What Is a Digital Resume—and Do You Need One?
A statistic came out a few years ago about how the first thing 70 percent of people do when looking for local businesses is fire up their browsers and head online to do a search. Pretty amazing, right? Not too long ago, Googling something was called “using the Yellow pages,” but now you’re lucky if you can find someone under 30 who knows what the Yellow Pages are.
How does this relate to you, your job search, and digital resumes? It’s pretty simple, really: every single day, more and more of the world is online, and as that trend continues the internet is becoming our de facto first choice of where to go to find things, whether that means the closest deli to our apartment, a quality used car, or someone to fill the position that just opened up at our company.
If you want to make sure that companies can find you quickly and easily, it’s vital that you create a digital resume for yourself. But what does “digital resume” mean, exactly? Here’s where it gets interesting.
Opinions: Take Them or Leave Them?
“It is difference of opinion that makes horse races.” – Mark Twain
Looking for work is an arduous activity. Like the experience of a marathoner, the end result will be much better for some than others, and the journey seemingly quick for the lucky and slow as molasses for many.
Job seekers often face challenges they’ve never before encountered. A natural and essential part of the process is to seek guidance.
Some whose views might be solicited may be “experts,” such as career and guidance counselors, recruiters, psychologists, and perhaps even tarot card readers and other soothsayers. Parents, former bosses, business colleagues, and others in similar or complementary fields are also fair game, particularly if they’ve successfully navigated the job-search waters recently. The job seeker hopes that “the answer” will be found in one of the opinions received.
So what’s a job seeker to do? I offer two initial suggestions.
First, evaluate the credentials of the person giving you the advice. Questions to ponder include:
- Does the advice-giver have real experience answering these questions?
- Is she “in the business” and if so is she successful?
- Was she referred to you with a personal recommendation by someone who found her assistance valuable?
- Do you feel confident that she knows what she’s talking about?
- Does she have a stake in the outcome? (If so, discount the advice accordingly.)
Is an M.B.A. Worth It?
It’s the start of grad school application season and, like clockwork, the debate has rolled around again: is it even worth it to spend the next two years of your life pursuing the opportunity to put three little letters on your resume?
Once upon a time, the answer was a no-brainer: if you could get into an M.B.A. program, you did it, and came out the other side with a license to pick your job and print money.*
Nowadays, however, potential applicants are having to do the sort of cost-benefit analysis prior to signing up that their forebears in the field weren’t expected to perform until they were actually on campus. Exhibit A: today’s Wall Street Journal splash on the subject, whose headline advises us that “A Smaller Paycheck Awaits” today’s “Newly-Minted M.B.A.s.” While the overall tone of the piece—don’t go to B-School!—is accurately summed up by that headline, it’s worth noting that the piece itself is in no way an exhaustive look at the arguments for and against going to B-School, and that it focuses mainly on non-top-tier schools.
Here, then, are the key pieces of evidence the Journal marshals against the B-School experience: more
5 Tune Ups for 2013
Trying to take charge of your career? Look again—you may have missed a spot.
It’s easy to be on guard at the office, but chances are you’re messing up your work trajectory in your down time, or getting lazy about dressing in the morning, which is sending out all the wrong messages at work. Here are a few trouble spots to check in on.
1. Excessive and pointless tweeting and Facebook posting
All those updates don’t make you look busy—they make you look lonely. Get away from your computer until you have something more interesting to post than “Dinner time! Love my wonderful family.” Try eating dinner, then posting about something you’ve heard or seen, that you have interesting thoughts about. Bonus points if it’s related to your industry (thought not your company, please).
2. Lazy weekends
No, we’re not suggesting you work weekends. But you might want to reconsider your Netflix subscription. You know all those mental lists of things you’d like to try, like rock climbing or a cooking class? Maybe it’s just the book that’s been sitting on your night table for weeks, un-cracked. These are activities you should be using your weekends on: they enrich your life, recharge your batteries, and give you interesting stories for your next interview. But you won’t ever quite get to them if you park in front of the TV indefinitely.
3. Sloppy dressing
When was the last time you took a look at your work wardrobe? Chances are the mud and slush have taken their toll on your dress pants or work shoes, and 2011’s sweaters (which seemed perfectly serviceable in September) are getting a bit faded and pilled.
A couple of…more
What Makes a Dream Job?
Strengths Vs. Passions
Why does it seem so many people hate their jobs?
Why is it that, despite chasing our “passions,” Elizabethan Poetry or basket-weaving has not yielded satisfying work?
The trouble is, people aren’t considering their natural strengths—which are the key to feeling useful, competent, and of course, happy at work. So before you take a job in your dream industry, read the “responsibilities.”
Why? Well in short, anxiety, job insecurity, exhaustion, burnout: these are all symptoms of doing work we’re not confident in and don’t feel very good at in a high pressure environment.
Compare that to the feeling you get working in your garden, or solving a crossword puzzle. Different, huh? Chances are, you engage in those activities because you feel successful at them.
That doesn’t mean you should try to turn building model airplanes into a career path, but you should pay attention to the types of tasks that flip your on switch. Here’s how to identify which skills you should consider building a job around:
1. You concentrate with ease
Can’t stay on task at meetings, but have razor sharp focus when getting all your numbers to check out in a Sudoku? Maybe you’re meant to work quietly with numbers and figures, not schmooze clients or handle abstract ideas. What absorbs you is a big clue as to what sort of tasks your brain likes.
2. You feel “outstanding”
Isn’t it great to watch others attempt your hobby and fail miserably? Feeling naturally gifted at a certain task can really get you through tough work days with your confidence intact. Pay attention to what you feel you naturally excel at—intuitive decision making? Creating organizational systems? These are smalls skills that entire careers can be built on.
3 Traits for Successful Case Interviews
The case interview is a crucial part of the hiring process in the consulting industry, and variations of it crop up in other industries as well. While there are a number of frameworks and techniques that candidates can memorize and practice to prepare for case interviews, the key to cracking them is less about cramming and more about how you behave on the day—someone who is too focused on figuring out which methodology to apply to a specific problem may well miss crucial details about the problem itself.
To that end, the folks at L.E.K. Consulting have produced a helpful video outlining what their interviewers believe are the key traits for acing the interview—and it’s a safe bet that what works for L.E.K. will likely work elsewhere in the industry too. For those who don’t have time to watch the full video (embedded below), here are three immediate takeaways:
Here’s the full video, courtesy of L.E.K.’s YouTube Channel:
Is the Consulting Industry in Trouble?
Monitor Group’s recently announced bankruptcy and subsequent buyout by Deloitte has been met in some quarters with the distinct sounds of schadenfreude. Whether your preferred metaphor involves “your mechanic get[ting] into a car accident because of faulty brakes” or “the cobbler’s shoes,” one clear idea is emerging from much of the coverage of Monitor’s demise: there’s precious little that tops the irony of a consulting firm going bust for want of the ability to deal with changing market conditions—especially when one of the founders of the firm is none other than management theory demi-god Michael Porter.
But while there have been plenty of sly digs thrown Monitor’s way in the past couple of weeks, the wider question of the overall health of the consulting industry remains open. To put it bluntly, was Monitor merely a victim of its own hubris—a simple cautionary tale for those in the industry to learn from—or is the industry itself in trouble?
Is the strategy industry crumbling?
Writing at Spend Matters, scenario planning expert Art Hutchinson offers the following indictment of much of his own profession:
“Monitor was known—among other things—as a purveyor of scenario planning services. Unfortunately much of what passes for scenario thinking is only pseudo-effective executive entertainment. Such work is too often tied to rigid, self-affirming models for organizational change that don’t break the hubris trap. What I like to call ‘organizational antibodies’ work to surround and kill that which is foreign—even that with the power to save.”
Normal Gets You Nowhere: Kelly Cutrone’s Interview Tips
So you’ve made it this far: you have been selected for a job interview in a competitive industry, with little room for error. You’ve done your research about the company, pressed your interview suit, and printed fresh resumes. Yet you can’t help wondering if there’s one more thing you could do, something to give you a competitive edge.
Enter Kelly Cutrone, New York City’s highly successful PR maven and reality TV star. She abandoned the “safe” career her parents had in mind to found her own public relations company, all while in her early twenties. Now adding ‘author’ to her list of achievements, Cutrone’s writes about her wish list for potential employees in her new book, Normal Gets You Nowhere.
An expert at grabbing attention for her clients, Cutrone offers these four key strategies for winning her (and other selective employers) over in a competitive industry and market. Try these ‘stand-out’ tips for your next big interview:
1. Keep the future of the industry in mind, not just the company
Want to not make an impression? Have a short-term, self-involved attitude.
One of the most memorable remarks Cutrone makes in her book is that people looking to obtain jobs in the fashion world are always asking her for professional and personal-related tips on how to advance themselves, but not those around them: “Over the years, I’ve received thousands of letters from young people who want to get into the fashion business; others ask me for clothing or interview advice […]. But not one has ever asked, Can you tell me how I can help make a difference in my community?”
Look for what you think might be missing from that particular industry at large, whether it is more involvement in the community, more transparency, or tougher legislation. Then bring it up.
For example, those trying to break into the financial consulting world might prepare a strong and well-documented stand on the issue of regulation, perhaps with a Wall Street Journal article on the topic to mention.
Current events are great way to spark discussion, make yourself memorable, and most importantly, prove you care enough to have an informed opinion.
2. Stand for something
Mentioning your extracurriculars paints a convincing picture of why…more