Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Notes from 3/12/2010 OCA Meeting; Job News!

Last Friday's OCA meeting welcomed another 4 new members:
- Bill Johnson, former project manager with C2 Media and ProLab, has extensive print production experience and is seeking another PM role.
- Kate Larson, is also a project manager, but comes from the world of construction, where she was most recently with Northshore Sheet Metal.
- Meghan V.H. Ragsdale, who has media sales (Clear Channel) and promotions (Red Bull) experience, has just moved to Seattle from Virginia, where she had completed her masters degree in Creative Brand Management at the VCU Brandcenter.
- Jenna Swalin, communications and administrative associate, is a fairly recent graduate of Virginia's College of William & Mary.

Paul Anderson, career psychology consultant and owner of ProLango, was our guest speaker for the 3/12 meeting. Paul, a former recruiter at Microsoft and Expedia, presented his Career Search Optimization seminar and provided many insights regarding today's job search.

From the recruiting end of things, it's a numbers game. On average, posted positions are receiving 900+ resumes per job. And on Craigslist, a job posting can generate up to 400 resumes per HOUR.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), such as Taleo, not just manage the masses on the hiring side, but they keep tabs on how many positions you've applied for and can easily serve as a source for quick background checks. Recruiters can compare your previously submitted resumes, and an ATS can also profile you through public information shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Zillow.

Trends in the recruiting industry have changed the rules of the game. Companies have made it harder to get directly to the source. Early last year, Microsoft instituted a vendor management system, a go-between cutting off direct contact from the the staffing agencies and the company's recruiters. With an average rate of 20% charged by the agencies (and the aforementioned number of applicants per position), many companies are now forgoing the agencies altogether and relying on word-of-mouth. A great example of this is the influx of opportunities that have come to OCA from friends of friends, and thus the importance of networking the 'hidden job market.'

Speaking of which, Paul then covered
"What not to do at a job fair or networking
Don't sell yourself. Make a connection. People don't want to be sold and won't want to help you unless they like and trust you. Don't practice the 30-second elevator pitch; practice being a resource. When networking, Paul recommended a 5-step process that should also be used when interviewing:
1) build rapport
2) ask questions
3) find a need
4) link their need to your offer
5) close and handle objections

A topic of conversation that has come up at several OCA meetings, and Paul has been featured in a Wall Street Journal article about, is the subject of "Blacklisting" - when a company just doesn't want to consider you, for whatever reason. How does someone get blacklisted?

  • Mass (e)mailing your resume, and applying for every position listed. "Did he even read the description before he applied?"

  • Lying on your resume. Paul said people sometimes have a tendency to explicitly tell the truth on a LinkedIn profile (because they're connected with friends and colleagues who know their work history), but feel it's OK to fib on a resume, because it might only be going to a select few. Only problem is, the ATS we mentioned earlier (remember?) and how easy it is to compare your resume with your LinkedIn profile.
    It's one thing to tweak a description to better match the verbiage used by a employer, but you can't make major changes.

  • Social Media mistakes. No need to get in to any details or examples here, but you can easily imagine that posting certain things to the World Wide Web can knock you out of consideration (forever) with a company recruiter.

  • Recruiter stories. It happens. A bad screening, an errant remark, etc. can keep you from getting a job at Company #1. But unfortunately, recruiters talk, and Recruiter #1 may happen to know recruiter from Company #2 and can too easily pass along any mishap.
Paul finished out with 3 Key Elements of Successful Job Seekers:
1) Mindset. Your attitude and belief system have to be positive.
2) Strategy. Do your research and develop a plan. Determine who you need to know and how you're going to meet them.
3) Relationships. Create and cultivate a network where you are seen as a resource.

Job News!
- Andrea Lewellen landed a 6-month contract with Moss Adams, as an in-house creative group Account Supervisor. Congrats, Andrea!!
- Dale Cody is Manager, Interactive at Central 1 Credit Union. He landed the job a while ago, but I was able to finally catch up with him recently. The new job also meant a new location: Vancouver, BC.

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