Monday, April 30, 2012

Recruiters Checking out your resume

Using eye tracking software, a series of recruiters were followed for 10 weeks to see what they looked at in a resume. You can read about it, but basically the things they look at are:
  • Name and other identity information
  • current position and company
  • previous position and company
  • education
They do this in about 6 seconds and then make a fit or no fit decision.
I’m not sure if that means these are good recruiters or bad ones, but the fact that they spend 6 seconds on average and only look at a few things is a little disturbing.
There’s also the fact that the more organized (titles and sections) a resume is, the more time spent on it. Not much time, but more. A good reason to perhaps organize things in your resume, and move those keywords to the end, as I’ve mentioned before. However inside the current and previous position, include a few mentions of the technologies you’ve been using.
Whether this is valid or applicable to actual hiring managers in companies is debatable, but the fact that someone passes judgment on you so quickly means that you want to make sure you optimize your resume for this quick review.
Clear headings, make the resume easy to read and have the important stuff on the front page.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Help Blogging

This is interesting, and it comes to me from Andy Warren’s blog. Plinky is a prompt, a challenge, an idea that you can use to blog for the day.

It’s an interesting idea, and one I think might be helpful if you’re just looking to write, but I’m not sure it’s a great idea for a professional blog.

However it does give me an idea for a service to prompt you in your particular industry. I wonder if there’s an engine or algorithm to be written that can help get you going in your field?

In the meantime, I might suggest that you take a day and write down a dozen sentences that describe the kinds of things you do in your job. Then take each of those and turn them into a post, a basic explanation of what you understand about the topic, and schedule those out. I’d think you could easily do one every two weeks and get things scheduled for almost a half year.

Monday, April 16, 2012

After a Rejection

If you’ve been rejected after a job interview, you might feel bad, feel like just moving on and finding another company. It’s natural, and I certainly understand. I’ve been lucky in my career to have few rejections, but I have had a few and I haven’t always taken it in any way other than very negatively.

This article talks about some things you might want to do in the corporate world. Write back to the manager, thank them, and ask about other opportunities.  I hadn’t heard that before, but it makes sense, especially for the reasons given. Corporate people often “start over” with each job opening, not considering other candidates, even if they’ve been interviewed recently.

I have heard to reach out and ask what you could do better. I’m not sure how I’d respond to that as a manager, mostly because of potential legal issues. Also, it might not be anything that you did wrong, and just be that there were better candidates.

It’s worth reaching out, if for no other reason than to have your name in the mind of a manager that might need someone else.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook Passwords and Privacy

One of the things that I always talk about is that you ought to separate your professional and personal lives. For many of us, this might mean that we want to have multiple profiles online, and perhaps make sure we separate those profiles.

I have separate blogs for different parts of my life. This blog is dedicated to the Modern Resume and branding, I have a blog for my running, a blog for my personal life, and a professional blog at I used Twitter and LinkedIn for professional work, but I reserve Facebook for connecting with friends.

Sidebar: If you can’t see much of my profile, it’s because I limit what I show in Facebook to non-friends. Also, if you haven’t met my family, or had a meal with me, I won’t accept friend requests.

I’ve seen recently that some employers are asking for your profile information on Facebook and other sites. I know that this can be a cause of concern, and while there are any number of places to get advice, here’s what I would do:

Politely decline in an interview, or at your place of employment - I would note that my Facebook profile is private correspondence with my friends and family. It is not visible to everyone, and not public information. I would point the employer to my professional, and public, presences.

Provide an analogy - Ask your employer if they would expect to require you to have listening devices in your home or on your person during off hours. Ask if your employer expects to be able to come to your house and view videos or scrap books that you’ve shown friends.  The postings on a private site, like Facebook, are the digital equivalent.

Agree to Remove your Professional Information - You should not use your private profile to identify your employer. Just as you want your privacy, so should they, and you may consider including a disclaimer on your profile. Here’s what I have on Facebook:

The opinions, links, status updates, thoughts, and comments  posted here are my own opinion and to not reflect on my employer.

If you want to show your employer your profile so they can see this, feel free, but I would just sign something to this effect. Note that this would imply you should not have a current employer listed on private social networks.

If required, cite Federal Law - Forcing someone to give a password does not constitute authorization, and I would ensure that if my employer forced this issue and I couldn’t quit, I would get the request in writing. Prior to signing this or handing over the password, I would cite Section 18 of the United States Code, Item 1030, which deals with computer fraud. Accessing someone’s account without their consent, is a violation of this law.

Ultimately it’s up to you to handle this, and you can do what you want, but I would encourage you to think about this before you get asked.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Resources for Learning

I wrote last year about the Khan Academy over at The Voice of the DBA blog. It's a resource that one man set up for his kid and it has grown into a great learning resource for a number of academic subjects. It's a great resource, and if you have kids, check it out.

However, if you're interested in being a teacher in one of those subjects, it's also a good resource. You could get background on a subject, view how others teach the topic, or brush up on portions of the subject you aren't familiar with. That's in addition to being a great teaching tool.

In my industry, the SQL Server/data professional field, we have tons of resources available to us. Microsoft provides various hands-on labs. The company I started provides daily resources to learn from. There are plenty of other resources as well, including free events, and webinars from a variety of sources.

I know the tech industry is probably ahead of others, but more and more doctors, lawyers, and others are blogging and providing free or cheap education all the time. You just have to look for it.

Take control of your career, and seek out resources that can help you get better, learn new skills, and hopefully find the best job in the world for you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

SQL Saturday #131

I’ll be delivering the branding presentation at SQL Saturday #131, in Phoenix, AZ, on Apr 28 at 2:45. If you’ll be in the area, consider registering for the event and coming by. It’s free, and there will be lots of other technical SQL Server information as well.