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Archive for July, 2010

Video: Creating the “Champion” Mind with Danielle Gruen

July 28th, 2010 Comments off

Danielle Gruen of Living presents “Creating the “Champion” Mind” at CareerCampLA 2010.

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Look to the fringe for the next step in your career

July 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoAs many of you know already, when looking for your first job, your next job or the next step in your career, a direct, frontal attack is only one approach. Sure answering job postings, submitting resumes and taking interviews will always be with us, but I believe they can only take us so far. In a good hiring environment, these methods are fairly productive, but in harsh job hunting environment, such as the one we have now, they can leave us frustrated and morose. Silence is often the only response to resumes and applications these days. If your job search is stalled, it is time to take things to a new level — and in a new direction. It is time to look to the fringes, away from everyone else, and see what they might have to offer. You shouldn’t stop your traditional job search, but you need to start trying some more innovative approaches to finding a job.

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First, hang out! Now I am not necessarily suggesting that you start spending all your time at the local coffeehouse or bar (although that can also be one job search method in itself), you do need to “hang out” with those people who might have information, or even a job, to offer. If you are looking for a job in computer game development, find out where all the game geeks hang out and do the same. Starting your own business? Find out where all the entrepreneurs hang out in your town. This might be a place like a bar or coffeehouse or a club that meets each month, or even just a few friends who get together to talk things over.

You can hang out both in person and online, too. Look for forums where like-minded people hang out and discuss the issues of their business or careers. Every social media site has groups dedicated to specific interests and you would be well advised to join up and see what is happening there. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have extensive groups. Don’t find a group based around your interests? — Start one.

I started thinking about this fringe idea when we attended a recent concert by the LA Lawyers Philharmonic. I had never heard of the group, but we have friends who work with them and they were able to pass along some tickets. Here is how they describe themselves…

The Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic is the orchestra where lawyers, judges, law students and legal staff meet in harmony. The members include conservatory graduates, professional musicians and some hobbyists who are dusting off instruments they played in their youth. It is the music that prevails. Consisting of more than 50 musicians, the orchestra performs on a professional level for bar associations, civic and charitable events.

My wife was quick to point out what a great idea this was, but along lines far outside their music performances. If you were a law student or someone looking to move up in the legal profession, consider what a great idea it would be to “hang out” with lawyers, judges and legal staff on a weekly basis. One the surface, you are there to play music together, but underneath, you are also exposing yourself to people who might be looking for that new associate, new assistant, new law clerk for their office. Instead of spending hours with resumes and phone calls, you put yourself in a place where there is a constant flow of information, camaraderie and, most importantly, job opportunities.

Now, there might not be an LA Lawyers Philharmonic in your town, but surely there are groups, both formal and informal, where you can be among those who are already doing the work you would like to do. Seek them out and cultivate these “fringe” relationships. During times like these, I think that it is here you will find the most productive use of your job search time.

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Download Highlights from The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence

July 22nd, 2010 Comments off

I posted about his book last week and now Tom Peters just release this “Cliff Notes” version of “The Little BIG Things” on his blog and allowed folks to download and share it with others.

Get your own copy using the link below. I think you will find yourself wanting to pick up the whole book to expand on these quick note.

Download: Highlights from The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence

Read Tom’s original blog post

Buy The Little BIG Things from

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Video: CareerCampLA: Career transitions: Should I return to school?

July 21st, 2010 2 comments

A panel from CareerCampLA 2010 including Danielle Gruen of, Cindy Cruz, of Pasadena City College, Markell Steele of and JoAnn Braheny of Goosing Your

Download “Career transitions: Should I return to school?” in iPod Ready Format

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Other interesting books mentioned in Tom Peter’s The Little Big Things

July 19th, 2010 Comments off

Update: Here is the completed list — Douglas

One great aspect all of Tom Peter’s Books
is how often he calls out other, very interesting, books. As I am reading The Little Big Things, I am collecting up these books and linking them here.

I have already put several on my library request list. I hope you find them interesting and useful, too.

I will update this post as I add new items.

Books mentioned in Tom Peter’s The Little Big Things…

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Don’t just try the same old things in your job search

July 19th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoLast Saturday marked our second CareerCamp event here in the Southern California area. By many accounts, it was extremely successful, both in terms of attendance and the amount of information that was shared. That said, there were a couple of people who arrived that day looking for a more traditional “career fair” where they could submit their resumes directly to companies that might have openings. One person even stated the typical, and extremely important phrase, “I need to get a job NOW!”

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While our CareerCamp events are dedicated more to “Building the Career You Deserve” rather than hard job leads, I wish I would have had the opportunity to talk to this person. Career fairs are indeed important, in their own way, but we can all become too dependent on any one method for finding our next job.

Career fairs can seem productive. After all, we are getting our paper resumes directly into the hands of recruiters and companies who might be in a position to hire us. Unfortunately, the reality of career fairs is that there is little to make you stand out. You are part of a great mass of people, all looking for the same, limited offerings. You need to look closely and carefully at the results of your career fair experiences. Are they resulting in followup contacts from companies? Phone Interviews? Face-to-face interviews? Are you hearing from companies or are the days following a career fair filled with job search silence?

I am not suggesting you give up on career fairs entirely, rather that you investigate other alternatives, like CareerCamps, skills building workshops, MeetUps with like minded people continuing education and more. It is not a case of “either/or”, but rather “yes/and”. I think that extending your job search and career building beyond the typical areas can result in new opportunities and even new directions in your career.

I think that some of the people who didn’t attend CareerCamp, simply because it wasn’t a career fair might have shortchanged themselves. Yes, of course, if you need a job, you need to be actively looking, but I think there were many opportunities to speak with other people about their experiences and hear experts speak for free that provided a real chance to expand their job search above the norm. It might not have seemed as active and productive as handing over their resumes, but I think it would have been productive in many new ways.

What job search and career building methodologies are you using? Are you only engaging in the “same old, same old” or are you looking for opportunities to expand your reach, your knowledge and your effect on your career. As we all know, it is much too easy to find ourselves in a rut in our lives, regardless of what we might do for a living. It is always easier to fall back on the traditional — the tried and true — even when it might not be the best method. Much as the business world used to say, “No one gets fired for buying IBM!” we can say the same about our job search. No one will look askance at you for attending a job fair, resume review, or using other, typical resources. Some might question your attending CareerCamps and other new, ways of building your career. Sometimes it just feels safer to follow the group than striking out on your own.

For me, though, that is exactly what you need to do. In all things in life, you need to be looking for new ways of thinking and doing. Sure traditional methods will continue to work in some cases, but finding new pathways can open up opportunities that others might miss or ignore. Give yourself every advantage in your career, your job search and your life. Don’t discount new methods until you give them a try. Even then, you don’t replace traditional methods with the new. Rather, say “yes/and.” Then add these new methods to your repertoire while still using traditional methods where they do the most good. I think you will find that including both could be a great way of building the career you deserve.

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Interview with Chuck Tomasi on Career Changes

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoFellow Friends in Tech member, Chuck Tomasi, sat down to talk while he was on a business trip to San Diego, California. The reason for his trip was his recent layoff from his long time company and a quick hire at a new one. In this interview, Chuck talks about being surprised by the layoff, but also being prepared and how it can ease your transition.

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It’s the small things that get you noticed

July 3rd, 2010 Comments off

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Over the course of my career I have had the blessed opportunity to receive some pretty high praise. Sure, I have made my mistakes and had my failures, but when I succeed my clients can be quite effusive in their compliments. One thing I have noticed, though, is that the highest praise often doesn’t come at the completion of some large project. Rather, people are happiest when I provide a small solution at a critical moment. Having the small answer at the right time can be much more important to people than having the answers to the big questions.

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I received a call the other day from a friend/client. She was in the middle of a photo shoot and her camera would not stop recording, nor turn off. With several more hours of work to do, she was under a lot of pressure so she reached out to me in hopes I might have a quick solution. Sure enough, holding down the power button on the camera forced it to restart and she was back to work in minutes. You can probably imagine how happy she was with this solution. This is when it struck me that the right answer at the right time can be quite powerful.

It can feel good to have the answers to the big questions, but since these problems are so large, it can often take weeks, months or years before you know if your solutions were correct. When it comes to people recognizing your contributions to the big answer, time can dim people’s recollections and other people can claim a part in your success and the client may start to feel that the problem wasn’t really that big in the first place. Facing odds like this, you can see how praise might be muted, no matter how good your solution.

When you provide the right answer at the right time, the results are immediate. People know exactly how grateful they are. They know exactly how much time, money, energy you have saved them. There is a direct correlation between your solution and their results.  This is why these answers are so important to both you and your client and your ongoing relationship. Providing the answer has a direct value to the client, but providing the answer also has a direct value to your reputation, your work and your career.

Scientists have a rule that “if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” A similar thing applies to praise for your work. If the value of your work isn’t recognized, did it really have value at all. Too often, we can fall into the the trap of “what have you done for me lately?” The world has a very short memory, so opportunities to reinforce the value of your work are dramatically important. They stick in people’s minds long after the initial problem is solved. They are the reason that your clients recommend you to others and return to you again and again.

Look closely for opportunities to deliver the right answer at the right time. Sure, look for solutions to the big problems, too, but not exclusively. Providing the right answer, at the right time allows your expertise to shine — delivering the highest value to your clients while also having the largest impact on your work and career. Sometimes small is much bigger than you might realize.

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