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Soul Search — Then Job Search

Written by career consultant, Maggie Mistal

Most of us assume that the best way to find a job is to look at what’s available in online listings, or to follow someone else’s advice. However, these methods often lead to unfulfilling career choices.

You only need to look at the latest job satisfaction surveys to recognize how unfulfilled most workers feel. For seven straight years, The Conference Board has reported that less than half of U.S. workers are satisfied in their careers. So what can you do to find job satisfaction and fulfillment while still making a great living?

Uncover Your Core Genius

“Core genius” is the special contribution that each of us brings to our professional life. It’s what you are in this world to do that only you can do. It’s the unique package of skills, experiences, passions, interests, talents, abilities and attitude that you possess.

Take my client Laura Rolands. Laura was a hard-working Human Resources executive at Chrysler. She’s also a mom. When Laura’s son was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), she got to work and investigated how to best help him with attention strategies at school and in life. Through this experience and through our career coaching work together, Laura realized she had a talent and an interest in helping people with attention issues.

It led Laura to start an attention coaching business shortly after accepting a voluntary buy-out from her position in the automotive industry. Her business is in a relatively new field, focused on coaching people to overcome challenges associate with ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Actually, you don’t need a diagnosis to benefit — anyone who feels overwhelmed or distracted in today’s hyper-connected environment will find value in Laura’s services. Her clients have developed time-saving personal routines, and have improved their academic and business performance.

The Path to a Successful Career Fit

In 10 years of coaching, I have seen that we are each uniquely built to fulfill a specific purpose. And I am proud to have many success stories such as Laura Rolands. However, too often people take their unique talents for granted. In fact, the real challenge is that most people have no idea what their purpose is. That is where I help.

I believe the best way to find your purpose — your core genius — is to conduct a formal Soul Search, and get specific about all the elements of your ideal career. It starts with helping clients assess themselves in 8 essential dimensions, as part of the “Soul Search, Research and Job Search” process I developed.

These elements include: 1) your top interests, 2) key motivators, 3) skills you want to employ, 4) ways you want to contribute, 5) best qualities, 6) best work environment, 7) activities you enjoy most, and 8) salary and benefits.

Soul Search Before Job Search

By working through exercises and self-reflection questions, we prioritize what’s most important and brainstorm career possibilities that match those elements. You can gain even deeper clarity with my downloadable (PDF) Soul Search workbook.

This workbook contains over 30 pages of exercises to help professionals uncover the eight core elements of your core genius. The insights developed from each exercise are designed to correspond with a section of your own personalized career guide. This helps you easily organize and interpret the information as the basis for brainstorming new career possibilities and making sound decisions about the best options for you.

So stop looking at want ads and instead start talking to anyone and everyone about the ways you are already of service. Carefully process all of that input, and you’ll see viable new options ahead. Take seriously the value you bring to the table, and (like Laura Rolands) believe that you can get paid to deliver it. Let others know about the high-value service you are prepared to provide. Then deliver it consistently and professionally. Soon, you’ll find you have more than enough work in your new role — and you’ll be making a living while loving what you do.

Have You Discovered Your Core Genius?

Are you in touch with your core career strengths? What steps did you take to gain that awareness? And how have you applied it to your career? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Maggie Mistal(About the Author: CNN dubbed Maggie Mistal “one of the nation’s best-known career coaches.” A former Learning & Development executive at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she is a certified life purpose and career coach who, for seven years, hosted “Making a Living with Maggie” on SiriusXM, and now airs a monthly podcast on iTunes. Maggie has been featured across major media, including NBC’s Today Show, Fox Business, CNN and The New York Times. Connect with Maggie on Twitter, or LinkedIn or Facebook.)

(Editor’s Note: For a limited time, in conjunction with her February 2014 appearance at #TChat Events, Maggie is offering special pricing for her “Soul Search” career planning workbook to anyone who mentions #TChat when contacting her. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your core genius!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Careers: Better Choices Mean Better Business #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for full Storify highlights + resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Bring Your ‘Genius’ to Work.“)

Happiness at work
. Passion for your profession. Finding your bliss.

These days, we hear a lot about the importance of being emotionally connected with our careers.

Sounds like a nice idea — but it’s much more than that. Research shows that it’s a key driver of professional performance. It’s also an essential aspect of employee engagement. Yet statistics show that, for most of us, it remains an elusive goal.

Bucking the Trend

This week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can defy those statistics by gaining better understanding of our individual strengths and motivations — and by putting those insights to work through better career choices.

We’ll also look at why it’s smart for business to encourage this kind of investigation and discovery.

And who better to help lead this discussion than career management expert, Maggie Mistal? Before establishing herself as the personality behind the long-running SiriusXM radio show, “Making A Living,” Maggie was Director of Learning & Development at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Also joining us is Laura Rolands, a former HR executive at Chrysler, who, with Maggie’s guidance, launched a rewarding practice as an ADHD coach.

Sneak Peek: Finding Your “Career Core”

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Maggie and Laura about how and why it pays for all of us to pursue careers that leverage our strengths. Watch the hangout now:

This discussion has potential to help each of us find more fulfilling work lives, while helping organizations develop more effective talent strategies. So join the #TChat crowd this week to share your ideas and opinions with other “world of work” professionals!

#TChat Events: Claiming Your “Core” Career

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 5 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands critical about how to find and claim your core career “genius.” Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 5 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community, in a live chat moderated by Dr. Nancy Rubin.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How can we align our career aspirations with our strengths?
Q2: When a job isn’t fulfilling, what can we do to take charge of our career?
Q3: How can we continually identify and develop skills and talents?
Q4: What value does business gain from encouraging “career genius” in employees?
Q5: How can new technology help us redirect and manage our careers?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our new G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Networking: 5 Ways To Work It Into Your Life

Written by Lynn Dixon, co-founder & COO, Hourly

Networking. Some people consider it a guaranteed way to connect with industry luminaries. Others believe it’s the ideal way market your professional capabilities and build brand awareness. Still, others dread the concept, and try to avoid it at all costs.

Truth is, networking remains one of the most effective techniques for selling yourself, as well as uncovering new business opportunities, projects and jobs.

But there’s a key to networking success that isn’t often discussed — knowing how to conduct yourself in various social situations is essential.

While handing out business cards may work wonders for you at a designated networking event, the same strategy might not work in a different atmosphere. Is there a way to predict what techniques will be effective in a specific setting?

Let’s look at several common social scenarios, and consider an appropriate networking plan of action for each:

1) Work Events

Work events come in all shapes and sizes, from professional development courses to off-site meetings with colleagues. These events tend to be more formal and task-oriented. Typically these settings are not ideal for aggressive networking, primarily because your participation is tied to other business goals.

How to play it: Although you may know most people at a work event, you can subtly network by introducing yourself to other attendees. When it fits into the flow of conversation, you might also mention recent accomplishments or challenges you’ve overcome. This helps people in your internal network see where you shine, and helps them envision how you could contribute to future projects with them or others they know.

2) Office Parties

Events like the annual holiday party or your boss’s birthday don’t usually scream “networking.” Conversations are often focused on personal life, and you may not want to think about business. Although no one wants to “talk shop” throughout an entire office party, it can be an awesome opportunity diplomatically reinforce your strengths.

How to play it: Put the alcohol down and get to know colleagues you don’t know well, especially those in other departments. You don’t have to brag about your accomplishments, but you can weave in your expertise. Chances are, one day they may need your skills on a project. Be memorable and focus on how you add value.

3) Family Events

You probably believe family events are the last place to whip out your resume and market yourself, but these events can be a networking goldmine. Think about it. Your family wants you to do well in your career. It’s like preaching to the choir. You just have to know what songs to sing.

How to play it: Although members of your family probably don’t work in your industry, they’re likely to know someone who does. That’s why it’s advisable to touch base about business with as many people as possible while you “work the aisles” at reunions, weddings and other family gatherings. Bring a stash of business cards, in case someone expresses interest. In the future, if someone they know needs someone with your skills, you’ll be the first person on their radar.

4) Industry Conferences

Conferences are a great way to establish excellent connections who can help you expand your network. Sometimes the premise of a conference centers on networking. Other conferences are developed for you to learn more about your industry by listening to speakers, attending workshops and sharing ideas with professional colleagues.

How to play it: This is one of those obvious networking situations where you’ll need lots of business cards, a stack of resumes, and a variety of portfolio samples. Since conferences attract a plethora of industry colleagues, you never know who you’ll run into — so you need to be prepared. It’s also smart to refresh your LinkedIn profile before the event, so anyone who checks your profile afterward will see your most current information.

5) Running Errands

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store when you see an influential member of your industry. You don’t want to throw business cards at this important person, but you do want to make a connection. How do you approach a power player in public without appearing to be desperate?

How to play it: Look for an appropriate opening. Briefly introduce yourself and explain why you admire this person. Try to mention a recent article they wrote or compliment them on a recent accomplishment. Then, close quickly by asking if you could connect via email or on a social network. This opens the door to future conversations while downplaying what could otherwise be an awkward situation.

The ability to market yourself in any situation is a skill that should be practiced and polished. You never know who you’ll bump into and how they could help you out in the future. Look at every situation as a chance to boost your network and provide a possible stepping stone for your career.

What do you think about the power of networking in social settings? How have you marketed yourself at various events? What has been effective for you?

Lynn-Dixon(About the Author: Lynn Dixon is the co-founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Twitter and LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Dare To Be Different: 5 Reasons Geeks Get Great Jobs

Written by Bree Brouwer

Do you think of yourself as a geek? If so, you’re not alone. A recent Modis “Geek Pride” survey found that more than 87% of Americans proudly identify with their inner nerd. If you’re among them, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that those characteristics can serve you well in a job hunt.

However, if you think you have to be a computer whiz or tech nerd to identify with geeks, think again. The “G” word now applies to anyone with a huge passion or interest of any sort, especially for comics, movies or video games.

This means that geek employees are already roaming the halls everywhere. And, since people enjoy working with colleagues who share similar interests, employers are likely to hire even more people with geek tendencies.

Note to non-geeks: If you never identified previously with this pack, it might be time to jump on the bandwagon and become more obsessive about whatever is on your list of personal and professional passions. This one change could make or break a job hunt.

But simply announcing “Hey! I’m a geek!” won’t land you a job or a promotion. You need to translate your geekiness into skills employers understand and appreciate. During interviews, focus on the following aspects of your personality. You’ll be well on your way to showing hiring managers that you’re one of the best candidates their organization could possibly choose.

5 Ways Your Geek Power Can Land You A Great Job

1) Your geekiness makes you an obsessive problem-solver
There’s not a single company that doesn’t have problems to solve — whether it’s their own, or their customers’, or both.

This is where geeks come in handy. You enjoy challenges and finding answers to problems. (More so with technical geeks, but also with the pop-culture-loving geeks, as well.)

If your geeky self tends to dig deep into work challenges, you’ll be valued for your persistence — which may not be as common in your non-geek coworkers. What company wouldn’t want to hire you for that?

2) You taught yourself more than you ever learned in school
No matter what your interests may be, if you’re a geek, you tend to be creative and experimental. Since you don’t learn via traditional methods or work via traditional processes, you tend to find ways to teach yourself.

Employers love creative self-starters, especially when you use that skill to solve their problems. For example, you might take a smartphone picture of your signed contract and send it via email instead of hunting down a paper envelope, a stamp and a mailing address. (And besides, it gets there faster, anyway.)

If you’re want to exercise your creativity, look for companies that are flexible and innovative in their mission and their process. A more traditional setting might stifle this special quality in you, so seek  environments that will benefit from your originality and resourcefulness.

3) You mastered work-life balance before it was even a “thing”
As a geek, you tend to want to make a life instead of a career. This means you’re less likely to be a workaholic who runs yourself down and reduces your quality of work.

But be careful not to become too dedicated to your “life” instead of your job. Realistic, optimistic geeks understand that to live a good life, meaningful work is a necessary and welcome component.

4) You’re flexible to change, diversity and new ways of learning
This mindset is tied closely to a geek’s creative nature. If an old approach doesn’t work for you or the problem at hand, you’re willing to toss it out the door and try something new. You’d rather learn from what Joss Whedon can teach you about business than what an experienced Wall Street guru has to say.

If a company is interested in workers with a little bit of daring and open-mindedness, you’re the ideal candidate. A geek is more willing to help a company grow, adapt and develop through alternative methods than some non-geek counterparts who may prefer to play it safe, and remain set in their ways.

5) You’ve got the drive to make a difference
What you do each day is not just all about you and your life. You want to contribute something greater to the world and make it a better place — whether that’s through the products you support or the way you live your life. (“Yep, this Superman shirt is 100% organic cotton!”)

It’s likely that if you’re a geek working for a company in the business of changing lives, you’ll feel passionate about that company’s goals, services and products.

Of course, not all geeks are created equal. And not all companies can handle having lots of geeks onboard (and vice versa). As mentioned above, geeks work best in innovative companies.

However, you’re also a huge force to be reckoned with in the workplace. So when you’re applying for jobs, fly that geek flag high and make sure you apply to companies that not only provide professional growth, but also gladly welcome your special character within their culture. Let us know what your discover on your unconventional path!

Bree Brouwer(About the Author: Bree Brouwer is a freelance blogger and content strategist who writes for FortressGeek.com, a Canadian-based online retailer full of nerdy goods. Bree and the staff at FG love helping geeks get paid to do what they’re passionate about. Connect with Bree on Twitter or LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job

Written by Paul Bailey

Is your job hunt stalled because employers don’t respond to your inquiries? It’s time to rethink your communications strategy. Are you sending generic letters and resumes? Do you emphasize your skills and achievements? There’s a better way to gain an employer’s attention — and it’s easier than you may think.

Consider this — most recruiters rely on social media to check candidate profiles. Why not take a page from their playbook, and leverage social surveillance in your job search? It’s only fair. And it’s entirely free. All it takes is a little bit of digging.

Here’s how you can find helpful information and use it to ace every step of the job application process:

Start By Looking And Listening On Social Channels

Let’s say you find an ad for an attractive job. Your first step is to look at the company’s digital footprint — its primary website, as well as its blog, and presence on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. At each location search for the following:

•  Hiring manager or recruiter name. Review their Linkedin profiles. Do you have anything in common, professionally? Be sure to check their interests and interview pet peeves on Facebook or Twitter.
•  Company background. Familiarize yourself with the organization’s target demographics, recent news, and products/services.
•  Someone who’s working in the position for which you’re applying. That person has the job you’re targeting for a good reason, so check what you have in common. If they have qualifications or technical knowledge you don’t, and those are related to the job, that’s a clue. Study those differences.
•  Challenges the company and its industry are facing. Prepare two or three suggestions on how you could help address those issues.
•  Company values, vision and mission. This is required baseline knowledge for anyone who wants to be considered a serious job contender in the social era.

Next Steps: Put Information To Use 3 Ways

1) On Your Resume

Take time to customize your resume. Align your skills and credentials with the job you’re pursuing. Highlight related achievements, too.

Remember your research on the person who already has the job you’re seeking? Look at how that person describes the job, and think about how you could insert skills or tasks on your resume that fit with that description. (Of course, don’t list these skills unless you really have them. Authenticity trumps all.)

2) On Your Cover Letter

Don’t start your cover letter with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” Address the the recruiter or hiring manager directly.

Include key phrases from the job ad, and pair them with some phrases from the company’s mission/vision/values. For example, instead of writing “analyst with five years’ experience in banking,” say “analyst with a get-it-done attitude and five years’ experience in banking” (where “get-it-done attitude” is part of the company’s values).

You might think this is cheesy, but it gives the recruiter a subliminal signal that says, “Hey, this candidate will do well in our culture.” It’s also much better than using generic cliché phrases, such as “hardworking,” “honest” or “quick learner.”

3) In Interviews

Use your knowledge of the interviewer’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to break the ice. If you don’t have anything in common, try talking about their interests.

Don’t say something like, “I saw you worked at Chase Bank for two years. I worked there as an intern!” This ruins the ice-breaker because the recruiter will sense you’re trying too hard to establish rapport, and it reveals that you’ve been snooping on social sites.

Mention whatever it is you have in common, but don’t drag the recruiter into it. Say, “I was an intern at Chase Bank.” It’s likely that the recruiter will respond by acknowledging his history there.

Assuming you can establish rapport, the next step is to reinforce why you’re the best candidate for the job by eliminating the competition. This is where most of your research will pay off.

Asking questions makes you stand out from the hundreds who simply shake hands and say, “Thank you for your time.” Ask about the challenges new hires encounter, then tell a story about how you successfully handled similar challenges. Your awareness of current employees’ skills will be helpful, as you highlight your job-specific knowledge and competence with necessary tools. If you can confidently use the jargon or lingo associated with the job, use it.

Ask about the challenges faced by the company or industry, then share suggestions you’ve prepared in advance. However, don’t overdo it. Your task is to portray yourself as a problem-solver, not a know-it-all.

The next time you want to apply for a job, do research before you send an application. Customize your resume and cover letter for every job application you send. And use the intelligence to prepare yourself to stand out from the crowd.

Have you tried these techniques in a job search? How did they work for you? What other ideas do you recommend? Share you comments below.

168e7dae52120ad8976f5b.L._V388018754_(About the author:
Paul Bailey is a certified professional coach and business improvement consultant with more than 12 years of experience. He specializes in helping people realize their potential and unleash their inner confidence, so they can find meaningful work that matches their skills and values. Learn more about Paul and his coaching services at Impact Coaching & Mentoring.
Or connect with Paul on Twitter or Google+.

(Editor’s note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Recruiting: Going Mobile By Demand? #TChat Recap

This week at #TChat Events, the TalentCulture community explored the emerging role of mobile recruiting in today’s world of work.

First, let’s clarify — what does the term “mobile recruiting” mean? CareerBuilder defines it this way:

“The ability to market to prospective talent with or on a mobile device. More importantly, mobile recruiting is about the opportunity to connect with job seekers anywhere, and at any time; provide a better candidate experience; streamline your own process; and engage job seekers in entirely new and unique ways.”

It sounds like a lofty goal — but how do we get there from here? And how are employers overcoming key issues in implementing mobile strategies? To keep the conversation grounded, we welcomed two experts in talent acquisition:

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, Founder and Chief Blogger at Blogging4Jobs and
Rayanne Thorn, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Technomedia, global talent management solutions provider.

(Editor’s Note: See highlights from the #TChat events and related resource links at the end of this post.)

Mobile Is Everywhere — Why Isn’t Mobile Recruiting?

Many #TChat participants agreed that mobile recruiting is becoming a necessity, as individuals increasingly rely on smart phones and tablets to connect with information and people in our personal and professional lives.

The convenience of mobile access is rapidly translating into job search behaviors, even though many employers haven’t yet optimized their websites for mobile access. SimplyHired says that the number of workers looking for jobs via mobile devices has skyrocketed, from 2.3 million to 9.3 million in the past year. Talemetry, says that 70% of job seekers are using mobile platforms, while Beyond.com estimates even higher, at 77%. (See the article and infographic.)

However, as the Wall Street Journal explained earlier this year, most companies aren’t moving fast enough. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, only 20% of Fortune 500 companies have mobile-optimized career sites. What is everyone waiting for? Read the full report, “Trends in Mobile Adoption: An Analysis of Mobile Recruitment Efforts Across Industries.”

Mobile Excellence: What Does It Look Like?

So, what does it take for employers to be “mobile recruitment ready”? Ideally, it starts with a website that is that is optimized for mobile interaction. SnapHop, a company that provides mobile talent management solutions, says these elements are necessary for a great candidate experience:

Support for all mobile platforms — access to sites from anywhere using, any mobile device;
Location awareness — automatically sense the candidate’s location and filter information accordingly;
Personalization — tailor information and recommendations by uncovering candidate preferences;
Social media presence — leverage social channels to connect with candidates and share relevant, timely content;
Responsive design — ensure that on all platforms, content is easy to skim and consume, and navigation flows with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

Upward Mobility: Advantages of Mobile Recruitment

If you’re still not convinced about the business case for mobile recruitment, CareerBuilder for Employers developed a helpful presentation that outlines key issues and opportunities:

And what did the #TChat crowd say about the pros and cons of mobile recruiting? Check the highlights slideshow and other resource links below for great facts, real-world stories and ideas from across the TalentCulture community.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

Jessica Miller Merrell

Watch the preview hangout now

SAT 10/26:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with one of our guests, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Read the Preview: “Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

SUN 10/27:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro recommended ways that employers can gain business advantage by embracing mobile strategies. Read: “5 Ways To Use Mobile To Recruit Top Talent.”

MON 10/28:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of Millennial CEO, offered a broad perspective on the changing of the leadership guard — and its implications for business. Read: “Another Kind of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud.

WED 10/30:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn about how mobile adoption is revolutionizing the recruiting process today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream as I led the TalentCulture community through a conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Recruiting Is Rockin’ Mobile Platforms

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-recruiting-is-rockin-mobile-at-lea.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn for helping us explore the potential of mobile platforms in the recruiting process. Your knowledge and passion are infectuous!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about mobile recruiting trends or issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we dive into another fascinating topic — the role of social media in building brand influence. So save the date (November 6) for another #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: GailJadeHamilton via Flickr

25 Jobs in One Career? Brace Yourselves

Recently, I participated in an unsettling Twitter chat, focused on career planning.

Usually that’s not a controversial topic, but this particular discussion disturbed many participants. Why? Because we projected the number of jobs a typical Millennial will accumulate over the span of a career in our so-called “New Economy.”

Do The Math

Consider these estimates from reputable sources:

By 2020, 40-50% of all income-producing work will be performed by short-term contractors, freelance workers and “SuperTemps
The length of a career already averages 48 years — by 2020 it will be 50+ years
Today, the average time-in-service for a Millennial at any company is 2.6 years

Admittedly, I am not really good at math. But this data is pretty conclusive…

At 2.6 years per job, over 50+ years in the workforce, plus several temp assignments and contracts means that Gen Y can expect to hold 20-25 jobs over the course of a career.

Here’s the problem… or, rather, several problems:

No One Told Gen Y

Those statistics genuinely scared #InternPro participants — most of whom are Millennials. No one had done the math. Plus, between parents, educators and old-school career experts, there seems to be a halo effect surrounding an old paradigm: lifetime employment. Many Millennials seem to believe that once they graduate and get that first job, their job search is effectively over. They are unprepared for the fact that it’s really just the beginning of a continuous process.

Traditional Higher Education Hasn’t Noticed

Many higher education stalwarts — not exactly known for quickly adapting to changing economies and markets — still feature old-school theory taught by tenured professors who’ve never held a position outside academia. Instead of teaching the skills that will be in demand in the “Freelance Economy,” we’re still shoving 1970’s courses and curriculum down the throats of unsuspecting students. Higher education must change fundamentally. To remain relevant, academics must start emphasizing transferable, marketable career skills.

We Aren’t Entrepreneurial Enough

Successful SuperTemps, solopreneurs and freelancers rely on one skill above all else: entrepreneurism. Why? Because, going forward, our livelihood depends on our ability to sell our skills, our value proposition and our niche — continuously.

In fact, with the average duration of a job search at about 40 weeks, there will almost never be a time when we’re not selling… us.

Old School Recruiters Haven’t Adapted

It doesn’t help that recruiters still haven’t caught-on. Old-school recruiters, unwilling to accept new workforce trends, discount job seekers whose resumes show they move every two to three years. They still consider this “job-hopping” — and many will not interview candidates with this tendency. They are labeled “disloyal” and a “long-term risk”.

Here’s the reality: between economic conditions, Gen Y’s penchant for moving on when they become restless or feel undervalued, and the inevitable entrepreneurial spirit that is becoming pervasive among job seekers, recruiters who stick to this now antiquated “rule” will lose out on high-quality talent. In the meantime, their competitors will thrive.

Fasten Your Career Path Seatbelts

Without a doubt, our new economy is already here. Members of Gen Y who cling to old standards — through fear and/or influence by parents, higher education and recruiters — will clearly continue to struggle. They will continue to do as trained — and will continue looking for jobs that no longer exist.

However, young professionals who recognize the new workplace for what it is, and learn the career skills required to win…

Strategic planning
Goal setting
Sales and digital marketing
Effective follow-up
Customer service
Integrity-based self-promotion

…will not only embrace the new economy, they will surround themselves with success.

What’s your reaction to the “average” career path of the future? How would you suggest that Millennials prepare to manage their careers more successfully? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post has been adapted from YouTern, with permission.)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

What Do Job Seekers Want From Hiring Managers?

Written by Val Matta

Hiring managers — are you scaring off quality job seekers by failing to do your job effectively?

Although the life of a hiring manager is far from easy, you could be making some critical mistakes that not only dampen the results of your recruiting efforts, but also make your organization look bad.

Weak Links: Case In Point

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 75% of job seekers never received any communication from prospective employers after applying for a position. How about you? Do you respond to all applicants? Even if a job posting attracts far more candidates than you can seriously consider, choosing not to acknowledge inquiries can hurt your company’s reputation.

In today’s social media environment, bad business practices are easily exposed and amplified. Therefore, it’s wise to handle applicants with more TLC. If you don’t, the best candidates may decide to look elsewhere, and publicly encourage others to do so. However, you can neutralize negativity by rethinking outdated hiring practices and making an extra effort. Even small changes can win over great talent, and build goodwill along the way.

So, with that in mind, what do today’s job seekers really want, and how can hiring managers help?

4 Ways To Improve The Hiring Process

1) Solid Job Descriptions

A poorly written job description runs the risk of attracting candidates who aren’t qualified for the position. Even worse, weak messaging may turn off the best and brightest talent. Still, less-than-stellar job descriptions are all too common: 43% of survey respondents say they found out during an interview that a job didn’t match what was promised in an ad. But who’s really responsible if a candidate advances to the interview stage before discovering that the job isn’t a fit?

Quick tip:  Feature as many details as possible in your job descriptions, including required duties, qualifications, and salary information. You may also want to link to your company website, which can house testimonials or videos that help tell your organization’s story and give potential candidates a feel for company culture.

2) Acknowledgement

Here’s food for thought: 82% of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job — regardless of whether the employer is interested. Yet, a very small proportion of applicants actually receive confirmation. Job seekers clearly consider acknowledgement a basic courtesy. It’s in your best interest to reach out and maintain goodwill with applicants — who may also be loyal customers.

Quick tip: If you don’t have time to connect directly with every job seeker, then automate the process. Email applications and applicant tracking systems offer personalized message capabilities. It may not be true 1-to-1 communication, but it certainly is better than keeping applicants in the dark, and it demonstrates your appreciation for their interest in the company.

3) Ongoing Feedback

The previous point speaks to the importance of acknowledging contact — letting applicant know you received and reviewed their resumes, or that they’ve been turned down. But it’s just as important to communicate with active candidates throughout the hiring process. Letting prospects know what they should expect, what they’re doing right, and how you’d like to move forward helps them stay connected and engaged. Don’t keep them guessing, or you may be lose some of your best options.

Quick tip: Keep your applicants posted through each step of the hiring process. For example, if step one requires a video interview, let them know how they should prepare. If step two is an in-person interview, provide some advance notice about the structure of the session, the people they’ll meet and the topics you expect to discuss. If you want to review portfolio pieces, indicate what types of work samples matter most to you. If they need to shadow someone in your organization as a test run, be sure you share logistical details. Communicating early and often keeps potential employees informed and engaged. It ensures an optimal impression — regardless of the hiring outcome.

4) Enthusiasm and Knowledge

Although it’s not your job to be a role model to job seekers, if you don’t seem enthused about the position, how can you possibly expect it from potential employees? Surprisingly, about 30% of workers who sought jobs last year found that company representatives weren’t knowledgeable about their own organizations. Another 34% say representatives didn’t present a positive work experience. You may be a candidate’s only impression of your company. Make sure it’s a good one.

Quick tip: Look at the job search process as a reverse interview. Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your organization and keep information about the company, the job and the hiring process at the ready. If you’re not sure of an answer, find someone who can help, and follow up. This reflects well on your employer brand, creates a great experience for the candidate, and streamlines the employment process for all.

The hiring process is about more than pinpointing great talent. It’s an opportunity to reinforce brand positioning with the community at-large, and foster stronger relationships with applicants who may be some of your strongest customer advocates. If you take time to create strong job descriptions, acknowledge applicants, provide ongoing feedback, and offer enthusiasm along the way, you’ll not only find great employees, but you’ll also win the hearts and minds of everyone who participates in the process.

What do you think? What else are job hunters seeking from hiring managers? How can employers respond? And why is this important? Share your ideas and opinions in the comments area below.

Val Matta(About The Author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for HR professionals and career seekers that gives job seekers complete control over their search. Val is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and has had her writing featured at Recruiter.com, CareerBuilderMashable, USA Today College Series and in other outlets. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Or visit the #TChat stream on Twitter anytime. Everyone is welcome! Learn more...)

Image Credit: Pixabay

You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a complete review of the week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: “Will the Real You Please Stand Up?”)

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Most of us are familiar with the concept of personal branding. We understand how important it is to put our “best face forward,” especially during a job search. (Our mothers told us about that long ago.) And you don’t have to be Kim Kardashian to see that social media shines a constant spotlight on our lives, for better or worse. So…why don’t more of us cultivate our personal brands as carefully as a marketing manager would?

Creating a Fresh Perspective

Reinventing You

Learn more about “Reinventing You”

Is your online presence incomplete or out-of-date? Do you suspect it sends the wrong message? Are you considering a career change, but struggling with how to reposition yourself for a new role? What’s the best way to recombine all the elements for a message that is accurate, authentic and attracts the right kind of attention?

That’s our focus this week in the TalentCulture community, as we continue our “summer restart” series with the author of of Reinventing You, Dorie Clark. Dorie is a communications and brand management expert who has written extensively about this topic. And we’re fortunate that she’s sharing her insights with us throughout the week.

To set the stage, Dorie joined me for a brief G+ Hangout to discuss why personal brand management matters, not just during a job search, but on a continuous basis:

The article Dorie mentions is great preparation for this week’s #TChat discussions. Check it out at Harvard Business Review: It’s Not a Job Search, It’s a Campaign. Also, if you’d like to read related articles from the TalentCulture archives, see “Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand” and “Personal Re-Branding For Chareer Changers.”

#TChat Events: Reinventing Your Brand

Don’t forget to save the date — Wednesday July 17 — for a #TChat double-header that is designed to change your professional life for the better. Bring your questions, concerns, ideas and suggestions, and let’s talk!

#TChat Radio — Wed, July 17 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

Dorie joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman for a closer look at why and how professionals can benefit from personal branding. Listen live and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, July 17 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, our conversation with Dorie opens wide, as she moderates our community discussion on the #TChat stream. We welcome anyone with a Twitter account to join us, as we discuss these questions:

Q1:  You are the captains of your own career destiny. Why or why not?
Q2:  What should your first priorities be when reinventing your personal brand?
Q3:  Does it make a difference if you’re a full-time, part-time or contract worker? Why/why not?
Q4:  How can business leaders facilitate ongoing career development, inside and out?
Q5:  What technologies today help us reinvent ourselves? How/why?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

 

Career Moves: An Unconventional Payoff

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” -Emily Dickinson

I sat along the far front corner of the partner’s desk, trying not to sulk in the chair. This particular partner, an attractive Chinese woman in her mid-30’s, sat quietly behind her desk while she studied my professional profile like an archeologist attempting to decipher an ancient scroll. She even put her glasses on at one point. The partner’s sister — also a partner, and just as attractive but a few years younger — smiled at me like I was a special child about to get on the short bus for the very first time.

They asked me a series of questions about my experience and skills. They finally warmed up to me as we continued to talk about career aspirations, Silicon Valley, VC’s and HR-related tech startups.

Finally the older sister took her glasses off and said, “You know, you’re very unconventional. You’ve done a lot over time, and have been quite diverse in a short time, especially on paper. Now you’ve engaged with us to help give it all context. And it’s a pleasure, by the way. But still, it’s hard to put you in a…bucket. You know?”

I do. And so do many others who have carved and crafted their way into unconventionality by learning new skills, making career transitions, job hopping, consulting, freelancing, starting business endeavors and any combination thereof.

Professional Mobility Goes Mainstream

Nancy Friedberg, president of New York City executive coaching firm Career Leverage, recently said in a Fortune article, “Partly because of all the economic instability lately, and partly due to the entry of Gen Y into the workforce, people increasingly see themselves as free agents. It’s all about the portfolio of skills you bring, not loyalty or security. Moving around has become the new norm.”

This was a recent candidate experience I had with an executive search firm in Silicon Valley. Lovely, smart women who knew their business and understood the power of the professional skill portfolio. But as I noted earlier this week, we are naturally stalwart creatures of comfort and habit. Talent selection, mobility and succession planning have long been determined primarily by literally matching hard skills and experience to a job description, and of course gut instinct.

This is not to disparage any search professional working today, but saying that talent strategies should focus on hard skills is no longer enough. The softer skills — communication, empathy, team-building — are just as integral to selection and development, if not more so. The partners I met with understood this and made it clear during our conversation.

Looking at Talent Through New Eyes

This week on #TChat Radio, Josh Bersin emphasized the importance of looking at human capital management challenges through a more strategic, holistic lens. Rather than emphasizing the need for hard skills alone, high-impact organizations seek people with a full spectrum of capabilities — and develop both hard and soft skills. As organizations reinforce and expand these combined capabilities in real-time, and provide flexible context that responds to workforce competencies, we can expect talent selection, talent mobility and business performance to improve.

Those of us who pursue unconventional paths should take heart – it seems the tide is turning in our direction. If only unconventionality paid better, right? Actually, for the progressive individuals and companies propelling themselves and the enterprise forward, it does.

I’ll tell you more about my new bucket soon…

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

When Passion Fits the Bill

That’s the thing about full circle — sometimes it wraps you in a warm hug in spite of itself. Even a fiery one.

Earlier this week on #TChat Radio, and then during the Twitter #TChat, we talked about what to do with getting the long-term unemployed employed. According to a recent Businessweek article, “The long-term unemployed make up 38 percent of all workers without jobs, double the average share and just a few notches down from the 2010-11 peak of 45 percent.”

Devastating and perplexing. Our dialogue about the subject became a little strained when we discussed who are the job creators and how the unemployed of any duration can and should package and market themselves to prospective employers. Seeing any job seeker for who they are and what they could be still doesn’t mean they’ll be considered. In fact, from the same article above:

“[Researchers] sent out fictitious résumés to employers in 50 metro areas to see how they reacted to long spells of unemployment. [They] found that an ‘applicant’ out of work more than six months had little to no chance of being called back. The résumés of those out of work for less than six months drew more interest when they showed the applicants had relevant industry experience. At more than six months of no work, having industry experience didn’t help at all.”

Most economists agree that the primary job creators are the start-ups and small businesses, but they’re just as perplexed as to why this long-term unemployment is so pervasive. I’m with the Keynesians who say more government investment is needed, especially since the U.S. infrastructure is woefully in need of dramatic repairs and upgrades. This could be the jump start that the long-term unemployed need to return to relevancy, while at the same time make it easier for small businesses to thrive and grow (and hire).

But then our #TChat conversation took a fluffy turn. Or at least that’s what I’d call it. Why aren’t leaders looking at the unemployed as people primed and ready? Why aren’t they giving those with passion a chance? Chances are the reasons, however unfair, still come back to the volatile economy, hesitancy to add headcount, and that if you aren’t applying your skills to an immediate body of work in a business of any kind, even freelance work or volunteering, you’re relevancy fades quickly. That doesn’t make it right, it just reiterates the status quo.

“Passion doesn’t pay the bills,” I said. “Unicorns and rainbows don’t invest in business to create jobs and help place the unemployed.” I was quickly reprimanded on that point, but still stand by it, even when I held it up in front of me and the class.

Segue to a being on a local career panel with other professionals this week speaking to high school students about career futures, whatever those may hold. We shared our backgrounds, wisdom and realities of what the world of work may have in store for them, and how to plan for it all and take ownership of it all, through boom and bust. This was another career panel I participated in put on by an amazing local organization called Your Future Is Our Business. YFIOB is a community-based 501(C) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering business/education partnerships that benefit students. Their mission is to support young people in Santa Cruz County with making informed educational and career decisions.

“Let me time travel back to you, starting here,” I told the class.

I held up my first real-life published work — my business/tech career management book titled Tech Job Hunt Handbook — and told them the story of my passion: writing. Through every incarnation, it always been about the writing. I told them no matter what they do or where they go professionally in life, if there’s an activity they long like writing, or art, or music, or sports, or whatever, to never let it die, to always keep it fueled with ferocity and fun.

There were some smiles. A couple of kids scoffed. But they all heard me, and I heard me, and then felt my arms reach round and pull tight.

Screw the bills, I thought. As long as it fits the bill…although most economists would disagree (and yet, they’re not hiring me).

Image Credit: Flickr

The Power of Online Endorsements: #TChat Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? Read “#TChat Recap: The Social Side of Professional Endorsements”

The digital reputation economy is fast approaching — it’s already here for movies, restaurants (including their restrooms), customer service in retail, and a growing number of employers. And it’s arriving for us ordinary citizens: “everyman” and “everywoman.” Startups are building software that can aggregate your tweets, “likes,” online commerce and more, to construct a profile of who you are. And employers, banks and others who have influence over your professional and personal affairs want to review that aggregation of data. This week we look at whether or not that’s a good thing in general, and how it changes our professional and personal currency.

Endorsements online can mean a lot. This we know, and their apparent relevance to the world of work is considerable. They can help an organization’s SEO, yes, and research shows that a large majority percentage of social media users turn to their peers for recommendations on products and services, and not to the organizations themselves that provide these — a sort of unofficial recommendation.

There must be a corresponding phenomenon in the world of work. And that would be digitally revolutionary. Against the backdrop of social endorsements are the official and unofficial mechanisms for professional endorsements and recommendations that drive careers, too. With its new endorsements functionality, LinkedIn recently has made a splash along these lines.

Let’s train our collective #TChat wisdom on endorsement, to look into whether or not all online endorsements are created equal. We’re going to do our best to extrapolate as many key takeaways as possible that might be applicable to the world of work. In the spirit of that quest, following are this week’s questions:

Q1: What is the value of endorsements and recommendations online, whatever the context?

Q2: In the world of work, are all online endorsements and related activity created equal? Why or why not?

Q3: How should leaders interpret online recommendations & endorsements? What is the value?

Q4: When do *you* endorse a fellow professional online? What criteria do you use?

Q5: How is tech changing the nature & value of endorsements & recommendations?

To view the #TChat Radio preview, click the image.

One of this week’s #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter guests is Dr. Marla Gottschalk (@MRGottschalk), a prolific member of our community. Marla is practice manager in organizational development at Rand Gottschalk & Associates, a management consultancy focusing on organizational change and performance development. Here’s a link to her blog, The Office Blend.

Our other guest for the radio show, and moderator of Wednesday’s Twitter chat, will be Mike Dwyer (@cruiter), co-founder and managing director of market development at QUEsocial, a social business technology platform that equips employees in recruiting, sales, customer service, product marketing, and marketing with job-specific training, content and motivation to convert social media activities into desired outcomes.

So please, join us. Tune into the radio show on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT. And then bring your ideas to the Twitter chat on Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 7-8 pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). We always enjoy and value your tweets and wisdom!

Image credit: Thumbs Up via stock.xchng

Create an Unsinkable Resume

Alicia Arenas’ recent TalentCulture post, Business Leaders: Go Niche or Go Home resonated!

Arenas says that entrepreneurs must “choose a target market.” Similarly, job seekers must zero in on their target reader, and then laser-focus their words and actions on attracting that audience.

As a resume writer, I only write for careerists who are targeted! And by this, I mean, you know what position you wish to attract with your resume, cover letter, biography, social media profile and the like.  Ideally, the position upon which you are concentrating is one that can be articulated with a title such as, “Marketing Director” or “Accounting Manager” or  “Information Architect,” or some combination thereto.

This position must be a genuine role that companies are, or should, be filling with YOUR type of credentials. Companies must have a present need to invest in folks like YOU who uniquely are qualified to step into vacant shoes–and create traction.

How you begin shaping your value story to appeal to that audience is this:

  • First, think about and get quite familiar with your target audience’s areas of pain – write those down. In an earlier blog post, I listed multiple Internet resources you may access to research companies; you can click HERE to access those. For your assistance, a few of those sites include Hoovers.com, Manta.com and ZoomInfo.com.
  • Second, craft a compelling message that shows how you can heal those pain points. Identify performance stories that prove you’ve been there and done that and include not only the basic, “I built a product plan, then built the product, then rolled it into the market in 8 months,” but also illustrate ‘the how’ including your thought processes, leadership idiosyncrasies, and creative way of developing and executing your plan that led to a profitable outcome. Describe your initiatives in great detail initially so that a glistening facet of what makes you UNIQUELY you doesn’t get dulled by ruthless initial self-editing.
  • Edit later, polishing and shining a spotlight on the most interesting and relevant story points that will entice your reader.
  • Next, reread your stories and ensure you are demonstrating business savvy and sensitivity as if you already were working at your desired company. Do this by connecting the dots to show how what you did at your past company helped not only your immediate team reach their goals but also aided the organization as a whole do bigger and better things and ultimately, grew the bottom line.

Funneling these career stories through a filter based on your target market’s (e.g., company’s / industry’s) needs is the only way to clear the clutter and create clarity that captures attention! Otherwise, if you try to build a resume that is all things to all audiences, you will, as Alicia says, “sink your business,” which in this case is, “You, Inc.”

Zero Unemployment: It's On Us: #TChat Recap

Maybe we would be better off putting economists and seasoned (small) business leaders in office. Because maybe then we’d create a better private sector environment that brings back a job growth heartbeat.

I didn’t want to make this week’s recap political, but that’s difficult to do when all I hear is crazy extremism with little to no economic basis for growth, and certainly no viable plans. At all.

Tonight is the President’s job speech, and the anticipation for more of nothing is palpable. And the Republican debate last night was just more of the same, meaning more of nothing.

What ails the global economy is unprecedented. We haven’t seen this many people out of work for longer than six months since before World War II, and we haven’t seen this many emerging markets and simultaneous downturns and financial market meltdowns since the end of WWII.

I wrote yesterday that most mainstream economists agree 100% employment just isn’t possible or even should be possible. Consider NAIRU, which is an acronym for Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment:

“Any given labor market structure must involve a certain amount of unemployment, including frictional unemployment associated with individuals changing jobs and possibly classical unemployment arising from real wages being held above the market-clearing level by minimum wage laws, trade unions or other labour market institutions.”

Wait, I forgot. We’re human. We also have to consider corruption, taxes, tariffs, regulations, greed, exploitation, violence — all of which can stifle micro and macro economies, so it’s no surprise that we couldn’t have zero unemployment even if we really wanted to.

And political extremism is killing any hope for a healthy business market and job growth in this country. By the numbers, the greatest job growth comes in small business, the global innovators and incubators of the new millennium.

Sure, there are still inherent problems with our recruiting processes here, there and everywhere, as well as a major skills shortage and (bidding) war for specific talent that inflates the market while other sectors lie flat, but the good folk on last night’s #TChat helped to solve all that.

Hey, maybe we should put all of you into office. Yes, that’s the new plan and we can still have our economists as advisors.

Right on.

A very special thank you to Jessica Miller-Merrill (@blogging4jobs) for moderating last night and the entire Zero Unemployment movement for making a difference!

You can read Matt Charney‘s precap here and here were the questions from last night:

  • Q1. Is zero unemployment possible? If so, what would be the major repercussions?
  • Q2. Is job search broken? If so, what can be done to fix it?
  • Q3. Do recruiters and employers make the hiring process too complex? If so, how?
  • Q4. Looking at the job market today, do you see a jobs crisis or a war for talent?
  • Q5. What’s your advice on job creation (in 140 characters or less?)
  • Q6. What will the (job outlook) look like for Generation Z? Better or bleak? Why?

The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro @KevinWGrossman and powered by our friends and partners @TalentCulture @Monster_WORKS @MonsterCareers and of course @Focus.

 

The Cloud Goes On and On: #TChat Recap

Recently I bought the new Journey album. Yes, Journey the rock band. You know we love pop culture here at TalentCulture. Why not? Yes.

I joked that I had bought the album — no wait, the 8-track — no wait, the cassette — no wait, the CD — no wait, I downloaded it to my laptop — no wait, I streamed it virtually to every device I own.

What’s cooler? The album, of course — no wait, the streaming is. Right?

Welcome to the world of cloud software and services. Not that it’s brand new; on-demand, web-based consumer and business software and services have been launching throughout the past decade, which includes Salesforce, Amazon, iTunes, Facebook, LinkedIn, SuccessFactors, Workday and many more. It’s just that now with hardware advances, mobile computing and the scalability of cloud computing and server farms all over the world, the cloud has hit mainstream. I don’t have to own my own servers or software or employ an IT staff. I can rent them and outsource them. The barriers to entry for starting a business are lower than they’ve ever been, even in the face of the most challenging business environment we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes.

It can’t be stated enough — what is literally amazing today is that we can control our offices via laptops, tablet computers and smartphones from virtually anywhere. Again, that’s because of software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows me to purchase and use software online without having to download anything as well as cloud computing where the software is delivered more as a service rather than a product, giving me access to software, data access and storage services.

However, the cloud’s mainstream visibility is still more around the glitz and glamour of streaming music, entertainment, consumer software, apps and the social cloud we play in — these are all sexy cool and rich in marketing romance.

HR business software? Not so much. But that really doesn’t matter when software runs the world these days. Or, when it’s eating it according to Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape and is now a general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz:

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Why is this happening now? Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.

Eating the world, running the world – however you want to view it, it’s happening, sexy or not, in Silicon Valley and many other places in the world, although I did have an interesting discussion last week with startup TribeHR co-founder Joseph Fung. They provide HR management software for small to mid-size companies. He argued that HR software can be sexy cool, especially if you’re focusing on the customer and end-user experience as well as creating an emotional connection between product and consumer. Tough to do, but with the innovative SaaS and cloud mash-ups I’ve seen this year alone addressing multiple business problems, he may be right. It doesn’t mean that every company is moving from install-based software to cloud-based, but the trend is growing.

What’s next?

Well, once HR business software self-configures and adapts automatically once deployed, providing talent acquisition and management recommendations automatically like Watson on AI steroids, then that’ll be the day HR business software stood sexy cool.

The Journey anthem Don’t Stop Believin’ turned 30 this year. I remember vividly buying the brand new album Escape and giving it its first spin on the turntable. It’s now the most downloadable song in the world.

Oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on…

You can read Matt Charney’s precap here and here were the #TChat questions from last night:

  • Q1: What is the “cloud?”  To what extent does it impact our work today?
  • Q2: What are some of the biggest business benefits from cloud computing?
  • Q3: What are some of the drawbacks or potential landmines of the cloud?
  • Q4: How might cloud technologies impact recruiting, HR or job search?
  • Q5: What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Any misconceptions?
  • Q6: What are some new or interesting applications of cloud technologies that you see evolving in the future?

The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro @KevinWGrossman and powered by our friends and partners @TalentCulture @Monster_WORKS @MonsterCareers and of course @Focus.

What Can Cloud Do For The World of Work? #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Systems are the lifeblood of HR; after all, there’s nothing human resources loves more than compliance and reporting, two key functions driven almost solely by ERPs and similar solutions.

But as anyone who’s ever survived a systems conversion or integration can vouch, the biggest problem with these tools is that they’re almost always completely disparate, diffusing data into divergent databases that don’t intuitively interface or integrate.

But the question becomes (and it’s an urgent one for HR leaders, talent professionals and leaders): if our systems don’t talk to each other, how can we expect our people to do any differently?

For all the time and resources invested by HR and executive leadership to drive cross-functional collaboration and enterprise alignment among teams, the simple sharing of systems goes a long way into embedding – and automating – the business of doing business across your business.

The ability to seamlessly tie systems and solutions together, the scaling and maximizing of resources and potential cost savings are but a few of the reasons why so many people are so excited about the evolution of cloud computing, a broad concept with even broader business implications.

While it’s a topic many might neglect or take for granted, cloud computing represents both the future possibilities – and to some extent, present day realities – of today’s world of work.

If you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon, used Tweetdeck or “liked” an article or blog post, you’ve witnessed the cloud in action – even if you didn’t know it.

That’s the thing about clouds – they’re essential, yet ephemeral.

#TChat Questions & Cloud Computing Recommended Reading (08.24.11)

We hope you can join us this Wednesday, August 24 at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT for this week’s #TChat about cloud computing and technologies.  We’ll find out what cloud can do for you – and your business’ systems, people and organizations in what’s sure to be a lively, informative and potentially contentious conversation.

To help prepare, and inform, your participation in this week’s #TChat dialogue, here are the questions we’ll be covering this week, along with some recommended reading that, while not required to participate in #TChat, will help shine some light on the cloud – and what it means for the world of work.

Hope to see you at #TChat!  If you’re new to #TChat or want more information, be sure to check out “What is #TChat” from our partners @TalentCulture:
1) What is the “cloud?”  To what extent does it impact our work today?

Read: What We Talk About When We Talk About Cloud Computing by Rajen Sheth

2) What are some of the biggest business benefits from cloud computing?

Read: How to Get Started With Cloud Computing by Beth Schultz

3) What are some of the drawbacks or potential landmines of the cloud?

Read: Don’t Rain on the Parade: Cloud Computing & Leadership by Meghan M. Biro

4) How might cloud technologies impact recruiting, HR or job search?

Read: Turning “Big Data” Into A Big Employer Advantage by Jessica Sutera

5) What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Any misconceptions?

Read: Rethinking the Cloud by Brad Peters

6) What are some new or interesting applications of cloud technologies that you see evolving in the future?

Read: Moving the Mundane to the Cloud by Steve Boese

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works

7 Personal Tune-Ups for Tough Times

We had lunch last weekend with friends we had not seen for quite some time. My former co-worker’s spouse looked at me, as I was now more than 20 months away from the corporate world in which she’s still immersed, and said, “You look so calm.”

Her comment was both a surprise (since I do not necessarily feel calm), and exactly what I try to work on all the time.

With lingering economic issues and recent wild stock market swings occupying news daily, it is clear challenging times are not going to be over any time soon. While the economy obviously creates lingering financial concerns for those who find themselves out of work, taking pay cuts, or having their retirement nest eggs gutted, the impact on individual mental outlooks can extend even to those who have not been touched financially, such as my friend.

This makes it imperative for individuals to take care of themselves mentally as they try to take care of their career and financial prospects in tough times.

Having planned and started my personal career transition during the tough times of the past five years, here are 7 personal tune-ups that have been tremendously beneficial to me in helping me stay as “calm” as I have.

1. Understand your Distinctive Talents

Think through your talents, identifying those at which you are best and improve all the time, the ones that that bring you the most energy and that benefit others. After identifying your “distinctive talents,” use them in as many work and personal situations as possible to maximize your positive impact.

2. Tune Out Negative News

I used to wake up to talk radio and listen to it until arriving at work. That was until seeing Ed Foreman, who asked why anyone would fill themselves with downbeat news to start the day. I now awake to upbeat music, avoid the newspaper in favor of uplifting reading, do quick creative tasks, go to Church, and listen to energizing music or helpful presentations in the car. The result is a more positive attitude when arriving at work.

3. Give Yourself a Break

Tough times lead to greater pressure to achieve goals. Compensate by figuring out what mind-taxing tasks you can eliminate to give yourself a break. Get up earlier and start the day so you are not running behind. Stop reading a redundant industry magazine. Set a slightly earlier time to leave work. Consciously live below your means. These and other ideas can help reduce self-induced mental pressure.

4. Stop Thinking so Much about Yourself

Go out of your way to serve others – at work and in personal life. Instead of turning inward, increasingly reach out to others. Apply your talents to help others be more successful as they face their own challenges. This may seem counter-intuitive, but I would rather be known for contributing to many of other peoples’ successes than simply focusing on my own.

5. Be a Joy to Be Around

Smile, laugh, cheer people up. As tempting as going into a cocoon when everything seems crappy may be, don’t do it. Be a source of calm and enjoyment, bringing comfort and lighthearted moments to others. Find whatever works with your personality. For me that’s wearing orange socks (that have become my trademark), even when I don’t feel like bright colors and seeking out humor and fun to share with others.

6. Be Visible

Use your talents to be visible outside your company. If your talent is speaking, develop content and present to local organizations and universities. If it’s writing, submit articles to publications looking for content or start a blog on your expertise. If you’re good at building, cooking, or other essential skills, volunteer in your community. Make sure you’re using talents to help others and expand your network.

7. Work Out

Exercise and I were never good friends until my wife signed us up at a nearby health club and arranged for me to work with a trainer. I’d done cardio before, lost a little weight, but it never had a major impact. Working with a trainer brought new focus, helped relieve stress through exercise, and resulted in losing 25 pounds. All that, plus knowing I can go get away and exercise is both a tremendous motivator and a sure-fire antidote to a bad day of work.

Get Started Now

You don’t have to do all these things, but pick at least one or two as a way to tune-up your attitude and mental perspective if you’re feeling like the economic news or career challenges are dragging you down. It’s always a good time to start taking better care of yourself. Best wishes for successfully incorporating these ideas into your daily routine to stay calm!

IMAGE VIA lululemon athletica

Going Global: Workers Without Borders: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney on MonsterThinking Blog

The History Channel recently rolled out a series called, “How States Got Their Shapes,” a topic so complex that it warranted a serial treatment so intricate it would make Ken Burns blush.

But, Adams-Onis treaty aside, Laurie Ruettimann pretty much summed up the key geopolitical takeaway of history in this recent post on the Cynical Girl blog:

“States — NY, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, California — are so arbitrary…. We are now loyal to imaginary boundaries and self-contained hamlets. Preferences and cultural divisions emerge, but it’s so stupid to display loyalty to a geography that can’t love you back.”

The arbitrary nature of borders extends to all territories, foreign and domestic, and while we’ve become adept at handling intrastate commerce, but when it comes to global business, the boundaries are more than arbitrary: they’re engrained into the fabric of most organizations.

Historically, many companies have, for reasons ranging from taxes to supply chain efficiencies, separated out the operations of their international business into a complex structure that’s separate, but rarely equal to, the home country, and business culture, which each respective company calls home (or, more commonly, ‘headquarters’).

While many global companies divvy up territories and regions like they’re hashing out the Treaty of Paris, the increased interconnectedness, not to mention economic interdependence, of today’s workplace necessitates a new approach to the challenges of international business.

This is particularly true when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, whose skills, experience and expertise transcends borders; international teams and work groups are not only becoming an increasing reality, but an important consideration in today’s talent and diversity strategies.

While, as Ruettimann pointed out, “preferences and cultural divisions emerge,” these, like any comprehensive recruiting strategy, are differences easily bridged, both through technology and the shared experience, and desires, shared by workers everywhere.

Concepts like stability, the opportunity for growth, the chance to earn a decent living and so forth might mean different things to different people, but that’s got less to do with location than personal preference, and it’s that preference that creates the only cultural division that really matters anymore: that of corporate culture.

And while, as Ruettimann suggests, “it’s stupid to display loyalty to a geography that can’t love you back,” when it comes to the world of work, it’s that loyalty, and engagement, that create a company’s most significant competitive advantage.

Going Global: Workers Without Borders

#TChat Questions & Recommended Reading (08.10.11)

This week, #TChat moves to its new day and time Wednesday nights at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, but it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, and we’re excited to kick off our new time slot with a topic that’s truly as big as the world of work.

While our #TChat community comes from around the globe, it’s our shared passion for career and talent management, leadership and workplace culture that keep the conversation going.  We hope  you can bring your international perspective this week; no matter where you are, this week’s topic is truly universal.

To help prepare, and inform, your participation in this week’s #TChat conversation (or if you can’t make it!), here are this week’s questions along with some recommended reading that’s not required, but provides some great background and insight about where global business is at – and where it’s going.

See you Wednesday (that’s August 10 on your calendars) night at 7 PM ET!

Q1: How is globalization changing the world of work?

Read: Gear Up to Compete in A Global Economy by Rusty Weston

Q2: What lessons can US workers & leaders learn from their international colleagues?

Read: 5 Best Practices for Engaging With A Multinational Team by Kevin Sheridan

Q3: What role does workplace or business culture play when working internationally or with global teams?

Read: Global Recruitment: How to Make Your Company A Magnet For Young, Global Talent by Rob Salkowitz

Q4: What can leaders do better to meet the needs of a global or international business?

Read: Is The CEO the new Chief Talent Officer? by Sanjay Modi

Q5: How is technology or social media influencing the rise of global business?

Read: Global Technology Stepping Up Collaboration in the Workplace by Daniel Newman

Q6: What are the biggest opportunities for organizations going global?  Biggest drawbacks?

Read: 7 Tips to Help Your Business Take on the World by Anne Field

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.

Global Technology Stepping Up Workplace Collaboration

For anyone that can remember the time that a latest and greatest technology emerged to bring business to the next level, we can say that it is profoundly interesting the impact that these advancements actually make on companies.

Some can probably remember the days before email and before cell phones when letters were either typed by hand and traveling sales people had to actually stop at a pay phone to verify an appointment or call home to check in.

More than ever management need to be watching technology trends and making sure their organization is equipped.

Times are changing, the proliferation of technology is moving faster than ever, and businesses are the ones that are benefiting.  At least they should be!

There are many ways that technology is leading to better business practices.  There are systems for managing customers, accounting, communications, and operations.  We are connected 24×7 if we so choose and we are able to reach all ends of the world instantly via the click of a button.

As a proponent of successful businesses being comprised of people that use technology and not just technology alone, I believe that nothing in business may be affected by emerging technology than Human Resources.  Recruiting, talent development, and employee retention are all seeing a significant boost based upon what advances in technology have to offer.

Two of the specific technologies that are revolutionizing talent and professional development more than any are IP (Internet Protocol) Based Communications such as Skype, VoIP, and Video Conferencing as well as the rapid emergence of Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+).

Let’s take a look across the scope of Talent Management and explore how the aforementioned technologies as well as a few others are facilitating success for so many companies.

Recruiting New Talent

It used to be a newspaper ad or a sign in the window.  Your audience was narrow and your options were thin.  It was difficult to reach the best talent leaving positions to be filled by less than ideal candidates.

  • Communications – With the ability to inexpensively bring employees in via the network  either by voice, video, or perhaps a combination such as Webex, employees can now be sourced from and potentially located anywhere.  Productivity tools allow companies to hire the BEST candidate from any location and get them integrated with the team whether they are near or far.
  • Social Media – Depending on the specifics of the job, talent can be sought through massive global social networks such as Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter.  These networks allow a help wanted ad to reach millions of users who may or may not be actively seeking employment.  Recruiting and searching for talent has also never been easier due to profiles, recommendations, and other affiliations that can be easily found online using Social Media.  As an aside, Social Media has also helped many companies decide who not to hire.

Talent Development

It used to be a quarterly or yearly trip to headquarters for remote employees and or classroom learning for those already in town.  Coordinating training was intensive and time consuming.  With technology advances now learning can be routine, meaningful, and completed on demand.

  • Communications – Similar to the recruiting process the continued education of employees can be accomplished using technology tools.  Webinars, Distance Learning, and E-Learning platforms all pave the way for continued education for employees regardless of where they are located.  On top of being able to create content and have employees learn and develop on demand, it also helps companies to utilize global resources to provide the education.
  • Social Media – Intranets have existed for companies for some time however they were rarely used all that effectively.  With professional usage of social platforms employees can learn from one another as well as competitors by following, reading, and embracing the information that is widely available.  Content is created and shared regularly and it allows company talent to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry and any important changes within.

Employee Retention

It has been discussed to no end the impact that turnover has on a business.  Whether near or far from headquarters, companies need to focus on how they can keep people satisfied, growing, and engaged.  In the past when companies would hire remote employees they oft felt isolated and/or disconnected from the organization.  With emails and phone calls perhaps being the only regular communication eventually the employee may choose to be with an organization where they feel more involved.  Technology has changed that, and if used correctly it can assist the organization with retention allowing it to focus on strategy with key employees rather than on replacing them.

  • CommunicationsHearing a voice on the line is fine, it is practical, but like long distance relationships in life, eye contact means a lot.  With offerings from Free (Skype) to immersive telepresence costing millions ( Cisco, Polycom) and everything in between companies and their employees can now sit across the table and make eye contact with the click of a mouse.  Now as easy as a phone call, video can be accomplished and the quality is really good.  Video is not only beneficial for the employee, but also for the company as it forces focus and regular collaboration (We all know how easy it can be to multi-task on the phone).  Another item that is critical to many employees is flexibility, with tools that allow productivity anywhere and everywhere, (pending signal) companies can be more flexible with their resources allowing both parties  to benefit.
  • Social MediaSocial is a medium for even smaller companies to build their brand and create an identity for their employees. This effort can often aid in the development of company community and in some cases successful out of work friendships.  While peoples out of work activities generally don’t bare much success for the organization, happy people tend to generate more productivity.  People that feel connected to their brand and feel that they are a part of something special tend to work harder and drive greater results.  Social Media is a growing vehicle for accomplishing this.

For as long as business has been business, companies have only been as good as their people.  In almost all cases where a great product or service fails it isn’t the product or service at all, rather it is those behind it.  With emerging communication technology and proper social media integration you have the chance to be ahead of the curve.

Now technology of course isn’t all free, and choosing the technologies that are best for your organization may take some work, however, it is time well spent.   You can all but assume that the competition are looking at all the options too, some are integrating, some are watching and waiting, and you can only hope that a few are oblivious.  Nevertheless, technology will continue to advance making companies faster, smarter, and of course full of better talent.

The question is, are you embracing it, or are you hoping to ride to prosperity on the tired old horse that got you to where you are today.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Crowdsourcing Prospective Candidates: Impossible?

Written by Omowale Casselle

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call (Wikipedia). In theory, the internet should be a great enabler of being able to put a call for talent out to a community and in return receive a great group of qualified candidates that meet the needs of your organization. In reality, this is much easier said than done.

There are great examples of communities that rely on crowdsourced principles:

1.  Threadless is a community-centered online apparel store. Members of the Threadless community submit t-shirt designs online; the designs are then put to a public vote. A small percentage of submitted designs are selected for printing and sold through an online store. Creators of the winning designs receive a prize of cash and store credit.

2. Local Motors is an open source automobile company. They co-create vehicles with their community of auto designers, engineers, enthusiasts and customers.

3.  InnoCentive is an “open innovation” company that takes research and development problems in a broad range of domains such as engineering, computer science, math, chemistry, life sciences, physical sciences and business and frames them as “challenge problems” for anyone to solve them. It gives cash awards for the best solutions to solvers who meet the challenge criteria

From t-shirt design to automobile to R&D, these communities have shown that crowdsourcing can be utilized in a wide variety of fields for both very simple and extremely complex problems. So, what are these companies doing that is enabling them to leverage a large group of people to develop creative solutions to difficult problems?

Aligned Incentives

In each of these crowdsourced communities, there is some type of reward that is offered to those who develop a winning solution to the problem. Whether it is the most creative t-shirt or a well-designed, all-terrain defense vehicle, those who come out on top receive a clearly designed reward for their efforts.  As a result, each person who takes part in the challenge is focused on doing their best work so that they might be selected for the reward.  The company also knows that because so many people have submitted their work that the quality of those submissions which bubble to the top should be pretty fantastic. One of the clearest ways to align incentives within the recruiting environment is to offer a referral bonus. If someone within your community connects you with the right person, let them know that you’ll pay them a nice reward.  Everyone implicitly understands that every candidate referred will not necessarily be the right fit. But, for the one that is, there will be a great reward for the individual that helped you connect with him/her.

Multiple Opportunities to Get Involved

While there are plenty of people who are focused on winning the big reward, there are an equal number of participants supporting the community along the way. From the members who vote on the submissions to those who ultimately purchase the product, these communities excel at making everyone feel like they have an important role to play.  In social media and social networking, most of your community is not necessarily going to have a direct connection with the right candidate. But, with careful management of your community, they may be willing to share your hiring need through a status update on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter. By helping spread the word and thanking people for their participation in achieving your ultimate goal, you create the type of environment in which many people want to be a part of.

Clearly Defined Problems

In order to develop a meaningful solution, the problem must be well understood. So, these communities place a heavy emphasis on letting you know upfront what they are looking for. There is then the expectation that the creativity of the individual, supported by the broader community, will take over to find a path from the problem definition to an elegant solution that will be appreciated by many. In recruiting, this is no different. If you want to get the right slate of qualified candidates, it is important to properly define what you are seeking in terms of experience, skills, and expected roles/responsibilities. By getting this right, you give the community a much better opportunity of finding the right person.

Although social media and social networking have helped digitally bridge the gap among internet users locally and globally, many community building efforts are challenged to truly reap the benefits. While there is still a way to go before we see a scalable, repeatable, crowdsourced recruiting solution, key elements can be incorporated into individual communities being created on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to increase the participation and ultimate results achieved. What ways has your organization sought to leverage your community to meet your hiring needs?

Why You're Always the Interviewee and Never Hired

I just finished interviewing potential hires for two open positions at my company, and I was reminded why I founded Come Recommended in the first place.

Back in 2009 when Come Recommended launched, it was a professional networking site for internship and entry-level job candidates and employers. But in order to gain access to the community, all members (including employers) had to “come recommended.”

Our technology allowed potential members to send recommendation invites, which brought recommenders to a page that first asked for their relationship to the candidate or employer and then provided a specific set of questions depending on that relationship. Unlike LinkedIn, Come Recommended members couldn’t choose whether or not to show these recommendations…they immediately appeared on the member’s profile after the recommender hit Submit. Once a member had three recommendations (good or bad), they were granted full access to Come Recommended’s online community.

Why all the trouble just to get into a networking site? Because I was fed up with the exact reason I’m writing this post today: Candidates often look great on paper, only to disappoint majorly at some point during the hiring process. Even though Come Recommended is now a content marketing and digital PR consultancy (I know, complete change of direction), I still find myself butting heads with this issue.

I am convinced — as I have been for a long time — that many more people would be employed if they just took a closer look at what they might be doing “wrong” during their job search.

Instead, they get angry and blame employers and hiring managers for their troubles. Don’t get me wrong, there are way too many companies out there looking for the “perfect” candidate they will never find. But you need to take control of your job search — your career — if you ever hope to be happily employed. And that might even mean paying someone (oh, the horror!) to help you perfect your application materials and hone your job searching skills. Believe it or not, career coaches and resume writers exist to help you — and have valuable skills worth paying for.

I wish I was wrong, I really do. I wish candidates that truly weren’t a good fit for my position looked just as bad on paper as they do during the interview process. Trust me, it would save me a lot of valuable time. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. And that’s not to say these folks aren’t a great fit for some other position out there — they very likely are — but not mine, which is my primary concern.

For one of the two positions I had open, I interviewed approximately 25 people — and had zero problem narrowing the list down to three after interviewing everyone. By their experience on paper (or in this case, their LinkedIn profiles), all 25 should have made excellent hires for this particular position. Why didn’t they? Here are just a few examples:

  • Nervous laughing: I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and call it nervous laughing, although one candidate was laughing so hard during the entire interview that I thought I was being punked on a radio show.
  • Going for a world “you know” record: How many times can someone say “you know” in the same sentence? Six, apparently. In. The. Same. Sentence!
  • Disliking a virtual working environment: One of the questions I ask candidates is what they liked most and what they liked least about their previous positions. One candidate told me she disliked working in a virtual (sometimes called remote or telecommute) environment…which Come Recommended happens to be. (This is made clear in all our job ads.)
  • Calling from a rave: Not one, but two candidates I interviewed had loud music and conversations going on in the background of their interviews. While I can’t confirm they were clubbing, it sure sounded like it.
  • Putting me on hold: Yes, that’s right, one candidate put me on hold for a while to confer with someone else in the room before answering a question.
  • Telling me your life story: The first question I ask candidates is the ol’ “tell me about yourself.” Your answer to this question should be anywhere from 30-90 seconds. Two candidates took 30 minutes (yes, minutes) to respond.
  • Never leaving your script: I have a feeling one candidate got a hold of my full list of interview questions from another candidate…because she stopped me at one point and told me I “missed one” that she really wanted to answer. She proceeded to tell me what the question was and clearly read her answer to it from a piece of paper.
  • Not truly wanting to work for my company: Nothing gets my attention more than a candidate who tells me she’d rather be in grad school or working at a law firm than my company. (Sarcasm.)

Unfortunately, this list could go on…and on. Some of you reading this might not even believe these stories because they seem too (trying not to write “stupid”)…unbelievable. I would never do something like that, you’re thinking. Really, are you sure? What I find unbelievable is that people would purposely tank job interviews. Perhaps it’s time you evaluate what you could be doing wrong in the eyes of hiring managers and recruiters…and do something about it.

On Air Talent: Introducing #TChat Radio

When TalentCulture founder Meghan M. Biro and I launched #TChat last November, we had no idea it would take off like it did.

Of course we had expectations, but still had no idea. We rotate topics each week to encompass a wide range of topics that affect all of us globally in the World of Work.

There are hundreds of Twitter Chats out there today competing for every tweeter’s frenetically brief but unique attention span – the Twitter events where participants talk about various subjects across industries and use a hashtag (like #TChat) to manage the chat stream.

It’s been an amazing journey. We are inspired now more than ever to keep the conversation moving forward. We’ve done over 30 shows to date and have nurtured a fantastic online community of professionals and enthusiasts that we hope to continue to deliver value and grow relationships with our interesting audience.  This eclectic group of talent is comprised of leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, HR, career pros, recruiters, business consultants, marketers, public relations and social media enthusiasts, bloggers, job seekers, and a variety of eclectic innovative passersby. Usually we have hundreds of participants per week using the #TChat hashtag, extending our broader “Tweet Reach” into the hundreds of thousands.

If you’re not familiar with our weekly Twitter #TChat (TalentCulture Chat), we discuss what affects us all. It’s all about the re-engineering of business today, of the way we work and the why of it all in the 21st century — The Business and Social World of Work. It’s about re-imagining how we lead, acquire, empower and retain our workforce today, with emotional connectivity and global cultural inclusivity. It’s about the intersection of Talent + Culture. We ask a series of questions and let all participants answer and share during the #TChat hour.

And now it’s time to hear us speak. Literally hear us speak.

#TChat Radio launches on Focus, the business expert network, on Tuesday, July 26, from 8-9 p.m. ET & 7-8 p.m. CT & 6-7 p.m MT & 5-6 p.m. PT (the same Tuesday time slot for all the #TChat’s). We are global so see here if you need a compass. For now it will be a monthly show, although we may move to bi-weekly sooner than later.

That all depends on you.

Our first show, The Talent Biz, will include the following topics from previous #TChat shows:

  • What does HR need to do to become better business partners to the rest of us?
  • 5 job search myths and the new recruiting realities HR pros need to know
  • A look at employer branding and how it plays into talent acquisition and company culture
  • And anything else appropriate we can shove into 45 minutes

We also wanted to keep our inaugural show “in the family” with our first guests, those who have been with the TC community for some time and who participate regularly. They include:

To listen in, please dial:

  • US Toll-free: 866-951-1151
  • Int’l: 201-590-2255
  • Passcode: 4999006

And while you listen, participate in the conversation via the #TChat stream on Twitter using your favorite Twitter client of choice. Ask questions, comments, talk amongst yourselves – be part of the conversation!

So please join us for #TChat Radio launching Tuesday, July 26, from 8-9 p.m. ET & 7-8 p.m. CT & 6-7 p.m MT & 5-6 p.m. PT. We are global so please see here if you need a compass.The #TChat Twitter Chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro and @KevinWGrossman, and powered by our partners @Monster_WORKS, @MonsterCareers, @HRmarketer, and @Focus.

Sharing Accomplishments: Make Self-Promotion Easier

I received a career-oriented email recently featuring an article for introverts on overcoming challenges in  job seeking and career advancement. Two days later, I attended a regional conference on innovation where a presenter remarked that Midwestern entrepreneurs are generally uncomfortable touting their business ideas to potential investors. The same week, someone I know was asked to write an article for an upcoming  magazine. The publisher said it would be great for the person to be able to say he wrote a cover story for an emerging print magazine. The potential author responded it would be cool, but he’d never put it that way since it sounded boastful.

Sharing Personal Accomplishments Can Be Challenging

We’re routinely subjected to over-the-top self promotion, especially via social media channels. Yet these three instances in quick succession suggest there are still many people (maybe all introverts) who find it difficult, even distasteful, to call attention to themselves. This discomfort can be present even when the self-promotion is completely appropriate given one’s personal accomplishments and distinctive talents. I’ve even run across this phenomenon during very open conversations with people who could in no way ever be considered introverts.

While I’m reluctant to contribute to any increase in the self-promotion din, it’s worth sharing a few ideas to help those of you who wrestle with beneficial and appropriate self-promotion. These five ideas can improve your performance in this important skill for career advancement.

Five Ways to Make Sharing Personal Accomplishments Easier

1. Ask others for the words and examples which appropriately describe you.

If you struggle to find the words to talk about yourself in the most positive light, ask someone familiar with your skills and talents to craft a recommendation letter for you. A long-time business partner asked me for a professional recommendation. I wrote a sincere, very favorable letter about the impact he’d had on our business. His comment back to me was, “(This guy) seems to be everything I doubt about myself.” Everything in the letter was true, but it was much easier for me to say these things than it would have ever been for him. If you’re in a comparable situation, a close friend or business confidant may provide all the words and phrases you need to better showcase yourself.

2. Create a daily “smile file” list of your personal accomplishments.

At a recent lunch with former co-workers, there was lots of discussion about what everyone was doing professionally – exciting projects, travel, even looking for new jobs. Lots of discussion – except for one person who was largely silent. He later admitted struggling with anything of comparable interest in his own career to share.  If your day-to-day routine doesn’t seem conversation worthy, make yourself create a daily list of accomplishments and noteworthy things you do. How long should the list be? Try as long as your daily to-do list. The discipline of tracking these items allows you to refresh your memory on personal accomplishments over time and makes it easier when updating a resume if you’re looking for a newer job, too.

3. Save nice things people say about you online.

If you’re providing value through your social media interactions and the content you’re creating and sharing, chances are people in your audience are saying favorable things about you. These tweets, comments, and updates can contain words and phrases to incorporate in your own self-vocabulary. Since these comments are crowd sourced, you should feel more comfortable and credible in using them. Favorite or copy the comments into an online file for future reference. If the positive comments are being tweeted, you can actually display them on your blog as an unobtrusive way to share positive comments with a broader audience.

4. Blog about your successes.

One benefit of blogging I’d not anticipated was how my blog has become a personal reference of what I’ve worked on and lessons learned through work assignments. Blogging also offers the opportunity to share personal accomplishments of which you’re proud and that you might want to share with others. Having them captured on your blog provides a convenient and understated way to share personal accomplishments via links in electronic versions of resumes and cover letters as further background.

5. Look at status updates from those prone to self-promotion.

We all have a list of people we know who are inveterate self-promoters through social media. Many of them are completely overboard. Others self-promote but aren’t nearly as egregious about it. If you’re currently blocking these people, start following them and notice what they’re doing. What are they sharing about themselves, both professionally and personally? Examine their social media updates, and ask yourself what you’ve done that’s comparable, different, or even more distinct. This exercise can prompt you to think of analogous situations you might have been downplaying as well as cause you to realize additional personal accomplishments to feature in conversations and in your own social media content.

Wrap-up

If you struggle with talking yourself up positively, implement one or two of these ideas. Try them and see what types of results you achieve, while keeping your humility intact. All the while, you’ll do yourself and the world a big favor by representing yourself more favorably and accurately.

For Millions, A Dream Job Means Having One: #TChat Recap

I love this Dairy Queen commercial:

“We don’t just blow bubbles — we blow bubbles with kittens inside them.”

Brilliant. There’s my dream job. No, make that two dream jobs. One, blowing bubbles with kittens inside them, and two, writing such funny and memorable commercials.

Right on. Absolutely mint.

“Because at Dairy Queen, good isn’t good enough.”

And that’s the rub of the proverbial dream job. The unfortunate fact is that for over half of us, bad dreams are only what’s good enough for now. Consider this from a recent TLNT post titled Survey: Half of Employees Want to Leave or Have Checked Out on the Job:

“Mercer, the global HR consulting firm, just released the results of its new What’s Working survey, conducted over the past two quarters among nearly 30,000 workers in 17 countries, including 2,400 workers in the U.S. It found that nearly a third (32 percent ) of American workers are seriously considering leaving their organization at the present time, up sharply from 23 percent in 2005.

As bad as that sounds, another 21 percent of workers say they are not necessarily looking to leave but view their employers unfavorably and have rock-bottom scores on key measures of engagement, meaning that when you combine the two, more than half of all employees (53 percent) are either looking to leave for a new job or have mentally checked out of their old one.”

53 percent are either looking to leave for a new job or have mentally checked out of their old one. So much for bubbles with kittens in them. Dreams jobs are highly subjective and even if there are universals to them — good money and benefits, family flexibility, guaranteed promotion and success, ample vacation time, constant managerial and collegial support, philanthropic niceties, hugs and kisses (strictly platonic of course) — the believe in them, all of which are intertwined with the great American dream, sets us up for failure early in most of our careers.

I don’t disparage working Dairy Queen; I’ve worked at a few fast food establishments in my past. And although working the grill wasn’t my dream job, I’m sure it’s had the semblance of one for a rehabilitated ex-con, or someone in drug or alcohol recovery, or a physically or mentally challenged individual excited to be making their own money, or simply a struggling mother or father in and out of work just trying to provide for their hungry families.

Again, I’m not making fun of it. One man’s dream job means another man’s checked out of his.

In the world of work, not everyone wins a trophy for having the coolest and highest paying job. Instead, if we get to know thyself by doing and failing and doing and failing and doing and learning and maybe succeeding, we create our own trophies displayed on our desks at work and at home. We’ve been mentored and we pay it forward by mentoring.

But for millions today, a dream job means having a job, any job, in order to provide for family and loved ones. Here’s to bubbles with kittens in them.

Here’s the #TChat preview from @MonsterCareers and Charles Purdy titled Dream Job or Pipe Dream: Are Dream Jobs A Reality?, and here are last night’s questions:

  • Q1: Some elements of “dream jobs” are universal (like pay). What are some of your personal/unique elements?
  • Q2: Do you think the idea of “dream jobs” is good or bad for job seekers – does it encourage or discourage them?
  • Q3: A first step to finding a dream job is defining that term. What are your self-assessment tips?
  • Q4: How much of the responsibility for creating “dream jobs” is the employer’s, company’s, or boss’s?
  • Q5: How does one’s conception of a “dream job” change or effect career decisions?
  • Q6: Finally: do dream jobs really exist?  If not, what’s the reality?

Don’t forget, #TChat Radio starts next Tuesday, July 26. Explanatory post coming soon…

Are Dream Jobs A Reality? #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Charles Purdy, one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

The term “dream job” means different things to each of us — and for many job seekers right now, a dream job would be any job.

But when most people talk about their dream job, they’re talking about the elusive position that engages their passions and interests, is well suited to their skills, challenges their intellect (but isn’t too challenging), and integrates well into their life.

In our dream jobs, our bosses are wise mentors who recognize our unique brilliance. Our coworkers are competent and witty. And our paychecks are … at least decent (in study after study, salary is a surprisingly minor factor in career or job satisfaction).

The question is whether we should hold out for our dream jobs, or simply settle for the job that’s good enough. Is it wise to settle into a job that, say, pays well but doesn’t engage your creativity in the way you’d like?

Scores upon scores of self-help authors say that perfection can be achieved in a career — but that just isn’t the reality most of us live in. Who’s right? And if dream jobs really are possible, for all of us, how do we go out and get them?

We’ll be exploring these questions, and their implications for the evolving world of work, in tonight’s #TChat: “Dream Job or Pipe Dream: Are Dream Jobs A Reality?”

Join moderator Charles Purdy (Twitter: @monstercareers), Monster’s career advice and job search expert along with #TChat co-hosts @meghanmbiro @kevinwgrossman @monster_works and @focus tonight on Twitter at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT and let us know: are dream jobs a reality?

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (07.19.11)

To help prepare, and inform, your participation in tonight’s conversation (or even if you can’t make it), here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading designed to give you background – and perspective – on dream jobs and how they fit into the larger picture of job search, career planning and talent acquisition.

Q1. Some elements of “dream jobs” are universal (like pay). What are some of your personal/unique elements?

Read: Six Tips for Landing Your Dream Job by Alexandra Levit

Q2. Do you think the idea of “dream jobs” is good or bad for job seekers – does it encourage or discourage them?

Read: How to Get the Job You Really Want by John Sumser

Q3. A first step to finding a dream job is defining that term. What are your self-assessment tips?

Read: Making Sure Your Next Job Is the Best Fit by Caroline M.L. Potter

Q4. How much of the responsibility for creating “dream jobs” is the employer’s, company’s, or boss’s?

Read: Use Company Culture To Attract and Retain Candidates by Dr. Steven Hunt

Q5.  How does one’s conception of a “dream job” change or effect career decisions?

Read: Cool Jobs: 10 Interesting Jobs & Their Average Salaries by Dona DeZube

Q6. Finally: do dream jobs really exist?  If not, what’s the reality?

Read:Your Dream Job is Out There by Charles Purdy

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

As a partner in #TChat, Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”