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October 2006 Archives

October 10, 2006

Beware email bearing new software

One of the first things I saw this morning was an email, apparently from Monster, alerting me to some new tool I need to download to continue using Monster. Naturally, the message included a convenient link to download the new tool. You know where this is going, don't you?

The message has the look of something from Monster, including lots of images, links to more Monster stuff, and the usual legalese at the bottom. It looks right:


I hope you're not surprised when I tell you that this is not from Monster. It's from someone who wants me to download an unknown executable file (http://[redacted].com/monst/jobseeker_tool.exe). I don't know what the program does, but I know two things: it's not a new Job Seeker Tool from Monster, and it doesn't do anything I want done to my computer.

How do I know (and what can you do when you get suspicious messages)?

  • Any suggestion to download software from an email is automatically suspicious. Companies just don't do that anymore because of the risk of messages like this one.

  • Look at the full message headers. Addresses that don't match the purported sender are a warning, but their absence doesn't mean the message is legit.

  • Right click on the "click here" text and copy the link location. Paste the URL into a new message to read it. In this case, the link connects to a file that is not hosted on a monster.com address. That's pretty definitive.

    If you can't copy the link location using the right click technique, look at the raw HTML of the message. You're looking for something that looks like this:

         <a href="http://www.somewhere.com/file.exe">

    Once again, if the link doesn't point to a monster.com address, something's wrong. And if it points to an executable file (.exe), you should be extremely cautious.

  • If Monster really wanted me to download a new tool, I could get it from the web site. If you get a message offering software, type the URL or use your bookmark to go to the web site, and look for it there. Don't use the link embedded in the email message.

Whether it claims to be from Monster, eBay, PayPal, or a bank, this kind of fraudulent email is all too common. Before you click, think it through, and make sure you're not about to install some malicious program or give your personal information to the bad guys. A few minutes of caution now could save you a lot of cleanup later.

Monster has more tips for a safe job search.

Update: The folks at Monster reminded me that even the links to legitimate Monster pages may be compromised in this type of message. It's possible to make a link that looks right but actually links somewhere else. If there's any doubt, type the link address into your web browser for yourself.


What's your Google score?

William Arruda has a longer take on self-googling on MarketingProfs today. It's a helpful piece, starting with why you should look yourself up and going on to what you should be looking for. One frequently forgotten aspect of your search results is the absolute number of results, which William suggests can be meaningful:

These benchmarks vary depending on your industry and career goals, but they provide basic metrics you can use to evaluate your volume of Google results.
  • 5-50 entries: Professional with 0-5 years' experience, graduating university students, etc.

  • 50-500 entries: Professionals with 5-10 years' experience, entry-level marketers, junior account executives, etc.

  • 500-5,000 entries: Marketing director, managers with over 10 years of experience and several direct reports, independent consultants, small business owners

  • 5,000-50,000: entries Marketing VPs, acknowledged thought leaders, highly regarded consultants or subject-matter experts

  • 50,000-500,000 entries: CMOs at major companies, highly acclaimed consultants or experts, best-selling authors

  • >500,000 entries: Celebrities, internationally acclaimed gurus, etc.

At 22,300 results, that makes me an acknowledged thought leader, highly regarded consultant or subject-matter expert. Thanks, William! (Yes, I realize there's more to it than that.)

William's thing is personal branding, so he focuses on how to tell if your Google results support your brand and suggest some activities to improve your results. Go read Have you been digitally dissed? for alliterative analysis and tactics for builing your personal brand in Google search results.


October 16, 2006

Answering popular interview questions

Some items on interviewing strategies that have been piled up in my drafts folder:

Do you really want the job? 'Cause it doesn't seem like you do.

Strategies for answering 64 tough interview questions.

50 behavior based interview questions (via Career Hub)

October 20, 2006

Avoid sending resume spam

Have you noticed how easy it is to apply for many jobs through job boards and company web sites? Recruiters have noticed—they're feeling crushed under the load of applications they get for posted positions. GetTheJob, one of the job board aggregators, is hoping to help companies by replacing the "Apply Now" button with a link to the employer's application process:

GetTheJob.com is helping to end the problem of the Serial Applicant, jobseekers that apply to hundreds of jobs whether or not they are qualified.

It's easy to apply for jobs over the Internet, and the temptation is to turn the job search into a numbers game. And sometimes, that works. There are risks, though. Recruiters keep notes on the candidates they look at, and if you apply for jobs you're not qualified for, that can count against you when you apply for a more suitable position.

Companies also notice if you apply for vastly different jobs—including functionally similar jobs at different levels. If you're a Manager, applying for Director and VP jobs makes it look like you don't know your own level. Keep track of your applications, and make sure you're not sending mixed signals.


Details make your personal brand

Is it a coincidence that misspelled is hard to spell? You know that typos in your résumé can be trouble, but have you thought about the effect of typos and other mistakes elsewhere? If competence is part of your desired image, it needs to be evident everywhere, from the direct communication of a job application to the public image in your online profiles and Google results.

Look at what a few well-placed typos do to undermine the image of a federal agency (via Kent Blumberg):

What does "Frequestly" mean? And how about the use of "our" instead of "out"?

Here's the obvious observation of the day: typos like these aren't really helping the FAA brand. I actually like the word "frequestly", and would find it to be brand enhancing if I heard it from Cranium or Virgin or Mini, but when the FAA speaks, we need it to sound like James Earl Jones. We want the FAA to show us at every opportunity that they have their act together. Brands are fractal entities, and the meaning of the whole is to found in the execution of even the lowliest detail.

Just about anything you do online has the potential to become (a) public and (b) permanent. Even personal emails can become public if the recipient forwards them. Certainly, non-work-related comments you post to a blog, mailing list, or social networking site will probably be available to any recruiter who looks you up. Spelling, grammar, and clarity of thought matter, even away from the office.

On the other hand, tracking the misspellings of your name is a useful addition to your online reputation monitoring practices. (Reputation monitoring is an extension of self-Googling. You can find more on my other blog, The New-Savvy Executive.)

So, how many times do you proofread a post about spelling and typos? :-)


October 27, 2006

Today's headlines... somewhere else

Denver PostWhen I call someone in a distant city, I like to have some clue of what's going on there. If I were calling someone in Denver today, for example, I'd be prepared to ask how they were affected by the early snow. Weather's easy to find (and I have a weather map on my dashboard), and talking about it is cliché. How would you like to know what was on the front page of their newspaper this morning?

Sure, you can look at the paper's web site—if you know what it is. You could search for newspaper and the city name if you don't. Or, you could visit the Newseum's interactive map of newspapers' front pages, find a dot in central Colorado, and click on it to see today's paper. Oh, look, it snowed.

Now, I don't need a map to find the Denver Post, but what's the local paper in Chattanooga or Boise? How about Mumbai? Or Budapest? The Newseum's directory includes more than 550 newspapers from 52 countries, which you can find with the map or from a list. In addition to the front page images, you also get a link to the newspaper's web site, so you can read the stories, too.

If you're really serious about moving to a city, you might even look for RSS feeds from the paper (in the US, you could also subscribe to Business Journal feeds to keep up with local business news).

Whether you're interviewing for a job or making a connection for a business deal, it's easy to know a little of what's going on in other cities. It's one more way to make an impression by being clued in.

About October 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Net-Savvy Jobseeker in October 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2006 is the previous archive.

November 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.