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Career Prescription #2: Start a Blog

December 26th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoCareer Prescription #1: Start a Blog
By Douglas E. Welch

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This week I continue my series of Career Prescriptions in hopes of moving you forward on some very important work that can help you to define and improve your career. Last week, I prescribed getting an account on LinkedIn. Today, I expect that there might be even a bit more push back when I tell you to start a blog, if you don’t have one already. If you already have a blog, start updating it more often.

How to start a blog

If you don’t have a blog already, point your web browser at either WordPress.com or Blogger.com. Set up a free account (your existing Google account can be used for Blogger, if you have one). Pick from their standard list of templates. Don’t worry about making the perfect decision now, you can easily change style choices later. Now, take an idea or thought you have and make it your first blog post. It can be about anything or anyone. It doesn’t matter what it is about, it only matters that you actually make the post. That’s it. Rinse and repeat.

As an exercise for the next couple of weeks, actively seek out items for your blog. They may be short pieces that you write yourself, photos that you take, or other items you find on the Internet that you find interesting to share with others. In the last case, though, if you post something from another source, you must take the time to add a few words about where you found it, why you found the content interesting and why you decided to share it with others. Don’t just post information without some personal background. You have to remember that the reason people read your blog, or any blog, is that they want to hear your unique viewpoint on the material. Why did you find it so special?

While some of you might have seen the usefulness of being a member of LinkedIn due to its business-like demeanor, you might be looking at me a bit oddly right now. You might be thinking that blogs are only for writers or photographers or other, narcissistic people only interested in talking about themselves. Sure, blogs can be any of these, but they also open up the opportunity to be much, much more. For you, as part of this prescription, your blog is going to become a “place for your stuff” as George Carlin once said. Too often we lose, or in most cases, throw away, great ideas, great thoughts, great stories because we don’t have a place to put them — immediately.

Why?

In the same way, and for the same reason, I carry around a paper journal to capture my ideas, I also keep a blog — several blogs in fact. Each of them is a home for thoughts, ideas, words, pictures and more about a particular topic. While my paper journal is designed to be seen only by me, my blogs are designed to explore ideas in public and hopefully, engage others in my thought process, as well. Sharing your ideas, and the information you find in your Internet travels, is a great way to engage with new people all over the world. It establishes your interests, your goals and also provides a way to show the very important “what you do and how well you do it” to the world. Discovering a new idea might benefit yourself and a few of your close friends and relatives, but sharing these new ideas via a blog can help hundreds, thousands and, in some dramatic cases, millions of people all over the world. Why would you want to keep things to yourself, when you have such power.

I think that once you have a place to put your thoughts and finds, you will start to see more information to put there. Instead of just letting great ideas wander by, you will capture them, as well as share them with your friends, your family — your network. The more you do this, the more it grows, in a virtuous cycle. Before long, you will have people looking to your blog for the their inspiration and information.

I know you might be thinking, “I have nothing to say that people want to hear. Why would they read my blog?” That fact is, we all have something unique to contribute. You have no idea who your audience is until you put something out there. Once that happens an audience will find you. In some cases, this can be a sizable audience, too. Like prescription #1, I am going to ask you to trust me on this and give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The career conversation continues 24/7 at the Career Opportunities Community Site. I would love to hear your comments and questions about these prescriptions and more. Tell me why it worked, or why it didn’t? Just let me know you tried them. Add a new discussion on the Forums area of the Community site and share your experiences with other Career Opportunities readers and listeners.



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Audio: Live Reading of “A Christmas Carol” – 4th Annual

December 22nd, 2009 Comments off

On Sunday last, I held my 4th Annual LIVE Reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and the audio is now available for your holiday pleasure.

I think this would be great listening while steaming your Christmas pudding, cooking your Christmas goose or enjoying that refreshing “bowl of steaming bishop!

Listen to the 4th Annual LIVE Reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” from DouglasEWelch.com

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You can also watch the video captured live on uStream.tv.

Watch the 4th Annual Reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

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Friends in Tech present A Geek Christmas Story

December 21st, 2009 Comments off

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Career Opportunities and WelchWrite.com. I hope you enjoy this year’s holiday presentation from Friends in Tech. — Douglas

Listen to A Geek Christmas Story

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“Mattie Stevens, a young boy of the early 80’s, dreams of owning a Commodore 64. He sets out to convince everyone this is the perfect gift. But, along the way runs into opposition from his parents and everyone around him including old Santa Claus”

Written By:
Kreg Steppe
and Douglas E. Welch

Produced By:
George Starcher
– Typical Mac User Podcast
Victor Cajiao – Typical Mac User Podcast – Typical Shutterbug Podcast
Steve Holden – Tech News Radio Jersey Boys Podcast – AztecMedia.net

Cast of Players:
Narrator: Kreg Steppe – Technorama
Harvey Stevens: Dad – Kevin Devin
Mandy Stevens: Mom – Susie Murph – How to Grow your Geek Podcast
Mattie Stevens: Son – Daniel Devin
Sandy Stevens: Little Brother – Spencer Holden
Curtz Eisenberg: Friend to Mattie – Harrison Steppe
General Beringer: General – Douglas E. Welch
Lieutenant: Steve Holden – Tech News Radio
Mrs. Little: Katie Floyd – Mac Power Users Podcast
Santa’s Helper: Chuck Tomasi – Chuckchat.com
Santa: Larry Pesce – Pauldotcom.com Podcast
Judge: Victor Cajiao – Typical Mac User Podcast – Typical Shutterbug Podcast
Andrew Carnagie: Andy Helsby – Absoblogginlutely!
J.P. Morgan: Grant Bichocco – Mr.Grant.com
UPS Guy: Paul Asadoorian- Pauldotcom.com Podcast
Skipper: Rylie Starcher

Tip of the Hat to the old Christmas Commodore 64 Demo

Previous FiT Holiday Specials:

This has been a Friends in Tech Production.

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Career Prescription #1 – Get Linked In!

December 18th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoCareer Prescription #1 – Get Linked In!
By Douglas E. Welch

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My son is now 11 and I think I have used every tool of persuasion over the years to get him to do the things both he and I need to get done. You can reason, you can bribe, you can wheedle cajole and any number of other archaic words, but unfortunately there will come a time when you have to use the dreaded — because I said so. Why would I resort to such an old fashioned, and by some measures, evil, dictatorial method? I believe that you can only truly understand some concepts, some ideas, some foods once you have experienced them. After that test, you are more than welcome to refuse them in the future, but many times I find people enjoying the experience, once they give it a try.

So, after many years of using my powers of persuasion on you and your career, I am about to bring out the big guns. In this short series of articles to come, I am going to “prescribe” that you do something and my end all reason will be — because I said so. I am calling these my Career Prescriptions for 2010. Just like a doctor might prescribe you an antibiotic or something to control your cholesterol or blood pressure, I am going to prescribe a few actions that I think can help you build the career you deserve in the coming year.

Get Linked In

Many of the prescriptions are going to have something to do with using the Internet and social media tools to help your career and this first one is no exception. Regardless of what you might have heard about these services and how they might be used, I want you take a deep breath, click the mouse and set up an account.

The first service I recommend for career-oriented people is Linkedin (http://linkedin.com). Of all the services I will talk about here, this is probably the most business oriented. It is structured around something akin to an online resume and requires deeper linkages before someone can add you to their network, or you to theirs. LinkedIn should give you good, yet gentle, introduction into the world of social networking.

Once you have set up an account using your usual email address, I want you to wait for a day or two. In many cases, you will start to see requests from friends, co-workers, clients and such to “Join your network”. Note, you won’t have to go looking for people, or add unknown people or take much action at all — people will come to you. How can they do this? Many people, like myself have uploaded their address book to LinkedIn in order to find others who are already using the service. If someone in their address book isn’t a member, but later joins the service, they will get a note that their friend, co-worker, etc is now using LinkedIn.

Taking this gentle approach will help to insure that: 1.) you aren’t overwhelmed with people interacting with you and 2.) you will be making your first connections with those that already know you in some non-virtual way. This will be our plan for starting with all the services I will prescribe in the future, too.

Next, take a few moments and start to fill out your profile on LinkedIn. You can consider this a form of resume, and it is even laid out in a similar way. You select or create a company, and then select or create a position at that company. Supply your dates of employment and a short description of your work and you have a good start. This will then create another wave of network requests, as former co-workers will see you attached to a particular company and want to connect with you again.

Finally, once you get a feel for how LinkedIn works, you can show your address book to the LinkedIn service and have it tell you who among your contacts is already using LinkedIn. Then you will be able to add them to your network yourself.

Why?

Going back to the concept of visibility — where you want to make what you do and how well you do it visible to as many people as possible — LinkedIn provides an easy way to do this, simply by building your LinkedIn Profile. When you add a job, your current network will see that information. When you move jobs, they can see that too. Finally, and most important, when you are looking for a job, you don’t have to notify everyone in your network. You can update your profile with the type of work you are looking for and your network will see it.

You have heard me talk before about how important it is to get the word out to your friends and family when you are looking for a new position. LinkedIn, and the other services I will discuss in the coming weeks, are great ways of letting people know.

I would love to hear your experiences, good and bad, with implementing this prescription and those to come in later articles. Post your comments and questions on the Career Opportunities Community Site at http://careercommunity.welchwrite.com. I think that once you start engaging in social media, in a slow and steady way, you will find that it enhances your career instead of being a burden. Social media is a way for all of us to increase our visibility and actively demonstrate what we do — and how well we do it — and why other folks out there might want to work with us.



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A Geek Christmas Story is Coming Soon!

December 15th, 2009 Comments off

Friends in Tech’s Annual Christmas Special is almost finished and will arrive in iTunes in just a few days. This year’s show is our own geeky version of the Jean Shepard story, A Christmas Story!

Come and hear if little Mattie can get the computer of his dreams for Christmas.

Listen to A Geek Christmas Story Trailer

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Career Chat Transcript for December 1, 2009

December 1st, 2009 Comments off

This is the transcript of our latest Career Chat, held on December 1, 2009 — Douglas

douglaswelch: Welcome everyone to tonight’s Career Chat, brought to you by the Career Opportunities Podcast and Column at http://DouglasEWelch.com/career/ and the Career Opportunities Community Site
douglaswelch: http://careercommunity.welchwrite.com
douglaswelch: The tagline for Career Opportunities is “Helping to Build the Career You Deserve” and the podcast, community site and
douglaswelch: these chats are designed to do just that.
douglaswelch: We typically we open run these chats as a simple Q&A format, so if you have comments
douglaswelch: or questions, just let them fly. I will answer as many as I can and others will chime in with their ideas too
douglaswelch: The conversation continues 24/7 on the Career Community site. You can also add your questions
douglaswelch: and comments there.

Read more…

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