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Job Seekers, Do NOT give your login and password to potential employers

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Job seekers, do NOT, under any circumstances, provide a potential (or current) employer with your login credentials to your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media account. Security in all its forms is to be taken seriously. As employers and recruiters have taken to the social web to carry out more comprehensive background checks, social media profiles are becoming increasingly seen as a way to get an inside glimpse of who you really are. Posts on Facebook, updates on Twitter, pictures on Instagram, etc. all provide a peek through the firewall we often put up in the form of résumés and cover letters.

As we have become increasingly aware of privacy issues and concerns, many people have set their privacy settings to block certain people from viewing certain content. What you decide to share or not is your prerogative. Just know that the decisions you make regarding your privacy will impact the way you are perceived by people researching you. The more open you are, the more likely someone will trust what they find as representative of you. To get around restrictive privacy settings, some prospective employers have been asking applicants to provide them with their user names and passwords to allow them full access. Please understand that this is a violation to your right to privacy and is not common practice. For me, asking for this information shows a lack of trust and I see no reason to work with people I can’t trust or who don’t trust me.

Read the response Facebook posted about employers asking for login information.

The Note That Turned Into An Admissions Essay

About two months ago I wrote this note on Facebook entitled You Changed My LIfe. I was sitting at my desk working on something when a spark of reflection and inspiration forced me to close the laptop and pick up the pen. At first, I wrote aimlessly. But as the words flowed, I a caught a brief glimpse into my soul that I rarely allow myself to see. I didn’t know it at the time, but that note would later serve as the foundation for the essay I would write to gain entrance into MBA in Sustainability program at Bainbridge Graduate Institute. The text from both pieces follow below…

 

You Changed My Life

When I entered college, I knew I was a businessman. So…I studied business. I had to take a POK (perspectives on knowledge), or something like that…so I took “Social Problems and Processes” by Dr Maria Lowe. That class opened my eyes to the world around me. It changed my life. I was fortunate enough to be changed for the better by the likes of Dr. Lowe, Dr. Sandi Nenga, Dr. Don Parks, the maintenance people, Ms. Ella, etc.

Then came Mexico, Honduras, Spain, Italy…Chile, Argentia y más and the people that touched my life along the way.

Over these years, I’ve discovered that I’m not a business man, but a man who understands business. I also understand that business is an pervasive institution that influences our lives in ways we couldn’t image. How do we engage this institution to ensure those influences are beneficial? How do you define and codify beneficial? I don’t know, but these are challenges I’m willing to accept.

What is social entrepreneurship? It’s what business has the potential to be. It’s what happens when you allow your level of social consciousness to be heightened. It’s what happens when you open your heart as well as your mind. It’s what happens when you think “stakeholder” en mes de “shareholder.”

To those who have helped me realize that…thank you.

 

Admissions Essay for Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Business is quite possibly one of the most pervasive institutions on earth. Before formal education existed, merchants traded goods and services in order to allocate scarce resources. Business affects every aspect of our lives from the clothes we wear and what products we buy to where we decide to live and send our children to school. It helps shape the individual decisions we make, the lives we lead, and entire societies. Considering the tremendous role business plays in our lives and its far-reaching effects, it is paramount that we take a critical approach to the management of such an institution to ensure we practice it in a way that preserves and promotes the well-being of our people and environment.

When I entered my undergraduate studies at Southwestern University, I knew I wanted to be a businessperson. I showed up on my first day with my eyes set on a business degree. The plan was to major in business, obtain a business degree, find a well-paying job at a big company, save money, and eventually retire. In other words, I was hoping to live the American Dream. However, things didn’t go according to plans. Things changed, but they changed for the better. Over the four years I attended Southwestern I learned several lessons and was involved in many activities and organizations. Inside the classroom, I received quality instruction from quality professors and built valuable rapport with my fellow students. Outside the classroom, I built relationships with the grounds people, the maintenance folks, and the cafeteria workers. SU is a very affluent school and I often had more in common with the staff than the faculty and students.  In 2007, I crossed the stage with a solid undergraduate foundation and the influence of two professors who changed my life and significantly helped shape me into the person I am today: Dr. Don Parks and Dr. Maria Lowe.

Dr. Don Parks was my first business professor. He is unassuming with many years of experience in military tactics, business theory, and organizational strategy, and has a real passion for social justice. After serving several years in the United States Air Force, he had a long career consulting major companies in organization theory, leadership, and supply chain management. While his business acumen is top-notch, where he differentiated himself from other professors was the value he placed in people and ethics. He taught us about alternative companies such as Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Inc., and assigned Ben and Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop (Fred “Chico” Lager. 1995) as required reading in addition to Michael Porter and Peter Drucker. Parks taught us there is more to business than income statements and balance sheets. While important, they are not the only indicators of success and failure. He taught us that our actions in business have impacts beyond what we normally measure in spreadsheets, and how those impacts trickle out into other areas of our lives.

Being the liberal arts school it is, SU required we take a certain number of classes outside of our major course of study called Perspectives On Knowledge (POKs). These classes were intended to broaden our overall understanding of the world around us. The first class I took to fulfill the POK requirement was Social Patterns and Processes, taught by Dr. Maria Lowe. I chose this class because I thought it would help me better identify different communities and understand the social motivations driving their behavior when developing business strategies. I did not expect that class to change my life, but change my life it did. Actually, I dare say, that class saved my life. Dr. Lowe pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone I consistently left the classroom feeling confused, angry, and defeated. I kept showing up. She challenged me to not see things only as they are, but as they could be. Why does our society spend more time commuting to work than rearing our children? How does a lack of access to language, education, literacy, healthy food, safe environments, etc. perpetuate class disparity? How do we employ media to create, define, reflect, and maintain the status quo? How can we take action? My interest continued to increase within the field of sociology and how our actions affect people and the environment locally and around the world. The more I learned (and continue to learn) about these issues, the more I wanted (and want) understand the origin of them and what actions I and others can take to make them better.

During the summer of my sophomore year, I was one of two students awarded the opportunity to travel to La Esperanza, Honduras to install computers in low-income elementary schools. In five intensive days we visited numerous schools and met their faculties, staffs, and students. Never had I before been witness to such appreciation and hope from any group of people. They were all so excited. For many of them, this was their first time to see or touch a computer and they couldn’t stop telling us what they planned on doing with them. As big of an impact we hope we made on them, those kids made a bigger impact on me. In five days I learned that social enterprise can effect positive change in a meaningful and sustainable way and that everything I do professionally would have social justice as a focus and not a side note.

The first job I took out of college was a financial advisor position with a medium sized financial firm. My goal in working there was to develop financial plans for and teach financial literacy to those who typically cannot afford such counseling. According to the management, in order for me to be successful, I would have to abandon my goals and focus on those already wealthy. Hoping it was an organizational culture mismatch I decided to leave that firm and try another. At the other firm, things were better, but again, the focus was on sales, not on empowering the lives of our clients. At that time, I decided to hit the reset button and pursue a lifetime dream of mine—work outside of the country. When I left finance, I wasn’t aware of organizations such as Ashoka, micro lenders, and others that are truly innovating the financial space.

When deciding where to go, I found several places I could envision myself living. There is something unique and exciting about everyplace in the world, so making a decision was difficult. After doing some research and considering various factors I decided on Santiago, Chile. I spoke enough Spanish that I wouldn’t need a translator and they had the most stable economy and government in South America. I didn’t want to visit as a tourist. I wanted to live as close to a Chilean life as I could. It wasn’t only important to see another place, but to see how different people do things differently. I wanted to know how they take on various challenges, handle business, and work in a global landscape. Before I left for Chile, I secured a job teaching English as a second language to professionals (e.g., Ernst & Young de Chile, Novartis, etc.) part-time and quickly found a job doing research for an international law firm based in Santiago. For the students, learning English was not a luxury. It was their ticket to a better future with more opportunities. Helping them reach their goals was very gratifying. At the law firm, I was initially hired to perform research in intellectual property infringements. After being on the job for about a month, I discovered a way to decrease the time it took to finish a common process from four hours to two minutes. The partners then entrusted me with the responsibility of rewriting copy for their website and promotional materials, proofreading letters, and creating their global marketing strategy. This is where I found my passion. I enjoyed performing research, talking with people, and building partnerships globally. I decided I wanted to do that for organizations with more altruistic missions.

Again, the work was fun and exciting, but the lessons didn’t end there. One evening I had a conversation with a Chilean colleague that inspired this blog post on empathy. In short, I realized that it wasn’t enough for me to have the opportunity to follow a lifelong dream. I want others to have the opportunity to develop their and fulfill their own dreams as well. The colleague with whom I spoke felt that, because of her social class, she would never have the same kinds of opportunities. Although some of her challenges come from within, many are institutional.

Currently, I’m working towards helping others develop the opportunity to dream. Literacy is one of my most passionate causes, because I believe that literacy forms the foundation for other successes. I have a full-time job, but dedicate most of my time developing projects to help fulfill this mission. I feel that volunteerism is important to growing with the community and I am actively involved with Literacy San Antonio and The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. I am also helping plan TEDxSanAntonio 2011 by serving as the web content chair of the communications committee. The traveling and volunteering has brought me in contact with some very inspiring, interesting, and innovative people. The conversations I’ve had with these people inspired me to begin documenting their stories. First, I began writing blog posts. Then I started recording their audio. Now, I am recording video interviews and posting them on a website I created called Menrva Labs. The mission of Menrva Labs is to help facilitate social change by increasing social consciousness. There are people making changes whose effects are rippling through communities. These artists, teachers, activists, and others often never share their stories. Menrva Labs provides a platform for them to do so. At the same time, I hope to build a network of change makers who can share best practices, learn from each other, and build upon others’ successes. Additional projects in the works include art exhibitions and collaborations with Media Justice League.

Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) fits with my goal of harnessing the power of business to build sustainable, social enterprises in a number of ways. Firstly, BGI brings together people who can think beyond themselves and are not afraid to challenge the norm. Being surrounded by and building relationships with such people will be invaluable. BGI is the only school to which I am applying because I feel that, in BGI, I have found a program that delivers the technical knowledge, social foundation, and networking opportunities to help me serve as that conduit of change. Mitsu Yamazaki, Jeanette M. Honermann, and Jen Martinez made me aware of BGI after I met each of them while finding and documenting people who are making positive things happen. These are the kinds of people I aspire to get to know, work with, and learn from on a professional and personal level. They each spoke very highly of BGI and how the experience brings together the top minds, changes their lives, and prepares them for rewarding futures.

Not only will BGI provide the opportunity to meet and learn from interesting people, but the hybrid program will allow me to continue working on projects for which I have a passion. My intermediate goal is to dedicate 10-15 hours of professional services per week to an organization for a period of six months at a time that would not normally be able to afford a consultant, beginning with Literacy San Antonio. Each project will have measurable goals and a sustainability plan. Because of the online/offline structure of the hybrid MBA program, I will not be limited to any one geographic location, allowing me to work wherever I need to go. Until I discovered this program I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to obtain an MBA or a master’s degree in a related field. Now the choice is clear.

Social Media For The Job Hunter 101 - Day 3: Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube

Introduction

 

Today, I’m going to focus on how to make more effective use of some of the new media that you’re probably already using: LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. According to research from internet usage data from Alexa, we spend a good portion of our day on Facebook and YouTube. When tend to use LinkedIn only sparingly, normally when we are looking for a job. Since we spend time at these sites, we might as well have them work as hard for us as possible.

LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is a professional social network. Many people mistakenly refer to it as an online résumé or CV (curriculum vitae). When you understand how to use it, LinkedIn can serve as a powerful networking tool, brining you in contact with people you might otherwise not have the chance to meet. It can also provide you access to information on various issues from professionals who want to help others grow. Here are some tips on maximizing the effectiveness of LinkedIn.

Fully complete your profile

LinkedIn has a meter that shows you exactly how complete your profile is. Aim for 100%. The more information you have available, the more a prospective recruiter can use to determine whether or not you may be a fit for their business. It also gives you a better chance that your profile will come up when they search for specific skills. Don’t just list previous jobs, but make your descriptions and job history relevant and showcase what you can bring to an organization. Use keywords when you can, as these will help with those searches. Include a profile picture of your face. (The picture should be a candid photo. It may be easy to find a shot of you and crop out your face.) Be honest.

Join groups

One of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to join groups. There are all types of groups and many have their own job postings that only appear within the group page. I’m a member of Future Social Media and there are six current job postings as of this morning. Get involved, join discussions, and build a reputation among your peers as a resource. As you become more involved, you will get more invitations to connect, and increase the power of your network.

Ask and answer questions

Recently, LinkedIn introduced the ability to ask and answer questions in “Answers.” Answers allows you to learn from practitioners in the field and share your knowledge to help others. There are many professionals willing to offer their insights on issues you might be curious about. Also, as you help people, others are more than willing to help you, answering your questions and growing your network. You also get the chance to discover blogs, news sources, etc. you might find useful. (Just yesterday, I answered a question about social media and a partner at a marketing firm in Argentina invited me to connect with him.) Also, when you answer a question, introduce yourself and offer further help if they need it. I’ve found that this increases your chance of dialogue tremendously. I try to answer one question per day. And don’t worry, not all questions are super technical. One popular question being answered right now is, “What’s your Twitter pet peeve?” I know what mine is. What’s yours? Answer the question here.

Add your website and use BlogLink to update your page

Install the application BlogLink (it’s one of the featured applications, so its hard to miss) and add your blog’s link to your websites section in your profile. BlogLink automatically finds the  RSS feed and posts an experpt and link to your website. When people look at your LinkedIn page, they are likely to check out your blog if they want to learn more about you. I get referrals to my site from LinkedIn regularly.

Add your twitter account

LinkedIn has the option of adding your Twitter account. While you don’t need to tweet about everything you do (this is very annoying and considered a social media no no), as you add value to the LinkedIn community, you will gain quality followers who value what you have to say. You never know when an opportunity might come up.

Import your address books

Find out which of your friends have LinkedIn profiles easily by importing your address books. If you click on “Add Connections” from the top right of the screen, you have the ability to import contacts from your various online address books, Outlook, Mail, or other desktop client.

Pay attention to your network updates

When you log in, the default page takes you to “Network Updates.” Check this out regularly. If you don’t log in to LinkedIn frequently, then you should subscribe to the RSS feed and keep an eye on them. Friends may connect with other people you know, get promotions, change positions, etc. These updates provide you the opportunity to reach out and congratulate, offer assistance, or find new people with whom to connect. I use Google Reader so I can have access to my feeds even when I’m not near my computer.

Use the search for things other than names of people

Here’s how I was offered a job with a large, global consulting firm within a week while I was living in Chile:

Step 1: I searched for the company that I was interested in

Step 2: I found an HR person (who happened to be asking for a position to be filled)

Step 3: I requested to connect with her

Step 4: I sent a message to begin the dialogue

Step 5: Upon request I emailed her my resume

Step 6: Received an email to schedule an interview

That all happened in one day. Three days later, I had the interview and was offered the job. If there is a company, industry, etc. that you have an interest in, search on them and see what you find. Also search for previous colleagues.

Facebook

 

I primarily use Facebook as a conduit for distributing messages and keeping up with old friends and acquaintances. When I write a blog post, I place a link in my updates and not feel like I’m forcing it down people’s throats. A good portion of my website traffic is referral traffic from Facebook. The more connections you have, the larger audience you have who may come across your message.

Poll your connections

Facebook is also a great place to poll people. You can create a poll using an application, but I prefer to simply ask a question in my “What’s on your mind” space and wait for the comments to come in. People are more than willing to tell you what they think. If you post something like, “I’m looking for a job, does anybody know of anything?” you might be surprised with the results.

Safety

Facebook allows you to put a lot of information on the internet. Remember, your profile is searchable, is probably archived somewhere, and even with security settings established, there is a chance somebody may come across information you thought couldn’t be seen. Take care to ensure you don’t post things you don’t want people to know. A couple things you might consider to avoid posting are:

  • Phone Number (Unless you don’t mind)
  • Home address
  • When you are going to be away from your home for long periods of time
  • When your spouse will be away from the home for long periods of time
  • How much you hate your current job (your boss might find out)
  • How much you hate your current client (your boss might find out…or your client)
  • Financial information (credit card numbers in messages, account numbers, etc.)

Add RSS Feeds

You can set up an RSS feed to automatically create notes out of blog posts. Ever wonder how people have so much time to write Facebook notes everyday? Chances are, they are actually posting on their various blogs and Facebook is importing the posts for them. These new notes sow up in the news feed and will direct traffic to your blog or website. This will also help build the popularity on your site, which will increase your search engine ranking, which will help your site be among the top results when people search for you. If a recruiter searches for you, the first place you want them to see is the space you control the most, your site.

Say Happy Birthday

One of the easiest ways to rekindle connections is stopping by their wall to wish them a Happy Birthday. If it’s been a while, it may seem awkward to ask a favor. You can start the conversation by simply wishing them a good day.

YouTube

 

I know what you’re thinking: “YouTube is something you use to lose your job, not get one.” Well, if you spend more time on the job watching YouTube than working you might be right. However, with a cheap video camera (such as a Flip Cam) and free video editing software you can create a video résumé. The key is to be natural, dress like you’re going to an interview, be professional, and add value. Keep the video short (2-3 minutes should be sufficient) and add the link for your video to your resume, website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks. Believe it or not, recruiters are searching YouTube as well. A search on “video resume” on YouTube yielded 66,700 results for me this morning. Other video hosting sites include Vimeo, Blip.tv, ClipShack, Viddler, and many others.

Conclusion


Hopefully you found some of these tips useful. Most of them are geared towards people who are unemployed and looking for a job. If you are currently employed, you might take extra caution when expressing your interest in finding something new. Tomorrow, I’m going to cover a few more tips, and finish up this weeklong 101 on Friday with a guest interview from a professional career counselor. If you’ve found this useful, feel free to pass it along, share on your favorite bookmarking sites, and subscribe to the RSS feed. As always, any feedback and additional tips are welcome. Feel free to leave your comment below or e-mail me at any time. Until next time, good luck…peace.

Job Hunting Series

Two Social Networks I Find Useful

I too have a Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn profile. For me, all three seem to serve their individual purpose well. I use Myspace and Facebook to keep up wth friends, aqcuantences, and events, and LinkedIn for my professional networking. Although these sites are beneficial, I have found two other social networks that have have truly become valuable to me. These networks are Goodreads and Change.org.

I am constantly on Goodreads. It’s a social network focused towards authors and readers. You can follow what people are reading, make suggestions, leave reviews, maintain several reading lists, etc. I find it interesting to see what my friends are reading. I’ve ordered several books lately as a result of suggestions by friends and reviews on the site. Also, if you are an author, you can maintain an author profile, a blog, and promote your books on the site.

Change is one of the largest activist networks that I have come across. With blogs, donation modules, news feeds, and social networking aspects, it is truly making a difference. I have become somewhat active in promoting the National Marriage Boycott, whose main premise is to promote equality among marriage rights. I became aware of this movement as a result of reading a blog post on the site. If you are looking for ways to support a cause, you can definitely find it on Change.org. If you don’t you can add it there.

 

Resources:

Homepages: Change.org | Goodreads

My profile links: Change.org | Goodreads