Monday, August 25, 2014

Start Networking Today

I gave a presentation of The Modern Resume at SQL Saturday #304 in Indianapolis recently and one of the attendees noted afterwards that I should have emphasized to people that they need to start networking today, before they need a job.

That’s true, and I agree I need to emphasize that networking, like many of the other tips, are long term efforts. The benefits come from regular attention to building and maintaining your network.

Practical Tips

Talk to 3-5 people at every professional event or gathering. I’d say meet 3 new people and talk to 2 people you’ve met before. The former will grow your network; the latter will maintain it.

It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it works well.

Note that you can use social networking online in addition to in-person networking.


When you need a favor, a job, a recommendation, you’re asking for help from people. You are asking them to perform some work on your behalf.

If someone knows you, and they feel a connection, they’re more likely to respond positively. They are more likely to help. If they’ve just met you, do they feel any obligation?

Think about people that have asked you for favors. If a neighbor comes up to you for the first time and asks you to watch his or her pets for a week, are you willing to help? Some of you might, but many of you might not.

However if a neighbor that you’ve had dinner with, or talked to every week for a year asks you, are you more likely to help? Most people are.

Build a network over time. It’s easy, and isn’t too time consuming, but it does take effort. However, it’s worth it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Being Successful

Warren Buffet had some advice for being successful. I ran across it in this Inc piece, and loved it.

"Never do anything in life if you would be ashamed of seeing it printed on the front page of your hometown newspaper for your friends and family to see."

Fantastic advice. This is what I’d say about how you approach your career, your friendships, and your life.

In your career, treat others well. Be fair, be respectful, and remember your actions reflect on you. Brand yourself accordingly.

Monday, August 11, 2014

30 Seconds

I delivered this talk in the UK, at SQL Bits in Telford last month. As usual, I surveyed the audience to see who hires people and I had relatively few responses. Out of the 50-60 people, only 4-5 raised their hands.

One of them was a lady who hires in the Asian Pacific area, and she said that resumes get 2 seconds for review.

That's it.

She makes a snap judgment and then either reviews them more or tosses them. I suspect she gets far too many resumes that look bad, aren't appropriate for the positions, or something else.

While most people will give you 30-60s to impress them, not many will waste time if your resume doesn't stand out immediately.

That's what this blog, and my talk, are about. Standing out. Here's the image from my deck that I use:

Build a clean resume. Make it visually appealing. Search for examples that are easy to read, and look good from a distance. More is not necessarily better on your resume.
Be concise. Write your descriptions, summaries, etc. in a clear manner that explains what you can do for the employer and why you're a good fit. Include impressive points, but use fewer words where you can. Get the message across quickly and simply.
And include lots of links to other places. That way when the reviewer decides to give you more than that 30 (or 2) seconds, they can easily find more information.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Branding in Indy

I'll be at SQL Saturday #304 in Indianapolis next weekend, Aug 9. I'll be delivering the branding talk early, so hopefully lots of people will get the chance to practice things during the day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Would You Take the Job?

I was helping out in an interview process recently and was surprised by something. There was a group of us interviewing candidates, and we had a set list of questions. Each of us asked a question or two and all of us took notes to discuss afterwards. However at the end of each interview, the coordinating interviewer asked each person this question:

If you were offered the job, would you accept?

During one of the discussions, I noted that I thought this was a waste of a question. Certainly everyone would answer "yes" immediately. After all, I have when I've been asked the question.

However the coordinator said that he'd asked this question many times and learned a few things about people. They may hesitate, they may invoke conditions, they may not say yes.

Needless to say I was stunned until I read something similar in the Ask the Headhunter newsletter. One of the questions he answered was on telling the interviewer you want the job, which is very similar.

You should learn to say "I'm interested in the job" if you at all are at the end of the interview. This doesn't bind you, and circumstances may change. Perhaps the offer will be low, perhaps you'll get another offer. You don't know, but at the time, express interest. If someone asks you if you still want the job after the interview, say yes unless you are sure you do not.

There are times you don't want the job, but otherwise, just learn to say "yes, I want the job."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Get Involved

It’s not just me that believes this. There are plenty of people, especially in the technology communities that have seen involvement change their lives and boost their careers.

Scott Hanselmen and Rob Conery have worked to produce a video with Pluralsight that talks about the ways you can enhance your career by getting involved and engaging with peers.

Here’s the teaser:

Watch it at Pluralsight.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Free Images for your Blog

If you’re blogging, and you should try it, you might try spicing up some of your posts with images. I ran across this post with a number of sources for images.

Here are places they recommend:

There are more, so check out the post.

Note that most of these places let you use photos for non commercial use. That means if you’re consulting or selling services, you can’t use them. However if this is your private blog about your career, check them out.