Do You Suffer from “Twitterhea”?

pepto in a spoon

You know how some pop music radio stations play your favorite song so much that you quickly get sick of it? When that happens, that song becomes the punch line of a joke. I remember when “Hang on, Sloopy” was such a big hit in the ’60s, and then the DJs ran it into the ground so much that the joke became, “Hey did you hear what happened to Sloopy? She let go…”

Well, I may be stirring the pot here, but the same thing can happen with too much of a social media presence. Many people suffer from it but are afraid to admit it. It’s a virus that affects the center of the brain that controls the compulsion for attention on social media like Facebook, but often shows up on Twitter. Nevertheless, some Twitter pundits recommend “3 to 5 Tweets a day” as a good healthy balance but it’s not the number of daily tweets that determines if you suffer from Twitterhea: it’s the number of daily Tweets that offer no content of value to others. That’s just a compulsion to be seen and heard.

Sure there’s a proper balance, but what determines that balance is the value of  your content. The value of YOUR content is what separates you from others who simply retweet the content of others all day long. But even if you tweet your own high-value content, there’s still something to be said for “less is more.”

Using 140 characters to get out a message is just about as long as people’s attention spans can stand before they start thinking about their next meal (or their next Tweet). If you’re trying to build brand equity, first ensure what you put on social media is weighted more with your own insight and knowledge than totally forwarding the words of others. Mix it up but leave it heavier with your own wisdom and expertise.

You know best what your goals are for social media. Remain aware that building your brand relies more on your thoughts and ideas rather than echoing those of others (though there can still be value there too).

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

 

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A Simple 5-Step Job/Career Strategy Cycle

Figure 1

In Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (Second Edition), I write of a simple 5-step cycle for keeping a job and career strategy sharp and in focus. Here are those 5 elements:

  1. Review your current goals and aspirations and how your present job or career addresses them. Can you get there from where you are now? Are they realistic and attainable?
  2. Reassess your job/career to determine whether it is aligned clearly with those goals and aspirations; if you are unemployed, how did your most recent job align with your goals? Do you need a course adjustment or a complete change of direction? Are you really doing what you want to be doing for a career?
  3. Rethink your experience, skills, and knowledge; what do you need to do to remain in your current profession or career that will help you move closer to your goals? Or, which skills and knowledge can transfer to other professions or industries? What other skills or knowledge do you need to acquire to move forward?
  4. Reconstruct your tactical approach (cover letter, résumé, and interview preparation) for selling your expertise to hiring managers. Understand their need for a problem solver, solutions provider, and solid team player who can contribute to the higher strategic objectives of the organization.
  5. Renew this information on a regular basis so that your documents reflect your current job, responsibilities and accomplishments. The best time to look for a job is when y0u have one. It is also easier to send a current résumé instead of updating one that is years out of date – especially when the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself today.

Because this approach is a cycle, you can start anywhere in it and move on to the next step.

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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New LinkedIn Referral and Recruiting Tools

smart medical doctor working with operating room as concept

LinkedIn is becoming even more of a recruiter/hiring manager’s best friend with the introduction of these three new/updated tools according to an article in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of HR Magazine:

LinkedIn Referrals: Released in November of 2015, this tool identifies participating employees’ first-degree LinkedIn connections who match the criteria for open jobs at the employees’ companies. Those who sign up will be able to see which of their connections are good matches for jobs on the company’s LinkedIn Referrals page. They can also send out job posts and share them through status updates. Cost to organizations: $10 to $12 per worker annually.

LinkedIn Recruiter: The next version of this tool will be available Spring 2016 and will be a free upgrade for current users. This tool has a user interface that is designed to help anyone find candidates using an existing employee’s profile, to create and modify search strings, and to sift through talent pools to differentiate talent using a variety of customized subsets.  The tool will also show the terms it used to build the search string and allow users to modify the search.

Spotlights: Talent pools can be further subdivided using Spotlights, which will take members who already fit the search string results and break them down into various subsets, including people who have engaged with the company brand on LinkedIn and candidates who have previously applied for jobs at the company.

Let’s look at a couple implications these tools offer for candidates.

First, such advanced LinkedIn features further elevate it as one of the top recruiting tools for hiring managers and recruiters, putting more distance from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. If you’re not on LinkedIn, well…

Second, by understanding how these advanced features can be used by paid LinkedIn subscribers, candidates can outline a strategy that places their expertise in ways that increase the odds of ending up on a recruiter or hiring manager’s short list for open positions (positively engaging with the company brand, for example, may be one additional filter your candidacy passes through to be considered further).

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

 

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Where You Need a Social Media Presence…According to HR Professionals

Social media signs

According to a study entitled “The Importance of Social Media for Recruiters and Job Seekers,” sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR professionals believe job seekers* should have a presence on social media (in order of being ranked “very important”; second number reflects “somewhat important”):

1. LinkedIn (54%; 35%)
2. Professional or Association site (40%; 43%)
3. Facebook (2%; 23%)
4. Google Plus (4%; 15%)
5. Blog (2%; 21%)
6. Twitter (1%; 17%)
7. Instagram (1%; 9%)
8. YouTube (1%; 6%)
9. Pinterest (0%; 5%)

* (especially for jobs in communications, media and public relations, marketing and sales, advertising, IT/computer specialists, HR staff, executives; less so for jobs in manufacturing, construction, and transportation)

From a (former) hiring manager’s perspective, I agree with No. 1 and No. 2. But I would insert “Blog” in the No. 3 spot and “Twitter” in the No. 4 spot. I would place Facebook way down the list, unless the list is addressing specifically a professional Facebook page, where you prevent recipes, pet videos, unflattering photos, and political rantings from ever showing up there. YouTube might be higher up on the scale if your videos have content others deem of value.

I think in addition to LinkedIn being No. 1, you should maintain your own separate contact list because you own it. There’s a saying in content marketing that you “don’t build your house on rented land.” In other words, don’t place all your career strategy eggs into the baskets of social media controlled by others. Your personal contact list is still going to be your best bet for having a “presence” with others because you control how, when, and where you use that list for your career strategy efforts.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group. 

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Get a Job, or a Tuition Refund…Really!

tuition refund

Can you imagine any college or university making the outrageous claim of guaranteeing you a job or your tuition is completely refunded? Never happen.

But now online education startup Udacity is offering a variety of online software development courses for smartphone apps that at the end of 9 months with an investment of $299 and 10 hours of study a week AND a guarantee that students will get a job within 6 months or their money back. Students also get access to a “career concierge” to help them apply for technology jobs.

I’m skeptical that such an ambitious experiment will prove profitable for Udacity for a couple of reasons. First of all, MIT created a tool called App Inventor a few years ago that allows a user to createAndroid apps via a web browser: no coding required.  There are other no-coding options as well that don’t require the 9 months, 10 hours a week, and $299, such as Appyet and Apps Machine.

Second, if you want to try your hand at being an independent apps programmer, you don’t need a degree or certification – or have to dazzle hiring managers with your stellar personality.

Third, I still think there are variables beyond Udacity’s control and your own to make this guarantee rock solid without some type of fine print.

If you want to publish your app on any appstore/market you’ll also have to obtain developer licenses for Android($23), IOS($99), Windows Phone($99), Bada(free).

You can read more about Udacity’s plan at Wired.com.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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How Selling a House is Like Writing a Great Résumé

rundown house

Part of my investment portfolio includes rental properties in and around the Greater Austin Texas area. While “location, location, location” are the top three things to consider for buying a property, other criteria are that the numbers have to “work” and the property also has be pleasing to the eye and inviting for the prospective buyer (investor or occupant) to: (1) develop an interest, and (2) take a closer look by visiting the property. The smart seller does all he or she can to attract potential buyers by staging the property in such a way that the potential buyer can envision living there with their own possessions. However, as is evidenced by the daily listings I receive from my agent, 90% of occupied homes for sale completely miss the point.

The online MLS listings are full of property photos that reveal room after room of clutter – from too much furniture and nik-naks or pink and purple walls and toys everywhere in kids’ rooms, to overcrowded garages (borderline hoarders) and front and back yards that have been ignored for months if not years. Such property conditions usually prevent prospective buyers from being interested further.

I see many parallels in home buying with writing a winning résumé. The top three things to consider for writing a winning résumé are “accomplishment, accomplishment, accomplishment.” For a résumé to invite the interest of hiring managers, it also has to be free of distracting clutter, such as:

  • Objective statements
  • Excessive verbosity
  • Lists of duties and responsibilities that aren’t tied to the higher strategic objectives of the organization
  • Lists of coursework that didn’t lead to certification, license, or degree

Such résumés reveal to me and most hiring managers a lack of attention to what will draw my attention to that person’s skills, knowledge, and experience. That candidate just won’t get a second look.

Properties for sale that have neutral colors on the walls (including the kids’ rooms), no clutter, one or more of these upgrades: appliances/flooring/countertops, and a decent-looking yard in a great neighborhood will always get my interest. If after working the numbers I can hit or exceed my threshhold for a positive cash flow, I will then visit the property in person to get a closer look. At that time, I  will determine whether to make an offer, if there aren’t any other qualified properties I am considering.

Attention-getting résumés are like these properties. They have:

  • A Professional Summary statement
  • Highlighted accomplishments (quantified, if possible, and in bold font)
  • Bullet lists in the order of importance to the hiring manager
  • A length that doesn’t exceed two pages
  • As many words as necessary and not more
  • An approach that positions the candidate as a problem solver

A candidate résumé such as this gets a second look. And if after more scrutiny, the candidate still looks good, an invitation for an interview is extended. A positive interview many times will lead to a job offer – if there aren’t any other qualified candidates I am considering.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Your Most Valuable Career Strategy Component

compass

Yesterday I listened to a webinar with Joe Pulizzi on developing content-first marketing, and one thing that stuck out from that webinar was Joe’s comment about “not building your content house on rented land.” In other words, if you focus your content exclusively on social media apps, that content is at the mercy of changes to “rules and regulations” of the platform.

We’ve seen such actions (such as unannounced algorithm changes, privacy statement changes) and how they affect the intent of our participation on those social media sites. Joe emphasized that of all the channels available for distributing content, an email subscriber list is the most effective and valuable because you’re not building that content on rented land. You own it. And in the world of content marketing, you must “create value before you extract value,” in Joe’s words.

I immediately saw the parallels with looking for a job or changing careers. The most valuable component of your career strategy is your network list. These people may be your first-level contacts in LinkedIn, the business cards you have collected, or names in your contact database. Your network list is your goldmine especially when you consider most hires come from referrals.

“Creating value before extracting value” for your network means serving as a resource to others first before asking favors of them. As motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar wrote: “Help enough people get what they want and you’ll automatically get what you want.”

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. Military Veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Looking for a Job? Why You Need to Come to Austin, TX

Austin_MuralI moved to Austin from Houston back in 1988 when the Texas capital city was still more of a sleepy college town with high-tech companies moving in quickly. And since then, I’ve been associated with technology companies in different capacities for truly rewarding opportunities.

A new study (“2016’s Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job” at www.wallethub.com) places Austin in the top 3 cities for looking for a new job. The same website ranked Austin at the No. 3 spot in its 2015 study of “The Best and Worst Cities to Start a Career.”

When considering other cities for job opportunities, look at key indicators such as business expansion and job growth. These would include total office spaced leased in relation to supply (Austin ranked 2nd in the country) and total new square footage of office space (Austin ranked 3rd in the country). Professional and business services have seen the largest job increase for the Texas economy followed by lesisure and hospitality.

The Austin economy isn’t as dependent on the oil economy like Houston or banking/commerce-heavy Dallas.  Tech is still the strongest employer in Austin (lots of financing options for startups) along with traditionally stable areas of government and education.

The Austin downtown skyline has changed quite a lot…the construction crame being the state bird. And traffic is well, ….that’s for another post.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. Military Veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Is There Too Much Career Advice?

people-talking

I was asked recently during a roundtable discussion with a group of job seekers if I thought there was too much career advice floating around the internet. The question was one that demanded careful forethought, but just as I was about to speak my opinion, I thought I’d turn the (round)tables on them and ask: “It’s not important what I think…what do you think? Are you having to wade through too many or not enough tweets, blog posts, and LinkedIn articles or discussion groups about jobs and careers? Are you getting the specific information you need to move forward with your career, or is it too generic for your purposes?”

As expected, the responses varied according to where individuals were in their job and career progress, but there was agreement among the participants on the following three points:

  • Because people are all across the spectrum of career and job status, too much information is better than not enough.
  • Many are using Twitter to filter the job/career information they receive, and once they identify individuals or companies who provide information of value, they latch on to them in other social media (blogs, websites, LinkedIn, discussion groups, etc.) and media outlets (books, webinars, podcasts, seminars, and so on). No one mentioned Facebook as a regular search vehicle for job or career opportunities.
  • Many of the larger job bank sites provide articles that are often too shallow or basic in their career advice; people stated they would rather read articles written by career experts rather than those penned by staff writers.

The group did press me for some parting advice on working the job market, so I relayed some information from the Harvard Business Review on three inter-related factors that influence the transformation of the job market (the graphic below captures how these factors are changing the nature of work. Source: www.2020workforce.com):

  • Evolving workforce demographics (influence of workforce participation rates, baby boomer retirements, automation, skill/education level of workforce)
  • Increasing influence of globalization (markets have long escaped geographic barriers, such as oceans or mountains; advances in technology; English as “universal” language)
  • Refilling the leaking leadership bucket (as more experienced leaders and skilled workers exit the job market, how will that expertise/leadership void be replaced or refilled?)

workforce demographics

These and other influences suggest that employers are and will increasingly be looking for self-motivated candidates with a high degree of commitment to excellence in the pursuit of the greater good for the organization and the people in it. These candidates will possess a selfless servant attitude (and the other 5 success qualities) that I have written about in Chapter 16 of Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0.

It’s a whole lot bigger than simply using the proper résumé typeface sizes or not using “Objective” statements…

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. Military Veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2016 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie

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Overcoming the Imbalance of Power in Job Interviews

imbalance of powerPerceiving others accurately is fraught with obstacles and difficulty. We each have our own perception filters  that visual signals must first pass through. This initial assessment is typically immediate and doesn’t allow for more in-depth evaluation in the moment, which is something likely borne out of biological necessity: Friend or foe? Fight or flight?

For a hiring manager meeting a candidate for the first time, the instantaneous assessment may include such questions as: Trustful or deceitful? Cooperative or hindering? Facilitator or obstructor? Achiever or just another employee? These are the types of “running the gauntlet” instantaneous appraisals candidates are subjected to before the verbal exchange of information begins. Once an individual passes that initial assessment, a more conscious effort kicks in to determine a clearer perception as provided through words and behaviors.

Your career strategy will benefit from the understanding that the candidate-hiring manager relationship is one characterized by an imbalance of power, whereby the hiring manager (with the power)  is assessing your ability to function as an agent for his or her organizational/business goals. You may have the skills, knowledge, and experience chops for the position, but if you don’t come across as someone who can further the efforts of the hiring manager, you may be perceived as an obstacle to those efforts. That means you’ve gone as far as you’re going to go in the hiring process.

You have to be able to demonstrate your utility for helping achieve those goals through:

  • Being genuinely likeable
  • Promoting the future benefits of your expertise
  • Serving as a facilitator for the hiring manager’s success
  • Affirming the positive contributions of others
  • Making yourself necessary by serving as a problem solver, game changer, solutions provider

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. Military Veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2016 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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