Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Friday, December 25, 2009

Searching Canadian Think Tank Sites

Hillwatch.com has a big list of Canadian think tank web sites, as I learned this morning from Judy Margolis on LinkedIn in her answer to someone’s question about future trends. Guessing that there might be a lot of ideas of interest to career developers on these sites I quickly whipped up a Google custom search which you can make use of from the right hand column of this blog.

I’ve already noticed that there is advice there for employers considering hiring internationally trained personnel, and a way of defining how tight a job market is. Maybe you will enjoy this too.

Season’s Greetings!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Display Your Credentials

Who provides therapy in an office like this?”, BPS Research Digest Blog, 14 December 2009. For some reason, the more certificates and diplomas a therapist displays for clients the more highly she will be thought of. One would expect something similar to hold for career developers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're More Than Myers-Briggs

A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague, Susan Buckingham of the Niagara West Employment and Learning Centres, offered to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Step II to me—and at the best possible price. Naturally I agreed. I wasn't in the least surprised to find that I came out as an ENFP; nor was I too surprised to learn that I am in the category labelled “Intimate, Reflective” (once I thought about what this means).

As it happens Susan is also an ENFP and I was graceless enough to return her favour to me by asking her to do the Holland-style interest assessment available at livecareer.com. I wanted to see how her results might contrast with mine.

Before we get to those results let me say a word or two about livecareer. The basic results from it are free and include percentiles for various scales that can be useful. I am concentrating here on the septagon used to represent scores on the six Holland-style scales plus an additional scale* that, to my knowledge, is unique to this instrument. For easy reference here are some very abbreviated definitions.

Artistic (Creators) - original, creative, expressive
Attentive (Servers)* - enjoy helping and serving others; looking after the comfort and well-being of others
Social (Helpers) - interested in helping to keep others emotionally or physically healthy, or in teaching others
Investigative (Thinkers) - enjoy the challenge of problem solving in mathematics, technology, and sciences
Realistic (Doers) - like physical activity, working with their hands, and are mechanically-inclined
Conventional (Organisers) - enjoy supervising others in jobs where rules and tasks are well defined; detail-orientated, organized, follow instructions well, prefer routine
Enterprising (Persuaders) - like to talk to, influence and persuade others

Here then is the comparison of my livecareer results with Susan’s. My septagon is purple, hers green. At first glance our results may appear sharply and utterly different. However, if we ignore the relative magnitudes of our scores on the Artistic and Social scales, in appreciation of the fact that both of us are 'AS' Holland types, then we see that a clearer pattern emerges. We actually differ in that one of us is Enterprising and the other Investigative. (We still get along amazingly well.)

So what’s the point? I would say it is that there are a lot of ways of slicing and dicing “human nature” and that it’s worth considering a variety of ways of looking at how a client should interface with his life and career. No one instrument does it all.



inkscape is a free software product that made it easy and straightforward to create the image shown above. I am indebted to its makers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jobs for Career Developers & Related

Started tweeting them today: @BillBell

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Psychological Therapy, II

A couple of months ago I mentioned information about empirically supported psychotherapeutic methods. For anyone interested here's a discussion I found interesting as a recording on the American NPR site.

Professor Diane Chambless made one point that I think is important for career developers as well as psychotherapists. It is that we should maintain records that make it possible for us to discern the varying levels of success achievable using various techniques that we practise, complemented with information obtained from our clients. I notice that some school teachers are already doing this.

Professor Richard McFall made a point in favour of empirical support, citing the importance of efficiency as one possible attribute of a superior treatment. A few years ago I met a psychological group facillitator who said that he had previously been in a form of talk therapy for fifteen years. He strongly suggested that we all follow his example. Even as he was making his suggestion I wondered how one was meant to cope with life’s frequent exigencies waiting for the blessing of a cure. We need therapies that work quickly, if possible.

And, I almost forgot, here is the page with the discussion: The Science of Clinical Psychology (broadcast Friday, December 4th, 2009).

I am again indebted to psydir for pointing this out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Good Is LinkedIn?

Although I spend quite a bit of my own time on LinkedIn I suspect that there is considerable truth to this video.





The only real use I make of LinkedIn is as a source of questions. I enjoy trying to work up worthwhile answers. My principal criticism of LinkedIn, conditioned on my own use of it, is that it holds the copyrights to questions and answers.



I saw this video at Grincheux, aux barricades!. See Harold Jarche at The Curmudgeon’s Manifesto for further comment about how we should own and share what we do on the ‘net.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Career Constructivism: Scaffolding

Reading a recent blog item, “You've been framed”, by Professor Steve Wheeler of the University of Plymouth has helped me to clarify some ideas about how constructivism works in career development.

Builders erect scaffolding to enable themselves to complete buildings. By analogy, constructivist educators say that they build scaffolding around ideas that are new to students to help those students to come to grips with them. The human race as a whole would make no progress, however, if we needed someone to build scaffolding for us in order to learn something new about the world. Obviously, therefore, we are all, one way or another, building scaffolding for ourselves.

As career developers we cannot know much about who our clients are or what they might become. We are not experts in that sense. Moreover, there are no plans for these “buildings” and it is no part of our responsibility to provide blueprints. However, we can try to follow what they are expressing closely enough to assist with useful scaffolding so that the client can create the edifice for him or herself.

Interesting enough I think.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another reason to avoid falsifying a résumé?

Here's an item from one of my favourite blogs about the results of a recent series of psychological experiments, about what happens when people wear fake sunglasses. Please watch the video with Dan Ariely.

The General Discussion section of the research paper to which Ariely refers begins with the sentence, “We suggested at the outset that people adopt counterfeit products because they are trying to improve their self-image; our studies show that counterfeits have the ironic consequence of harming self-image via inauthenticity, inducing a ‘counterfeit self.’”

Would it be a stretch to suggest that falsifying one’s résumé is like wearing fake designer sunglasses, inasmuch as it is likely to make one feel an uncomfortable sense of alienation from oneself? Perhaps not. Then the joint task of the career developer and the client is to get an accurate description of the client’s identity and to find ways of presenting it well, in résumés and other places. It would appear that one benefit of these services beyond helping with employment issues might relate to the client’s sense of authenticity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Background Study Source for Career Developers

The Open University of the United Kingdom offers quite a number of free short courses in a variety of subjects. It appears that the ones most likely to be of interest to career developers are in the 'Society' topics category. Here are three of the courses that look interesting to me.

Economics explains discrimination in the labour market”: Discrimination in the labour market exists in many forms: the ‘glass ceiling’ ageism, racism, etc. This unit will help you look at this problem with a new perspective: through economics. You will learn how economists have tried to understand what drives this distortion of the labour market and why women and the ethnic minorities seem to suffer the most.

Living and working in the new economy”: The new ‘service economy’, is it a direct result of globalisation? This unit examines the switch from manufacturing to services and looks at the impact of information and communication technologies on the economy as a whole. The ‘new economy’ has many benefits, but at what cost?

What do we mean by ‘family’?”: The idea of ‘family’ is very powerful in contemporary UK culture and policy. Family lives have been the subject of many anxieties both at the personal and policy levels. How do public debates relate to people’s everyday experiences of families? In this unit, you can explore the many attempts at defining ‘family’ and why these complex and contradictory meanings are important to us. We begin to unpick questions of power and inequality, to test our everyday assumptions about families, and to reflect on the values underpinning them.

I have previously mentioned how to find videos of interest to career developers on this blog:
http://unsymptomatictoo.blogspot.com/2008/04/you-dont-have-to-tell-me-twice.html

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Job Descriptions Out of Thin Air

About twenty-five years ago I was assigned to write a suite of job descriptions for the software personnel that would double the size of the unit of which I was a member. Expecting some kind of iterative process I consulted the best references I could find at the time and submitted a draft version. Need I say that I was a little surprised that I should have heard nothing more about the job descriptions until we started interviewing for the positions some months later—especially since they carried salaries ranging to about $70,000 per annum?

If you are wondering why I mention this it is because I want to emphasise that many employers radically underestimate the slippery nature of the human side of their enterprises. Quite literally they can be fighting unfair dismissal litigation one moment then repeating the hiring practices that doomed them to failure the next. I emphasise this because we, as job seekers and career developers, need tactics and strategies for circumventing the follies of a great many employers.

One thing that a person can do is to find out what an employer actually needs from an employee to consider that employee a success (the job description will not tell you), and to tell the world (honestly) what you do successfully. If you want some guidance then here's a place to read more.
I'm indebted to Peter Giblett, a contact on LinkedIn and Plaxo, for making me aware of this article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Missed Appointments: What Can We Do?

Statistical information about how often clients fail to appear for their appointments is probably lacking. However, given the number of times I hear of it from career people in the trenches I suspect that the rate is higher than we would wish.

Apparently psychiatrists experience similar problems. Today I happened upon an article entitled "Four Steps to Reduce Missed Patient Appointments" in psychiatrictimes.com that offers some remedies for them. Not all are applicable for those of us who work in organisations that make no charge to clients for our services. The other ideas might improve your efficiencies though.

My principal concern has always been that clients who fail to maintain contact will also fail to follow a coherent plan or will become disillusioned. I was heartened to read that Dr Mark Rosenberg should express parallel ideas. We seek to offer a series of services that will get people back into work. Continuity is important.

Let me know what you think! What do you do in your shop to help clients keep their appointments?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apparently Well-Prepared Employer

A couple of weeks ago somebody on LinkedIn said that the proof that most of us don't care about our careers is in our lack of planning and care in executing those plans. I have been tempted to retort that it's obvious to me that few employers much care who they hire. Otherwise they would take more pains in defining what work they actually want done and how to recruit someone who would enjoy growing into their jobs.

It was with my customary, perfectly dreadful attitude toward the majority of employers that I happened upon the pages that McKinsey & Company use to support those who are considering applying there. Do take a look.

McKinsey seems to know what they want in their consultants, they believe they know how to find out whether applicants have what they need, and they can even tell applicants how to prepare so that both sides are able to judge one another effectively. Now, obviously few companies can afford to go to these lengths but considering that personnel represent one of the most important, and most problematic aspects, of any enterprise I wonder that employers seem to give so little attention (care?) to recruiting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Expensive Career Credentials? -- Ask First

I am indebted to careerchatter on Twitter for bringing this item to my attention: A New Generation of Ontario Teachers in Professionally Speaking, The Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers. Judge for yourself of course but I would say that these statistics should make anyone think twice about spending the money and time it takes to become a teacher in Ontario.

There might be other professions that publish information like this. In any case, I am grateful to this college for their contribution.

If anyone knows of other organisations that provide related kinds of information that would help people to plan their careers please let us know.

Another way of finding start-up money

Read Seth Godin, Debt, equity and a third thing that might work better.’

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mining the Big Boards for Information, I

One of my clients asked me recently to help him select from several additional qualifications he might obtain to further his career. My immediate thought was that I would probably have considerable difficulty gathering summary information to support any advice I might give. Beyond that, each combination of qualifications would likely imply a somewhat different career path, and only the client could decide whether that path would be suitable for him. It occurred to me to propose a technique by which the client could monitor a stream of data and accummulate the information he needs for himself.

Let's say that the client lives in Toronto and that he has already identified the following possible qualifications: CCIE, MCSD, CISSP and CBAP. We go to the indeed.ca advanced search page and complete it as shown here. Having pressed 'Find Jobs' we can choose either to get email updates or an RSS feed for the jobs that mention these qualifications.

When you start reading the series of advertisements that result from doing this you will gradually (or perhaps quickly) appreciate that the career paths associated with one or more of the qualifications are unsuited to you. In this case you should just request that the emails stop or abandon the RSS feed. Another possibility is that you will find that some qualifications are associated with other qualifications, as far as employers are concerned, and that those other qualifications are more, or less, sought after. You can adjust your study plans accordingly. It's also worth scanning entire advertisements for general information about employer expectations and the ways in which your career will fit within each industry.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Building a Better Job Feed: indeed.ca and eluta.ca Together

First of all, I'm indebted to Bryan Webb for making me a little more aware of what people want from job sites(!): (a) They would rather search two than ten! (b) eluta and indeed make one good choice of those two. Let me show you how to make a feed that combines the results from these two sites. You can have your feed either in the form of email or as RSS suitable for, say, the Google Reader.

You'll need a Yahoo! login. With that you can go to Yahoo! Pipes where you can create a pipe that looks like this.

For now just select the two YQL modules and the Union module and connect them with the Pipe Output module. Now open the eluta.ca advanced search form in a separate tab or window. Indicate the types of job advertisements required and where those jobs must be, then click on 'Find Jobs'. Right-click on the RSS feed button and use the menu to copy the underlying link. Now return to the pipes display and copy the eluta URL into the YQL module and add the remainder of the YQL statement (the "select *" stuff and the enclosing double quotes). Now open the indeed.ca advanced search form and do the same thing with its RSS feed URL in the pipes display. You now have a complete pipe that combines eluta.ca and indeed.ca.

Make a trial run of your new pipe and save it. You can now go back to your page of feeds and can elect to add your new pipe, as a feed, to your chosen feed reader. However, if you do not use a feed reader just proceed now to process your feed with FeedBurner.

Open FeedBurner in a separate tab or window. Copy your feed from your Pipes display page into the FeedBurner box labelled "Burn a feed right this instant." and follow the remaining steps. You now have a source of email that combines alerts for your choice of jobs, for the geographical area you selected.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A More Efficient Form of indeed.ca, II

In a recent posting I showed how to build a composite feed consisting of three job feeds from indeed.ca for Hamilton, Niagara Falls and St Catha-rines, Ontario with duplicate ads filtered out. Then I used Yahoo! Alerts to generate emails in place of the output from the RSS feed.

Somebody on LinkedIn told me that he doesn't like using Yahoo! Alerts (for reasons I won't go into here), which led me to explore other ways of turning RSS feeds into email. I had long forgotten FeedBurner but it actually yields a more elegant solution in combination with a web page. I used Google sites to host the thingy that FeedBurner makes. The advantage is that there is no need for copying anything from one web page to another. The user just registers heris email address with the FeedBurner page. This is how it appears.

Go here to subscribe yourself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Résumé: Basic Advice, Right on Target

To be really blunt, I'm bored silly reading the same advice about résumés over and over again. What's more, no matter how long-winded I may be myself, I prefer economy in the writings of others. So I delight in finding places where many or most of the basics of writing serviceable résumés are set down within a few paragraphs.

Here's one I just found: the Élite Résumés Blog section.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A More Efficient Form of indeed.ca

There's little doubt that indeed.ca is a great way of identifying job leads. Nonetheless it's results can be improved upon in some ways and I'll describe one in this posting.

Suppose you live in the Niagara Peninsula. Then you would be interested in job advertisements posted on indeed.ca for the Hamilton, Niagara and St Catharines areas. Now you could simply arrange to be kept informed about these areas as individual job alerts. However, the likelihood is that you would receive duplicate advertisements. For the purposes of this article--to keep it simple--let's assume that you want to see all advertisements. This would have the advantage that you would avoid missing opportunities.

I am going to describe how to set up a Yahoo 'Pipe' to get just one feed for the three areas, without duplicate ads. If you just want to know how to use the pipe then just cut to the chase scene (below).


This is the complete diagram for my pipe at pipes.yahoo.com. The three boxes on the left represent feeds from indeed.ca, one each for Hamilton, Niagara and St Catharines respectively. To obtain the URLs I visited the corresponding pages at indeed.ca, then copied and pasted the URLs from the RSS feed buttons.

The three feeds are merged in the Union widget, then sorted on job titles. Then the Unique widget discards duplicate ads based on the guid in the merged feed.

The Chase Scene

Most people stay clear of feeds. Do you? No problem! Here's how to receive bunches of ads as email.

  1. In a separate browser tab or window open Yahoo! Alerts.
  2. Select 'Feed/Blog.'
  3. Copy this URL into the edit box at 'A': http://bit.ly/3JSC8D
  4. Select how often you want to receive alerts and indicate your email address.
  5. Save your alert.
Good hunting!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Must Watch: Anyone Interested in Education or Entrepreneurship

See the Psychology Today article at "Teaching Kids to Cheat". About an hour long but worth every minute.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jobs for Career Developers: Woops

I experienced a system failure recently. As part of the recovery process I upgraded the version of the principal development language that I use—Python—to 2.6.

Things broke. Among them several scripts I use to produce the job listings for CDPs.

Sorry about that. That aspect of my life seems to be back to normal now. Please let me know if you notice anything amiss.


Maybe I should mention my indebtedness to the developers of jQuery for their product. I used it for the little HTML signature maker. They made a trivial item even easier to create.

email Signatures: Good Place to Advertise, II

If you use one of the webmail systems such as Gmail then wisestamp makes it easy to create and include simple or fancy HTML signatures in your outgoing messages. You can even put a picture in or a link to the most recent item in your blog. You need to be using the Firefox browser. Worth trying.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beware Those Monster RSS Feeds

I'm working with a client who's an automotive technician with about a decade's experience. He lives in Scarborough. He's definitely computer savvy and I told him I'd give him some RSS job ad feeds. Because lots of terms are used for automotive technicians in Monster job ads I avoided using an approach involving them to identify jobs for my client.(1) Because so many of the available jobs are geographically concentrated in the Toronto (and, hence, Scarborough) area I also decided to avoid refining my search on this dimension for fear of losing any that might be of interest to him.

In the end Monster showed me 37 jobs ads. I pressed the RSS feed button and subscribed to the resulting feed in Google Reader.

Seven (7) ads.

Where were the other 30? I inquired on Monster's support line and "Roosevelt" explained that one receives only those postings that appear after one subscribes to the RSS feed. As a matter of fact, I don't think that this can be quite accurate as an explanation because some of the job ads in the feed were amongst those that I identified in the search. However, support lines are not the place to argue, are they? The real point is that it's important to make whatever use one can of all of the jobs in the search listing before beginning to rely on those in the Monster RSS feed.

Oh, and incidentally, the Job Bank seems to get it right. I'm making an RSS feed for my client for the Job Bank too, obviously. I noticed that the both the search and the corresponding RSS feed for him yielded 72 job ads. Nice.




(1) Why do most Big Boards fail to code jobs? It's not as if there aren't a number of perfectly good coding schemes. And, if they don't want to ask employers to use those then, why can't they incorporate some up-to-date natural language processing? Failing that, why encourage term-based searching for clients when even professional users of Boolean strings, like recruiters, find them a challenge?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

email Signatures: Good Place to Advertise


(Although the premise of this note is still true wisestamp produces nicer results! Go have a look.)



Your email goes to many, many people. Why not use it as a medium for advertising links to your blog, to your LinkedIn profile and to your website?


For many people the stumbling block to having a signature with live links is creating a file that contains HTML (the web language). Let's assume for a moment that you have such a file, and that you use Outlook Express as your mailer, as I think most people do. Then open the Tools | Options dialogue and complete it more or less as shown here.

You will need to click on 'New' to add a signature, select the 'File' radio button, and then use Browse to identify the file that contains the HTML. If you use a different mailer then I would say check its help file for support information or use Google. I hope no-one minds if I mention here that I really like the Thunderbird mailer. One of its advantages is that it will use either a plain signature file or an HTML signature depending on whether the message in which the signature is to be included is plain or contains HTML.

But how do you create the HTML? Again, there is an enormous amount of advice available via Google. However, in my opinion applying a lot of it requires significant knowledge of HTML. This morning I decided to write something that would provide basic signatures yet require no knowledge of HTML. It's offered in the right column of this blog.

Here's how it looks and how it's meant to be used.


The rectangular boxes constitute a form and they are pre-filled to give you an idea of what goes into them. For example, unless your name is Phineas McFoggerty you would replace that entry with your own name. In the line that has 'B.A., B.D., ...' you can put your job title, your many degrees and diplomas or your business associations--anything you like. Whatever you put here will appear on a second line in the signature.

There are four pairs of items that will be turned into links. For example the last one will appear as Me on Twitter and will point to the link that appears in the righthand edit box. In each pair you should change the item on the left to something that is readable to a human being. It will become the visible label for a link. Change the item on the right to the corresponding, complete URL.

For example, in my case I might replace 'My blog' with "Blog: A Career Developer's Notes" and the URL to the right of this with

http://unsymptomatictoo.blogspot.com/

(that you see at the top of this page). If you don't need to have four links in your signature just blank out all of the lines (both items in each line) that you don't need.

Then press 'Show HTML'. Now copy the HTML that appears into a file using an editor. Notepad will do as the editor and save the file where you can find it. Now go back to the first part of this blog item where telling your mailer about using a signature file is discussed.

If something here is unclear please comment.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Psychological Therapy

Although CDPs as such are neither trained nor qualified to provide psychological therapy it would be as well for us all to be aware that empirically supported techniques are available where they are needed. Here's a source that provides links to some other authoritative items: “Therapy that works: Why so many psychologists choose to ignore science.”

With thanks to fellow Twitterer psydir.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Job Ads for CDPs (update)

The 'Job Ads for CDPs' linked somewhere in the righthand column of this blog now lists jobs from COSTI in Toronto. There's one there for a job developer. Thanks to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials for the tip.

3 October: I’m dropping the separate COSTI listing because the jobs are already included in another listing. Hadn’t noticed that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Doing the Wrong Thing (When You're Stressed)

Thanks to fellow Twitterer @WRY999 I've just read Dr Marsh Lucas’ blog item, “The Toothpaste-Tube Wars: Relationship Battles and the Brain,” suggesting mindfulness meditation as a way of exercising my brain to modulate my reactions to stressful situations. She promises to write more about mindfulness in future.

I Know How To Do The Wrong Thing

A few years ago a lady with an accent unlike my own interviewed me for a job by telephone. I wasn't thrilled about this because, as far as I am concerned, telephone conversations are only a little better than conversations conducted using email or instant messaging. They provide only the scarcest of cues about one's conversational partner, or about his or her surroundings. And this was a job interview. I found myself struggling to gather as much information from auditory cues as I could, and I could feel my stress level rising. However, eventually this agony was coming to an end and I thanked the interviewer. Except that my voice came out in something resembling the interviewer's own accent.

I can laugh heartily now, especially since I have just read that this failure of our cognitive systems is not altogether unusual. In fact, rehearsing what we see when these failures occurs is the basis of some kinds of humour. Enjoy: How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion.

But now you are saying: OK, Bill, what can we do about it? To a question like that, let me give you a firm "I'm not altogether sure."

I do not think that suppressing the untoward thoughts will help. Suppressing them might actually make them more likely to intrude. The most promising approach that I know of involves what has been called "mindfulness." I don't need to say much because there's a collection of videos on youtube that you can watch.

Here's one that I like: Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn. You can poke around on youtube for items that might appeal to you more.

If you do try this approach I'd be very interested in hearing how well it works for you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Now This is the Truth

“Some of these recommendations seem like they are common sense, but they are just not that common. People don’t have strategies, they don’t assess their plans, and they don’t think about their strategies and reflect on whether it’s working or how to make them work better. They just don’t do it,”

Daniel Turban, professor and chair of the Department of Management, University of Missouri.
Read the full article, Staying Positive Helps in Job Search.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Possible Future Directions

Technological innovations of various kinds have made short production runs of many items economical for some time now. For example, you can place an order for a single copy of a book to be printed. Presumably this trend will continue.

Here's a video that mentions a few related trends that will inevitably result in occupations for some people—evanescent though those jobs may prove to be. Think open source hardware, solid printing, and so on.





Note, incidentally, that this is an example of an Ignite presentation. On 27 November there will be an evening of them in Waterloo, Ontario.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Landing a Job: Four People ... Continuing with this line of thought

Someone asked for my advice about changing careers a couple of days ago. She wanted suggestions about how she could use her experience in one field to gain an entry-level job in a related field.

Most clients won't use advice of the kind I'm about to offer. (But you're far too polite to ask me why I continue to give it, right?) My advice was for her to watch the video in the previous posting on this blog to identify suitable candidates for interviews and then to rebrand herself. Here it is in a little more detail.

The first suggestion I offered was that she watch the video, identify at least one person in each of these rôles, in the kinds of organisations in which she wants to work, and then ask each of these individuals for their advice about what they prefer or demand in candidates. The usual game plans for information interviews would apply: no job solicitation, go prepared with questions, etc.

With the results of her interviews in hand I suggested that she take a critical look at her own qualifications and think creatively about how she could rebrand herself. She was to look at each requirement that she had learned about and to write a description of herself, using some combination of her own abilities, skills, aptitudes, qualifications, etc that approximated it.

Then I added that, before she did any of this, she should see if she could find out whether there are enough jobs in her target occupation to make all this worth her effort.

Perhaps the following message belongs in every blog entry about finding a job: The single most likely thing that will happen when you submit a job application to an employer is NOTHING. Not only is this discouraging, it is uninformative; it tells you nothing about why you lost the opportunity. The time to do your learning about the employer, about the market, about yourself, about everything necessary to grab the job, is before you apply for it. There is little profit in post mortems. Trust me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blog Item for Over-40 Job Search

Can you tell, just looking at my photo, that I'm over forty? Be honest now.

Anyway, in the gruesome circumstances foisted upon me by all-too-rapidly advancing age I take special interest in stuff with titles like 100 Tips & Tools For Job-Hunters Over 45. Pretty good list.


Brought to my attention by Mr. Arash Ahmadi on a LinkedIn group. Have I mentioned that LinkedIn is good for you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Google Chief Economist: Statistics Becoming More Important

Google's Chief Economist is Hal Varian. Hear him interviewed 15 minutes into this radio programme in the BBC Math series “More or Less”.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Document Design Course from Carnegie Mellon University

A résumé is a document.

Here's a free, online course called “Visual Communication Design” from Carnegie Mellon about designing documents. Although the blurb for the course says that it’s about technical documents almost everything in it applies to résumés.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Internet is Killing Stuff

Glance over 50 things that are being killed by the internet from the Telegraph's site and notice number 28 particularly. Now if people think they can second guess physicians based on what they read on the ‘net what does this tell you about how life must change for career developers?

If, like me, you found the other 49 items interesting too, what can trends can we predict on behalf of our clients? Obviously:
  • Businesses that dispense information in any of its forms—sound, video, money, insurance, books, betting slips, news, and so on—must adapt.
  • The kinds of information gathering, storing and processing abilities and skills that a person or organisation is valued for are changing.
  • We will expect to store information differently.
  • We will expect games and amusements to be much more complicated.
  • The boundary between work time and personal time might become less distinct.
What else?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

YOU are a business

Apologies for shouting. I'm not the first to make this observation either, right? Nowadays each of us is like a little business. Each of us, like it or not, is responsible for marketing and managing him- or herself as a business enterprise.

In this connection here is the KickStart scorecard, a self-assessment for use by business that was devised by a Canadian marketing agency, MarketingMasters. The value in it for career developers is that it serves as a checklist of the areas that an individual, single-person ‘business’ must consider to be successful.

I couldn’t resist thinking through how the items translate. Can you? Give me your thoughts in the comments, will you? I'll mention what I think in another posting.

Incidentally my thanks are due to fellow twitterer @hjarche who made me aware of the American Express Idea Hub where I found an article by Elizabeth Walker of Marketing Masters.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Internet Problems for the Past Few Days

Someone in my neighbourhood cut a telephone cable whilst mowing his lawn a few days ago and the consequence for me was the loss of both telephone land line and internet services. Without those I was unable to keep the job listings up to date.

I'm sorry about that, and hope it didn't cause too much trouble for anyone.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

First of all, exploit all of the tips available at “How To ‘Maximize’ The Potential of LinkedIn”. It's an excellent article.

Additionally:
  • See my postings here and here about the specifics of selecting a good LinkedIn public profile URL.
  • When you visit your LinkedIn profile take note of the green BlogLink widget. Use it to make your own blog postings appear in your LinkedIn profile. Get extra mileage!
  • Career Development Practitioners should note that there is a CDP group on LinkedIn as well as the Career Professionals Network. If you have more specialised interests then you can easily create your own group, perhaps one for your own geographical area. The beauty of this is that any group on LI is permeable. When you network with someone in your own area the benefits for the two of you permeate beyond the group of which you are both members.
If you notice other ways of using LI I hope you will comment here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Can Resist a Psychometric Test?





I am nerdier than 78% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and talk on the nerd forum!



The temptation to give this result a place of enduring prominence on my blog was, of course, enormous. However, I have finally decided that it might not be of lasting interest to my readers and, therefore, I'm putting it in its own blog entry.


How outrageous a nerd are you? Only 22% of the human race is more nerdy than I am.


Paul Copcutt's Branding Seminar

You can still hear the recording of Paul's seminar by registering here. Paul has a great many interesting ideas to share.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Now I'm Feeling Embarrassed

When I posted that item about the low incomes of some Canadian college and university graduates yesterday I really meant to thank Shane Bennett (whom I met on Twitter) for pointing me towards the StatsCan reports. Apologies to Shane! My memory is not improving.

Incidentally, if you want an RSS feed for the StatsCan reports page visit here and select the type of reader that you use.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Untrendy Businesses

Seth Godin offered this advice today:

“Newspapers, magazines, TV stations, hardware companies, real estate brokers, travel agents, bookstores, insurance agents, art galleries and five hundred other industries need to think hard about [the effect of the internet] before it's too late.”

We know what he means about newspapers and magazines. Anyone with an internet connection can get all the news she or he wants at no additional cost beyond that of the connection itself. Bricks and mortar bookstores are dying out because it's easier and more convenient to buy online, the online selection is effectively infinite and you can buy new or used. And obviously you can select insurance policies, banking accounts, houses and budget works of art online too. Any business that can find a way onto the net is doing so.

Yet I still encounter real estate agents who are fearful of joining LinkedIn because they don't want their email addresses to be “harvested”. Not everybody gets it.

Anyone who hopes to work for a few years more should try to think through or find out how the newest technologies will affect his or her occupation. Here are a couple of cases:
  1. I'm ok, I manage web hosting in Toronto.

    Well, not necessarily. Guido van Rossum created the Python computer language. He now works for Google. I watched one of his videos on youtube a few days ago wherein he described how their cloud computing system works. The essential idea of cloud computing is that, in a few years time, Google and a few other companies will be the world's web hosts.

  2. I'm ok, I work in transportation logistics.

    Information technology personnel are steadily automating packaging and labelling, as well as optimising shipping flows.

Many College & University Grads Make Lousy Incomes

I speak of Canadian college and university graduates. According to a StatCan article that seems to have been released within the past few days:

“International comparisons show that, compared to other major OECD countries, Canada had the highest percentage of college- and university-educated workers who earned less than half of the national median employment income in 2006. International indicators showed that 18% of university-educated adults and 23% of college-educated adults aged 25 to 64 in Canada earned less than half the national median employment income in 2006. This meant that these workers’ annual earnings were less than $16,917 before taxes and transfers.”[1]

We don't seem to know why the earnings of these people are so low or, therefore, what might be done about that. Clearly it's extremely important that we try to find out.

[1]College and university graduates with low earnings in Canada – Demographic and labour market characteristics

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marketing Your Services Using Net-Based "Pull Marketing"

The following article contains good introductory information suggesting how to use a web site, a blog and other internet services to make members of a wider audience aware of your services. Typically though, in contrast with the more familiar "push marketing", your emphasis will be on activities that are somewhat more like "giving" and less like simply touting the value of whatever it is that you have to offer.

Push Marketing V.S. Pull Marketing: Using Both Strategies to Promote Your Site

Becoming a member of LinkedIn and taking the time the answer other members' questions carefully is obviously one way of doing "pull marketing".


Blog URL posted using ShareThis

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jobs Listing for Career Developers: 'nother source

All jobs from 'At Work' (settlement.org) added. As always: Good Hunting.

What's a Brand?


Campbell's Soup Cans
Originally uploaded by freshwater2006
Let's deconstruct a famous one: the most well known brand of soup in North America. (I will spare you the drum roll.)

When anyone who knows this brand buys a tin of the soup they sense the following things:
  • the food will be safe, palatable and acceptable for almost anyone of almost any age
  • there will be nothing in the least surprising about the product: no unusual flavours, textures or ingredients
  • no cooking skill will be required, just add liquid, heat and eat
Note the connotations of the brand name itself. Cognoscenti will recognise it as an Irish or Scottish surname but most North Americans perceive it as a 'vanilla' surname. Likewise almost no 'foreign' or exotic words are used to name the soups, and this particular packaging is not used for desserts or entrées. The owners of the brand are careful about protecting its meaning.

If you pick up a tin of soup by accident it will not be a highly spiced 'Manta Ray Surprise'.

Now, what's your brand?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Illustration of Central Limit Theorem

If you would like to see illustrations of what I meant when I wrote about how mathematicians say that so many random things must be distributed according to a Bell Curve then take a look at Lee Wilkinson's page which was mentioned recently on Andrew Gelman's blog. The essential idea is that if you add up enough random variables, no matter how they're distributed, the resulting random variable will be normally distributed—or, in other words, it will be distributed according to a Bell Curve.

A Professional Appearance (cont'd)

I forgot to mention a significant point about creating LinkedIn Public Profile URLs in my previous posting. It's simply that one can use underscores, pluses and other characters, and character combinations, that are acceptable in URLs. Obviously the main consideration in using any of these would be meaningfulness to others. I notice this morning that neither

http://www.linkedin.com/in/john+smith

nor

http://www.linkedin.com/in/john_smith

has been taken by anyone.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Professional Appearance

Actually I wasn't thinking of pin-striped suits and neckties.

email

We all sense that email addresses like partyhearty@hotmail.com or crazymazy@gmail.com might not present clients in the best possible light on résumés. Consequently we usually send clients with these addresses off to gmail.com in search of something a little more suitable. I did that too until a few days ago when I tried helping a client to a gmail address and was reminded just how many John Smiths there are on this planet.

Fortunately this led me to the discovery that there are currently 18 free email services listed at the about.com article. I was able to find one for my client on gmx.com.

Just a word about that about.com article: The first time or two you use it you might try going over some of the descriptions of the various services with the client. If your clients are anything like mine then expect blank stares in response to terms like IMAP and RSS. Thus, although the articles criticisms are probably valid, they apply more to sophisticated folk and for the great mass of job search clients they probably matter less than basic functionality—and the availability of a presentable email address.

LinkedIn

My LinkedIn profile is http://www.linkedin.com/in/williambell. That nice neat ending consisting of the formal version of my name was not accidental. Neither was this what LinkedIn assigned to me automatically. I selected that.

Believe it or not, I checked just a few moments ago and found that

http://www.linkedin.com/in/john_smith

is still available. (What are the odds that there are no John Smiths on LinkedIn!)

Chances are that you can claim a 'good' LinkedIn profile URL too. Try various versions of the 'john smith' URL in your browser's address bar, substituting various forms of your own name for the 'john smith', until LinkedIn reports 'Profile Not Found'. That's your new profile URL! Make a copy of the complete URL, go immediately to edit your LinkedIn profile and edit your public profile URL by pasting that copy in.





Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Just Thought It Was ...

This is the famous Bell Curve. (I am very proud of it because it was named in my honour.) Whole armies of mathematicians have amused themselves devising demonstrations of the fact that, in many circumstances random variables must assume values drawn from a Bell Curve.

For example, within limits it can be said that IQ tests are constructed in such a way that the distribution of IQs follow a bell curve centred on a score of 100. This simply means that more people have a score of around 100 than any other score, and therefore about half of the human race have IQ scores in the three-digit range, that is, more than 100. (I would prefer to believe that I have a three-digit IQ. My wife refuses to believe this.)

Not only can intelligence be said to follow a bell curve. Many other significant human characteristics do as well. Not just weights and heights. In consequence one's individuality is reflected in the way that one uses every facility and tool available.

Take blogs and Twitter as examples.

My initial reaction to Twitter was probably like that of most other people. I thought it was just more junk. In fact, depending on who one chooses to 'follow' I still think so. But once I learned how to find people that interest me I became enthralled.

To come back to the original thrust of this item, there's a bell curve. When you encounter something new on the 'net you can be fooled into concluding that it's junk, or you can reason that, because there's an enormous spread in human values, ingenuity and interests, somewhere there are people with just the right characteristics to make something really useful of that new product.

I've found that TweetBeep is a good way of finding tweeps (peeps who Twitter) who share an interest in career development (use 'career development' as search key). I've also learned a thing or two about attitudes to what we do.

Did you know that Margaret Atwood joined Twitter a few weeks ago? (She's packing for a book tour starting at the end of the month.) What a different perspective I have of her having read her tweets!

Credit: wikipedia for the diagram.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Again, About Getting Fired with Facebook

A couple of people on Twitter have made me aware of The Star newspaper article "Facebook firing after 'friend' boss ripped". Fewer and fewer of us are surprised nowadays when we hear that someone lost his/her job for making rude (if richly deserved!) comments about his/her boss on some kind of social media thingy like Facebook or Twitter.

But it wasn't the article that got my attention. It was one or two of the comments that other readers offered upon reading it. Somebody said that when he joined some social media system or other he had no idea that so many other people could read what he was writing.

Now, trust me. As the author of some really ill-advised and spleen-filled memoranda of my own in the fairly distant past I would rather not offer this as a sign of that other person's irredeemable stupidity. What it does suggest to me is that, when we presume to counsel people about their use of social media we must be prepared to spend time discussing, in some detail, where the stuff they write might go, and how it might get there.

When we all lived together in little groups in eastern Africa it was a darn sight simpler. You could whisper gossip in a confidant's ear and be sure that no one else would know exactly what you had said. Things are different now.

Jobs Listing for Career Developers: Update

This note reports one correction and one modification that was made to keep up with changes to one of the sources. It also includes a summary of what records are gleaned from each of the sources.
  1. For quite some time the links associated with jobs from indeed.com were mislabelled. I have corrected that and they are now labelled with job titles (at last!).
  2. Charity Village changed the way they present their jobs and other information. I have modified the machinery used to obtain their jobs listings accordingly.
  3. Here are details about what advertisements are collected from each source:
    • ContactPoint: All jobs are collected.
    • Job Skills: All jobs are collected.
    • Job Bank: All and only NOC 4213 jobs are collected.
    • indeed.com: Jobs with the following search terms in their titles are collected:
      career consultant,
      career counsellor,
      career coach,
      career development facillitator,
      career group facillitator,
      career resource centre coordinator,
      case manager,
      employment consultant,
      employment counsellor,
      employment rehabilitation worker,
      employment services assessment officer,
      employment specialist,
      intake coordinator,
      job coach,
      job developer,
      job finding club coordinator,
      job skills counsellor,
      language training instructor,
      outplacement consultant,
      vocational program facillitator,
      vocational rehabilitation consultant,
      vocational support worker,
    • Career Professionals: All jobs are collected.
    • Charity Village: Jobs with the following words in their titles are collected: job, career, employment, vocational.
There are lots of other places in Canada where these kinds of jobs are advertised. Some jobs are advertised in more than one place. I conclude that I would have to be very foolish indeed to guarantee that my list, or any other list, will produce reliable, let alone guaranteed results, eh? It's just meant to help.

If you know of other good, fat, juicy lists, don't hold back. Let us all know. Likewise, if you can think of more keywords that I should be using.

In any case, good hunting!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

General Principle No. 782: Résumés should reduce uncertainty

No, I haven't written 781 principles in previous blogs. This was another feeble joke on my part. I merely imply that many trees have laid down their lives so that people could write on the subject of résumés.

I wanted to say that I prefer to find general ideas that I can grok—i.e. have an intuitive understanding of—using an ordinary brain so that I don't have to understand millions of individual ideas one at a time. Let me see if this general idea appeals to you.

An employer seeking new employees faces a lot of uncertainties. To begin with, some employers repeatedly experience trouble in staffing certain positions, possibly because they lack certainty about what those positions entail on the part of encumbents. Employers are uncertain about certain aspects of their own criteria. Perhaps they ask for 'computer literacy' in candidates but what would that mean in practice? Employers are definitely uncertain about the veracity of claims made by applicants, and about whether an applicant would be a good 'fit'. A few employers may even wonder whether their own prejudices are defeating them.

One way of assessing the quality of a résumé is to consider whether it will reduce the uncertainty for a given employer. Notice especially here that I have conditioned that previous sentence. You cannot expect to reduce uncertainly uniformly for everyone. You try to reduce uncertainty for one employer: one job application means you create one résumé.

Now, apart from this, how would this principle be applied?

First of all, it is clear that is implies that it makes research into the employer really important. When you apply to a given employer you want to try to anticipate what that employer might be most uncertain about. Uncertainties might have to do with current business conditions, management knowledge about your own specialty, and so on. Find out and use the information.

At the other end of the scale, the principal explains why attention to detail is important. If you allow typographical errors to remain in your résumé you are leaving doubt in the mind of an employer. She might ask herself, "Are these typos here because this person is careless or poorly educated?" From my own perspective—as someone who thinks of Shakespeare as pretty smart but a poor speller—typos are just annoying and distracting. From the point of view of most employers they raise that all-important question mark—which is synonymous with uncertainty which is why you won't be invited for an interview.

Submit résumés that reduce uncertainty. In other words, be informative. And let me know what you think.

For Careers--Not Just Businesses


Yer sweet spot is that triangular area right there in the middle, eh?






Keywords: Venn diagram, intersection (so I can find this again if I want it).

Friday, July 24, 2009

A University Degree Practically Guarantees a Job: Really?

A recent item (dated 15 July) in the 'Latest News' column of the Council of Ontario Universities announces a survey of 2006 graduates and makes the claim, "Survey shows graduates consistently experience high employment and earning rates."

I realise that the document they present contains only highlights. But, unfortunately, in itself it does not provide significant evidence for this claim.

Let me argue this way. The response rate for the COU survey was only about 22%, or about 1 out of 5. One out of five graduates that were polled chose to respond. Now, ask yourself, would a graduate be more likely to respond to the survey if she had been successful in finding suitable, well-paid employment, or less likely to respond? Put personally, if you were asked to participate in the survey would you be more inclined to report what happened to you if you had 'failed' or more inclined to report it if you had 'succeeded'?

A degree represents a big outlay of time and money. For what my opinion is worth, go carefully.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

International Association of Employment Websites

Answering a question on LinkedIn this morning took me to the eluta.ca jobs site to review their policy about where they obtain the jobs that they index. I don’t know how long eluta has been a member of the International Association of Employment Websites. I am delighted that they are now; otherwise I would not likely have encountered this great source.

The site makes its member roster publicly available. More than that, it’s easy to obtain listings of members by industry or geographical area. This is the Canadian listing which (at this point in time) consists of 24 job sites. If these are all as open and responsible as eluta appears to be to me then I would expect them to be amongst the best in this country.

If you’re like me (heaven help you) you might even enjoy reading some of the tips for job seekers and recruiters. One of the tips for recruiters is brutally apposite: it is that the ‘best and brightest’ have the attention spans of gnats and that one should get to the point. (Love it!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Great Source of Peer-Reviewed Information

Steve Wheeler comments on his frustrations with the lengthy times often taken for his papers to see the light of day in conventional journals, and passes on the URL for the Directory of Open Access Journals in his blog, "Learning with e's".

There are lots of journals of interest to many career developers, whose contents are available at no cost to us. Since there seem to be no journals of this kind dedicated to careers research I think there is also an opportunity here for Canadians to create one, or to list them on the Directory.

Excellent Video Statement: What Networking Is

Anybody can afford this much time. Just over a minute and a half: a clear statement about what networking is—and what it ain’t.

Thanks are due to Patricia Diver for mentioning this on LinkedIn.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Job?: All Too Easy to Ellicit Hostility

When you’re new to a job, and have yet to be accepted as a member of the group, be aware that any suggestions or criticisms you offer in your new place of work could give rise to hostility in your new colleagues—not the good impression that you were endeavouring to create.

For more see here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't Announce Big Goals

For any career developers working with people who will need to put in lots of work and determination to meet their goals this appears to be important advice that we could give: keep your plans to yourself. Otherwise risk losing your drive to complete your project.

Here's what Wray Herbert says about it in Newsweek: "Talking the Talk".
Here's what a couple of Canadian researchers say in the Vancouver Sun: "Keep your 'identity goals' to yourself, scientists advise".
Here's the research article by Gollwitzer et al: "When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?"

If anyone sees videos featuring Professor Gollwitzer I hope they'll tell us.

[My thanks to the "O'Reilly Radar" blog.]

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Source of Computers in Hamilton, Ontario

One of my friends that I see only on Facebook, Chris Shaver, reminded me yesterday that there's another great source for inexpensive computers in Hamilton, and that's greenByte. Do take a look at their site.

greenBYTE is a program of the St. Leonard's Society of Hamilton, a registered charitable, non-profit organization, which has been providing service to residents of the Hamilton area since 1972.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

15 July Webinar: How-to: Requesting Donations of Computer Products


CanadaHelps is offering a FREE webinar (online seminar) featuring our friends TechSoup Canada! Register now for this step-by-step webinar about how to register and request donated software and hardware through the TechSoup Canada Product Donations Program. Members from the TechSoup Canada team will walk you through all the benefits of registering and requesting products from 25 donor partners, like Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Symantec, Intuit. The following information will be covered in this webinar:
  • What documentation and information you will need for registration
  • How to choose the most appropriate activity type for your organization
  • Explanation of what happens during the qualification process
  • How to shop for, and make product requests
  • And much more!
Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Book a place here.


MyCharityConnects Conference Videos Available

The MyCharityConnects Conference, an initiative of CanadaHelps, took place on June 8 & 9 in Toronto. Twenty-one (21) of the sessions are available on video here.

The videos offer a variety of in-depth advice of interest to Canadian charitable organisations: web site design, using social media, fundraising, search engine optimisation, trends in philanthropy, adapting to technological change, and so on.

Thanks to Marco Campana of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We Are Already Free

By ‘we’ I mean career developers. By ‘free’ I don't mean we have freedom though, I mean that basic services we offer are available at no cost from others. (This concept is often cited by software developers because it has made an enormous difference in our industry; see Gratis versus Libre for an explanation.)

In my opinion, people need career support now more than ever yet the structuring of our economic sector might well prove to be about as well suited to this stage of history as are newspapers and magazines. They're dying.

As Seth Godin says, “In a world of free, everyone can play.” No-one needs to be paid to tell others how to write résumés, do interviews or even how to train for a career in biotechnology. Think LinkedIn. Read his article and tell me what you think.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Best Online Guide I know for Google

The Google Guide.

For newcomers to experts. Found on makeusof.com news feed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Open Weekend Is Open Now

This time we're focusing on how assessments fit—or don’t fit, or partially fit—within a employment and career development process. All of the material about assessments is still available.

Come on over and participate in our discussions!

Ethics: Googling Clients

My colleagues and friends, Patti Stirling and Ken Walker, have spoken to numerous audiences about the risks of leaving “digital dirt” lying around on the net. Simply put, employers eliminate job seekers and fire employees when they find their digital dirt, and doing a Google search for your own name won't find all your dirt.

Now DeeAnna Merz Nagel of the American Counseling Association asks, “Is it okay to ‘Google’ your client?” Patti and Ken have told us that Google won’t dredge up all the information about a client but, should you be looking at all? What do you think?

PS: Thanks to @KateAnthony

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Deals" for Non-Profit Groups

I just had an email from Carole Cotton in which she wrote, "Not sure if you receive these notices from Techsoup, an organization that provides 'deals' for not-for-profit groups. Certainly a plus for many not-for-profit agencies. Might be worth a mention in your blog."

To save time, I'm reproducing the message from Techsoup here. If your agency wants to take advantage of any of these offers you have until 30 June to do so.

Thank you, Carole!


One Week Left to Request Donations Before the June 30 Fiscal Year End!

In just a few short days, a variety of valuable donated and discounted hardware, software and online service programs will reset with the June 30 fiscal year end. To help your organization get the most bang for your limited bucks, we've highlighted some of the donors whose products are affected by the fiscal year end. If you really want to maximize your benefits, place a request before June 30 and then you can request again starting July 1.

Please be sure to view all affected programs.

Keep in mind your organization is likely eligible to request from not just one but multiple donation programs.

Important: Microsoft product requests are not affected by the
June 30 deadline.

Fundraising

GiftWorks: Make Your Fundraising Easier

The new GiftWorks Standard will help a small to medium-sized nonprofit get organized and take fundraising to the next level.

Network for Good: Boost Your Online Fundraising

Drive contributions by accepting credit cards on your Web site with a service bundle from Network for Good.

Telosa: Organize Critical Donor Information

Is managing your donors and contacts in spreadsheets overwhelming? Streamline and automate many time-consuming tasks with Telosa Exceed! Basic.

Hardware

Refurbished Computer Initiative: Quality, Low-Cost Computers

Request refurbished desktop and notebook computers through TechSoup's RCI program, now with better specs and lower admin fees.

Business Applications

Turn Data into Action with Crystal Reports and Xcelsious Engage from SAP Business Objects

Create highly formatted and useful reports from your data using Crystal Reports 2008, make them visually stimulating using Xcelcius Engage 2008, and share them online with your colleagues using Crystalreports.com Professional Edition.

Atlas Business Solutions: Solutions for Human Resources

Organize your human resource recordkeeping with Staff Manager and easily schedule volunteers or employees with ScheduleAnywhere.

Security

Symantec: Protect What Matters to You

Protect all the computers in your organization with Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, and the new version of Norton 360 3.0. Also, enterprise security software is available for larger organizations as well as Policy Patrol Enterprise from Red Earth.

MYOB: Manage Your Finances Better

Perfect for your small nonprofit, MYOB offersBusinessBasics
and PremierAccounting software (Mac software also available) to help manage your financial resources.

Community

Flickr: Tell Your Story

Request a package of Pro accounts to showcase your organization's work through your own photography.

Financial Management

Intuit: Better Accounting, Better Decisions

Request QuickenPremier 2008, QuickBooks Customer Manager, or QuickBooks Premier Edition 2009 to track your financial and customer information.

MYOB: Manage Your Finances Better

Perfect for the smaller nonprofit, MYOB offers BusinessBasics Version 2 and PremiereAccounting 2009 software (Mac software also available) to help manage your financialresources.

SAGE: Financial Strength for the Nonprofits

Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2009 provides accounting and analysis tools to help nonprofit organizations improve their financial management.

Browse all donation programs on a fiscal year end schedule or review eligibility details for each program.

How to Check Your Order History

Not sure what products your organization has already received through TechSoup during the current fiscal year? Check your order history and click an order number to view details. To see all requests since 7/1/2008 (the beginning of our current fiscal year), type that date in the "From Date" field and click Go. Now place your orders before the June 30 deadline!

Best wishes,

Rebecca Masisak Co-CEO, TechSoup Global
http://www.techsoup.org/stock

Tell a friend at a nonprofit or public library about TechSoup. If you received this from a friend, you can sign up to receive the New Product Alert.

Questions? Please see TechSoup's program pages or click on these frequently asked questions:

You can contact our Customer Service Department via email at customerservice@techsoup.org or call us at 1-800-659-3579, extension 700. We're available Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. In addition, you can get answers to your questions at our Email andAnswer Center.

You are receiving this email because your organization is registered at TechSoup: 435 Brannan Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Keeping Up with the Careers Literature Is Hard To Do

An alternative is to read some of the abstracts from selected journals. Getting them as RSS or 'news' feeds makes this pretty painless. And if you get overwhelmed? Right-click on the feed and select 'Mark feed read' to get a nice clean start.

I found this little beauty today in a recent issue of The Journal of Career Assessment (more precise information below).

The Happenstance Learning Theory

John D. Krumboltz

Stanford University, jdk@stanford.edu

What-you-should-be-when-you-grow-up need not and should not be planned in advance. Instead career counselors should teach their clients the importance of engaging in a variety of interesting and beneficial activities, ascertaining their reactions, remaining alert to alternative opportunities, and learning skills for succeeding in each new activity. Four propositions: (1) The goal of career counseling is to help clients learn to take actions to achieve more satisfying career and personal lives—not to make a single career decision. (2) Assessments are used to stimulate learning, not to match personal characteristics with occupational characteristics. (3) Clients learn to engage in exploratory actions as a way of generating beneficial unplanned events. (4) The success of counseling is assessed by what the client accomplishes in the real world outside the counseling session.

Journal of Career Assessment, Vol. 17, No. 2, 135-154 (2009)
DOI: 10.1177/1069072708328861

The news feed is http://jca.sagepub.com/rss/current.xml. A closely related journal is The Journal of Career Development whose news feed is http://jcd.sagepub.com/rss/recent.xml.

To get news items like these delivered automatically to your desktop I suggest that you use FeedDemon which you can obtain at no cost (for Windows) here. Install FeedDemon then click on the news feed links above to subscribe to them. Once you have got your feet wet with news feeds I think you will be amazed at what is available and that it turns up without your having to go after it.

By the way, the above journals, and many other useful and/or entertaining items, can be found easily by doing a search of feedmil.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Others Know You Better Than You Know Yourself

That's what eminent psychologist John Barge says anyway. Watch the video, then read the notes right to the end. Fascinating!

(We've mentioned Bargh here on this blog before at Wash your hands first.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Carole Cotton: Virtual Collaboration Seminar ON NOW

As Carole says in her introduction, “Now we can learn from the best topic experts at an international level.”

Take advantage of this great free online learning opportunity. Available all this weekend.

Carole is exactly right incidentally.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Get Your Tweet Wet

Here’s an introduction to some of the benefits Twitter for the many who have yet to Tweet.





My thanks are due to Jane Knight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Excellent Way to Display "An Artist's Portfolio"

Truth to tell, there really is nothing like showing prospective employers the results that you have produced for previous employers. And it's a big boost to your own morale to be able to review your own triumphs.

I am speaking of the benefits of portfolios. More and more people are now putting them on the net where they are easy to access and don't have to be carried around.

A new product has emerged called jQuery that makes creating galleries of images startlingly easy for anyone with even limited skills in creating web pages. The image in this blog posting is not "live". However, if it were you could:
  • click on either of the arrows at the ends of the display to expose different image thumbnails
  • click on one of the thumbnail images to open a larger version of the image
  • hover over the larger version of the image to expose text describing the image.
The images can be just about anything: graphs, photographs, scans, screen images, and so on. To get the code and see the product in action go here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Upward Trending Job: Data Scientist

You can find riffs on the net about this one in a few places: “Rise of the Data Scientist” is one that forms a pretty good introduction to this topic.

Basic ideas?

We are now being inundated with data. Much of it might be useful. Lots of it is not. Much of it is like the iron in iron ore. It needs extracting. Much of this data is buried in web pages or other places which were never intended to be "mined" for information.

To be a data scientist you need to be part statistician to be able to make sense of data in the traditional ways based on probabilistic models. You need to be good at extracting data from a host of different kinds of sources, including databases, web pages, maps and other graphical entities and natural language, both recorded, and visual or spoken. You need to be able to present the meaning of what you have extracted visually for best comprehension by other members of your species.

Of course, no-one can master all of these techniques, even now. Data scientists will specialise in some of these and be able to communicate with other specialists as well as with people who need the visual information that they are creating.

For a sample of one visualisation technique here is what Jeff Clarke of Neoinformix in Toronto is doing with StreamGraph. Modern browsers (which leaves out Internet Explorer) also make it possible to produce graphs directly in the browser window; see the InfoVis Toolkit, for example.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Graduate school for unemployed college students"

This is advice from Seth Godin, one of many people’s favourite bloggers (and one of mine too). Although it’s intended for college graduates who are still unemployed the basic idea applies to anyone who is unemployed. Use some of your available time and talents to learn or do something that will be valuable to you—and to employers—in future. Remember to document what you’ve done!

"Working on the Edge"

This is the title of a webinar by ‘Deena Ladd, coordinator of the Workers’ Action Centre [in Toronto], in which she discusses employment standards in part-time, contract, and other precarious work. She also presents ideas from a 2007 report titled “Working on the Edge,” highlighted in the Maytree Foundation’s Policy in Focus newsletter.’

You can hear Ms Ladd and watch her PowerPoint slides as if you were in a conference room with her. In addition you can read comments and questions from the individuals who were attending this webinar when it was recorded. (Darn nice software.)

My thanks are due to Shane Bennett of Toronto (@shanebe) for mentioning this on Twitter.