Quote: Commitment

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Peter Drucker — business professor, management consultant, author of 39 books and countless journal articles — influenced a whole generation (at least) of business leaders and managers. He was born 98 years ago today.

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.

Peter F. Drucker (b. 11.19.1909 – d. 11.11.2005)

Using Clipmarks to update your blog

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This blog post was composed in Clipmarks. I clipped the information below from the Clipmarks web site, and then selected to post it directly to my blog. If you frequently reference material from other web sites, this looks like a really useful tool.

clipped from clipmarks.com
Clip-to-Blog™ is the most spontaneous way to add things you find on the web directly to your blog.
When you find something online that you want to add to your blog… clip it, add your commentary, click Post to Blog and bam, you’ve just updated your blog with fresh content.

  blog it

Tips from recruiters

I recently had the opportunity to listen a panel of recruiters sharing tips with an audience of job seekers. The panel included two internal recruiters (one with a large multi-national corporation, and one with a smaller, local corporation), and one external recruiter. The questions and discussion yielded some really good information, and a few surprises. Following are some of my notes and key take-aways from the meeting.

About resumes

Always send an electronic version of your resume (paper resumes are more difficult to track and manage). If you provide a hard copy, use light colored paper that reproduces well on a photocopier.

Formatting is less important (unless it relates to the job you are applying for). It is best to keep special formatting to a minimum.

Recruiters typically sort resumes into three categories: Yes, No, and Maybe. Here’s how to get your resume into the “Yes” stack:

  • A clear skills match. Write your resume to match the job requirements listed in the job ad. Yes, this requires customizing your resume for each application, but it pays off. If the position is for a “programmer,” use that term instead of “software engineer.” If the position is primarily responsible for database management, move that experience to the top of your resume. Write your resume so it’s impossible to miss the connection between your skills and the job requirements.
  • A clear benefit to the company. Focus your resume on the future (how you can help the company) rather than the past (what you did). Your resume should be a marketing document, not an obituary. Yes, you have to describe your past experience, but do so in a way that sells what you can offer in the future.
  • A connection. The best way to get your resume in the “Yes” stack is to send it through a connection. If you know someone in the organization, send it through them. If you don’t know someone in the organization, start networking. Even a casual contact with the recruiter at an event like this is enough to get your resume extra attention.

Here’s how to get your resume into the “No” stack:

  • More than 2 pages. The resume is an introduction, not a life history.
  • Spelling errors, or (I can’t believe people actually do this) hand-written corrections on the resume.
  • Special characters or unusual formatting (electronic resumes) that don’t translate on the recruiter’s system.
  • No clear skills match.

There are some key factors that recruiters are looking for to determine a potential match:

  • Where did you work? For how long?
  • What industry?
  • How big was the company?
  • What are your credentials?
  • What is your progression?

About cover letters

Surprisingly, only one of the three recruiters indicated that they ever look at cover letters. The one who does considers them to be very important. The ones who don’t look at them say it doesn’t hurt your chances, but just doesn’t add much value for them.

If you do include a cover letter, it should be brief (about two paragraphs) and provide information not included in your resume. Don’t simply rehash your resume in the cover letter. That wastes the recruiter’s time.

About interviews

Sell yourself. If you can’t or won’t sell yourself, the recruiter can’t sell you either.

The receptionist has a lot do do with first impressions. When you arrive, treat the receptionist like one of the interviewers. You never know…

Be alive and be vibrant. Shake hands. Smile. Make eye contact.

Be focused. People don’t do what they want to do or get where they want to be because they never decide what it is. Know what you want.

Know and be able to articulate your strengths. Don’t be afraid to sell, sell, sell. Be confident.

Never use “we” when describing your accomplishments. Interviewers don’t want to know what your team or group did; they want to know what your contribution was. Never give philosophical or theoretical responses to questions. Be specific about your accomplishments, strengths, etc.

Know something about the company. Not just “about” the company, but be aware of current news and issues. There is no excuse for not doing at least a basic Google search on the company and/or industry.

Be persistent. Be consistent. Be prepared. Be passionate.

About follow up

Get a business card (or at least a name) of every person you meet. Send them a “Thank You” note. One of the recruiters said he gets so few thank you notes that writing one makes you stand out. Handwritten is better.

Be persistent in following up with the recruiter and interviewer. Don’t be afraid to send an email or make a phone call.

Conclusion

Well, that’s all my notes. There was so much more good stuff, I could not write it all down. Hope some of these ideas help you along your journey.

Quote: Don’t sit there

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Growing up just a few miles from Will Rogers’ hometown in Oklahoma, we were frequently regaled with his wit and wisdom. His legend loomed large over the local culture, and his name graced everything from streets to schools to buildings.

One of my favorite quotes from Will Rogers:

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers (b. 11/4/1879 – d. 8/15/1935)

Informational interviews

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The informational interview is one of the most useful and yet under-utilized career management tools. I’ve become a big proponent of informational interviews ever since conducting my first one several months ago. When I’m among job seekers, I often ask if they are including informational interviews as part of their strategy. Many have never heard of them, and many of those who have tend to shy away from them. If you are not using informational interviews, you are missing a great opportunity.

What is an informational interview?

Sometime called an informational meeting, a referral meeting, or a research interview. It is a brief meeting (usually anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes) between you and somebody currently in a career or industry that you want to learn more about. You can use the interview to gain new knowledge, or to validate your understanding, or to sharpen your focus.

An informational interview is not about asking for a job. Never, never ask for a job. That is the cardinal rule of informational interviews.

And therein is the rub for many job seekers who disdain informational interviews. They seem to view them as an underhanded and sneaky way to get a foot in the door when the interviewee knows they are really looking for a job. Or, they may feel that the informational interview puts them in an awkward position by making them appear desperate.

What these job seekers don’t realize is that informational interviews are not strictly the domain of job seekers. Such interviews are an essential part of networking for both the unemployed and the employed. (Note that I earlier referred to the informational interview as a career management tool, not a job search tool.) Most professionals recognize this as an ordinary part of business and are not offended by being approached for an interview. In a 2004 Career Journal article, Pamela Peterson, director of business development for IPSA International, said “Eighty percent of the time people are delighted and willing to meet and to help, primarily because they recognize the value of networking as well the satisfaction that comes from being able to help someone.”

What are the benefits of an informational interview?

Compare the informational interview with a job interview.

  • Informational interviews are generally easier to get.
  • With an informational interview, you ask the questions and are in control.
  • An informational interview is typically more relaxed for both parties.
  • Informational interviewees may become part of your network, and may provide referrals.
  • Informational interviewees may be less guarded in sharing information.

In addition, you build your professional network. You gain knowledge of a career or industry. You gain confidence in presenting yourself and your ideas to others. And you develop name recognition and a positive reputation in your professional circle.

Okay, I’m sold… Now what?

Watch for additional posts in the coming days about

  • How to obtain an informational interview
  • How to conduct an informational interview

Update 11/20/2007: Be sure to see Part 2 of this discussion.

Quote: Our Constitution

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John Adams was born 272 years ago today. He was one of the founding fathers of our nation, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the first U.S. Ambassador to a foreign country (The Netherlands), the first U.S. Ambassador to England, the first vice-president and the second president of the United States.

Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution, which was the first to feature a bicameral (two houses) legislature, and which later served a model for the U.S. and many other state constitutions. Thus Adams uniquely understood the fragile relationship that existed between the Constitution and the citizens when he said:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.

John Adams (b. 10/30/1735 – d. 7/4/1826)

Our government is adequate only to the extent that the citizens are willing to govern themselves. This principle, I think, can also be applied to any organization, team, or business. The strength of the organization depends on the integrity of its members, and their commitment to maintain the organization. No organizational structure can withstand unbridled avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry.

Quote: Success

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Bill Gates celebrates his 52nd birthday today. As the world’s richest man for 13 years running (Forbes “400 List” 1993-2006), Gates has certainly earned the right offer a bit of wisdom about about success.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

– Bill Gates (b. 10/28/1955)