This memorable piece of shark
news puts me in mind of a conversation I had with an
ex-military-commander-turned-company-CEO.In my capacity as a recruiter, I was interviewing him for an
executive role in a printing company.Because I wanted to give my client, the employer, as much information as
possible about what it was really like to spend a working day with this person,
I questioned him closely about his management style.Here is what he told me:
“In business, just like in
military manoeuvres, you have three choices:you can halt, you can retreat, or you can advance.Usually my advice is to load,
lock, and move forward.Even if
you’re outnumbered and surrounded, there’s still a possibility you can shoot
through the enemy line and escape.”
This November 11th,
Remembrance Day, I will be thinking about this distinguished corporate warrior and other
In my job as Managing Director of PrintLink, I am often asked by candidates who live and work in other countries if PrintLink can find them a job in Canada.
The answer is: Over six years as a professional recruiter have taught me that it is impossible for a foreign candidate to obtain a job (or a job offer for immigraton purposes) from any of our client companies unless the candidate has first obtained legal authorization to work in Canada. Moreover, PrintLink cannot assist foreign candidates with this process since we have no expertise in Canadian immigration.
If these facts puzzle you, consider that PrintLink's client companies pay PrintLink a substantial fee (typically 20 percent of the starting salary) to expedite their job search and target only the most qualified candidates. Clearly, foreign candidates with immigration complications and lack of local Canadian business experience do not fit into this business model.
For further reference, I can only offer candidates seeking to immigrate and work in Canada the following links I found at random that might help them commence their own research:
Reid Hoffman, cofounder and
chairman of LinkedIn, has not only co-created the world’s biggest social-media
platform for professional networking.
He has also defined a new paradigm for professional development and
success which he articulates in the 2012 book he co-authored with Ben Casnocha
called “The Start-up of You” (Crown Business).
The book explains that, with
unemployment rampant, job competition fierce, the career escalator jammed at
every level, and creative disruption shaking every industry, traditional job
security is a thing of the past.
Instead, the tasks of job hunting and career development-whether for
seasoned professionals or for recent graduates--have become perpetual works in
progress, requiring an agile mental state and skills fostering a state of permanent beta or continuous personal
Chapter 3 of The Start-Up
Of You explains why the bestselling career
book of all time, What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, is asking the wrong question for today:
“When it comes to charting a
career plan, what you should be asking yourself is whether your parachute can
keep you aloft in changing conditions.
The unfortunate truth is that in today’s career landscape, your
parachute—no matter its color—may be shredded and tattered. And if it isn’t that way already, it
could get that way at any time.”
Additionally, Mr. Hoffman and
Mr. Casnocha point out that:
“In his first chapter, Parachute
author Richard Bolles writes, ‘It is
important, before you enter the job hunt, to decide exactly what you are
looking for—whether you call it your passion, or your purpose in life, or your
mission. … Passion first, job-hunt
later.’ After four decades in print, this is still the accepted
wisdom today. You see similar
advice all over. Habit number two
of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is, ‘Begin with the end in mind’: you should produce a personal mission
statement that puts your goals in focus.'”
“The primary message of these
books (of which there are more than 50 million copies in circulation) and
countless others is to listen to your heart and follow your passion. Find your true north by filling out
worksheets or engaging in deep, thoughtful introspection. Once you’ve got a mission in mind,
these books urge, you’re supposed to develop a long-term plan for fulfilling
it. You’re supposed to craft
detailed, specific goals. You’re
urged to figure out who you are and where you want to be in ten years, and then
work backward to develop a roadmap for getting there.”
While Mr. Hoffman and Mr.
Casnocha concede that for various reasons it’s important to have worthy
aspirations, to be passionate about something, and to invest for the long term,
their criticism of Mr. Bolles’s, Dr. Covey’s, and similar approaches is that
they presume the world is static, whereas in today’s job market exactly the
opposite is true:
“Conventional career planning
can work under conditions of relative stability, but in times of uncertainty
and rapid change, it is severely limiting, if not dangerous,”they warn.“You will change. The environment around you will
change. Your allies and competitors
Especially in an environment
of such shifting uncertainty, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Casnocha doubt the
feasibility of the type of fixed, accurate self-knowledge that Mr. Bolles and
Dr. Covey promote:“It’s unwise,
no matter your stage of life, to try to pinpoint a single dream around which
your existence revolves.”
Additionally, the co-authors
point out the harsh reality that“just because your heart comes alive at a
calling doesn’t mean someone will pay you to do it. If you can’t find someone who wants to employ you to pursue
your dream job, or if you can’t financially sustain yourself—that is, earn a
salary that allows you to live the lifestyle you prefer—then trying to turn
your passion into a career doesn’t really get you very far.”
Their book not only represents a significant shift in conventional thinking. It also goes on to describe
the alternative practical strategies they believe are necessary for success in today’s
job market, using Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as role models.
I couldn’t quickly locate my files from when I taught Dealing with the Media at
Niagara College’s Post-Graduate Public Relations Program, I am recording this
blog post instead to answer a question that arose on LinkedIn yesterday and
could conceivably arise again.
context is that Deborah Corn of Print Media Centr posted information written by
Marion Williams-Bennett on "Using PR to Grow Your Business--Start with a Press Release", which included the advice:
“When writing the release, you want to
answer the questions – who, what, where, when and why. The most important of
these questions is the why. Why should someone care about this news?
"For example, if you have acquired a new customer, your announcement can say:
"Acme Print and Marketing Services is pleased to announce that The Big Bank has chosen Acme to handle all of their print production and direct marketing communication needs. The Big Bank is another example of Acme's expanding role as a leader in providing print and marketing to organizations in the financial services industry.
"The news is that The Big Bank has become a client; the story is that Acme is now becoming a go-to resource for the financial services industry."
response to the above was: "Caution:
Besides the proverbial 5 Ws of journalism that Marion mentions (who, what,
where, when & why), you also need to include how and how much? Otherwise,
you risk omitting essential context that editors need in order to recognize why
your release rates preferential treatment over all the others they reject."
Tattersfield, Online Marketing Director at
PrintFirm.com, replied: “Victoria
Gaitskell not exactly sure what you mean? Can you share a specific
example? I write press releases regularly, and I'm always looking for ways to
improve the copy. We're getting good results, but we can always do better.”
my expanded response, Katherine:
To use a really
quick, crude example, you might write in your release that (WHO) your company
is (WHAT) holding a fundraising event (WHERE) at the Palazzo Hotel in Timbuktu
(WHEN) on June 30, 2013 at 7 p.m. (WHY) to raise money to help a vulnerable
group of people in your community, thus spotlighting your company as a superior
But unless you
add at least a few more qualifying HOW / HOW MUCH details—such as HOW you'll
draw a crowd of donors with the unique and irresistible form of entertainment
you’re offering at the event, or the specifics of HOW MUCH more the funds you
raise will help the beneficiaries in contrast to the work of
other charities, or HOW MUCH larger your fundraising target is than last year
because of escalating need in your community--then how do you expect editors to figure out whether or not your news will actually be of use and interest to
personally, at least for myself and most of the other editors I know at
printing trade publications, both editors and their readers have had it up to
here with daily barrages of short, vague, routine, self-serving marketing spiels issued by corporate marketing departments. So
while just following the 5 Ws might help you to produce a formally correct
press release, it isn’t enough to help you create one that’s dynamic enough
to earn you the media coverage you crave.
that only experienced professional writers know how to cram as much
information as I’m suggesting into a release that will still be interesting,
newsworthy, and short enough to grab an editor’s attention--because length
seriously matters as much as content, angle, and style. (Unfortunately lack of time and space prevents me from discussing these other considerations here.)
Generally speaking, to
obtain the best results, the task of writing effective press releases
should probably be left to experts, because when it comes to media
production, no one on either end of a press release can afford the time to futz
around. That's also why it's not just commendable but also a really practical idea to hone your press-release-writing skills as much as you can.
to my post of 4 January 2013 http://vicg8hr.blogspot.ca/2013/01/on-thorny-dilemma-of-linkedin-skill.html, my sole reason for seriously rethinking the viability of LinkedIn
Endorsements at this stage of the game comes from career coach Carol Ross, who points out that their
special utility lies in enabling you to conduct your own market research about your personal brand .
her astute observation it also follows that:
skills and expertise you list on your profile should not necessarily reflect
the things you’re competent at but rather the things you want to do more of.
should not accept or hide endorsements that aren’t for skills and expertise you
are interested in developing in your next job.
people aren’t endorsing you for the skills and expertise you want to be known
for, you need to do a better job of promoting these abilities via work
interactions and social media.
should consider tweaking your profile so your favourite, most endorsed skills
appear prominently in wording that resonates with your target audience.
Ross also notes three further positive applications worth trying:
Using endorsements as a basis for rekindling former relationships or improving current ones by giving you a pretext to communicate with contacts after the
Being prompted by endorsements to request or provide more helpful, meaningful personalized recommendations instead.
Capitalizing on LinkedIn’s referrals to discussion groups, job openings, and employers in your field of interest, as well as top professionals, whose skill sets can help you adjust your own profile to be more competitive. http://www.linkedin.com/skills/
these positives have given me sufficient inducement to start dabbling
cautiously with making endorsements--but only in selected cases where I feel qualified by first-hand experience to do
so—although I’m encountering all the same reservations as many of the system’s
other critics; e.g.:
encourages people to give endorsements too freely without cause.
imposes auto-generated skills on users who don’t add them themselves.
only proposes a limited number of your connections for you to endorse at the
expense of other members of your network.
encourages you to endorse multiple skills at once, but not necessarily the ones
you want to endorse.
Even Web recruiter Tony Restell, whose cynicism is based on the belief that LinkedIn has designed its
endorsement system in an incompetent and self-serving way, admits it has the
potential to impact your professional life and job search quite
extensively.For him, the problem
largely boils down to the fact that it’s so easy for LinkedIn members to attract
a disproportionate number of endorsements from their network using the
following measures. (But those who think it’s fun to accumulate as many of these
notches in their belts as possible might consider trying any of these tactics that they’ve previously
to attract more LinkedIn Recommendations
your Skills & Expertise section closer to the top of your profile where
it’s more visible.
others whenever you can.
skills that are not too specialized and easy for others to endorse.
you start to accumulate endorsements, list skills in descending order of
importance to you.(The system will subsequently list your skills
with the most endorsements first, followed by skills without endorsements in the order in which you added them.)
skills your connections ought to be endorsed for that aren’t currently on their
your goodwill and visibility (and consequently drive more traffic to your profile) by:becoming more active and helpful in
LinkedIn groups, optimizing your profile, and posting regular status and profile
your number of contacts by allowing LinkedIn to search your e-mail contact list(s).
In a recent
discussion on LinkedIn, Barbara Miller, a self-employed Special Markets
Rep in the Greater Boston Area, posed
the following two questions:
it sexual harassment if an employee has to work on a printed piece that is
sexually explicit, even if it's a utilitarian/non-fiction book or
publication--and handling the job makes the employee uncomfortable?
2. What should an employer do if an employee has moral issues
with a piece s/he is working on (which tends to be an even greater issue
if the content is heavy on graphics, but could also happen with text only)?
Barbara thought some employers make accommodation for employees in these cases, and some find ways to avoid it.
My reply was: “Interesting
points. When I was working as a recruiter, I vividly remember meeting a
candidate who worked for a company that produced dvds and who attended church
regularly. The fact that the company had started reproducing a lot of porn was
what motivated her to look for a new job.”
We would be interested to hear related anecdotes or your analysis
of these or similar situations.
I used to wonder whether I
was operating at a disadvantage because my blogs are hosted by Blogger instead
of WordPress--that is, until Google+ made it a cinch to install their buttons
on my blogs much more easily than by following the normal procedure required
to install various widgets.
Now that I and my blogs are
connected to Google+, I’m happy to report that I’m experiencing a number of
technical improvements (for example, better search-engine ranking and
practically instantaneous blog feeds to Google+.)
But here’s the down
side:it’s downright spooky to
find myself rattling around Google+, where I feel relatively alone because so
many of my literally thousands of social-media contacts seem to be absent.The system has managed to help me track
down and contact only a disappointingly small number of you.If you are already a member of Google+ but I’ve been unable to locate and contact you, please reach out to me there.
My initial thought in
joining Google+ was that it would provide an interesting new frontier for social-media experiments.But I believe the
experiments would be much more enjoyable and productive if more of my existing
social-media contacts would come out and play.So please give some thought to joining me on the platform.
These are really my ideas.Google+ didn’t hire me to say this.
But at the same time, if I’m
overlooking any good reasons for not migrating to Google+, please let me know
what they are.