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How NOT to use LinkedIn.

In previous blog posts, I’ve discussed ways to effectively use LinkedIn during a job search. LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool for research/information, networking, job search, and community collaboration. You can build your professional network–and build influence within that network–very effectively using LinkedIn resources.

In this post and a follow-up next Monday, I’ll be covering things you should NOT do with LinkedIn. Here are the first two–and they are biggies.

  • Send a connection request to a stranger…without stating a shared connection/professional interest/compelling reason they should connect with you (and open their network to you).
  • …or send a connection request to a recruiter because that company has a job posted. I realize that this is the easiest (and, at free, the cheapest) way to get on their radar. But by accepting your connection request, you now have access to their network. Many people don’t understand that recruiters live by their LinkedIn network–they curate it very carefully as it is a professional tool for them. They also limit who gets access to that network. Recommendation: Pay for InMails. This gives you a great way to connect with recruiters or hiring managers. Better yet, download the Falcon plugin for Chrome, which will aggregate information from multiple web sources and often will produce an email address.

Let’s go through my connection requests from the past few days for a few examples of what I mean:LI Connection requests

  1. He’s not “my new account manager” as have never used Taleo. He wants to see if he can sell me software and get access to the other recruiting leaders in my network. Ignored.
  2. Someone from Vietnam–a country in which we do not do business. We have zero shared connections; this is likely due in response to an ad I have posted. Ignored.
  3. A fellow HR professional who responded to a comment I made in a LinkedIn group. I’ll accept this as we could be of use to one another in future.
  4. Agency representative who has bothered at least one (if not more) of my hiring managers in addition to this LinkedIn connection request. That’s strictly a no-no (I manage all direct hire agency relationships) and other people in his company know it. Ignored.

In my next post, we’ll talk about other things NOT to do with LInkedIn–but in the meantime I’d love to hear what’s on your LinkedIn “DON’T” lists?

How long should your resume be?

The question posed above never seems to go away. I still get people asking if a two-page resume is acceptable. Overall, I think it matters less if you have a 1 page vs. 2 page resume as most resumes are read electronically. Further, most applicant tracking systems will strip out any formatting/page breaks (and in fact in some cases will make a mess of resumes that have special formatting when they are uploaded).

However, this doesn’t grant you carte blanche to dump everything into a 2 page generic resume and hit ‘apply now’. Doing so forces the recruiter/hiring manager to wade through a bunch of irrelevant text to find the reasons you might be a good fit for a job–and/or search for a couple of keywords. From a recruiter’s perspective, it sucks to read through a resume and think, “I’m pretty sure that this person has what we’re looking for…but this resume makes it difficult to say”. More often than not, a resume that is overly long and filled with irrelevant information will result in you being rejected from consideration.

When the question in the title is put to me, I usually answer with a series of questions:

  • How many years of relevant work experience do you have?
  • How much education have you completed?
  • What kind of relevant professional activities are you actively involved with?
  • What kind of relevant projects or other achievements can you detail?

If the answer to question 1 is, “10 or more years of relevant work experience”, then it’s possible you have enough to justify a two page resume. However, that shouldn’t be the only determining factor. You need to pull the specific experience/skills/achievements/professional engagements together that present you as the best possible candidate for this job.

Is that two pages of content? Does page 1 spill over onto page 2? Fine. But again, a resume should never be a career memoir. Just because you interned for Microsoft in college 15 years ago doesn’t make that relevant to the accounting position you’re applying to now (unless that accounting position is with Microsoft, of course!).

TGIF!

Hello and Happy Friday!

We continue to have a spectacularly nice run of weather here. There’s a reason Seattle was named the #1 US large metro area with the best Summer weather. On his blog, UW Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and regional weather expert (he literally wrote the book on itCliff Mass digs into detail as to why.

The long run of beautiful weather is great for any number of reasons. Currently for me, there are two primary ones: 1) I can drive the convertible 7 days a week (including Home Depot runs); 2) Plenty of dry, warm weather to work on the big summer house project–painting the exterior.

This isn’t the most fun I could have with my Summer evenings and weekends, I admit. But it’s necessary work, and of all the house projects we need to do over the next couple years (ranging from rebuilding the upper half of the chimney to ripping off 4 layers of roofing material and installing a new roof), this is the one I can most easily tackle and in doing so save some $ on labor–which can then be applied to one of the many other projects. (Ah, old home ownership…so much fun.)

The paint on the body of the house–at least on 3 sides–is in decent shape, fortunately. It’s the trim that isn’t, especially around the windows. Apparently the prior owner had it repainted the year prior to listing the house for sale, and the person who did it either had no idea how to prep or just didn’t care to do it right. This is the worst window trim after lots of scraping and sanding:

But many of them look like this:

This, folks, is why you should NEVER go with the lowest bidder based on price alone.

95% of what makes a paint job successful is the prep. So I’m spending lots of time scraping, sanding, caulking all window/door frames and other openings, and priming:

This is the rear (East) wall, which seems to get the worst of it in terms of weather exposure. (The North/South sides of the house are sheltered by the neighboring houses, which are no more than 8 feet apart.)

So that’s my weekend in a nutshell. More sanding, cleaning, and priming everything. Next week I hope to start painting the trim, and in a couple weekends’ time my Dad and I will start on the body. It’ll be great to get the project done.

Oh–what colors, you ask? That’ll be a surprise for later–for everyone, including me. After selecting the main body color, the paint rep informed me that it wasn’t able to be mixed in the recommended base paint. So we now have a custom-mixed color that hasn’t yet been applied to the house. Here’s hoping we like it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

You find a job you’re perfect for–and are never contacted. What happened?

You are somewhere on the spectrum of passive to fully active job seeker. You find The Job–you know, the one that as you scan down the required/preferred qualifications it’s as if the person writing it had your resume sitting in front of them. How could the recruiter NOT immediately pick up the phone and schedule an interview with you?

And then–crickets. Radio silence. You hear nothing…until you get that depressing, “Thank you for your interest in. . .” auto-generated rejection email.

Of course, you’re in utter disbelief. And that disbelief probably morphs into indignation pretty quickly. “How could they not even phone screen me? Is the recruiter a total idiot?”

Guess what? As a job seeker, I’ve been there too. And I’ve had that same internal dialogue.

Let me share a few possible reasons why you never got that call:

  • The job was posted for a pre-identified internal or external candidate. This is the most common reason in my experience. The hiring manager already knows who they want for the job; recruiting is required for compliance reasons to post the position externally. You might be perfect–but they don’t know you, and they do know the pre-identified candidate. And in this case, that’s what matters.
  • You’ve been caught in the middle of a reorg or managerial shift. . .This is not uncommon. A position is posted, recruitment begins, but then recruiting is told to hold off due to ‘something in the works’–so we leave the req posted but de-prioritize sourcing/candidate contact until we hear more. Finally we’re told either: 1) The management change/reorg is complete, and full steam ahead; or 2) Close the position–we’re going a different way. Unfortunately candidates sometimes get caught in the middle.
  • . . .or something bigger. Like a reduction in force. I’ve seen this too; a company is in business as usual mode–then Recruiting is told to hold up on recruiting for certain positions (or sometimes all of them). Shortly thereafter, a big announcement is made (merger/acquisition/major restructuring/reorg) and accompanying that–layoffs. Last time I saw this happen as a candidate, it became apparent a couple of weeks later via LinkedIn why I suddenly stopped hearing from the recruiter with whom I’d been working; she lost her job too.

Unfortunately, this is often not transparent to the candidate–and whatever is happening can take weeks to work though. (It also may be clear as mud to the recruiting team, too–which is doubly frustrating for them as they can’t get their work done, and they also are well aware that delays/lack of updates can negatively impact the candidate experience.)

This is a case where having built (and maintained) a solid professional network can be invaluable to you. When I am in candidate limbo, I reach out to the people I know at that company to learn if they might know of something going on that might not yet be communicated outside the company (note: people working @ publicly traded companies may not be able to share certain information before it is public to the investor community). More than once, my network provided intelligence that a certain job posting was not viable. Hugely useful to know whether to continue pursuing or move onto other prospects.

So the lesson of the day: If this happens to you, there may be a very valid reason for it–that the recruiter can’t talk to you about. Use your network to gather intelligence, learn what you can, then focus your energy on other targeted positions.

Burning Beast 2013 review

Hello peeps!

First, two things:

-This post is about food, not career/job search advice. Please feel free to hit up the archives if you need a fix.

-If you are a vegetarian or don’t like seeing animals being cooked; please stop reading now. 

OK, the rest of you still with me? Read on. And get a napkin. Drooling is likely.

I usually write my posts a bit ahead of when they hit the blog (as I am doing now). Unfortunately for those expecting my usual Monday job search advice, I attended Burning Beast 2013 today. I cannot think of anything but smoke and meat at the moment, so that’s what you’re getting.

Burning Beast is a benefit event for Smoke Farm created by Seattle chef Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata (and formerly of Brasa). The concept is simple: Get a group of the region’s best chefs and their teams together. Give them a mission: Choose a protein and do something fantastic with it that involves cooking over fire. The teams build their cooking setups onsite and get to business. This is at least the 4th year of the event, and 600+ tickets sold out within a couple of hours.

Enough of the description; onto the photos.

Smoke Farm

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The Beast. They build a new one every year. Note the tree for a tail. It burned about 9:15pm last night (after we left, sadly–it was a school night so we didn’t stay)

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Mike Easton of Il Corvo and his team did a whole (small) cow. Served on flatbread with a nice chimichurri-like sauce.

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The Copper Hog did ram sausages with blueberries (no kidding–it was great) served on fresh made grilled flatbread with oyster mushrooms and garlic scape pesto. It was as good as it sounds.

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Whole roasted goat

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Taylor Shellfish Farms cooking up some (huge!) fresh oysters, heading to a big table where people were allowed to shuck their own. (Amazingly, I didn’t see any serious injuries.)

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The line for duck two ways (cherry duck sausage and duck roasted in banana leaf) by Where ya at Matt

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Matt (in the Seahawks cap) serving up the delicious duck

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The team at Cantinetta serving up roast lamb (which I understand is on the menu for a limited time)

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The Il Corvo team (note the massive line) viewed from our picnic spot

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Trophy Cupcakes was on hand to help us roast marshmallows…(oh, did I mention they are bacon-studded marshmallows? Yeah. Bacon. In a marshmallow)

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…for bacon s’more cupcakes! (Or is that cupcake s’mores?)

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There was also live music, and Seattle DJ Riz was on hand spinning later on in the evening.

Amazing event. We’ll be back next year. If you are in the region, I highly recommend you bookmark the Burning Beast website and check back next April to see when tickets go on sale (usually in early-mid May).

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