Thursday, October 28, 2010

Managing Your Online Identity

Whether you are a former CEO looking to make a company change or a recent graduate figuring out the first step in your career, you need to actively manage your online identity. No doubt you know that this is the information age, since you did receive this message in cyberspace. Make sure others find you too.

When you are beginning to build your online profile, make sure you get a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account.

From my perspective, LinkedIn is the most important for your career identity, but maybe not the most fun to use. This probably is a good thing. Go on, put your profile together as if it is your resume. You don't need to put as much detail as a resume, but put your titles, companies, years of service and education on there. Major achievements are helpful too. I recommend editing it carefully so it looks professional. Use any of the option to have an online ID so that your information gets pulled up as often as possible when someone is searching for you. Now, see who you know on there, and ask them to link up. Also, join groups. You can be selective, but try to get the industry networks that would help you. Often you can build your network through people who are in your groups.

Facebook can be your best friend, or your biggest enemy when it comes to building your professional profile. So, if you are considering looking for a new job, keep any racy photos off of there. This includes anything you may have in albums. That photo of my potential candidate at the party with lots of questionable paraphenalia does not make me think he is all that innocent. Clean up your profile. For those of you with squeaky clean profiles, make sure you have important information on your Facebook profile, such as your current employer, the geographical area you live in, and your education. For all you Facebook gamers out there--maybe don't have so many games showing on your profile. If you are spending that much time building your farm or putting out hits in the mafia, are you really dedicated to your current job--let alone your next one. You can also choose to remove posts by friends on your page. While this may cause tension with those friends who want to gift you something, if they know you are looking to better your career prospects, they usually understand.

Twitter is its own beast, but I think it is great to have yourself represented on there. Get your twitter username and build a profile. While I love Twitter, I think it isn't everyone's favorite social networking vehicle. Twitter is mostly a tool for you to share your thoughts, craft an identity and build a network of people. You can keep your profile locked, but this does prevent you from building a large following--which can be good and bad. Having your profile public means anyone can follow you, and they will get your updates as quickly as you put them up there. So, say you are unhappy at work and you put a mean post about your company--a public profile could be viewed by your boss, and get you in hot water. Try to keep your tweets professional and informative. But all info and no fun makes your tweeting very dull. Try to put some light, interesting tweets in from time to time to let people know you aren't just using it as a data dump.

You get out what you put into your online identity. Careful management allows you to have a well honed, professional online personality. When that future employer checks you out on Google they will be able to find you quickly, and possibly learn a bit about you. And then send you a message to connect. Could be an exciting next step.

There are many other social media applications to explore, but I think these three are the priority when you are first getting your job hunt underway. Oh, and make sure you stay on top of your messages in these social media applications. They keep you aware of any potential opportunities, and connected with your friends.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Review: Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw. Or maybe my title should read, why the hardest thing about recruiting is the personality fit.

I just finished Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. For my slow, read every single word reading style, I was thrilled to finish it in 5 days. For many people, including the USA Today reviewer quoted on the dust cover, this book is a read in one-sitting. Tony, I gotta say, thanks for making this a great, quick read.

So a couple of years back I read Kitchen Confidential, and blogged about my workaholic take on the book. I was surprised to find myself following his commandments--about working. Reading someone's memoirs and taking away how to be a great employee isn't what I think Bourdain was going for--but even in this book, he still points out his strong work ethic. He may have stumbled through drug-induced years, perhaps decades, but he still showed up for work, on time, and gave it his all. Maybe not so much when he was a fry-cook at some greasy spoons--but once he figured himself out, he did work very hard. Then when he decided to start blogging about the restaurant world, he pulled himself out of bed at the crack of dawn to write before putting in a long day at work. So, thank you to all who get up everyday, do their best, and try to improve on it the following day.

But what surprised me about this book was why I enjoy it. I'm not in the restaurant world, or am I the Travel Channel's host for dining and learning about the world's food cultures. I don't swear constantly, chain smoke, or ever have. Luckily while I write this I am not looking to score any illicit drugs, and have never been haunted by them. I do enjoy a nice glass of wine, and probably am a bit more geeky about it than Anthony will ever let himself be. And I love food. LOVE. So Tony's whole "food porn" section was actually quite fun to read.

What is it about Tony's personality or interests that draw me in. Well first, he's a great writer--which isn't something I run into too much. Secondly, he's witty--which I can never get enough of. Third, he likes good music, and as I have mentioned on my Facebook posts, I really enjoy his Rhapsody playlist. Not all my heroes like punk bands, and sometimes I'm in the minority in my social circle for liking what they consider noise.

Now the laundry list of further reasons.
  • He likes simple food but enjoys a good dinner. He comments about what some people will never say. While I have never gotten to eat dinner at The French Laundry, I haven't actually pursued it for the very reasons he points out in the book. I like to enjoy food, but I like to be able to function after eating a great meal. Food should improve your life, not make you pay for it later.
  • He wears cowboy boots. Simple thing, but odd for a New Jersey native.
  • He appreciates good cooking, and makes sure his host knows it. This is something I drill into those children of mine.
  • He finds his own beliefs odd. This is evident in his take on Alice Waters. I have no beef with Alice Waters, and really appreciate what she has done for people's knowledge about local food and healthy eating. I love her push for school gardens, and have benefited from this for my local school gardens. His description of his interaction with her is hilarious, and has been often recited to my friends and family this weekend. He doesn't like Alice, but he shares many of her beliefs, and can't work up the nerve to confront her in public.
  • And the last on the list, he thinks Jim Harrison is a hero. Now if you don't know who Jim Harrison is, I'm not surprised. I didn't even know anyone else knew who he was. And there in Tony's "Heroes and Villians" section, Jim's mentioned. And for the same reasons, albeit only from my distant connection to Jim, that I think Jim Harrison is great. FYI: Jim Harrison is an author, and I guess somewhat of a celebrity in France. I have read his novels throughout my adult life, and always really enjoy them. Reading Bourdain's take on him, I know now Jim Harrison, and Tony are kindred spirits.

And this is where my career advice comes in. One of the most important aspects of recruiting is finding the right personality match for a company. While it may seem on the outside that you want skills and experience, most people in various fields have the basics. Selling wine is selling wine. Making wine is making wine. Managing a winery is managing a winery. Oh, but the personalities involved in these different areas are all over the map. If I could simply follow the job description and put in people like they were widgets, I'd be retired by now. To recruit on a job, it is much more important to know what type of people work there, their hopes and dreams, and their demons. A young sales superstar who can take on the world might step on the other employee's toes--and crash and burn in the wrong setting. But put that star candidate in the right environment, and she will create their own gravitational pull.

Who would have thought I would enjoy Anthony Bourdain's takes on the food world, and surprisingly, the world in general. I don't think our paths would ever cross--no matter how many speaking engagements he is at near me. Jeez, he won't even let me be a lowly facebook friend--and isn't his facebook account for publicity purposes anyways--or is it truly only for friends. 2,100 of his closest pals.

Go out and read it. Fast or slow, laughing, crying or dreading it. Hey, if you don't like it, don't read the whole thing. But if you find it funny--ENJOY.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 Salary Survey

In this month's Wine Business Monthly the 2010 Salary Survey Report was presented. To summarize, the data showed that salaries declined for key positions, but that bonuses increased, leading to an overall increase in total compensation.

If you are working in the wine industry, or thinking about making a change, you need to read the report. For a summary, visit the preview . You can also find the entire article in the current issue. Click on subscriptions to get your own copy.

Dissatisfaction Among Psychology Majors -

Dissatisfaction Among Psychology Majors -