Tag Archives: unemployment

Can Your Social Profiles Affect Your Job Search?

More people are pounding the pavement in search of employment than ever before. People from all walks of life and age are vying for the same positions. With thousands of people on the same quest, how do potential employers narrow down their decisions? What happens when two candidates are equally qualified? Years ago, the hiring manager may have simply flipped a coin to make their choice or gone with a gut instinct. These days, though, they are much more likely to turn to the Internet to figure out who should be hired. Your social profiles are a gold mine of information when someone is trying to figure out if you will fit into their company. If you’re about to embark on a job search, it’s time to clean up those pages people.

If you’re like me, you have Googled yourself on more than one occasion. When was the last time you looked at those results as though through another person’s eyes? How incriminating are the profiles you have online? What would the head of Corporation A think about the drunken party pictures on your Facebook wall? I’m sure that the personnel manager of Company B will adore reading about the way you escaped a ticket by lying to an officer, as posted on your Twitter stream. Do you see where I’m going here? You cannot be too careful these days. Potential employers can – and DO – search you out online.

How can you protect yourself, then? We know you aren’t going to stop posting things online. The first thing I recommend is to go back and do that Google search. Go through any and all links you find that have to do with you. If they are something derogatory posted by another person, contact them and see if you can resolve the situation and have the content removed. Be sure to check through the Google image results, as well. I’m not sure you want to see what may be in there, so why would the person you’re counting on hiring you need to?

Facebook is usually the first place a person doing the hiring will look for you. You need to remember that they are not only going to see whatever you post to your Wall. They will see snippets of what you post to others’ Walls. They’ll see any Pages you may have associated yourself with. It’s not a great idea to try for a management job with Peet’s Coffee if you’ve sworn your undying love on Facebook for Dunkin’ Donuts, right? Don’t forget to check out photos that others may have tagged you in – those can be the most dangerous of all! Remove your tag from anything which doesn’t reflect so well on you – pronto! Look at the Groups that people have added you to without your even realizing it. You may want to get yourself out of there – and fast. Also, head into your Privacy center and make sure that pictures others tag you in do not show up in the large picture strip at the top of your profile now. You can do this by heading into the Privacy Settings, click Customize, scroll down to Things Others Share and then choose to customize Photos and Videos I’m Tagged in. While you’re there, you might also want to make sure people cannot check you into places. That could get sticky!

There are many other places a potential employer will gladly check you out. What have you been saying on Twitter lately? Are you ranting like a lunatic about things which don’t even make sense after a long night of playing Quarters in the dorm room? Are there links to half-naked pictures on Twitpic or Flickr? Those are sites you likely hadn’t thought of, but could affect that job you’re praying to get. Take down any photos that your Grandma shouldn’t see, and you should be safe from the prying eyes of the head hunters. Consider making your Twitter account private when heading out on interviews or sending out resumes unless you’re sure there’s nothing incriminating there. Again, remember that it’s not only about what YOU put online… you have to be mindful of what others say to and about you, as well. Twitter apps these days allow us to take a look at @ messges. Even if you post only sweet things on your own account, others may be ranting at you about the sad state of your life. That’s not going to look so hot during the interview process.

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource and one you should be taking advantage of. Sign up for the service and fill in as much information as you possibly can. Be honest – people will quickly find out when you’re lying. Padding your credentials on this site is just as bad as doing so on your actual resume – and is potentially even worse, depending on the type of job you’re going for.

The largest thing you need to keep in mind is that making your accounts private or only allowing friends to see what you’re doing does not necessarily keep a hiring manager’s eyes off of your information. Billy was a college student who applied for his dream Internship – working in a government office. His Facebook profile was set to allow only friends to view. During the interview, though, he was questioned thoroughly about things found on his FB wall. The interviewer explained that as a state agency, recruiters accessed his Facebook account under the auspices of the Patriot Act. Luckily for Billy, he had friends in high places and received his coveted spot anyway. You may not be so lucky.

The easiest – and hardest – thing to do is to not post anything online which could bite you in the ass later. The temptation is so strong, though, to share more of our lives than ever before. You may be fourteen now, but you will be twenty in just a few years. What will the head of that state agency find on YOUR Facebook Wall?

Underemployed Developers to Receive Software and Tools

Project Phoenix understands that the economy isn’t doing so hot right now. They also understand that developers are an integral part of moving technology AND the economy into the future. Even though you may be underemployed – or even completely unemployed – right now, the folks at Project Phoenix wants to help. Over the next five months, 24 of you will be selected to receive a pretty sweet package of software and tools to help you in pursuing your development goals.

Each week, one eligible developer will be selected due to their non-profit proposals submitted. They’ll then receive a package of software, dev tools, training and books.

You are invited to propose a software project for a non-profit agency, school, or church. The idea is that we will provide a package of the latest software, tools, and training resources to help you improve your skills, get up to date with current technologies, gain practical experience, potentially earn a recommendation for your efforts, and in general, enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something useful for others. We are not giving out a ‘free lunch’, just supporting your efforts to personally gain from your own ‘sweat equity’. The award packages are provided with the support and generosity of the Microsoft MVP’s and vendors listed below.

The winners will receive:

  • Microsoft: Visual Studio Ultimate with MDSN subscription
  • Pluralsight: three (3) month Standard subscription to On-Demand!™ .NET Training Library
  • APress: three books(3) of the winner’s choice
  • O’Reilly Press: three (3) eBooks of the winner’s choice
  • ComponentOne: license for Studio Enterprise components and tools
  • Microsoft Learning: Vouchers for two (2) Free Certification Exams
  • Quest Software: license for Toad® for SQL Server

You can find full details on the contest page, which will outline criteria that must be met, as well as the types of projects available to work on.

How Do You Break Up With Your Job?

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According to a recent poll over at Mashable, Lamarr discovered that an alarming number of people would break up with someone simply by changing their Facebook relationship status or posting a Wall story. When reading this article, he started thinking about other types of breakups. In true Lamarr fashion, he created a video to share his thoughts with you.

Mostly, Lamarr wonders how you break up with your job when you decide it’s time to move on. He recalls quitting one job by sending them a Fax stating he wouldn’t be returning. Before you laugh, y’all should keep in mind that a Fax was pretty high tech back in 1999. And yes, Lamarr, you’re getting old!

Lamarr also sent emails to quit jobs in the past. He was too young, he says, to think about burning bridges. Even though he knows that is lame, he feels the very worst type of breakup is when you send a text to your boss saying you quit.

A breakup – whether it is a job or a relationship – should be handled with respect, dignity and courtesy. Do you agree? How do you handle job breakups?

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

How To Use Google to Land Your Dream Job

Alec Brownstein was bored with his job. He wanted a challenging new position with a top creative firm. Googling his favorite creative heroes one day, he noticed that none of the results had sponsored ads attached to them.

Brownstein bought Google ad words for the creative directors’ names, which cost him $6. “No one else was bidding on (the names),” he said, “so I got the top spot for like 10 cents a click.” He landed his dream job at Y&R New York by playing to the egos of Gerry Graf, David Droga, Tony Granger, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone. All of the directors whose name he purchase called him to talk about a job except for one (who is likely now kicking himself). The ads he placed were simple, yet effective:

Hey, [creative director’s name]: Goooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too” with a link to Brownstein’s website, alecbrownstein.com.

“Everybody Googles themselves,” Brownstein explained. “Even if they don’t admit it. I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [the creative directors I admired] were most vulnerable.” When asked what his advice is for other people hoping to land their dream job via the Internet, Alec says “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in an interesting way. The people who you want to work for can’t hire you any less than they already are. So shoot for the moon.”

Alec didn’t only land his dream job thanks to his creative efforts. He also won two Pencils and a Clio.

Can a Company Take Social Networking too Far?

Word on the street is that Best Buy is now requiring applicants to not only be on Twitter – but to have at least 250 followers, as well. When I read this, my mouth hit the floor. In effect, the company thinks that hiring people with a large Twitter following will garner more business for them. How ludicrous is this? It’s not up to an employee to send out tweets and bring in business to a company like Best Buy. For one thing, what if a person chooses not to have that many followers? Not everyone is on Twitter to see if they can win the race for having the most followers. Some people actually use it only to follow interesting people and entities themselves, not caring whether others follow them back. Some of those same people never even update their own timeline. They choose, instead, to simply use Twitter to read the latest news, and keep up with what’s hot in the marketplace.

I cannot begin to understand why a company would – or can even be allowed to – require something like this. If a person’s job were going to be something along the lines of “Social Media Director”, I might be able to see the need for the applicant to already have some sort of following, establishing them as “social media savvy”. Beyond that – I’m just lost.

What are your thoughts? Is this going to become an eerie new trend in the job hunting process? Do you feel that this is just totally off the wall? Let’s hear your thoughts!

One Small Act of Kindness…

Reading through things today in our community, I came across yet another post that gave me pause for thought. That seems to happen daily, doesn’t it? It’s so great to have all of you posting things that makes us all stop and think about life… often in a different way than we might otherwise have.

With the economy so tough and so many thousands of people out of work, it’s easy to lose hope. The house is getting foreclosed. The bills are stacking up. Luxuries are a thing of the past, as are dinners out – even at McDonald’s. It’s hard to see your way clear to remembering that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s nearly impossible at times like this to keep your hope alive, until one small, random act of kindness restores your faith.

Even though the post I mentioned above talks about a company who reached out to unemployed people, there are things all of us can do in order to help bolster the spirits of those we know and love who are having a rough time. I encourage YOU to reach out. You can do something simple, like taking a home-cooked meal to a family you know is having a hard time making ends meet. You could offer the use of your car to someone whose may have been repossessed due to job loss… they need wheels to go out and put in applications! Why not offer free babysitting time to that neighbor who is stressed out? Take her kids to your house for a few hours, and encourage her to relax and recharge herself.

All it takes is one simple little gesture to remind us that life is so much better than it may appear. Even during our worst times, there’s still hope.

Thank you to all of you who touch MY life each and every day just by being a part of this community. Even on the days when I struggle to do the things I need to do, I simply restore my own hope by reading what all of you contribute. I am so blessed to do something that I love so much – and it’s thanks to all of you.