Category Archives: Links

The longer you’re out…

The less likely you’ll be in. At least in Georgia.

Behold the depressing details in the AJC.

The writer, who no doubt has seen colleagues and friends disappear from a newspaper with a proud history, gets a quick jab at Congress (get in line) noting members “left town without extending benefits to the nation’s 15 million unemployed.”

It hasn’t been this bad since WWII, though Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks haven’t started a shooting an epic HBO series on “The Jobless Aftermath.” Yet. Georgia’s unemployment records only go back to 1976, when a certain local peanut farmer won the Presidency, and Karl Rove was but a young lad figuring out how he could blame the newly elected, but not yet inaugurated Georgia Governor for his epic fail.

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…and this is why…

Because the unemployed are explicitly DISCOURAGED from applying. WTF? is an appropriate response. As is WTF!!!!!

Let’s use a bigger ladle for that bad news, because this is going on all over the nation. Think of the companies, smug recruiters, overworked, confused HR departments and anyone else that leaves the conference room thinking, “this is a great idea. It’ll save us lots of time and money wading through all the resumes we’ll get for this job.” We all know this is a fallacy, because most companies never see, acknowledge, admit to receiving, or care about a vast majority of resumes, applications and cover letters they get from desperate, often without-hope job seekers. It’s like the whole nation has turned into unionized autoworkers in Detroit, easy to blame scapegoats for a system that discards blue, white and pink collar workers, the “unskilled” and MBA’s with equal vigor. It’s downright democratic! There’s a special place in hell for boneheads who not only punish people who are out of work but blame them for their circumstances. (It’s starting to sound like a GOP talking point.) It’s a non-automated, always on the clock, windowless cube that has a phone with 100 lines ablaze all wanting to know if you received their application and cover letter.

The public awareness of this policy is a double edged sword. Sure, it’s great that the Huff Post did this story, to the brief embarrassment, perhaps, of the companies and firms involved. Will the policy change? Aw hell no. It’ll just be pushed underground, because the unemployed are a not a “protected class” that has to be accounted for in the hiring process. No EEOC help for you chump! Take solace in the fact they’ll still have to wade through your paperwork. Does that salve the burn?

Democratic warhorse John Dingell, who has served in Congress since the 1st Grant Administration is still good for a money quote. “Being unemployed is not a choice many workers choose to make. I would hope that companies that are discriminating against the unemployed will take into consideration that this choice is only further contributing to long-term unemployment in our country.”

You can hope John, but make sure there’s a large stockpile of government cheese at the ready, because we can’t do a census every year.

You’re doing it wrong

That is the summation from this brief Q&A article on job hunting in the Modesto Bee. And worse, it come with a smug, data-less answer.

“Go where your experience and education are needed. Ads give these clues. Researching companies with older workers will open up possibilities. Use more methods requiring you to call employers. Get into the right pond.”

Yeah! Look at the ads, they are filled with hints that you, dear aged, experienced job seeker, are obviously missing. Perhaps this feature was edited for space, and that there were examples of this mysterious “clues” that the questioner was missing. If not, this Q&A was pointless and borderline insulting.

Overqualified. So what?

The NY Times catches on to the “underemployed but happy to have a gig” phenomenon. A double-digit unemployment sign of the times, but to savvy employers, it’s a timely benefit.

Linkedin help, who knew?

Not I alas.

How often do you, or anyone you know, go all the way to the bottom of a Linkedin page? If you said “never,” and “no one,” you win. Or at least you are honest. On the left hand side of the page, there is a bold link that says “Customer Service.” What’s that you ask?

It’s a motherlode of tips.

Motherlode might be understating it. There are 54 pages of links, 10 to a page. (more than 800 total.) Be not afraid though, there is easily found relevance here, including a succinct 10 tips from the always-readable Guy Kawasaki.

Check it out, it’s probably worth the time.

Sir Linksalot

I’ve been avoiding Smart Brief’s lately, because I couldn’t take another daily dozen stories summed up in a list of 10 items or less. I think my brain is ready for bullet points again, so here’s a list compendium of stories on social media, leadership and business trends. There might even be a job search item or two, but let’s look at the glass half full and read in about work issues.

11 “Commandments” of Corporate Tweeting. Because you all will either be tweeting, or engaged in some form of work related social media. Even Adam.

Online anonymity leads to impolite social media behavior. Easier to call people nasty names under an alias.

Can (or should) you turn down a job you don’t want? Is there really a pat answer for this one?

Skip the awkward adolescent stage of Twitter usage.
Go straight to young adulthood. All the freedom, and no bills.

Community building is better than social marketing. Because you know your customer better perhaps?

You block web ads, publishers block your web ad blockers. Don’t believe the hype. Content may want to be “free,” but producing it is not. Similar to a teenager wanting to act, dress, drink, and party like an adult, without the responsibility. Not gonna happen.

Marketing via video chat. It’ll increase tenfold by 2013, let’s hope the skeezy Chatroulette isn’t part of that mix.

Get your emails opened and read. Like the ones that have your resume and marketing plan in them.

7 ways to build customer loyalty. Fast Company is great.

You’ll make social media errors. Don’t sweat it. This is a field where there isn’t a huge knowledge gap between the users and experts.

Have diverse customer service portfolio. Just like your 401k, right?

CEO’s don’t “get” innovation. Do not be “that guy.”

Why use social media for sales and marketing? Because it works.

CEO’s are optimistic about the future. Especially at current staffing levels. Blech.

How to capture a crowd. Or an interviewer perhaps?

Creative tension encourages innovation. Easier said than done though.

Making managing peers less awkward.

Helping turn around Ford… Powerpoint!

And last but not least, life without Twitter?!?!? Sorry social media Luddites, Adam it may not be Twitter, but social media is here to stay.

Another day…

Another wonderful opportunity in the insurance industry. This one is from United American Insurance, a Texas based company. Apparently they’ve been trying, in vain, to contact me for an interview. Let’s give it up to the Career Builders of the world!  United American does:

“Our ability to search the major online job boards has given us the opportunity to increase our productivity because we can select applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds that can potentially match our requirements for the positions we have available.”

Plain English translation: We troll for new resumes and send everyone who’s close to a match (ie, everyone) a solicitation to come work for us. This way they stay true to their goal of “selecting applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.”

But what is United American anyway? What do they do? What kinds of policies do they sell? Who are their customers, and who are their reps? Talk to me Professor Google…

I’m going to avoid the autofill, which faithful readers will note always wants to put “scam” in the search. (Bad Google, bad.) The first two listings are from United American, a “premier provider of Medicare supplement coverage.” It’s a big money business. AARP, Mutual of Omaha and State Farm all offer these policies. So far, so normal.

Until listing #3. There’s fresh information too, from March 8th. If the political discussions about health care make you sick, or you don’t want to read dispatches from angry, frustrated consumers, then skip that link. Probably should have put the link last then.  Oops.

United American is owned by Torchmark Corporation, which is a holding company for several insurance brands, such as, American Income, First United American, Globe, Liberty National, United American, and United Investors. Say what? You mean the most egregious (from my experience) Career Builder trolls are all from the parent company? What happens when you check the listings for “Torchmark scam?” This. There’s a mix of responses, though the people complaining far outnumber company supporters. One telling post:

“Recently my brother was hired by AIL and started going through the training. They told him that the customers were already lined up and that all he had to do is go and get them to finalize the paperwork. Once he got the signatures, he would get the commission from it.

What they didn’t tell him was that he was responsible for paying for the training and testing to get certified in all these different fields. The tests were around $600 a pop. If you failed, you had to pay another $600 to re-test. He had to pay everything out of pocket.

As he got into the field training with a coach, he found out that these customers had NOT agreed to anything and while they were interesting in getting more information, they were not ready to sign. Not only that but it was his job to get them to sign up for more benefits. The job was completely misrepresented.

After a month, he was never home and wasn’t being paid for his training and if he and his coach finalized a contract, he would only get a small part of the profits. He went to his boss and said that he needed a consistent paycheck as was promised and he needed a better schedule so that he can spend time with his family, the boss said, “You need to focus on your job and not on your family. The job comes first.”

Pay for training? That should always be a conversation killer. See ya, bye, end of story. Prospective employers should not be reaching into the pockets of future employees.

There are a lot of Americans out of work right now. Even low paying jobs get hundreds of applicants. People want to work, regardless of what Tom DeLay says or thinks. If these jobs are that lucrative, and provide the benefits that they are purported to, isn’t it fair to ask why Torchmark’s recruiting efforts are so aggressive, and indiscriminately pitched via the mega job boards? Why is there so much turnover? Do you believe that it’s because of “explosive growth?” So much they NEED more reps to service demand?

Or do you believe what your gut is telling you?