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Web 2.0 and my Resume (see earlier article)

Well last week was the hi-tech job fair in Tel Aviv and even knowing what to expect (it used to be in the main hall of the Tel Aviv Conference Center; about 5-10 times larger) on walking in I was a little shocked to see 5 companies recruiting there instead of the usual throng. Yes, it was just a little depressing and worrying for even the most positive of us. Many of us standing there in queues to get to the recruiters discussed this but really, no one knows what will happen next.

Regardless, I had prepared for the event doing more work on my resume and business card. As I have said both had to be memorable and I wanted the business card to leave an impression. Whilst I haven’t taken the time and invested in getting a print house to run me off a batch I have created, designed and printed a bunch myself using Word and Office Depot’s marvelous Business Card Inkjet Paper.

The card has my name, job description or title, email, linked in, blog address, twitter and cellular phone number on the front. On the back I wanted to put a tag cloud describing me and my skill-set. To this end it behooves me to give credit to a great web app that allowed me to create my personal Tag/ Skill cloud: – TagCrowd takes free text, a file or URL and with various options allows the user to customize their very own Tag Cloud.

But (big but) this is a Java app and there is no export feature to allow the user to take the Tag Cloud and make something off it in a textual format. Enter the trusted screen grab or Print Screen button. Alternatively you can use a PDF driver like Cute PDF to print the Tag Cloud to PDF.

Needless to say with a little magic and a dash of luck my Skill Cloud now resides in my resume and business card (as seen below).

It is a definite sign of intelligence when you find other smart people who have the same idea as you but it’s also a sign that you need a stronger coffee blend in the morning if you have the idea five minutes after them.

My resume has been a challenge to me on several levels; as my job hunt progressed in the past I have had positive responses to the design and layout even though I broke one of the cardinal rules that all the people in the know, blogs and books tell you: it was a two page document.

I didn’t see how to pare down the level of detail to one page and still maintain confidence that I was showing my full skill set to prospective employees. In my moments of doubt I wondered if maybe I was simply overwhelming them with detail and not presenting a polished personal brand.

I have been the one recruiting in the past so I tried to get my head around being the recruiter who needs to understand the terminology and can grasp my brand in a short glance yet have a resume that still stands out from the pack.

I have a rule of thumb for productive brainstorming to solve any problem: –

Use a pencil and pad and do the brainstorm away from the computer.

I decided to sketch a “map” of how the resume should look. I used to be a cartographer at one time so maps of any kind always appeal.

Whilst doing this I wondered what was missing from my resume and how the resume fitted into all the information on the Internet about me. I wanted it all to jell into a cohesive picture that did represent my personal brand. My attempt at creating a business card for networking events helped me realize I wanted my LinkedIn, Blog and Twitter addresses in there; (I also wanted my Facebook link but since I feel that I use Facebook for my Social Networking more than Business I have left it out until I can revamp my profile there sufficiently) I also added a head-shot photograph to the personal information section.

I was (surprise, surprise) having a cup of coffee when it occurred to me that this was evolving into a Web 2.0 Resume; something was missing and still trying to reduce the document down to one page my Management and Technical Skills sections leaped out as important but in need of reducing in size drastically.

Today I took a metaphorical meat-cleaver to some of the details having realized that the ultimate Web 2.0 component needed adding: a Tag Cloud based on my technical and management skills and experience. 

The act of ensuring the tags I felt were the most important and thus prominent in the cloud made me look long and hard at my skill set which in turn helped me refine how I describe myself.

What is left for me to do?

    1. Translate to Hebrew: this I am going to post online and add a link to the English version for the more and more infrequent occurrence that someone in hi-tech requires the resume in Hebrew.
    2. Revamp my Facebook profile and add the link.
    3. Create a ready to go PDF copy of English and Hebrew resumes.

The resume is down to one page and I am hammering out the formatting so that I can insert the tag cloud as a vertical sidebar in both the Word doc and PDF alike.

In away the process of doing this has been more about self-awareness and interview preparation than just redefining my resume. Now I just need to get some good hits and sit down in the interview calmly and confidently knowing that I am the best person for the job. Wish me luck.

Several weeks ago the company I was working at suffered a series of cutbacks. The first of us to lose our jobs were the outsourced personnel or consultants (it just sounds a little more dignified doesn’t it?)

My outsource parent company was left to see if they can relocate me and several others whilst we engage in some hasty thumb-twiddling and navel contemplation.

Actually though this month is somewhat of a none entity as the Jewish holidays land squarely mid week. My son is ecstatic to be home with Mum and Dad so much, however the lack of routine does seem to be wreaking havoc with his nearly three year old moods.

Regardless of this and the fact that most headhunters and Start Ups seem to stop recruiting for August (Summer holiday) through the Jewish holidays I am reasonably happy and optimistic. Will I have to compromise on my requirements for a job, possibly given the state of the economy and yet today the headhunters seem to have risen from their hibernation and discovered my resume amongst the huge pile that accumulated in their Inboxes since the Summer holidays began.

All this leaves me with time. Time to do all those jobs my wife would love me to deal with at home like clean out the shed (arghh); time to refine my resume and time to redefine or hone what I want to write about, here in my blog and that unfinished novel I occasionally mention.

The first step to personal growth actually occurred due to having my job cut: I decided to provide the company with an in-depth report analysing prospective improvements to productivity within the scope of my experience there. 18 pages later and on my last day I was making a presentation of my findings to the CEO of the company.

He didn’t agree with everything I wrote but then each company is its own ecosystem and is limited by the history and personalities therein. I learnt a lot from his counter-arguments  but maintain that if they fail to grow and find new ways to be productive then bad things lie ahead for them.

Is this my new path, is this even the path I want? I have the time now to see if this sort of consultant work is for me or can I apply this to my new job just waiting around the corner.

Social Networking is hot stuff these days especially with the ongoing Microsoft vs Google competition and Microsoft buying a hefty chunk of Facebook.

I used LinkedIn early in my job hunt but found many other Social Networks to be well … either useless or frivilous. There I said it and no lightning bolt or villagers with pitchforks and burning torches, wow!

The truth is that these are far from frivilous, it is how you decide to leverage them and remembering what you are trying to get out of them. My initial foray into Facebook led me to add all sorts of cute and fun applications but these distracted me from the point of being there …. I was trying to find a new job in my field as Quality Assurance Manager.

The realization that Facebook had been made into this frivilous timewaster by structuring it or creating this environment of Surveys, Zombies, Pokes and Jokes led me to dump these applications (or at least most of them) and look at what I had left.

The truth is though that one of Facebook’s most annoying features led me to really use it to Network my job hunt; Facebook has a status feature that egocentrically describes yourself in the 3rd person. This just irks me.

I was on Facebook responding to an invitation from an old friend who did the IDF Medics course with me when I read another friend’s status … he wrote about how his company was hiring and the jobs could be found in the Marketplace application. This took a few seconds to sink in and then with a slap on my forehead I entered the Marketplace app, searched for QA under jobs and sent several messages to relevant prospective employees.

This morning I had several requests to forward my resume to those I contacted and as I sip my coffee I know I should thank the irksome Facebook status and my friend for reminding me to keep the mission clearly defined and see every avenue as a chance to sell my personal brand.