Monday, June 29, 2009

Why LinkedIn is not the ultimate search tool for future jobs

As I was researching the top of  job searches through various social media channels for one of my clients, I found this great blog on the Top 10 LinkedIn sites for job searches.   As a big advocate of this six-year-old social media portal, I know that LinkedIn can help in a job search.   Yet, LinkedIn is not the ultimate solution for all for job searches.
The problem with LinkedIn is that it’s only a part of the job search process.  It does a great job of housing the resume and it identifies people in a network that can help open doors for a future job.
What makes me really dubious about LinkedIn as the ultimate tool is the long maturation process needed to build a relationship within it.  It took me at least nine months before I began to meet potential clients with my LinkedIn profile.
The buzz behind LinkedIn makes novice users believe that it will magically create job openings for them.  However, most people don’t have a profile that is completely free of resume speak.   If you have looked at the more than five thousand profiles that have come across my screen, I would say that 95-percent or more have transferred their resume directly into their LinkedIn profile.  These types typically cause me to quickly ignore them.
What job searchers need today is a dose of reality.   Yes, a well written LinkedIn profile can raise visibility to your accomplishments but novice users haven’t built their network of trusted advisors or job champions with it.  
However, those new to the online search process should develop, according to Joshua Shipsey, the founder of, is a group of job champions.  These folks have the influence to walk a resume into a decision maker’s office instead of hoping that someone will find a resume from the stacks of them sent to them for a public job posting.  Furthermore, a job champion may be aware of an opening that isn’t even posted on the web.
Shipsey would advise people to get out among their friends and associates to let them know they’re looking for a job.  He suggests friends from church, the local PTA or other civic groups such as the chamber of commerce.  For younger people, that family mafia of aunts, uncles and other relatives also serve as a great resource.
This effort to find a job is kind of like that classic Biblical parable where a farmer sows seeds.  Some will land on rocks; others will get eaten by the birds.  However, a few of them will actually find their way to good soil.   By using a well established network of friends and colleagues, a person can begin the search for a new job with the hopes of finding some leads.
Don’t get me wrong about LinkedIn.  I believe that it’s a great way to network.  Yet, not everyone has gotten onto this social media channel to the point that putting a lot of hopes into using it will generate a job interview commensurate with a person’s skill sets.  

Thursday, June 25, 2009

With a large influx of federal stimulus funding, it's time to capitalize on retraining opportunities

With a projected $5 billion in stimulus funding, how can the growing number of unemployed Texas workers capitalize on the training needed to help them find a job? According to published resources, the funding will focus on new technologies, infrastructure projects and health care.
A search on the topic "Texas job training" provided two interesting hits from the Dallas Morning Newsand Killeen Daily Herald. Yet, the question arises about where is the rest of the publicity on how someone could qualify for a possible retraining program?
Like some VA benefits for disabled veterans, the programs are well established and in place. Yet like the VA, the state job training organizations don't capitalize on providing information to local media channels in an attempt to help people understand the processes needed to fund training at a place like Rizer School of Technology's new pharmaceutical training program.
If you are looking for retraining options, here's a link for every state thanks to the bloggers at Training and Development. Yet, it's only a starting point.
I would encourage those who go back to school to find a "job champion" at their new school or in the industry to help them understand how they can fast track their job aspirations. Joshua Shipsey, the chief executive officer at, said it's important for those changing careers to find their own career advisors. It's not enough, he notes, to get the training without looking at ways to capitalize on a job that can provide opportunities for expansion and growth.
As someone who faced the lack of employment, I can empathize with those who are facing a significant loss of income. Yet, retraining gave me the tools to pull it together. Through the VA Disability program, I found the funding to complete a degree in marketing at UTSA. Before graduating, I knew of two to three job champions who could help me become a full-time publicist. In time, I have helped others begin their start in publicity and marketing positions.
I admit that it will take some time to find the right program, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Texas ready for the fallout from other state's economic woes?

Is Texas primed for growth and expansion? After reading Richard Fisher's comments in Thursday's Dallas Morning News, I think my adopted state has the potential to expand businesses.
"Texas is one of the few big states not flat on its back from the recession. Using its greener pastures as a selling point, the state should "go out and steal everything we can from the rest of the country," said Fisher, the president of the Dallas Fed said.
I agree with Fisher that our elected leaders should do everything they can to bring the intellectual talent and business to the Lone Star State.
However, I would also be selective in what kind of businesses I want to attract. If you want economic incentives for a business that has low payng jobs, I would pass on helping them.
And, for those businesses that want to come to Texas, I would avoid showing them around the state, especially in the month of August. As an adopted Texican, I learned quickly that the devil liked to play golf here from July to August with 100-degree temps and the high humidity.
While the state has a lot going for it, the weather in the summer can turn into a real detractor.

FTC has better things to do than crack down on blogger endorsement

After reading the article about the Federal Trade Commission's to monitor and crack down on endorsements on blogs, I was truly amazed. Sitting there over a breakfast with my daughter, Kate, before we headed back to San Antone, I was truly amazed that someone in the "gov" thought those of us who read blogs couldn't figure out that an endorsement was a little suspect.

Maybe, it's the lack of critical thinking in today's English curriculum. Back in the day, my English teachers like Sister Mary Regina, told me that the only non-biased publication was Consumers Report. And, as someone who works in social media, I hope that those who are reading my blogs were smart enough to realize that I don't have the research attributes of Consumer's Report.

If we can turn back the clock to the golden days of English education, we could convince the "gov" that they don't need to to monitor blogs for illegal endorsements. We American consumers should be smart enough to realize that there is a little bias in all forms of reporting.

Why Garry Trudeau should add a second avatar to Twitter

With a comic strip, the research needed for it and other obligations, how does Garry Trudeau handle all of the tweets for Roland Hedley?
As someone who follows Roland, I admire Trudeau's ability to convey his dry wit. More importantly, I respect his coverage of the wounded warriors.
I am hoping that Trudeau and his staff will add the young soldier with the traumatic brain disorder syndrome as a second Twitter "persona."
America needs to remember the contribution of these wounded soldiers and the battles they face in dealing with the Veterans Administration. Trudeau does an excellent job of showing their struggles in his Doonesbury comic strip and his Sand Box blog, but surely he could add this communication channel to help more people understand the ongoing suffering that our military endure after service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why San Antonio needs to hire a tech czar

If President Barack Obama can hire a cyber czar, couldn't our new mayor appoint a special tech envoy?

I was sitting at lunch with my friend, Weston Martinez, another tech advocate, at Jim's Restaurant. Weston, an AT&T executive, and I were discussing some possible tech programs when the subject of technology advocacy came up.

If you have read this blog, you know that I have questioned some of the executive leadership for technology promotion in this city. And, I am not going to rehash that topic now.

However, our city has two organizations -- BioMed and SATAI. Both have a mission of promoting technology within San Antonio.

Yet, I am wondering, like my friend, Weston, why haven't these two organizations cross pollinated their efforts. It has taken outside groups to push the emerging medical technology to meet with the IT types like Rackspace. For example, the last Innotech San Antonio trade show featured a great panel on the emerging technology of San Antonio.

My friend, David Jemeyson, the chief executive of xGates, suggested to the San Antonio Innotech board that they have a program on medical innovations. With the help of Gabi Niederauer, a senior executive at Intrigue, an excellent panel on emerging medical technology was held at this event.
Buoyed by the success of this event, there are plans to expand the program for next year.

So, Weston and I both agree that our new mayor needs his own tech czar who can oversee both organizations and become the Gregor Mendel of our technology efforts. To me, it's sad that we have two excellent tech based industries who are not talking to each other. Here's hoping that our new mayor will find someone who can help advise him on how to cross pollinate our two technology bases.

To follow or not to follow.... that is the question

When I spoke last night to the San Antonio chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Professionals about social media strategies, a lot of questions were on the topic of following people on Twitter.

To wit, if someone follows you on the Twitterverse, should you follow them back.? And more importantly, should you click on their links.

For example, I recently completed a Twitter profile for a Bush's chicken franchise in Midland, Texas. In the course of setting it up, we had three followers. Sadly, two of them were what I would term as porn bots with such catch phrases as "Do you want to see my pixes?"

Pornbots are not what I would consider as quality followers, so I blocked them right away.

On a typical day, I get about eight to 10 people who want to follow me. When time permits, I look at all of them and if I see someone who has similar interests, I hit the "follow" button on Twitter.

Bryan Guinn, the president of Prism Technologies, disagreed with my policy of following back other Twitter types. He thinks that I should have a more liberal policy of following others.

I see Bryan's point, but I also have seen a large influx of the pornbots and the multi-level marketers who have infiltrated Twitter. The social media company does a great job of monitoring it, and I know they will catch most of them.

However, thanks to the popularity of Twitter due to endorsements like Oprah, the quasi marketing types have found it as a new medium to sell their wares.

And, that gets to the security issue also discussed last night. If you don't know someone like @BunniRAE23, you should click on the pictures links either. That's a good way to catch a virus for your computers.

So, Bryan, please understand the difference between me and you when it comes to following people on Twitter

LinkedIn groups help businesses reach out to other clients

When my friend Kevin Koym told me that I should embrace LinkedIn nearly 18 months ago, I was like a lot of other newcomers to social media. I arched my eye, smiled at him and said to myself "What could hurt by setting it up?"
Then, Kevin helped me discover LinkedIn Groups. One of the first groups I started was the Dinfos Trained Killers. If you served in military public affairs, you have heard of DINFOS -- The Defense Information School. With graduates like Pat Sajak, Al Gore and even Dan Quayle, the school has hundreds of graduates.
Today, the group is almost at 500 people without much promotion. As a public affairs professional, I have found a lot of former colleagues. It also helped me reach out to others in the profession.
As a communications consultant, I have been helping some of my clients create their own groups. Cook and Associates, a CPA firm with offices in San Marcos and here, just started their first group -- Lone Star CPAs. Steve Cook, the principal for the group, said he wants to share information with other small firms. As well, he wants to build a network of CPAs that can complete a peer review, a requirement needed by all CPAs to maintain their professional designation.
So, if you are a CPA with a staff of 20 or less, please check out Lone Star CPAs on LinkedIn. Or, if you are another professional group or a business that wants to learn more about this, please feel to contact me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Getting to the ROI of social media takes some time and excellent planning

As someone who works in social media and traditional public relations, I am often given the "What's the ROI on your work?" On Tuesday, I have been asked by the San Antonio chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Professionals to speak again for the second time in three months. Somehow, I must have wowed them as they are asking me to speak on the "ROI of social media."
For most of us, the term ROI translates into "return on investment." However fellow MYSA blogger, Jennifer Navarette would call it "return on involvement."
And that's the focus of Tuesday's speech. I will be speaking on why people should get involved with social media.
However, "newbies," a term sometimes given to those new folks on Twitter, need to first come up with a plan concerning strategy to truly generate the second type of ROI.
So, for those of you who aren't member of the IAMCP (or have no interest in joining), here's a quick overview of how to create a simple planning strategy.
First, if you have a blog, it's important to determine the mission statement. After completing that, you should start an editorial calendar. Andi Narvaez, a fellow social media and public relations professional at KGBTexas, pointed out about five weeks ago at a San Antonio podcamp that people need to have an editorial calendar. I agree with her in that just like most trade publications, an editorial calendar provides a guide of topics and issues that should be covered.
Another important point to social media is to build a following. One of the most difficult things about Twitter is building a base of followers. However, by using a tool like the one located at, it's easier to find others with similar interest.
Lastly, social media efforts take time and effort. I liken it to the pioneers on the Oregon Trail. At first, it seems like you're looking at the same prairie and buffalo, but after awhile, you start to see the mountains and then your destination. The return on involvement for a business social media campaign is like taking a wagon train 1500 miles. It will take time and effort, not to mention a few roadblocks, to reach a point that someone will see the ROI for their efforts.
(Note: If you belong to a service club or a business organization and wish to have someone speak on the topic of social media, please leave a response at the end of this blog. I will respond to them in a timely manner.)