Job Seekers Getting Attention: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Source: evo_terra (Flickr)

Source: evo_terra (Flickr)

I recently came across, a blog by Philadelphia-based headhunter Rich DeMatteo. Helping job seekers with good advice is important to Rich, as it is to me, and I enjoyed visiting Rich’s blog. Rich just posted on a topic that was on my on-deck circle: job candidates “thinking outside the box” to gain attention. There are definitely many job seekers acting “outside the box”…but I’m not so sure these folks were “thinking.”

The Boston Globe did a very good piece on “outside the box” (more like “beyond the pale,” unfortunately) job seekers making spectacles of themselves, including, among others, Pasha Stocking of Connecticut who blew $2,500 for her “HIRE ME!” billboard that earned the “odd news” type of national media attention…but no job opportunities.

Since that Globe article, others have joined this group of job hunters gaining attention, but not the “good” kind of attention that will land them a job. Chances are you have heard of one Trina Thompson, who has sued the college she graduated from seven short months ago because she remains unemployed. Now we can all agree this is the worst public spectacle attention a job candidate can get. Rich gives Thompson a well deserved dressing-down along with some good common-sense advice that Trina Thompson should have done already (join LinkedIn, look into a resume writing professional, etc.). The Onion sums up Thompson’s hapless lawsuit with suitable irreverence. Litigious mediocrity is not a good personal brand to embrace, Trina…

But Rich DeMatteo and I have agreed to disagree on the virtue of an “outside the box” tactic by Sean Christman, a recent La Salle graduate.

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Buy this Book and Read it Now: The Leader as a Mensch (Book Review)

I have referred to business author Bruna Martinuzzi’s article Optimism: The Hidden Asset previously on this blog (here and also here) as a wise and pragmatic exploration of a positive character trait that tends to come in handy for anyone looking to succeed in marketing, anywhere in business… or at life itself. Optimism is just one of a wide array of highly desirable character traits, including humility, empathy and generosity, to name just a few.

Hopefully you have worked for a person who demonstrates these traits routinely; who communicates with openness and dignity, and leads by example with honor and integrity. If you have worked for such a person, as I luckily have, you have had the unique pleasure and personal enrichment that can only come from working for a mensch.

mensch (měnsh)  n.  Informal. A person having admirable characteristics, such as fortitude and firmness of purpose: “He radiates the kind of fundamental decency that has a name in Yiddish; he’s a mensch” (James Atlas).

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. (accessed: July 21, 2009).

Take this quick survey: What one word best describes your boss…

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Introverts: Not Networking is Not an Option! (A Brief Interview with Holland-Mark CEO Chris Colbert)

I am happy to report that I successfully bounced back from a surprise April 2009 layoff from a former employer and landed a great new job two months later.  Networking made all the difference in the world.  In fact, in terms of what really worked in my job search, networking was the world.

Just to be clear, this is NOT effective networking! (Source: University of Melbourne, Australia)

Just to be clear, this is NOT effective networking! (Source: University of Melbourne, Australia)

Without networking, I never would have found this job, or for that matter, another good offer for an appealing extended consulting opportunity. I was not one of hundreds of resumes in someone’s email inbox. Neither opportunity was advertised anywhere. In fact, the opportunities were not even fully defined yet when I first explored them.

If I did not have my network which I initiated before I was laid off, if I had not cultivated my network with new contacts after I was laid off, I would still be unemployed.  It’s that critical.

Holland-Mark CEO Chris Colbert led a thought-provoking presentation at last week’s Bentley University Success Network meeting which I believe inspired attendees to build and nurture their networks.  Effective networking is made possible by your personal brand (Brand U); who you are and what makes you unique (what Chris refers to as your One Simple Thing).  Chris’ presentation was recorded and should be available on the Bentley University website soon (stay tuned).

I spoke yesterday with Chris about his presentation and dug a little deeper on how job searchers predisposed to introverted behavior might be at a disadvantage, as they might be more reticient or even shy about approaching others and developing a network to succeed in their job search.  The bottom line is clear: Not networking is not an option.  But introverts out there who bristle at the thought of getting out there and networking should take heart: Networking is not about winning a popularity contest or using phony flattery to manipulate others to help you.  At its core, networking is all about being authentic.

Read on for my chat with Chris Colbert.  I hope you find it helpful.

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Business as a World Healer: Bentley University Leadership Forum

Update – Sept. 14, 2014: I recently revisited this article, among the first I wrote for this blog back in early 2009. America and the world was still reeling from an unconscionably cratered economy; and yet, there was substantial optimism that the global economy – as well as global society and well-being at large – would recover and become stronger. That optimism has since been proven to have been on the mark.

Now more than ever, the advancement of global business and global civilization are increasingly viewed as intertwined and no longer commonly regarded as being mutually exclusive. With all that in mind, it is even more gratifying to look back and read this write-up of Bentley University’s 2009 Leadership Forum: The Business of Healing Our World.

Bentley University 2009 Leadership Forum.

As a Bentley University MBA alum, I am proud that Bentley fully understands and deeply values the importance of business leadership firmly grounded in ethics and social responsibility. It is this variety of true leadership, critical to cultivating the innovations key to solving global challenges, that Bentley advocates for – most recently with its outstanding 5th Annual Leadership Forum (2009), co-produced once again with TIME magazine.

The Bentley Annual Leadership Forum brings together innovative business professionals, NGO executives, thought leaders and more to discuss and share successes on the positive impact enlightened business can have and is having on our society, our environment, our global quality of life. The Forum is capped off by a luncheon honoring student winners of the Tomorrow 25, an international competition honoring 25 outstanding high school juniors with a series of special events on the Bentley campus.

One of the best examples of business for social good profiled at the Leadership Forum was World of Good, presented by founder and CEO Priya Haji (photo).

Priya Haji established a new global distribution system for ethically developed products by over 150 artisan cooperatives in 34 countries around the world. These products are already sold through retail partners like Whole Foods Market, with new partnerships with Hallmark and Disney in progress, as well as online via World of Good on EBay.

The Bentley brand, consisting of its longtime business pragmatism melded with a very strong sense of business ethics, integrity and responsibility is one I am pleased to claim as part of my personal brand. And I am hardly the only Bentley alum who feels that way: Fellow Bentley alum and social entrepreneur Nancy Gallant wrote a fine post in praise of the Leadership Forum on the Bentley University Alumni LinkedIn Group which she has allowed me to share here:

As a social entrepreneur, I found the speakers, their stories and their message inspiring and empowering. And, the Tomorrow 25 “kids” that were introduced, don’t even get me started!

The Leadership Summit is the perfect illustration of Bentley’s dedication to “doing well by doing good.” Given the recent (and, I believe, inevitable) upheaval in the economy, I am hopeful that, in addition to Bentley’s current student population, Bentley alums will help lead the way toward conscious capitalism, a concept with considerable merit and in need of passionate support. Given their leadership role in business ethics, among other things, it only makes sense that Bentley would be a major part of the conversation to promote positive change, socially and environmentally, while embracing and espousing the benefits of a capitalistic economy in which ethics, morality, transparency and stewardship to our future generations, those less fortunate, and our environment are all part of the equation…

I could go on (and on). If you are interested in digging deeper, your time would be well spent checking out a couple of related links:

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Me 2.0 Sure Beats “Me Too” (Me 2.0 Book Review)

I am thankful to have met David Meerman Scott a number of times over the years, including welcoming him as a guest speaker at past Boston Product Marketing Association events. I’ll hazard a guess that it is likely you have David Meerman Scott’s WebInkNow blog bookmarked already; if not, you’ll probably want to once you visit his site.

Me 2.0 Book - Dan SchawbelRecently David Meerman Scott featured 20-something author – and fellow Bentley University alum – Dan Schawbel on his blog. Although just starting out in his post-Bentley career, Dan Schawbel has already racked up some impressive accolades old 40-something guys like me would be very proud of. He has positioned himself as a personal branding expert, with a self-branding blog and magazine, and now a brand new book hot on the shelves: Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.

I can vouch for the value of Dan’s advice in his book, not to mention his wise advice in his free e-book Blogging Your Brand (PDF), which I have found indispensible as I get this blog, and in so doing, my own personal brand, off the ground.

David Meerman Scott’s discussion with Dan Schawbel is well worth reading in its entirety. A few specific comments from Dan Schawbel I found of particular personal interest follow:

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