Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Conan and Burning Bridges
January 22, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Career Advice

OK, typically I like to stay away from the hype that surrounds drama in Hollywood. But the things that are going on with Conan O’Brien and the Tonight Show caught my eye when a Time article came out about a $4.8 million show expense that was done to ‘stick it’ to NBC. Granted, no one can blame Conan for being salty about what’s going on; any of us would feel shafted by this treatment. But there’s more to this than hurt feelings…

I was pointed to this article on Brand For Talent, and in the article it discusses the HR nightmare being created by this situation. Was also shown this article by Jason Seiden. And in light of the recent actions by Conan, I think this is setting an incredibly terrible example for the average person in properly severing ties with a former employer. To all my HR and recruiting friends out there, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to burn bridges like this, or in this case, attach a powder keg to the supports and blow it up.

Please keep this in perspective: Conan is a celebrity. He gets paid to be funny, and on top of that, he is getting millions of dollars out of this debacle. How many of us would ever dream to get the kind of severance that he is? So obviously this is a special situation. Unfortunately, lots of people skip over the ‘special situation’ part, and they just look at what he’s doing and say, “Yeah, Conan – you tell NBC. Stick it to the man!”

Unfortunately, there will be a LOT of people who think that this is acceptable behavior when leaving a company, whether by your choice or by theirs. That’s just simply not the case. If we were to translate this kind of behavior into the average person’s experience, that would be like taking a box truck, backing it up to the front door of your office, and loading it up with all of the office supplies and computers within before giving your former boss the finger and telling him to shove it while you walk out the door. I’m sure many of us have wanted to act like this, but we know better. Because we know that almost inevitably, there will be a situation in which we will run into our former employer, or former co-workers who witnessed such an event, in a professional setting. Awkward! Actions like that will always come back to haunt you – choose your reactions wisely.

So while this is all wildly entertaining, I just ask you to use discretion and common sense when thinking about making a similar grand gesture on your last day of work. What works for one doesn’t always work for another 🙂


Job Competition
January 11, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting

Lots of competition for jobs these days, with the economy on the repair. Have you found yourself in a situation like this recently?

It’s tough out there today! Instead of resorting to sabotage of your fellow job-seekers and risking bringing bad karma on yourself, try making yourself memorable instead. As a recruiting professional and also the occasional job seeker myself, here are some things that I think will help you out:

  • Dress conservatively for your interview, but wear just a hint of flair – ladies, a bright colored collared shirt under your skirt- or pants-suit, and guys, a colorful or interesting tie. Caution: make sure it’s interesting without being tacky/inappropriate.
  • Find out a little about the people with whom you’ll be interviewing before you meet them, and write down some interesting facts about them that you can use in your interview. I’d caution against making direct connections with them until after your interview though (i.e. LinkedIn)
  • Bring a notepad to your interview pre-loaded with questions about the company. Take notes during your interview and ask questions related to the things you discuss with your interviewer.
  • Following your interview, send a hand-written thank-you note to the people with whom you interviewed, in addition to a quick thank-you email. Hand-written notes are not common any more, and people remember them.
  • Tip: always be pleasant to the receptionist. That’s your opportunity to make a great first impression, and a lot of interviewers ask them how they are treated by those who come in to interview.

If you have other interviewing tips, please leave them in a comment below. Wishing you the best of luck on your interviews!

What!? *Don’t* put ‘looking for a job’ in your LinkedIn status?!?
December 16, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research

I was pointed to a new blog post today by Laurent Brouat entitled “Don’t put ‘Looking for a job’ on your linkedin status“. In the post, Brouat advises those who are in the market for new employment not to place these words in their LinkedIn status because “you position yourself as someone asking for something, asking for a job, waiting for things to happen…”

Say wha-a-a-a-t!?!?! I completely and quite loudly disagree with this!

  1. If you don’t ask, you cannot receive. There’s a Book that talks about this quite extensively, actually 🙂
  2. ANY recruiter, and sourcer especially, worth their salary, knows how to conduct in-depth LinkedIn searches and would be quite pleased to discover someone who’s left word that they’d be open to listening to new opportunities right on their LinkedIn page. Don’t believe me? Just type the phrase “looking for a job” into the LinkedIn search field and check out the resulting 8,000+ individuals seeking new employment AND LETTING YOU KNOW THEY ARE.
  3. Guess what? I have automated search agents set up through LOTS of social media sites with key phrases like “looking for work”, “I need a job”, “need a new job”… and I’ll bet a million bucks I’m not the only one!

Granted, Mr. Brouat is from London so the way things are done across the pond could be quite different from here in the States, but I believe a better piece of advice might be to tell job seekers not to simply STOP at putting this phrase in their profile.

Job seeking is essentially self-marketing, and the one thing that you should know about good marketing is that you should NEVER rely on one method to get the job done. The reason for this is that you’ll have different target audiences that will be reached via different methods. So I say in addition to putting a phrase such as “looking for a job” (or perhaps you prefer “entertaining new opportunities”, “seeking a new venture”, or “in transition”?) it’s good to combine other active outreach such as IN-PERSON networking, looking to see who is hiring and then proactively reaching out, etc. In my personal opinion, it certainly can’t hurt to leave a note on a page that I guarantee is going to be visited by actively querying recruiters and sourcers.

It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for something you want – just make sure you do it tactfully!

How NOT To Be Social On Twitter
October 21, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media

Ugh – some of the things that people do online I just do not understand. Things that absolutely would not be socially acceptable in real life. Just this past weekend, I was witness to one of the rudest ones I’ve seen to date…

I received a DM from an individual I shall call John, changing his name to protect the, um, anti-social. John apparently had recently been conducting a job search and had been using Twitter as a resource to do so. Good job! Twitter I believe is a great resource when you’re job hunting – it’s not the ONLY thing you should use, but I think there are definitely some benefits. Well, John got himself a new job – good for him! But his next action was pretty rude, from my viewpoint. I, along with several others I would imagine, received this DM from John:

“The purpose of this account has changed. I started a new job. As such, I have un-followed you and ask that you do the same. Thank you.”

As well, in the bio section of his profile –

“The purpose of this account has changed. I will be un-following job search related accounts and asking them by DM to do the same. Please see @<otheraccount>”

Translate to the real-life version and it would go something like this: John attends a networking event for job search professionals and makes friends with several people who offer to help him with his own job search. John eventually finds himself a job, and promptly calls over his new friends to inform them that as he has no further use for their friendship, would they please delete his number from their cell and forget they ever met him. Rude, no?

I realize that people have every right to use Twitter for whatever purpose they desire. All John apparently wanted to do with Twitter was use it to help him find a job, as evident in the number of tweets on his page and their subject. No problems there. But I believe in this particular situation John COMPLETELY  missed the concept of “social” media. There are several other things he could have done to be less abrupt, crass, rude, etc. He could have sent a DM saying something like “I’ve found a job! I’ll be tweeting from here on out at @<otheraccount>”, or he could have simply deleted the account and started over again. But his words were rather harsh and carried the message “now that I have no further use for you, be gone!” Not the idea of social media at all.

Use social media – yes. Use people – no.

Do You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
September 29, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, college, Networking/Social Media

Alright – I admit it, I do occasionally drop an S*** bomb or call someone an a$$hole. And a good friend of mine told me that you know a person is trustworthy if they swear freely in front of you (I agree – but only to a certain extent). However, nothing makes my skin crawl more than the F-word, or using G/D. ESPECIALLY when I see this on social networks where the whole world can see, and search.

My focus lately with AT&T has been supporting our college recruiting efforts, so I have been lurking around and checking out where students are hanging out on social media. What I’ve found on Twitter has surprised me a little bit – both for the good and the bad.

The good – students DO in fact use Twitter, contrary to prior popular belief. There is even a new community called CampusTweet where you can opt-in to be included in your university ‘directory’, either as a student or an alumni. This is a rapidly growing and self-nominated community and has proven to be a great resource for my search efforts.

The bad – I still haven’t quite figured out what the general use of Twitter is for students. Some have told me it’s to take a break from studying and break up the boredom of the day. OK – that’s what a lot of us professionals use it for as well. Some use it to follow sports or celebrities. Again, par for the course with the rest of the Twitterverse. However, a couple of things I’m seeing are quite disturbing to me – take a look:

These are from college student accounts (the names have been fuzzed out to protect the foul-mouthed)

Students: how many times must you be told that THIS STUFF IS ALL ARCHIVED AND SEARCHABLE. We have created our own fishbowl here – there is always someone looking and reading, and when employers see stuff like this, we can’t help but cringe. We all get frustrated and spew forth some 4-letter words from time to time, but doing so on social media, on the Internet, for the whole world to see, is generally not a good idea.

From an employer’s perspective, I cannot stress ENOUGH how bad this looks. Two of the most important lessons that should be learned from this:

  1. The younger you are, the harder you’re going to have to work to be taken seriously. It sucks, but it’s true students. Being young is both a blessing and a curse. If you want to be taken seriously in the professional realm, you’re going to have to work that much harder to portray yourself as such. That includes refraining from profanity on all of your social networks. **This also includes having an appropriate avatar.** Ladies, looking like a hoochie-mama in your pics is going to get you treated like one – by both guys and gals. Guys, looking like a slob who just rolled out of bed and can’t seem find his belt to hold up his ripped-up jeans is not going to get you a job. Sorry.
  2. Someone is always watching. Whether you like it or not, social media search is happening every day. It’s my job, and it’s the job of thousands more out there. You may say “I’m not looking for a job, leave me alone and let me do my thing!” Fair enough – you have every right to express yourself. However – situations can change on a dime. Would you seriously jeopardize your chances at employment for the sake of “expressing yourself” by dropping an F-bomb? Just filter things through a brain cell before posting, updating, or blurting out.

Students – please please please be cognizant of your online actions. The world we live in today is transparent, and everything you do is going to be watched and scrutinized whether you like it or not. Don’t give people more ammunition than is already available. Think about the things that you type and post. It could come back to bite you in the A** if you’re not careful.

Social College Recruiting For AT&T!
September 1, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting

AT&T Jobs: College ConnectionI’m excited to share this news on my blog! We just launched a new Facebook Fan Page for AT&T’s college recruiting efforts. And just in time for school to start again in the fall…

AT&T Jobs: College Connection – check it out!

Our page details some of the Internship and Development Program opportunities that are offered for soon-to-be and recently graduated college students. We also have some photos, videos, a fun contest or two, a brand-new campus mobile campaign you can register for, and interactive polls. Also – if you want to check us out on your mobile, Facebook’s new 3.0 app upgrade makes it easy to find us and keep updated on the Wall posts.

Please come check this page out – ‘Fan’ it if you’d like, and please feel free to share with your friends as well!

I’ll frequently be interacting with fans on the Wall as well, so I encourage you to engage in conversation on the Wall – ask any questions you’ve got about our College Outreach or anything else. Look forward to seeing you there!

Disclaimer: Yes, I work with AT&T. However, I am not being additionally compensated or incentivized in any way to write this post, outside of being proud of the Fan Page 🙂

What I Learned In College (Taking Responsibility For Yourself)
August 6, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Thoughts

Be prepared for my rant!

A lot of you have seen this – the case of the Monroe College student who is suing – yes SUING – the college because she hasn’t found a job yet. It’s August, and the girl graduated in April.

Come ON….

What has this world come to? Why are we suing educational institutions for not getting us a job? It’s not their responsibility to find us a job – college is supposed to prepare us for entry into what many refer to as the “real world”, which means we have to take off our diapers and do things for ourselves. I’ve NEVER heard of a college that promises employment – ESPECIALLY these days. They don’t even promise an education – know why? Because it is up to YOU to go to your classes and learn something. Professors in college are not going to hold your hand and baby you. At the beginning of the semester, they’ll give you a syllabus, tell you when your assignments are due, and you’ll be expected to put that to memory and be responsible for getting your stuff done. At least, that’s how I remember it…

My first two semesters in college were rough – and I started as a sophomore because I had so many credits coming out of high school! I think my cumulative GPA my first two semesters was something around 2.9. This is because I had to make some serious adjustments to 1) keeping track of when my assignments were due, and 2) making sure I had a good balance of school, work, and fun. Sometimes the fun was way out of balance, which is what happens to a lot of students in the first year. The difference is between those who learn to be responsible, and those who whine and complain that ‘teacher didn’t tell me when this or that was due’, and blame everyone else for their lack of ability to manage a calendar.

I had an academic scholarship to the University of Florida, but to keep it that meant I had to maintain a 3.0 GPA. As a result, following the end of my 2nd semester I was in danger of losing my scholarship. But instead of whining and complaining, I figured out what needed to be done in order for me to keep my scholarship. I buckled down, studied more, became diligent in managing my schedule, and by the time I graduated (in 3 1/2 years), I had a 3.53 cumulative GPA, which mean I graduated with honors. And by the way, I did this while working at least 30 hours a week at the Olive Garden my junior and senior years.

I graduated in December of 2000. Guess when I got my first “real job”: August of 2001. 8 months after graduating – imagine that! In the meantime, since I couldn’t afford to live on my own, I had to move back in with my mom, something I never wanted to do. So, to change my own situation (learning point there) I worked 2 jobs to save up enough money so I could move out. I worked during the day as a lifeguard and water safety instructor, and after that job was over, I went to wait tables 5 days a week. I did this for 8 months until I had enough to move out and enough for covering my living expenses for a couple of months until I could find another job. Which I did – paying $7/hour working in sales at a fitness club. I hated this job, even though it was utilizing my education (Exercise and Sports Sciences), so I ended up going back to waiting tables for….another 10 months. Only after that did I got my first job working in recruiting, and the rest is history. So if you really want to get down to it, it took me 18 months to find my career. And it wasn’t even related to what I had studied in college.

So when I hear stories like this, a girl who is suing her college because she hasn’t found a job it hasn’t found her a job in 3 months, it makes me want to go insane! 3 months??? Try 18, or longer in some cases! And I’d really be interested in how much time this young lady has invested in her own job search, or if she’s leaned back and expected other people to do all of the work for her.

Life is not fair. This may sound harsh, but once you learn that lesson, you’ll get along much better in life. Take the following items as words of advice from the voice of experience:

  • The days of going to school, getting a degree, and that guaranteeing you a good job are over. You must learn how to network in today’s world – it’s probably going to be the most important skill you can learn to be successful at any endeavor you pursue. I believe this is a skill that should be taught in a mandatory course in college – or better yet, something taught at the high school level.
  • People are not going to hold your hand your whole life. You have to take responsibility for yourself. The best place to learn this is in college, because you will be chewed up and spit out in the corporate world with this mindset.
  • People will be willing to help you, but only if you’re helping yourself in the meantime. Do not expect other people to do your heavy lifting for you.
  • You must learn to find balance in your life – party too hard in college, your education will suffer. Study too much, and you’ll make yourself crazy (and the others around you too). Well-balanced individuals often find great success because they know when it’s time to get down to business, but they also know how to kick back and relax.
  • Most importantly, make and maintain a good name for yourself. Think about this – what employer do you think is going to pursue this girl now, after they have seen this news splashed across the headlines? Whether she realizes it or not, she just made her situation that much worse because the perception is now that she has an entitlement complex. I don’t know if this assumption is the actual case, but that is the perception of most people who hear this story at this point.

Students, your reputation is one of the few things you can control in your life. Take extreme care in maintaining a good one. Suing your college for not finding you a job will severely hurt your reputation and your chances of being hired anywhere. Companies are looking for individuals who can handle the hiccups that occur in life in stride, not people who throw themselves on the ground and have a hissy fit when things aren’t always peaches and cream. Listen – bad things happen to everyone – what separates the successful people from the unsuccessful people is the ability to deal with life’s issues maturely, realizing that the tough times are learning opportunities, and what makes us stronger in the long run.

Best wishes to you as you are earning your education, and please let me know if I can help you in your job search (no guarantees, of course! 🙂 )