My career in technology

Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Inappropriate Congratulations – The New LinkedIn Feature

LinkedIn has started to push interactivity to its users beyond just checking in weekly on the new connections that your connections have added.

LinkedIn is now encouraging you to say “Congratulations” within 24 hours of when your connections make a change to their current job or job title.  But congratulations are not always in order.

Sometimes, your connection has just gotten around to updating their profile – they have had the job for two years and are prepping their profile to make the jump to a less miserable environment.  (Hmmm, maybe that is a reason for congratulations, anyway!)

Other times, their change in status is prompted by a job loss, and their new role as “Consultant” is what they are doing to scrape by until they find their next “real job”.

LinkedIn also encourages you to congratulate your connections on their work anniversaries.  One of my connections hasn’t updated his profile in a while, so his “work anniversary” was for an employer he hadn’t been at for years.

I think there is great value in interacting with your network over job changes, and to a lesser extent over work anniversaries.  Every contact, however small, reinforces the connections you have made, making your network just a little stronger, a little more valuable (to yourself and the rest of your network, too!).  It shows you are paying attention, and gives an indication that you care.  For those of my connections who have put their birthday on their profiles, I have taken the step of sending them a short note saying “Happy birthday”,  wishing them well on a day that means more to them than a work anniversary.

However, in order for these kinds of interactions to provide value, in order to prevent yourself from looking stupid, rubbing salt in a fresh wound, or otherwise committing a social faux pas, you have to PAY ATTENTION.  You need to be aware of where the people in your network are, and check to see whether the change is something to congratulate them on, or to ask them how you can help.

The Only Job You’ll Ever Have

The secret to prevailing in a job interview is to remember one simple fact.

There is only one job.  You have only ever had one job, and (as far as I can tell) you’ll only ever have one job.


The Business Card As A Career Tool

After talking with a job seeker the other day, I asked for his card so I could keep in touch with him. He replied that his company didn’t give its employees business cards. He didn’t have a personal business card either.

I was asking for his card because I had spoken with him a couple of months before, and he took my card and said he would contact me so I could pass job leads to him. But I didn’t hear from him, and I had no way to initiate contact with him, so he missed a couple of good leads.

I realized that not everyone has been taught the value of a business card – their own personal business card – to their career.


Say Yes – A Success Story

Another success story, again about stepping out of our comfort zones: I heard from one of my readers, Stephanie, that she just got a new job. Yay!

Even better is the story of how she got the job. I’ll let her tell the story… (more…)

Get Out Of That Comfort Zone – A Success Story

I have a success story to share with you.  While I played a role in this story, it was Brigitta that made it happen.

She wrote this to Launch Pad Job Club:

I wanted to share a truly amazing success story!  I am still pinching myself and find this story quite unbelievable… (more…)

Join the Conversation!

 I’ve been invited to participate as a panelist on SharePoint ShopTalk, a live, weekly interactive online discussion about all things SharePoint.  Most of the panelists are MVPs, people I respect greatly, so I take it as a great honor to be invited to join the panel.

 Come join the conversation every Thursday, from 12:30pm – 1:30pm EST.

You can also follow @SPShopTalk and join the Linkedin group.

I’ll be facilitating SharePoint Group Therapy on June 28th, and I’ll be available on the panel to answer questions as often as possible.

More posts about SharePoint.

Center of the Universe

Not surprisingly, I tend to write about what I happen to be focused on.  Recently, my focus has been more on career management, so naturally I’m posting more about that subject at the moment.

I got my new job as a direct result of the long-term investments I have made in my career.  Specifically, the networking aspect played a big role in making this happen.

Last week, Ted, someone I knew through my networking, referred a recruiter to me.  The recruiter was looking to fill a specific position, and Ted told him to contact me because I was someone who knows people.  I helped the recruiter identify a couple of people who might be good candidates.   Hopefully we’ll find a good match, making the skills holder, the recruiter, and the client company all happy – a win, win, win, win, win scenario.  The fourth and fifth wins?  That’s me!  I get that great feeling from having helped someone (several someones!), and I have people who are grateful to me for helping them and are willing to help back.

Maybe that will pay off directly, maybe it won’t, but that doesn’t really matter.  because these people will come away from our interaction with the knowledge that I am someone to go to when they need help locating a candidate or finding a job.  And maybe that future interaction will lead to a contact that directly leads to a personal benefit, or maybe it will just help the world to be a better, happier place.

And just to demonstrate that you see what you are looking for, last week also saw a posting to the LinkedIn group for Launch Pad Job Club pointing to a little feature from LinkedIn Labs that maps your connections and their interconnectedness.  Here is my map:

My Network - Click for larger image

Mapping your connections probably won’t directly benefit you at all.  Even its indirect utility is not obvious, even to me.

Even so, I found the perspective it gave me interesting.  Looking at the map, I can’t help but see it in terms of where I am in all of this.  Obviously, since the map is about me, there I am in the center of the universe, the height of hubris.  And yet, the muddled mass on the right represents Austinites who network, and the other groups are connected to that region by… me.  I am the connector, at the center of that universe.  Or, at the very least, there is an opportunity to make myself the center.

I choose to put myself at the center by utilizing my network to help others, making it about them instead of me.  I recommend that you reach out to your network and see what help you can offer.

What do you see when you visualize your network?  Do you get value from the visualization besides perspective?

How can I help you reach your goals?

Don’t Just Get A Job, Build A Career (Lessons Learned Building a Career, Part Three of Infinity)

In April, I gave a presentation to the North-by-Northwest Job Clublet (NxNW) called “Don’t Just Get A Job, Build A Career”, regarding the long-term investments that I used to make a difference in managing my career successfully.

What follows is broadly what I spoke about, updated because the events that were ongoing at that moment finally did reach their conclusion.  I’ve talked about all of these things before, and they aren’t even ideas original to me, but I think it is helpful to look at these long-term strategies from the perspective of things that paid off after three years of investment.


Learning From Teaching – Moments of Power

February 6th I was at the Stephen Ministry group at First English Lutheran Church presenting “Tools, Techniques and Resources for Supporting and Guiding the Disemployed Back to Employment” (re-scheduled from November).

I have given this presentation before, at the Stephen Ministry group at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, and gave a modified version of this for Launch Pad Job Club, entitled “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”.

Over time, I have become more and more in favor of speaking without using slides.  None of my presentations are particularly slide-heavy, but this time I went completely without slides, and just talked.

In doing so, I discovered new things about my presentation, and rediscovered others, and in the process discovered something that I wanted to share with you about managing your career.


Speaking at #SPSHou, and a Status Update

While things here at Working It Out have been quiet on the surface for the last month or so, it has only been because things have been so very busy everywhere else.

SharePoint Saturday Houston & SharePoint Group Therapy

First of all, I will be speaking at SharePoint Saturday Houston this coming Saturday.  I’ll be running my SharePoint Governance workshop, “SharePoint Group Therapy“, like I did at SharePoint Saturday Austin earlier this year.  If you are in Houston and have SharePoint governance questions you want answered, or issues you want some help resolving, or you feel like helping others with their issues or questions, be sure to attend my session.

My Career Journey

Second, after interviewing several potential candidates for the role, I have selected my new employer.  While all of my suitors were desirable places to work and I hope to be able to work with them later in my career, a combination of timing, the challenges offered, and the chance to work with some folks I know and some I have worked with in the past all contributed to my choice.  I appreciate the time and effort over the last several months that each of the other companies put into working with me to match their needs, my talents, and their opportunities!

As you might imagine, between wrapping up my previous projects and evaluating my next opportunities and challenges, I have fallen behind in posting new content for you.  Over the next several weeks, I will be posting new content, including material I have been puttering around with for a while, but as you can imagine, jumping into a new environment also presents challenges to my schedule, so please bear with me as I acclimate to my new environment.

Other Speaking Engagements

I did get an opportunity to indulge one of my other passions during the past month – speaking to the Austin North-by-Northwest job club about some of the investments that are key to long-term career management.  As per my new M.O., the presentation was extemporaneous, without PowerPoint slides, and as always hammering home some of my favorite advice about your job search.  I used examples of things that I had done that had paid off in making this job transition a matter of choice rather than one of panic and desperation, which I think made the points a little clearer.

Site Traffic

It has been so busy this year that I never got around to doing a 2011 year-end wrap-up, and here we are over a quarter of the way through 2012, so I guess that point is moot.  In the time since, several milestones were hit and went by unremarked because of how busy things have been.  In February, I completed my first 1000 days of blogging with my biggest month so far.  March blew the doors off February, with 6,809 page views, more page views than I got during my first 365 days of blogging.  Naturally, this period included my biggest week to date, by a huge margin, thanks in part to some malware that I learned how to exterminate the hard way.  But my difficulties made the lives of others easier, so, even though malware hunting isn’t my primary role, I feel justified in taking some pride.

Naturally, a post that contributes so much to the bog’s bottom line has its own laurels, as the post that reached 1000 page views the quickest – 12 days.  Three other posts joined the 1k+ page views club, and the leader of the pack, Add a Unique Auto-Incrementing Column to a SharePoint List surpassed twelve thousand page views.

Those are the highlights of the recent developments, and since I am coming up on the end of my third year of blogging, I’ll have more detailed coverage then for those who are interested.

What’s Your Strategy?

The New Year is a time when many of us take stock of the prior year and plan for the coming one.  You’ll soon see a year-end post where I take stock of my year, but right now I want to talk about the year ahead.

Specifically, your year, and how you plan to manage your career in the year ahead.

As the old saw goes, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”  So I am asking you to not plan to fail.

Whether or not you are currently employed, you should look at your employment, your employment history, skills, professional activities and job searches as pieces of a whole, your career.  You need a strategy to manage your career.  Here’s why, and some ideas how… (more…)

User Friendly

Here is where the two paths meet.

As mentioned in the site description slug (under my picture to the right), in my guidance post, and in my Manifesto (of sorts) (and probably about a dozen other places on this blog), I am both a SharePoint administrator and a board member of a nonprofit that helps people become re-employed after losing their job. Some of my posts on this blog are about SharePoint, and some are about career management.

As part of my role in giving career management advice, I strongly encourage people to be involved with professional organizations, or to start one if there isn’t one in their area. As a SharePoint professional, I am a member of two area SharePoint user groups (one in Austin and one in San Antonio), as well as an attendee (and onetime board member) of other local technology organizations.  I’ve helped organize events, I’ve given presentations, and just plain volunteered to help set up, clean up, or do whatever was needed.  I also help other local organizations by promoting their meetings and events, even organizations whose technology focus is outside the range of my field.  I’ve seen a number of ways that organizations meet the needs of the members of their communities.

What I’d like to do is get your input about what the organizations that you are involved in or know of do to support their professional communities (regardless of whether that community is technical or not).  How is the group organized, what kinds of activities does it engage in, and what have you found to be the most effective of its activities?


Speak Up!

At the end of September, I spoke at Launch Pad Job Club about ways to make yourself a better candidate for that new job you want.  One of the major points was to be active, to take advantage of opportunities to volunteer, raise your profile, and interact with people, whether or not you are currently employed.

In the spirit of “eating my own dog food“, I have several speaking engagements coming up. (more…)

Donate Your Twitter Account?

One of the ways we have been trying to promote Launch Pad Job Club has been through social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, and, of course , Twitter.  Our Twitter account is @LaunchPadJobClu (yes, there is no “b” at the end, Twitter has a length limitation on user names, and LPJC was already taken).

As a twitter user, your followers are different (by and large) from my followers.  This statement is true for any values of “you” and “me”.  There may be some overlap, more likely a greater level of overlap if we follow each other or both follow similar people, but you and I are highly unlikely to have exactly the same followers.

Let’s say, for the sake of discussion that there is an organization whose work I believe in.  I follow that organization’s twitter account.  They tweet something that I want to share with my followers.  I click the retweet button (or I copy and paste the tweet text into a new tweet) and share it with my followers.  For people who do not follow the organization, I get to expose them to the organization’s message.  For people who do follow the organization, they get a second chance to see the tweet that they might have overlooked (tweets being the ephemeral things they are).

If lots of people retweet what the organization tweeted, their message is magnified greatly to an audience far larger than just those who follow them (and were paying attention at the moment of the tweet).

This is what Donate Your Account is all about.  (more…)

Speaking at LPJC, Friday September 30

I’ll be speaking this Friday morning at Launch Pad Job Club.  My subject will be “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”

No, no boring vacation photos.

Do you remember how, the first week of school, we were often required to write an essay on what we did over summer vacation?  

Being unemployed isn’t a summer vacation, but the expectation of reporting what you did while you weren’t employed (in an informative and compelling way!) is very similar to the essay requirement.

With school starting up again, and with more people landing interviews, I’m hoping you’ll find the topic particularly timely.

I will be talking from approximately 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. during the regular LPJC meeting at the Phillips Pavilion, 1504 E 51st Street.

What have you been doing since your last job?

Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.

SharePoint Saturday Austin – Bring the Team!

Finally, a SharePoint Saturday will be held in Austin.

San Antonio has had a couple, as has Dallas and Houston.  Now Austin gets a chance to show off its SharePoint talent, and gets the chance to bring in a lot of well-known outside talent to spend the day talking SharePoint.

SharePoint Saturday, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a free all-day SharePoint conference and party.  There will be many presentations, ranging from business user topics through administrator and developer topics.  An idea for a C-level event for executives has been proposed.  It really is an event for the whole team to learn more about SharePoint, and (more importantly) how to align SharePoint with your business goals by finding out what it can do, and helping you and your team get the tools and know-how to do it.

Saturday January 21, 2012, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, with a SharePint afterward!

Did I mention it was free?  FREE!

SharePoint Saturday Austin website
Register here!
Post it to your LinkedIn Events (here’s why)

Oh yeah, in addition to nationally and internationally known SharePoint experts, we’re focusing on bringing local talent into the spotlight too!  I’ve submitted two proposals for sessions, and there is still time for you to submit your proposal too!  If you know something about SharePoint (especially case studies or business user topics on how to get the most out of SharePoint or some specific feature), be sure to get your proposal in soon!  Visit the SharePoint Saturday Austin site for mor information!

(Don’t know what SharePoint is? First check this out, then come to SharePoint Saturday to learn more!)

More posts about SharePoint.

How Is Your Online Resume Doing?

Mine is doing great, thanks for asking.  I posted my résumé on my blog two years and a little bit less than one month ago. Since then I have gotten over 1000 hits.   That’s pretty impressive, since I am employed and not actively promoting myself for a job!

Of the other one hundred (exactly) posts and pages on my blog, only five other posts have more hits.  One out of every 32 page views on my blog is a visit to my résumé.

Seriously – how much work would it be for you to send your résumé out and get a thousand people to look at it?  You  would have to send out a lot more than a thousand copies, I’ll tell you that!

With your résumé on a blog you get search visibility – your résumé is findable on the web, where recruiters (both internal and external) are searching, and you get to see what search terms they are using to find you.

I wrote extensively about getting your résumé out on the internet here.

Right now, recruiters are working with a reduced budget, so they aren’t paying for services like Monster, Hot Jobs and Careerbuilder, et al. So much so that Hot Jobs has collapsed and Yahoo sold it to Monster. Instead, recruiters are firing up their browsers and searching for candidates via Google, or are using LinkedIn, both of which are free to both candidates and recruiters. When they do this, if they can’t find you, you are out of the running for that job.

Another advantage of having your résumé on a blog is the feedback you get from stats and search terms used to find your résumé.

And when the blog you have your résumé posted on is related to your career, you have the added bonus of being able to validate your résumé claims with the things you write about, should the reader of your résumé be intrigued enough to want to know more.

My résumé has been seen by over a thousand people without me having send it to anyone.  Is your résumé working as hard for you?

Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.

The Information Anchor

I went to a SharePoint conference in Dallas last week, and learned something that might be helpful for the jobseeker.

There was a lot of stuff that was handed to me during the day as I passed the vendors’ booths – tchachkes, business cards, one-sheet advertisements for their services. But one vendor got it right…


An Evening of Success Stories

Next Thursday night, May 5th, Launch Pad Job Club is hosting An Evening of Success Stories as part of its 10th Anniversary celebration.

I will be one of six speakers, former jobseekers who are now successfully employed, with inspiring and motivational stories of what finally worked. Each presentation will run about 10 minutes, followed by a panel-type discussion after last speaker is finished.


Engage With Your Peers

Nearly two years ago, I gave a presentation on using Twitter to assist in building your career. I’ve also blogged about using LinkedIn and about face-to-face networking.

Twitter, LinkedIn, face-to-face networking, blogging, professional organizations, and even Facebook – all are (or can be) tools you can use to do the same thing:

Engage with your peers.

Point of View

One of the things that I am proud of in my career and something that I think has been important in making my career successful has been my insistence on understanding what the end-user is experiencing.

In a recent post, I described an incident where a user reported that they were not seeing a link on a particular SharePoint page. My first reaction was, “So what do you see?” This particular issue had been passed around to several technicians, and I didn’t see that anyone before me had asked for a screenshot. By getting a screenshot of what the user was seeing, I understood that the problem wasn’t the link per se (see the blog post for the full story) and put me onto what the actual problem was.

There is a story I used to tell at job interviews, but hasn’t gotten much use of late. I used to use it as an example of my ability to “think outside the box”, but in retrospect, it is more about understanding things from the customers point fo view.

Quick Fix: Add a LinkedIn Sharing Button to Your WordPress Blog

Following my work on Hacking the URL, I wanted to simplify the process of posting my blog entries to LinkedIn. But there isn’t a defined LinkedIn Sharing Service on the Sharing page of the WP Dashboard.

But it is easy to get one… (more…)

Everyone needs to manage their career, not everyone needs to manage SharePoint

This blog has some content meant for general audiences, and some content that is extremely technical. This post is meant to help guide you to getting the most out of my blog, depending on your needs.

(Alternatively you can use the categories links on the right-hand side of the page)

Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 7

Concluding my daily series revealing the “secrets” to a successful job hunt.

It’s Monday, which means it is time to get to work. Today you will learn to stop hiding…


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 6

Nearing the conclusion of my daily series revealing the “secrets” to a successful job hunt.

Last time I re-revealed the thing you must always do. Today I re-reveal another secret, how to answer the big question…


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 5

My daily series of posts revealing the “secrets” of a successful job hunt in these difficult economic times continues.

Today’s secret is short and sweet, to let you get on with your weekend. Be sure you read yesterday’s post first!


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 4

Day four of my daily series revealing the “secrets” to a successful job hunt.

Yesterday I told you how to make time for a more effective job hunt. Today I tell you what you absolutely MUST do with some of that extra time and attention…


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 3

Once again, continuing my daily series revealing the “secrets” to a successful job hunt.

Yesterday I debunked a myth about the job hunt. Today’s subject is “Less Is More”.


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 2

Continuing my daily series revealing the “secrets” to a successful job hunt.

Last time I revealed what I know about resumes. Today’s subject is “Every Breath You Take”, in which I trash a widely held belief about the job hunt…


Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker – Part 1

Ah, another provocative title! As I have mentioned elsewhere, when you use a provocative come-on to get eyeballs, you must have the content to back it up, or people will stop reading your posts.

In this case, well, these aren’t secrets, per se, and in fact are pretty well-known, but given how often I see people not using these techniques, they might as well be secrets.

I’m going to be revealing some of these secrets every day for the next week. When it’s over, you’ll have to tell me if what I’ve written is worth it.

Today’s Secret: “Only For You”. Read on!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 879 other followers

%d bloggers like this: