Tag Archives: How to

For 405 club: Dodging the stigma of actively searching for work

yippeee kiyaaa mfff!  Here’s my first post to the 405 club.

I’ve been volunteering/consulting in social recruiting lately – a high demand and growing area – playing both sides of the fence between consulting with HR/recruiters & execs and volunteering with the painfully transitioned in Toronto.   I wanted to offer suggestions to those who choose not to open up their chest cavity and explain why they are out of work…  AND give a new blog post to the 405 club:  NYC’s official unemployment network who’ve just asked me to be a contributing blogger to the site. <blush>

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Perception is Reality

Picture it – you’re sitting in the first interview you’ve managed to get in weeks, its a job that matches your working desires and the promise of pay is in line with your old self – the one that used to work.

The fumble you are trying to avoid is not whether or not you qualify for  the job.  NOOOO its whether or not to pretend that you are not the active job searcher you are.   Damn the stigma of being an active job seeker.

I touched on this in an earlier blog post – social recruiting 2.0.   Quickly – recruiters and hr managers break job searchers into three main groups –

  1. non-seekers – those who have a job who aren’t looking,
  2. passive job searchers – have a job and are mildly searching, and
  3. active job searchers – say no more.

Active job searchers are, at times, avoided under the belief they constitute the undesirable; the belief that they will jump at any job opportunity – qualified or not,  suitable or not and desert jobs when they find what they really want.   I’m sure this stigma is grounded in some reality and yet, in a great recession, employers should not ignore quality candidates regardless of situation.  [Excellent article on out of work stigma fading.]

So.. back to business – HOW TO PRETEND YOU AREN’T ACTIVELY SEARCHING WHEN YOU ARE:

  • Build your own website – not a online resume, a small business site.  Consider using free blog publishing to get up and running fast.
  • Invest in your own domain name.   I wouldn’t necessarily go with your personal name as a domain but if you can’t dream up something cheap and available as a .com, then go for it.  Some instructions in a previous “how to” blog post of mine using godaddy.
  • Volunteer in a relevant capacity and make an “in-kind” deal allowing yourself to claim the organization as a client, and get website or other exposure for your business.
  • Make the bloody most of every volunteer/contract experience – blog about it, status update it, twitter it if you are on twitter, talk about it.  Use popular tag words in your blog title post so that your post gets auto pulled into silly blogs that add posts based on key word terms rather than content.
  • Update all social networking sites to your new business – linkedin, etc.  [I’m assuming here you are on linkedin.. and you should be]
  • Use a powerful signature linking back to profiles, @twitters or blog posts.  Start commenting as the president and chief pipeline filler in relevant forums, questions & answers paying attention to well attended blogs, websites, facebook fan pages or linkedin discussions as they will feed back traffic through the comments you make.
  • Cross pollinate your social networks.  Add linkedin applications that display your blog in your linkedin e.g. wordpress app, then add linkedin badges to your blog.

At the end of the day – an hr mgr and recruiter will still ask you why you are applying for full time moving away from your business.    My response has always been about the opportunity.  Personally, its hard to fill a pipeline as a small business and work on it.  But being committed to playing in a field you love means that you may have to take on different roles to do it.  Some of those roles are full time – others are contract and others are volunteer work.

Good luck.

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Twitter 101 – twitter defined and explained in plain english

Need to understand twitter?  How to use it, grow it, what the key features are?  

I don’t know how basic to go in my upcoming course for Tcet, so I’ll briefly address the twitter questions my mother recently asked me.  “What is twitter?”  “What’s the big deal about it?”  “How can you get value from short bits of information?” [all said with some frustration and distain for hyped news coverage]

Def’n:  Twitter is, as twitter says, a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real time

  • Messaging – referred to as “micro-blogging” since all posts/updates [called ‘tweets’] are 140 characters or less.  
  • Connected – in twitter, its pretty simple.  You follow people [following] and people follow you [followers].  Some people get >10,000 people following their tweets.  Oprah, for instance, has over a 1MM followers.  Some aim to follow just as many – how they do it, I don’t know. 
  • Real time – this is a *huge* differentiator for twitter in the social media world and what is driving a key trend and expectation in internet use.  Twitter offers as close to real time as it gets – giving out a constant stream of small information updates as people post them kinda like a ticker tape of valuable post-it notes from people you like to follow. 

Other useful things to know:

  • Your address in twitter starts with an “@” sign.  Mine is “@ldillonschalk”.  When you tweet, to address the tweet to someone specific, you use the “@ldillonschalk” prior to the message.   You can also use “@ldillonschalk” in the middle of the 140 characters too.  The difference  results in who can see your tweet.  The former allows anyone who also follows “ldillonschalk” to see the tweet.  The latter allows all your followers to see the tweet.
  • Retweeting – “RT”.  When you see a tweet message that you like, you can ‘retweet’ it or forward it to your own network by retweeting.
  • Creating a profile – under settings, make it complete!
    • Choose a memorable username to help people remember who the tweet is coming from.  Easiest is your name.   I personally want to follow people not organizations so I tend to look for individuals.   
    • Add a picture.  Dont’ be shy.  But use the same picture across all your social medias so that your ‘brand’ is consistent and recognizable.  Exception can be facebook – where I use a different picture because I don’t mix my facebook with my professioanl life.   Don’t change the picture too often – like once every few years.   Personally – I think the picture should be professional, personable (smile), fairly close cropped head & shoulders and generally represent what you look like today (so no pictures that are over five years old showing a slimmer, more tan, or younger you).   Be real.  No picture of kids – save that for facebook.
    • Add your one line bio and chose your words wisely.  One big way people decide whether or not to follow you is by reading your short blurb that pops up when hovering over your photo.  I like to see topics people tweet about and their roles (e.g. consultant, father of two, banker, etc).

How do you know who to follow?  I started with people that I know, admire and love learning from.  Now I worked at IBM so finding great tweeters was easy for me.  But having come from the home building industry where the vast majority are still not on facebook, linkedin, let alone twitter, I could see the challenge in following.  So from housing, I looked to my ad agencies or interactive partners – again, people I admired.  I also am in a social media group on linkedin – upon which people started sharing their twitter addresses.   I’m not suggesting you sign up to this social media group – on the contrary – look for groups and people that you like to learn from relevant to your sweet spot.  If that’s business great.  or it could be gardening, or golfing or whatever you want to follow.

How do you get followed?  

  • Follow people and they will follow you.   There is a general etiquette around following – most people will follow you back.  Likewise, people who find you first do expect you will return their follow.  There are twitter ratios that highlight your friends vs. followers assuming that closer to 100% is better.   That said – I think its okay to be selective about who you follow.  Like linkedin, I don’t want a whole bunch of crap contacts of people solely interested in gaining a useless metric.   See my twitter stats below from mrretweet.
  • My twitter stats as of June 14 2009

    My twitter stats as of June 14 2009

  • Tweet value.  If you add good information, it will get retweeted.
  • Retweet and engage with people you follow. 
  • Get a #followfriday – which is like getting a recommendation from a twitter friend to its followers that you should be followed.  Better still, use Mrretweet (see reference below)
  • Self promote – add your twitter address to facebook, linkedin, to your website, add to blog posts (e.g. are you following me yet?)   Answer linkedin answers and leave a twitter address. etc..

How can you manage this stream of information?
Its bloody hard work to follow twitter.  When I sit down, its for 1 -2 hours because I’m active.  I click on links, I read blogs, I comment and retweet.   Like many people, I use tweetdeck – which is a separate website (free download application to be precise) that helps to manage all your tweets.  I create groups of people – my close friends, my “a” list of people I really like, my ‘all friends’ category which I watch so I can move people into my “a” list and then some groups based on subject matter.

Is there value in doing all this?
Well yes and no.  Garbage in = garbage out.  Twitter is what you put into it.  It is an investment and the opportunity is to get connect with like minded individuals which can lead to friendship, money, respect, whatever.   Right now I am learning.  I now have about 200 people feeding me on topics that I love reading about.  I’ve always been a very good researcher and my facts and stories were the cornerstone for a lot of my consulting work.  But finding the research, the stats, the case studies was always a lot of work.  Now I get fed this research and what I love about the internet is that there is always someone smarter, early adopting, knowing than me (and I’m also smarter, early adopting, etc than someone else).  The downside is that I get into this mentality of receiving.  and I need to step back and think about my focus, what I want to learn and what I see happening in market.  There is a lot of clutter online including twitter.   Sharon Hayes, see below, talks alot about the value twitter has brought to her.  Check it out.

WANT MORE?
There is a heck of a lot more to learn about twitter.  One person that I really enjoy following & reading blog posts from is Sharon Hayes.  Her posts are incredibly well thought out and well written on a variety of social media topics.  In particular, I read her twitter posts as she really understands how to build and extract value from twitter – which is not easy to get to without some time investment.

Consider reading up her on a recent post “How to avoid the #followfriday problem” so to help identify other people that you should follow.

Hope that helps.  By the way – are you following me?

Laurie

Forgot your key for wireless router?

Forgot the password or key for your home wireless router?  No problem!

I haven’t used our wireless router in about 2-3 years.  Long story – had a friend visit and being a retired msn geek (young retired if you know what I mean) he took apart and fuddled with all my computer equipment while I was at work.   Some for the better, and some for the worse.   Anyhow – that’s why I don’t know the password.

So.. here is a solution.  Go to virus.org (I know.. the name is dubious).  Go to password database and look up your router.  The default admin passwords are there!  Some routers will put this on the bottom of the router too.

2.  Get to c: prompt (accessories) and type ipconfig to get your default gateway address.

3. pop the default gateway address into your IE or firefox address bar and voila – you have the userid & password screen to manage the router.