Archive for May, 2009

Effectively Network in your Underwear

 new do self port 019

It sounds like everyone’s worse nightmare…. You go to the office and suddenly realize you’re just wearing underpants, or worse nothing at all. I think we’ve all had that dream, am I right?

BUT, in reality it doesn’t really matter how you’re dressed to affectively present yourself in the BEST positive light. From the comfort of your home (wearing whatever), simply get involved and BRAND yourself as the expert that you WANT to be.
Here’s how I roll in my knickers:
LinkedIn:
With my recently updated profile I am branding myself as a professional recruiter, web 2.0 maven and blogger. By getting involved in the LinkedIn discussions groups that are geared toward my future career goals I am proactively building and adding to my professional network. I’m not done there with Q&A as my next stop on the cyber train. Taking it a step further will hopefully include endorsements to add to my credibility. You can keep up with my professional progress on LinkedIn by checking me out on my LinkedIn here: – and hey, let’s connect direct!

Facebook:
Reconnect with all those old friends from High School, old friends and even some foe. If you are like me, many of your friends are in the working world now and would love to catch-up. You’d be surprised where this site will take you so keep an open mind. Facebook is a growing in number of users and groups so there is always a wealth of opportunity to cyber network for those savvy enough.

Some of the Facebook groups are geared toward knowledge sharing while others post job openings , event info and other great knowledge. It’s a great place to find people outside of your LinkedIn network and have web 2.0 conversations.  Add me as your friend here and remember DON’T post those photos of you in your underwear.

Twitter:
There is nothing like a “little” chit chat here and there. I love having mini dialogues with professionals in my network. It’s quick, it’s easy and I can do it anywhere now with the Twitter mobile app. I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information shared on Twitter. If you haven’t been able to figure out how to make it effective, let’s connect here – give it a chance before discounting it as a generational thing. After all, Oprah & Martha Stewart are doing it…

Blog Comments & Discussions:
What’s a blog without comments? Really, it just becomes another publication. Blogging is all about conversations, commentary and creating discussions. Sign up for your favorite blogs and leave replies. Even if it’s just to say “good job” or add to the post, comment! Bloggers appreciate knowing that someone is reading and taking the time to add value to their posts. I personally LOVE it! Give it a try and see what happens by posting a comment to this post below 😉
Meetup.com:
Haven’t heard of Meetup.com yet?   Not enough people use Meetup.com. This is an excellent tool for finding face to face networking events AND create another mode of online networking. I see many people from my Meetup groups who post announcements and other great info without actually attending anything in person. It is however a real treat to meet online and then see the person at some point! If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself! If you want to add me as a friend on Meetup.com, I can be found here:

So are you Ready to start networking in your Underwear with Me?

May 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm 7 comments

Job Seekers Hold on Tight Stay Positive & Don’t let go!

girl and her dog

Looking for a job right now is tough. But hang in there, hold on tight and keep the job search momentum going. 

It’s amazing how much opportunity will come your way if you lay a solid foundation, nurture and continually build what you start.  I talk to a lot of folks that start a search, stop to take a break and then start back up again.  They then feel exacerbated by not producing any results, feeling like it should still flow together despite the gap in time.   Continuity will rule in your career search.

Even after you land your next gig, the foundation that you are building today will empower you in the future. Who knows when you could decide to go on the market again, but if you keep the momentum up you will be a head of the game.  Continue to build and nurture your professional network. 

I know job searching is a tough road.  I’ve been there myself.  Applying, interviewing, following up… it gets old after awhile.   It’s a FULL TIME JOB looking for a job. If you are “in it to win it”, don’t give up, stay focused on your target goal and you WILL succeed.

If you find yourself at a crossroads where you might be feeling discouraged or lost, find a good support system to pep you back up. If you can’t find one in your area, start one yourself.  You’ll be surprised at how wonderful it is to share job leads and lend support to fellow job seekers.   Plus there is always a new idea or take on what you might be able to do better to land you that job. Sometimes it pays to hire a career counselor or coach.

Companies ARE hiring. You CAN get a job. You ARE hirable.

Don’t self doubt yourself.   Keep moving forward.

If you should find yourself down in the dumps, when you don’t know what to try next or are out of job leads, don’t go down the dark path of defeat.

Instead, FIND empowerment.

I know it sounds silly, but subscribe to one of those daily affirmation websites or blogs, watch some comic relief on TV or read a good motivational book. Whatever will put a smile on your face is good. Keep your chin up and stay positive, it will only help you out further in an interview.

When all else fails, call me (831-464-1041) or send me an email (heather.gardner@live.com) and we can take a minute to brainstorm together on creative approaches for possible job search success. YOU CAN DO IT.

Stay positive, keep focused and good things WILL come.

Do you need a good pep talk? I’m always here for you.

May 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm 3 comments

Get off the Couch For Public Exposure to Enhance Your Career & Job Search

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Santa Cruz, California is a fabulous coastal town located about 30 miles from San Jose.  It is also home to the World famous Beach Boardwalk.  If you haven’t heard of this 102 year old amusement park, go rent the movies Lost Boys and Dirty Harry’s Sudden Impact.   You are sure to book your Summer trip after those viewings.

This unique coastal town is also home to UCSC and for any old school techies you may remember SCO (Santa Cruz Operation.   SCO’s technology was sold off but many of it’s tech community has stayed and attracted a new crop of tech entrepreneurs.  

Last week I attended one of Santa Cruz’s finest Meetups:  The New Santa Cruz Tech Meetup.   If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend, here’s what you missed:

SC tech meetup blog photos 002

It was a PACKED audience at the AnnexSpace on Cooper Street in down town Santa Cruz and several of the presenters left us excited about some currently hot technology companies.

UserVoice was up first.  Marcus Nelson, co-founder was absolutely engaging with this product pitch.  UserVoice is a “on-line suggestion box”.   It’s a great social media tool that allows companies to enhance and engage the “customer experience”, something that is extremely important in this economy.   The techie audience I came to the mixer with were blown away with Marcus’s presentation style, mixing it up with humorous terms such as “freemium”.   As a non-tech, I was absolutely sold on UserVoice.  If you haven’t heard of UserVoice take a moment to take a peek and follow Marcus on Twitter @marcusnelson.

LinkedIn was up next.   Sheena Gogna works in Business Development for LinkedIn.  Sheena described LinkedIn for us as your own “Professional Identify On-line”.    LinkedIn turned 6 years old!   Sheena also shared that they hit 40 million members.  Most of the features she shared were fairly basic, but she also talked about the “share widget” which is kind of cool.  She said LinkedIn is currently working to build out more applications soon.  Her presentation style was very informative.

Spare Change should give all economic naysayers a run for their “pennies”.  Mark Rose gave an entertaining, to say the least, presentation of his company.  Mark told the story of the Spare Change inception so well, you just have to hear it from him direct because he’s full of personality.  I wasn’t expecting to laugh so much at the tech event, but I did.  Mark Spare Change is a “micropayments” company.  They are the brains behind payment for all those silly little games people play on Facebook, Myspace and Bebo.   Mark gave a hilarious product pitch that made me want to go home and learn code so I could jump on the silly games and stuff band wagon.   Spare Change is processing $2.5 million a month in micropayments a $30 million annual run-rate.  He described it as “counter recessionary”.    

Finishing off the night were three of the UCSC Business Plan Contest finalists with their pitches.   Brilliant student minds with some wonderful innovation.  If I were a college recruiter looking for fresh out of college ideas, I would have hit the candidate jackpot with this group!

SC tech meetup blog photos 001

The organizers gave us an opportunity to network was after the presentations.  I loved the room FULL of talent and the organizers had a great spread of pizza and drinks.   My favorite part of the evening was meeting new technologists.

Next month the New Santa Cruz Meetup is will have a Green Tech agenda at the newly redesigned Dream Inn conference room. 

How about we go the next face to face networking event together?

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May 11, 2009 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

Wishing “Happy Mother’s Day” to Mom for All the Wonderful Things She Tolorates

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Today is one of  my favorite days:

“Mother’s Day”

Mother’s all over the world I want to “Thank you” for all the wonderful things that you do for others. 

Mother’s are one of the best kind of people.  Even if they aren’t “my” mother I want to appreciate every single one of them for the good things they bring into the world.  This includes the Mom’s that might be a dog mommy or cat mommy or just one of those “mother hen” types.  I love them all because you don’t really need kids to be a wonderful “mother”.   You just need to give support and love to others and that’s what I call the “meaning of Mother”. 

I am Mother to Superman and his big sister.  Yesterday, Superman was out of control at a birthday party.   He ate two helpings of ice cream cake, had far too much soda throughout the day and ate anything he could find with sugar as the main ingredient.   My patience was pushed to the max as he hit and annoyed his sister ALL day long. 

Needless to say after Superman’s sugar crash made bedtime impossible, I basked in the fact that I am a proud Mother indeed.  Despite a trying day, my little Superman and his big Sister are the best kind of Mother’s Day gift.  I appreciate all the love they give back.

To all forms of Mother’s out there in the world, I want to take this moment to wish you a “Happy Mother’s Day!”

How will you celebrate with your little Superhero?

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May 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm

For Career’s Sake, No Sex on the First Date

grandma-ruth

My beloved Grandma Ruth used to give me great old world advice on dating.   Grandma Ruth would constantly remind me why it wasn’t a good idea to sleep with a man before marriage:

“Why would he buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?”

Applying Grandma Ruth’s sentiment to your career makes sense. 

My career is in recruiting and career search strategy.  Selling is a big part of it and I am an open “networker” by choice.  This doesn’t mean I will share my entire Rolodex with you or accept any kind networking abuse.    I NEED to be in a committed relationship first (watch Millionaire Matchmaker” for her advice).  

So last week I accepted a nice personalized LinkedIn invite from Joe Smoe (I changed his name to protect his true identity).    I didn’t really know Joe but he knew someone in my network.  I sent a nice reply introduction and thank you back.  

What happened next shocked me.  Joe Smoe sent me a lengthy InMail back that read (I changed the company name as well):

“Thanks for linking up with me. I am a strong advocate of networking and hope we can help each other now that we have established our relationship on Linked In.

By way of further introduction, my firm Acme Recruiting Corp has been in existence for the past 15 years and we have a very unique value proposition for our clients. We provide our clients with executive search services on an hourly basis. No large fees, no retainers, no bills for multiple hires. Just pay for the hours invested in the assignment.

We are generating savings for our current clients in excess of 80% (benchmarked against a 20% contingency fee). It is a very compelling story and we have worked for corporate clients both large and small. We have also served all industries and all functional areas.

So here is my first request for assistance. Can you refer me to any HR executive, recruiter, talent acquisition professional who either could use some help now or who would be interested in learning more about our company for future recruiting initiatives.

Eventually, the hiring trend will turn positive and I don’t know anyone who would not like to save some money will getting their positions filled.

Thanks and Happy Networking

Joe Smoe”

After rolling on the floor with great laughter, I sent Joe a nice note back. 

It was short and sweet and to the point:

“Hi Joe,

I read your note and of course I would love to give you potential target client leads and contact info. But first you’ll need to hire me.”

Nothing further from Joe.   No job offer.  No phone call.  Nothing.

Was I off base here?    After all this is what I do for a living.  I’m a recruiter and offer the same services as Joe.  So why would I give him my professional Rolodex without a mutual professional commitment?

“What’s in it for ME?”

Maybe I should have thanked Joe for giving me the idea to write the post Bad Naked after that.  But instead I dumped him from my LinkedIn contacts for fear he’d try to abuse others in my network.

“Don’t give it away for free” as my Grandma Ruth would say.  Boy, I do miss her no nonsense advice.

What do you think of Grandma Ruth’s advice?

May 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm 4 comments

Excuse Me Job Seekers, Please “Mind your P’s & Q’s” and Thank you…

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Minding your Ps and Qs will get you further along in the job search

While preparing breakfast this morning for the kids, I overhead a song on the Nick Junior channel.  It was this catchy little get-stuck-in-your-head kind of song, but the words are what really caught my interest.  If I could sing a tune, I’d do some audio for you, but I won’t torment you with my bad singing voice. 

It went something like this:

“Magic words go together… words like Excuse Me, Thank You, Please…. La la la….. Everything tends to go your way if you use magic words in this way….la la la…”

I do not encounter good manners nearly enough from active job seekers.   Think about the magic words listed above and how often you use them.

By Definition: Mind your Ps and Qs is an English expression meaning “mind your manners”, “mind your language”, “be on your best behaviour” or similar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P’s_and_Q’s

We just get so busy in our own daily grind and/or are laser focused on getting that job offer that we don’t stop enough  to be polite, to say “thank you”.  We get moving, full speed ahead, going so fast and we don’t want stop for fear we will lose momentum.  In the process of moving this fast, we may end up running over an opportunity that might be right in front of us.  If this is YOU, stop for a moment and think. 

At Starbucks this morning I said “thank you” to the gal that rung me up.

When the bartista shouted out my name, I said “thank you” for the Vente Latte.

 

This was a ‘polite’ way to communicate, but it goes miles in ways I may not know. 

Imagine one of those Starbucks employees became my next hiring manager, or knows them.    The polite first impression could have a positive impact.

OR

A potential business associate or target company employee could be having coffee at that same moment at Starbucks and is observing my actions.   How will my positive behavior affect their first impressions of me in the future?

OR

It just makes good sense to treat people well and be polite.  Practice makes perfect.

You will have bad days when you are frustrated with your job hunt or hate your current job.   Maybe you didn’t get the job offer you were expecting  and you are disappointed and upset.  But keep your emotions in check and take the time to “thank” everyone who offered you job search assistance or interviewed you. 

ALWAYS remember to “thank” the recruiter and/or admin who coordinated the interviews.  They could help you in the future with other opportunities.   DO NOT forget to be polite to the receptionist who greeted you.  The front desk person has a hand in the game too.  If you are rude and discurteous, they will share. 

Make sure at EVERY opportunity to make a professional impression is a good one.  

Please, excuse me from continuing this blog post any further but I thank you for taking time out in your busy day to read it. 

How polite have you been in your job or career search?  Are you remembering to thank those who gave you assistance?

 

May 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm 1 comment


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