Monday, September 27, 2010

People are talking about you

I was listening to a friend give a presentation on getting a job recently. In the presentation, Chris Shaw, the speaker, mentioned my Modern Resume presentation, which was cool, but he also said something interesting in his talk.

He said that social networking is huge, and you can choose not to participate, but even if you don’t, people will talk about you.

I think that’s very true, and I caution people to be aware of what others might be saying about you. You never know when a coworker, a friend, or maybe a no-a-friend-at-all might post something about you. You never know when a particular person asks about you, your job habits, attitude, skills, or something else in their network.

People will talk about you, and not necessarily online. It might be offline, and the best way that you can help ensure that you are aware of what people say is to be involved in networks. It could be social networks, but maybe you just want to touch base with your own network, trying to keep in regular contact with 10-20 people that could let you know if they hear anything about you.

You won’t know everything that is said about you, but the more you participate in some type of networking, the more likely you are to hear what is being said publically.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Modern Resume Presentation - Kansas City, MO

I’ll be at SQL Saturday #53 in the Cerner Corporation Riverport Campus on Oct 2, 2010 giving the Modern Resume presentation. It’s free to attend (with an optional small charge for lunch.

Come see me if you are interested.

Branding Is a Double Edged Sword

Anything in life that has a huge reward also has the potential to be a huge risk or liability as well. If you do something that could be perceived as a great achievement, keep in mind that if you don’t succeed, that could be viewed negatively.

Don’t let that completely deter you from trying to build your brand since a failure could also be presented as a learning experience. As I heard on Star Trek one time, “…it was a mistake, and there’s not anyone among us that’s not been young enough to make one.”

Sometimes there’s something you do that could be perceived as both at the same time, depending on the person’s point of view. That happened to me recently, and it was a good learning experience.

In my career I’ve been outspoken at times, espousing opinions and thoughts that can be controversial. That has worked well for me since many people have enjoyed my writing and it causes them to think, or even inspires them to do something. That’s the sharp side of the sword that is my virtual pen.

However expressing strong opinions also offends some people. It upsets them, and they can take it personally. That’s the other edge of my virtual pen, and it’s just as sharp.

I was attempting to obtain a new position awhile back and a number of people had to approve my application. They didn’t, expressing the idea that I might not work well with others since I am such a strong personality.

In this case my “brand” held me back, and it was a little painful. However it made me go back and re-examine who I am. I looked at how I present my opinions, what I’ve written, and how I deal with people. I came to the conclusion that I can be a bit overbearing at times, and maybe write with too much emotion, a little too “raw” at times with my thoughts.

However that’s who I am, and I am comfortable with that.  People have come to trust me because I tend to call things as I see them. I don’t write for effect, I don’t put forth opinions to get a reaction, but I write what I really think and feel.

I can temper some of my language and the way I write, and I will look to be more careful, but ultimately I learned something about myself, and I learned that I have to live with the consequences of that.

Branding is still a good idea, in my opinion, since the benefits outweigh the negatives. You’ll never please everyone, and you should not get too upset if someone doesn’t like your brand. The idea is that you want more positive impressions from your brand than negative ones.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sponsoring SQL Saturday #49 – Orlando

sqlsat49_transparent[1] I typically speak and support the SQL Saturday events and was interested to see my business partner, and organizer, Andy Warren, trying something new for SQL Saturday #49 – Orlando next month.

In a blog post, Andy offered blog sponsorships for $5 for the event. It was an attempt to give blog sponsorships to individuals as a way to support the event, fund a prize or two for a volunteer, and help people build their brands.

I’m not sorry that I’m not attending the event and able to actually talk about the Modern Resume, but I have a bunch of presentations and travel around this time and can’t fit in the trip. However I hope that this goes over well, and the blog sponsorships trigger some traffic to both my blog, and other blogs.

At $5, or even say $50 for sponsorship of 10 events, it could be a good way for someone that wants a more public brand to get some exposure.

First Step at a Logo

I wanted to have something that represents this blog, and am looking for a designer that to build a logo, but here's a first cut.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Technical People Should Blog

I ran across a great blog titled: Post 300 or why all developers should be blogging. The reasons given in the articles are great, and I think they apply to all technical people.

You will learn by blogging, and you will keep stuff in a place that you can go back and review it, in addition to giving you something to impress interviewers. There is one more big reason, however.

You need to communicate.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a position that didn’t require some type of communication skills. You might not need to get up in front of a group and express things (or you might), but almost everyone needs to document things or communicate through an electronic written medium. It could be email, IM, texting, some forum system, or anything else. However you need to communicate.

The more you build these skills, the better off you will be. There are definitely some very talented people that can get away with poor social skills and poor written skills, but that’s not most of us. Most of us need to communicate effectively.

To me, blogging is like typing. A developer that hunts and pecks with two fingers is not likely a good developer. And certainly they’re not an efficient developer.

The same thing comes from communicating. You need to practice it to get better at it. You don’t need to write as much as me, or write as long a posts as I do, but by writing regularly, you’ll learn to better express yourself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Virtual Labs - A Great Resource for SQL Server

I had someone send me a note recently asking some questions about how to get set up to work with SQL Server. This was a person that had used SQL Server in the past, but had become a manager and then lost their job. So they wanted to start working with SQL Server and get a new job, however they didn’t have a server or many resources.

My first recommendation is that you grab the SQL Server developer edition for US$50. You can get it from Microsoft, Amazon, or many other places, but this is essential. It gives you a good basic point from which to start and test features.

However if you don’t have a spare machine, or you don’t want to put SQL Server on what you have for some reason, you have another option.

TechNet Virtual Labs

There are a whole variety of labs available, including a series on SQL Server 2008 and other versions. These allow you to RDP to a virtual instance of SQL Server and actually practice working on things.

There are other labs for Windows, Exchange, etc. You can spend time working on these technologies, either guided or unguided, and get some hands on practice. You can’t necessarily save your work, but this is a great way for you to get started on some technology that you want to add to your skillset and resume.