Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Personal Do You Get?

Yesterday was a big day for me. I became a Grandma. I also had an in-person interview. And, even though all the advisers tell you not to do it, I shared this exciting news with the man I was interviewing -- even sent him this photo in my follow-up thank you email.

The advise is not to share this personal stuff. First of all (unfortunately) Grandma is practically synonymous for "old lady." I have to admit, I hesitate about mentioning the G-word. Both my daughter and I had our babies at a relatively young age (I'm tempted to say we had them at age 13, but that may conjure up different unappealing biases. I'd rather be thought of as old than ignorant.)

I am so conscious of my image, especially when job hunting that I've been trying to be more cautious about what I put on the internet. Some people say they never post photos or share stories about their kids or families because there are a lot of "crazy people out there." I've really grappled with this. Is posting this photo of my beautiful new grandson in any way dangerous? Will it hurt my image in some way because it's not professional?

The thing is, what I think makes blogging and social media so addicting for us, both as a writer and a reader, is that you DO get personal. As a blogger, when something wonderful happens, you just want to shout your good news from the rooftops! (or...in your blog) Your heart is filled with this joyous news and you want to tell everyone: "Look at this gorgeous baby! This is my grandson!" And when people on the other side -- the readers, the listeners, the people that have been through those joyous moments themselves -- see us being "human".. they connect. They see more than the "professional" side. They see the personal.

Yes, all the informative blogs will get recognition. Perhaps we lose some of our professionalism when we write about something personal. And when we blog we each have our own motivations and objectives. I still have not exactly figured out the purpose of my blog...in some ways it's just an outlet for me to air my thoughts on social media, especially relating to a job search.

But today it's a way for me to shout from the rooftops.

"I have a beautiful, healthy, magnificent Grandson! Wooo Hoooo!"




Monday, July 27, 2009

How Networking Got Me An Interview!

It started when I reached out to my network via email and Facebook, telling my friends I was looking for another IT Manager position. A friend of a friend emailed me that she thought CompanyA was hiring. I checked their postings, and voila! There was a position that sounded ideal! Being a virtual rock star in all the skills listed in the req (I'm not beyond self-promotion while in job-search mode!) I was very interested. A quick check in my LinkedIn network and I found a friend (ContactA) who used to work for me now works at CompanyA, so she offered to submit my resume.

Now, it helps to have ContactA submit a resume, but in these days when zillions of resumes are getting submitted, it's really much better if you can get the name of the hiring manager. That's not usually exposed, even to employees, because hiring managers do not want to get inundated with emails from job seekers. So even ContactA did not know who the hiring manager was for this position. The best she could do was send the resume into the HR system.

However, I was able to search LinkedIn and found a manager (who I'll call ContactB) at CompanyA. I asked ContactA if she could send an email to ContactB and ask if she might know who the hiring manager for the req was. ContactB DID know and gave my friend HiringManagerA's name. ContactA emailed my resume to HiringManagerA along with a note saying that I was the best manager she ever had (Woo Hoo!)

Meanwhile, at some of the many networking events I was attending, I asked if anyone had contacts at CompanyA. I found ContactC who actually knew HiringManagerA and met me for coffee. He told me a lot more about CompanyA and what he thought HiringManagerA might be looking for which was very exciting because it's stuff I have lots of experience with.

The next day RecruiterA from CompanyA called me. We had a great talk and I told her all about what I'd learned from ContactC. She was wonderfully supportive and said, "It's nice to talk to someone who's done her homework!" and then she set me up for an interview with HiringManagerA! (Double Woo Hoo!!)

In this competitive environment, it's really hard to get noticed. I am thrilled to have gotten to the interview stage. It goes to show you, this stuff really works! And even if I don't get the job, I've now met a bunch of other people that are in my network. RecruiterA told me that even if I didn't get this job, she would keep an eye out for me for future positions.

PS. I'm not mentioning names because I want to protect the privacy of the people involved, but I certainly am grateful. I'm very jazzed that, thanks to networking (both the tools and the old-fashioned kind) I was able to land an interview! Wish me luck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Ultimate Job Search Using 10 Social Media Tools

As a Communications Manager at Sun Microsystems, I was encouraged to learn about New Media and explore possibilities for its use in business. When I was hit with the most recent round of corporate layoffs, I felt prepared because I knew that social media tools could give me a big advantage in my job search. Here are ten tools that I've been using. Each of these is described briefly below with some supplemental links to additional information and resources.

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. YouTube
  5. Blogger
  6. Google Reader
  7. Google Alerts
  8. De.licio.us
  9. Mashable
  10. Meetup

LinkedIn

Of all the social media tools, LinkedIn is the most beneficial to use for a job search. This tool allows you to establish a professional presence and network with others in your field. Advanced search capabilities for companies and people, as well as the use of groups, allow you to intelligently network and find the people that can help you get your next job.


Facebook

FaceBook allows you to network with your friends, letting them know of your job search. Updating your status allows you to let your friends know that you're job hunting and what you're looking for. There are groups and fan pages for many companies, allowing you to research the culture of any companies you're targeting for your job search. Applications, such as FaceBook Marketplace are popping up that will help with a job search.


Twitter

You can use tools such as twello or wefollow to follow people that give job tips or are in your industry. It was through Twitter that I found great additional job search sites such as job mob and http://www.e4myjob.com/ There's a wealth of information that's shared on through links to informative websites and blogs.


YouTube

Creating a video resume will help you stand out in this competitive job market. This can be done simply with YouTube. You can imbed your YouTube video resume onto a website or put it on your profile in your other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter. Another alternative is to use VisualCV to create an online resume, including video and links highlighting accomplishments and publications.


Blogger

Blogs are useful in a job search, both from the perspective of learning from others as well as establishing your own online presence. There are many ways to find blogs that are of interest. Once you find them, you'll be able to network with people that have interests similar to yours and learn from one another. By publicly commenting on blogs and blogging yourself, you will help establish your credibility and expertise in a certain area. When you leave comments for others, include your name and your the URL of your blog. This will help your name will come up more often in Google searches, and will help establish your brand.


Google Reader

Now that you have a bunch of blogs your reading, you'll need a reader to keep track of the updates. First thing in the morning you can have the latest updates from your favorite bloggers. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for any job sites using keywords so that you'll see any new job opportunities in your field as soon as they're posted.


Google Alerts

Using Alerts you can set up Google to email you daily updates using keywords of your choice. You may want to get alerts about your niche market or a particular oganization that you are targeting so you will have the most up-to-date information.


De.licio.us

Bookmarking sites, such as Del.icio.us, Digg, and StumbleUpon help organize our bookmarks. As we're searching through the plethora of great information that's available, we inevitably want to save articles to go back to. Through use of tagging, we can organize our bookmarks into categories. In addition, we can find articles that others have marked as useful by searching for articles that were tagged with certain keywords. By using a social bookmarking site, we can access our bookmarks we aren't tied to a browser or computer, but can access our bookmarks whenever we have access to the web. Bookmarking your own sites will also help raise visibility to your brand.


Mashable

Mashable.com is the Bible of all things social media. This is a great reference when learning how to use various social media tools. Mashable often has very helpful articles that relate to the job search.


Meetup

Meetup.com is a site that is not mentioned much in the social media circles, yet it's a great resource for local networking because it allows for physically meeting face-to-face. There are groups for hobbyists or business professionals. Joining and getting involved in one of these groups will allow you to explore your passions and continue to broaden your network. You can start your own meetup group and gain credibility and contacts at the same time. There are plenty of groups for jobseekers as well. A search for “jobs” in a 25 miles radius of my home came up with 38 groups such as:


Sunday, July 19, 2009

My First Gigs As Social Networking Presenter!

video

Last week I had my first "official speaking engagement" at Sun about Social Media -- kind of an overview, and probably too basic for a technical audience, but I wanted my first presentation as a social media consultant to be amongst friends. Thanks to my Sun connections, I was able to arrange this and it was great experience! I'm speaking at the Denver Chamber of Commerce on August 26, so I want to get as much practice as I can. I learned from two years at Toastmasters (not to mention many years of management) that the more you speak about a particular topic in front of an audience, the more prepared and confident you feel. I've come a long way since the early days of stage fright, and now I find myself actually looking forward to getting in front of an audience. Who would have thought?

After the Sun presentation, one of my friends, Deb Sedbrook, from Women at Sun invited me to join her at a PMP Career Camp that was being held that evening in Aurora. She suggested that I give an adhoc little presentation there, too! I wasn't prepared with slides, but welcomed the opportunity! Deb was trying to take a photo, but it looks like she got me on video for a few seconds as I was starting to talk about networking.

At the meeting, I listened to Art Weeast and Valerie Ness who presented about using LinkedIn for the Job Search. They had a lot of great tips and advice that I'll be able to pass on to my BoulderNet group. Art also told me about a Lafayette networking group that I'll be going to on Monday.

As I was saying in this little video clip, I'm having lots of fun with networking! I'm not sure why some people talk about it as though it's distasteful, but I think it's incredible to be meeting so many people! Everyone is happy to share their knowledge and help in any way they can. It's really a wonderful feeling of community. Most of the people I'm connecting with are not people that will be able to help me directly with my job search. Many are laid off themselves. But I'm not meeting them with the sole intention of getting a job. I'm meeting with them to learn from them and to maybe pass along some tips and tricks myself. I've learned so much about social media in this past couple of months, and there is almost always something that I can pass along. And I finally have the time to have lunch every day! I want to take advantage of this time and meet as many smart people as I can! My ultimate goal is to find a job, but I'm almost hoping it will take awhile. I'm just having too much fun with the search process!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Personal Branding - When You're Looking For a Job


Today Dan Schawbel started following me on Twitter! This was before I even started following him! I haven't been doing much with Twitter, other than following experts. I hadn't expected any experts to start following me! It may have been the #jobsearch tweet I posted this morning that got him (or some automated tool) to notice me, but whatever it was, it was cool. I'd been recommending his book, Me 2.0, to people as a good first step in coming up with your personal brand.

This business of getting noticed -- that's what personal branding is about. We want to be unique -- just like everyone else! (That's not my quote, but one I've heard in the context of "Everyone 2.0") What are those qualities we want to exhibit in our writings, our relationships, and our lives? What makes us stand out?

Well, when I was happily employed as an IT Manager at Sun, I didn't really think about branding image. I wrote a book (still to be published) called "The Laptop Dancer Diaries." It's a humor memoir about a year in my life as a single Mom looking for love and getting into embarrassing situations. I'm actually quite proud of it and I think it accurately reflects me -- a geeky flirt who spends so much time with her laptop, she starts to think of him as her boyfriend (she knows she can always turn him on!)

I had this photo of me as a Laptop Dancer from a Halloween Party as my primary icon just about everywhere -- even on my profile picture at Sun. One of the many things I loved about working for Sun, is we were free to be ourselves, and I'm a goofball! I love to be playful and silly and I think it's one of the things that made me such a successful manager. Life's too short to take ourselves too seriously. We have to have fun.

But now I'm looking for a job. And as much as I'd like my employers to appreciate my sense of humor, it won't take much to weed me out. When googling myself I was disappointed to find the top search article for me was one I'd written for Helium.com about Internet dating! It's time for me to start writing some serious, albeit potentially much more boring, stuff! (Unfortunately, Helium.com does not allow articles to get deleted. While the article is not offensive, I don't want my area of expertise to be thought of as Internet dating! )

On a side note, the top article that comes up when searching using my married name, Yvette Podlogar, is a professional article about Quality Assurance Management that I had published in StickyMinds. Hmmm. It's enough to make me want to go back to my married name, at least during my job search!

I don't know if I'll go to the extent of reverting back to my married name, but I do want a new primary photo. One that's professional, yet playful. Other things I want to capture with my brand? Always learning, happy, caring, and respectful. Whether it's work or play, those are values I hold dear. Will I be able to get another IT Manager job with that type of branding? I don't know, but I'm going to try. Be on the lookout for my new photo. One that captures: Professional, Playful, Studious, Happy, Caring, Respectful Goofball. Yeah! I'm sure I can find a photo that says all that. One thing you can count on - I'll be smiling.

Update-- Here we go with my new photo! Does it reflect a professional, playful, studious, happy, caring, respectful goofball? Well, at least Laptop Guy thinks I'm the World's Best Boss!



Personal Branding for Next Level Executives

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Your Mama Don't Tweet And Your Daddy Don't Blog an Poll

Modern Day Lyrics for "Your Mama Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll":

Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll
Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll
When evening rolls around and your favorite site is down
Where do you go to blog and poll?

The old folks say that ya gotta shut it down by ten
If you tweet on a date ‘cause your friends can’t wait, it's a sin
There just ain't no excusin' and you know you're gonna lose and never win
I'll say it again

And it's all because
Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll
Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll
When evening rolls around and your favorite site is down
Where do you go to blog and poll?


You pull out your new iPhone and find a place to text
You snap a shot of your girlfriend, and boy she sure looks vexed
You're just about to TwitPic so all your friends can see
There's a light in your eye, and then a guy says,
"Turn off the cell, DouchBag!
Louise, you're coming with me, Local Police!"

And it's all because
Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll
Your mama don't tweet and your daddy don't blog and poll

When evening rolls around and your favorite site is down
Where do you go to blog and poll?
Where do you go to blog and poll?
Where do you go to blog and poll?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What to Name the Business?

My new social media coaching/consulting business is doing quite well! I haven't made any money, of course, but I've been handling my free sample sessions very professionally, getting testimonials, and have three speaking engagements lined up! Yay!

It's really time for me to get business cards and a Website, but before that, I need a name and so I'm soliciting your help! This is a business that helps create a custom social media strategy depending on your need. The target audience are people that are new to social media and don't know where to start.

I made a list of possibilities for a business name and the domain name was already taken for just about everything I came up with. However there were a few that were not yet spoken for.

  • Social Media 101 - Custom Social Media Solutions (socialmedia101.com)
This implies the "getting started" with the 101. Kind of like Social Media for Dummies, but not quite as insulting.
  • Ask Yvette - Social Media Coaching / Consulting (askyvette.com)
Since my own first name is unique, I kind of like this one. Yes, I'm copying AskLizRyan. At least I'm using my own name! Of course, people have been pronouncing and spelling my name wrong my whole life, so I'm not sure I want to propagate that same issue to my business...
  • Coach 2.0 - Social Media Coaching / Consulting (CoachTwoPointO.com)
Even though a surprising number of people have not yet heard of "Web 2.0" I think the 2.0 suffix is becoming more and more popular. I hear more and more "2.0" references every day.
  • Coach 2 Point Oh! - Social Media Coaching / Consulting (CoachTwoPointOh.com)
This is an attempt to be cute with the "Oh!" at the end...implying one of those lightbulb moments when you finally get it.

  • The Frugal Social Media Coach - Low Cost Strategy - Big Returns (frugalcoach.com)
This doesn't quite have the same ring as "The Frugal Gourmet" but I want to imply that I'd help the client get the best bang for the buck. Let's face it, I am pretty cheap (actually free right now!)

What do you think? I'll get a poll up, but if you have another idea, please comment or send me an email. This baby needs a name!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bouldernet's Got Talent - Liz Ryan


First off, I apologize to both Liz Ryan and the gentleman whose head I caught in this photo. Obviously, I must add “learn how to take a good photo” on my ever-growing list of things I’m going to learn while I’m unemployed. One of my other goals has been to meet cool, influential people and spread the word about them. As mentioned with my blog post about Dave Taylor, I have yet to really do my homework on gaining followers. For now, I’m just trying to get my feet wet learning about social media tools – and believe me, there are a lot to choose from.

So how did I get to see Liz, up close and personal? It started with my friend, Pete, who invited me to Bouldernet, a group of Boulder-area job-seekers that meets weekly on Thursday mornings. I was greeted by a group of about 50 people, all very friendly and welcoming. At the beginning of the meeting, “I have a job” announcements were made, followed by cheers from the group. There were smiles and handshakes and it was kind of heartwarming to be joining this special club of supporters. When we newbies got up to introduce ourselves it did seem a bit like AA. “My name is Yvette. I’ve been unemployed for 1 week.” I almost said I was a recovered workaholic. I let the group know that I’d be interested in giving a session on use of Social Media to find a job, and the leader, Dave Collins, spoke to me after the meeting and gave me the thumbs up to present in August. Several others, including a few other Sun alumni, came up and introduced themselves to me.

But where does Liz fit in? Well, it turns out, she was the speaker at Thursday’s meeting! I’d heard of this dynamic woman before. She’s a popular speaker and writer and her name had come up through The Women’s Vision Foundation – a group I worked with through my role as Women@Sun chair. Liz has an active online community of her own called AskLizRyan. This was the first I’d had a chance to hear her speak and boy, was it a treat! Liz, not only has a lot of great advice about resume writing, she’s hilarious! I’d try to recap some of her best quips, but it’s really her anecdotes and personality that make her funny. She could make it as a stand-up comic in LA! At one point she belted out a few lines from My Fair Lady’s “Show Me,” in an attempt to point out our resumes should not be full of flowery adjectives, but instead tell of our accomplishments with hard facts. All the resume advice was great, but at this point, I was thinking that Liz could not only be stand-up comic, but a musical sensation on Broadway! So we got it all -- resume advice, comedy, and a little bit of music.

What a great group! I was able to meet new people, learn how to improve my resume, and listen to an excellent speaker – all for a $1 donation! Had I known unemployment could be so good, I think I would have gotten laid off long ago!

Of course, when I got home, that My Fair Lady song was still going through my head. I had to check to see if Liz thought to produce her singing talent on YouTube. I found her on YouTube, but she was giving resume advice. After checking out Liz's Bio, I found that, indeed she is mega-talented, has written the book: Happy About Online Networking: The virtual-ly simple way to build professional relationships and is a professional opera singer! I knew it!

All the resume advice Liz gives is great, but I seriously think she needs to capitalize on that singing. I mean if Susan Boyle can make it big that way, certainly Liz Ryan can. Maybe even I could! Here’s a song to help inspire all of us unemployed people to really demonstrate our talents.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dave Taylor - More than a Tweet

Today I had coffee (we were at Starbucks anyway) with Social Media Guru, Dave Taylor. That's right folks. It wasn't just a little tweet. It wasn't a wall message. It wasn't even an email. It was an honest-to-God, real-life, look-ya-in-the-eyes chit-chat. I've heard the social media naysayers say they don't like all this social media stuff -- they prefer talking to real people "face to face." Of course they do! Face to face is absolutely the best way to communicate! But it's social media that helps us figure out who we want to communicate with! At traditional "networking events" everyone goes around meeting each other, handing out business cards, just hoping to meet someone that might know someone that knows something we might care about. With social media we can figure out who knows something we care about immediately instead of wasting our time passing out business cards and giving our elevator speeches.

Now, as it turns out, Dave and I originally met through a mutual friend in a different network, so I guess the old fashioned way of meeting people still works, too. I heard he liked social media, so I connected with him online and soon discovered, he didn't just "like" social media - he is THE KING of Social Media! And he's a writer (the kind of geeky non-fiction stuff that really turns me on). He's written 20 books for God's sake! This was like stumbling upon pay dirt for someone like me. This would kind of be as if someone who wants to learn how to play golf happened to get introduced to Tiger Woods.

So, of course, I wanted to set up a meeting with Dave to pick his brain. But some golf rookie doesn't just go out and ask Tiger for a lesson. You gotta give something in return. So, I told Dave that if he let me pick his brain what I could do for him is write about him in my blog. It could be the first of a "Follow a Real Person" weekly segment. This would give Dave extra publicity to my entire readership of...um....well, I'm sure somebody must be reading. Mom? Laptop Guy? Anybody? To follow the golfer analogy, this might be the equivalent of the new golfer going out to the golf course (when no one is playing) and yelling out, "Hey Everyone, guess what? Tiger Woods is a really great golfer!"

Dave already has more business than he wants so he assured me he's not too worried about my readership -- or lack thereof. We know that one of the beauties of networking is that all it takes is one person who may set in motion something that could be life changing.

The biggest takeaway I got from our discussion? The idea that social media should be used first and foremost to establish trust and credibility. Don't get on it to sell. Go in with the mindset of giving not taking. Look for opportunities to help others, have fun, be funny, be real. If people like you, they are more likely to want to do business with you.

That's all I'll say about Dave right now. I'd suggested an interview for my "Man in the Street" pseudo-blog. (Something I'd created simply as a ploy to meet available men.) Dave declined. (Sorry, ladies.) Maybe I'll interview him again when I'm more serious about blogging and there are more people "playing golf" with me. I could even start a whole new blog: "Men who can Tweet." The possibilities are endless...
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