Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

Vault’ s Careers Blog is Moving

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An announcement: after almost a year on WordPress, we’re discontinuing Vault’s Careers Blog on WordPress. But don’t worry: you’ll still be able to get your fill of career information and advice on Vault.com–where our blogs are going from strength to strength.

Our full blog lineup on Vault.com is as follows:

Vault’s Careers Blog
Vault’s Law Blog
Consult THIS: Consulting Careers, News and Views
In Good Company: Vault’s CSR blog
In the Black: Vault’s Finance Careers Blog
Admit One: Vault’s MBA, Law School and College Blog
Insider Career Advice from SixFigureStart
Innovate with Influence: Global High Tech

Thanks for reading us on WordPress.

We hope to see you over on Vault.com soon!

–The Vault Editorial Team

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Event Alert: World Business Forum 2010

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For the second consecutive year, Vault will be sending a team to cover the World Business Forum at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The 2010 event takes place on October 5 and 6, and features some of the world’s leading business thinkers and practitioners. If there’s anywhere to identify the key trends that are likely to shape business—and most likely your career—over the coming years, the World Business Forum is it.

Speakers at this year’s event include former Vice President Al Gore, former Procter & Gamble chairman, president and CEO A.G. Lafley, movie director James Cameron, GE’s Jack Welch, economist Joseph Stiglitz and many more.

The full itinerary is below, and Vault’s team will be in attendance for all of it, live-blogging and tweeting from the event, and providing extra insight and perspective in the days following it as well. If you’re going to be in attendance, we’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, stay tuned to Vault’s Careers Blog and our @vaultcareers Twitter feed throughout the event for all the latest coverage. You’ll also be able to keep up with all the updates by following the #WBF10 hashtag.

The itinerary in full:

Economy, Trends, Change:

Al Gore: Global Affairs– On and around climate change: Sustainable Capitalism and the new global deal

A.G. Lafley: Customer Centric Growth — The consumer is boss: Leadership at Procter and Gamble

Joseph Stiglitz: Economy – The changing financial and economic landscape: A new agenda

Steve Levitt: Freakonomics – Rethinking Economics: Understanding incentives or how people get what they want

Leadership, Performance, People

Jim Collins: Sustaining great results: Achieving greatness in an unpredictable, uncertain and unforgiving environment

David Gergen: Leadership – After the storm: The new leadership puzzle—making up for lost confidence

Nando Parrado: Crisis Management – Effective leadership amidst chaos: The miracle of the Andes

Carlos Brito: Building a Performance Culture – Better than you: How to build a cohesive team of high achievers

Strategy, Innovation, Communication

Jack Welch: Management – A dialogue with Jack Welch on management fundamentals and success

Martin Lindstrom: Marketing – Why we buy: Rewriting the rules of marketing, advertising and branding

Joseph Grenny: Influence – Influencer: The power to execute on strategy

Charlene Li: Social Networks – Creating winning social media strategies

James Cameron: Creativity – The power of innovation, creativity and passion

RenÈe Mauborgne: Strategy – Creating an innovative market space: The untapped power of “Blue Oceans”

Vijay Govindarajan: Innovation – A strategy for creating the future

Bill McDermott: Winning in the new reality – Establish a culture of winning: The power of innovation, growth and business agility

Visit the official World Business Forum site for more details on what to expect from each speaker.

Written by Phil Stott

October 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

What Recruiters Really Think About Resumes

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As a former executive recruiter, I skimmed resumes, preferring instead to find my candidates actively. I would see who had been published or quoted in the press. I would look for conference speakers or people active in professional associations. I would rely on word-of-mouth referrals, rather than unsolicited resumes. In other words, I would target candidates based on factors other than a resume, and once the candidate expressed interest, yes, I asked for a resume, but by then it was an afterthought.

Still, I know many jobseekers are really worried about their resume almost to the exclusion of the rest of their search. So, I asked recruiters who worked in diverse industries from non-profit to media, is this emphasis on the resume warranted?

Networking trumps passive resume submissions

Harry B. Weiner is a Partner at On-Ramps, an executive search firm that specializes in the social sector:

The resume is a marketing document that most people will spend less than two minutes reviewing (perhaps sad, but definitely true)….In general, you’ll be better off spending your energy on networking and industry/company research. The vast majority of people find their jobs through their networks, so by doubling-down on your networking, you may not even need a resume! For every 10 minutes you spend on your resume, you should spend an hour on LinkedIn.

Resumes are but one part of a comprehensive marketing campaign

Regina Angeles is CEO of Talent2050, an executive search firm that provides multicultural recruiting solutions for online and traditional media companies:

Candidates should invest time in building a robust online profile, especially on LinkedIn. Third-party and corporate recruiters continue to rely on LinkedIn as a sourcing and referencing tool. Make sure your profile contains keywords that will make you searchable.

Still resumes are important

Lesley Klein is a Managing Partner in Miller Klein Group, a search firm that specializes in HR and administrative support roles across all industries:

The resume is your first impression. It’s your marketing tool. It is essential to a successful job search process.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, SixFigureStart

Written by Phil Stott

September 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Protecting Job Seekers from Themselves: Germany Considering Facebook Hiring Ban

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Is this the start of a global movement to protect would-be employees from themselves? German politicians are weighing a new law that would ban employers from using dedicated social media sites—most notably Facebook—to help make hiring decisions.

man with binocularsUnder the terms of the proposed law, German employers would be restricted to professional sites such as LinkedIn when conducting background research on potential hires. And candidates would have the right to legal recourse if they found out that they had lost out on a position because an employer had based their decision on information gleaned from social media sites. (In a further protection of privacy, meanwhile, the proposed law also seeks to ban employers from secretly filming their employees.)

If passed, the law would be a welcome step away from people having to consider everything they do online as a potential red flag for employers. In short, it’s intended to allow people greater freedom to be themselves online—in exactly the same way that they can act differently at home and in the office—without fear of career repercussions.

Even if such a law would be unenforceable in any kind of practical sense (and it likely would be), the fact of its existence would at least clarify the issue in the minds of employers. The current situation—both in Germany and the U.S.—basically allows employers to set their own limitations as to how much of a candidate’s personal life they’re willing to take into consideration when making hiring decisions.

The proposed German law would remove that element of choice, and ensure that employers are at least aware of the expectation that all candidates are treated equally regarding recovery of online information. That not only includes candidates who may have been penalized for those photos from last year’s bachelor extravaganza in Vegas, but also those who choose not to maintain a social networking presence.

The bottom line for careerists in all this is that they shouldn’t be relying on government intervention to protect them from over-eager recruiters and HR personnel. Even if such a law were to exist in the U.S., best practice for use of social networking sites would still include regular checks of your privacy settings, and ensuring that things you wouldn’t want a prospective or current employer to see are either well hidden or erased completely.

As mentioned above, such a law would be a welcome step, but it would be just that—only a step, and a very small one at that. And, even if it were to become a global standard, careerists still wouldn’t be wise to let it all hang out in the social media sphere.

Extra Insight:
Your Job Search: Two Facebook Privacy Settings to Use Right Now
Five Things You Don’t Want Your Colleagues to See on Facebook
Is Social Media the Key to your Career Success?

Be a Twitter Genius: Lessons from John McCain

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Senator John McCain

AP Photo/Matt York

Although he came up short on votes in 2008, Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain isn’t lacking in “Digital IQ” points. As reported by Politico, a joint study of politicians’ “online competence” by George Washington University and NYU ranked McCain as a “Twitter Genius,” scoring significantly higher than fellow senators at utilizing the social tool. This may surprise some, given criticism of the septuagenarian from some quarters as being “out of touch;” yet, as he faces a tough reelection bid, McCain is relying on social networking to preserve his career. In doing so, this “genius” offers a model for professional advancement in 140 characters or less.

Establish yourself quickly. Following his 2008 defeat to Barack Obama (and candidate Obama’s superior command of social networking), McCain wasted little time adopting the format himself. Since 2009, he has tweeted frequently, drawing more than 1.7 million followers. Of course, those weren’t as hard to muster for someone who was already a prominent public figure, but the beauty of Twitter is that anyone can generate a sizeable following if they have something interesting to say. To get noticed, don’t be shy—alert friends and coworkers to your account’s existence, follow them, and branch out to their followers. As you build a network, maintain a steady stream of relevant content that invites discussion, spreads ideas, and shares your skills and accomplishments. Just describing your lunch probably won’t cut it.

Tweet outside the box. Anyone can tweet a few thoughts; it takes a genius to explore the potential of the format. John McCain exemplified this when he and George Stephanopoulos conducted an interview entirely via Twitter—the imposed character limit stripped down the political dialogue, allowing direct questions to be met with unadorned answers transmitted live to the world. With today’s workforce using social applications for job hunting and self-promotion, standing out from the crowd comes down to uniquely interacting with the community. For instance, try reaching out to fellow professionals about their careers and accomplishments, or asking for details of their company’s recruitment process—the discourse can be invaluable, both for the knowledge shared and the initiative displayed.

Attract powerful followers. The axiom “it’s who you know” is as true in politics as it is in business. But for an elected official, the goal is staying relevant. So when John McCain began exchanging tweets with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” it was an unexpected twist that won him regard for connecting with a younger generation. For the rest of us, however, being followed by Kanye West might not grant a desired status boost. Instead, aim for the attention of leaders—buddying up with top brass or being retweeted by the likes of Richard Branson or Michael Dell will earn you notice as someone with eye-catching ideas.

It remains uncertain whether the displayed mastery of next-generation campaigning by Senator McCain (and, to be fair, his staff) will pay off in this election cycle. But regardless of one’s own political beliefs, the elder statesman’s resourceful embrace of technology is admirable and inspiring. As workers of all stripes wrestle with new challenges presented by an uncertain economy, it’s imperative to remain open to new venues for networking and seeking opportunity. Senator McCain, once thought to be down for the count, is an example of someone even late in their career finding a way to stay relevant in the information age.

Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute? (2011 Edition)

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Few readers need an explanation of the What Color is Your Parachute? series’ pedigree, or its ubiquity on the shelves of many professionals. As a manual for launching and furthering one’s career, the book has been a staple of graduation season gifts and a must-read for job-seekers since its first printing in 1970. However, with the latest edition of the guide hitting bookstores today, the 40-year old series risks looking long-in-the-tooth in light of the current economic climate.

Commendably, author Richard N. Bolles does his homework, returning each year to thoroughly revise the book’s content and address the ever-changing career landscape. As Bolles describes the process, his is not a job for slouches: “Four times a year, for five days in a row, I do nothing but interact with job-hunters, gathered in my home. I stay very up-to-date on the current problems men and women are running into, out there in the job market.” This research is employed to emphasize the troubled state of the job market, affirming the book’s scope and relevance, although his immediate lesson is that even a rocky economy can yield new jobs. To this end, Parachutes goes two steps ahead by pinpointing where the jobs are and leading readers to land a position on their terms.

These methods track, point-by-point, the path to professional success, dispelling initial discouraging mentalities along the way and finding optimal routes for submitting applications, preparing for interviews and conducting post mortem self-evaluation (after all, even a bad interview can offer positive results). The lesson doesn’t end merely with finding employment, as Bolles walks readers through the delicate art of salary negotiation and onward to preparing for a long and fruitful career.

It is at that point when Bolles introduces the interactive portion of the book. Forming the centerpiece of his advice (as well as informing the title) is the Flower Diagram, a circular chart which helps candidates determine their strengths, experience and interests. By measuring these factors, this mainstay of the series encourages the reader to pursue his or her professional priorities and find the ideal role.

However, what Bolles doesn’t touch upon in all this is the element of social media. Considering the increasing usage of Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin among candidates, this exclusion proves shortsighted—as Vault’s career experts have determined, companies now use these networks not only to connect with candidates but also to screen them for interviews and consideration. Thus, a developed social media presence becomes imperative to competing with fellow job seekers.

This is where Parachute shows its age: While it does make mention of applications such as Skype as a tool for counseling, few pages are devoted to using internet resources, with its analysis even pooh-poohing the practice of applying for positions online. Bolles, considered by many a veteran of the career advice trade, isn’t off the mark by suggesting that the tried and true methods are still the most effective, but his disregard for the global resources afforded by the internet will hopefully change in later editions.

Another note on Bolles: Readers will find that the author imbues Parachute’s more personal insights—particularly its workbook—with references to Christianity and spiritualism. Bolles acknowledges that his devout beliefs might not mesh with those of other faiths; as such, he “tried to be very courteous toward the feelings of all my readers, while at the same time counting on them to translate my Christian thought forms into their own.” So take it as you will.

Ultimately what earns What Color is Your Parachute? its lasting reputation is that very human voice behind the career lessons. This sense of personality separates Bolles from his many contemporaries, who more often rely on faceless, clinical bullet points to do the talking.

Will Work For Tweets: The Great Los Angeles Job Contest

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Despite what the “Trending Topics” sidebar might tell you, the biggest news surrounding Twitter in the past week wasn’t Justin Bieber or Chelsea Clinton. Rather, users were all atwitter about a contest launched by @mikemckayecd—that being Mike McKay, the Los Angeles-based executive creative director for advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi. McKay’s challenge was simple: “I have a writer position worth $70k. Funniest twitter response gets it.”

Thus the gauntlet was thrown down. As if the job market wasn’t already competitive enough, hundreds of “Tweeps” converged on the hashtag #saatchila to vie for a single opening. Among the popular entries submitted to McKay, some personal favorites include:

• “Is this contest nearly over? I have to start training for the astronaut job I won on Facebook.” (@iscoff)

• “nigerian ad agency seek writers, send $$$” (@faketv)

• “Does $70k cover the cost of a boob job in LA? I’d be moving with my girlfriend and I’m worried about her self-esteem.” (@um_giz)

• “I hope this job isn’t for Scion. They’re like the Twitter version of a car. 140 inches or less.” (@brendyn)

• “I’am probabbly the moost qaulified four thes righter jobe.” (@MstrMn, and yes, sic)

The winner was one Jonathan Pelleg, a.k.a. @Peglegington. Pelleg, according to his Twitter bio, is an Austin, Texas resident and native of Los Angeles who was “breaking into advertising while listening to music and enjoying life” when the Saatchi contest came along. So his selection, as it turns out, is both a dream come true and a homecoming wrapped up in one. And the submission that brought about the young man’s triumph?

“You have to be concise on Twitter. Like a circumcision, everything extra gets cut off whether you like it or not.”

In an interview with The Atlantic, McKay was almost blasé about conceiving the contest out of the blue. “It’s really hard to find good writers. I don’t know why,” he stated. “It’s even harder to find people to write dialogue. It’s even harder to find funny writers.” Of course, the sudden and unprecedented way he launched his offer didn’t win him any points with Saatchi’s human resources department: “Immediately I get HR coming up and saying, ‘What did you just do?'”

The Atlantic notes this isn’t the first time a candidate has been awarded a high-paying job via tweet; last year, marketing firm BFG Communications picked a social media coordinator with its own Twitter contest. Still, this doesn’t exactly promise to be a new trend in hiring—the odds are slightly better for 3-D video resumes becoming standard for job applications. But it does signify the incorporation by leaps and bounds of social networking for employment and professional advancement. Without being plugged in to the online activities of employers, industry leaders and even your fellow job seekers, you could easily miss out on the unique information and opportunities that will provide an upper hand in beginning or enhancing your career.

And, as if to drive that point home, Mike McKay has followed his announcement of a winner with a suggestion of things to come: “@Peglegington might need an art director partner. Hmmmm.” Any aspiring advertising professionals would do well to keep watching that space.


— Alex Tuttle, Vault.com

Written by A.A. Somebody

July 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

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