Archive for the ‘Career Express’ Category

NYE Resolution #2 “Finding, Keeping and Upgrading your Job”

January 7th, 2010

Hopefully you’ve been able to take advantage of the tips from NYE Resolution #1 “Getting Fit and watching what I eat” because this one is likely to take your professional career to new leaps and bounds!   For those of you who know me about careers know that I’m almost ultra-annoying on this particular topic!  Whether you’re one of my friends or mentee’s where I take an ‘oh too much focus’ on your careers and trying to take you to the next step(s) usually with a 5-10 year plan, or you’re someone I just met who’s out of a Job (RIF’s are a bitch!) and I just want to help – It’s total win-ville here, so let’s take advantage of not only staying relevant but driving things to the next step!    As always my own personal disclaimer: This is not a resolution for me, this is PART of my life.  I’m fortunate to OMFG love my job, have a great team I work with, have an amazing community and audience to evangelise to which is constantly growing every day.   Do I take advantage of these steps I’ll be mentioning? I always stay aware of them and continually build up my own career as well, so you’ll be getting it from my own and the others I’ve worked with experiences!  So let’s get started!

Finding a job

This is not always as harsh a situation as it seems, but the particular audience this speaks to are people who have been RIF’d, people who have never even had a formal job (re: college graduates or esteemed HS drop outs), or even people looking to change careers (such as going from a train engineer to being a systems engineer!)   But where do I start?

I would be remiss if I did not highly advise you to read this amazing FREE book! (No registration required!) 100 Job Search Tips from Fortune 500 Recruiters read it, and then read it again as it will apply in all of these roles but will definitely give you the guidance you need to get yourself started and start getting organized.   You’ll come across references to having a profile on social networks, and while many will be mentioned – the top three sites I HIGHLY advise you ensure you have a filled out profile on are LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter.   And just so I can use some relevant examples of exactly Why?!    Several years ago, I was found and recruited by someone who found me on LinkedIn.   Most recently I was found via FaceBook which lead to my resume on my blog, and last and most importantly… I’ve helped numerous people get jobs which all started and ended with Twitter – So don’t dismiss the hype! I’ve met those guys, don’t be them!

The following area speaks directly to those who have been RIF’d and/or those who happen to have families.

  • #1 – and this is important.  Now is NOT the time to have some kind of stupid pride or EGO!  
  • DON’T go it alone – There are lots of people out there who CAN and WANT to help. 
  • DON’T bear this burden on your own. 
  • DO accept the charity of references and contacts with recruiters.  
  • DON’T default to ‘what I did in HS’ or something if you were a highly qualified, passionate and driven person, GET the contacts you need to get yourself employed again.
  • DO file for unemployment.   IMMEDIATELY actually.  We are STILL in a recession, so expecting a job to manifest over night may not be practical unless you’re highly sought after and even then, those bills aren’t going to pay themselves nor will your table fill itself with food unless you have a horn of plenty (If so, let me know I need a vegan one :))
  • DO ask for help, there’s never been a better time to not have any stigma associated with losing your job, again – people WANT to help their friends

Now, hopefully you’re not all in the same situation where you’ve been RIF’d and are instead just looking for a job or career change – we’ll call you hs/college graduate, or career changer.

So for you career changers or graduates, take the following words of wisdom with a grain of low sodium salt! (WTF?! :))

  • Be current.  Ensure that your Resume AND your online presence and profiles happen to reflect you, and especially in a positive light – Any recruiter who is serious WILL google you
  • Be relevant.  If you’re just out of HS or College – that 3 month internship with a business is relevant, but those 6 weeks working at McDonalds? Not so much
    • You have to ask yourself – Will the information in my resume help me get this job? Do they care about this information.
    • Even when changing careers, having a history of being a part-time house sitter isn’t going to get you the next big break in your career you’re looking for.
      • If you have to ask “Is this really relevant to the job I’m looking for” then the answer is no, and leave it off.
    • If you are an Eagle Scout, or similar long and arduous journey in your youth which you can share stories and experiences of? Leave it IN!

Let me discuss that for a moment.  You’re saying my years as a fry clerk at McBurgers isn’t relevant but my time spent collecting badges is?   Honestly, Eagle scout and equivalent is the closest you get to saying someone if committed to a journey, they stick it out, they come prepared, they can get things done, and they understand steps in a process – equal to certification.   Long ago I questioned this but Eagle scouts are like Green Beret’s or even Ninja’s – experts in their own right who have gone the test of time and can extol those virtues elsewhere in life.

And for you tech or even graphics folks here are relevant and non-relevant items (though if you can defend them in your case I will stand down :))

  • Tech: Seriously? You’re putting MS DOS 5.0 on your resume?  We all CLEARLY know that MS DOS 6.22 was the best and ONLY version worth mentioning.  If you’re going to put EXTREMELY dated material on your resume to show longevity (which I respect) don’t show ignorance and choose the worst possible version since DOS 3.3 (which rocked mind you)
  • Graphics:  You want to show you’ve been doing this awhile, I get that. But Harvard Graphics? SERIOUSLY? Harvard Graphics? It’s not 1985, I don’t want to hire you 25 years ago!
  • Tech: Random gibber jabber of versions and code really tells me nothing, unless you actually deliver your resume IN C# or something, don’t try and confuse me by telling me a bunch of keywords (Key words CAN and ARE important, but not 100% keyworded resumes)  Instead, entice me with something we can engage in a story about!
  • General: Keep it interesting.  Draw me in somehow, not telling me that you like black and white movies, but a discreet line in there intended to make the interviewer laugh (in a field respective way) where they clearly know you meant a joke like “I know chmod” will help lighten the mood.  I’d probably specifically want to talk to the candidate who gets resume humor :)
  • General: Most importantly, if there is something you DO NOT want to have a job doing, DO NOT put it on your resume.   I leave more off my resume than I put on, including voicemail systems, fax, pbx, Wireless, systems management, operations – I can do these things but I am an architect, a designer and above all an evangelist – let’s not stray from our paths :)

Going back to the points above, if I had three additional things to say and was limited to a word each I urge you to be Positive, Passionate, and be Professional and if I could slap one more into the fold which doesn’t start with P (that was sheer coincidence!) I cannot urge you enough to BE YOURSELF!   You’ll be happier and more positive passionate and professional for it!

Be Honest, and Don’t lie

This deserves it’s own highlight and mention as this is something I would discuss with candidates I’ve mentored over the years.   (I’ve had some initially argue the two mean the same thing, they don’t)     When you’re looking for this newfound job regardless of the circumstance you need to be honest with yourself, honest with your resume and honest with the people you’re talking to.   You don’t want to end up like Cisco Fatty who mind you was honest to a fault, but if they were honest with themselves they wouldn’t have been considering an improper fit driven only by $$.

Don’t lie.   Falsifying a public document such as your resume is no way to get a job, as it will come back and bite you – and the truth is FAR easier to remember than a lie!  Do not lie in an interview! If you don’t know something, say it, however also be honest that if it’s something you COULD know, you can certainly learn [be warned though depending upon the interview this could be perceived as not being prepared, so it’s a double edged sword.. it’s usually just better to know what they’re asking in the first place ;)]   Also, don’t claim to have done something you never did.   We once interviewed a guy who claimed he built out a whole series of systems – so during the [group] interview when one of our interviewers decided to ask the candidate details about this build he was unable to provide details, twisting and turning in the wind in a torrid rain of lies.  Oh, why did the interviewer ask? He had actually built those systems when employed in the environment the candidate claimed to have done the work.   I cannot stress it enough.  Don’t lie. :)

Keeping and upgrading your job

I had excellent plans of breaking these two out into two separate sections, but seriously – they’re the exact same thing effectively! And frankly the people who are usually good at keeping their job are typically the types sought after to upgrade their job (whether within the company or moving to a whole new business!)

I am so fortunate that this very exact topic was covered by the smart and amazing Polly Pearson with  "How To Get A Better Job?" A post for employees and job seekers alike. which if you read nothing more from this post – Be sure to read her post, it will change your perspective on career changes with real hard actionable information you can act on immediately!

Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention 100 Job Search Tips from Fortune 500 Recruiters again – you thought it was important finding a job? It’s even more relevant when it comes to upgrading or literally just keeping your job!

So here are some tips from me which fall into the realm of both keeping and upgrading – ultimately staying relevant is what it comes down to:

Get Certified

The best example I’ve ever found of the illogical failure for people to get certified is this: Did you ever go to school for 4 years, get all of your credits and yet choose to fail to get your diploma because you feel “I have the experience, I really don’t need the piece of paper”.   Any qualified person who chooses to not get certified because they ‘know it’ is like saying that the experience (while VERY important) trumps your college diploma.   Now putting that to the side a moment and still comparing college.    Did you know that for each Microsoft certification exam you complete, it could be worth 1-3 credit hours?  Oh, and the PMP is worth even more.   But wait, are you seriously telling me that the EMC Proven Professional Expert certification is worth 50% of the Masters of Information Technology at some schools?  So put your ego aside a moment, and if you really DO know the knowledge prove it with an exam and you’ll make your resume ALL that more credible.

Certification shows that you not only know information, but it also proves that you invest in yourself, your employer and your future.   It typically says to employers “Whoa, hey they likely stay up on their technology and perhaps even read a book and care about their job”   Nothing says you care, like investing in yourself which turns around into better productivity!

Contact me for discount vouchers on Microsoft Certification Exams!

I know I’ve said this one an infinite amount of times, but I still do have discount vouchers for Microsoft Exams – 10% for the entire world, and 20% for some places (USA, England, etc)

Get Networked

The first thing I say every morning when I wake up is “I’ve met enough people, my network is big enough, I don’t need to meet or know anyone else” which is usually followed by me telling myself that I obviously know everything and I don’t have to prove anything so I’ll never show anyone that.     Yea… I don’t have that conversation, and anyone who does either needs a wake up call, or has actually ascended and hats off to them – Breaking from your physical form to go pure energy is harsh and definitely requires your dedication!

So what does this mean? How do I get networked? WTF IS NETWORKING, IM CONFUSED! err.. Whoa, hold on there!  Let’s cover some real basics

  • Use LinkedIn.  And that doesn’t mean spend every waking hour staring at everything linkedin.  But fill out your profile, add a picture (shows commitment) and connect with people you actually know.  Chances are, people you know are on LinkedIn! And people you’ve known over the years, they’re probably out there too, so reconnect with them.
    • It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.   That rule doesn’t always apply, but in order to be ‘introduced’ to someone, someone else has to know you, so the more of your associates, friends, colleagues and more that you’re connected to – the easier it will be for people to get to know you :)
  • Use Facebook.   I’m in no way saying you need to have a hybrid personal/professional FB Profile like I do.  At the very least, HAVE a profile, put a picture, post things on occasion so people know what’s going on with you! This does default back to the ‘its not who you know but who knows you’ remember you can get a job off of Facebook :)
  • Use Twitter.  Do you know how many of your peers are out there twittering about their daily jobs? Even talking to others!  Countless people use Twitter as a means to solve problems, learn new things and wait, what? Network with people!   Not everyone in the world is on twitter, and the ones who are, are typically sharp and moving forward.. move with them :)
  • Attend Trade shows, conferences, conventions.   Whichever happens to apply to your circumstance.  Is there a user group for whatever it is you do? Go attend a meeting! Meet your peers! Your peers strangely are NOT only the people you work with, you may find that something you or your business are doing could be done better – result, you’re the winner! :)
  • Visit a Toastmasters club.   Yea, I know you’re the best presenter in the world, would you mind delivering this keynote to 20,000 people? kthxbye! (Okay, I wouldn’t mind! Got a keynote, I’m there!) But if you find yourself not as comfortable presenting to large groups of people, OR you want to meet and watch others speak to improve Attend a toastmasters meeting in your area!
  • Find a mentor, collaborate with a peer – Talk to others who are in the position you want or you see accelerating like you’d like to.   Find out how they got to where they are today and what kinds of steps you might need to take in order to get there.   You are in charge of your career not your manager or anyone else.  Take charge.

I hope you’ve found these various steps useful in taking charge of your career with this new years resolution  (feel free to mention what works well for you in the comments) these few steps alone can make a paramount difference in your career, family, future and well being for the rest of your life.    I wish you the absolute best and let me know how I can help :)

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Posted in Career Express, Education, emc, Facebook, LinkedIn, New Year, Resolutions, Social Media, Twitter | Comments (2)

Get on the bus, Magic Euro-Bus!

August 6th, 2009

Hey, you remember the bus! Well, the locations have been published! Which is especially great if you’re a number of destinations along the path you will want to hook up and meet the bus along the way!

  • Milan, 26 Oct
  • Zurich, 27 Oct
  • Paris, 28 Oct
  • London, 29 Oct
  • Brussels, 30 Oct
  • Amsterdam, 2 Nov
  • Frankfurt, 3 Nov
  • Munich, 4 Nov
  • Vienna, 5 Nov
  • Prague, 6 Nov
  • Berlin, 9 Nov

 

Host a Career Express and/or a TechEd EMEA community event!

The best part of the tour are the local stops the Career Express makes at training partners and community events. On the Career Express USA tour in May, we stopped at a luau thrown by a partner, high schools, and colleges. What do you get when you host an event?

1) Company profile promoted on Get On The Bus Tour website

2) Event resources to facilitate local event in your area as part of Get On The Bus Tour stop

3) Increased visibility with TechEd EMEA registrants and/or attendees

4) Technical training on Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

If you would like to host a local event, we are taking applications until August 18. For more details, download the application form here: Bus Tour EMEA Event Application Form

Why yes, much of this was hijacked from Born to Learn, but hey! I had a lot invested in that trip and I equally want to see this one be successful! So get out there! Be a hosting location, or visit one of the hosting locations, it’ll be an experience unlike no other!

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Posted in Career Express, Euro-Bus, Get On The Bus, Microsoft | Comments (0)

Get On The Bus Strikes Back!

July 22nd, 2009

Get On The Bus Strikes Back!

*Heavy Breathing* Ken, I am your father, err, Sorry about that.. but welcome back the BUS, Euro-style!

That’s right! For those of you who missed it the first time, this time it’s back, and more euro than ever!   But what does this mean?

Oh, I have no idea! But my thoughts are, a rocking cross-multi-country bus tour across Europe which if you knew about the first tour at all… should ROCK!   More details will come as I find out about them!

Watch this page for updates, and find out how you can join us on the bus for a free trip to TechEd Europe! Oh, and watch my blog for my take on things too!

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Career Express, Christopher Kusek, Education, Get On The Bus, Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows Server | Comments (0)

Career Express Day 11 Get Off the Bus in Los Angeles TechEd!

May 17th, 2009

For some reason, as I fly from LAX to ORD, I cannot seem to find any of my photos I thought I took of the masses who welcomed the SWAG Express, err.. the Career Express as it pulled in to TechEd, but I still have some after-swag-attack photos, so I can definitely share those.

Previously on the Bus, on Day 10, we had an enjoyable night out on the town to get back to the bus by 3:45AM for Departure to get in to LA.   We made it back literally just in time to grab our bags from the hotel, board the bus, and definitely in my case – to go to sleep.

Awaking 30minutes from the Convention center, I made sure to alert the Tweetosphere of our location(s) so they could prep for a Swagtastic arrival, which they frankly did quite a good job of relieving us of swag!

Who's that girl?!It's all about community with MCT's

The type of community and engagement was just great, and amazingly well received.   People immediately entered into conversation, catching up with old friends or meeting new ones.

Welcome back! Ken's Session, MCITP is the new MCSE!

I had the opportunity to attend a session too! My first and only session for TechEd09, was Ken Rosen’s session on MCITP is the new MCSE, where you (me) need to watch out when you attend sessions.. you just might get called up to answer a community question ;)

With the bus tour at it’s end, the one thing that was everyone’s mind when talking about it was, asking how it was.   While I will do a full post-mortem and additional high-lights, here is a brief description of the bus tour.    zOMFG! Amazing!  That’d be the first point to say about an event and experience like this.    If you’ve ever had the opportunity to have your eyes opened to not only aspects of community you may have never seen, but to see that which is otherwise perceived as uniform being implemented so differently across communities in the north, the south, east and west.   Things are done in unique and interesting ways in every type of CPLS, ITA, and even in training businesses from coast to coast.    

When the bus tour was announced, I was gangbusters set on trying to win this, and this is even before I would realize the full depth of the experience, but once I did I yearn for it even more.     I evangelized about this opportunity constantly within the community (and my local community) to encourage them to take advantage of this, because while this may come along again, you’ll never have been part of the first one, and that first makes all the difference!

I look forward to something like this being done again (EMEA?!:)) and definitely the opportunity to get out in front of more members of the community, helping them connect with each other and just grow, grow grow!   The friendships, relationships and all the people I met cannot be replicated, cannot be bought and the experiences will be stories and legends to tell for years to come!

I want to thank all of you for following along and reading of our adventures cross country, cross community, and for making an investment in yourself through education.

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Career Express, Christopher Kusek, Microsoft | Comments (0)

Career Express Day 10 NetCom Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas NV

May 17th, 2009

Welcome to Las Vegas Nevada!  Wow, what a trip up until this point. 

Caveat, you may notice this is a week late, running on full tilt right from Vegas to TechEd will do that to a person especially when I don’t turn on my computer for the entire time! (Go Mobile!)

So, what brings you to Vegas? Up until this point, when I thought of Las Vegas, I didn’t think of training, certification or education, let alone it being an education destination.  But that is exactly the type of thing which Robert of NetCom has arranged here at the Flamingo Hotel!

Hands down, this is quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.   To start the day off, we did our demo-type thing as we normally do on the tour, but that was hardly the beginning of this adventure in education.   After that finished, we had the opportunity to see one of the classrooms which they provide training in, located inside of the Flamingo hotel!   More so than it simply being located inside of the hotel, there are many of these training rooms offering educational packages of all types, which typically run a full class along with a full roster!

One view of the room Just one classroom of many

What really made things even cooler after this point, was our Journey to KVVU TV 5 Fox News where they would interview Ken and Robert about the types of things NetCom  is offering.

image image

So, now here is where we get to the really fricking cool part, which I was semi-floored when I heard about it.  I don’t know about you, but every one I know is under heavy ‘travel restrictions’ whereby any aspect of education that cannot be serviced locally is not possible due to the cost of Airfare, Hotel, Food in conjunction with the actual cost of the class itself.    That is a severely major challenge we all face within the industry, whether public, private, vendor or customer.    So when I heard about what Robert and NetCom were offering, it was ‘like whoa’ to quote Keanu Reeves ;)

From what I gathered (If I’m mistaken, well, I’ll try to update it then ;))  The training is sold as ‘Destination Education!’   Whereby your airfare, hotel and food are all included in the cost of the training program, and looking at some of the prices of these classes they offer I found it cheaper than regular classes offered by some other training institutions (insert ‘whoa’ here)

Not to mention I’ve heard they do some kind of aggressive model whereby in 6 days you get the equivalent of ~2weeks of training if your days are 10-12hrs or so, in a far shorter time you get that level of depth, exposure so your time and your employers aren’t wasted.   But let’s not forget, at the end of the day after your training is all said and done for the day… You’re still in Vegas!

So check them out, as I certainly will be looking into further (Ooh, I wonder if they need any trainers… hee :))   As an extra bonus! I’ve included an outtake of our crazy time on the bus while Ken and others were being interviewed.

Watchers watching watchers watching watchers?

Incase you cannot make it out, I am filming Ken and Robert being interviewed, while Chris Rue films me filming them, as Tjeerd films Chris Rue filming me filming them, while Liberty takes a picture of them filming and taking pictures of filming and photographing.  It’s all very sane. :)

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Career Express, Christopher Kusek, Microsoft | Comments (0)

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