How (and why) Job Seekers Should Protect Their Online Reputation

I read a lot, perhaps more than I should sometimes, but I do. I was reading a very interesting article on ReadWriteWeb the other day called “Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record.” Here are a few highlights from that article:

  • “(Google CEO says) …every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”
  • “(Google CEO says) …I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
  • “Perhaps parents should start giving their children short-term names then, which they’ll be less attached to. Save your favorite name for adulthood, kids, because you’ll need to change it. Google says so.”

Okay, when I read the article and especially those snippets, I thought the obvious correlation – The Incredible Hulk.



Just in case my assertion is not so obvious to you, allow me to delve a bit further. Let’s say that I work for a big corporation that deals in nuclear energy as an alternative to oil. (Hey, going green is all the rage these days, right?) I think back to my college days and I remember one of my classmates being a whiz in alternative energy, especially Gamma rays. So I do a quick search on his name – “David Bruce Banner” and what do I see?



Hmm.. I come across data that looks like it could be my old pal David, but I also get a lot of references about an urban myth called – The Hulk.” Hm… maybe I should do an image search?

Wow! I see more and more evidence that Bruce David Banner and this Hulk creature are one in the same. Hmm… Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking of hiring this guy after all? He was cool and all in college, but now he seems to have an anger issue. Nah… I will pass.

So, imagine that you are David Banner trying to get a job. With all the info online about what happens whenever somebody gets on your nerves, chances are your job search will be much longer than it needs to be.

If I were David Banner and I really needed a job (moreso for a new wardrobe than anything else), what could I do to get my data out of Google?

OPTION A: I could walk up to Google and ask them to remove all of my information from their database that ties me to my Hulk personna. Should they refuse, I could say,”Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like it if I were angry.”

OPTION B: If Google were to say that they did not beleive in censorship, do your worse. I would change into a red Hulk and shout thngs like “Crush Puny Humans for not removing my data!” but only say it in Chinese. Odds are, I would make some headway, but in all likelihood only a compromise of some sort would be had.



OPTION C: I could go through the paces of what I find prescribed online. For example, How to Ungoogle YourselfUn-Google Yourself or Video – How to remove your information from Google.

OPTION D: Do what superheroes have been doing since superheroes were invented, establish a secret identity. When you post your resume online, use your real name. However, if you decide to dance drunk with a lampshade on your head (it happens) puh-leeze use a code name. What?! You don’t think that people still dance drunk with lampshades on their head? Check out the video below, non-believer.


” />

” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”>




Oh yeah, if you were a Recruiter, wouldn’t these guys be on the top of your list? But I digress…

Use your “codename” for your Facebook profile but not on your Linkedin profile. Your codename should be well-known by pals and party-goers, but not too prospective employees. Get it? Here are a few codenames to consider (just in case you are having writer’s block).

  • Keyzer Soze
  • Samurai Mugen
  • La Femme Nikita
  • Moneypenny
  • Bart

Why did I suggest those? They are vague enough to the general public so as to seem unique, but popular enough online so that if a Recruiter did discover your codename, they would have to sift through tons of irrelevant data and (most likely) give up on trying to unlock your secret life as a lampshade dancer. Make sense?

Of all the options presented, I would go with option C and remove anything damaging (as much as I could), then going forward I would tell all of my pals to connect to my new Facebook page (under my new alias) so I can talk freely.

So, who would win in a fight between Google and The Incredible Hulk (or rather, Google vs David Banner)? It all depends on how well David Banner covered his tracks. (Smile)

– Jim Stroud

P.S. Get extra cool points if you can figure out my “codename” and what I do in my secret life. (wink-wink)

How many people are using YouTube to post video resumes?

I’ve got video resumes on the brain this week, so why stop now?

Hmm… How many people are using YouTube to post their video resumes? And is it even worth it? Let me take a quick and totally unscientific poll, just to see what I can see.

At this writing, not as many as I thought, 5300+ video resumes. I would like to know how that compares with last year about this time, but no benchmark stats. Oh well…


  • As I glance over the first page of results (my random sampling), the shortest video is 00:54 seconds and the longest one is 09:16.
  • The shortest video received 322 views in 8 months, but the traffic is still trending up as a result of lots of referrals from YouTube searching and being associated with a video demo of a Sample CV. Hmm… this video resume is averaging about 40 views a month.
  • The longest video received 4,131 views since May 10, 2007; which is about 98 views a month.

Its interesting to see where the traffic is coming from for each video as well. Hmm… Some things to ponder…

  • Using the words “video resume” will increase the chances of your video resume being found. (Go figure)
  • Look and see if there are video resumes on YouTube that are similar to your background and industry. If so, take note of the keywords they use to describe their video. Why? If someone sees their resume, its a good chance that they will discover yours as a “related video.”

Hmm… Sorry for wondering aimlessly here, but I want to see what else I can find. Look for more YouTube observations in the next post.

-Jim

How to find jobs overseas with Google

If you are open to expanding your job search to other countries, I highly suggest that you take advantage of Google’s translation services; even if you are fluent in another language. Why? Well, if you are an employer in say… Mexico.  You might post your jobs in English, but more often than not they will be posted in the dominant language of your country – Spanish. That being the case, logic dictates that there will be jobs posted in spanish that are not neccessarily posted in English. Make sense?

To search for jobs posted in Spanish (or any other language for that matter), go to Google Translate. (A screenshot of the homepage is below.)

google_translate

Click the “Translated Search” link.


google_translate2


In the search slot, add “sales and marketing jobs,” as I did; if that is not your skillset, type in something else.


google_overseas1a


Once you have your keywords typed in, Google translates them into a different language. For the purposes of this demo, I chose the language – Spanish. (Of course)


google_overseas2


Beneath the search box on the left side of the screen are the (1) translated search results in English. On the right side of the page, are (2) the original search results in Spanish.

google_overseas


Now that you have found jobs posted in Spanish, you can (of course) apply. Sound simple? It is. Does it work? Not entirely sure to be honest, but the logic seems sound.  I have not had the unction to work overseas, so I have not had the chance to try this out. I would be interested to hear from others who have tried this technique. If you would, leave me a comment below? Thanks!

-Jim

A great idea that will never happen

It is too easy to become a recruiter.
.
I suppose that can be said for a variety of disciplines, but I would wonder how closely those positions affect the bottom line the way recruiting does. A company is powered by its people and the gas of that engine is recruiting. Staffing professionals know this, C-level executives are aware of the fact and likewise savvy investors who bet on the jockey rather than the horse they ride on. However, across many organizations the staffing department is grudgingly regarded as a resource of necessity that is wholly unappreciated. To make an unfair comparison, recruiters are often thought of like Firemen; well appreciated in times of fire, but forgotten otherwise. Sure, there are organizations that give lip service to the value of recruiting, but consider these questions. How often does the CEO of your company wander the cubicles of the staffing department to personally congratulate the Recruiter’s contribution? When was the last time the staffing department was given kudos in a press release from upper management? When the stock goes up in your company, is staffing cited as a factor?
.
Recruiting overall suffers from bad publicity (or the lack of a significant amount of good publicity) reflected in the unspoken accolades from above and the occasional disdain from candidates. What do I mean? If a candidate is unemployed, unhappily employed or under-employed, then a call from a recruiter is a welcome God-send. Conversely, if the candidate is comfortable in their present role, such solicitations can be a nuisance. Furthermore, consider those recruiters who engage unqualified candidates and handle their candidates haphazardly. The end result is a negative impression of a certain company and a black eye on recruiting in general. It would seem that when recruiting (in any discipline) you have to contend not only with the requirements you are trying to fill, but also the biases of recruiting coming from all concerned. Fortunately, I have a strategy for turning this around.
.
Simply put, serving as a recruiter does not carry the prestige of being a doctor or lawyer; neither high school nor college students decide early on to become a recruiter. (How many graduate programs offer an intensive training in recruiting?) It has been my observation that people tend to  “stumble” into recruiting and therein lies the issue. Returning to my initial statement, it is too easy to become a recruiter. While it takes a lot of effort to be a good recruiter and great experience to be seen as superlative, only a nominal effort is required to become an  “official” recruiter. This is why I propose that the recruiting industry submit itself to a national standard that is regulated by an outside agency. Specifically, I would like to see the following:
  • That a license be required before one can recruit for any entity and that said license can be revoked if the licensee fails to maintain a minimum of continuing education credits.
  • That a national code of ethics is established and that an ethics review board be created as well. Said review board would operate to investigate major complaints and discrepancies jobseekers and organizations have lodged against a particular recruiter (and not necessarily a certain company.)
  • That an agency be created for the purpose of reviewing the practices, complaints and feedback of recruiters; after which, a ratings point will be given. Recruiters would then have the right to display their customer rating (akin to how restaurants display their health code ratings) and include these ratings within their sales collateral.
  • That a standard for resumes be established to include no more than four different formats. In this way, each recruiter and/or the company they represent may announce the style they prefer to receive from applicants.
  • That a reporting standard be established enabling job seekers to research the status of their candidacy in real-time.
  • That each recruiting entity post on their website a link to the national code of ethics they adhere to and information on how to lodge a complaint and/or testimonial.
Is this too much to ask for? Maybe not; perhaps recruiters will one day demand a new level of excellence and take it upon themselves to regulate themselves. When the economy returns and companies are scrambling to secure top talent, management will appreciate a recruiter’s efforts to adhere to new principles and see staffing in a new light. And then there is the ultimate triumph of people aspiring from highschool to join the recruiting industry. Realizing the influence, prestige and distinction that come with being a trained and licensed recruiter, the average career span of a recruiter would more than double.
.
Jim Stroud, Licensed Recruiter
Certified since 1997
Professional review rating of 98.5%.
.
On second thought, naaahh… It will never happen.

Repurpose your skills, not learn new ones

Okay, say you have been trapped in a dead-end job that offered no growth potential, advancement in responsibilities or an eventual key to the Executive Washroom, since the beginning of time. An immediate example would be that of AL BUNDY, the perpetual shoe salesman who peeked at 17 when he ran (more or less) 4 touchdowns in a single game. All his life he dreamed of making it big, but felt stagnated by ungrateful children and a wife that emasculated him. If you are a fan of the FOX television show, “Married With Children” then you know of whom I am speaking of. (And if so, give me a Whoooaa Bundy!) If not, hopefully the analogy is not lost on you.

There are many “Bundy” types out there who feel trapped in the day job, but too cautious to start a business of their own. If not that, then they do not know how or if they can switch jobs since they have been doing the same thing for an umpteen amount of time. In actuality, a career transition can be a scary thing as it takes us out of our comfort level. Yet, it is not wholly an impossible task to reinvent yourself for today’s market. (Madonna does it all the time!)

The whole key to a career transition is to develop a unique selling proposition based on what you already know. Instead of teaching an old dog new tricks, show the dog how to do the same tricks a different way. Let me give you a real-life example. I met a woman once who was an Office Administrator/Executive Assistant to a VERY well connected lawyer in Atlanta. If you do business in Atlanta, especially a startup venture, then I guarantee that you know of whom I am speaking of or at the least, know this law firm. Anyway, she reached out to me via a common acquaintance and as a special favor I reviewed her resume and saw a constant stream of “administrivia” (My word! I made it up! It means those duties required and expected from an Administrative Assistant. Patent Pending) She had been in that role for over five years and wanted to do something different with her life besides administrivia. (Hey! That’s the second time that word has been used! It is catching on. Administrivia, administrivia, administrivia…)

One thing recruiters (and employers for that matter) like to do is pigeonhole people based on their resume. If they see on your resume that you have been an accountant for five years, then finance positions are the only gigs they will pitch you. Same goes for techno-geeks, project managers, etc.

These are some of the skills we were able to discern, which were in addition to her typing:

1. Arranging meetings and schedules.
2. Technical support of office equipment
3. Entertaining VIPs
4. Gatekeeper to her employer’s time and potential interests

On the surface, it all sounds like typical Executive Assistant type stuff, right? But check it out! As the Executive Assistant to a well-connected executive, she herself has been well connected, having entertained many other movers and shakers on a first name basis. She could call up VIPs locally and nationwide and they would actually pick up the phone or return her calls! Isn’t this a business developer skill certain companies would find invaluable? I think so! How about all of the out of town meetings she set and arranging his travel schedule? That sounds like a travel agent gig to me. In addition to that, it all suggests someone who is a master of event planning. As she installed and operated the software on the companies’ computers, trained others on how to use said software and considers potential software purchases, she could pursue a position in help desk support, technical training, or even corporate buyer. I also threw in the possibility of being an Executive Recruiter, as she knew so many executives and other such talent that could potentially be interested in new opportunities. So that’s 7 potential career avenues to pursue and possibly more to decide on once she thought a bit more on what she has to offer.

Now you say, what if I am good at so many things and want to do them all? How can I decide? My suggestion is to take that movie line Cuba Gooding, Jr. made famous from the movie Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money!” Figure out which one pays the most and where it pays the most and set your site there. (Unless of course you are independently wealthy and in that case, why are you reading this blog anyway?)

There are websites online that allow you to survey what the average salary is in cities nationwide (Salary.com, for example) and how the industry is doing in cities nationwide (Economy.com/dismal). So pick out what industry is paying the most and where they are paying it. At least, that’s how I would do it. (Smile)

Okay, so you have a new path decided. You cannot stop there; you’re only getting started! Remember, you are a product and nothing sells a product more than testimonials. So towards that end, gather an arsenal of written letters of recommendation and a killer list of references from as many VIPs as possible. After testimonials, the next best thing is to advertise your expertise. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways to do this for free.

However, the most effective way is to write. Write on subjects you have a passion for and how it applies to your new field of interest. Going back to the Administrivia example, she could write a paper of funny anecdotes based on bad travel planning and how to prevent similar circumstances from occurring. She could then send out the article to every travel magazine (as FREE content) she could find and sign it as a “Professional Travel Planner” and an e-mail address for contact. Now everyone that subscribes to the travel magazines that run her free article now have knowledge of her and potentially could contact her.

Okay, I can hear you saying, “I’m not a writer!” Well, I have an alternative for you as well. Become a pointer! What’s that, you ask? Glad you asked that. Once upon a time I was a huge fan of  across an email newsletter called DAVENETICS that spotlights the technology industry in the United States. It was a GREAT newsletter that eventually morphed into a wider coverage of political news events and pop culture. It is now called NEXTDRAFT (www.nextdraft.com) and I highly recommend it (or I would if it were not on hiatus). Anyway, in the beginning Davenetics was a collection of tiny commentaries of stories that Dave Pell (the publisher) found online. For example, if he read an article on Compaq laying off a significant number of people, he would title his comments “Compaq drops the axe.” He would add a witticism akin to, Is Compaq trying to live up to the sound of its name (Compact? Get it?) by reducing the size of its workers? You decide. And at the conclusion of that comment would be a link pointing to the article itself.

Pretty simple hun’h? I think it is genius personified; Davenetics produces this content to people interested in technology. His subscriber base grew to well over 35,000 in a short period of time and these are steady readers (myself included). Now at anytime he could put out a request with his newsletter that says, “Will Work For Money” and a short bio of his skills. Chances are with 35,000 plus subscribers all operating in his field of interest, there are bound to be quite a few job leads there. At the same time, he has established himself as a noted expert in the field of Business Technology. And check this out, what could stop you from listing a short bio on the homepage of your newsletter?  (Isn’t a “bio” nothing more than a really short resme?) Or better yet, have a link to it inside each issue of your newsletter? In this way, you are perpetually sending your resume out without being so obvious about it.

Something to think about, yes? I suspect that my more net savvy readers out there are thinking of doing this with Twitter. If so, knock yourselves out! That would be a better way of implementing this strategy anyway. (Smile)

Good luck in your job search!

Jim