Personal Branding Winner of the Month – Mark Beckford of Disruptive Leadership

October 31st, 2008

I came across Mark Beckford a few months ago, as he is a client of one of my partners, Deb Dib.  Mark immediately struck me as very nice, very ambitious, very successful, and very unemployed.  I watched as he started his blog, Disruptive Leadership, and remember his first post wasn’t even the awkward “I’m here, blogging, now what do I say” post.  He jumped right into it, with an analytical, opinionated view on current events that he had professional passion about.

Very nice start, I just wondered if he would be able to keep up the momentum.

Well, he has kept up the momentum, and he stays true to his name Disruptive Leadership.  Very impressive.  Just about everything he has on his blog is impressive… I love the name, colors, look-and-feel, etc.  He is fearless in what he blogs about, has a great style, knows when to write a lot and when to write a little… he has an excellent blog.

And that’s all I’m going to say about why his blog rocks. If you want more substance into what makes a great professional personal branding blog, you can sift through the last 2 years of award winners.  For now, let’s shift gears a little and move from technique to RESULTS.  Because RESULTS is what this is all about.  Mark gets the customary 6 months of JibberJobber premium (transferrable), the highly sought-after link to his blog in my blogroll, a cyber-high-five, and a Blog Marketing 201 – 501 webinar… not too shabby for Mr. Disruptive.

Now let’s get down to RESULTS.  I’m going to let Mark share, in his own words, the results he got.  This is kind of long, but it’s a great read.  This is exactly the type of story I look for to quantify the value of having a strong personal branding strategy.  Mark, take it away!

After 11 years with Intel and a 3-year assignment in Shanghai starting up a new business group and turning around a few businesses, I found myself unsatisfied.  Being in China with Intel was a great experience, but a combination of things, including a dearth of entrepreneurial opportunities, led me to take a year off.   So I pulled the plug on Intel and China and returned to my home in California to spend time with my family (not much opportunity to do that as an expat or Intel executive), dabble in some hobbies (drawing, blogging, and cycling), and do some self-exploration.

I have read more books on various topics in the last 9 months than I have in 20 years.  Some of the standouts tended toward common themes:

  • Networking: Never Eat Alone; The Go-Giver; How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Social Networking: Groundswell
  • Career Development: I’m on LinkedIn, Now What? Career Distinction; Ask the Headhunter; Now Discover your Strengths; Uniting the Virtual Workplace
  • Global Perspectives: The World is Flat; Post-American World; One Billion Customers (how to do business in China)
  • Social Capitalism: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Creating a World without Poverty

As I started thinking about getting back into the job hunt, I realized that for the first time I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.  I  have always been very goal oriented, knowing what I wanted to do or be in 5 years, yet here I was, unsure of what I should do next. Join a startup?  Go back to a big company?  Do consulting?  Go international again? And what type of function (biz dev, general management, etc.)?  It was an uncomfortable place to be.

I joined a six-week teleseminar in March on career management for execs which I found on Blue Steps, led by Louise KursmarkDeb Dib presented at the first session and gave an update on personal branding—my first intro to it.  Louise recommended Jason Alba’s book on LinkedIn, and suggested I use VisualCV because my career had strong visual elements.

I agreed with Deb’s approach ideas about branding, but I was daunted at the thought of doing it by myself. I knew that at work I was at my most creative when I was bouncing ideas off people.  In 2006, I had hired a resume writer, Gloria Gordon, to update my resume for the first time in 10 years (never updated it after business school… just got promoted within Intel and never really needed it.)   Gloria did a great job both on the resume and the cover letter—from scratch—for about $600.  They got me interviews and a job offer, but it wasn’t about branding.

I looked at several brand experts and went with Deb Dib (the most expensive, but I believe that you get what you pay for). In April, I then began the branding process which started with self discovery and included doing things that were very uncomfortable but rewarding. For example, I didn’t like sending Reach’s 360 out to my friends/colleagues.

Bottom line: it helped me realize I had an entrepreneurial passion for growing for-profit tech businesses in emerging markets, creating a wildly successful business while doing good by helping people in need.  The interesting thing is that once I discovered this, I found that there is a huge movement out there to bring business principles to do social good, mixing the dynamics of creating sustainability and growth through capitalistic principles while promoting a social mission.  It is called a “double bottom line” business (i.e. using both profitable and social measurements for success).

So originally, the idea was to take a year of—the first half of the year to hang out with my family, and the second half to do the job search.  I originally figured it would take a few months to find a job.  I had already gotten offers before I left Intel, and headhunters were calling me here and there.  But by June, the phone was no longer ringing, and I realized that this was going to take awhile.  Then things got ugly as the economy ground to a halt and all the companies went on hiring freezes (great for JibberJobber).   The home equity loan I had planned to tap into in case my nest egg for the year got dented decreased due to the decrease in the value of our house.  My wife and I started letting go of all the “help” (gardner, housecleaner, pool man).  I watched my 401K get whacked 20 percent in one week.  Anyway, the financial crisis train was on its way and it was the worst time in 20 years to be looking for a job, especially an executive level job.

The one light for me in all of this was that I now knew exactly what I wanted to be now … CEO of a startup selling computing devices to underserved populations in emerging markets.  The intermediate step given my finances was to work for a startup (preferably) doing this, or a big tech company like Adobe, Google, Facebook that was already doing it (more likely scenario).

But as you know, looking for a job completely SUCKS.  It is demoralizing and boring to boot.

I had become fascinated with web 2.0 and online social networking.   I joined a bazillion social networking sites, but found zero value in 90 percent of them.  The exceptions have been LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.   I finally decided to do a blog, with Deb’s urging, and it has been the most enjoyable thing I’ve done this year.  It has allowed me to express myself and create something that people are actually interested in.   It took a long time to come up with the name, Disruptive Leadership, that fit my “brand”.  I fell into it as I started googling names like Disruptive Marketing, etc.   So 22 posts later, it’s growing and I’m meeting new and interesting people.   It has gotten me noticed by well-established sites in my space such as where I’ve been brought on as one of a handful of staff writers.  One measure of how it has impacted my online brand is that if you google my name in quotes “Mark Beckford” my blog is the second result after my LinkedIn page.

I have been invited to moderate two panels on the role of computers for development.  One was at a conference two weeks ago called “Social Capital Markets 2008” which brought together investors, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs for which I wrote an article titled Pathological Collaboration about how necessity is forcing two previous “enemies” together: capitalists and nonprofits.  The second panel will be at the Net Impact conference (a global network of leaders trying to change the world through business) in Philadelphia next month on the role low cost computing in development in emerging markets.

I am now working on creating a professional network to complement my blog that will bring together like-minded professionals and executives in the technology business who are growing their businesses in emerging markets and looking to use their products to promote development.   Something like Technology for Development or something sexier.  Nothing out there combines technology, for-profit business principles and emerging markets.  I’m taking a slow approach on this as I think social networks are a tougher nut to crack than blogging.  For example, how do you create an active and vibrant community?  What’s the value proposition?  The technology is easy (

And finally, I just received a job offer with a startup called NComputing that sells low-cost computers to schools and other sectors in emerging markets.  I believe they offer a true “disruptive innovation” to the PC world and I am tremendously excited to make their vision a success.

So, in summary, I would say my “success” in creating my brand, online and otherwise, was due to my:

  • Risk-taking – willing to quit my job which was draining me even though I was working in one of the most dynamic countries in the world.
  • Introspection – willing to peel back the onion to see what makes me tick.
  • Willingness to seek help – hiring an executive CEO coach to help me do that introspection (and taking the risk that the BIG investment would be pay later).
  • Passion for networking – reaching out to people in my area of interest which has lead to great things.
  • Being bold, brash and edgy – abandoning the first name I suggested to Deb Dib for my blog (“Digital Opportunity”) and accepting her criticism of it (“boooorrrrrinnnng!!!”)  which led me to come up with “Disruptive Leadership” and pushed me to be edgy in my writings that convey more powerful things that create interest.
  • Giving more to your network then you receive – Volunteering for a ton of things and looking for ways to give back to my network vs. only take, which isn’t easy when you are looking for  a job, but I’ve seen how this pays off.

The result is I am better grounded in who I am, have built a solid online presence, have found the perfect job, and hopefully become a thought leader in this space.

Excellent! Inspiring! Great job Mark!  And congrats on being the Oct 2008 Winner of the Month!



Obama, McCain, Age Discrimination, the Job Search, and Karen P. Katz

October 30th, 2008

What do all these things have in common?  The JibberJobber radio show!  Today I spoke with Karen P. Katz, owner of Career Acceleration and blogger who has some terrific thoughts on the job interview, and what we can learn from Obama and McCain in the ultimate job interview.

Karen P. Katz

Karen P. Katz

We started talking about why Obama has the position he has, even though he doesn’t have the credentials McCain has.  I’m not interested in a political discussion, so don’t go there, but think about it… doesn’t it seem that McCain has a lot of the “right things,” according to what a job description of the President of the United States (POTUS) would contain?

As job seekers, do we sometimes look at a job description and think it’s unatttainable, even though we might have done the same stuff somewhere else?  Yup, you guessed it, transferrable skills.  Karen talked a lot about transferrable skills on this one-hour job search radio show.

The Recruiting Animal

The Recruiting Animal

We got onto a very interesting point about age discrimination, and how to deal with age discrimination in a job search.  It was cool to have the Recruiting Animal on the show, as he provided a recruiter’s point of view.  What does an older job search candidate do if faced with discrimination in the interview?  We talked about that at length, and some great ideas where thrown around.

That’s all I’m going to tell you – you can listen to the hour long show here :)



Sometimes I Feel Like A Proud Papa – The Successful Introvert

October 29th, 2008

Do you ever wonder if you are making a difference in the world, or in a person’s life?  I do.  Over the last 2.5 years, since I got the boot from my employer, I’ve tried to make a difference.  Well, yesterday was a great day for me, as I had two different people mail me the same book… a book that I had a little part in (and that makes me pretty darn proud!).

About a year ago I decided to create a series of webinars to share what I’ve learned about various stuff.  So I created the CEO Training series, and one of the webinars is “Write Your Book!” (you can get it for $49.95 at  For the recording I had two people on the call, one of them was Wendy Gelberg.  And it was Wendy Gelberg’s new book that I got in the mail yesterday, twice!

I had a chance to see The Successful Introvert right before it went to press, and I absolutely loved it.  I’m not just saying that because I knew more of the back-story, and because Wendy participated in the webinar… I loved this book because it speaks to a special person: me.  This might surprise you, as I have a public face, but I consider myself to be an introvert.  Networking, the job search, putting myself out there, tooting my own horn, all that stuff is a painful process.

I remember a few months ago I was at a conference where I was a speaker.  The opening night of the conference was an open-bar networking thing, and most of the people there were social media people.  It was the perfect crowd for me, right?  Instead of going down and networking, I went to my hotel room, got into my pajamas, and hunkered down for a peaceful, quiet night.

That’s me.  Jason the introvert.  Guess how all of my other networking efforts go?  It is taxing.  It’s genuine, and once I get my groove I’m cool, but sometimes just getting that groove is hard, and scary, and takes a lot of effort.

As I read this book I learned about myself, as an introvert.  And I could see how this would benefit job seekers who are scared to death of the job search.  There’s an idea that you have to be a loud, Type A personality to get what you want, otherwise the loud ones are going to take what you deserve.  Wendy breaks down some myths, and helps me understand how to go about a job search as an introvert.

Here are the chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Are You Introverted or Are You Shy?
  • Section 2: Job Search and Transition
  • Chapter 3: Promoting Yourself: Creating an Effective Resume
  • Chapter 4: Cultivating Connections
  • Chapter 5: Promoting Yourself: Interviewing
  • Chapter 6: After You Land­: Transitioning to Success
  • Chapter 7: Embrace Your Introversion

In addition to Wendy’s personal experiences, she has a bunch of introverts sharing their thoughts, techniques, etc. with you.  Here’s one I really like from Patty Lebau, a teacher (page 37):

“[Job search] has always been a not-fun process, but when I changed it into a research project, I was able to turn it into something I could handle.  A research project is the kind of intellectual area that I’m comfortable with.”

One more quick comment.  I LOVE the cover. I know how hard it is to come up with a good cover, but the image of the pearl really sums up the idea… great job Wendy!

This book is about 90 pages, and retails for $16.96 on Happy About’s website, or $19.95 on Amazon.  Go check it out (and if you are that Type A person, and don’t need this book, you can get it as a gift for someone else).



Job Search is to ___ as Career Management is to ___: Follow-up

October 28th, 2008

Yesterday’s post was my shortest, and perhaps my funnest, post.  I gave a few Job Search is to ___ as Career Management is to ___ examples, and there were about a dozen others who chipped in with their own.  There were a few that just had me laughing, like Mike Murray’s:

Job search is to dating as career management is to marriage.

and Nancy Babyak’s:

Job Search is to takeout as Career Management is to a well stocked Pantry.

I loved all of them… however, I think my absolute favorite is Erika’s from Qvisory:

Job Search is to a Stephen King novel as Career Management is to that great literary classic you’re always meaning to get around to reading.

Isn’t a job search just freeze-you-in-your-steps scary!  And oh my gosh, that literary classic that we never get around to… just like career management!  Priceless, Erika!

But I do want to follow-up with one thought… and I’m honestly surprised that no one called me out on it.  If you read through all of them, including mine, you get the idea that “job search” is bad, and “career management” is good.  Or “job search” is dumb, or a waste of time, etc. and “career management” is what we should all be doing.

It wasn’t my intention to insinuate that job search is… bad, dumb, useless, etc.  It’s simply a component of career management, isn’t it?

So here’s my point, and I’ll use my first example to bring it out:

Job Search is to sprint as Career Management is to marathon.

Is a sprinter better than a marathoner?

They both have high-performance shoes.

The both eat diets optimized for their training and performance.

They both where the right running gear.

They both need to drink the right amount of water.

They both….

You get my point.  They are both athletes, and they both perform to the job.  They have trained specifically for their role.  I doubt a marathoner and sprinter could trade training regimes for a few weeks and still perform like they should.  They are specialists.  Neither one is better, neither is worse.

In our CAREER MANAGEMENT, which is what WE have to be in charge of our entire career, we must understand the rules, techniques, tricks, tactics, etc. of the JOB SEARCH.

Understanding what it is, how to succeed in it, and what we need to do, and, training for it, will help us so that it is not scary, or bad.  The job search simply a thing that we can master.

Thanks a ton for the laughs, this was really fun!



Job Search is to _____ as Career Management is to _____

October 27th, 2008

Job Search is to sprint as Career Management is to marathon.

Job Search is to over soon as Career Management is to never ending.

Job Search is to fad diet as Career Management is to lifestyle eating.

Job Search is to tactics as Career Management is to strategy.

Job Search is to pay the bills as Career Management is to income security.

What’s yours?



DO NOT Lose Faith In Yourself

October 24th, 2008

Yesterday I had a wonderful radio show with Susan Whitcomb.  We talked about a lot of cool stuff, and the Recruiting Animal jumped on and added some great info (digging to “why I didn’t get a job if I’m such a smart guy, and so driven??”).  You can download it, or just listen to it online, at

Susan’s ending thoughts revolve around what she calls “Providence,” saying that in the end we just can’t lose faith that things will work out.  I truly believe this… can you think of anyone who is completely left out to dry, with no way to survive?  While some people may feel like it, things somehow work out (even if we don’t end up with the boat, and ATV, and other toys that we think we should have).

I’m not going to talk about Providence… you can listen to Susan’s interview here.

I want to talk about what happens to the professional as the job search goes longer and longer.  I went through this myself, and experienced some of the lowest days of my life.  And almost daily I hear from professionals who are in serious pain.

At the beginning of my job search, I knew I was pretty hot.  My credentials were strong, including a Computer Information Systems degree as well as an MBA.  I speak Spanish fluently, my past job titles include general manager, VP, CIO, IT Manager, etc.  I was involved in some very cool projects, and saw significant growth/improvement, etc.

I did not have a problem with feeling good about myself.

Until a few weeks went by… and I was not getting any return phone calls or emails.  I was sitting in my chair, with my laptop, wondering why people weren’t responding to me.  Couldn’t they see how incredible I was, and what I’d add to their company, and why they should hire me????

I started to doubt myself. Was I really that good?  Or maybe I was just in the right place at the right time, and lucked out in the previous part of my career.

I lost self-confidence. If companies weren’t interested in me, even for lesser jobs than I had in the past, maybe I wasn’t worth anything?  Did I go to the wrong school?  Was my employer badmouthing me when called as a reference?  Where my skills just not useful anymore?  Was I the commodity I never should have been?

I compared myself to others, in a really bad way. People who I thought I was better than, but guess what?  They had jobs and paychecks.  If *they* could get work, and I couldn’t, what was wrong with me??

It was easy to lose perspective.  You can read over 200 comments on my Depression Clouds Everything post, which talks about depression in the job search.  You can read why having this happen to you will only prolong your job search in my post about HR and recruiters being able to smell blood a mile away (like a wolf can smell blood of a wounded victim… are you a wounded victim?  HR doesn’t want to bring a wounded victim onboard).

Some things are in your control.  Like what time you get out of bed, what time you shower and get dressed, and how you take care of yourself.  You control what activities you do in your so-called job search.  Is it to sit on the computer and apply online all day, or will you do the right (and hard) stuff like pick up the phone or go out and meet people face-to-face?

One of my mom’s favorite sayings is “this too shall pass.”  Meaning, no matter what we are going through, we’ll get through it.

I KNOW you will get through your job search.  Does it suck?  It’s beyond sucking.  It’s a demoralizing state.  But it’s also a very common state, and many people are in it right now, and many more will be in it soon.  And you’ll be in it again.

But please, please don’t lose faith in yourself.  This job search will pass, and soon enough you’ll find yourself employed, pulling in a paycheck, and okay.  You may not have hit the bottom yet, but you will find that job you are looking for.



BlogTalkRadio for Job Seekers – Tips For Job Search In A Tight Economy

October 23rd, 2008

Today I am honored to have Susan Whitcomb join me for our BlogTalkRadio show.  It’s TODAY at 12:15 EST (15 minutes later than normal), and you can listen on your PC or we can take a few callers (last time I didn’t get to any callers, sorry).  Here’s the info to get on the call (or hear the archive):

To listen live through your computer, just go here at 12:15 EST: (you can also here past episodes there)

To call in and ask Susan question, call: (718) 766-4825

I’m thrilled to have Susan Whitcomb join us today.  I met her at a conference last year and see here at about every conference I go to. Aside from being a successful author, she runs the Career Coach Academy… she trains career coaches!  She is the one who teaches them systems, techniques, skills, etc. to help YOU find a job faster, or find the right job for you.

She recently shared a list of twelve tips for job hunting in a tight economy.  I can pontificate all day long about how to conduct a job search, but let’s face it: when I was in my (failed) job search, it was a “job seeker’s market,” and I still couldn’t get a job!  I think it’s great we get to hear from a career veteran on how to go through a job hunt in this not-so-fun economy.

Susan is a JibberJobber Career Expert Partner – if you can, join us live.  Otherwise, you can always download the interview (along with all other interviews) at the BlogTalkRadio JibberJobber page!

Next week we’ll talk with Karen Katz, of Career Acceleration, about Transferable Skills and the National Interview… she’s done a lot of thinking about the current election and has some brilliant ideas on what we, as job seekers and career managers, can apply to our own careers.

JibberJobber ONE THING has 98 subscribers… and we’ve sent out a ONE THING email every day (except one).  You can join here.  Today’s ONE THING had to do with starting your Job Journal… yesterday’s ONE THING had to do with easily nurturing relationships with three contacts… the day before was… I’m not telling.  Go sign up to get this small email sent to you daily :)

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When A Recruiter Becomes A Job Seeker – The Irony Of It All

October 22nd, 2008

I assumed recruiters would be my silver bullet to a short job search.  If I could just get a few good recruiters to see my resume, and find my job for me, I’d be set.

That wasn’t the case at all.  I learned a lot about recruiters and the “candidate”/recruiter relationship.  Powerful, yes they are.  Silver bullet, not necessarily.

In the last 30 months since I started this journey I’ve seen some of these “powerful” recruiters become job seekers themselves.  Geesh, who better to successfully do a job search than a recruiter?  After all, they know how jobs are found, know how to network, and should have a TON of contacts with decision makers at companies.

Alas, some recruiters who become job seekers flounder as much as we do.  And it always shocks me.  Here’s why I think recruiters don’t necessarily become good job seekers:

  1. They aren’t ready for it. Who is “ready for it?”  Even if you think you are getting ready for it, the reality of “we’re going to have to let you go” doesn’t hit until you actually hear the words.  Then you can lose all hope of it maybe not happening, which means you really, really have to shift gears.
  2. Their network relationships are weak. Sure, they are on the phone all day.  But many candidates I talk to don’t like recruiters.  Passive candidates (the ones who are NOT looking for a job) are annoyed that recruiters bug them during the day, and active candidates (the ones who are desperately looking for a job) are annoyed recruiters never call them back!  And some recruiters don’t deal with companies, who to them are the “clients,” because someone else in their office is taking care of the client relationship.
  3. They don’t really understand the job search process – for themselves. Working with candidates to get their resume good enough, and helping them prepare for interviews, and cold-calling and working LinkedIn to find the right candidate… you’d think this was good training for a future job seeker.  Have you ever noticed that it’s a lot easier to tell someone how and when to do things, than to actually do them yourself?  If a recruiter enters a job search, and it goes on and on and on and on (like mine did), I bet they are struggling with the same things I struggled with (self-doubt, lots of introspection, changing of strategies, etc.).
  4. There is little-to-no career management. In programming there’s a term: heads-down programming. I first heard it when describing a worker who did nothing but program.  He was great at churning out code, but there was nothing else this guy did.  That’s okay, but if we treat our job like this, heads-down doing our job but not ever looking up or getting involved in something else. we are in for a big surprise when the boss lets us go.  Many recruiters I’ve met are in heads-down-recruiting mode, doing their job, working on their work goals, making X number of phone calls and trying to place Y number of candidates, that they are blind-sided by “we’re going to have to let you go.”  HUH?  I was just doing my job?

Principles of job search and career management are the same regardless of who we are.  Recruiters aren’t any different than we are… some are extremely prepared, and others aren’t.  I’d love to hear from recruiters what they think they’d do if they lost their jobs… anything different than what most of us normal job seekers are doing?



The Danger Of Banking On One Opportunity

October 21st, 2008
Keep your pipeline FULL!

Keep your pipeline FULL!

This is a long story, so I’m not going to write anything more than THIS IS NOT MY STORY. I kind of had this happen to me, but this particular story is from a JibberJobber user, and reader of this blog. If you area job seeker this story will make you sad and mad at the same time.

Jason, I’ve just had an experience which you may want to share with your readers in a blog post. Perhaps others can learn from it.

As you know, it’s been tough to find my next position as my work spans over multiple departments. Last year I went through an interview process for a position that had a job description that seemed perfectly suited to me. I had several interviews over a few months. In addition, someone who worked at the organization worked with me previously at my current organization and had supposedly put in a good word for me. At the end, I came in #2 to another candidate.

This summer, I saw the person who I used to work with in the park near my office, only to find out that the person they hired hadn’t worked out and they would be soon looking for a replacement. He added ‘they should have hired you.’ I followed up with an email to the organization executive director to keep my connection open but not mentioning my conversation.

A few months later, I was contacted by the organization and the interview process started again. I met three times with practically the entire executive staff, which seemed very promising. I also joined the organization’s email lists and made sure that I prepared well for every conversation, tracking my interactions in JibberJobber.

Suddenly about a month ago the process stopped. I followed up with an email to the executive director, and received a response that he would call me the next day. The next day came and went – no response. Three weeks later, I followed up with another email and received a response that he wanted to call me but ‘didn’t have my phone number.’ This seemed a bit strange, but I sent back my full contact information and we arranged to chat the next day.

After an exchange of voice mails, I finally spoke to him yesterday. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a positive experience, but the conversation was very discouraging. He started off by saying that the recent financial crisis had made them ‘re-evaluate’ whether or not to fill this position. While I could understand the concern, the role of this spot in maintaining all of the organization’s online communications seemed a bit too important to discontinue in the face of the recent stock market fluctuations.

He then continued to say that even if they decide to go forward, they probably would not continue with my candidacy, even though I had been given more interviews than most others who had applied for the position. This still seemed a bit hard to understand, so I asked whether there was some part of my qualifications that didn’t match the position. I was told that they were now looking for a ‘different’ set of skill sets, but that he hoped I had benefited from the experience.

Needless to say, the conversation left me angry and frustrated about having devoted so much resources to an organization that clearly doesn’t have its act together. On the positive side, I was grateful that I didn’t end up working there for someone who didn’t even have the decency to probably wouldn’t have given me any type of update had I not followed up several times.

The lesson? While it’s useful to focus on opportunities that seem to be especially the right fit, it’s dangerous to spend too much time concentrating on one possibility. I received several signs that this would at least result in an offer, and twice I was burned. Now having had my job hunt go on for two years, I’m wondering what it takes to move to the final stage. One thing I’m planning to do is to do some mock interviews with my career coach to hopefully find out if there’s anything I can do to improve my presentation.

Please keep my name anonymous but please emphasize to your audience the importance of having multiple possibilities going at all times and to be aware of any warning signs during the interview process that an organization may be dysfunctional and is NOT a good place to work, even if the job sounds perfect.

I’ll just repeat one line:

“While it’s useful to focus on opportunities that seem to be especially the right fit, it’s dangerous to spend too much time concentrating on one possibility.”  Keep that pipeline full!

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LinkedIn Maintenance II: Do THIS RIGHT NOW (or else)

October 20th, 2008

Three months ago I wrote LinkedIn Maintenance: Do This Right Now (or else), strongly encouraging you to back up your network (export connections in Linkedin) and download your profile as a PDF.  I got 49 comments on that post, and a bunch of bloggers shared it.  I didn’t mean to use a scare tactic, as I think those are generally lame, but the story about Susan Ireland’s account getting deleted (or, becoming inaccessible) by LinkedIn is a reality that most LinkedIn users won’t want to face.

Today I want to present Part II of LinkedIn Maintenance (or else) to you.  If you don’t do this when you read my blog post, don’t call me asking to help you – because I won’t be able to.  First, the story:

I got a desperate email and few voice mails, and then finally connected on the phone with a recruiter.  This is someone who has read me, known about me, heard from me, etc. for over a year.  She was practically in tears, and clearly distraught.  She had built her LinkedIn network to over 1,500 connections, and used it religiously in her work as a recruiter.

Can you imagine taking all the time and making all the effort to build a network that big, and using LinkedIn on a daily basis as she did her job?  LinkedIn is to her what a hammer is to a carpenter.  Critical.

She ended up leaving her employer.  And shortly after, probably within 24 hours, her LinkedIn account was… GONE.

Wait, it wasn’t totally gone.  This is scarier than “gone.”  From what I understand, here’s what happened:

Her boss must have done a “forgot password.”  Since her primary, and ONLY email address on her account, was the corporate email account he provided her, which he now had COMPLETE control over, he was able to login as her.

And he changed her LinkedIn password.

And he changed her vanity URL (from her name to his name).

And he changed the name (the one at the very top of your Profile).

It looked 100% like HIS account.  But there were two problems:

  1. All of the 1,500 connections were connected to this new, bogus, fraudulent account.  Sounds like a HUGE breach of privacy/security to me.  And embarrassing and disrespectful to the lady, who had built the relationships.  Not to mention the complete disrespect for each of her LinkedIn connections.
  2. All of the recommendations had HER name, not his.  He couldn’t change that.  If I happened upon the Profile I would have guessed it was a bug in LinkedIn.

But it wasn’t a bug.  It was a fraudulent situation.  I said, “YOU DIDN’T READ MY BOOK!”  Because in my book I say, MAKE SURE the primary email address is one that you will have 100% complete control over, like a gmail account, or Yahoo, or AOL, or Hotmail, or something like that.  The second address in your account can be your employer’s address, but it should NEVER be your primary address.  NEVER!

That’s it… no more story, no more writing about this.  GO NOW to your LinkedIn Profile, click on Account & Settings, then on the right click on Email Addresses, and the rest should be obvious.

If you want more info on using LinkedIn, you can buy my book or follow the I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? blog.  I blog regularly over there.

Please, go do this NOW.


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