How recruiters think and other job tips

10600496_837449519621597_3127249337294903816_nIf you’ve ever applied for a job you spotted online, you know the agony. Did I have the right key words? Am I one of hundreds, no, thousands of applicants? Did someone even look at my resume?

And then the agony goes away because after your umpteenth application, you stop wondering. You just submit the same old resume and cover letter, changing little if anything.

Don’t get like that. Recruiters I interviewed for a Labor Day job series in the U-T San Diego newspaper, were adamant that yes, they look at every, single application (though some more briefly than others). They focus on the resume and want to mostly know this: Are you qualified?

I contributed several stories to the U-T’s special section but one of my favorites was interviewing local recruiters — the first eyes on an applicant’s resume. If they like what they see, they move it on to the position’s hiring manager. So, how do you get past that first step? Take a look at my stories (and other ones that were also quite helpful):


More from the series:

Confused about cloud security? Start with common sense

firstDenverPostWhen I spotted the weekend’s headlines of female celebs’ private photos unleashed online by hackers, I thought, here we go again. I didn’t plan to dwell much further on celebrity nude photos. Then on Tuesday, the Denver Post business editor called, asking me to write a consumer-focused story on cloud security. How could I say no?

I immediately reached out some of my old computer-security contacts, plus a few new local ones, to get up to date with cloud security. Yes, the Cloud — the amorphous entity that appears to be all knowing and omnipresent, yet potentially hackable. As it turned out, Apple said that nope, iCloud was not hacked, at least not in this celebrity-photo case.

Nevertheless, if you like to take photos, share them online and mindlessly back up files online in the Cloud, there is always a security risk. We use the cloud because our smartphones don’t have enough space to store all those selfies — or we want the convenience of accessing them on our phones, laptops and tablets. It’s (mostly) seamless. You don’t even have to think about it. I’m betting that very few iPhone users think about what is actually in the iCloud. I’m not even sure if a majority understand that iCloud lives outside their phone.

I like what Jonathan Sander, the strategy and research officer at STEALTHbits Technologies, told me:

“I guarantee that half the celebrities didn’t even know their photos were in the cloud,” Sander said. “If you asked them if they trust their nude photos in the cloud, I’m sure they would not.”

There are still ways to be smart about your photos and files. New technology in the form of two-step authentication is one extra layer of security that can make your account less attractive to hackers. Apple’s Two-Step Verification, which was introduced last year, requires users to verify accounts using a password and a special code. Google also offers it, as does Microsoft, Dropbox and nearly every company offering cloud storage.

But when it comes down to it, protecting your digital life means using common sense and being aware of what you have out in the Cloud. As Sander told me, “Do I trust the cloud to what? To store my vacation photos? Yes. Do I trust it to store my birth certificate and passport? Probably not.”

So, there you have it. My freelance debut for The Denver Post — on the Front Page too! All thanks to celebrities who take naked photos with their iPhones.

Read the story:

Who to blame for your Pinning, Liking and Tweeting

David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet. Image courtesy of AOL.

If you think about it, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter didn’t get to be massive social networks just because someone came up with the idea. They had to attract an audience. An enthusiastic audience. And one crucial way to attract that proactive consumer was to market the product.

Yup, thank the marketers for this explosion of sharing and oversharing. That was the impetus for my May story for the UT San Diego newspaper.

The San Diego Ad Club hosted its 10th annual Interactive Day in San Diego on May 15 to 16. I dug a bit into the origins of the event and why it still exists today. After all, as Sheila Fox, the club’s executive director, told me, “Is ‘Interactive Day’ still the right terminology? We continue to question that.”

Ultimately, she added, “The definition of interactive has expanded – from the idea of something digital and online to also include engagement with target audience. … It’s an activity between a business and a customer.”

The story was published on May 15, 2014. While I don’t have a copy of the story, the sidebar featuring David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet, made it online. Read the Q&A HERE.

[This post is backdated as I catch up on posting old stories] founder Howard Lindzon, what a down-to-earth guy

Howard Lindzon, founder

Stock talk flusters me. Even though I’ve been categorized as a business reporter for nearly 20 years (!!), I prefer to ignore capricious stock prices and the constant chatter of CNBC.

So, when I got the assignment to interview Howard Lindzon, who started a Twitter-inspired stock-talk site, I thought, “Oh Twitter, I can do that.”

No, really. Stocks? I set aside several hours to prep and came across this CNBC video. His wry remarks (“I’m wealthy”) amused me so I figured this wouldn’t be too terrible.

Of course it wasn’t. It was exciting to hear how he’s changing the stock investor world, even if I have no interest myself. He seemed like a down-to-earth guy who is passionate about what he does — my type of person. Just like his blog where he writes all about stock and his personal life (turning 47 last month, his kids), he doesn’t hold back. Made me curious to look at what else he’s investing in.

Anyway, read the Q&A at the UT San Diego:

>>StockTwits: Howard Lindzon takes stock talk to new level

Highs and lows and funny videos of crowd funding

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My latest story for the the U-T San Diego is about crowd funding, where people with an idea ask friends, family and strangers to help fund it. I started the story with the mindset of writing about what happens after the crowds go away. After all, the biggies Indiegogo and Kickstarter have been around since 2008 and 2009.

But after interviewing success stories and crowd-funding sites, I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I did (ya, surprise). For one, the sites themselves do little publicity for creators — it’s all up to you. Or that Kickstarter doesn’t accept charity (unlike Indiegogo, which is open to just about anything including a lady trying to raise money to get her mom a new sofa). The resulting story is more of a trend update, which happened to coincide with the passing of the JOBS Act that paves the way for regular people to get more out of crowd-funding than a simple thank you or tschotske.

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Read it yourself: “How to get your idea funded? Go online” (or read it all on one page HERE)

I love the idea. As a journalist, I’ve never been very interested in investing my hard-earned money in companies in exchange for ownership, a dividend or even a huge loss. But that’s mostly because of potential conflicts of interest and journalism ethics policies. This way, I get a cool product and the satisfaction that I helped someone get an idea off the ground, which is more than I’ve ever done.  During my research, I ended up backing two Kickstarter projects — and wishing I had started this story earlier because I missed so many cool products. It’s addicting! Continue reading