Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blog for a Job

A reader recently emailed me showcasing how successful a blog post has been for him in landing a job:

"I've had 15 really cool companies from all over North America contact me, almost 800 reads on the blog post and almost 300 reads on my resume; all in 3 days."

Quite impressive--take a look:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free Resume Examples

The following is a collection of the actual resumes that candidates used to land the job.

Melissa Lee--an MBA student at the University of Michigan--landed an internship with IBM Extreme Blue using this resume:

Blake Robertson--a Computer Engineering student at the University of Maryland--landed an internship with IBM Extreme Blue using this resume:

Ben Lewis--an MBA student at the University of Michigan--landed a Product Manager position at Google using this resume:

Gayle Laakmann--a Computer Science masters student at the University of Pennsylvania--landed a software development position at Google using this resume:

Jay Ayres--a Computer Science masters student at Stanford--landed a software development position at Oracle using this resume:

Szymon Swistun--a Computer Science student at Georgia Tech--landed a software development position at Electronic Arts using this resume:

Finally, here is the resume that landed someone the job as an IBM J2EE Consultant:

If you know of a strong resume that you'd like to add to the list, send me a note.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Going Back to Work After Children

I had a very interesting e-mail exchange recently regarding a return to work interview and absenteeism:


I have been following your blog for some time. I am returning to the work force after having taken time off to have children. Due to the extenuating circumstance of having followed my husband back and forth across the continental USA to further his career goals, I have been "unemployed" for almost 7 years. Now that we have made a commitment to settle down in the Chicago area, I have started in earnest to find a job. This is why your blog is so very attractive, and I am grateful for every bit of advice. As far as I am concerned, I am starting from the beginning.

Since my search began, I have interviewed with three companies. Two of these interviews were completely inappropriate. In addition, I have spoken to half a dozen recruiters. I have been asked questions such as:

"Why do you want to return to work now?" -- emphasis on the word "want"

"You said you took a break from work to have children. Are you okay with working a full time position, forty hours a week?"

These questions are very tough to answer in a way that remains professional but flatly states that my personal life is nothing they need to be concerned about. For example, I *want* to return to work for the same reason a man would: to earn enough money to send my children to college. I think that a better phrasing of this question would be, "Why are you returning to the IT field after 7 years' absence?"

Of course, I cannot control how another person phrases a question in an interview, though I have tried rephrasing their question and then answering that question, I always feel offended. No matter how hard I try to be gracious, the interview becomes awkward and seems unrecoverable. Things rapidly deteriorate, and the interview is basically over.

I have consulted many people on this issue and have gotten two answers: first that there is nothing wrong with it; second that it borders on discriminatory. Do you have any advice on how to deal with this situation?

Thank you,

You certainly have a tough one on your hands Erin. What is inappropriate and uncomfortable is your decision and your decision alone. If you feel that a hiring manager suggests something that you are uncomfortable with then I doubt you would enjoy working for him or her. However, I think the key to resolving this issue is keeping in mind that you don't have to decide on anything during the interview itself. My advice is to indeed be as positive as possible and then carefully decide in due time after the interview whether the interviewer has suggested something inappropriate.

Keep in mind that interviewing is often difficult for the interviewer as well. I would imagine that the hiring manager is looking for someone that can get the job done. Try not to concentrate so much on their poor wording--what they really want to know is that you are hard-working, diligent, professional, and most importantly that they can make a return on their investment for training you. So when an interviewer asks such questions emphasize any characteristics that show you can be relied upon in the workplace to get things done (even if it is getting your son to his soccer practice everyday on-time without fail).

Let's translate the real meaning behind the questions you were asked:

Question: "You said you took a break from work to have children. Are you okay with working a full-time position, fourty hours a week?"
Real Question: "Are you going to provide a return on our investment of hiring you?"

Question: "Why do you want to return to work now?"
Real Question: "Are you serious about the position? Can we be confident that you won't leave us in the coming months?"

Later--at your convenience--you can think about the interview as a whole and decide whether the interviewer was too forward in asking about your personal life. Remember that interviewing is a two-way activity; you are certainly evaluating them as well. Don't be afraid to ask at the end of the interview if they are a family-friendly employer. For instance, some employers reimburse a portion of daily child care.

Also, be sure to emphasize that many skills are unaffected or even enhanced during pregnancy/child bearing such as strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Best of luck Erin.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Best Internet Business Startups

I've been researching stats on internet startup companies lately in hopes to find some exciting opportunities for those who read Landing The Job. I've personally contacted executive-level leadership at the following startups which are looking for fresh talent. I was sure to include contact information (you can e-mail any of the representatives below by clicking on their names).

If you know of an interesting startup that is hiring please send me a note or post in the comments and I'll add it.

Innography, Ltd. Austin, TX
"My job is to work with clients and partners for enablement and set the direction for our product roadmap. Innography is a business research and analytics portal customized to a user. Using public information, machine learning, and proprietary algorithms, we help users search, research, explore, filter, and analyze data to make informed decisions about their business. This includes competitive intelligence, market intelligence, and IP intelligence. A simple blurb is Google on steriods for business researchers."--Tyron Stading, VP of Technology.

Alertus Technologies, LLC. College Park, Maryland
"Alertus Technologies has developed an innovative building occupant, all-hazards emergency alert system for campuses, institutions, and communities. Alertus' emergency warning system allows public safety leaders to disseminate localized, custom text alerts to wall-mounted AllertBeacons. Similar to a fire alarm, each AllertBeacon contains strobe lights and a siren, but also contains a text display. Alerts are broadcasted to the beacons using proven radio infrastructure which is very reliable. For approximately the cost of conventional siren towers, the Alertus solution offers audible and visual signaling coupled with text information which empowers people to respond in any emergency."--Blake Robertson, CTO.

Azaleos Corporation, Redmond, Washington
"Azaleos makes corporate e-mail easy. We sell the Azaleos OneServer, a high availability e-mail appliance which sits on customer premises that has a Microsoft Exchange cluster inside along with anti-virus and anti-spam solutions. We offer the Azaleos OneStop Service, remote 24x7 monitoring and patch management on a per mailbox monthly fee."--Roland S. Woan, Director of Development.

Allied Strategy, Lincoln, Nebraska
"Allied Strategy is a technology think tank comprised of University students and recent grads. Our newest development (release April 26, 2006) provides insurance agents the fastest and most accurate way to compare quotes from multiple insurance carriers. By removing the necessity to repeatedly re-key the same information, our software allows agents to improve their quality of service and eliminates the most mind-numbing and unnecessary part of their work day. Believe it or not, nobody does this well – we change that in April."--C. Colby Thomson, CEO.