Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Time to Plan for the Next Business Wave!

Where are all the best people who are sure to become the backbone of future business growth in your company. Do they work for you now or have you been running lean to keep costs down while the market reverses. Will you have the internal resources you will need to grow market share as demand improves or will you hire new talent to help you reach your goals? Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will come with a turning market? Now is the time for smart companies to have a growth plan in place and a firm handle on the human capital they will need to implement the plan. It's a great time to hire stellar candidates who would not have been accessible or available only a short time ago.

Careful hiring decisions need to be made, though, to ensure that the best available candidates get hired.There are many professional people who are "available" for hire right now, in fact, probably more now than ever before. Especially those in the 100K to 500K salary bracket. This flooding of the job market makes it very difficult for those on the hiring side to slog through the piles of resumes in an attempt to strike talent gold. To get things accomplished hiring managers usually turn to their own contacts, first, before tossing it over to internal HR and or their favorite headhunter. Displaced talent, striving to be noticed, should press on and network wider and deeper directly with headhunters and hiring decision makers so when companies seek additional talent you are on the mind of the right people and not lost in the morass of HR's digital file folder.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Wearin of the GREEN!

As we continue to be barraged with more and more negative news about the economy and the financial markets I have seen a marked uptick in the number of unsolicited resumes being e-mailed to me from a wide variety of professionals at all levels of experience. These are, for the most part, valuable people who are being displaced from their companies for a litany of reasons from company downsizings to mergers, acquisitions and take overs to just plain "closing of the doors". As we all know in our hearts, this is just another business cycle rolling through the time line. The 3 to 5 year pendulum swing never stops but right now there are mitigating factors in play that make it seem a bit more daunting than past market flucuations. The unhealthy mortgage market has created a major ripple effecting all levels of the economy. Businesses are feeling the pinch of tight money leading them to more conservative spending and fat cutting practices. With a presidential election upon us, an unpopular and expensive war in full swing and the dollar sinking against foreign currency, it feels like we are in a deeper hole than any of the downturns in distant memory.

So where is the good news? There always has to be good news, right? Even in the face of disaster the tipping point has to be upon us. What will the catalyst be that leads us back to prosperity? Is it John, Hillary, or Barack? Is it the Feds bailing out troubled investment banks and the people caught up in the big mortgage squeeze?

Certainly any or all of these might help but I feel that the answer may lie with the fact that the price of oil is over $100 a barrel. That's right.....THAT'S GOOD NEWS! Finally the pure economics of going "Green" makes sense. All you have to do is pick up any trade journal or business magazine or even the local newspaper to read about the impact and importance of "green" initiatives on Wall Street and our society as a whole. "Green" is now a growth industry and out of current tough times will come opportunities for those who are agile enough to react accordingly! Companies who contribute to the new "green" infrastructure are growing despite the sagging economy. Smart venture capitalists are investing millions into companies that are involved with alternative power and related products and services. And, people who understand how to create, build and sell alternative energy technologies as well as those who are skilled at saving money by reducing the consumption of energy and materials are being sought for career opportunities at an unprecedented rate.

No longer is the "green" discussion one that takes place only on St. Patrick's day or in hushed tones behind closed doors for fear of being chastised by nay sayers. It's become a public discussion at the highest levels of business and government and it's finally profitable, fashionable and reasonable to focus on saving money by being good stewards of the earth. Perhaps those tree hugging nut jobs of yesteryear will become the heroes of the new economy where creative approaches to saving energy and reducing waste are lauded by the employers who must improve profits to guarantee a sustainable future.

So, how do you get into the "green" business? My suggestion is that no matter who you are, a pre-career student figuring out what to learn to get ahead, a mid-career professional who is trying to reshape your career or a long time veteran looking for an expansion of your horizons, you need to immerse yourself into the "green" world. Stop ignoring the facts surrounding the "Global Warming" argument and realize that now is the time to make it your business to become conversant in the technology by studying and absorbing as much as you possibly can about the exploding market and the opportunities associated with the "green" revolution. Figure out how your current domain of expertise dovetails into "green" issues and technologies and seek out experts who you can network with and learn from who speak the language and understand the related challenges and obstacles . Subscribe to blogs, feeds and e-newsletters that discuss the state of the art of "green" technologies. Attend "green" trade shows and pay special attention to exhibiting companies who offer interesting solutions that resonate with you and connect in some way to your professional expertise.

In the solar industry the implementation of advanced, high yield, automated manufacturing processes is essential in the building of competitively priced products and solutions. Anyone who has had success in automating processes similar to those involved in the solar space should pay close attention, connecting past experiences to similar solar product processes and applying that knowledge to this hot area of manufacturing.

As I move forward in the expansion of my search practice I will continue to provide clients with world class talent who will make a major, positive impact on exceptional, forward thinking companies. If you are in the "green" space or would like to be, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for Reading
Live Long and Prosper................. and think GREEN!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Tasers Mounted on Robot Vacs, NOT!

While scanning the paper this morning my wife noticed this headline,"Meet the Granddaddy of RoboCops and Terminators: Latest PackBot combines floor cleaner with stun gun" and commented that it seemed odd that a company would be putting a taser on a robotic vacuum cleaner. I said it had to be some kind of a mistake and asked if the company involved was iRobot the maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. She said yes and quickly passed the paper over to me to fend off any more silly questions. Sure enough, there it was, in section A, page 20 of the Arizona Republic on 6/29/2007.

For a fleeting moment I envisioned a world where intelligent, multipurpose robots patrol your home, vacuuming the carpet, watching for intruders and tazering your visiting mother-in-law and that pesky cat. How cool is that? Then I realized that it must be just another over worked, under appreciated Headline Editor who didn't read the article in which it's clear that the Taser is being mounted on iRobot's military division robotic platform, not the consumer product vacuum cleaners. Great news for cat and mother-in-law lovers everywhere.

Live long and prosper,


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Where are the HR people at Trade Shows?

Where Does HR Hang Out?
I just returned from the semi-annual International Robot Show sponsored by the Robotics Industries Association which was held in Rosemont, Ill, one exit away from the O'Hare airport. For many years I have attended trade shows and have always found them to be fantastic opportunities for networking and catching up with old friends and contacts while meeting many new contacts and future clients. This was the fist robot show in the past 2 years and so it was particularly well attended and the exhibitors were very pleased with the leads that were generated.

It occurred to me, while walking the booths at the Robot show, that you rarely find exhibiting company's HR people in attendance or working the booths. Here you have a large hall filled with professionals from the heart of the industry. The kind of talent that good companies want to attract and keep. Because the sales and marketing people in the booth focus on selling the product or service adding an effective HR representative to offer a perspective on the culture and the values of the company would be a great move. In addition, how impressive would it be for a company to have in the booth a looping presentation, a soft sell recruiting video on the culture and core values of the company? This approach would help spread positive brand and work culture awareness and will help attract more and ultimately a higher caliber of talent.

Since this bold move is apparently is not on the radar of most companies you'll find me walking the trade show floors, seeking out the best and the brightest, on my client's behalf.

Until next time, Live Long and Prosper!


Monday, June 4, 2007

Video Resumes

Once they see me on the big screen I'm in, right?

Video resumes are creating a stir in the career management/human capital arena. Per Vault's, 3.27.07 report, 89% of employers asked, said they would watch a video resume while only 17% said they have actually done so.

Much Room for Improvement

In a short trip around the web we reviewed a great number of video resumes. The ones that have any chance at all are those that were a 30 to 60 second, single, fixed camera shot of a person briefly presenting their qualifications. Pretty boring, really. Anyone with a $200 digital movie camera can do it but the results will be mixed at best. One of the video resumes reviewed last week included blaring sirens from somewhere on the street outside the shoot location. The subject of the video was perspiring under a high wattage light bulb in a ceiling fixture directly over head, which distorted his features and caused flaring in the captured video. I thought of the Nixon vs. Kennedy debates. JFK looked relaxed and Tricky Dick was sweating buckets under poor lighting which helped Kennedy win in a land slide.

So far, based upon what we've seen on the web, a Video Resume can often be a door slammer rather than the opener it was intended to be. Even though, this new layer in the Human Capital evaluation process is sure to take off, the winners will be those who rise above the mundane with something that stands out and makes a fast and indelible impression on the viewer. According to psych experts, all someone needs is a "Blink" of about 3 1/2 seconds to draw a conclusion about you so it's critical that you present something that instantly compels the viewer to remember you and to choose you over someone else. For more on this powerful concept called cognitive processing, check out the book BLINK by Malcom Gladwell.

Use the best available

If you want to create something that will present you at your very best, so you look and sound great, you have to be aware of and in control of your environment by using the best equipment you can possibly find. Strive to set yourself apart from the competition by producing something different by being creative and using high quality tools, particularly the camera and the video editor. The sound and lights are critical too so you are viewed in the most flattering light possible. (please pardon the pun).

On Location

The venue you choose to shoot from is also very important. Remember that the best environment to broadcast from is one that visually connects you to your business. You in a casual place like your house might suggest that you are not business oriented and that you won't work as hard as someone who shot their from an obvious office environment. An easy trick is to incorporate video or stills of an office building cross faded to video of you talking from your desk. (with your phone and switched on computer monitor and kew board showing something work related in the shot. )

Make it Count!

You have to be absolutely sure your video presents you as a appropriately and comfortably attired, positive, self assured, well spoken professional. To get meaningful feedback before you post your finished product and after you get the rough cuts, throw pride aside and seek the opinion of others you trust and who you know will be honest with you about how you come across in the video. Remember, those who are most comfortable in front of the camera are perceived by viewers as better communicators and prospective team members and employees. Presenting a positive persona and image in front of the camera and to live audiences is key to competing in today's marketplace.

Even if you are the next Robert Redford, it helps to reinforce your message with a scripted voice over , tied in text, and tastfully done graphics and music. Be sure to create a commercial that grabs the viewer's attention and gets them interested in knowing more about you.

Most people lack the experience and the feel for what works and what doesn't when it comes to creating an effective self advertisement. Not to mention the fact that it's almost impossible to be objective about yourself and how you come across on video. So, if want to make a video resume that really works, call in a professional consultant. Someone who understands Human Capital, Video Advertising, Production, acting and performance would be ideal. Someone who will help you create a video resume that sets you apart from your competition and gets results. I think I know just the source.

In response to what we see as a growing need in the market, my wife, Polly and I have recently combined our talents to start a venture called PresentMyself is a company dedicated to helping people learn to be more effective in live presentations and on camera. We also produce high quality, exceptionally creative and effective web/broadcast commercials and video resumes for the web that help people get noticed.

The Team

Polly Chapman has 25 years of acting, teaching and presentation coaching experience and Jeff Chapman (me) adds another 25 years of business and Human Capital Consulting to the strength of the enterprise. Our Video partner, Jon Minot has over 15 years of video capture and editing experience.

Please check us out at our primitive starter page at . (Fancy stuff to follow).

We look forward to helping you get your message across.

Until next time.........Live Long and Prosper


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Buy Your Own Career Web Domain to Contol Your Future!

Give Your Career a Page of it's Own

The very best way to control your career and the career documents that tell your story to others is to buy your very own personal web domain name. With some free, easy web authoring software and an FTP file transfer package, which is inexpensive or free, you can become the webmaster of your own career site.

Leverage it

Choose a domain (your name or a derivative of it is best) that leads interested parties to a web page where you have control over the lay out and what information you share and how you share it. I really like Go Daddy for easy access to purchasing and control of my domain names. A personalized career page is a great marketing tool and sets you apart from others because your information is always available at a moment's notice.

It should always be there.

The first page of your site should state only your name and a brief overview of your career with a value statement and a few examples of the kinds of companies and situations where that value has been demonstrated. An availability statement is important so you can always keep your information on your page updated without your employer feeling uncomfortable that you really just want to fish for a new job. If you openly post your resume and information on the web and on job boards you are risking that your employer will get wind of your intentions to leave. If you simply keep your brief overview up to date on your own career page with a link that generates an e-mail back to you which allows those interested to request more information, you can keep a toe in the water, monitoring interest just in case something fantastic comes along. Any accusations that you are "looking" become invalid because it will clearly state on your over view page that you are not looking. If it's clear that you are happy and challenged in your current job your employer should not be concerned about your career site remaining active.

If you are not concerned about people connecting you to your company you should leverage that connection by including a link to your company's web site on your career page. This will bring additional attention to you and to your company which can only be good for everyone.

I will point you to some decent examples of personal career pages in the next installment.

Until then,

Live Long and Prosper!

Jeff C.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Internet for Career Management?

The Internet for Career careful

The web is the most powerful tools available to manage your career, or ruin it, if miss-applied. It is important to sail those murky web waters while being aware of the danger in over exposing yourself along with your personal security, anonymity and confidentiality. The key is to be in control of your information and to monitor who has it and the reason it is being reviewed.

Don't Blow Your Cover!

The fastest way to “blowing your cover” as a person actively looking for a new career opportunity is to openly post your resume on web boards. Even if you are not currently employed this should be avoided. Once you have filled out the web forms, inserted your resume and clicked on the "Post" button, that information stays visible on the boards for a year or more depending on the site and if you decide to remove it, you leave a lasting resume foot print behind. Anyone willing to pay for access can buy a code to search that database and can find you. There is no customer qualifying involved, and, no mater what their true reason for doing so, anyone can pay the subscription fee and access your information. (like your boss) At its $900 for a 2 week national peek with up to 500 page views. Imagine all the people who will know about you and your background without you being aware of it. You may as well just throw millions of photo copies of your CV from a hot air balloon over Manhattan. Sounds a bit desperate doesn't it? Remember, too, that your resume posting has an after life thanks to those who grab your information on line, save it to local computers and use it, later on, to gain access to you for legitimate and, some times, less than legitimate purposes.

Come back soon to discover some effective ways to protect your confidentiality, maintain your dignity and avoid being taken advantage of while making a powerful, positive and professional on line impression.

Live Long and Prosper!

Jeff C.