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Career skills and transitions

Will The Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 28, 2011

While attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I had the chance to observe an amazing amount of things that reinforce the idea that this is truly a global economy. We generally concentrate on local and national news because this has usually has the most personal impact on us but it’s amazing how global workplace decisions can have wide reaching effects on people not only in one locale or one country but across the globe.

Not to single any two companies out, but there was a major announcement by one of the world’s leading technology companies (they don’t make iPhones) about an alliance with one of the world’s leading mobile telephone makers (not BlackBerry).

At their keynote addresses, the CEO of one of the involved companies gave an impassioned if flawed sales pitch and the other CEO came out and touted the benefits to both companies. Okay, I get it – one company gets an outlet for its operating system and some distribution and the other company gets – well I guess – hmm, that’s a good question. Well, I guess it gets a lot of money to ditch its proprietary operating system. All good right?

Could be, but what about those people who were developing that operating system and other people in that organization who might be, in HR-speak, “affected”?

Now this is sadly not the only two companies making this decision or this type of decision. So what should you do even if you don’t know if you’re “affected”? Guess what, no matter what happens, you will be affected. Even if you still have a job your responsibilities will change and inevitably the company culture will change.

Do you run screaming out the door, get your resume on the job boards or hunker down and hope for the best?

Probably not. But you should start taking care of yourself and taking your career into your own hands. You should definitely be open to exploring new opportunities and be open to companies and locations you may not have previously considered. If the axe falls, believe me – you don’t want to be the one turning out the lights.

On the other hand, you should still make moves for the right reasons but really begin to examine the things that might have kept you in your company before it decided to change your world. A big obstacle has traditionally been location but having maximum flexibility will give you the best chance of not only surviving but thriving in troubled times.

Company loyalty? Hey, I’m loyal to my company, it’s a great company with great people and I’m sure yours might be too. But if you’re not going to be with that company – well in my mind loyalty is a two way street.

So no, you don’t have to be the first one out, but you should be prepared to explore all opportunities and have your CV/resume and LinkedIn Profile up to date. You might want to clean up your Facebook page – make sure nothing embarrassing shows up. Careful on those Tweets too! Yes, we recruiters do check sometimes.

And if you stay a bit longer, you might get a better severance package and that’s a big help but no substitute for being able to continue your career and support your family. What you don’t ever want is to be the last one out the door because the package is usually meager and all the good jobs were probably taken by your less qualified colleagues who were willing to make a move.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

PS – Okay, so now you’re networking and keeping your options open, great. The next step is to make sure that you get the offer and you’re the one who gets to say “no”.

If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve given some hints on how to use these skills.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours to learn these techniques and this is a primer on how to quickly, easily and naturally begin to use the kinds of tools and techniques I use on a daily basis to stand out in the crowd.

Just look up – I don’t make any money off this and offer it as a resource.

Now I’m sure there are times when you’ve just “clicked” with someone, maybe an interviewer and there were times that you just didn’t. Take the randomness out of your communications. After all, there are a lot of people with job skills but those who communicate with power will be those who get an offer.

This is the first product I’ve actively endorsed and it’s only for you if you’re ready to make the commitment to yourself to take control of your life and your career.  I’ll have more of a review of this new product by my friend and mentor, David Van Arrick next time but you can check it out in advance by looking up Stealth-hypnosis.

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All You Need Is A Little Confidence

Posted by jamesseetoo on May 27, 2010

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who you just knew wasn’t confident in what he was talking about? I have and my natural reaction fluctuates between simple disbelief in what the person was saying to this person is a BS Artist. Now, that doesn’t mean that the person actually didn’t know what he was talking about but in the absence of any other information my snap judgment is negative. And it takes a lot to change that impression.

At the same time, have you ever gotten information that you were pretty sure was wrong but because the other person was absolutely confident in it you went along with it? I have, and I’ll even admit to having given directions that I was totally sure of when I was giving them and then thought about it and was completely wrong. But when you are confident and congruent people go along with you.

Now, wouldn’t that be a good characteristic to have when you’re interviewing for a job? And also, when you’re recruiting – I would have to say if you’re not confident in what you’re talking about all you’re going to get are the desperate and unqualified.

So what is confidence and how do you get it? Well, you could say it’s an attitude, or a way of conveying that you’ve been there and done that. But it would be more useful to think of confidence as a function of the mind being able to handle the unexpected. Yes, experience gives you that kind of mental frame where you can handle something similar to what you’ve handled before. But there are people who’ve been through situations many times and still come across as not confident.

So what is going on in your mind when this happens? I would suggest that rather than relating the unexpected to an experience where you’ve been successful, you’re relating it to when you’ve been unhappily surprised. Your mind is trying to prepare you for the unexpected and you end up getting canned responses that don’t work for you or your mind creates an incredible amount of scenarios that end up paralyzing you with too many choices.

Well, here’s a little mental trick that you can try. Obviously if you’re reading this you’ve had some success in your life. Think about that time when you actually planned what you were going to do and succeeded at it – not when you were surprised you were successful but when you executed according to plan. See what you saw, feel what you feel, hear what you heard and picture that time. Okay, got it?

Now, picture what you want to happen and see it in the exact same terms that you had when you were picturing when you were successful. Notice that it’s the same brightness, that you’re seeing it from the same angle, that you hearing the same kind of sounds around you, feel how warm or cold it was and use that same frame for what you want.

Once you’ve got that, step into it and notice the world around you and try to feel unconfident. Notice the absence of that feeling. Pretty cool huh? Do this before going into an interview or when you’re cold calling someone and enjoy the difference a little confidence makes.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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Reading the Interviewer’s Mind – Part 3

Posted by jamesseetoo on April 27, 2010

Okay, so we’ve covered how to talk to the Tester.  Remember, the Tester is someone who always thinks there’s someone better out there and a lot of times will need to see upwards of ten candidates before making a decision.  So it’s really important to take control of the conversation and ask the Tester where other candidates didn’t meet expectations.

Now to the Investor.  Have you ever had a situation where you just clicked with someone?  I’m pretty sure if you haven’t grown up under a totalitarian government where every person you meant could possibly be a secret police agent waiting to through you in a gulag it’s pretty reasonable to assume that you have.  The Investor is looking for that connection.  She’s trying to find someone she not only can work with but wants to work with and it’s not always a rational decision.

I had a hiring manager just click with a candidate at an interview once.  When all the feedback, including my own and he was my candidate, was that after meeting the candidate in person, he wasn’t a fit for the role.  And I mean all the feedback from five different interviewers.  But the hiring manager just kept saying, “I really like the spring in his step.”  Investors will talk about liking a person’s energy, or just say “there’s something about him”.  In an interview, you’ll know you have an Investor when she begins projecting future responsibilities and career path and begins to speculate about where you might fit in down the line.

The Investor wants someone to mentor, someone whose career she can help grow.  Now, it’s very important to remember that a Tester will often become an Investor after getting to know you.  And the Investor will sometimes be forced to be a Tester if there is institutional pressure withing the company to find someone fast. Just remember it’s part of their interview strategy and something that you as a candidate can use to your advantage.

So just like knowing the Tester will want to make sure the boxes are checked – and what do we do about that?  That’s right, ask what those boxes are so you know you’re covering them.  When the Investor talks about synergy, teamwork and career path, go along with her and talk about those things.

Essentially, they’re covering the same points but in different contexts but like yelling fire in a crowded theater it’s all about context.  It’s okay to yell fire when the theater really is on fire isn’t it?

Make sure you prepare for your interview by having measurable achievements ready to discuss but be flexible in your delivery.  The Tester will want to check off the boxes before going into detail.  The Investor will want a narrative that will show how you “fit” into the environment and the team.

Like the recent NFL draft, you can draft for need or for best player available.  Testers will try to fill needs, Investors will want talent on their side.

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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Reading The Interviewer’s Mind – Part 1

Posted by jamesseetoo on March 25, 2010

Well, I’ll just take it for granted that you’ve been following this blog and might have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I’ve been researching a new approach to interviewing and there will be some new perspectives presented in the next few episodes aimed expressly at building your interview strategy by being able to read the interviewer’s mind. Now, this is specifically aimed at giving you the keys to an incredibly powerful interview, not trying to figure out what the interviewer is thinking about the cute server at the local Starbucks. Full details of this system will be introduced in an upcoming ebook (shameless plug).

But getting back to the matter at hand. When you go into an interview, wouldn’t it be valuable to be able to profile the interviewer quickly, to get past the canned questions and answers? I mean, how often have we interviewed with someone who is just reading questions off a list and not really listening to our answers? I know, it’s happened a lot with recruiters on phone interviews but I can guarantee it doesn’t happen with the me so I’ll leave myself out of that category.

Hiring managers and interviewers as a best practice go into an interview with a firm idea of what he/she wants or in other words, a profile.  But as a candidate, you should also be ready to read the interviewer in order to pick the best strategy to communicate with that person.  Now, it’s important to note that one type or profile is not better than another but it’s a way of enhancing the way you communicate with that interviewer.  So here are the first two profiles the Tester and the Investor.

So the first thing we’ll want to do when we meet for an interview is to find out the interviewer’s timeline and that’s where the Tester/Investor profile fits in.

Have you ever had the interview process drag out for weeks or even months? As a recruiter, we find this happens all the time – the Hiring Manager who always believes that there is a better candidate out there and will take forever to make a decision even if he likes all the candidates. The Tester’s not interested in lost opportunity costs even if he has to hold down extra work that should be handled by his team. He’s looking for the perfect candidate, even if he hasn’t nailed down exactly what “perfect” is in his own mind.

On the opposite end, there are some people who will make a quick decision based on not just your skill set but also on your potential for growth. This interviewer is an Investor. The Investor “falls in love” with a candidate and believes that this person will be an invaluable asset regardless of skill set. Now I’m not saying she will view every candidate this way but when the “halo effect” hits, it’s very hard to make her move off her opinion. Usually it’s her boss that will overrule her in that situation making it hard for anyone to get the job.

Now, both the Tester and Investor have good points too. The Tester will become an Investor once you’ve proven that you are the person for the job and the Investor will absolutely offer you opportunities to shine. But there are strategies for communicating with each of these Hiring Managers and we’ll go into these in more detail in the next blog so stay tuned.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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Is Talent Overrated?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 5, 2010

It’s a fact of life that when you live in Southern California there’s less opportunity to read than there is when you live in New York City or any other place where you have to rely on mass transportation. After all, when you’re crammed into a sardine can with your fellow human beings pressed all around you a good book or a cheap newspaper can be the life-preserver that saves you from drowning in too much contact with your fellow human being.

Granted, there’s always the sport of people watching which is pretty interesting, especially when you’re there’s a myriad of people from all over the world sitting on top of you but all in all, you end up getting a lot of reading in.

So I’ve turned to audio books. Yes, I know it’s a geek thing but at least I have them on my iPod, well maybe it’s not so cool since it’s a Classic and not a Touch, but hey, books take up a lot of space and 64GB just doesn’t cut it. I listen while I’m sitting in my car and while it’s not the same, at least I’m listening to someone reading.

And one of those books is: “Talent is Overrated” by Geoffry Colvin. Colvin’s book sets out to dispel the idea that people are born athletes, musicians, writers – well you get the idea. Basically he says it’s hard work that wins the day. Hurray for the tortoises of the world! He makes a pretty good case that someone like Mozart became a genius by working really hard from a very young age with a father who was not a musical but a pedagogical genius. That’s pretty compelling.

So, as a recruiter, if I’m looking for “talent” am I looking for the wrong thing?

Well, yes and no. I think of talent as a raw material or if you’re more technologically savvy you can think of it as bandwidth. The real question is, is that bandwidth being used properly? Like empty bandwidth or a raw material like crude oil there’s potential in talent. But is that potential being realized? And it goes beyond schooling or starting out with a great company. Those things are great for a resume but the real question is, what has the candidate accomplished?

Colvin uses Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE and Steve Balmer. CEO of Microsoft as examples of talent that was refined from the beginning. They started together at P&G and he uses them as examples of people who have distinguished themselves from all the others who started out at P&G at the same time. Now, I would say that yes, they’ve both distinguished themselves but in my mind, they haven’t really achieved anything good for their companies, but that’s another discussion.

It’s enough to say that regardless of pedigree, and yes, there are some companies that love pedigree (Ivy League, Harvard Business School etc.) these are not necessarily indicators of achievement. It’s what you do with the talent you have that counts.

So if you’re putting together your resumé or interviewing, make sure you speak to achievement. Here’s a tip, try framing your achievements in terms of SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. In other words, what did you do, how did you do it, what was the result compared to the goal, did you make your goal on time?

People have said to me, “you’re a talented recruiter,” and I always say, it’s not talent, it’s skill.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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There’s Always Next Time

Posted by jamesseetoo on January 22, 2010

Well, I’m not sure how many of these sports analogy blogs I’ll be doing since my Packers lost to Arizona but there’s a good lesson here so I’ll take the opportunity while I can.

Like playoff fever, it’s natural for a candidate to be excited about a position as she’s going through the interview process and each round brings more and more excitement because naturally, the goals seems to be getting closer.  And it really is a competition since one blown interview means “one and done” in most cases.  As a recruiter, I get as excited as the candidates as they successfully get to the next stage of the process, like moving towards a championship game or in this case, a final interview.

Then something happens.  Either the job gets put on hold, another candidate surfaces, someone internal to the company gets the job and there’s a real letdown – very much like when your favorite team loses a playoff game.

And then comes the mourning phase, you’re let down, saddened by what happened  and it’s easy to get really upset and discouraged.  It’s normal.  It’s also short sighted.  Because here’s the thing, you were good enough to get to the interview stage.  You were picked out of a pile of resumes to go into the process when there were a lot of other people who never made it that far.

And you’re not alone.  As a recruiter, we all feel that same sense of disappointment – after all, we’re on the same team.  In fact, it hurts almost as much since if we’re contingency we don’t get paid and if we’re retained, we’re still out there working on it when we want to get on to the next project.

But think about it.  It’s a chance to learn something about yourself and the company you’ve interviewed with.  Searches usually evolve as candidates go through the interview process.  It’s a chance for companies to learn about their organization and what they really need.  Sometimes it’s a lot different than what they thought they needed and they feel the same loss when a candidate turns them down or if they hire the wrong person for the job.

So when things go wrong it’s natural to be down.  Remember, you’re never as good as you think you are or as bad as you think you are.  The important thing is to set aside feelings and objectively think what could have gone better.  It could be nothing but it’s important to keep from being overwhelmed by emotions at this point and get on to the next interview.  After all, at the very least you’ve probably just made a few new connections that might help you in the future.

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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What’s Your Tribe?

Posted by jamesseetoo on November 19, 2009

Do you lead one?  Do you have one?  It’s a pretty good question these days since there’s a lot of talk about Tribes going around.  And it seems to be an evolving situation but an interesting one since it’s apparent that it’s becoming a very powerful cultural phenomenon.  I would say that it’s probably because of the increased connectivity we all have allows us access to people who have the same views and values.  For more on Tribes, I would recommend Seth Godin’s book, oddly enough titled: Tribes.

I had the priviledge of attending the recent PGC200 ( launch event in San Diego CA.  It’s a group that I’m advising that is creating a tribe.  It’s primarily made up of technical professionals (scientists and engineers) who are banding together to support one another professionally during trying economic times.  The featured speaker at this event was Gary Ridge, President and CEO of WD40 who has recently published a book with Ken Blanchard called Helping People Win at Work.

What’s exciting to watch about the development of PGC200 is that it’s a welcoming place for people who are not usually used to doing things like marketing themselves to interact with others who are good at that type of thing.  And it was only fitting that Gary Ridge was the featured speaker because he has actively worked to develop the Tribe culture at WD40.

In the book, Gary and Ken Blanchard describe a tribe as being a place where someone belongs as opposed to a team which is something someone plays on sometimes.

That’s an interesting definition and I think it’s highly effective when looking at a company’s culture during your job search.  Is it a place where you “belong” or someplace you go to play eight hours a day?

Gary and Ken also define leadership as a partnership which I think is a great definition.  In this partnership, are you helping someone to be successful and is someone helping you?  In this way, you can be a leader without a title and those you help become members of your tribe just as you become members of the tribe of those who help you.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are good places to find examples of Tribes.  People become followers and friends on these sites based on common interests which can be as simple as a joke of the day.

Like her or not, I think one of the most interesting examples of the Tribe phenomenon is Sarah Palin.  My take on her resigning the governorship of Alaska is that she is leading a tribe of followers, drawing people who are disaffected with their political parties and are looking for a place to belong.  We’ll see if that translates into political office but it’s certainly translated into book sales.

Tribes seem to be popping up all over the place, so maybe it’s time to start yours.  If you’re in a company, help others to be successful and they will become part of your tribe.  If your looking for a job, let your tribe help you. If you don’t have a tribe, start one by going beyond networking to really create a place where people feel they belong in your circle.  As Jay Abraham defines it, it’s the difference between a client and a customer.  A client is someone whose interests you watch out for rather than being in a transactional relationship.

So let me know what you think of this Tribes phenomenon.  I’m interested and hopefully you’re following this blog regularly.  It’s kind of like having a Tribe of my own.

P.S. – PGC200 will be having another event in San Diego in December featuring Ken Blanchard, stay tuned for more information or go to the

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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So How Do They Make A Hiring Decision?

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 23, 2009

OK, you went through a bunch of interviews and they all seemed to go well.  Everyone was all smiles and the Hiring Manager says we’ll have an answer for you in a few days. And then a few weeks go by with no word.

You call and either the recruiter or the hiring manager says that there hasn’t been a decision made yet but that you’re a finalist.

And then a few more weeks go by.

So What’s going on?

Back in the day (well almost five years ago) when I was in retained search, I always used to wonder just how did our clients go about making hiring decisions. We would present candidates, really great ones – really. And we would write a profile explaining their strengths and weaknesses and show how they would be successful for our clients.

Naturally, we had candidates we thought were stronger than others but companies would often choose a candidate we thought were qualified but not the most qualified.

There never seemed to be a rational reason.

So when I went into Corporate Recruiting, one of the things I wanted to know was how does a company make a hiring decision.  And I did.  Guess what, there never seemed to be a rational reason. Hiring Managers and interviewers have pet peeves and sometimes conflicting agendas.  It often comes down to liking the person (please see my “It’s Not Who You Know” postings).  And that happens in any organization.

But there were structural issues that I had never known about and here are three that have a profound effect on hiring decisions.

1) Budget – usually new positions are worked into the budget during the budget planning process. But because a company adjusts its budget depending on quarterly results a position that’s opened in one quarter may be put on hold until the next quarter or later. Many times, a company won’t say if a position is on hold because the hiring manager believes he can get the position hired if he has “the right person”.  And companies never let people know that there’s a “hiring freeze” because it makes them look like they’re in trouble.

2) Group Decisions – many companies are “matrixed” organizations to a greater or lesser degree. When that happens there’s a drive to make hiring decisions on a consensus basis. So if you’re interviewing with fifteen or twenty people, that’s a sure sign that either the hiring manager or the company wants to make a consensus driven decision. Naturally one of two things happen in consensus decisions: Greatest Common Factor or Lowest Common Denominator and it’s usually Lowest Common Denominator – someone who is totally inoffensive that everyone can live with.

And there’s a reason why armies have commanding officers. It takes a long time to get consensus from a large group. Which is why forward thinking, talent based organizations will win the war for talent. These companies will also be on the lookout for great talent in these troubled times.

3) Companies don’t know what they want – usually they start out thinking they know what they want but as hiring managers see resumes and interview people the search often takes on a life of its own. Good hiring managers let this happen within bounds because they all want great people. But sometimes there’s too much choice and they fall victim to paralysis by analysis.

So how can you avoid these delays? Sometimes you can’t. Some companies are institutionally slow. But the best thing you can do is make sure that you identify the key decision makers when you interview. Obviously the Hiring Manager is one but you can also ask the interviewers about the company’s culture and find out who else is a key decision maker like HR and Internal Clients.

But the most important thing you can do is to make sure you stick to your guns and be yourself. You must continue to believe that you’re the right person for any job you’re interviewing for. Make sure that you get all the interviewers’ contact information and add them to your network and follow up with them quickly with individual emails.

Some people will tell you to send notes but that might take too long and you want to try to influence interviewers. Sometimes debrief sessions will take place a day or two later due to scheduling conflicts and you want to be fresh in their minds. Try to build a fan base among your interviewers. Sometimes when an organization is on the fence all it takes is one person championing you to move the decision in your direction.

And if a company takes too long, don’t despair. It might not be the right organization for you. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were inside the organization rather than outside.

Please feel free to comment or send questions. Let me hear about your experiences.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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They Got Good Stuff There

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 20, 2009

As I was coming off a quick trip to my hometown of New York City with a side trip to visit friends in Kent, Ohio, a few things struck me when comparing Southern California and these two very different places and wondering how they all got to be so much alike. Yes it’s true, good vibrations SoCal where people surf and sun, the Big Apple where people are running in and out of stores and subways and the small, college town surrounded by farms, a place where neighborhood kids will ring the front door to ask if their friends can come out to play (without armed guards or watchful nannies) are as much alike as they are different.

Now, for disclosure’s sake, I’m someone who has relocated for a job. I went from downtown Manhattan where I was born and raised to Southern California – never in my life even considering moving to California. But it was a really good job and I got to see how the other half lives. And it’s pretty good. In fact, it’s really good. People live well in Southern California. Of course you have to leave aside politics but that’s nothing to brag about in New York either. Actually, Ohio might be looking pretty good when it comes to running a state government.

So let’s talk about some of the differences and similarities in these locations.

First of all, they speak English – in Kent, I mean. We kind of speak it in New York but walking the streets you hear all kinds of languages and sometimes even English. And so in many ways, if you don’t speak a myriad of tongues, you might get along better in Kent but even though I moved out of New York over four years ago people still pretty much understand you when you speak English to them. What they say in return could be anyone’s guess. (Is it an insult if you don’t understand it?).

I think California has it’s own version of English – can you say “Awesome Dude”? I wonder if California Spanish has those catch phrases?

Second, the food is great in both places – Kent and New York. I’m still up in the air about Southern California but the ingredients are really fresh. Okay, you may do a little better on the obscure ethnic cuisines in New York but people in New York and California pay enormously more for fresh organic produce and meats and in Kent you can grow your own or go to one of the local farms for provisions if you don’t want to go to one of the supermarkets. You can even go to Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club in all three places.

So where am I going with this? What I’m trying to say is that no matter where you go in this great country of ours you’re going to be able to live really well if you let yourself. So when a job comes up in a place you’re not familiar with you owe it to yourself to be open to relocating. Now granted, family issues are very important and I would never try to convince you to move when it’s not in your best interest but if you look at the similarities as well as the differences between places you can certainly be happy. And since very few people work for the same company for their whole career, you can always move back to where you were.

And in some ways Kent and Southern California where I currently live have even closer lifestyles. You pretty much have to drive everywhere (not much public transportation) and there are Wal-Marts, big box stores and food chains all over with some very nice local stores thrown in. Of course, Ohio doesn’t have a mandatory motorcycle law so I can see a lot of California bikers being pretty envious of their fellow riders.

Naturally on the coast you have beaches but since I prefer a pool you’re pretty well taken care of no matter where you go and you won’t have to travel to see snow in the winter.

So you can really be happy wherever you choose to be happy. There really isn’t a lack of convenience since the internet and cable tv have brought the country closer together culturally. I mean, today I saw hummus and Greek yogurt in a New York supermarket that caters to a Latino/Asian customer base. Pretty much wherever you go you’ll have all the mod cons. While you might have compelling reasons to rule out a relocation, don’t let the fear of not being on one of the coasts stop you.

And if you’re in a place like Kent, Ohio, think of it all as a grand adventure. Sure it’s more expensive than what you’re used to and the pace and noise may not be to your liking but give it a try. You owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss is about.

But the most important thing is that people are nice out there, yes, even in New York. And so keep an open mind to relocating. As they say here in California – It’s All Good.

The late comedian Sam Kinnison used to talk about the famine in Ethiopia in his routine. He screamed, “they don’t need food, they need U-Hauls!” In other words, you sometimes have to be willing to go where the jobs are. Who knows, you might like it out there.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo


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Are You Twit?

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 9, 2009

I am, kind of – and not necessarily in a good way. At least not yet.

I’ve only recently begun exploring Twitter, Facebook and the whole Social Media phenomenon that’s exploding all over the place. But then again, I rarely text and use IM so I’m behind the times and I admit it.

Still, I’m lucky because my sister, Joanna Seetoo (@joannaseetoo on Twitter) is an expert in Social Media Marketing. She’s a featured speaker at the San Diego Cool Twitter Conference World Tour and so I’ve entered the world of Social Media. Now a lot of this is for personal branding and marketing but as I see all of the interactivity and all of the possibilities of publicizing yourself out to people who never would have otherwise known you, there’s some downside to go with the opportunity.

First, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a whole slew of new social media sites are now very much part of the mainstream. So if you’re not at least getting involved with it you’re really handicapping yourself in your job search. I’ve done a lot of recruiting through LinkedIn and in return many candidates look me up on it if only to make sure that I’m for real. Hiring Managers and recruiters look at your profile to see if you might be the person they want to hire and as a professional, if you’re not at least on LinkedIn it’s like having a phone that only works some of the time.

Second, while sites like Twitter and Facebook can be a lot of fun and a great way to connect with people you’ve lost touch with you must remember to be very aware of what you put in your profile. I remember a candidate who had accepted an offer a great job that really matched everything he was looking for. Then out of curiosity the Hiring Manager looked this person up on a Social Media site and saw pictures of that candidate smoking pot. Needless to say the offer was rescinded as soon as possible.

What it comes down to is that Social Media has become another facet of your personal branding and like your resume everything has to be directed to delivering a congruent message about you. I’ve even seen people starting to build online resumes that are like a hybrid between your resume and your Facebook profile. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good idea though as it seems to be another thing to manage but since it’s early in the game it might eventually catch on.

I don’t know about you, but I think everyone has seen or heard of an email that went out to the wrong people, which happens when people do a lot of “reply all”. Let’s be honest, when we see that recall message we always open the email to see what’s in there. So imagine that happening on a global scale if you have the wrong thing on your profile.

If you really enjoy the social aspect of this new outlet I would suggest that you have separate personal and professional pages and profiles. You can share your personal one with your close circle of friends and your public one with everyone else. By doing that you can take control of your on line reputation. All of these profiles are now part of your personal branding so you have to protect it.

So follow me on Twitter (@jamesseetoo) and join my The Recruitment Underground Fan Page on Facebook and send me a LinkedIn invitation ( Nothing on those sites has anything I would be afraid to show to my mother. Of course, she’s not really on the internet, but you get the point.

And I’ll continue to learn more about Social Media Marketing. I’m pretty good on LinkedIn and I can tell you that it’s become a much, much more important tools for recruiters. It doesn’t replace your resume but in many ways it’s replacing the big job boards. Make sure you get as many recommendations as possible. I like to see them and it gives me an idea of who likes your work. Besides, as a recruiter, I go where the people are and this is where the action is.

As for Facebook, I’ve had several people contact me that way for help in finding a job and I’m always happy to help. Shakespear said “All the world’s a stage and we’re all players on it” and he was right but now it’s broadcast live 24/7. That’s the great thing about this phenomenon and the possible dangers of it so I’m looking forward to exploring it more. Twitter has tremendous possibilities but I think I’m still a Twit and not a Tweeter – yet.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo


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