Tag Archives: online social networking

Bridge Burning: A Matter of Trust

No doubt you’ve heard the cliché “don’t burn bridges,” but what does it mean in relation to professional development and does it really matter?

Blog 03-31-15 long pierGiven the vast digital networking system, what one does (or doesn’t do) often will find its way to the curious observer and/or potential hiring manager. In other words, YES, it does matter.

Burning bridges can be as simple as not giving a courteous two-week notice, to acting in a nonprofessional manner, and to searching for a job while on a current one (literally). To clarify reasons for the crumble, we’ll review each of the three paths mentioned.

  • Not giving a professional two-week notice. If employed and accepting another offer, professionalism dictates you give the current employer adequate notice to find a replacement or proactively train an existing peer. By not giving proper notice, the company could suffer financial loss, peer hardship, and/or customer disapproval.
  • Acting in a nonprofessional manner. If you’ve been in the workforce for any time at all, you’ve seen fellow (ex) employees do some rather unusual things during separation. Yelling, cursing, throwing things or bouts of anger will automatically drive an immovable chasm.
  • Searching for a job while on a current one. I’ve seen this more times than I wish to admit but for any employee not satisfied with their employment situation, this is fast-pass ticket out. Taking advantage of company equipment (computer, phone, and time) to search for and inquire about another job is downright unethical. Do yourself a favor and don’t rationalize by claiming the search has been done during breaks, that’s not going to fly.

If you are not happy with your current situation, do the professional thing, give proper notice and promote the transition for both parties (you and company). Most employers know if their workers are glad to be part of the organization so you’re not fooling anyone via covert actions. What you have done is break the bonds of trust.

Should you care if trust is broken? Yes.

Planning on mentioning the job you just violated on the resume or for reference purposes? Plan again… and if you don’t think the job will come up in searches, you may want to think again on that one too.

On a side note, if you happen to be in an industry-specific sector, many hiring managers and executives network at the most inopportune times. It is not uncommon for these individuals to discuss employee occurrences such as terminations, promotions, and bridges. Thus, after burning one or two bridges, there may be no more bridges to cross and finding a new job may be more difficult than expected.

Fair or not, people talk, people search, and people gossip. The manner in which you depart a company is fodder during networking events.

Truth about bridges, a strong foundation leads to many wonderful adventures while a crumbled foundation leads nowhere.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

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Career Advantage Spotlight: LinkedIn

DSC_0010There are many ways to display your life to the world. You can showcase your talents on YouTube, every random thoughts on Twitter, and those entertaining social engagements and life progressions on Facebook. But there is one digital space where you can make professional connections that can positively impact your career, and that’s LinkedIn.

A few things make LinkedIn different than the others. The most obvious is, of course, the professional platform it offers. While on Facebook you can put people into categories and say that you know them from school or church or that park up the street, LinkedIn’s main priority is your professional relationship with your contacts.

Not interested in what you ate for dinner or who you partied with over the weekend, LinkedIn concentrates attention to your professional side by incorporating interactive tools which can be used for your advantage. Through the use of recommendations, your electronic tattoo is bolstered by those who have worked with you. Along those lines, you are able to endorse each other in professional accomplishments and skills.

This revolutionary site has been around for a while, and if you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you are missing out. Current hiring trends are clear: most potential employers research your digital presence before scheduling interviews. For those with a strong electronic presence, this is a perfect way to back up your resume and get ahead of the competition.

Don’t lose your edge – use it. Update your profile often, and build your network wisely. Make sure to endorse other people for their skills; they’ll be more likely to endorse you for yours. If you think you don’t know where to start, think again.

Here’s an easy tip to get started: Pick any job you’ve ever had. Think of someone you worked with that you respected, and search for them. Once found, send a formal request to connect. When selecting digital professional networks, don’t sell yourself short.

As for your online profile, broadcast anything that would be valuable for an employer. You never know what can happen. Remember to keep it professional… always. While on this note, never get involved with controversial topics, including religion, politics, etc.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

What’s Your Brand?

DSC_0015Over the past three years the Career Thought Leaders Consortium gathered to discuss employment trends for the now, the new, and the next. For those seeking professional guidance, visiting www.careerthoughleaders.com may be your smartest move as the contributors are recognized leaders within career management.

For now, let’s do a quick review, followed by a worthy analysis and recommendation.

When it comes to branding, here’s the latest scoop according to findings published March 1, 2014, by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium:

The NOW:

     * Branding is a particular problem for those just entering the workforce. Because they have little experience, they don’t know how to assess their value. Even if they have a sense of their value, they don’t know how to translate it well.

The NEW:

     * Branding and social media searches are having an increased impact on the job search. Job seekers should use video and evolving social media tools to create on-brand online images.

The NEXT:

     * Branding will continue to grow in importance as contract and portfolio careers increase. In a rapidly shifting job market, applicants without a clear and compelling brand will be at a serious disadvantage. Whether you are a seasoned executive or a newbie in the job market, developing a strong professional brand is not an option… it is a requirement. Stop the squirming as we delve into the basic “how to create an effective professional brand” session.

By way of priority, professional brands should be that: professional.

  • Leave out personal information NOT related to employment or information which could be used in a discriminatory manner. Things such as religious affiliations, children/family life, political agendas, things you’ve done over the weekend, and/or medical issues.
  • Information to include in your professional brand: accomplishment stories and details, relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities, unique/value added benefits, and assets you bring to organizations.
    • Consider what you believe to be your greatest strength. If you decide to go with one strength, have an actual employment story supporting it. For example, don’t claim in your brand that you specialize in logistics if you have never examined and improved back-end operations.
  • Much like an elevator speech, your professional brand should not bore the reader or be excessive in length.
    • Keep your brand down to three or four sentences (75 – 100 words)

Think about a potential hiring manager and what she most likely would be interested in knowing about you. The secret is in keeping it short, powerful, and packed with value (from the employer’s perspective). If you have any questions or if you would like one of our certified writers evaluate your brand statement (even throw in a few suggestions along the way), don’t hesitate to share.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions).

Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

Nope to Networking: Think Again

Let’s face it.  We’ve all been there.  We’ve all felt the same way.  At some point in our lives, be it recent or from a time that seems like another life we once called our own, we have all had to face the prospect of career networking.

DSC_0028Career networking defined: For those unfamiliar with the concept of career networking, that’s the magical life event that throws us all together into one huge mad stew of etiquette and self-promotion skills.  That intoxicating concoction created from the dual ingredients of a job or better career path and the basic human desire to want to help other people.

We’ve all had to face it.  But, what’s more, we’ve had to face the deeper unnerving truth underneath it.

Networking reality: Most of us don’t like to network.

Sure, some of us might have changed perspective about that by now, but the fact of the matter is:  networking and thoughts of it make most people uncomfortable, for many reasons.

If your motto is “Nope to Networking,” think again as you consider a few reasons why many fall prey to fear as well as a counter as to why fear should NOT conquer:

  1. I don’t want to be a bother.”
    This is perhaps the silliest reason of them all.  Especially when you stop to consider who you are bothering.  Everybody already has a network, whether they think they do or not.  Everyone you know is in your network, and everyone who knows who you know.  And… er, well, you get the point.  Since this is true, this also means your current friends are already part of your network.  And your friends, if they are your friends, would want to help you in a time of need.  They’d think the same is true if you’re a real friend to them.  You would want a mutual win-win.What you also have to consider is the simple fact that people generally like to talk about themselves and be praised.  Asking them for networking help and advice is an opportunity for them to do both at the same time.
  2. People in my network have no useful information about my desired field.”
    A relevant personal note on this that also ties into my first point above:  I wouldn’t have the job with Education Career Services I have right this minute if it wasn’t for that “friend network” mentioned above.  And there are job perks I’m enjoying at the moment that perhaps wouldn’t have crossed my path if not for the friends I’ve made in my network.  This particular friend, in the teaching field and also networking for a career job herself, happened to be perusing Craigslist one day.Though the “Writing/Editing” tab within Craigslist’s job board was not in her particular field, my friend clicked on it, searched within the confines of Orlando’s writing/editing jobs, and scrolled along searching.  After she clicked on one job in particular looking for a writer, she later told me she immediately thought of me after reading the description and requirements.  See that?

    It really is that easy.  Any close friend could be looking for his or her own self and in their search, due to our wonderfully altruistic human nature, could end up getting you a great job first.

  3. My personality isn’t right for networking.”
    You may be right.  Especially if, like myself, you consider yourself an introvert.  Research suggests that extroverted people are much likelier to utilize networking in general, and be more open to its possibilities.  On the flip side of that, however, is that sometimes extroverts also have a tendency to give the impression of not entirely caring what people have to say, but are more interested in hearing themselves talk.  Again… I say some extroverts.  That’s why a noble goal here is to shoot to be an ambivert.  Check out: Introvert or extravert? Maybe you’re an ambivert.While some researchers debunk this whole “ambivert” concept, I think it’s an idea worth giving some thought.  Be yourself but try to pay close attention to your specific networking situations.  A pinch of diplomacy and the ability to realize when it’s the right time to speak up, shut up, and not give up — while making use of the strengths tied to both introversion and extroversion, can only help your cause.

Besides, the magic happens outside of that comfort zone we like to live in, as we know all too well but sometimes tend to forget.

We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.

For those interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters. Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. You may also contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Education Career Services
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

This article references information found in http://thingscareerrelated.com/2013/03/31/why-we-hate-networking-for-jobs-confessions-of-a-networking-convert/ by Rebecca Fraser-Thill.

Delivering Career Diligence

As a business owner, professional writer, and career management specialist, I am often asked “what separates a good employee from a great employee.”

Quite bluntly, in a word: diligence. To put this term into perspective, let’s examine the formal definition and then transmit the concept into an actual application, ultimately relating how the practice of delivering career diligence morphs good into great.

According to numerous resources, diligence is:
* To give a constant effort to accomplish something
* To be attentive and persistent in doing anything
* Done or pursued with persevering attention
* Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken

With the concept defined above, in order to take full advantage of your career opportunities, you need to recognize the underlying meaning. That is, simply doing the job is not enough AND, in the eyes of the employer, going above and beyond job responsibilities will be rewarded by way of recognition, (hopefully) increased income, and (hopefully) job security.

For the following example, you decide which employee is the keeper during rough times and which two employees would be on the wrong side of right-sizing (by the way, this situation reflects an actual event where I had to make a choice—though the details below are thin, I believe you can still decide their fate).

Workplace reality:

While operating a career management firm, I oversaw an operational crew exceeding 65 employees. I was tasked to reduce our customer service staff by two (leaving eight employed). After narrowing the list of possible employees to terminate to three, a second evaluation stage was undertaken. All of the remaining three performed their job as required by defined roles so the determination was made on bottom-line value and overall contributions.

Overall contributions include such things as attitude, willingness to learn roles beyond defined duties, professional courtesy (actions and attire), getting to work on time, and a proven eagerness to represent the company well.

DSC_0024The candidates were as follows (naturally the names have been modified):

Carmen. She always showed up at work on time and rarely called in sick. She enjoyed her position and had been employed with the company for 18 months. Though she did not ask to learn other aspects of operations, she did lend a hand when she felt comfortable with the task and team. During formal evaluations, she never expressed a desire for professional development… she was content with the way things were.

Vicky. She was a recent graduate and had been employed for nine months with the company. Though originally hired for a management training position, Vicky did not work well with others and displayed an attitude of progress complacency. Her performance was above average and customer service skills were also above average. Over the past year, she also showed up on time and rarely called in sick.

Robert. He was still within a 90-day probationary period and was introduced to the company via an externship opportunity. Though “green” in several areas, he seemed eager to learn more than what his job defined. He extended a professional and supportive attitude as well as a positive commitment to progress within the company. Robert completed two professional development on-line courses (on his own) to heighten his customer service skills. Just before his formal evaluation, he presented a proposal to streamline in-bound calls which had the potential to save several hundred dollars monthly.

Of the three selections above, which one would you have kept on the team and why?

I chose the one who I felt would progress the company beyond the moment and deliver benefits well into the future. Needless to say, the one I chose stayed with the company after I moved on and became a director of operations in less than one year.

Diligence means more than simply showing up on time or getting the job done. To me, diligence is a commitment to bring the complete package to the table.

What does the concept mean to you? In the comment box, go ahead and share your ideas with the world.

Delivering career diligence tip: Believing is not enough… To survive, you must do… more than enough.

Interested in developing your own career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters, the best strategies for a successful interview, how to take advantage of social/professional networking, and ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions), visit “Danny at Amazon” or go directly to http://www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
http://www.EducationCareerServices.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Holiday Networking

The end of the year does not mean the end of career networking. Quite the opposite, NOW is the ideal time to spread the news of your value and contributions. To detail, let’s respond to a brief summary and question submitted last week by a recent college graduate, Chris Alcott:

I graduated with a business degree earlier this year and was hoping that would be enough to get a decent job offer. I’ve been unemployed for the past 18 months due to a downsizing. Looks like no one is  bringing on new employees and the only thing going on are holiday parties, gatherings, and a hiring freeze. Last November and December I resigned to wait until January to re-launch my job search and concentrate on my final semester of classes. What’s your thoughts… are the last two or three months of the year a waste of time for the unemployed? If not, what are your suggestions?”

To set the record straight once and for all, the final three months of the year are not a waste of time for the unemployed and can be quite successful.

Career fact: Seasonal help, even part time, is at a full-time high during the final quarter.

If you’re thinking a low-wage job for a month or two is below your status, crawl out from that rock you are renting and wake up. Though many seasonal positions are for a short stint, not all are. Believe it or not, a solid percentage of those hired during this time progress into full-time positions with promotions and salary increases.

Though I know little about Mr. Alcott, gaining a seasonal position will add strength to your resume by way of added customer service experience. Not only will one achieve a paycheck, the psychological benefits of getting out there and contributing to the household will create a positive impact. Being a recent graduate, many employers look at the soft skills offered and use that when measuring up candidates.

Looking to turn that seasonal position into a full-time position? Here’s a tip, employers are always searching for top-notch employees to join their team, in any industry.

Consider an employer’s perspective… what are they looking for with their seasonal bunch? Here’s another clue (or two) about the evaluation process, gaining full-time status, and what you need to highlight on and off the clock:

* An eagerness to learn and a drive to represent the company mission
* Confidence and an initiative to do what needs to be done without complaint
* To ‘think’ and ‘act’ professionally, without compromising patience, quality, or production
* Dedication, aptitude, and loyalty to perform tasks outside limited job duties
* ‘Show’ you are a keeper… and yes, your boss is watching and his or her observations will be relayed to the company elite

Career fact: Networking is at an all-time high during the holiday season.

While on the topic of networking during the holiday season, I would like to introduce a wonderful resource I have been taking advantage for years,  http://www.cultureandmanners.com.

Thanks to the polite folks at the Culture and Manners Institute, let’s review the following insight…

Networking does not mean you become a walking/talking resume. Think of networking as research. As said in previous Etiquette Tips, the best way to start and continue a conversation is to ask questions:

What do you do for a living?
How long have you been with that company?
How did you first become interested in that company?
What do you like best about your company (or job)?
How did you get started in that field?

Holiday networking is not just job research, its company research; because you learn which company has happy and satisfied employees and which ones don’t. (One person badmouthing their company might just be a malcontent. Three is a pattern.)

Here is the best part. When you ask questions of another person, you show you are taking interest in that person and that makes people feel good about them. This is what etiquette is all about.

Some people who are out of work avoid holiday parties. Never fear to admit you are out of work.  Everyone has been there. Networking skills honed in holiday season are valuable assets when you do find employment. Now get out there and party.

For those interested in receiving an Etiquette Tip of the Week, check out their site mentioned above.

The final few months of the year can prove to be career successful. In other words, Chris, don’t get discouraged and do get yourself out there!

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available
material.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.EducationCareerServices.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Social Networking and your Resume

“This might sound like a silly question, but should I post my resume on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter? I know they’re not really professional, but can it help me at all?”
– Tim Drake

Don’t worry, Tim. It’s actually a very good question to discuss about online networking.

Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this question. Yes, posting your resume on Facebook or Twitter can be helpful for your job search, especially considering employers are sourcing candidates on social networking sites nowadays.

Warning: Not all good things happen in the digital world.

Placing yourself completely out there in the digital world can also eliminate you from the running just as fast as a misplaced tattoo. Recent legislation makes it all so clear: what is online does NOT stay online. As a matter of fact, many companies hire individuals to scour the Internet to better acquaint themselves to their prospective (and current) employees.

Think of it this way, if you were a hiring executive and happened to see inappropriate images or statements from your next interviewee, would that affect the outcome? In terms of your resume, you definitely have the power to present yourself in the most professional manner… always professional.

Control is the keyword here. If you’re going to use your social networking site during your job search, make sure it’s completely professional. Honestly, this is hard for many people. Go ahead and test yourself and check your social networking sites… are there images, texts, or shout-outs which “could” put you in a not-so great light?

According to a recent survey, a whopping 91 percent of Facebook accounts–alone–contain inappropriate information that can be considered a red flag to employers. This includes photos, posts, and even friends.

Do you think you can manage all of your photos, posts, and friends AND keep them strictly professional? If not, then posting your resume on Facebook might not be the best idea.

Twitter, on the other hand, is a little easier to manage than Facebook. People “follow’ others because they’re interested in hearing what they have to say; therefore, if you keep your tweets professional, you will only attract professional followers who won’t be a red flag to your job search.

Keep this in mind: It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

If this sound overly cautious, it’s because you should be. Social networking sites are a double-edged sword that can hurt you just as easily as they can help you, consider this your final warning!

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow us @dannyatecs