Tag Archives: LinkedIn

New Rules of Work about Cover Letters and Resumes

On Friday at the Park City Club in Dallas, I will present a synopsis of this best-seller by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn MinshewThe new rules of work:  The modern playbook for navigating your career.  New York:  Crown Books (2017).

You can register for this event on the home page of 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.

One of the issues the authors discuss is whether job seekers still need resumes and cover letters, given the amount of information available about them on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

Here is what they say:

Believe us, we’ve heard that question many times before.  But heed our advice when we say that nothing replaces your formal resume and cover letter.  Not your LinkedIn profile.  Not your impressive personal website.  Not your articulate expression of your skills and talents in your informational interview, or your well-written email to the hiring managers.  These are all important, of course.  However, you absolutely still need to have a polished resume and cover letter prepared.  Because all those extra trappings won’t matter if you don’t have the right packaging to catch the eye of your target audience – the hiring managers” (p. 125).

They publish a list of resume and cover letter do’s and don’ts (pp. 149-150)



Cover Letter



·      Tailor your information

·      Include quantifiable achievements

·      Show, don’t tell

·      Make contact information easy to find

·      Stick to one page – two at most

·      Check for skimmability

·      Include key words from job description

·      Use powerful and unique verbs

·      Proofread

·      Save as a PDF



·   Share your personality

·   Tell a relevant story about what brought you to the job

·   Expand on your resume

·   Highlight key transferable skills

·   Use the company’s “voice”

·   Address the letter to someone specific



·      Make bullets read like job descriptions

·      Include confidential information about a previous employer

·      List “references available upon request”

·      Neglect application instructions

·      Squish it all to one page – six point font

·      Lie



·  Fail to write one

·  Regurgitate your resume

·  Use stiff, formal language

·  Address to “whom it may concern”

·  Include a desired salary – unless asked


Books Lacking on College Campus Sexual Assaults

The front page article by Lauren McGaughy in Friday’s Dallas Morning News, reporting that 15% of 28,000 female undergraduate students surveyed at thirteen University of Texas campuses have been raped, is eye-opening to me (March 24, 2017, P. A1).  The catalyst for the story was the release of that figure by Texas Senator Joan Huffman, who has filed a bill to penalize faculty and staff who fail to report sexual assault on campuses with a misdemeanor and termination.

Hunting Ground CoverWhile there are many books about sexual assault, only a few are specifically targeted toward college campuses.  The most recent that I found on Amazon.com is entitled The Hunting Ground:  The Inside Story of Sexual Assault on American College Campuses by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (Hot Books, 2016).  That book is actually a follow-up to a film documentary that they produced. 

Given the strong statistic above, and the apparent many incidences of these assaults that go unreported, perhaps it is time for more authors to use books as a medium to educate everyone about this crisis.  Raising awareness is not the same as taking action, but it is the first step toward interventions.

One of our Creative Communication Network part-time facilitators, CarmenWebSitePictureCarmen Coreas, recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about actions that colleges and universities could take to reduce incidences of sexual assault.  Here are her comments:


Often, we hear about incidences of sexual assaults on college campuses.  The problem is clear, but the solution remains both vague and unimplemented.  In this article, I want to suggest three interventions that might make a difference.

Most sources indicate that while overall campus crime has decreased, the number of sexual assault incidences has increased. The U.S. Department of Education released a report showing that these assaults increased by more than 50% over a decade (source: http://time.com/2851844/number-of-campus-sex-crimes-reported-surges-by-50). 

I think there are three things that colleges and universities can do:

1.   Encourage women to participate in “buddy” systems.  No woman should walk on a campus after dark alone. Each female student should be strongly encouraged to be with at least one other person, particularly when walking through parking lots, or passageways between buildings. If a woman feels uncomfortable or unsafe, and there is no one to walk with her, she should be able to call campus security, wait in a safe place, and have a representative escort her to her car. The probability of a sexual assault decreases significantly when there is more than one potential victim present. To enforce this, female students should be required to read and sign a form at registration that educates them about the “buddy” system, and indicate their awareness and acceptance to participate in the program.

2.   Greatly improve campus security. Many parking lots and campus areas are very dimly lit, and in some cases, there is no lighting at all. These areas are prime for sexual assaults. The answer is, of course, to reduce or eliminate these areas entirely by installing not only more lights, but also, brighter lights. Campus police should routinely ride through the campus streets slowly on bicycles, carts, or cars, to discourage assaults. The “blue light” help boxes that appear on most campuses are great, but there should be at least twice as many of them. 

3.   Make it safe to report sexual assaults. Sources vary on the statistics, but it is clear that at least 60% of all sexual assaults on a college campus go unreported. This means that the victim carries the shame and impact of the assault, while the perpetrators go free. This is wrong. Anyone who is a victim should be treated with compassion, but assured that there is no downside or retaliation for reporting the incident. Campus police and attorneys should work with local police, private rape counseling centers, and other sources to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected, but also, to ensure that it is safe for her to press charges. Perpetrators should be brought to justice.

These three ideas will make a difference because: (1) the fewer women who are alone, the less the chance they will become targets for an assault, (2) the more secure the campus appears, the fewer perpetrators will test or challenge the system by attempting an assault, and (3) the more that assaults are made known, and the consequences made public, the less that a perpetrator will take the chance to do that. 

Losing the War of Talent, a Telling Leading Indicator – The Challenge for RIM (BlackBerry)

As in ancient times, talent has become the coin of the realm.  Companies that multiply their human talents will prosper.  Companies that don’t will struggle.
Talented People are scarce. 
Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod:  The War for Talent


So, here’s the problem.  People want to work with, and for, a winner.  People do not want to work for a loser.  And, people want to work for a winner more than they want to help revive a once-more-healthy company.

So, if you want to look at a most revealing leading indicator, look at this:  where do people want to work?  And the answer can be found in the simple observation of:  where do the best graduates of the most recent graduating class want to work?

With this question in mind, I think it is safe to say that RIM (BlackBerry) is in serious trouble.  It is no longer the place to work.  And when it is no longer the place to work, difficult days will only continue.  Because the best innovations, the best new products, the best process improvements, come from the best, most talented employees.  And the most talented employees frequently come from the best crop of “new talent.”

This is the conclusion affirmed in the article Tech talent turns away from RIM by Iain Marlow.  Here’s a key excerpt

…times have changed, and although this region is still rich with talent, many of the brightest no longer aspire to work at the company that helped put Waterloo on the global map (Research In Motion Ltd – maker of the BlackBerry). “It was definitely a really great place to have your first internship,” says Mr. Mir, now a 20-year-old intern at LinkedIn Corp. in Mountain View, Calif. “But you don’t see a lot of the strong students ending up wanting to go to RIM full time, which is sad.”
The talent, in other words, is following the customers, millions of whom have shunned the company’s once-dominant BlackBerry in favour of smartphones made by Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and a host of other wireless-industry rivals.

The article is worth reading to see  an example of what a company can do to go “wrong.”  But the reality is that because of the successes of Apple (especially the iPhone’s success), LinkedIn, and other companies,coupled with the troubles at RIM, the best graduates now want to work for the Apples of the modern world, not RIM.  And where the talent goes, a better future is likely to be built.

About Facebook & LinkedIn – a Little More Insight into these Modern Marvels

Confession time.  I’m still pretty (very!) uncertain about how to take advantage of Facebook and LinkedIn.  I’m still learning how to actually use Twitter.  And I have friends, a son, a brother, who try to tell me how to do things with my computer, and I just have great trouble “getting it.”  It’s so embarrassing!

By the way, I speak regularly to residents at retirement communities on Current Events, and I try to help them learn about this brave new world.  And it really is almost like the blind leading the blind.  They think I am some kind of modern marvel because I have a blog – and my brother and son think I am some kind of Luddite…  (though they are very kind about it).

Well, enough introduction.  Here are two articles worth checking out:  one about Facebook, the other about LinkedIn.  They haven’t helped me use these two sites more effectively, but they have helped me understand their potential a little more.

Mark Zuckerberg at a conference in San Francisco (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

In the New York Times’ Zuckerberg: Non-Evil Non-Genius? by Robert Wright, we learn again the good fortune of being really quick to understand, and the absolute necessity of being in the right place at the right time.  Here are some excerpts:

Now communities would be defined not at all by geography — by the bounds of a campus — but only by the mutual-consent links that don’t seem to have been part of Zuckerberg’s original vision.

In retrospect, I think there was something uniquely powerful about this path — building islands of dominance at elite universities, spreading to less elite universities, then linking the islands and finally abandoning geography altogether as the organizing principle. I think this path gave Facebook a momentum that helped it dislodge the pre-existing social networks Friendster and MySpace. And it’s fairly clear that the path wasn’t planned.

My own view of technological history is that this is often the way big leaps happen. The people we call visionaries and geniuses, like Bill Gates, typically weren’t any more prescient than some of their rivals. They were mainly just in the right place at the right time.

Sure, they were really smart, and they had some other key features. Gates and Zuckerberg shared an instinct that helped them exploit network externalities: they were always willing to sacrifice short-term profit in exchange for growing market share.

And, of course, both of them played hardball. I’m not aware of any tactical deceptions Gates perpetrated that were as egregious as Zuckerberg’s duping of the Winklevosses, but none of Gates’s competitors ever confused him with Mr. Rogers.

It’s certainly possible, as Sorkin suggests, to be an evil genius. But the much more common condition is to be not quite evil and not quite a genius. When your co-star is positive network externalities, that’s plenty.

And in The Social Network That Gets Down to Business by Miguel Helft, we learn of one businesswoman who is learning how to use LinkedIn to grow her business.  Here are some brief excerpts:

Joanna Wiseberg began Red Scarf Equestrian, which makes stylish handbags and other luxury goods for horse lovers, two years ago, just as the economy plunged into recession. “My business is a niche within a niche…

Her tool was LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals that is often perceived as a workaday cousin to the social butterfly of Facebook. But as Ms. Wiseberg discovered, LinkedIn is actually more than just a place for job seekers to post a résumé. “I wouldn’t be here without LinkedIn,” she said.

For any company in the social networking business, it is not easy living in the shadow of Facebook and Twitter. With 500 million users connecting with friends, trading photos, videos and articles, or whiling the time away on social games, Facebook has pretty much locked up the field. For its part, Twitter has carved a solid niche for those interested in broadcasting their thoughts 140 characters at a time.

But with its unabashed utilitarian bent, LinkedIn has built a presence in social media. Anyone with a career, a business or ambitions to climb the corporate ladder can network with 75 million people who use it, in large part, to find jobs or to recruit candidates for jobs.

Network as if LinkedIn were a big industry trade show. Search for people you know and invite them to be part of your network. Regular users of LinkedIn say a common mistake that newcomers make is to limit their network. So how many is enough?

There are no absolutes, but Krista Canfield, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, says that 35 connections appears to be the minimum to make the viral properties of social networks truly useful. (As in any network, you don’t want to include people who could drag down your reputation. LinkedIn lets you deflect unwanted invitations with the Archive button so no one knows they have been rejected by you.)

“I had to go global, because the market in Canada is too small,” Ms. Wiseberg said. “I’m getting there.”

A few observations:

#1 – Learning to use the tools of this new social network connected world is almost a necessity, especially for the independent consultant, self-employed world so many of us live and work in. We almost have to take the time to figure it out.

#2 – The tools make it easier for us, all the time. My blog is automatically updated on my LinkedIn page.  This really helps me.  At the bottom of every blog post are all of these buttons (I don’t even understand what each of them links to/how people use them…).  I practically always use the “tweet” button, putting each blog post on Twitter.  Others use some of the other buttons.  (I hope you will to).  In other words, the sites keep finding ways to help non-experts, like me.

#3 – The younger folks beat us baby boomers on all of these.
A while back, we had a wonderful session on LinkedIn as a bonus program after a First Friday Book Synopsis.  I tried to describe the session to my son – and he had this glazed over look in his eyes.  His attitude was, “who needs a session on how to do this?”  I had to explain to him that his old dad needed such a session.  He was perplexed.
In other words, the college students who use Facebook (of course, they all do!) don’t ever read anything about how to use Facebook, don’t take seminars on how to use Facebook…  they just use Facebook.  And, they get it, and understand its value.  Me?…not so much.
So, the younger you are, the easier it is to use all of the tools in the brave new world.  For folks my age, it is constantly a challenge.

Anyway, read these two articles.  If you are a baby boomer, they will help you understand, and maybe spur you on a little to tackle using these tools more energetically.  If you are my son’s age, you’ve quit reading this blog post long ago…

Navigating the Social Networking Era

It is hard to keep up.  It may be harder by the day.  (On the other hand, it may get easier.  I can only hope!)

But, the more there is to keep up with, the more flitting we become.  We flit from fad to trend to web site to social networking venue to…

In Groundsell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene LI and Josh Bernoff tell us that the one thing all of these trends/fads/sites have in common is that it takes the power away from companies and corporations and “established power” and puts it into the hands/thumbs of individuals.  Here’s a key quote:

Thousands of corporate executives are now dealing with a trend we call the groundswell, a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own experience, and get what they need – information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power – from each other.  The groundswell is broad, ever shifting, and ever growing.  It encompasses blogs and wikis; podcasts and YouTube; and consumers who rate products, buy and sell from each other, write their own news, and find their own deals.  It’s global.  It’s unstoppable.  It affects every industry – those that sell to consumers and those that sell to businesses – in media, retail, financial services, technology, and health care.  And it’s utterly foreign to the powerful companies and institutions – and their leaderships – that run things now.

Simply put, the groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies.  If you’re in a company, this is a challenge.

(By the way, Karl is presenting his synopsis of the new Charlene Li book, Open Leadership:  How social technology can transform the way you lead, tomorrow morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis).

So – here is the challenge.  For those of us who do not take to all of these social networking sites so naturally, we have to learn how to use them and take advantage of them.  But the folks growing up on them make those adaptations a little easier than we do.

{In one sense, it is a true reversal of the natural order of things.  For all of history, the older folks knew more than the younger folks.  We used words like novices and journeymen.  Now, the novices are the older folks, and the journeymen are the younger folks.  I remember in the dominant days of Nokia in an earlier chapter — the “cell phone era” instead of the current “smart phone era” — reading that Nokia executives learned about cell phone usage by watching their young children use the cell phones.  Such is this strange new world that we live in…}

So, Good News!  Here is a quick read to help us all out.  It is a top most e-mailed article from the NY Times at the moment: STATE OF THE ART:  For Those Facebook Left Behind, by David Pogue.  It is a quick guide to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a few other social networking sites.  It is accessible, readable, understandable.

Here are a couple of important excerpts:

As a public service, therefore, I’m offering a handy clip-’n’-save guide to the social networking services you’re most likely to hear about at this summer’s barbecues. (Warning: This is an extremely basic overview. If you’re already someone who, you know, tweets, this will all seem like old news. But it’s not intended for you.)

These services all have a few things in common. They’re all free. They’re all confusing at first. They all require time to understand and exploit. You can interact with them from your cellphone, which is part of why they’re so popular.

And he ends his article with this:

These sites all derive their power the same way: We, the people, provide the information — not the Web site owner. Some of these services establish lines of communication between people who might otherwise never meet, joining them by interest rather than geography. Others connect you with people you do know, or once knew, so that you can help each other out.
You may find absolutely nothing of value to you in these sites, and that’s fine. But isn’t it better to make that decision now that you know what you’re ignoring?
Happy tweeting!

For some of us, we feel awash in an ocean that seems strange, almost unnavigable.  For many others, they are a little more at ease – and the advantages are enormous.

Here’s the sad thing. For people like me, we need to have Charlene Li and David Pogue explain all of this to us.  For those who swim in this ocean so naturally, they don’t need Charlene Li at all.  I envy those folks.