Posts tagged: job search tools

Swearing and Spelling

wonderful story, curious spelling

I find it surprising and disturbing that recruiters are still holding two things against job seekers in their social media posts:

Swearing and spelling.


In the infographic, “Watch What You Post on Social Media,”  when recruiters were asked, “what are the biggest red flags in job applicants’ social profiles?, the answer is, well, old fashioned … and perhaps not helpful to the potential employer.

In this survey, swearing and spelling have nearly the same negative impact as illegal drugs and sexual posts.


Look, I completely understand that we need standards and differentiators. But eliminating a candidate because they use an ‘F’ bomb vs. using drugs? This makes no sense. I am 100% for everyone paying attention to what they post. I am a well-known ‘hater’ of Face Book for many reasons (mainly they have continually shown open contempt for privacy), but I understand that it is an important part of many people’s daily lives. So just eliminating a candidate for a spelling error doesn’t make sense. In a tight job market, I can see why recruiters use any tool to distinguish between applicants. But spelling errors? We teach the whole language approach to reading and writing in school (vs. phonetics). When you look at the picture… at this kid’s notebook… you see “samwichis” and “lemminad” are early attempts to wrangle language.  When you realize kids today probably are not even learning cursive… perhaps it’s time to think of the ‘context.’

I realize hiring is complex and keeping up with trends in social media is difficult. But especially in the coming, ‘war for talent’ – it will be helpful to think broadly about the changing mores in social media and expression.

Photo Credit: Extra Credit  Woodleywonderworks

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

Because Every Job is “Temporary”…Confidence is Key

Confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Where does your confidence come from?

If it’s from your work and you’ve been forced to make job changes then your confidence might be rocky. But if your confidence comes from self-awareness and continuously updated skills… then you might be feeling ok.. no matter what your employment circumstances are.

An author I admire, Darmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled,  “Nine Qualities of Truly Confident People.”  He describes confidence as, “quiet: a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” Note that the article doesn’t describe confidence as bravado or swagger; but the ability to listen, to be wrong in front of others, to freely ask for help and shine the spotlight on others.

I would add two things to his list: knowledge and discipline. People who are confident usually are disciplined. They get more done than other people because they understand what’s important. In addition, they keep their skills updated. They don’t make excuses for why they don’t know things… they work hard.

If you are looking for a new resource to help you in your journey to career confidence.. check out CareerRealism – their tag line.. “because every job is temporary” … speaks to the modern condition. Most of us don’t like change, but there is one way to be sure that you can cope and that is to create it.

Be confident. Be happy and go with the flow. Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.

Photo credit:  3 WCAP boxers medal  photographer

(Other) Stuff to Do While You Look for Work… You Lucky Dog

When I was on unemployment, I was really happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my own business but getting paid to meet people, learn new things, think about my potential, help people and so on was great.

If you are unemployed, do you see yourself as lucky? Are you having fun? Are you showing your children how to thrive in times of change? (Believe me, whatever changes you have seen in your life will be child’s play compared to what they will go through.)

I found this  terrific article written by Tim Tyrell-Smith titled, “101 (Other) Things You Can Do While Looking for a Job.”  Here are a few of Tim’s suggestions

  • Pick one person in your network and find them a job
  • Put on an elaborate puppet show for your kids (fun, colorful socks work great)
  • Join (or start) a book club and actually read the assigned books
  • Write a thank you note to an inspirational high school or college teacher

You may or may be surprised at all the “yes buts” I hear everyday. “I would join a book club but when I go back to work I won’t have time.” ” Why should I help someone else,  I need help!)” blah, blah, blah. Just do it, you lucky, lucky dog.

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

Networking 101: Who Do You Want to Meet?

When I speak locally,  there are usually a few people who come up and ask to connect with me.  It may take a while but I try to meet everyone who asks me. I like meeting new people and it helps me reach my goal of meeting 5+ new people a week. Do you have a goal to meet a certain number of new people a week? Whether you are a business owner or a job seeker,  meeting new people is critical.

Most  job seekers don’t really have any idea of who they want to meet. Whether you call it your “marketing plan” or target list – please know who you want to meet, and not just oh the hiring manager after you have a particular job in your sights.  If you’re not sure, get a  job search buddy or join a networking group to help you and here are a few ideas.

Think about people in your current, related or desired fields who have a good reputation and are in:

— Academia or are Vendors/Suppliers or Sales People

Think about targeting people in companies where you might be interested in working.  Get introduced to people who are in leadership positions in non profits or on Boards of nonprofits and individuals who teach skills you are interested in learning. And last but not least, meet with people who know a lot of people (network with networkers!) Use Linked In to find the names of people you want to meet.

When I attend a networking event, I am usually there to meet someone I have identified as a potential contact. Someone I hope to help so that they will remember me when they need a consultant. Make that list, check it twice and go out and meet some new people. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo credit:

No Fishy Handshakes Please

Last week I was speaking at a big event and had the pleasure of meeting many people. I was, however,  unhappily struck by the number of people who don’t realize the negative impression of their fishy handshake.

What do I mean by a ‘fishy’ handshake? Well, when you offer just the fingers of your hand or when you fail to grasp the other person’s hand and shake it with confidence; you run the risk of having people think you are weak. This especially goes for men shaking hands with women. It is disrespectful to barely shake hands with a woman. It makes them think that you don’t think of them as equals.

You’ve probably heard the story about why we shake hands, i.e.,  to show that we have no weapons in our hands. Aside from the way we dress and eye contact, our handshake is another very important signal of our confidence.

When you shake hands, please, oh please I’m begging you, look the person in the eye and give them a gentle but firm handshake. This isn’t a strength contest but it is a chance to make the other person sit up and take notice of your positive manner.  So ladies,  put your hand out there and shake firmly. Guys, do the same. it’s so important!

Photo Credit: Ads of the World

Stop Whining and Find a Job on Twitter

It’s hard for me to believe that every time I talk to a group of job hunters about social media, there are still a lot of people who think Twitter is stupid.They’re certain twitter is dumb and announce it to the whole room.

If they want to think it’s stupid that’s OK by me. But they ought to keep their uninformed opinions to themselves.  If you have an open mind, please read on…

Here is a link to an excellent short (3 minutes) video tutorial for finding a job on twitter.  How To Use Advanced Twitter Search To Find A Job – Video from the good folks at   It goes through searching twitter for a job by industry, geography and how to keep up with information on your industry.

Even if you’re not looking for a job, the power of twitter is in real time search. You don’t need to follow anyone or have any followers in order to use it to find information that other people, smart people, value. Twitter isn’t stupid if you follow smart people. Please stop whining and start learning.

Photo credit:  Marie Claire magazine

Low Hanging Fruit — It Might Be Rotten

There are a growing number of career development communities. Check out this article that highlights 5 different sites. Four of them I am familiar with: Linked In,, Monster Career Advice Forum and Glassdoor. Beyond and Monster can be particularly helpful if you are looking to switch careers.

I really like glassdoor because you can get the inside scoop on a company. The site consists of reviews by employees who rate their job, the organization, their salary and the CEO. Of course you need to take each review with a grain of salt. I scanned through the company reviews of those listed in Rochester and I have to say that I agree with the overall ratings of the CEO’s where some are as low as 17% and others as high as 86%.

But the one that made me write this post is Here’ s how the article describes it,  “BranchOut is a new career networking site that integrates with Facebook, so it’s very easy to set up. You can also import your LinkedIn profile, which eliminates the need to double-enter information….it’s an option for people trying to utilize Facebook in both a personal as well as professional way — just make sure your Facebook profile is well-maintained.”

Here’s my concern. First of all, I can’t look at the site unless I give them access to my Facebook information. Remember, every time you give another site permission to access your Facebook data; the site gains access to all your information and cam potentially expose things that are posted to your wall. The next issue I have is;  make sure your ‘”Facebook profile is well-maintained.”  The article then links to an article from summer 2010. This is very outdated information for keeping your Facebook information private.  If they really cared, they’d at least make sure to give us up to date information on such an important issue.  I can only say, beware. A little research reveals a problematic situation.  Do what you think is best, but please be careful.

Photo credit:


Job Search – Going Mobile!

Wow, I knew a lot of things were moving to the mobile space but job hunting? Check out this image of mobile screens from Starbucks. Yes, attention folks; phones are for a lot more than games and email. Before you dismiss this as “not for jobs like the one I’m looking for'”, please check out this article from

Nielsen Research indicates that nearly half of American adults will have ‘smart phones” by the end of 2011. Mobile payment structures, comparison shopping, geolocation, interest driven profiles, group buying and so much more are evidence that this (r)evolution is coming on strong.

Are you prepared? Do you understand what mobile is going to do to your business? Let me know what you think about mobile.