Tag Archives: the 405 club

Becoming relevant in your field

I was asked today how I ‘keep up’ in terms of staying ahead on trends, thought leadership, emerging technologies, etc.  Staying relevant (or fighting for relevance as I was six months ago when I returned from mat leave) is very time consuming.

For the moment, I dedicate 14 hours a week to keeping fresh – every night, every day of the week from 7 – 9pm just on new business startup, reading, engaging and learning.  (yes.. my house is a mess and I have scrapbooks that have no photos in them).

Admittedly, it is a tough practice for anyone in a profession moving a the speed of light and if you are like me – unsupported by those comfy subscriptions to Forresters, e-marketer or Jupiter, etc, then it can be a real challenge (thank god for twitter).

Okay – so how I keep up:

– twitter – following people I respect both local and international.

– following choice bloggers like Charlene Li (formerly Forrester) and George Colony from Forresters because I can’t get Forrester reports right now but can still follow their blogs

– read business books – which are not immediate sources of emerging tech or trends but give me strategies or structure or approaches to business

– volunteer and on the job training

– meet-ups, conferences, networking

and podcasts.

I wrote a piece for the 405 club, an amazing blog and NYC and now 50 states official unemployed network, on Fighting to be Relevant:

With the brain learning enthusiam of a mother coming off maternity leave, I fell into itunes to feed my commuter time and discovered a great deal of information available in podcast/videocast form.   After listening to many duds, I found some great podcasts.  Among my favorite podcasts are the University channel within iTunes.  I’ve been listening to Stanford’s Social Entrepreneurship podcasts as well as the Harvard ideacast channel. (See my favorite – an interview with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia on the Stanford section).  I sprinkled in the daily news like the Wall Street Journal morning reviews  – a paper I can ill afford in the worst of times.   For entertainment, I watched/ listened to the Onion News Network and  Shill – a podcast about PR and social media featuring a great deal of swearing and whisky drinking (no ‘e’ – apparently they drink Scottish whisky).

here to read the whole post

New for me: Contributing writer for the 405 club

The 405 club, New York’s Official Unemployment Network, is a rapidly growing network and clever blog site started by Garrett Dale and Jose Gonzalez.

As you may not know – $405 is the maximium unemployment benefit you can receive in New York State.   So for those who were earning over six figures – its a pretty big fall during a great recession.    The Gotham Gazette, NYC paper, wrote an interesting article about the realities of being unemployed in New York.

I was contacted by Garrett to see if I would be a contributing writer for the blog.   I wrote back asking if he says this to all the blogs but Garrett confessed to liking my writing style and being serious.  AH .. his timing was wonderful and the news brighten my day.

I am pleased as punch to contribute.  The move make more of my volunteer work.

My only professional hesitation is that I really want to be much more than just ‘using social media in job search’ – I want to be about using social media to rock your customer, change the game, create idea jams and engage with customers on levels not yet imagined by most.   [not just me – many of my colleagues in social media pine for this]

The changes that I see that – for the home building industry, for retail, for insurance, for government, for every industry!  And yet – my work in social recruiting 2.0 and job search seems to be hitting a wild nerve – not surprisingly given the market realities.   So as much as I want to talk about how the condo market should be using social media more, or how under utilized youtube is, I continue to talk about jobs.

Now.. if I could just figure out how to get Employment Ontario and the federal government to fund my work…

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.