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April 2009

How a Sucky Economy Makes A Professional Identity Outside of the Workplace More Important...

A member of my team at DAXKO received a subscription email from Patrick Lencioni this week (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death By Meeting, The Five Temptations of a CEO, and other best sellers - some of which you’ll find in DAXKO’s Learning Center).  It might also be something you could send along as encouragement to a friend who is struggling with a job loss or a less than ideal career situation.

What follows are excerpts from that letter.  My thoughts after the jump:

Rediscovering Work

…When I graduated from college and started looking for a job a little over twenty years ago, therePoliceCards seemed to be a new attitude emerging—one that had probably been slowly taking shape for twenty years before that—about the importance of finding deep meaning and fulfillment in a job. Gone were the days of simply looking for a secure job in a stable industry. The new movement encouraged young people to find their true passions, be unconventional, and blaze their own trails.

I have to admit that I was a big proponent—and still am—of helping people discover their talents and gifts and find an outlet for them in work is one of my favorite hobbies. I’ll also admit that I assumed that this new ascent up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would never be reversed. But given the fundamental changes we’re seeing in the global economy, we may just be sliding back down Maslow’s pyramid a little, and maybe even staying there for a while. In other words, I think we’re going to start having lower expectations about finding the perfect, meaningful and custom-fitted job, and developing a new kind of appreciation for the old notion of work.

…I believe some hidden blessings may come out of all this.

For one, this emphasis on finding a perfect job has created something of a sense of guilt or disappointment for so many people who, because of economic or educational limitations, weren’t in a position to land their dream job. They never became a roller-coaster architect or an author of children’s books or a rocket scientist. Instead, they did the best they could to find a relatively interesting job in a field that would allow them to pay the bills. Given everything that’s happening today, they’re going to be feeling better about what they’re doing, and happier than ever to simply be working. That’s a good thing.

And then there are the people who were industrious and fortunate enough to find one of those cool jobs, but who experienced their own disappointment when they came to the inevitable realization that designing roller coasters and writing books and building rockets didn’t turn out to be the party they expected it to be, and that a rewarding career is not the answer to all of life’s problems. The fact is, even rock stars and advertising executives and fashion designers experience the drudgery of work, not unlike bank tellers and plumbers and retail clerks; they just feel worse about it because they didn’t expect their work to become, well, work. Now they too can find a little relief and reset their expectations about the reality of having a job.

Finally, and most importantly, this shift away from needing a perfect job might just bring about a new appreciation for the simple gift that is work. This is something that my parents’ generation seemed to understand better than mine. To be gainfully employed, to labor with integrity in any way for the good of customers or co-workers or family, really can be its own reward. That is making sense to me now more than it has at any time in my career…

Yours,
Pat Lencioni

I like the thoughts - all work has merit and meaning.  That said, I'm going to spin it another way. The fact that many people are having to adjust/reset their expectations regarding the type of job they'll have in this economy, and perhaps (based on where they're at in their career) the level they'll play at, calls for another movement - don't let your job define you as a professional.  Develop a professional identity outside the workplace.  Be involved in conversations relevant to your profession outside of your work.

Develop a professional identity outside the workplace, and you'll never be held hostage intellectually to the job you currently have.  The biggest virus going around my set of friends due to the economy is fear.  One way to deal with that is to reset your expectations regarding your job and know that it's OK if you feel underemployed, because you can still find enjoyment with work regardless of the role. 

That's a good fallback, but I think a better place to be mentally is to say that you're an Accounting professional, a HR pro, etc., and not a Director of HR for ACME.  If you're a Director of HR for ACME, and you have nothing else mentally, if ACME goes under you're going to panic.

If you developed a professional identity outside of ACME in the local and national HR communities, you're going to feel much more solid emotionally if ACME goes under.  Why?  Because ACME didn't define you professionally, it was simply part of the portfolio that is you.  That sounded a bit like Tony Robbins, but it's true.

So, use social media, write, get involved in local and regional organizations, volunteer, etc. - all with the goal of establishing a professional identity outside of work.  You'll be happy you did, and your fear meter will go down as a result.


You Nap, I Surf (and hope methadone is not required)... Productivity Strategies for Boomers and Y's....

There's obviously a BIG GAP in generational expectations when it comes to using the Internet and everything it enables (news, stocks, twitter, facebook, browsing), especially when it comes to productivity.  The old school, which includes old-school managers and many big companies that just can't bring themselves to trust employees at work, thinks the Internet is a giant productivity suck at work.  For that reason, many old guard companies still block access to certain categories of sites, including news and social media tools.

You've read about this last week, so let's discuss.  An Australian study shows that Internet surfing increases productivity.  From Wired.com:

"Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It'll make you a better employee, according to anInteret addict Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity.

The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not. Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped to sharpened workers' concentration.

"People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," Coker said on the university's website (www.unimelb.edu.au/). "Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days' work, and as a result, increased productivity," he said.

According to the study of 300 workers, 70 percent of people who use the Internet at work engage in WILB."

I agree with the study results from my own experience, even if it has taken me two hours to finish this post because I have 18 browser windows open and Michael from Human Race Horses is pinging me via Google Chat (writing on a Sunday, btw, DAXKO peeps).  But there's a dark side from an employee relations standpoint from the study:

"But this doesn't apply to everyone. Approximately 14 percent of the sample showed signs of Internet addiction and, for them, Web surfing can decrease productivity. The more they surfed at work, the less productive they were. The reason for this, he said, "is because of an 'urge' to search the Internet. "Those that aren't addicted, don't have this urge and they surf the Internet as a reward."

Which begs the following question:  Would you accept a decrease in productivity and a possible addiction (can the ADA be far behind) in 14% of your employee base in exchange for 70% of your employees gaining an average of 9% increased productivity?  

I think I would.  Maybe the study actually provides a non-big brother reason to use some of the monitoring software that many companies have.  Use more than 8 hours at work surfing (20% of the 40 hour work week), get some automatic employee relations attention.  Maybe a trip to the methadone clinic (bonus - can anyone tell me the best reference ever to the concept of a methadone clinic in music?  Hint - it's in a Kid Rock song).

What about you?  Hit me in the comments...


The Connection Between Weezer and Your Employment Brand...

What's with these homies dissing my girl?

A new Weezer CD came out last year.  Not ordinarily fodder for a HR site, but I couldn't resist after bouncingWeezer around their site to see if they were touring, etc.  Here's the deal - Weezer gets the web, and more importantly, they get how to use the web to collaborate, bring their marketing down to a one-to-one level, and hit pop culture trends, to ensure their videos are passed around in a viral fashion.

Oh yeah, and they accomplish a lot of this via video and YouTube.  Nice...

It occurred to me that all these things are features that I could use to a much smarter degree in our employment branding.  You probably could to. 

Hit the Weezer site to learn more.  Here are some YouTube highlights of what's up with them in building their brand via their new CD.  Think about this from a candidate's perspective if they were looking at your company, whether you have 10 employees or 10,000....

1.  Casual invite/introduction with web cam sensibility.....


2.  Video cut in raw fashion, inviting fans to collaborate on the lyrics to a song that's being written via the web.


3.  New video, "Pork and Beans".  The whole thing is a mashup/parody of viral videos that have exploded in the last couple of years on YouTube.  You have to love the use of YouTube pop culture in the video, pretty much ensuring that the thing explodes virally on the net.  With a chorus anchored by "I'ma do the things that I wanna do, I ain't got a thing to prove to you", this might be the new corporate song at your company - if you were a risk taker...


Performance Pay for the Role Player You Can't Live Without - A Cautionary Tale...

You've all been there.  You've been squeezed by the merit budget to provide no more than 3-4% in pay for performance merit increases across your team.  The problem?  You can clearly identify the stars, the average players and the laggards that you can't live without, but there's a small fourth group to whom you wish you could provide more than the average increase, but based on your budget you can't find the money.

The profile of that small fourth group?  The team player who handles the gritty details, never complainsBattier-kobe and is the glue to a lot of what you do.  They're not a star, and they're not necessarily very marketable outside your company.

You just wish you could find a way to value them closer to the star, rather than the average player, because they're not average. 

More from Ann Bares at Compensation Force:

"To be clear, I am not against rewarding high performers nor am I advocating getting rid of merit pay.  But as I think about our collective struggles with merit increases and our fascination with superstar performers, I continue to be haunted by the story of Shane Battier, which I posted about here.  Battier is the N.B.A. player whose own conventional performance statistics are utterly unremarkable, but whose presence on the court consistently makes his team perform better and his opponents consistently worse.  I am reminded of how far most of us have yet to go in measuring the contributions of employees whose presence "in the game" inexplicably makes the whole team perform better.  I do realize that most performance management programs include an element titled "teamwork", but I have to wonder how many managers truly understand and appreciate the nature of how their teams work and the subtle, often unnoticed ways that people help their coworkers shine ... or cause them to struggle.

Here's my point.  When merit pay and individual rewards are the only games going - or where they clearly dominate the reward package - I wonder how much of the struggle to accurately measure and reward performance is due to a gnawing sense that our conventional tools and metrics are missing something important, something we can't articulate but realize is there.  While some of the issue can certainly be traced to a "tragic" lack of management courage and honesty, could it also be that our current programs too often force managers to "rate" the Shane Battiers in their domains as "B" players when they know in their hearts that this isn't right or true?"

Ann's post is thought provoking, as is most of her stuff.  Subscribe now if you haven't already. 

Here's my take.  Want to pay your Shane Battier for being the glue of your team?  Find a way to make him a player/coach in your organization.  Change the game, rather than relying on the traditional merit system.  Find a way to get him in a slot that allows him to continue the work for your team while taking on additional responsibilities.  Get him a 20% promotional opportunity.  It's real and justified because all the characteristics that Battier shows in the article referenced typify leadership and team building characteristics.

In sports, the best coaches were usually average players.  Why should it be different in business?  Find your glue players who can't quite compete with the stars and put them on a managerial track and get them paid sooner rather than later.  If you're looking to not be limited by the merit system, that's your best bet. 

The players whose presence on your team consistently makes the team perform better and your competition worse aren't only players.  They're coaches as well.


On Commitment To Your Company (Recession Edition)...

Interesting conversation going on between 2 well-known HR bloggers about the wisdom of "committing" to your company.  Work with me on this one; here's the first part from my friend Laurie at Punk Rock HR:

"Scott Pitasky spoke about Microsoft’s staffing department, yesterday, and one statement stuck in my craw. Microsoft employees don’t have goals. They have commitments.

Ho-lee-crap, dudes. Commitment? Like Mormons? Like a dysfunctional marriage?Mr_commitment

  • I made a commitment to my husband when I married him in Las Vegas.
  • I made a commitment to my cats when I adopted them.
  • I made a commitment to stop eating Domino’s Pizza because they support right-wing political candidates and causes.

When I work for a company, I do a job and you pay me. When I suck, you fire me. When you suck, I quit. This isn’t rocket science."

Another friend of mine, Jessica Lee, hit a comment to the post and also blogged about her thoughts in response.  Here's the comment in Laurie's post (one of many):

"all these commitment-phobes leads me to believe there are a lot of disgruntled peeps out there. geez! y’all are bringing me down…

to quote someone i respect, our friend Frank Roche… “companies ARE their people… you know how to be loved? love someone. it has to start somewhere. committing to doing the right thing that’s good for you and the company is the way to go.”

i guess my glass is more than half full…"

Laurie's response to that in a nutshell:

"You are not paid to commit, and you should really think about the emotional capital you invest in your job. It’s not healthy, dudes, and it’s not right."

I'm going to straddle the fence on this one as follows.  You should emotionally commit to your profession, because doing all the things that entails (passion, extra work, involvement in your professional community, etc.), is really the only thing that distinguishes you within your company.  Notice I'm talking about commitment to your profession

To Laurie's point, the company pays you.  I think the commitment you make that provides value needs to be within your profession.  As long as the company pays you, all the extra work and the benefits are theirs.

But the key for me is that your commitment is portable.  Invest in your profession and the company gets the benefits because you're good.   When the relationship ends, you can take the intellectual capital with you to the next gig.


Lies, Damn Lies and the EFCA #2 - Intimidation By Employers...

This post is part of a series on the pro-EFCA spin that's out there. If you've read this blog for more than a month, you know how I feel about the ironically-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  It's a bill that's bad for employees, bad for employers and less-importantly, bad for HR people.  Find good rundowns here, here and here...

If the EFCA is signed into law, your life as a HR pro changes.  Once the EFCA is law, employees would no longer have Sopranosthe right to a confidential vote on whether they want to be represented by a union or not.  If you know how organizing works, you know that today employees express their interest in having a vote by signing what's known as an authorization card.  Once the union gets the necessary number of cards (30% of employees, but most unions shoot for 50% because that's what they need to win the resulting election), an election is called and employees then get the luxury of both unions and employers campaigning for their vote.  Then they vote via a confidential ballot, much like your presidential vote.

Granted, at the very least the card check provision now seems to be temporarily on the ropes, as Democrats who once sponsored the bill are pulling out due to the classic overreach of the act, but I'm continuing the series...

Today's Focus on Lies, Damn Lies and the EFCA - the pro-union spin on Intimidation by Employers:

I just taught the local HR Certification class last weekend, focused on the HRCI module "Employee and Labor Relations".  With that in mind, it served to refresh my take on some of the pro-EFCA being spun by pro-union forces out there.

Case in point - the pro-union, pro-EFCA camp clearly states that there's a need to eliminate the secret election because employers intimidate employees during the election campaign now mandated by law.  The pro-union spin says that because employers can hold as many meetings as they want during the election period, they'll constantly intimidate employees by focusing on doom and gloom and pointing to the fact that the plant could close if the union gets voted in, etc.

Couple of things about this if you haven't been exposed as a HR pro.  First up, the law is pretty clear about what employers can and can't do in the election campaign.  There are laws already on the books regarding this.  To put it simply, employers can't Threaten (we'll close the plant if you vote the union in), Interrogate (who went to the union meeting last night?), Promise (if you vote no to the union, I'll make sure you get a 10% raise), or Spy (sit in a car and see who goes into an off-site union meeting, install cameras in break areas to monitor conversations, etc.).  Put it all together and the company can't TIPS.

What can the company do in their message by law?  They can FOE (share Facts, Opinion and Experiences).  Examples could be as follows:

  • Fact - Your compensation and benefits aren't guaranteed to go up if the union comes in.  Everything's negotiable, and those items can go up, but they also can come down.
  • Opinion - It's my Opinions that you don't need a union to negotiate on your behalf.  You're going to have union dues deducted from your paycheck for things you already have access to today.
  • Experience - My father was a union member for 30 years, and the one time he thought he needed the union in a grievance process, he felt like the union steward didn't care about him, because he wasn't a vocal supporter of the union.

So, contrary to what the union lobby would have you believe, laws are already on the books to cover what an employer can and can't say during the election campaign. 

That's valuable for you to know.  But here's the dirty secret unions don't want to talk about related to what gets said during the organizing process - Unions can say whatever they want during the organizing process, and there's little the company can do about it.  Promises to employees about what the union will get once they're voted in - more wages, more benefits, more premium items - are all a part of the selling process.  Unlike employers, unions aren't restricted regarding the promises they make to get employees to sign an authorization card.  When's the last time you heard of a union taking an Unfair Labor Practice charge (that's the process governed by the NLRB) for outlandish promises made to employees?

That's right, you haven't heard of that, because there aren't laws on the books that really address that.  Employers take the vast, vast majority of unfair labor practice charges, and meanwhile, union organizers can say anything they want. 

That's the current system folks.  Eliminate the right to a secret ballot and the campaign that comes right before it (when the employer can talk to its employees about the promises made by the union organizers), and you've got a system that's going to disappoint the vast majority of employees once the union represents them.

Intimidation by employers?  How about promises made by organizers?  Can we look into that?


Do the Robot with the Cut and Paste on Your Next Performance Review...

I can't book my posts for this week without including a shout out to Frank Roche of KnowHR, who has always been good, but has been on fire of late.  If you don't know Frank, kick over to the blog and check out the content, which includes some unbelievable Pay Transparency posters with a Karl Marx twist. 

Cost of total pay transparency in your organization from an employee relations standpoint - Significant.Do_the_robot   Frank applying a communist vibe to the groupthink surrounding pay transparency - Priceless.

But that's not all.  Last week Frank waxed poetic about the segment of the HR industry that plays to the lowest common denominator that is the "Cut and Paste" performance review.  Want some text for your next performance review?  Frank focuses us in on the usual suspects:

"You don’t want to make Baby Jesus cry, but you could if you were SHRM and featured a book this month titled “Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews.” Get out the Kleenex, because this is going to be a doozy. Here’s the description:

Writing performance appraisals is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks managers face. Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews simplifies the job, providing a comprehensive collection of phrases that managers can use to describe employee performance, provide directions for improvement, and more. For example:

“Sets priorities well”
“Misses important deadlines”
“Thorough, reliable, and accurate”

Here’s where I have a problem with this book: It starts at the title and ends with the back page. And everything in between. Seriously. Phrases for managers to memorize and use in performance reviews? Here’s an idea, SHRM, how about this title? Get Rid of Crappy Performance Reviews and the Crappy HR Managers Who Think It’s Okay to Memorize Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews. I’ll write it for you this weekend. For free. Honestly, people would buy it."

Of course, SHRM's not alone in this - all the performance management software vendors are embedding "helpers" in their product which drop in language for the strength or malady of your choice.  So, with that in mind, the mass market, whether it's SuccessFactors, Oracle or SHRM, is going to provide access to these types of tools for one reason - they're in demand.

But that doesn't mean someone shouldn't rage against the machine and ask for more.  I join Frank in asking for original thought and work - don't be a robot; teach and coach and for the love of your personnel manager - don't cut and paste comments of a pre-packaged nature or those from another perfomrance review. 

Please?


Kissing Your Cousin - 3 Times When Referrals Can Be a Sign of Inbreeding...

We're trained that employee referrals are a good thing, and I would venture a guess that most of us have drank most, if not all, of the kool-aid.  I know I believe that the best hires come from current employees who are willing to reach into their networks and provide referrals.  How about you?

That being said, there are probably some referral practices that are a sign of inbreeding that can hurt your company.  More on the questionable referrals from Inc. magazine:

"We have become a race of prepositions linking people to people, things to things. Companies are Kissing cousins just learning the power of networks for marketing, but in the world of recruiting networks are venerable, tested tools. Employees have long nominated their friends and relatives for open positions, and many companies offer finders' fees when those referrals take. It's an elegant idea. After all, employees know both their friends' talents and personalities and their employer's culture. Who better to spot matches made in heaven?

Employee referrals presumably reduce risk in the same way that Amazon referrals do: managers who liked Martin will also like Isabelle. But I wonder whether the practice has unrecognized drawbacks. Biodiversity is one sign of a healthy ecosystem; mutts tend to be sturdier than purebreds. Companies that hire lots of people who know one another—because they attended the same schools or play golf together every weekend or used to work together someplace else—may reduce the diversity of their workforces' experiences and perspectives. Innovation flourishes in the interstices of unlike ideas. How many surprises will emerge from a half dozen people who pal around in the Facebook groups "I Love Beer," "I'd Rather Be Skateboarding," and "South Park Lovers of America"?

Companies rich in pre-existing networks can also seem insular and unwelcoming to outsiders. Joining established workplace cliques is tough, but joining cliques that also thrive outside the office and share long personal histories is truly daunting. When the CEO and other leaders belong to those cliques—startups, after all, are often seeded with friends and family—issues of favoritism may arise. A manager friend who recruited several people from her college alumni network has heard the group referred to—not fondly—as "the Cornell Mafia." She sometimes holds her old friends at arms' length for fear of seeming biased."

Fair assessment and an interesting reminder that not all referrals are created equal.  With that in mind, here are my top three signs that you're dating your cousin when it comes to referrals:

1.  Outsiders come in your company and are stunned by the number of relatives working in the company.  Don't get me wrong, relatives in the same company aren't necessarily a bad thing.  It's when the percentage of family working at a company approaches a significant percentage that things can get a little funky - I'll say 20-30%.  We've got a major employer in the Birmingham area that has a known issue with family members working all over the place.  Drives the outsiders away....

2.  You are known to love to hire only from a certain college or university.  It's like the Cornell Mafia example above.  An over-reliance on hiring only people from your school of choice means you're dating your cousin.  Again, nothing against developing a pipeline, but watch the feedback loop when you have a candidate from your favorite college going up against an outsider.  Are they picking the known entity for firm, or soft reasons?

3.  We like the big or small play - Less of a company wide concern, this one can sneak into teams, especially where the leader has to build quickly.  The issue?  The person doing the hiring has a certain background (let's say she worked for a Fortune 500 company), and as a result only works referrals from big company sources.  As a result, she loses the good stuff that comes with a bootstrapping candidate from a small company.   The opposite can hold true as well.

Referrals are a good thing.  A lack of diversity in referrals can lead to some problems.  Don't kiss your cousin.  It's gross, and let's face it, unsafe in the long run.

Diversity - It's about more than Title 7.


Culture Change for New Managers and Running the Hill Until You Throw Up...

One of the things I'm fascinated by at the intersection of business and HR is the prospect of culture change.  You know it well, if you've been in the business world for at least a decade.  A manager is successful and has a good run, then something strange happens.  People stop responding the same way to the manager.  Maybe the manager stops being focused.  Complacency sets in. 

It's odd, but many times it seems like managers/leaders have a shelf live, unless they're aware of theStairrunning need to shock the troops from time to time and change the game.

If they can't change their game to keep the approach fresh and the troops engaged, often times they look for another opportunity, or the organization decides that a fresh view is needed by making a change.

Thus, a new manager comes in.  Meet the new boss.  Hopefully different from the old boss, because you weren't responding to him.

The big question?  In that situation, what does the new manager do to show the troops that a new sheriff is in town?

If you're Mike Singletary, head coach of the 49ers, you send a star to the locker room during a game to get everyone's attention.  Once you have a little prep time during the off season, you build a big symbol outside the locker room that suggests involuntary vomiting may be part of the price team members pay to get better.

More on "the hill" from the Mercury News:


"Players who hear Mike Singletary's fiery speeches swear that the man can make the earth move.

In this case, he did.  Singletary ordered that a hill be made adjacent to the 49ers' practice fields. What had been a gentle slope is now padded with 2,500 tons of dirt. It takes a run of about 45 feet to get to the top — as the 49ers players will soon discover first-hand.

What does Singletary call his creation?

"Pain,'' he said Saturday before the second and final day of the 49ers' mini-camp.

Mt. Pain isn't quite ready for climbers yet, but the plan is to use it for conditioning drills. Singletary used to run hills himself during his playing days, as did Hall-of-Fame teammate Walter Payton.

The 49ers' Jerry Rice was famous for his sprint work in the hills of San Carlos.

Singletary said that athletes who trained that way "were a cut above some of the other competition around the league and had a long playing career."

"It's something you can't get in the weight room. Something you can't really get on the track,'' he said. "It builds something that's kind of a mystery."

You can call that a gimmick, but it begs the question.  Look around at the new leaders you know.  What's their symbol that a new sheriff is in town?  Symbols are important in the corporate/leadership world, although not always as visible as they are in the sports world.  They're still there though, you just have to work a little harder to find them.

Bonus track below - Singletary's press conference when he talks about winners.  The only concern with this type of leader is that the fire burns so hot, he'll burn out (or burn others out) after two years of intensity.  Fun to watch along the way, though...



The Visual CV - Enough to Make Me Reconsider Pictures on Resumes...

Take a look back, and I've been against throwing a picture on a resume.  After all, I don't want to see that, and as I've said before, it never seems to be the beautiful people who use their picture on a resume.  Can I get a heck yeah?

Note - before I give you the following alternative to the resume picture, I don't classify myself as one ofVisualCV the beautiful people.  A person, yes.  Beautiful, no.

So, my picture rule stands.  I don't like them and they tend to look crazy as hell.  That being said, I recently ran into a format option that might actually make the picture look like it fits in.  It's called the VisualCV.

Here's the scenario.  I recently changed gigs, moving from SourceMedical to DAXKO.  I knew the CEO at DAXKO, and when they grew to the extent that they were ready to fund a senior HR pro, we talked.  I was interested and wanted to be included in the process, but here's the problem - I didn't have an active resume, and the CEO asked me to put one together because, let's face it - that's what all my potential peers at DAXKO were going to expect when I interviewed with them, right?

So I thought about that.  One of the things I wanted to do was present the fact that I was active with the blogs, writing columns and making presentations in my field, which I think shows that I have some passion in the space.  To do that, I decided to turn to a product that had been on my radar screen called the VisualCV.  You can find my VisualCV here, and a screen shot is available above.

It's a cool product, and the main thing it accomplishes is that it allows you to do the traditional resume, then add a side column that provides an interactive display of all your digital content - blogs, presentations, video, and links to other material (like my columns).  You can also format it to show that you're active in things that a lot of candidates aren't (like twitter, associations, etc.). 

I'm a big believer in candidates not only having a resume, but also a portfolio of their work.  If you have work that is plugged into a blog or another digital format, the VisualCV is a great tool to present that work in a smooth digital format that most candidates won't be able to achieve. 

Take a look at the product, and even if you can't use it now, it's probably worth your time to consider how you might become involved in content and activities that could be leveraged by the VisualCV format.  Over time, it's likely that the best employers, the places you really want to work, will be open to this format - and your competition won't be able to hang if you go this direction.

Just food for thought.  And yes, that's my picture on the Visual CV.  Having the digital portfolio up somehow makes adding the picture more acceptable in my eyes.  Hopefully no one holds my looks against me.  Maybe I should have plugged in Ari Gold instead...