Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lost in Blackberry menus

Hogarth has the day off today. This is just a quick snap shot from the Project Manager wars.


I've worked in Silicon Valley for a very long time. In that time I have managed to completely avoid ever having to carry a BlackBerry. In fact until last year I avoided any kind of mobile email device. Last year I became an iPhone user at work and have kept using it as a personal device. Never having used a smart phone, I came up to speed on the iPhone in about two days. The interface was easy to understand, the menus were logical, and it was fast to make changes. Two weeks in, I was a pro. I could make my iPhone sit up and do tricks and I started not carrying my laptop around. I had all the data I needed right there on my phone.


I got a BlackBerry two weeks ago….


It took me about three days to understand why BlackBerry is still such a power house. It's spent the last fifteen years training its users. I'm two weeks in and the urge to hurl the device across the parking lot comes about twice a day. It does everything but wash the windows, but figuring out how to get it to not vibrate for anything but Calendar reminders is still baffling me. Heck, I even googled it and I'm still confused. If you have been using the BB for years, I'm sure it is all second nature to you. For someone new to the interface, I feel like I'm trying to understand how reverse derivative debt swaps work with a kindergarten level user manual.


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm six menus into the ring tone preferences and I need to call for a St Bernard rescue dog to lead me out.


Joel BC

Veteran, the Project Manager wars

Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email


Who is Hogarth? Read Blog 001 to find out all about my personal gorilla.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Career Management Gorilla

There I sat, skimming through Monster job listings. "Out of state, not enough pay, under qualified, over qualified.. Ah ha!" Like it was outlined in glowing neon letters, it jumped out at me. Perfect location, good benefits, looked like it would pay just right.

I clicked on the 'apply now' button with eager glee. I browsed to my job hunting folder and found my resume, jbancroftconnors_resume. Smiling ear to ear I moved my mouse over the submit button. And that's when the smell of ripe banana hit me.

"Yur not gonna send that are you?"

Turning in my seat I looked up at Hogarth. "Of course I am. I'm perfect for this job. Heck it even ties into my old art school background."

Waving his half eaten banana at the screen my resident gorilla grunted, "Yeah but your resume doesn't mention that. And look here, the job is asking for someone who's worked with call centers in Ireland."

I grin cheerfully, "Right! And I've worked with Ireland in my last two jobs!"

"And your resume doesn't say that. Aren't you gonna customize it for this job?"

Sigh… The dreaded resume tailoring gorilla. We all know we should do it. Some of us do it, some of us never do it and others agonize for days to make each and every resume just perfectly right. Two things are a given with resume tailoring. 1- It's a good idea. 2- It's time consuming.

Regular exercise is a good idea too, want to know the last time I hit the gym?

Still, Hogarth had a point. I had fallen into the online application rut. I was using a 'good enough' resume and no cover letter. It's a wonder I got any phone calls (okay so to be fair, I was doing the networking thing and writing cover letters, but I was not customizing my resume).

Knowing I was doing it wrong but also being an efficiency minded project manager I sought a better way of doing things.

Enter the "Career Management Document". Full credit goes to Mike and Mark of Manager Tools. Their "Your Resume Stinks!" and "Accomplishments- Connecting your Resume and Interviews" pod casts gave me the idea for this. In these casts Mark Horstman describes how your resume should never be more than a single page, but your list of job accomplishments are not tied to the actual resume. Create a "Career Management" document (CMD) in which you have all the jobs you've worked. Under each job you list all your notable accomplishments, not just the ones that are current. Every three months you go through your CMD and look at all the jobs. Maybe you just got done with an ugly budget process and you remember that ten years ago you had to fix a budget on short notice. So you go back and update that old job with the accomplishment.

Then for every job you apply for, you go through and pick 3-5 accomplishments that make the most sense. Instead of manually crafting every resume, for every job, you take your 'Chinese menu' and pick what works.

Personally I use Mindmanager, from Mindjet to manage my CMD. I've got a Mind Map with bubbles for each of my jobs, career over view and my professional qualifications. I can export it to a word document, cut out what I don't need and bam! I have a tailored resume.

Here's a sample of what it looks like:

So with my career management gorilla appeased, I hit submit on my next great career. And a few months later, I'm very happy with that new job.

If you are interested in a copy of my MindMap template or want a PDF of the template, just send an email.

So until next time, don't forget to talk to your gorilla.

Joel BC
Veteran, the Project Manager wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email