Monday, April 6, 2015

On Hiring - Getting past the first cut.

I read this post on a company that had to choose who to interview. First, this is a company that is hiring people to interact with others. That's important in how they conduct the interview, but in general, I think many of the tips apply. I've got a few comments on what the post says compared with my experiences.

Reviewing the resume- 150 to 30

This is the part of the hiring process I write about. How do you get noticed? How do you get past the first review? How do you stand out in the 150.
First, no one wants to look at 150. My guess is that many managers do what I do. They look through resumes and the ones they like go in a pile. When they get 10 (me) or 30 (this guy) they stop.
I agree with the list for the most part. I can live with a typo or two, but somewhere around 3 or 4 I know this hasn't been proofed or the individual doesn't understand grammar and spelling. You're filed in the trash.
Don't be vague; be specific. Tell me what you did and give it the detail that's important for this job.
As I've mentioned in my talk, don't be funny. It's hard to do, and you (probably) aren't. If you're not, then you come off poorly. If you are one of the few that is truly funny, besides hitting the local comedy club on Tuesday night, save this for the interview.
I do like the part about numbers. Give concrete metrics that show you get things done. For people in technology, show me that you can monitor a server, or write code quickly, or something else. Here is where I'd link to posts with more details, but provide a good, solid, concrete fact in the resume.
I'd be careful about stalking someone or trying too hard. It worked in Wall Street, it might work here, but for many people, it's a nuisance. More than a few calls turn me off. It's a sign you'll bother me later when you want something and I need to work.
The last thing I think I can show here is that the cover letter matters here. It's being read, and it should be professional and relevant. Take some time with it, have someone else read it (and proof it), and good luck.
I'll tackle the interview thoughts next.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Don't Be Funny

I talk about this in my presentation, and it's time to write about it.

I've seen people try to be funny with sarcasm, irony, or jokes on their resumes. I've seen them try it in blog posts, and even in interviews. Surprisingly, the live attempts work the best because I usually have some context, some inflection and body language.

Trying to write humorously is hard. Very hard. Even when it works, it's often because the reader is being led down a certain path that provides them with a framework for the joke.

Most of you aren't funny at all. On your resume, when I'm in a frame of mind to evaluate your talents, it really doesn't work. You might get a smile or chuckle, but most likely I'll view you as not serious, and a bit of a crackpot. Most likely I'll just chuck your resume.

The one guy that tried to be funny, ended up really strange, and got an interview? We interviewed him only because we were wondering who would put that on a resume. We never had any intention of hiring him. I know, that was wrong and mean, but it happens.

Don't be funny. If you think you are, go to the local comedy club on Tuesday or Wednesday night for an open mike.

Be professional when you want a job.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Blogger Challenge

A friend of mine, Ed Leighton-Dick, challenged himself to blog this April, and extended the challenge to others. I think this is a great idea, and I'd urge you to take this on, no matter what your industry.

However I'll modify it.

If you haven't blogged before and you want to try this, do this in Word (or Notepad or somewhere else). I don't necessarily want you to publish these out for the world to see. Instead, I want you to send a weekly post, completed, to a friend. It can be a spouse, co-worker, college roommate, just someone else that can give you feedback.

Bonus points for sending it to two people.

Why Private?

A blog can really help showcase your knowledge and give your career a boost. Employers can learn about you, and if you're a good fit for their opening, they are more likely to call you. They can perform due diligence.

If you're good.

Being good at your job is hard. Being good at your job and good at communication is a step up, and writing can be a difficult way to showcase your skills. I get pieces all the time from professionals that know their jobs. They just don't express it well.

If you wish to give blogging a try, do it privately, but get feedback. Commit, make an effort, but do so in a controlled fashion.

Try

Take the challenge, and publish. Publicly or not, give it a try. Get feedback and comments, and learn. Even if you put your post out for the world to see, send a link to friends and ask for feedback.

You won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Branding Yourself for a Dream Job - SQL Bits XIV 2015

I'm heading back to SQL Bits XIV, the first week of March in 2015. I have a couple sessions, one of which is my Branding Yourself for a Dream Job presentation. I spoke to a packed room last year, and am looking forward to presenting again this year.

If you're in London on Mar 5th or 6th and want to learn a little about technology, as well as branding, register and come.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Caution While Posting

I've written about using "The Test" before posting (or emailing, or really committing anything to permanency. It's good advice, and I stand by it. However I saw a post about what not to post to social media, and I think this adds some depth to my advice.

It's a more formal view of social media, and it's written more for businesses, but anyplace where you see it asking about followers, replace that with "future employers". If you see "mission", then think about your brand instead.

Everything you do on social media reflects on you, and if you have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, etc. where you are trying to grow your career, make sure you stop and think about what you are posting and what it says about you.

In general, I'd limit my posts to thinks I've learned, things I've accomplished, things I've solved, things I've done well.

I'd leave out complaints and concerns regarding coworkers and employers.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Remember Who You Really Work For

I saw this on a post from Brent Ozar recently. It's a post of pictures from his company's vacation last year. There are two sentences. The first is that you should listen to a PSA that notes your company gives you vacation for a reason. However it's the ending line that stood out to me:

Remember who you really work for. Schedule your 2015 vacations now.

Who do you work for? You work for yourself, and you should remember that. By yourself, I mean you, personally, and your family. That's who you should put first and take care of, ultimately.

Employers come and go. Remember that and insist that you get your vacation time. Even if you want to sit in your house and stare at the wall, take the time.

Have I scheduled mine 2015? Not completely, but I did schedule a week with my son at Seabase for a Boy Scout trip. I'm also waiting to hear from my brother before we plan a larger family vacation. And, of course, I'm taking a few days in Jan and Feb to ski.

I haven't always used all my vacation each year, however I also get a lot of vacation by US standards. 25 days, so I often sell back a few to the company. However I have made sure I've used my vacation the last couple years and taken 20 days off.

Life is short. You work for you. Work on your career, but remember to take care of yourself (and your family).

Monday, January 5, 2015

Your Social Media Plan - Tips

I ran across a few tips from a friend of mine for social media success in 2015. It's a good list for anytime, not just 2015, but if you're going to use social media, it's a good set of guidelines for you.

The big things I wanted to point out were  that I do think it's important to pace yourself. It doesn't have to be as regular as a blog, but try to participate on some regular schedule. My posts go up and down, but I do try to regularly become a part of the interactions.

Please, please, watch what you say. This is an impression you leave and you want it to be a good one. Not too many black marbles.

Tim mentions that he purges negative influences. I try to be careful here. It's easy to surround yourself with "yes people" that echo what you think and believe. It can be about life, or about technology.

I do purge people that annoy me too much, but I also try to interact with, and follow/read people that I disagree with. It helps to keep perspective.