Friday, July 30, 2010

5 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Extended Network

When it comes to thinking about staying connected with your extended network,  especially if you

have a large one, it can almost be as daunting as, say, public speaking for a lot of people. But, it can be broken down into manageable steps. The most important thing with networking is that you stay in touch with those you connect with and you make every effort to keep a relationship going – even if you don’t “need” something at the moment.

Here are our five best tips for continued networking success.

1) Pass Along Articles of Interest to Your Contacts

One great way to stay in touch is to pass along anything of interest to your contacts. You want to continually demonstrate that you’re not only passionate about your industry (and follow it regularly), but also that you are genuinely interested in your contact’s best interest. It never hurts to reach out to someone you know and say, “Hi, John, I came across this article and thought of you. Perhaps you’d find the statistic on the growing demographics of 18- to 24-year-olds interesting for your research. I hope you’re well. All my best, Paul.”
2) Keep Your Network Posted of Your Updates

We recommend that you touch base with your contacts at least twice a year. A year can be quite a bit of time, and a lot can happen. If you are hired for a position, pick up a new internship, move to a new city or start a new blog, these are all reasons to update your network on what’s happening in your life. It’s also important that you use these opportunities to thank those that have helped you become who you are or get you to where you are today.

3) Remember Special Occasions

This can be a hard one. In a perfect world, we would all remember everyone’s birthdays and important events, but unfortunately, real life can get in the way of that. If there are certain members of your network who are your friends on Facebook, make it a daily habit to look at the “Birthdays” reminder to see if there’s anyone you should reach out to. And this doesn’t mean you should leave a generic “Happy Birthday” on someone’s wall; rather take the time to type out an e-mail and let the person know you’re thinking of them. It doesn’t take a lot of additional effort, and it’s an easy way to stand out from the “Facebook wall clutter.” In addition, keep an eye on big events announced by your contacts. If you want to get into public relations and you see that your friend launched a new campaign, send them a congratulatory note.

4) Create Google Alerts for Your Contacts and/or Their Businesses

One great way to keep tabs on a contact or his or her company is by creating a Google Alert. It’s free and takes less than a minute, and the service can send you valuable information on a colleague that you might have been too busy to notice. Then, when you see big news about someone or his or her company, take a minute to send an e-mail and follow up. If you’re not sure how to set up a Google Alert, check out our recent post on the CareerSparx blog, “Your Dream Employer? Do More Than Google Them.”

5) Follow Them on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn

Again, the idea is to stay connected with your contacts and what’s going on in their lives. If you see that a birthday is coming up or something important just happened, make note of what you see on your social media accounts and follow up via a personalized e-mail. Another tactic is to hit “like” if they post something produced by their company on a Facebook profile, or retweet a Twitter update for a big project of theirs. They will appreciate the support, and you will achieve your goal of staying connected and on their radar.

By following these five easy tips, you will be able to stay better connected to your network. And as you’ll see, it really isn’t as hard or as overwhelming as it seems. Best of luck.

Informational Interviews Using LinkedIn

Article Contributed by Peggy McKee,
One of the many, many fantastic applications of LinkedIn is that you can use it to land informational interviews. Informational interviews are just what they sound like: they are interviews that you conduct to gather information, usually about a job or a career field you’re interested in. They last 20-30 minutes, and give you an opportunity to get answers about what a typical day is like, what the person likes or dislikes about the field, and what it takes to be successful. You can also use it as a mentoring session and ask for their advice on your situation and your best career/job search moves. Research tips for informational interviews to help you compile your list of questions. Informational interviews are strictly for you to get the “inside scoop” from someone who knows, and they help you to expand your network. (FYI: If you’re lucky, you might get a job lead, but it’s bad form to go into the interview expecting this person to help you get a job.)
But how do you go about setting up an informational interview if you can’t do it through your current contacts?
Use LinkedIn. Once you create a profile, you can make connections and introduce yourself to people on LinkedIn, and then ask them directly for an informational interview. Most people are flattered to be asked, and won’t mind talking to you for 20 minutes. If they’re really pressed for time, they might offer to answer questions by email–which you should definitely follow through on. Also, you can join groups and participate in discussions, and post your questions there. This can be an especially effective tactic for entry-level job seekers. I’ve seen some really great LinkedIn discussions packed with valuable information for job seekers.
LinkedIn pages are tremendous sources of information on people you’d like to interview and companies you’re interested in. Once you’ve set up your interview, use LinkedIn to prepare for it just as thoroughly as you would for a job interview. Get all your ducks in a row so that you don’t waste that person’s time by asking questions you can look up the answers to. Coming to the interview prepared with background knowledge and intelligent questions leaves them with a great impression of you as a confident, competent go-getter they will remember (in case they run across a job opportunity for you later).
After the interview, remember to send a thank you letter. If you can, include a relevant article or a solution to a company problem–something helpful to them. Then, include them in your network by routinely contacting them every few months. A successful informational interview gains you valuable information and an expanded professional network–and who knows where that might lead?
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

JOB TALK: Why wasn’t I hired?

Contributing columnist

During today’s tough economy, we are forced to consider some difficult questions with our job search.
• Why wasn’t I hired?
• What can I do to improve myself?

• Can I learn from my experience or mistakes? 
Everyone applying for work cannot possibly be invited to interview, and even less people are actually offered the job. There simply are not enough jobs and when jobs are so scarce, we should consider a personal assessment to explore any area worth improving. Feedback can be a catalyst to personal growth. 
So why weren’t you hired? You may have done everything right, presented yourself professionally and appropriately and still not have been offered the job. There are a number of reasons — one reason to consider is your competition.
Many applicants will be more qualified, have more education, skills, talent and present themselves in a dynamic way that captivates the attention of the hiring professional.
Remain hopeful as most employers love soft skills above all else, and here is where you can outshine your competition.  Ask yourself some questions — and give yourself some real honest answers.
• Did you do your absolute best?
• Did you invest your all into the preparation and your presentation?
• Did you thoroughly consider interview questions, practice ahead of time and communicate effectively?
• Did you convince the prospective employer that being a team-player is important?
• Did you convince the employer you are dependable?
• Did you look your absolute best?
• Did you arrive on time, without friends or family? 
• Was your personal hygiene, appearance and grooming in good order?
• Did you project energy and charisma?
• Did you really dress for success? 
These areas could be great opportunities for making improvements. Consider goals for personal fitness, a new and updated hair style, ironing your clothing and practice interview questions.  Check with a friend about keeping your child. Preparation, practice and persistence are your keys to success.
Is your application clear, concise and complete in communicating your objectives, goals and your employment history? Your application is the only item between you and the actual interview.  Make certain your answers reflect what you are searching for and who you are as an applicant.  Your application will make a difference over the competition.
If you think you are qualified and an excellent candidate — maybe you need to consider what, if anything was on your application that could have been used to eliminate you.
• Did you limit yourself by your shift preference?
• Did you eliminate yourself by your salary requirement? 
• Do you have misspelled words or illegible handwriting? 
• Did you list business references or did you list your friends?
These are tough questions — but, you need to ask yourself — the answer could make a difference. 
If you didn’t get the job — some personal evaluation should be considered.
Focus on areas that you know may need some improvement for the next application or for the next interview. If you did your absolute best and feel that you were beat by the competition,  accept the decision graciously. Consider asking the employer to give you feedback so that you can improve for the next invitation to interview. All employers will not comply.
When the decision is communicated and you are told you did not get the job, you should respond with the same professionalism, maturity and respect in which you responded to the actual invitation to interview. Consider the lasting impression if you send a note, an e-mail or make a telephone call and let the employer know that you appreciate the opportunity to interview, and you were impressed by the company and would certainly like to be considered for a position in the future.  You may be the runner up — and the offer may fall through in any stage of the background investigation. 
There is probably nothing more devastating to an individual than rejection. None of us like rejection or hurt feelings. When it comes to job-seeking, we need to be able to ask the tough questions and be courageous enough to consider the truth. We must consider how we can improve if we hope to make positive changes, attain personal growth and present ourselves for a successful future.
• Harris is a human resources manager with Unique Industries, Inc. with more than 20 years of human resources experience. She has volunteered as a career counselor for 10 years at various local nonprofit organizations. Contact her at or become a Facebook fan of Job Talk.

Original Article

Monday, July 26, 2010

To Find My Dream Job, I Didn't Just Dream

If you can dream it, you can live it.
How often do we hear that? How often are we told that we can't live our dream unless we first visualize it in our head?
It's no doubt true. But I also can tell you that visualizing your dream isn't enough. You have to work at making dreams real. You have to sweat.
And that brings me to the subject of this column.

In my last column two weeks ago, I told the story of leaving The Wall Street Journal, my home for 17 years, in order to find a new job that better meshed with my family's needs and my wants.
Lots of people, of course, dream of chucking their current job for something else. But dreaming is all they do. They then wait for the fates to hand them the perfect job.
It won't work, though, because they aren't out shaking the trees. In fact, they're not even in the orchard. They're effectively waiting for the fruit to fall on its own -- and for a brisk wind to blow the fruit across the fields and over the fence and to place it gently in their lap.
Good luck.
As my grandmother told me when I was growing up: You've got to work for what you want, because nobody's outside your door waiting to give it to you.
So this is the story of how I took my grandmother's advice. It is the story of how I finally, after many years, decided to work for what I really wanted. It is the story of how I sweated.

* * *

Here's my passion: international investing. Yes, it's geeky, but I love the idea of investing directly in markets overseas. I've been doing it since 1995, and I've written a book about it. I've always thought working in that world would be the perfect way for me to make a living.
I would occasionally ask people in the field of international investing about opportunities...but nothing ever popped up.
Then again, I wasn't trying. My heart was never really into a job search, because I was content with what I was doing. I always felt fortunate to be making good money at a job I loved, for a paper I respected, in the city -- Baton Rouge, La. -- where I wanted to live.
That changed earlier this year for reasons I noted in my last column: mainly that I saw no opportunities to advance my career without moving back to the East Coast -- a move that I felt would hurt my family, both emotionally and financially.
So my mind-set changed. I began to seriously think about combining my talent for reporting and writing with my passion for international investing. I never laid out a precise job description, because I didn't want to restrict my search. Since I had no idea what kinds of jobs might exist, I wanted to hear about anything that could interest me in any way.
And then I started shaking the trees.

* * *

The way I figure it, the best jobs are the word-of-mouth jobs, the ones that often exist only in a manager's head, the "wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-we-had-someone-to-do-X-if-only-we-could-find-the-right-person" job.
The trick is making sure those managers know you, to get your name into their heads alongside their imaginary jobs.
That's where the sweat comes in. I began by contacting anybody I could think of, emailing and calling friends and acquaintances all over the globe. I talked to public-relations executives and headhunters, portfolio managers and ex-journalists. I talked to sources I hadn't spoken to in more than a decade.
It often seemed like an enormous waste of time. Nobody knew of any current openings -- not surprising, given the vagueness of my job description. And there were many moments when I felt like I didn't have the time or energy to make yet another call, write yet another email.
But I knew that I needed to make sure that as many people as possible knew I was looking.
And then one morning an email popped up from a source I had talked to several months earlier about my wishes. He told me to expect a phone call.
At an investment conference he had just attended, an executive of a newsletter company mentioned to him that his firm was looking to add a writer who understood overseas markets. My source gave him my name.
And with that began a very quick courtship. I flew to Miami to meet the executive, who brought his boss -- the publisher -- into the interview. The boss felt I had more to offer the firm than just writing about international markets. She sketched out my job duties.
I would become a senior editor, working on a newsletter about international investing. I would help mentor younger writers. I would travel whenever and wherever I wanted, and take on some of her duties meeting with banking executives around the globe. I would be eligible for bonuses, a perk I never had in newspaper journalism.
It sounded ideal. It wasn't a job I ever knew existed. And it probably never had, except in the boss's head.
The next morning the offer arrived -- and I couldn't say no. It offered me everything I could want in a job, and I could do it from Baton Rouge. The funny thing is, two days later an investment firm called to offer me a communications job, a new position they thought I would be perfect for.
And that's my point: When looking for a new job, if you define your career interests broadly and then shake every tree you can find, the fruit will start falling.
You just have to be there with a big net to catch the ones that look interesting.
Write to Jeff D. Opdyke at

Original WSJ Article

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five Mistakes Online Job Hunters Make

In a tight job market, building and maintaining an online presence is critical to networking and job hunting. Done right, it can be an important tool for present and future networking and useful for potential employers trying to get a sense of who you are, your talents and your experience. Done wrong, it can easily take you out of the running for most positions.
Here are five mistakes online job hunters make:
1. Forgetting manners.
If you use Twitter or you write a blog, you should assume that hiring managers and recruiters will read your updates and your posts. A December 2009 study by Microsoft Corp. found that 79% of hiring managers and job recruiters review online information about job applicants before making a hiring decision. Of those, 70% said that they have rejected candidates based on information that they found online. Top reasons listed? Concerns about lifestyle, inappropriate comments, and unsuitable photos and videos.
"Everything is indexed and able to be searched," says Miriam Salpeter, an Atlanta-based job search and social media coach. "Even Facebook, which many people consider a more private network, can easily become a trap for job seekers who post things they would not want a prospective boss to see."
Don't be lulled into thinking your privacy settings are foolproof. "All it takes is one person sharing information you might not want shared, forwarding a post, or otherwise breaching a trust for the illusion of privacy in a closed network to be eliminated," says Ms. Salpeter, who recommends not posting anything illegal (even if it's a joke), criticism of a boss, coworker or client, information about an interviewer, or anything sexual or discriminatory. "Assume your future boss is reading everything you share online," she says.
2. Overkill.
Blanketing social media networks with half-done profiles accomplishes nothing except to annoy the exact people you want to impress: prospective employees trying to find out more about on you.
One online profile done well is far more effective than several unpolished and incomplete ones, says Sree Sreenivasan, dean of students at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He made the decision early on to limit himself to three social-networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. "There is just not enough time," he says. "Pick two or three, then cultivate a presence there."

Many people make the mistake of joining LinkedIn and other social media sites and then just letting their profiles sit publicly unfinished, says Krista Canfield, a LinkedIn spokesperson. "Just signing up for an account simply isn't enough," she says. "At a bare minimum, make sure you're connected to at least 35 people and make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. Members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn."
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the three most popular social networking sites for human resources managers to use for recruiting, according to a survey released last month by JobVite, a maker of recruiting software.
3. Not getting the word out.
When accounting firm Dixon Hughes recently had an opening for a business development executive, Emily Bennington, the company's director of marketing and development, posted a link to the opportunity on her Facebook page. "I immediately got private emails from a host of people in my network, none of whom I knew were in the market for a new job," she says. " I understand that there are privacy concerns when it comes to job hunting, but if no one knows you're looking, that's a problem, too."
Changing this can be as simple as updating your status on LinkedIn and other social networking sites to let people know that you are open to new positions. If you're currently employed and don't want your boss to find out that you're looking, you'll need to be more subtle. One way to do this is to give prospective employers a sense of how you might fit in, says Dan Schawbel, author of "Me 2.0" and founder of Millennial Branding. "I recommend a positioning, or personal brand statement, that depicts who you are, what you do, and what audience you serve, so that people get a feeling for how you can benefit their company."
4. Quantity over quality.
Choose connections wisely; only add people you actually know or with whom you've done business. Whether it's on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other networking site, "it's much more of a quality game than a quantity game," says Ms. Canfield. A recruiter may choose to contact one of your connections to ask about you; make sure that person is someone you know and trust.
And there's really no excuse for sending an automated, generic introduction, says Ms. Canfield. "Taking the extra five to 10 seconds to write a line or two about how you know the other person and why'd you'd like to connect to them can make the difference between them accepting or declining your connection request," she says. "It also doesn't hurt to mention that you're more than willing to help them or introduce them to other people in your network."
5. Online exclusivity.
Early last year, Washington's Tacoma Public Utilities posted a water meter reader position on its website. The response? More than 1,600 people applied for the $17.76 an hour position.
With the larger number of people currently unemployed (and under-employed), many employers are being inundated with huge numbers of applications for any positions they post. In order to limit the applicant pool, some have stopped posting positions on their websites and job boards, says Tim Schoonover, chairman of career consulting firm OI Partners.
Scouring the Web for a position and doing nothing else is rarely the best way to go. "When job-seekers choose to search for jobs exclusively online– rather than also include in-person networking–they may be missing out on 'hidden' opportunities," says Mr. Schoonover. "Higher-level jobs are not posted as often as lower-level jobs online. In-person networking may be needed to uncover these higher-level positions, which may be filled by executive recruiters."

Original WSJ Article

How to Get the Job You Find

Brian Ray

Hooray! You find a great-for-you job online. Now, how do you hook and reel it in?
Here’s what you don’t do. Immediately click ‘Apply.’ Fill out form. Attach or paste your resume. Then you wait, and wait, and wait, and… well, you get the idea. Instead, try these 3 job-landing tips:

Job-Landing Tip #1: Do your homework.

Be an A+ candidate! Just 15+ minutes could pay you big bucks in a new job. Start by going to employer’s website and clicking key tabs:
  • About Us – Check out their services, products and markets. Learn how big they are: annual sales or budget and number of employees. Find out whether they are local, regional, national, or global. Review their vision, mission and values. If you are still interested, make a list of what you like, as well as questions you have.
  • Press or Newsroom – Look for recent news about financial reports and special announcements. Is their growth up, down or sideways? What are their plans for the future? Are there new executives that recently joined (who want want to make changes in their departments)? Are there special opportunities you see for you?
  • Career or Jobs – look for the job you found online. Look for other jobs that interest you. Checkout their benefits and training.
  • Go to Google. Type in the employer’s name to search ‘Web and News’ for more information.
  • Print most relevant information and put in file folder marked with employer name. Very handy for resume writing and interviews. Make notes on key people related to job you want.
  • Beware: If the job posting you find does not identify the employer, type key words from posting in Google, and see if employer name pops up. If not, then drop it. May be a scam!

Job-Landing Tip #2: Rewrite Your Resumes

Based on your homework, you can hook employers by customizing each resume for each job and employer. It might be another 15+ minutes extra work per resume… but worth it when you get the call for interviews.
  • Copy keywords from the job posting that are true of you. Paste them in your resume.
  • Connect what you do and like best with what the employer seems to need most for the Objective or Summary section of your resume.
  • Resumes that get results show results. Highlight accomplishments on page 1 of your resume that are most relevant to the employer and job.
  • If you saw news or special announcements related to your experience, abilities or interests, mention them in your cover letter.

Job-Landing Tip #3: Network for Personal Referrals

Ask everyone you know and new people you meet. Keep an active list of employers with jobs and names of key employees. A private corporate study revealed that if jobseekers had a personal referral into the company, the odds of them getting hired was 42 times greater than those with no referral. Try networking everyday for at least 15+ minutes at least a couple of weeks. It’s like mining for gold. You shovel a lot of dirt to find the golden nugget. But it is worth it.
  • Ask appropriately and politely “do you know who is or was at (name of employer)?”
  • Search Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter for employers and names of key employees.
  • Follow up with referrals with phone calls using names of referring people. Remember, it is the personal referral that reels them in.
  • Your ultimate goal is to find the hiring manager for the job in which you are interested. When you all-of-a-sudden find them, you will be ready with your customized resume.
By the time you make the right connections in the employer’s organization, you might be asked to submit your resume through their website job posting. That’s the perfect time to click ‘Apply’, because now someone is looking for you.

Original Article

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

IRS announces new job search tools

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a new job search tool available on YouTube to help job seekers learn about work opportunities at the IRS.

As many recent high school and college graduates seek employment, the IRS's new YouTube playlist, Working at the IRS ( ), provides information about various career paths available throughout the nation's tax administration agency.
The playlist features "Day in the Life" videos in which IRS employees discuss their jobs, the diversity of the IRS workforce and the culture of the agency.
The IRS has more than 100,000 full-time and seasonal employees and hires new employees throughout the year for positions including revenue agents, revenue officers, criminal investigation special agents, financial analysts and economists.

Original Article

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top 100 career advice blogs

1. Career Realism – “We are the only career advice blog that ‘approves’ their experts, writes Career Realism’s founder, J.T. O’Donnell, who has been cited in The New York Times,,, and various other popular publications. “We make each expert apply to our program and we personally review their credentials and writing style to ensure they match with our goal of providing cutting-edge career advice. We have over 30 experts who provide advice on a daily basis and are currently ranked as one of the top 5 career advice blogs on the Internet.” Her tips for the unemployed? “Unemployed job seekers need to focus on connecting with people they don’t know,” she explains. “It’s easy to network with friends and family, but to find a job you have to expand your network. Start by asking people you do know to introduce you to the one person they think you should meet.” Recommended posts: “Resume Tips for a Career Change,” and “20 Powerful Action Verbs to Kick Your Resume Up a Notch!
2. WebWorkerDaily – Although most of the articles touch on unemployment and career advice, blogger Imran Ali also writes about the latest technology tools for UK-based business owners and professionals. This easy-to-use and interactive blog allows readers to click on articles related to a specific topic such as Apps, how-to guides, social media, and browsers, as well as Apple, Google, and Windows products. Recommended posts: “Sincerely, Me: What Our Email Sign-offs Say About Us,” and “DevCheatSheet: More Useful Free Reference Cards.”
3.  Position Ignition –  ”Position Ignition’s career blog offers a host of free information, advice, and guidance for people of all ages and who are serious about their careers,” writes Nisa Chitakasem, one of the co-founders of the site. “We have a number of Guides who all contribute to the blog and who have had real life and career experiences of their own to draw from. Not only are they great career guides and are highly qualified coaches –they have all had very successful careers –being HR Directors, Headhunters, CEOs, COOs, senior managers in top firms and more. The co-founder Simon North has been working in transition and change for over 25 years and has helped many individuals with their careers.” She advises the unemployed to “stay positive and also get focused…Being unfocused and untargeted in the market is the worst thing you could do. Too many people we come across have a scattergun approach – firing out CVs everywhere and applying for anything they can get hold of. What’s more effective is getting clear about what you want, why you want it, why you’re the one to do it and how to get that across effectively in the market. This is what we help people do and they all end up in the right places for them!”  Recommended posts: “5 Popular Career Personality Tests” and “Job searching: Find the Needle.”
4. Career Copilot – Career Strategist and Pro Resume Writer Dan Keller helps job seekers “navigate through the changes and challenges of the job hunt.” Keller’s background includes experience in executive search and corporate recruiting, and offers readers his advice from his own experiences and insight “from the trenches.” He is also the owner of Recommended posts: “How to find a job on Linkedin,” 5 tips to help you through a career change,” and “Why Job Boards are evil.
5. Punk Rock HR – Forget Sheena, Laurie Ruettimann is the true punk rocker…of the career-advice blogging world. After reading its tagline (“Team building is for suckers”), it becomes apparent that Laurie has a lot to say about the HR world, and isn’t afraid to say it. For the past ten years, she has worked as a “seasoned and cynical HR professional,” and currently serves as a member of The Society for Human Resources Management. Her blog has been listed as one of the “Top 50 Blogs” by Evan Carmichael in 2010, as well as”Top 25 HR Digital” blog awards by HR Examiner, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, US News & World Report, CFO Magazine, and Men’s Health. Recommended posts: “Mentors: Who Needs ‘Em?” and “You Are Not Allowed to Criticize HR.”

Blogs 6 - 100

Monday, July 19, 2010

Landing a New Job - Don't Leave Your Old Job

If you've been marking time at work and hoping to get a new job, you're not alone. But employment experts caution restless job seekers from jumping ship too soon. If you move too quickly you might end up in a new job that you dislike even more. Still, you can improve your odds of finding something worthwhile by planning ahead and doing some research.
The first thing to do is re-evaluate why you're dissatisfied at your current job. If you aren't challenged enough, there might be a way to make a change without leaving. "There may be ways that your job can be changed for the better or your role in the company expanded to offer more challenges," says Tony Mulkern, a management consultant based in Los Angeles.
Look Inside and Out
Scout job openings in other departments or at higher levels that you may qualify for with some additional extended education or skills and ask your manager to support your effort to get the training you need.
If the opportunities just aren't there or you're simply dissatisfied and aching to move, tap your personal and professional network for information on who's hiring; many job postings go up with a candidate in mind already, so it's best to do your homework before a position is listed publicly.
If you know someone at the companies you are targeting—or someone in your network does—work to get personal referrals. But be discreet with your inquiries. Keep requests off social-networking websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
When you land an interview, use the opportunity to learn about the company. You should get as much from them as they will try to get from you, says Sharon Armstrong, a human-resources consultant in Washington. Salary and benefits are important, but you also want to make sure you're compatible. It's difficult to tell what the workplace culture is like from casual visits. Don't be shy about calling for more information and contact current and former employees, if possible, to get a feel for the company and opportunities.
If you get an offer, before you accept, consider doing more in-depth financial research on the company; try the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR Public Dissemination Service (
For private firms and startups, Gail Rosen, an accountant based in Martinsville, N.J., says to look for a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, references, a business plan and a list of where the company is getting funding. "You may not get that all, but it doesn't hurt to ask, and they might at least give you something else you can use," she says. Some information also can be found on fee services like Hoovers or on business blogs.
Don't Leave Your Old Job
Whatever you do, don't quit your job until you're certain that you're hired, says Ms. Armstrong. "Even if a job offer seems imminent, there are a lot of things that can happen at the last minute."
If your current company wants to keep you and replies with a counteroffer, keep in mind why you're leaving. "People seldom move just for money, so don't be swayed by a bigger paycheck if everything else stays the same," says Ms. Armstrong. "Job satisfaction comes from a lot of different places. If the boss offers to help change the other things that are making you unhappy, that might be worth at least discussing."
Write to Dennis Nishi at

Original WSJ Article

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 Things To Avoid In Your Cover Letter

Like it or not, your cover letter is the first document that creates an impression about you (good or bad). Because first impressions really count, you need to take a careful approach to writing cover letters in order to avoid rejection. Here are the 10 major don’ts you need to avoid:
1. Don’t use cover letter templates, however good they may be. There are three things you must know that go against these templates: 1) they are stale & boring 2) most templates are likely to have been downloaded from internet 3) therefore, yours will be exposed as being identical to many. Use samples to get ideas on how to write your own unique letter.
2. Don’t write a lengthy first paragraph that will only bore the reader. A lengthy first paragraph also dilutes your impressive qualities and eventually weakens the entire letter – this is the last thing you want to happen.
3. Don’t exclude your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. Remember that the cover letter is your sales letter; you should highlight your main strengths and prepare the reader psychologically to want to read further.
4. Don’t write a vague letter without mentioning specifics, such as the job title and job code/number if you are responding to an advertisement.
5. Don’t address your cover letter ‘To Whom It May Concern’. It shows that you don’t care enough to do your research to find out who is receiving the resume packages.
6. Don’t use fanciful fonts. Don’t unnecessarily use capitalized or bolded words, or grandiose phrases. Don’t send the letter without nixing silly spelling or grammatical mistakes.
7. Don’t use cliché language such as “As afore mentioned, I am enclosing…” This will only irritate the recruiter. Instead use simple phrases such as, “enclosed please find my resume.”
8. Don’t include personal information like your race, sex or marital status in the cover letter. These things are against the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and as such will not impact the decision whether or not you are called for the interview.
9. Don’t use copies of the same cover letters with just the address and date lines changed to send for similar jobs. If you don’t customize the entire body, the letter may either be irrelevant or a mistake may silently make it into the final draft.
10. Don’t brag or make statements that can’t be quantified. You should be humble, yet accurate – employers these days often verify your statements for accuracy (and uncover exaggerations).
The trick with the cover letter is to capture the reader’s imagination as soon as they begin reading. This entails keeping your cover letter neat and tidy with a simple format, and avoiding common errors, such as the 10 listed above.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. If you need cover letter samples and tools, go to

Tips for transitioning from a stay-at-home parent into a career-track professional

I took about five months of maternity leave after my daughter was born. It felt more like five years when I returned. 

In my first few months back on the job, I could barely manage to get to work without yogurt smeared on my clothes. Report breaking-news stories? Write on deadline? Yeesh.

Now imagine returning after taking off years to raise a family.

I talked with Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder of iRelaunch and co-author of Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, which came out in 2007. What tips, I asked her, can you give someone who is looking to rejoin the workforce after taking time off to spend with family?

She offers seven tips for styling your own personal relaunch, as she calls it: (And you can also keep up on advice from Fishman Cohen and her co-author, Vivian Steir Rabin, at the Back on the Career Track blog here.

Relaunch or not -- you decide. Basically, you need to fully think through your feelings, needs and issues about whether you are ready to return to the work force. What are your childcare needs? Do you have family and spousal support? Are there other issues, such as a recent move or a spouse that's just changed jobs that can complicate returning to work?

Learn confidence. Your co-workers from the past remember you as you were, she said. It can be a "huge confidence builder" to get back in touch with co-workers from the past and hear their enthusiasm about your decision to return to work, she said.

Another way to help build that up? Start talking. Talk first with your nonjudgmental friends and family about your interest in returning to work and what you want to do. At first, you might not sound so polished. But talking it out lets you practice and get feedback on what you're saying or how you're saying it. Broaden the audience to people you know more casually. All of this is a kind of rehearsal for an interview down the road. The more you rehearse ahead of time, the better you will sound.
Assess your career options. You need to figure out if your skills and interests have changed. You want to look at each of your prior significant work and volunteer experiences, look at all the pieces of those jobs and identify the ones that you love doing and think you're best at. You might find that you were exactly on the right career path to begin with, she said, and want to return. Or you might find that your old career is no longer compatible with your lifestyle.

Update your professional and job-search skills. Subscribe to industry journals, attend conferences, get back in touch with your alma mater which may offer alumni career services.
Consider whether you need to update your training by taking classes at a community college or enrolling in a certificate program. For some people, schooling provides a networking or internship opportunity that may translate into a full-time job.
Volunteering with nonprofits can often provide relevant experiences that are resume-worthy, she said.
Network and market yourself. Set up an online professional profile on LinkedIn. Join professional organizations, alumni groups and other associations through your LinkedIn profile.

"Nothing beats getting out of your house," she said. "We hear over and over, 'I sent out 100 resumes and I'm not getting any responses,'" Fishman Cohen said. "You can do that if you want, but your most productive networking is going to be in person.

That means going to parent-teacher organization meetings or soccer games or political committee meetings, she said. Have conversations with people about their work -- and once in a while, you'll connect with someone whose interests are similar to yours.

Channel family support. Make sure you talk with them and strategize how you're going to handle child-care, pick-ups, housework or other needs that will arise with your absence.

Handle the job -- or find another. Be strategic about your relaunch, but if you end up having to take a job that's not your ideal, work on a plan B. Don't necessarily turn down a contractor position or one that offers less responsibility because you can show your skills and earn more responsibility over time.

Those are the official seven tips. But she has a few other pieces of advice to keep on track.

Be relentless. Keep going and keep moving forward. If you land a job interview and it doesn't turn into an offer, don't give up.

Pair up with a relaunch buddy. Find someone who is also interested in returning to work. Then set up a regular time to check in with that friend about how your week's efforts are going. This provides you with a scheduled check-in, so that you keep making progress, as well as gives you a sounding board.    

And one more tip -- how do you discuss the years that you took off to stay at home?
One reason the networking piece is so important, she said, is because that information will already be out there before you get to an interview. At that point, she said, don't apologize. "Be very brief about it and move on. For example, you might say "I took a career break to take care of my kids, but I can't wait to come back to work. One reason I was so excited about this job is...." and move the conversation on to talk about your qualifications and skills.   
IRelaunch has several online resources, including a readiness quiz and a resume guide on its website. It also has compiled a list of dozens of career re-entry programs -- including some free ones -- that people can look into as well. 

-- Helen Jung

Original Article

Search Resume Optimization

Job hunting nowadays is done primarily on the internet. The basic foundation of the internet is to be able to search and find information. With this came the term “search engine optimization” otherwise known as (SEO). Similarly, employers are looking to optimize their searches for new employees. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is used by most companies today to review resumes and identify the best candidates. In the same way that search engines use keywords and phrases on a particular site to describe what the site is about and rank them in accordance to the most relevant, these systems use the content in a resume to determine who the best fit for their search is. Disregarding how the system works would be unwise and probably leave you at the bottom of the list, frustrated and still searching for a job. Efficiency is a term used often today for a reason. By optimizing your resume, you’ll not only help make the process easier for employers, you’ll be dramatically increasing your chances of being hired at the same time. Thus I have coined the phrase search resume optimization (SRO) and provided some tips below:

1. Create a section for your keywords at the top of your resume
This will increase your keyword count and your chances of making it by the first cut Can be titled “Professional Overview” “Career Summary” or “Keyword Competencies” The goal is to optimize your resume by providing all the keywords that relate to your potential job. Give all the keywords you can think of that a recruiter would search for pertaining to your job title, skills, experience, abilities and expertise.
For example if you are in sales a section for your keywords could look like this:
“Sales, business development, qualifying, value, negotiation, deal closing, solution, goals, ethics, generate, recommend, accommodate, growth”

2. Condense your statements
Leave out articles “a”, “an” and “the”. For example, instead of “accommodated the needs of clients,” condense it to say “accommodated client needs” Your job summaries should focus on accomplishments and not tasks. Thus you should leave out “responsibilities” and “duties”. No need to clarify who you are talking about in your resume. Omit personal pronouns like “I”, “me” or “my”

3. Choose your format wisely
Bulleted lists are always easier to read than long paragraphs Separate information by underlining, italicizing, or putting the headlines in bold. Use a widely accepted typeface like Times New Roman and Arial or select a fresh, sophisticated font like Strayhorn or Ellington. (Note: if using a non-standard font either convert your Word file into PDF, or select the “embed fonts” option in Word).

Original Article

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5 Tips for Job Seekers on Corporate Social Networks

Anne Berkowitch is co-founder and CEO of SelectMinds, the leading provider of networking and referral technologies and of the recently launched TalentVine referral recruiting solution. You can follow SelectMinds on Twitter at @SelectMinds.
There’s a lot of talk these days about using social networks as job search tools as well as sources for recruiters and HR executives to scout talent. Many organizations opt to build secure, private networks for their current and former employees that provide a place for people to connect and refer opportunities, contacts and information to one another. Here are some tips to get the most out of these increasingly common company networks.

1. Remember Your Resources

While it may be natural to dive into the wider web in your job search, you might be better served to take advantage of resources and people you are already connected to. Many businesses of all sizes offer networks to connect current and former employees. Check in with HR heads of former employers and find out what networking tools they offer. In the battle for great talent, it’s in their interest to keep up with you and where your career is headed.

2. Present Your Best Self

When building your identity and reputation on a company network, it’s important to remember that these networks are professional environments that are rarely anonymous. While you may have shared some drinks at the holiday party in 2007, you still want to engage with current and former colleagues on a strictly professional basis. Remember to update your information (title, company, leadership experience, etc.) regularly, perhaps every quarter, and point it out to relevant people as appropriate.
Also note that while you’re maintaining a professional presence on internal company networks, your public social profiles on Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter) and other sites will often be checked by recruiters before they make contact with you. We’ve all heard the horror stories — for example, applicants updating their status or tweeting before and after an interview with disparaging or confidential remarks about the company. We’ve heard about recent college grads who have thousands of photos on Facebook, many of which are not work appropriate. These are lessons applicants need only learn once. Showing some personality is important, but it’s a fine line.

3. Reconnect

People are used to getting “Friended,” “Followed,” “Connected With” and more on a regular basis, so reaching out to past colleagues with whom you’ve worked should be well received. It’s a great way to share opportunities, personal and professional news, and stay up to date on happenings at your company. When you join a company network, spend some time identifying colleagues and friends within the organizations and acknowledge them on the network.
The foundation of many workplace relationships is gained in the first few days working together. A vendor my company works with recently had an influx of new hires due to business growth. The new team they assembled is full of characters and they promote camaraderie as an essential piece of their corporate culture. These employees are not just all Facebook friends but they’re neighbors, they Follow each other on Twitter, retweet each other, etc. They are connected personally and online in a way we know will continue even if one of them should make a career move.

4. Show Your Self-Motivation

As everyone knows, finding a job is work in itself. If you want to get advice from a former colleague or talk about business connections or job opportunities, you have to reach out. (Re)connect online and then consider setting up a get-together with former colleagues. Being outgoing and organized is a quick way to get recognized — a factor that’s sure to pay off in the future.
In-person meetings always go farther than a phone call ever could. For HR managers who work at large, global businesses, it’s nearly impossible to meet candidates face to face. But if you’re an executive and someone local is asking to meet up, it’s a great activity to make time for. I recently heard about a young job seeker who wanted to relocate and found out the local director at her dream firm had gone to a competing high school. That connection alone (pointed out in an e-mail she sent him when she happened to be in town) got her in the door and ultimately, the job itself.

5. It Can’t Hurt to Ask

Given the professional nature of company networks, it’s more common and expected for the topic of job openings and hiring to come up. Don’t be afraid to ask your connections how they got their newest job, why they left a company, or if they would be willing to make an introduction for you. Understand that these networks create mutual relationships, so be sure to offer connections, guidance and thoughts to others — engendering good will when it comes to a professional network goes a long way.
A woman my company works with has had previous high profile jobs in her field. As a result, many people know her and ask her for favors. The one she tells us she always obliges is giving honest answers to people who are considering going to work for her previous companies. Often these connections come through people she may need a favor from someday too, so it’s a valuable practice to help past companies find great talent, even though she’s already left.

Original Mashable Article

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just like the beach, a job hunt beckons in summer

By Vickie Elmer
While some job seekers took a break in the summer months, Sheila Paige used the time to land interviews and contract work. This year, the manager of nonprofit organizations found June to be crazy-busy with interviews, and she had to choose between two job offers.
Despite summer's slower feel, which is exacerbated in Washington by the congressional recess, recruiting continues during that period. "There is no slow time" for searching, said Paige, who lives in the District.
Many people drop out of the search for part or all of the summer, thinking decision-makers aren't around or jobs aren't being filled, said Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O'Clock Club, which offers job-search groups, coaching and other services to job seekers. "We want our job hunters to put their foot to the pedal at those times because the competition is relaxing."
When job seekers in the Five O'Clock Club stay committed and target organizations they've identified as good fits, they land "more than an average number" of jobs in August, Wendleton said. (The same is true in December, she noted.) The New York-based organization has members, employed and unemployed, in the Washington region and nationwide.
Job seekers on the hunt during summer face less competition than those who begin -- or restart -- their searches in September, she said. They may be perceived as hardworking and more diligent than those who spend the summer at the beach or tending gardens.
Yet with a tough economy, more job seekers are at least checking online listings all summer. More than 23 million people visited job Web sites last July, and 24 million visited them in August, about the same as during spring and fall months. November and December are the only months to record fewer visits to employment sites in recent years, according to comScore Media Metrics data.
Employers are hiring this summer, Wendleton said, noting that her organization was "deluged" with openings after e-mailing 5,000 employers in late June. Many companies, trying to avoid being overwhelmed by job seekers, are not posting their openings. Instead, individuals must make themselves known to their targeted employers. "Give your pitch and do a follow-up phone call," she said. "Stay in touch with them. Stay in touch with them. Stay in touch with them."

"The more relaxed atmosphere of the summer might welcome more chances to meet up with people," said Dezell, a career coach and author of "Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker." He also works as a career adviser for the Maryland Professional Outplacement Assistance Center.Tom Dezell noted that more voluntary resignations and retirements occur either in summer or at year's end, especially in many government agencies and departments.
Associations and churches stage summer picnics; nonprofit organizations schedule golf outings; and families go to swim meets, softball games and backyard barbecues. Any of those settings could connect a job seeker with someone who can open the door to a new job.
Many professional associations hold one summer event -- a picnic or some other outdoor event. Others are dark during July and August. Yet their executive committees and planning committees are organizing events for fall, Wendleton said. "Get on that committee" and pick up a membership directory to use in your search, she said.
Paige has been considering a change from her events-management jobs for years, in part to travel less. She has worked as a consultant and as a full-time staffer, and became serious about her search two years ago. She agrees with Wendleton that job seekers must do their homework on the organization and the hiring manager.
"You don't arbitrarily paper the street with your résumé" in summer or any season, she said. She used her connections as well as a targeted online search to secure interviews and two offers. She accepted one of those offers and started last week. "Business doesn't stop in the summer," Paige said, noting that people on the job hunt must keep searching, too. "You never know when that opportunity will surface."
Vickie Elmer is a freelance writer.
Original Article

Promoting Your Job Search When You're Employed

Q: How should you go about advertising yourself on LinkedIn when you are already employed? It seems like you wouldn't want to be too overt, since people from your present company are likely to see your posting. Is it OK to note that you are open to job queries?
A: You are right to assume that someone from your company probably will view your profile at some point, so it would be best not to announce that you are actively looking for another job. Luckily, there are ways you can subtly let it be known that you are open to opportunities.
"Your LinkedIn profile is public, which means that everyone has access to it in and out of your company," says Dan Schawbel, author of "Me 2.0" and managing partner at Millennial Branding LLC. "You can, however, be cautious and avoid sending public updates that you want to quit your job or that you hate your manager."

Unless your company knows that there are extenuating circumstances – such as expected layoffs, you're relocating, or you are seeking opportunities in a different field – you won't want to advertise your availability, says Catherine Ricker, vice president of human resources at Affinity Federal Credit Union in Basking Ridge, N.J. "Colleagues, and possibly your supervisor, are likely to learn of your search, which may send the impression that you are unhappy with your current employer or manager, even if you are not, and cause the employer to question your commitment to the organization," she says.
Instead, use your profile to detail you prior work experience and to emphasize your present job position title, job responsibilities and future career aspirations, suggests Ms. Ricker. "Solicit professional recommendations for posting on your LinkedIn page and direct prospective employers accordingly," she says. She recommends joining groups in your specific field of interest. "Savvy recruiters generally seek out potential candidates through these groups," she says.
When job hunting in "stealth" mode, get comfortable using your account settings, recommends LinkedIn's senior public relations manager, Krista Canfield. For example, many users don't know that they can adjust their settings so that their connections won't be notified each time they update their status or make changes to their profile. "That way, if you suddenly decide to connect to 15 local recruiters, your boss won't notice that these folks have been added to your network via status updates," says Ms. Canfield.

On the flip side, LinkedIn users often forget to indicate that they are interested in career opportunities and that they will accept messages from other members. If you disable these features, you'll be making yourself much harder to contact and could lose out on job opportunities.

Mr. Schawbel recommends approaching your LinkedIn headline as a "positioning statement, detailing what you do and who you do it for." In addition, you'll want to figure out the keywords a recruiter would use to search for people in your desired field and include them as part of your profile. "This way, recruiters will find you, and you'll start getting job queries for positions that you're truly passionate about," says Mr. Schawbel.
"Above everything else, make sure you update and expand your profile," says Ms. Canfield. Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn than those with incomplete profiles, she says.

Original WSJ Article

Friday, July 9, 2010

Facebook Becomes Job Search Engine

SimplyHired, a job search aggregation site, announced that it's just released new features allowing integration with user Facebook friends. How does this help job seekers?

This integration marks the first time Facebook has entered mainstream job search. Facebook has long been a way that a candidate can be found by recruiters and hiring managers who are searching for an employee. Now SimplyHired makes it easier to find companies where they have Facebook friends to contact about the hidden job market.

SimplyHired has featured integration with Linkedin for awhile, allowing Linkedin users to overlay network contacts on top of job ads. Facebook integration is a little different, allowing candidates some different ways to search for jobs.

“Simply Hired is showing what’s possible when you make it easy to find jobs through friends,” said Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook Developer Network. “Personal relationships and professional networking have always been the best ways to find a new job. By integrating with Facebook, Simply Hired is bringing this to life online and helping users tap into their social connections to personalize the job search process.”

There are some broad similarities in how SimplyHired integrates with Linkedin vs how SimplyHired achieves integration with Facebook. There are many differences, making each integration a unique tool for job search, used in different ways.

Similarities to Linkedin/SimplyHired Integration:
* Connections ...
* Sign-in ...
* Privacy ...

“Personalization is the next generation of job search,” said Simply Hired CEO Gautam Godhwani. “Today, Simply Hired takes another significant step toward making job search simple by combining the largest social graph with the largest job database. Finally, your friends can help you find a job online.”

Differences Between Linkedin/SH integration and Facebook/SH integration:
* Linkedin contacts are displayed to the side ...
* Facebook friends are displayed in sections ...
* Different assumptions ...
* Degrees of separation ...
* Types of searches ...

( Continued ... How To Set Up & Use SimplyHired/Facebook Integration )

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

15 Twitter Job Search Apps

From the standpoint of a job seeker, if used correctly, Twitter can turn your job search from feeling like the dreaded fail whale to landing you the job of your dreams. With the right tools Twitter can become a never-ending source of information to assist you along your way.

Other than Tweeting about your job search and putting your job pitch in your bio, here are 15 Twitter Applications and Tricks to help you along the path (keep in mind there are hundreds of applications for Twitter and most of them can be used in someway or another for a job search, these are just the ones I found most interesting):

1. ConnectTweet – See what is going on inside the doors of a potential company, through the Tweets of their employees. ConnectTweet allows individuals at the front lines of the company to add a #tag to their company relevant tweets, those tagged tweets are then filtered and posted to the companies @org’s Twitter account, allowing the company’s followers to clearly see the human voices on the inside.

2. TwitterJobCast – A local job search that allows you to see who is hiring on Twitter by browsing for jobs by city, state or zip code. It works by making requests to the Twitter API. Additionally, the Yahoo! Maps API is used to translate locations into geocodes for use with the Twitter API.

3. TwitterJobSearch – An open source search engine for jobs posted on Twitter, TwitterJobSearch has posted 44,165 new jobs in the last 7 days. Many of the jobs listed are tech related jobs, but through their search you can look for the position you want in the city you want.

4. Twellow – Also know as the Yellow Pages for Twitter it allows you to cut through the clutter Twitter sometimes creates. It enables you to find real people who really matter. The Twellow service grabs publically available messages from Twitter, analyzes and then categorizes the tweets into categories. By using this service you can narrow your searching to specific niches and find who you are looking for, that way you can follow specific Tweeters and network your heart away.

5. TweetBeep – “TweetBeep is like Google Alerts for Twitter” TweetBeep is very simple, you signup for an account, confirm your email and set up alerts to be delivered to your email. Want to know whenever someone posts a job for a Java Dev? Set up and alert for that and you will be notified through email on a daily or hourly basis.

Tips 6 - 15

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Speaking of Gaming Job-Search Technology...

Speaking of gaming technology to make your resume look more impressive, here's a no-no for jobseekers: white-fonting.
Apparently this is a "thing" in the same way that SEO "experts" leaving nonsense keywords scattered at the bottom of a page is a "thing" and spammers quoting Proust is a "thing": it's a sneaky trick to get you past a robotic gatekeeper, but likely won't work on any human with half a brain.
Heather Huhman explains exactly what white fonting is: "when an applicant submits a resume via an applicant tracking system (ATS) that appears to be nicely formatted with a traditional black font; however, scattered in the margins of the document are keywords pertaining to the job and employer. In theory, white font applicants hope that those keywords will be enough to get their resume through to a second round of consideration."
The computer can read the "invisible" text, but humans can't, so it's a way to squeeze in more keywords.
This won't work for a number of reasons: first, if a recruiter scans your resume and doesn't see the keywords that her ATS swears are there, she'll probably conclude it's a bug and throw out your resume. If she doesn't conclude it's a bug and figures out that you've snuck invisible text in there...well, now you've just proven you're sneaky. Which may be a positive trait in some jobs, but most hiring managers want to see straight-shooters, not wily foxes.
"If a job seeker does not possess the necessary experience required to be able to honestly and visibly insert those key terms into the body of their resume," Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, assistant director of the Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University, told Huhman, "then white fonting would probably not be an effective method of getting their resume noticed. Even worse, it could be perceived by a potential employer as unethical, aggressive and manipulative."
No kidding.
We're gonna say, don't try this at home.

Original Article

10 Blogs to Boost Your Social Network Savvy

Here's a roster of experts who regularly offer tips and observations about networking to greatest effect.

Kristin Burnham, CIO

Keeping tabs on the evolving world of social media isn't easy. Facebook, as we've seen, has endured several privacy fiascos and consequent criticisms. LinkedIn has made impressive progress in making the site more social by rolling out important updates to its site. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to struggle with simply handling its increasing traffic.

To better understand the changing landscape -- and to discover how it can help you and your business -- you need expert help. I've compiled a list of my 10 favorite blogs (in no particular order) from practitioners, experts and thinkers. Follow these blogs for the latest news, tips, insights and case studies that will keep you at the top of your social media game.

Chris Brogan
What you'll find: Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs shares video book reviews, thoughts on and tips for maximizing the value of social media, and puts into greater context what the news means for you.
Sample posts: "LinkedIn Recommendation Tips;" "Beyond Project Management;" "Automate the Easy Stuff."

All Facebook
What you'll find:
coverage of new Facebook applications, general news and analysis about the future of Facebook. The blog also features statistics on the top Facebook Apps and Pages.
Sample posts:
"Facebook Driving More Users to Make Their Homepage;" "Facebook's New Permissions Dialogue Goes Live on All Applications;" "Facebook Clarifies Policy on Site Scrapers as Robots.Txt Gets Updated."

Carol Rozwell
What you'll find: Carol Rozwell, Gartner VP and a member of Gartner's Social Software and Collaboration team, writes on the dynamics of collaborating in social networks and communities, and innovation. Expect advice and practical use-cases.
Sample posts: "Social Networking Redo: Fixing a Broken Implementation Program;" "Social Media Stumbles-E-Business Redux;" "Social Media Panelists Share Experiences at PCC."

SmartBlog on Social Media
What you'll find: SmartBlog picks the most relevant social media news on the Web, summarizes it and links to the original source if you want to read the article in full. Check in here for poll analysis, news, tips and case studies.
Sample posts: "How LEGO Supports Their Growing Network of Fans;" "Getting a Handle on Twitter Followers;" "Gov 2.0: How to Engage Your Hispanic Fans."" rel="nofollow">Stowe Boyd
What you'll find:
Stowe Boyd, director at and president at focuses on social tools and their impact on media, business and society. Boyd recently moved his blog; for all old entries, go here.
Sample posts:
"ACLU Fact Checks Facebook's Response to Open Letter;" "Twitter Taps Into Facebook and LinkedIn Networks;" "Sliderocket: The Last Stage of Jettisoning Desktop Office Apps."

Social Media B2B
What you'll find: News and discussions on social media's impact on B2B companies and social media adoption within B2B companies.
Sample posts: "Unclutter You B2B Social Media Sources;" "B2B Case Study: Supply Chain Firm Drives Traffic With Online Community;" "Social Media Monitoring and Developing B2B Thought Leadership."

Socialnomics-Social Media Blog
What you'll find: Socialnomics covers the latest trends in social media, focusing on news and what it means for users and businesses. It's known for its irreverent viewpoints of a popular topic. This blog complement's Erik Qualman's book of the same title.
Sample posts: "Steve Jobs=Social Media King;" "What BP Should Be Doing With Social Media;" "Facebook Statistics & History in Picture Form."

Andrew McAfee's Blog
What you'll find: McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT's Center for Digital Business, coined the phrase "Enterprise 2.0." He writes on the ways that IT affects businesses.
Sample posts: "Why Some Geeks Hate the iPad So Much;" "In the Age of the Smart Machine, What Are WE Good For?;" "Memes to Watch Out For."

What you'll find: advice on social media strategy, news, trends, tools and resources.
Sample posts: "Everything You Need to Know About SEO;" "Mark Zuckerberg Makes the Big Time;" "Successful Techniques for Building Your Industry Voice With Social Media."

What you'll find: Robert Scoble, managing director at Rackspace, is best known for his views on the social media landscape. You'll find video interviews with upstarts, product reviews and analysis on the latest and greatest in the Web 2.0 world.
Sample posts: "Meet the team that knows who is REALLY influential on Twitter (Klout);" " First look video: Toshiba "touch" netbook prototype shows how Japanese might fight back against iPad (oh, and a cool 3D laptop, too);" " Two location companies that are more important than Foursquare, MyTown, Loopt, Gowalla, or Whrrl."

Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

Original Article 

Career Coach: The power of 'thank you'

 One thing that has been bugging me lately is: What ever happened to common courtesy? Manners seem to have disappeared. And I'm not just talking about holding the door open for people, but just a simple thank-you when someone does something nice for you. The lack of manners got me wondering: How much of an impact does this have on how successful people are? I have always known and seen it documented that niceness wins in many difficult negotiations more than bullying does. Does being polite also help people in the job market and in their career success?
Think about this: When was the last time you wrote or received a handwritten note of thanks or even a thank-you e-mail? Just the other day, I was talking to a recruiter who told me that she received more than 3,000 applications for 200 teaching jobs and only one person took the time to send her a thank-you note for her assistance in the job search process. In addition, she said that many of the applicants actually called her back the same day they applied or within the next day to harass her about what she was doing about getting them a job. She was flabbergasted by their overly aggressive tone and style. You can imagine how that one person who sent a thank-you note stood out in that crowd. And that is not a unique story. I hear many more just like it.
Today, sending a thank-you has become a competitive advantage for job applicants or employees. It is so rare that it actually differentiates a person from the rest of the group. Some studies have found that more than 50 percent of people don't say thanks and few express any appreciation at all. Managers say that manners practiced inside a firm, especially thank-yous, reveal a lot about how a person might be treating customers outside of the firm, so to managers, manners are especially important.
The benefits of saying thank you (for those of you who need to know "what's in it for me") are that you stand out, you can strengthen your relationship with the other side, it motivates and reinforces the other party to continue to engage in the nice or helpful behavior and it sends a message about you (i.e., the quality of your upbringing) and/or your company (i.e., the professionalism of your firm).

Why don't people say thanks or express their appreciation? Maybe they received poor training or role modeling from their parents, teachers or families. Maybe with today's busy times, they are so busy (or self-absorbed) that they don't even think about anyone but themselves. Neglecting to thank others can reflect on your selfishness and might tell others that you think people should be doing those things for you. Maybe some people intend to thank others, but they are procrastinators. If enough time has gone by, they are embarrassed to send a late thank-you note. Or maybe they don't need to hear any appreciation themselves, so they figure no one else needs to hear it either.
One of the Hogan assessments that measure a person's underlying motives and values ( measures "recognition" as one of the values that might be important to people. I have coached many executives whose recognition score was low and since this value or motive was not important to them, they figured it was not important to anyone else. Generally, with these executives, their own staff rate them low in providing recognition or thanks to employees. In fact, some of the employees stated that they hadn't heard a thank-you from the boss in quite some time.
What are some suggestions for thanking others? The best thing you can do is to use a handwritten note of thanks and send it in the mail. This is so rare today that it really does stand out. If for some reason you cannot send a handwritten note, then at least send a thank-you via e-mail. In your note, be warm, personal and sincere. It is important not to use a sarcastic tone when thanking someone since a thank-you is supposed to build someone up. The timing of your thank-you is also important. You should respond to someone within 48 hours of receiving the assistance, gift, help, etc. Of course, in some situations you can thank the person immediately if you are together. If you are late, you should still send the note. It is better to send a note and apologize for being late in thanking the person than to never send any note at all.
So don't underestimate the power of saying thank you. Even though moving ahead in a firm is typically based on performance and results, how a person interacts with others is hard to overlook. Even the management guru Peter Drucker noted that "manners -- simple things like saying 'please' and 'thank you' enable two people to work together" while "bad manners rub people raw; they leave permanent scars." Likewise, Marshall Goldsmith writes in his book, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," that one of the challenges for people is "failing to express gratitude -- the most basic form of bad manners." Thus, having manners and saying thank-you actually does make a difference to your success and to the lives of others around you. And with that, thank you for reading this column and sending me your thoughts.
Joyce E.A. Russell is the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist. She can be reached at

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