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

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.

  • 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' ( 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


has been taken by anyone.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Professional Appearance

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


We all sense that email addresses like or might not present clients in the best possible light on résumés. Consequently we usually send clients with these addresses off to 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 article. I was able to find one for my client on

Just a word about that 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.


My LinkedIn profile is 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

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 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.
    • 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!