takes courage and it puts the responsibility for finding your next ‘step’ right where it belongs; with you.

Image credit: Diane Arbus Moving On

Ditch Your Dress Code and Other Interesting Advice

I am a child of the 60’s;  a hippie and a non-conformist. I worked in Corporate America for over 2 decades. I enjoyed it and I learned so much. What I didn’t love was figuring out what to wear.

First… there’s no such thing as business casual for women. As much as I’d like to show up in a pair of Dockers and a sport shirt (NOT) … or it’s equivalent… I’d be glad to.. but there is no equivalent.

Second … The idea that “clothes make the man” is passe and needs to be rethought.

Third… Check out this article titled,” 5 Reasons to Ditch Your Dress Code”  You may get more out of having a culture of flexibility in employee dress than maintaining strict standards.

Fourth… Diversity of  people can lead to creativity in thought and action.

This doesn’t mean having no standards in dress. Clearly there are certain clothes that are inappropriate in a business environment. Also, a culture that allows casual dress but tolerates disrespect isn’t doing itself or it’s employee any favors. Hard work, communication, listening and customer focus are more important than whether someone wears jeans. Build trust with your employees and peers and we’ll all benefit.

Photo credit: Photographer Irum sneaker

Guerrilla Hiring (Not Hiring Guerillas)

I often talk with job hunters, HR folks and recruiters about how hiring continues to evolve; think mobile/social recruiting.

When I read this post about a woman who recently applied to,  interviewed for and landed a job in less than a week; I was amazed (job on east coast and she lived on the west coast!)

Here’s her story…

“So, on a fluke, I emailed them my resume. By the next afternoon, I had already done a Skype™ interview with HR and they assigned me a project so they could see my work. I emailed my project, they loved it and offered me a job. I was on an airplane that Sunday and started work on Monday!” What’s on Karen’s Plate

Let’s examine this. She…

1) Wasn’t even looking for a job., she ‘stumbled’ across this posting and decided it was her dream job

2) Sent a resume and someone actually looked at it (wow)

3) Interviewed via Skype™  (candidate and hiring manager actually saw each other, felt the mutual energy, etc.)

4) Completed an assignment (wow again). (So this means that the company actually knew enough about the job to have an assignment that an interviewee could complete and then they made it easy for her to submit it.)

5) Evaluated the organization – I wonder what they did to help her understand their culture? (Made interviewing completely painless!)

Of course all interviews can’t happen like this but imagine streamlining the process to even vaguely resemble something like this. What if you Skype interviewed several candidates? If they don’t know how to use Skype — do you want to hire them? and… can you use Skype?

As a hiring manager, do you have an ‘assignment’ for your short list of candidates?

As someone how waited months for a job to — ‘get approved’, ‘open up’, have a new ‘description/classification written’, etc., this whole thing blows me away. In a good way!

Image credit:


6 seconds = How Long Your Resume Gets Looked At…

Have you ever been on the hiring side of a resume? It’s not fun.

You often feel like this guy. Overwhelmed by ‘paper’ and buzzwords that don’t tell you anything.

Before you spend more time and get more opinions about your resume, check out this article, “How Recruiters See Your Resume…” Take a look at the heat map associated with this article.

It tells us that the more structured your resume, the easier it is for those 6 seconds to be productive and get you into the consideration pile vs. the no way pile.

The goal of the resume is to… wait for it… get you an interview! Be sure to think of it that way. It’s not to document your entire work history.

By the way, how’s your Linked In profile? Do you have 300 connections? Do you belong to several groups? Have you uploaded your PowerPoint presentations? Do you answer questions? Make sure you include a live link to your Linked In profile from your resume.

Now go forth and streamline that resume!

Image credit: Career Insider

Would You Flunk A Social Media Background Check? Part 1

I talk to job seekers about the power of social in their search. Most people embrace it at some level. Others tell me how stupid it is. That’s cool, do it however you want!

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helped to change that in May when it  gave a background checking company, Social Intelligence,  the right to look at 7 years of our internet and social media background. This article from Gizmodo is a real eye opener for all of us, not just job seekers.

The company is looking for publicly available information on site like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Craigslist.  It isn’t looking for ‘dirt’ per se but to find out whether you, as a potential employee, would give the potential employer heartburn or worse. In other words, are you trustworthy?

If the company … “finds out you’re pregnant, or gay, or a Muslim, or newly married, or a newly gay married to a pregnant Muslim, it leaves that out of its report. All an employer sees is, basically, that you passed or failed.”

So how will this change how we post, rant  or connect?  The roller coaster ride just got a little bumpier. What do you think?

Photo credit: many thanks to Steve John, found via Escape into — from the iPhone of New Media Artist Steve John

500 Jobs a Minute Added to Twitter

I regularly talk to groups about social media and there are still a surprising number of people who insist that Twitter is stupid. They know nothing about it, they’ve never used it, but they are certain it’s useless. They are like this dog.  Asleep.

As I go through my talk, inevitably the most vocal opponent (the one who kept telling me how insightful they are and how stupid I am) sees the light and suddenly  wants my help. Hmmm…

Why are there so many jobs posted on Twitter?

— It’s free, fast, easy, has an incredibly broad reach AND all those people who think social media  is stupid won’t be looking there!

Back to the job hunt. Of those 500 job posts per minute, there are, of course, redundant jobs BUT… the question is… how can you use what’s there to help you?

Using Hashtags to Boost Your Job Search is a terrific article on how to use Twitter effectively (Hashtag =# = keywords).  Hashtags such as #jobs, #jobadvice, #jobhunt and #jobsearch offer both job openings and general job search advice.  If you’re looking for high-level information to help your job search,  start here.

Put the hashtag in the twitter search bar and up will pop articles (links) that may help you.  Geographic hashtag can narrow your search, #roc = Rochester, NY.  Also, there are hundreds of recruiters on twitter, Check out this resource. Follow the smart people on Twitter and you might be surprised how much you’ll learn. Got  Twitter job search tips? Please share.

Unemployed Are Not Being Considered for Some Open Positions – #Fail

A disturbing trend in recruiting involves employers not even considering the resume of someone who is unemployed. Here’s the text from a recent job ad:

“Will not consider/review anyone’s resume who is NOT currently employed — regardless of the  reason.”

The company who posted the ad believes that it’s better for them to get a new employee from the ranks of those who are currently working and happy. Hmmm…

Now we can debate the pros and cons of that logic but in a world where there are multiple candidates for any job, employers need to find some way to separate qualified from unqualified candidates. Apparently, under the law, using current employment status as a filter for screening candidates is not illegal unless it has a ‘disparate impact’ on minority groups.

Whining about how this isn’t fair won’t get us anywhere. We need to ignore these companies and find a job. For the employed who are looking for a new opportunity I suggest that you stay away from any company that uses a person’s ‘current employment status’ as a criteria for employment. When they have cuts, what will the criteria be? People whose parents need care? People whose children have a chronic illness?

If it looks like discrimination and sounds like discrimination… it probably is.

For those of you who are unemployed, my suggestion is– DO NOT spend 2 seconds thinking about these short-sighted employers. If you are consistently building your skills (in this you have the advantage over your employed brethren) and have a positive attitude; it will all work out. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

Virtual Vocations–There’s No Place Like Home

For those who haven’t quite come to grips with the fact that work is changing (forever), perhaps this blog post will change your point of view.

Virtual Vocations has 2239 open positions posted.  This list consists of jobs that companies are hiring where employees will work from home:

  • VP Engineering
  • HL7 Integration/Interface Engineers
  • Software Engineers
  • Contract Administrators
  • Instructional Designers
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Swimwear and Toy Designers
  • Seamstresses

There are other openings for positions that are traditionally done remotely like technical recruiters, writers/bloggers/editors, animators/graphic designers, bookkeepers and translators.

As organizations look to be more nimble and respond to changing customer requirements quickly, virtual teams are needed to come together to meet these new and demanding schedules. How companies find, recruit, provide remote work tools for and pay the talent they need is going to be a big challenge. And for those of us who have the specialized skills that are needed, we will need to make ourselves known to these employers.

Flexibility, outstanding communication, updated skills and the ability to adapt are critical to being successful in the evolving world of work.  And the best news is; we’re more likely to be able to attend our kids ball games, concerts and parent teacher conferences.

Work As Collaboration – Freelancers Please Apply

I’ve already had three careers. I was a foreign language teacher, then I was an information consultant and now I work  in marketing. These changes were my choice and a natural progression of my interests.

For many of us, the way we have worked in the past has changed. Most of us will no longer work for one employer for a lifetime; we’ll need to act as freelancers who ‘market’ their skills to organizations who pay to get work done.

For employers, the economics of this might make sense but how can they be sure that their ad hoc work team has the right skills? How do they compensate them?

For workers, how will we keep our skills up to date? How will we get benefits? How will employers find us? What skills will we need to negotiate our new contracts? These are just a few of the questions that we and the next generation of workers will need to face.

Technology is enabling new ways of working together. Google Wave, cloud computing, Google docs and Basecamp are just a few examples of current tools that are changing the way we work.

Sure there still will be plenty of ‘regular’ jobs, but it’s worthwhile for all of us to think about what we will need to do to rise to this challenge. Entrepreneurs have a golden opportunity to create the tools for the coming freelance boom.

For more thoughts about the changing nature of work check out, Predictions for 2010: Five Changes in the Way We Work. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.