Process Archives

September 27, 2006

Are you fluent in jargon *and* English?

Matt Linderman is tired of jargon. He'd rather hear more real English, with people saying what they mean instead of trying to impress with buzzwords. If you've ever fought the urge to play Buzzword Bingo in a meeting, you'll like buzzwords say all the wrong things:

Everyone’s always implementing or enabling or optimizing or leveraging. There are endless value streams, efficiencies, solutions, infrastructures, and enterprises.

Of course, there are meaningless business buzzwords and opaque technical jargon. Rand Fishkin describes a translation skill that should be familiar to technology marketers and tech-support folks:
Our profession requires that we bridge the gap between technical jargon (that can impress and speak to a tech and search-savvy audience) and communicative, plain language that speaks to our customers.

In the job search, jargon has its place, and so does clear communication. Here are my suggestions for the appropriate time and place for jargon:
  • Put relevant keywords in your résumé, blog, web site and profiles. Relevant means words that a recruiter might use in a search for appropriate candidates, including specific technical terms and job titles. Notice that fluffy verbs aren't among the popular keywords.

  • Be prepared to speak clearly without resorting to jargon during interviews. You will probably interview with people outside your specialty, so you should be able to answer questions without resorting to acronyms.

  • Use the appropriate level of jargon in your conversations within your specialty. Jargon exists to make communication within a field more efficient, and you should demonstrate an ability to communicate on your prospective peers' level.

  • When in doubt, don't try to baffle them with bullshit.

Was that clear?


The interview before the interview

When do you turn on your best behavior for an interview? If you wait until you meet the first interviewer, you may be too late. You start making an impression as soon as you walk in—or even on your flight to the interview.

Even if you aren't interviewing with the airline that flew you to the interview, do you know that someone from the company didn't see you before you entered the building? The world is full of opportunities to be indiscreet.


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: 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.


November 3, 2006

What do recruiters think about...

Heather's getting into recruiters' heads to help jobseekers. You'll want to look at their answers to her questions.

  1. What is the first thing you look at on a candidate's resume?
  2. What are common red flags on a resume? What will make you stop reading it?
  3. Is it really necessary to include a cover letter with your resume?
  4. Objective statements on resumes...a good idea or not so much?
  5. How is a candidate to approach the "greatest weakness" question and can they ever win?
  6. Recruiters...what kind of outside interests do you want to see on a resume?
  7. Chronological or functional?
  8. When candidates apply via your careers website or elsewhere, how many positions should they should apply for?


February 6, 2008

How to succeed at networking events

If you ever hear anything about how to get a job, it's networking. In job search advice circles, it's the Holy Grail, the Fountain of Youth, and Perpetual Motion, all in one easy step. Only, it's not so easy, and the advice to start networking before you need a job isn't much help if you need a job. So you crank up the phone, send some emails, and head out to networking events. Before you go to your next networking event, read John Wall's helpful article on being more effective at networking events. He has good thoughts about what people are doing at these events, and how they go about it. The section on how to work an event, in particular, is a must-read:
  1. Fly with a wingman; alone you have no defense
  2. Don’t be a job hunter
  3. Be a hunter
  4. Avoid being The creepy stalker
  5. Master the handoff
  6. Crack the power code
  7. Hijack the event
It's worth your time to read the whole article before your next event. Good hunting!

April 17, 2008

What? Networking doesn't work?

Jason Alba just posted an idea that is the opposite of what you've heard: Networking doesn't work. The comments should heat up with an incendiary topic like that, but he's onto something. Networking is an indirect path to a job, and it's not as easy as we'd like to think. Even if you keep your commitment to networking, it's worth considering the alternatives and tradeoffs.

Job-Search Due Diligence

One of my earliest posts was a list of things to do before the job interview. Since then, participation in online networks and media has grown tremendously, so there's more than ever to learn from people's online histories. New services like Twitter encourage a sort of stream-of-consciousness public life, which can lead to embarrassing or problematic public statements.

Willy Franzen suggests places to check for insights into employers and interviewers, including the new sources where people tend to be less careful. I disagree that the pre-interview research is about "digging dirt," though. Finding public information about people before doing business with them is just being smart, and interviewing with a company is entirely about doing business with them.

Net-savvy jobseekers will take steps to protect themselves and take advantage of the information available online:

  1. Check your own digital footprints and clean up your online image now—don't wait for the interview. Assume that potential employers (and others you encounter in life) will look you up, and consider whether your online reputation is the one you want.

  2. Before the interview, do your homework on the employer. Start with the basics, then explore Willy's updated list of online sources.

  3. If you haven't already, learn to use RSS to collect current information. Many of the search engines and online sources you'll use in your research now support RSS. You'll save time and collect more useful information if you know how to use it.
Paying attention to online reputations and using social media (such as blogs) to improve your reputation are hot topics these days. For a longer discussion of how it all works—for your company and yourself—check out Radically Transparent by Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss.

If you're nearby, you can hear Andy talk about online reputation at Blog Carolinas on May 9 in Research Triangle Park, NC. I'll be there, too, with a business-oriented session on monitoring and measuring social media. Be sure to say hello.

About Process

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Net-Savvy Jobseeker in the Process category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Observations is the previous category.

Security is the next category.

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