Thursday, May 17, 2007

Interview With A Careerist

Over at Guy Kawasaki's blog there's a great discussion with the Brazen Careerist on careers and career advice.  I liked a couple of these questions and answers:
Question: Will getting an MBA or any other type of advanced degree be a good use of time and money since I can't find a job?

Answer: No. If you can't find a job, then you should invest in something like better grooming, or a better resume, or a coach for poor social skills. These are the things that keep people from getting jobs. Instead of running back to school, figure out why you can't get a job, because maybe it's something that a degree can't overcome.

Grad school generally makes you less employable, not more employable. For example, people who get a graduate degree in the humanities would have had a better chance of surviving the Titanic than getting a tenured teaching job.

Unless you are going to a top business school at the beginning of your career, you should not stop working in order to get the degree. Go to night school because you will not make up for the loss of income with the extra credential.

Law school is one of the only graduate degrees that makes you more employable. Unfortunately it makes you more employable in the profession where people are more unhappy. Law school rewards perfectionism, and perfectionism is a risk factor for depression. Lawyers have little control over their work and hours, because they are at the beck-and-call of their clients, and many are constantly working with clients who have problems lawyers cannot solve. These two traits in a job—lack of control over workload and compromised ability to reach stated goals—are the two biggest causes for burnout in jobs.


Question: What should I do if I work for a jerk?

Answer: Leave. I know there are classic Bob Sutton examples of revered jerks like Steve Jobs, but I wonder about the people who put up with him. Can they not find another visionary to work for who is not such a jerk?

Staying in a job like this makes you look bad. People wonder why you put up with it. And, frankly, you should too. It's like being an abused wife. The wife who stays always defends the relationship by how much she gets out of it, but to everyone else it is obvious that she should leave. The problem is a loss of personal perspective.

That is good copy.  I could have told you this, but my authority, while great, is slightly less comprehensive than that of the person who has written a book on the subjects of working and careers.  I would go take a quick look and see what you can learn and apply to your life.  Don't miss  How To Change The World.  I've been reading that Guy for what seems like forever.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Interviewing Mistakes

Techrepublic has an interesting article available that talks about mistakes managers make when interviewing candidates .  Among them is one of my favorite: The halo effect.
If a candidate arrives dressed to kill, gives a firm handshake, and answers the first question perfectly, you might be tempted to check the imaginary "Hired!" box in your mind. But make sure you pay attention to all the answers and don't be swayed by a first impression. Ditto for the reverse: The mumbler with the tattoos might have super powers that go undetected at first glance.
Super powers.  I like that.
Lots of lessons here for both the manager and perspective employee.  Use the above information for your best advantage either way.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Recently I've been doing a little guest posting on a website called  What do they do?  Take a look at their first page:
Shakadoo is a site written and created for those who love their home. Whether you live in a condo or a castle, Shakadoo has a place for you.
Shakadoo has several different "shaks": the LoanShak, WorkShak, ShakYard, Shaktronics, Shak In Style, Shakhammer and the Love Shak, Baby (love that title).  It's an interesting community that they are trying to build there that I would recommend that you check out.
However, don't think that my "pro" blogging job will decrease my regular blogging output.  You see, I know how to use Google.  Ah, the Internet is a wonderful place.
There are some single dads out there that I owe a post to, though.  I haven't forgotten about you.  Expect it tomorrow.



Friday, March 16, 2007

Interview Well

Lifehacker, one of my very favorite websites, has a pretty good article from Yahoo Finance up on how to ace a job interview.  The Brazen Careerist has this tip:
An interview isn't an improvisation -- it's a rehearsed performance. And it's no mystery what the most common interview questions are, so prepare you answers. Even if you end up fielding a question you didn't anticipate, surely a version of one the 50 answers you did prepare will work with the surprise question.

You can practice with a friend, or you can go back to your college counseling office, which will probably help you out no matter where you are in your career. But Alexandra Levit at Water Cooler Wisdom recommends using InterviewTrue to practice on video.

Practice makes perfect.  This article, while geared towards the youthful set (for example, "Stop stressing about your MySpace page"), a lot of the advice here translates well to any job seeker.  Practice does make perfect.  Knowing your audience is still important.  Keep that tips and others mentioned in the article in mind whether you are in a meeting room with your future boss and her team of ten, or are interviewing with a executive headhunter based in Chicago.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Note To Employers: How To Tame A Geek

There are many reasons to let geeks work the way they want to work. Today they work in every industry. They are the knowledge base, blood and sweat equity of many businesses. They work harder than most. They work longer than most. Their job isn't a separate "thing they do" while they look forward to going home and relaxing. Geeks *live* what they do. They eat, sleep and breathe it. They are your systems administrators, your IT team, your programmers, your web developers, your designers… and sometimes even your customer service and sales people. Anyone who understands how to leverage todays technology to increase intelligence, productivity and efficiency; anyone who stays up nights working to get better at what they do; anyone whose job is their life - is a geek. These are the most important asset your company has. For this reason, its important to give geeks what they want. Best part is, if you do, they most likely will not leave your company to work for someone who will.
Found via Reddit, but blogged, and quite successfully, in my opinion, by Nomadishere, the Seeker of Truth.  He goes on to actually list eight ways to satisfy this distinct personality type at the office.
Reading the article, I tend to agree with a lot of the points made; I think the post is an excellent summary.  As an employer, I would guess that following through on several of the mentioned suggestions would make any intelligent, tech-oriented, slightly compulsive but hard-working person pause before vaulting a position. 
On the other hand, if you ARE that intelligent, tech-oriented, slightly compulsive yet hard working person, you might find an employer who actually follows the eight steps outlined in the article rather difficult to find.
Good suggestions.  Your mileage, however, may vary.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

I may be an old fart (not really, but I'm definitely no spring chicken, either), but I always am staying up on my resume, because, well, you never know.  Here are some intelligent resume tips.
The terrifying reality regarding your resume is that for all the many hours you put into fine-tuning, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on me. Maybe less.

It's unfair, it's imprecise, and there's a good chance that I make horrible mistakes, but there's a lot more of you than me, and while hiring phenomenal teams is the most important thing I do, I'm balancing that task with the fact that I need to build product and manage the endless stream of people walking into my office.

But here's a glimpse. I'm going to walk through the exact mental process I use when I look at a resume. I don't know if this is right or efficient, but after fifteen years and staring at thousands of resumes, this is the process.

Rands In Response came up with this list.  I consider it to be pretty well done.
I've reviewed untold numbers of resumes, which makes me now expert.  Most of my resume-writing chops comes from writing reams of resumes over the years.  I practice.  These seem like pretty good nuggets of advice to me - and I use similar ideas when I write my own res.

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