How to manage your online identity with Google Alerts

When you are looking for work and/or interviewing for a job, the last thing you want is a recruiter finding that risque picture of you dancing naked in the Cayman Islands. (That sort of thing is frowned upon by some employers.)

Well, you could do a search on Google now to see what comes up, but what if something new hits the web that you are unaware of until its too late? No worries mate! I have the cure that ails you and its called Google Alerts.

From their website:

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

What I suggest you do is type in your name in quotes and any derivative of your name as well. For example, say your name is John Doe, in the search terms slot I would add:

“john doe” OR “johnathan doe” OR “johnny doe”

Like so…

I would leave the “Type” slot as Comprehensive, so Google will search for any mention of your name in other places beyond websites (Videos for example).

I would leave the “How Often” slot at “Once a day,” but that’s a judgement call. You have the option of making it “As it happens” or Weekly; its up to you.

After that, simply add in your email address and wait. Google will send you updates about how your name appears on the web (and other places) and you can keep up with your reputation.

Now, one thing that you might be very well aware of is that you might not be the only person with your name. In that case, I would advise creating alerts that include the city you live in, the school you attended, party places you have frequented and such.

Here are a few examples to consider when using Google Alerts:

  • “John Doe” Atlanta “Ga tech”
  • “Johnny Doe” NY “Club Infinity”
  • “John Doe” “Cayman Islands” (party OR event)

Hope this helps!


How to find work by researching press releases

Do you ever wonder how newspapers get their news?
Reporters play a big part and national news syndicates like Associated Press play a big part, but don’t forget about the unsung hero represented in the press release. Whenever a company wants publicity for a product or for the company as a whole, they send out a statement to newspapers, magazines, etc. to get the word out. Not every one of these media outlets prints the release, but the chance of publication is there and like sales, it’s a numbers game.

There are places online to search press releases
Those that are published and those that are in limbo somewhere. When reading through them, “mine” them for leads. Of particular interest should be who was recently promoted because if there is no successor listed, hmmm… there may be an opening there.

You also want to check what company is moving into your town and opening a facility (remember the first newspaper example I gave?).
Keep a close eye on what company is moving out of your city as well. When a company moves, not everyone is going to relocate with it. If you are open to relocation, there could be an opportunity there for you!

One of the better things about press releases is that they are time-sensitive.
If you are lucky enough to get a hot release before a newspaper prints it, then you have a good jump ahead of the competition.

These are some links to help you research press releases.

Resumes are people too

Recently, I have read several disturbing articles about unscrupulous Recruiters.

One particular story focused on a Military Recruiter who threatened to have a wavering would-be recruit arrested if he backed out of his decision to join the military. Deeper into the article, it was also reported how a group of military recruiters were allegedly offering information on fake diplomas and ways to get around drug tests and physical fitness requirements. In both instances, said recruiters were facing disciplinary actions. Furthermore, the article goes on to say how a mandatory re-training will be instituted to guard against such happening again; at least in the near future.

When I read that article, I was struck by the notion that these deplorable tactics were not exclusive to military recruiters.

At its core, recruiting is a sales position with a very visible quota.

  • The recruiter must sell to a candidate the notion that the company and job he (or she) represents is the best possible fit for said candidate.
  • Secondly, the recruiter must convince his client that the candidate she (or he) has found is the best fit for the client’s role.
  • Finally, the recruiter must resolve issues that would keep either party from signing an offer letter.

As a former recruiter I have to tell you, it is a tight wire act and all too often the job seeker is regarded as expendable.

This is especially true when dealing with searchfirms who do not get paid until a hire is made (Contingency recruiters), or searchfirms who have been paid a fee up front and are pressured to produce within a reasonable amount of time (Retained recruiters). When quotas are unmet and the clients start barking, recruiters tend to go into survival mode. Some of these “survivalist recruiters” may log into Monster, grab all the emails of candidates they can find and spam a proposition until they get lucky. In these cases, recruiters are focusing on keywords in your resume more so than your entire work history. (Just in case you ever wondered why you were approached about jobs you were obviously unqualified for.)

Survivalist recruiters might also hound you by telephone, get a message from their client that the position is now closed (or changed) and neglect to call you back.

Additionally, they might contact you and basically tell you what you want to hear. For example, you might clearly state on your resume that you are not open to relocation for any reason. The survivalist recruiter would ignore that entirely hoping that a conversation with their client might persuade you otherwise; thus, wasting everyone’s time. In some cases, unscrupulous recruiters have called into a candidate’s company with the purpose of divulging your present boss of your intention to seek outside employment. Why? Well, if you were no longer working, perhaps then you will be more attentive to their opportunity.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I tell you, the job seeker, this because I want you to be informed of what goes on at the other end of the “submit resume” button. I also tell you this as a means of explaining why I have written a manifesto addressing these issues. Recruiters are not faceless robots for unfeeling corporations, nor are they ruthless used car salesmen seeking their own ends. In my 10 years of working within the recruiting industry, I have seen recruiters good and bad; as it is with any profession. My feeling is that the vast majority of recruiters (of every discipline) are good people trying to do their job and on occasion they need help. They need to be reminded that you, the job seeker, are just as human and deserving of the same amount of respect.

Towards that end, I have written a manifesto calling recruiters to accountability.

The next time a recruiter requests your resume, try adding this as a cover letter:

Dear Recruiter,

I grant you permission to review my resume and contact me concerning pending and / or present opportunities if you promise to abide by the following code of ethics.

  1. Contact me for positions of which I am reasonably capable of performing. Please take a moment to insure that my entire work history is compelling and not just certain keywords within my resume.
  2. If you decide not to contact me after reviewing my resume but instead, elect to keep a copy of my resume; please advise me of this via email. I like to keep track of who has access to my resume.
  3. Do not forward my resume to your clients without my consent. I would not want my present/future chances of joining a company hampered by multiple recruiters shopping my work history to the same company over and over again.
  4. Should you decide to contact me, do not lie about the job, or the client you represent. I understand that at times, recruiters are under pressure to meet certain numbers. Please be advised that deceiving me about a job only impedes your progress.
  5. Of the utmost importance to me is the status of my candidacy. More often than not, closure is elusive to job seekers after a resume has been submitted. If the possibility of my working for your client is good, slim or non-existent; simply put, I want to know.

Recruiter, I understand that you read a lot of resumes daily and that you are in the business of getting people hired. However, I want you to remember that I am a real person and not a commodity to be bartered.

Thank you for the ethical treatment of my resume.


A. Job Seeker

Good luck in your job search!


A template for the perfect prospecting letter

All jobs are not advertised!

Career opportunities often come about from two people who happen to be networking with one another or from one person reaching out to another and prospecting. If the latter is you, you may have an interest in my “perfect prospect letter;” at least in my humble estimation.

(1) SUBJECT: “Isn’t 802.11x a waste of your time and money?”

Dear (Insert Name Here):

(2) I read about you in the September 2008 issue of Techlinks Magazine. Is 802.11x a waste of your time and money? I hope not! (3) I just invested my time and money in becoming a Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNA), the only vendor neutral and industry-approved certification for Wireless technology in the world today. (4) When I read your comment on how your company will leverage this technology, I began brainstorming on a few ideas that may prove of benefit to your organization. Time permitting, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you. (5) Are you available for a 15 minute brainstorming session? Please advise…


(6) Steve Findley
Information Technology Professional
Phone:         678-123-4567

Obviously, you do not have to add numbers within your reply letter.

They are there only as a reference for our example, so as to identify the purpose for each line.

  1. Shorten your letter to a quick note (4 lines ideally) with a catchy subject line
  2. Identify how you found them
  3. Cite your qualifications VERY concisely
  4. Tease them on the benefit of speaking with you
  5. Suggest a very short “brainstorming session” as this will give the feeling of actual work being done and as such, meeting you will not be seen as a waste of time. Hopefully the conversation will be so engrossing that it will lead to additional meets. (smile) *Let them choose coffee, lunch or phone conference and you make yourself available to whatever they choose. Once inside, be sure to dazzle and always leave them wanting more.
  6. Your name, a quick repeat of your skill set, a link to where they can read up about you online and a phone number where they can immediately reach you.

What overqualified really means

Okay, if you have been searching for a job long enough chances are you will hear this dreaded phrase, “Sorry, but you’re overqualified for the position.”

Sure on one hand it is a compliment that someone thinks you are too good to be working for them, but on the other hand you still have to eat and being overqualified is not putting food on the table.

In case the term “overqualified” has been an enigma wrapped up in a mystery for you, let me tell you what employers really mean when they throw that word around.

Let the demystification begin… (Insert the sounds of monks chanting here)

  • You’ll be harder to get rid of if things don’t work out because of discrimination issues. Gee, its difficult to get more blunt and to the point than that. A lot of times, it all comes down to prevention. On down the road if the powers that be want to use their mighty axe in cutting jobs, it is to their advantage to let you go in favor of someone cheaper and umm… more easily bossed. Of course there are certain agencies such as the EEOC that would have a field day with this, so why even create a minefield to step into later?
  • You’re going to drop them as soon as a better job comes along and no employer wants to get somebody “broken in” only for him or her to leave in a short period of time and go through the process all over again. (If you are single and looking to get married, you may be able to identify with this one better than the previous example.)
  • With your experience, no doubt you would be an expensive hire and they are not trying to spend any money, especially on your paycheck. If it’s not your paycheck, then raises designed to get you back to the compensation you are accustomed to or even sick leave.
  • You’ve been there and done that and you’re going to get bored with the job as it is beneath your talents. Not only will that make it hard to motivate you, but also you might become something like an apathetic virus infecting the rest of the crew.

Dealing with these issues and fears will take a great deal of tact and care, but remember that you have the upper hand; you just have to convince them of that.

Tell them how much money your experience will save them and give examples where you improved profit margins and business processes. Point out that you are looking for a “home” and not a “job” and that you believe in what they are doing so much that you are willing to take a cut. Stress how much of a team player you are and how that as an “overqualified” worker you overwork to get the job done, something exemplified in your resume, references and letters of recommendation.

Like anything else it is a sales pitch

But at least by addressing the four issues mentioned above, you can muster a good defense with a strong first striking offense.

Get ready to rumble!!!!!!!!

Whoops, sorry, forgot myself there…. Next topic please.