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.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Be Professional

I try to emphasize this multiple times in my talk, even though it’s obvious. The reason is that people sometimes forget to be professional when they’re trying to stand out.

I’ll admit this can be a fine line, but if you have doubts, get opinions from your partner, your parents, your kids, your friends. You want to look like you can do the job well, in whatever industry you are working.

What It Means

Being professional means a number of things. It means that whenever you are presenting yourself, whether on the phone, on a blog, during an interview, you are doing these things:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful
  • Be polite
  • Be honest

Staying on topic means sticking to relevant topics about your career or industry. You can relate other experiences, but the important part is sticking to the topic.

Being respectful means that you understand the other person’s point of view, or other points of view, and you appreciate how those views, solutions, decisions are reached. You might feel they are wrong or inappropriate for the situation, but you both understand that you could be wrong yourself, and the person might have made their own mistake. It means appreciating the other.

Politeness shouldn’t be hard, but it’s following societal and cultural norms. Don’t interrupt, make some eye contact, be nice, shake hands. There are all sorts of social things here, and if you have doubt, do a little research. Ask friends or partners if you are impolite. This goes a long way towards showing that you can work with others. If you don’t want to be polite, remember that some people (like myself) will hold that against you in a job situation.

I don’t mean to put honestly last, or diminish its importance, but honesty in this sense means trying your best to do a good job at whatever you do. Don’t misrepresent your work or your skills. Accept responsibility for mistakes or delays. Perform an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.