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The Foibles of Facebook

I was looking for a former colleague the other day on Facebook and lo and behold I found him! Before asking to “friend” him I looked at his profile, and discovered that he was married, and listed his wife’s Facebook page. Apparently you can easily do that with FB.

Out of curiosity I clicked on his wife’s page which was totally available to the public, including all her comments, private life, and even details of a recent doctor’s visit. I was concerned. Not only for her health, but for the career health of her husband. What if he’s looking for a new job? Employers can and will find this information. What most people don’t realize is that HR Directors are wondering “how many people are we going to have to insure with this hire?” along with any other related health issues, etc. Facebook is not the place to be posting your biopsy results.

According to a recent Workforce Management magazine article titled “Five Trends in Employee Screening,” there is more scrutiny by employers of social networking sites. This article was not posted online, so I don’t have a link.

Don’t let the “privacy” button on Facebook fool you either. You can still be tagged in photos, and your comments on your friend’s pages

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Graduating Cum Laude — You May Brag About it Again

When I first starting writing resumes 13 years ago, it was not uncommon for my clients to want tell future employers about how they graduated with honors. The universities use the Latin term “cum laude” on the degree to distinguish these hard working students. However, you may remember that spam emails were rampant early in the new millennium, usually adversiting websites containing adult content or enhancement drugs. Employers began using “spam blockers” to keep sexually explicit messages from ever reaching their company inbox.

This posed a problem for job searchers who were highly qualified and graduated cum laude. That’s because, cum has a different meaning in English than it does Latin, and it became one of those words that triggered the spam blocker. Resumes that listed this phrase never made it to the intended recipient. Instead, the documents were sent directly into spam folders and deleted. Professional resume writers were told not to use the phrase at all, and instead write “with honors.”

As with everything else in the job search, the rules are once again changing. According to chatter this week in resume writer e-groups, the spam blockers from 2004 are no longer relevant, and emails sent back and forth among the members discussing the “cum laude” issue are not being rejected. Perhaps the software has become more context-based, although this is in no way a scientific study.

Does this mean we can go back to using “cum laude” on a resume? Maybe. I always tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to changes like this. However it’s nice to know that students who work hard, and earn top honors are less likely to be ignored anymore because of spam blocking software.

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Can Social Media Derail Your Career?

This blog could also be titled “How to alienate friends, and stay unemployed for a very long time.”

I’ve been involved with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for nearly a decade when I joined Linkedin on the advice of a client who was an early adopter. A few years later I found myself exploring Twitter and Facebook and secured my handles while they were still available. Since then, I’ve been an active user of the 3, and learned about the most annoying behaviours, what turns off employers, and causes people to unfriend you or disconnect. If you want to stay happily engaged on social media and keep your prospects open to further your career, learn how to behave in cyberspace.

1. Avoid being preachy, whether it’s your love or hate for the president, or your deep religious faith, there is an extremely good chance you’ve got cyber-friends who don’t feel the same way. Some people have told me “I don’t care, it’s who I am and I won’t hide it.” That’s perfectly fine, however if sometime in the future you’re job hunting, you could be discriminated against for your beliefs without your knowledge. It can freak out future HR Managers who fear of politicking and proselytizing in the workplace. Politics and religions should not be discussed in polite company anyway. The same goes for Facebook.

2. Watch the extreme details about your health issues. I understand if you need prayers for an ailment, just keep the dirty details to yourself. For one, it’s illegal for employers to ask if you have any health issues prior to hiring you. So, why would you want to publicize that information? I’ve had people tell me they only share this type of information with a select few (like 100 others!) and then can’t understand that once it’s public, it’s OK to share, and people do! Employers could become skeptical about whether you’re healthy enough to work.

3. Family squabbles need to be kept in the family. I’ve seen husbands and wives argue on a Facebook page! Or worse, a wife berating her husband about what a lazy ass he is. That shows more about your discretion of private matters than it does your husband’s laziness and that makes companies fear you won’t be discrete with their secrets either. Plus, they don’t like a lot drama in their workplace.

Facebbok Dont 9

4. Don’t critique your job interviews. Better yet, don’t even announce you have a job interview. Doing so not only creates competition, and again, it tells future managers you reveal too much information on meetings that should be kept private, even if you don’t mention names. I’ve seen a few (long term) job seekers continuously bad mouth interviewers, some even mentioning the name of the company, and post it in LinkedIn group forums, Facebook, and on twitter.

 

Facebook DONT

5. Posting long diatribes of your inner most thoughts is another way to derail your career. Some things are just made for a journal.
 

 

 

 

 

Facebook DONT 4

6. Don’t post evidence of drug use. Really do I have to explain it?
 

 

 

7. Guilting your cyber-friends into sharing and posting pictures and memes “even if it’s just for an hour” tends to make some people uncomfortable.  Requests for help with moving followed by “we’ll see who my real friends are” may find themselves extremely disappointed.

8. Gaming. If you spend the majority of your time on Facebook playing games, keep in mind that time is trackable. Employers might get the idea you have an addiction to Candy Crush and wonder about priorities or productivity.

9. Complaining about how broke you are, only to post photos a week later of your new car, recent vacation, a new tattoo, or stylish hair and nails. Regardless of how your acquired these things, the perception is you don’t know how to manage your money.

Anything you post on social media can be used against you. So if you’ve been unemployed for a really long time – perhaps it’s time to either shut down your account altogether or at the very least, go in a remove any offending posts.

 

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Linkedin Needs a Preview Page

In my business, it’s paramount that my clients look as good as possible throughout their career. And Linkedin is now included as a “must have” just like a resume. I’ve seen some really good Linkedin Profiles, and some really bad ones. A poorly written profile can cost a job seeker an opportunity, without even knowing it. These are the profiles that are stark, contain bad grammar, or misspelled words.

That’s why clients contact resume writers like me to help out with Linkedin profiles. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work involved from turning on or off privacy and broadcast features, to creating a custom url that can be inserted into the resume. However, the folks at Linkedin don’t make it easy to help their members put their best foot forward. Their rules dictate that no one but the owner of the account can have access. That means no sharing of usernames and passwords or you can jeopardize your account privileges. I get the reasoning behind it, and I’m totally on board with it. But it doesn’t make it any easier for newbies trying to get an account up and running for the first time when they’re on the hunt for new gig.

So may I suggest to the folks at Linkedin a preview page? One that allows the member to send a link to a professional writer for editing privileges, but the profile does not go LIVE until the member approves it and clicks on a button to make it happen. That way the writer won’t have access to the actual account, or private messages, but the client can still have a great looking Linkedin profile without having to cut and paste from a word document.

Come on Linkedin. You know you can do this.

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Gift ideas for New College Graduates

College graduation season will soon be upon us, and that means a new class entering the workforce. After spending tens of thousands of dollars to secure a degree, doesn’t it make sense to pay a few hundred dollars on professional services to get a leg up on the competition? A gift certificate for resumes, cover letters, and job search advice helps the new graduate land a job in their field much more quickly.

Years ago one of my clients purchased a resume package for his sister who was graduating college. A year later he told me it was like giving her a “winning lottery ticket.” Apparently she landed an internship with her dream company that turned into a $68,000 a year job. She was a chemical engineer, mind you. All occupations are different.

That experience helped me realize what a great gift my client gave to his sister. If you know someone graduating soon, let us provide the most up to date advice for job applications, resumes, cover letters, and online job searches. Contact us for details. 623-556-0330.

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How to Spot a Toxic Co-worker

We’ve all seen them – TOXIC people who have a dark cloud over them, create a lot of drama, and point fingers that everyone else is the problem These people will undermine your career, drain your energy, steal credit for your ideas, and then point the finger that you’re the one with the problem and it was you who screwed them over. If you call them on their B.S. you will be crucified.
Most of the time they will give away their “tells” — so be on the look out for them. Perhaps they’re bragging about how they vilified their ex-spouse in a divorce, or how they screwed over someone else’s chance at getting a job. If you have a co-worker like this, RUN! Do not share anything with them they can later use against you, because they will. After all, if they’d screw over a spouse, they will certainly do the same to you, and feel no remorse whatsoever. They love playing the victim.
WikiHow refers to these types as “Impossible People.” There is nothing you can do about them, except ignore them.  Don’t stoop to conquer. You’ll never win.

Do not worry about the tales they tell about you. For they will continue to tell the world what shit heads they are through their actions alone.

 

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Keep Your Job Search Confidential

I get this question from time to time as to whether you should let your co-workers and managers know you are are actively job searching or you have a job interview with another company. To that I reply, “NO!” Sometimes I’ll get push back that it’s the right thing to do, so the company can have more time finding a replacement. It’s an ideal concept, but one that backfires more often than not.

For one, your co-workers and managers will begin treating you differently. Here’s why. Imagine if you’re married, and you approach your spouse to let them know you are interested in playing the field, to see what else is out there. Or that you plan to leave the marriage 8 weeks from now. What do you think the response will be? And then what if your new love interest decides you’re not the one after all? It’s not that different when it comes to the job search. If you don’t find a new job right away, or perhaps you decide you’re better off staying put, do you think your employer will embrace you? Or question your loyalty?

You’re not off the hook if your unemployed either. Sure you can mention you’re looking for work, but leave it at that. Blasting information about upcoming or recent job interviews among friends, co-workers, or on social media can  backfire because it invites competition for the job (maybe your co-workers are also interested in fleeing the coop).

Moreover, I’ve seen the chronically unemployed continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to job searching and networking. These are the people who hang out in LinkedIn chat rooms and: lament about how tough the job market is, all they want is a job, and then when they get an interview they complain loudly about the asinine questions, or hurl insults about the interviewer. That’s just bad branding. And poor etiquette.

The job search is much like a poker game. Keep a straight face and keep your cards close to the vest. Don’t make it easy for your competitors to beat you.  Or your current boss to remove you from the table.

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Right from the horse’s mouth….

Part of my job as a career coach is to keep an eye out on burgeoning trends; know when trends become passe; and listen, listen, listen to what hiring authorities want and need to see on a resume to garner their attention. I read a lot of blogs and advice columns on the job search, and two of my favorites are AskAManager.org and AskTheHeadhunter.com Allison Greene and Nick Corcodilos are refreshingly candid, on how to land a job, and not end up working for jerks. Both provide insight that is spot on.

That’s why I was excited to stumble across a (new to me) blog, published in 2010. Head Smacking Tips For Jobseekers” which presents, from the manager’s point of view, why your resume is getting overlooked. Starting with “Don’t Name Your Resume, Resume.” I blogged about this very topic in 2007, and yet it’s still a common issue among job seekers. After you learn why it’s a bad idea, come check out this advice on how to best name your resume when sending it electronically that will put you ahead of the pack.

 

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Yikes! It’s Tax Time Again.

Tax season is underway, and I know I have options when it comes to tax preparation: I can do it myself and hope I don’t make an expensive mistake. I can buy software and hope that I understand exactly what the program is asking me to do, or I can bite the bullet and shell out a few hundred bucks and get help from someone who knows convoluted tax code inside out. I don’t have time to keep up with the changes from one year to the next. And figuring out my tax burden is just not fun for me. Many people feel the same way about writing a résumé.

Tax preparation and résumé preparation are not that different. Both processes work best when you save vital documents, such as mileage and receipts for the IRS; and performance evaluations from previous jobs for your résumé. Not saving documents can be a liability, because it’s difficult to remember what to accurately list on your résumé or tax returns. Also consider how much is at stake if you’re ever audited. Yet many job seekers fail to understand the long term expense if a self-written résumé doesn’t generate interviews.

Additionally, I scratch my head at folks who look at résumé samples and copy sentences word for word thinking that’s going to grab the attention of a recruiter. I know I’d never copy anyone else’s tax return in order to get mine done, because it just won’t work. We all have a unique background. The same is true for the job search. Do you really have any idea what you might be leaving off? And what if the résumé you copied is out-of-date and has information no longer necessary?

If you’ve ever tried to complete your own taxes chances are you had to complete worksheets. A good resume starts with good information gathering as well. Both industries rely on worksheets, and client interviews for the best outcome.

While taxes need to be filed every year, thankfully we don’t need to apply for a job every year! Although a résumé should be updated once a year, or you should at least keep a running list of accomplishments and compile them in a folder. This should include annual performance reviews, job descriptions, awards, sales figures, and anything else where you helped your company make money, save money, become more efficient, etc. And just like your taxes, you’ll need to quantify in dollar ($) figures or percentage (%) points. Numbers are important!

Tax Filing fees are tax deductible. The same holds true for expenses related to the job search, which includes professional résumé services and software programs. So don’t forget to save those receipts if you do decide to invest in professional services.

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My Love Hate Relationship with Facebook

I’ve been on Facebook now for about two years, and I’m hooked on it. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. You see, I have an eclectic group of friends whom I love dearly in many different ways, and know from different areas of my life, like high school, college, a handful of clients from the past 10 years, and people I know from roller skating. Facebook gives me visibility for my business. But it also sucks up a lot of my time. While I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to, I tend to see things I don’t want to see, like people arguing. eschewing heavy political discourse; you know those things you don’t discuss in polite company.