Getting inventive in tough job market

By Geraldine Baum

Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK — Sitting in a bare cubicle the other morning with reading glasses perched halfway down her nose and typing on a laptop she had brought from home, Lois Draegin looked a bit like the extra adult wedged in at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving.

This accomplished magazine editor lost her six-figure job at TV Guide last spring and is now, at 55, an unpaid intern at, an interactive Web site with columns and stories that target accomplished women older than 40.

“The Women on the Web,” or WOW, as the site is known, needed Draegin’s magazine-world wisdom, and she needed their guidance through a maze of technology that was as baffling to her as hieroglyphics.

It wasn’t until she was teamed with Randi Bernfeld at WOW that she understood the obsession with such terms as search-engine optimization (a method to increase traffic to a site) or used Google Trends to pick story topics and write a uniform-resource locater (an address on the Web).

“She’s my mentor,” Draegin said of 24-year-old Bernfeld.

“No, she’s my mentor,” Bernfeld replied.

Joni Evans, a former Simon & Schuster president who is chief executive of WOW, has recruited several other laid-off publishing workers as interns — her site’s way of doing good in a bad economy.

“I think of this as a very WOW model — women helping women, bringing us all back to our true ethic of empowering each other,” said Evans, who founded the site with columnist Peggy Noonan, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl, advertising executive Mary Wells and gossip columnist Liz Smith.

Draegin took the internship at WOW as a creative way to fill out her résumé while waiting out a collision of bad events stalling her career. Other laid-off workers are attempting to be inventive by using such newer social-networking techniques as LinkedIn and Twitter to find jobs.

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Networking – more than a business-card exchange

At the core of networking is getting to know people beyond the titles on their business cards, Jason Alba said today at a lunch program in Melville that was sponsored by Sobel Media.

Though the subject was “I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?”, Alba — who blogs at — shared one example, not from social networking but from his own face-to-face experience three years ago when he was looking for work and belonged to a group for job searchers.

He told of going to the meetings late, listening to the speakers and bolting early so he wouldn’t have to speak with anyone. (His assumption was that job hunters in the same boat couldn’t possibly be of help to one another.) 

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Linkedin’s Financial Advantage over Facebook, Twitter & Myspace

Few companies can boast record economic growth during the past six months, but Linkedin just came off its most successful quarter and the professional social network site claims over 36 million users in over 200 countries and territories, with a new user joining every second.

Linkedin still has a way to go before it reaches Facebook-like numbers of 175 million , but as Evan Williams and Mark Zuckerberg scramble for monetization solutions, Linkedin is generating revenue.

How did Linkedin find a path to profit before the social network kings? Credit the foresight of CEO Reid Hoffman, who was a senior executive at Paypal before it was sold to eBay,

  When you want to influence the structure for millions and millions of people, you actually need to have a strong economic model that scales. If you can create structures where the interests of millions of align with the group’s interest, then you can actually create things that generate a lot of value in the system.

Linkeden’s revenue model is three-pronged:

  1. Upgraded Acccounts: Business, Business Plus and Pro Accounts provide extra features, including thorough lists of who’s searched for you and your company.
  2. Hiring services.
  3. Advertising comparable to the Wall Street Journal Demographic

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Online Resumes Go Social at

 New social features at link an online resume with sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and other social web sites. Features help job seekers land a job and recruiters find qualified job candidates online.

Reston, VA (PRWEB) March 14, 2009 — VisualCV, Inc., the company reinventing the online resume for the digital age, today announced that it has added new social networking features to its popular, online resume creation and distribution service. These latest capabilities allow job seekers to integrate their VisualCV with popular social media sites like LinkedIn, and Facebook and share their qualifications with friends and colleagues on social networks like Twitter.

Employers are getting thousands of applicants for a single job which means when you submit your resume, it most often ends up in a pile with hundreds of others
Now, any changes or updates to the VisualCV can be made in one centralized location and then shared broadly among these Web 2.0 sites, ensuring the most accurate information is available simultaneously. Further, new bookmarking features raise the visibility of a person’s VisualCV on sites like Digg, Delicious, Stumbled Upon, etc.

VisualCV has a free resume builder so candidates can build an online, media-rich resume that goes beyond traditional resume text. Candidates can embed portfolio items into their resume and include elements such as: sales performance charts, images, audio and video clips of work, letters of recommendation, awards and qualifications.

With VisualCV, job seekers can take control of their career management by enabling them to deliver “first interview” content to hiring managers and recruiters right from the start. They can demonstrate their expertise and accomplishments where ever they have a digital footprint including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, a personal or professional blog, e-mail signature line, etc. VisualCV enables users to rise above the noise to attract the time and attention of recruiters and hiring managers who are overwhelmed with the record number of resumes and candidates.

“Employers are getting thousands of applicants for a single job which means when you submit your resume, it most often ends up in a pile with hundreds of others,” said Jeff Hunter, CEO of VisualCV. “Because most jobs are found through referrals, it is vital that job seekers have the ability to notify their network that they are actively looking for employment and to share their qualifications broadly. When candidates put their VisualCV resume on their LinkedIn profile and Facebook page, they cast a much wider and more colorful net to their numerous online contacts. They also become more noticeable to recruiters and hiring managers.”

VisualCV empowers recruiters and human resource (HR) professionals to build a corporate presence and advertise their company and positions to motivated candidates. With VisualCV, hiring managers can connect and interact with both active and passive professionals free of charge, and in an easy to use, ad-free environment. It lets both job seekers and recruiters import their address books from other sites and then invite, share and forward career information for more effective introductions.

Unlike other job boards and recruitment sites, VisualCV lets organizations operate more efficiently – charging them a nominal fee only after a hire is made. Further, it allows HR members to post job requisites to their networks in one centralized place, making it easier for them to update their network each time there is a new job opportunity or posting.

About VisualCV, Inc.
VisualCV, Inc. has reinvented the resume to make it more relevant for job searching, networking, business development and career progression within today’s Web 2.0 environment. VisualCV, Inc. provides technology and support for the VisualCV, the community and “Powered by VisualCV” private-label platform. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, the company has received investments from one of the world’s leading executive search firms, Heidrick & Struggles (NASDAQ: HSII), and Valhalla Partners.

To create a resume at VisualCV, please visit 

Tips and resources for job-hunting

Walker and other staffing and employment experts offer job-hunting tips to help you get back in the game or change your career path. We’ve also assembled a list of resources aimed to help.

Check in with your emotions, and your creditors

When some Tarrant County companies are about to lay off workers, Walker is one of the people they call. He arranges for outplacement counseling and other assistance for workers who are or will soon be displaced. His first piece of advice: “Be patient, and never give up.”

Other tips:

Ask yourself how the layoff or job loss is affecting you. Be sure to deal with those emotions.

Notify financial institutions of your situation, and let them know if you may have to miss payments or work out a new payment schedule. “A lot of people fail to do this,” Walker says. “But you want to notify them before they notify you.”

Develop a plan for what you are going to do every day.

Sign on with staffing services or temp agencies.

Visit one of Tarrant County’s eight Workforce Centers. They offer free professional help and, in some cases, new training.


Don’t assume you already know everything about résumés. There’s a lot for job seekers to consider. “They have to put themselves in the shoes of a hiring manager,” says Todd Kirkby, chief information officer for Odyssey, a Plano-based staffing company in the IT industry. “Hiring managers are going to get inundated with résumés right now.” The bottom line: Make yourself stand out.

Tailor it. Don’t just send a boilerplate résumé. Each time you submit a résumé, you should tailor it to the job posting — within the bounds of your actual work history. (And of course, never lie on a résumé.)

“I think people have this vision that somebody’s sitting there and opening every résumé,” says Bill Mueller, the Bedford-based president and CEO of and American Career Fairs. But in many cases, agencies and hiring managers are running résumés through computerized searches that look for certain key words and buzzwords. So even though a person may have the skills a company is looking for, they might not have tailored their résumé to flag certain buzzwords that sync with the job description, and their résumé won’t be pulled up.

Length. “Some people tell you to keep it short,” Mueller says. “But if you can’t tell your story in one page, it’s better to go to two pages than leave something off.”

Kirkby says it depends on the job. For technicians, a good target is three or four pages. Sometimes managers want to see, in detail, what you’ve done (“I created these programs in Java, using this methodology . . .”). It’s whatever emphasizes the point, Kirkby says.

Cover letter. Because so much has gone digital, the popularity of the cover letter has faded a bit, Kirkby says. “If a manager is super-duper busy, they may look at a cover letter, but they might not,” he says. He suggests instead sending a summary of qualifications along with a résumé. The summary should be in bullet format and directly address what the company is looking for.

Stay positive. “It’s amazing to me what’s on some people’s résumés,” Mueller says. “I’ve seen very negative things like ‘I quit because I didn’t get along with my boss.’ People look at their résumé as a chronology, but they should look at it as a marketing piece. You need to keep the whole thing positive.”

Make it achievement-oriented. If you were a manager at McDonald’s, don’t just list your duties, Mueller says. “What I want to know is, did you make the company money? Did you reduce the food cost?”

Proofread. “Résumés are horrible, and I see it all the time,” Walker says. “Maybe a person hasn’t had the need to have a résumé if they’ve been working 10 to 15 years.” So, whether it’s a friend with an eye for detail, a staffing company or a résumé expert at Workforce Solutions, have someone proofread your résumé, and make sure it’s formatted properly.

The interview and beyond

Practice the interview. “The interviewing process is where so many people get knocked off,” Mueller says. “Practice off of your own résumé. Put the résumé in a friend’s hand, and ask them, ‘OK, what would you question me on?’ ”

Devil in the details. Before you start filling out a job application, read it all the way through. People want to know you’re paying attention to detail. “Sometimes,” Walker says, “at the very bottom of a page, it might say ‘blue or black ink only.’ Be very cautious of what you’re doing every step of the way.”

Network. Often, people don’t reach out to friends, relatives, churches and other social networks. “Don’t try to do it alone,” Walker says. “Don’t let pride be a factor and think, ‘I can do it myself.’ You gotta get help. Let as many people know that you’re looking for a job.” And don’t underestimate the power of social and professional networking groups such as LinkedIn (, Facebook and Twitter (

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Tips to help you stand above the crowd of job seekers

By: Jenna Hiller

Austin resident Kim Butler owns Greywolf Consulting Services.

It’s his job to find the right candidate for the job, so he knows what it takes to stand out from the pack.

“The first question to ask is, ‘Is my job completely disappearing from this city,'” he said. “If the answer is no, it’s certainly not, then you may be looking at a short-term situation where you could manage through it.”

If you’re looking at a longer-term problem, you might have to make a tough choice.

“If it’s a long-term challenge, I think you have to make a basic decision which is, is the city that I live in more important to me than the money that I make and the job that I may be doing,” Butler said.

For all job hunters, it’s important to think in broad terms.

Butler said to start by looking at all of the available jobs.

Don’t just look for jobs with your title.

Look at what you do generically from a skill standpoint.

You might be able to match your skills to jobs you’d never considered before.
“Start at the start. End at the end,” Butler said. “Look and see what jobs are available in general, so that you’re not disqualifying yourself automatically from opportunities that might be out there.”

Butler made additional suggestions:

• Once you know what’s out there, you have to put yourself out there.

• Make contacts before you send out your resume.

• Try to talk to the person who’s hiring, not human resources, so they’re looking for your resume.

• Use the functional things you do as action words in your resume. These will be picked up as key words.

• While you want to be more general in your resume, be more industry specific in your cover letter.

Butler said finding contacts at companies is important. If you don’t already have a network on a site like LinkedIn, a simple Internet search should find the right person.

Another great resource for jobs might be closer than you think.

Butler said not to underestimate your personal network. 

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