Robert Frost Said it Best


“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Robert Frost

This is without a doubt my favorite quote and something I try to remind myself of as often as possible.  So simple, yet so powerful.  Life will go on whether we want it to or not.  Life will go on whether we like the circumstances.  Life goes on.

These three words can be so incredibly helpful to how we attack our daily lives.  That’s right, attack.  Life is going to go on whether we sit on our laurels or attack, so why not attack?  So you don’t like your job, what are you going to do about it?  You want a better education? Well guess what life will go on whether you choose action or inaction.  You lost your job?  Now what?  If you give something your all and fail, I promise you will be in a better position than when you started.  Action breeds success.

Life will go on.  Your life will go on.  You can, and will come out on top – if you choose to.

I am choosing to help any who want to help themselves.  I am choosing to help you attack your circumstances, so that I can attack my own.  As altruistic as this might seem I need to attack my demons so that I can come out on top.  I hope to use my experience and expertise to help you better your career, to better your life.  I can’t make you choose but I do promise life will go on, and I promise to do my best to help.

Please read on as I plan to share  personal experiences, tips and tricks, and honest heartfelt advice to you and your career.

Why Do So Many Unqualified People Apply? The Problem is That Crappy Job Description

This morning I had an interesting conversation with Steve Levy, @levyrecruits, about hiring athletes vs. position players and it got me thinking; why would an athlete be applicable to even be part of the conversation?  The answer: the job description.  Let’s be honest, most job descriptions suck.  As a job seeker you may not realize this, but they do.  Much like crappy resumes, most job descriptions include a summary, some bullet points, and some certifications that would be nice to have.   And just like the crappy resume, most people don’t see any problem with this.

The standard outline looks like this:

Reporting Relationship:  SVP of Whatever

Summary:  Blah Blah Blah


Bullet point

Bullet point

Bullet Point

Work Experience:

Bullet point

Bullet point

Bullet Point


Bullet point

Bullet Point


Have you ever seen a job description that looks like that?  The answer, unfortunately, is we all have all to many times.   While this seems like a good enough, standard enough format, this description is missing tons of important information, like:

What is the purpose of this position?

What are the goals/objectives for this position to be successful?

How are these goals measured?

What competencies do you need to meet these goals?

What will it take to be successful in this position?

If you don’t have this information before you accept a position, you are setting yourself for the possibility of failure.  If the company hiring you doesn’t know the answers to these questions, they are setting themselves AND you up to fail.  If your goals and objectives aren’t tied to the company’s goals in a measureable way, how in the world are you going to be graded?  How in the world will you know your true impact?  And how in the world will you know your true value?

Now, how does this tie back to unqualified people applying to jobs and what in the world do athlete’s vs. position players have to do with this rant?  Simple.

If an accountability for an open position is to is ensure sales growth, then tons of people might think, ”I can do that!”

What if instead, it looked something like this:

Goal: Year over year revenue growth of 20%, EBIDTA growth from 20M to 30M, and closing 15% of pitches.

Top Competencies to Achieve Goal: Communication, Negotiation, Cold Calling Fortune 500 Companies, Networking, etc.

Do you see the difference?  I might be able to ensure sales growth, but I sure as hell can’t commit to goals that large.  No way do I have the experience required when it is spelled out like that.  Many athletes can ensure sales growth, but business development position players can speak to their past goals as they relate to the goals of this job description.

It’s not the candidates’ fault they apply to positions they aren’t qualified for, it’s ours.  If we want to eliminate the multitude of candidates who apply to positions they are not qualified for we need to be sure we write descriptions that show them clearly how they will be measured, the competencies required to meet those measures.  Once we do that, watch them self-select OUT of ever applying.

This is a great lesson to help job seekers channel their time and energy while living through a job search; Learn something!

Marc My Words

There’s not much positive you can take from a job search, especially one that goes on for an extended period of time. It’s often an endless roller coaster ride of emotions and highs and lows. More often than not, the lows linger if you let them. Your time is most often spent searching for and applying to multiple jobs per day, following up on jobs you’ve previously applied to and working any and all connections to help you find a job.

Sometimes it’s important for your mental health to close LinkedIn and Indeed and do something else productive: learn something. Take an hour or so a day to teach yourself new skills. Ideally, something related to the jobs you are applying to, but something that will stretch the boundaries of your knowledge, and possibly further your career. Here’s a good article to read about the importance learning while searching for…

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#BeTheBird: Bird Watching and Culture.

#BeTheBird:  Bird Watching and Culture.

Recently I had the opportunity of attending a Talent Net Live event hosted by JCPenney in Dallas, Texas.  For those who don’t know, Talent Net is a social recruiting forum featuring big names in recruiting and social media covering the hottest tips and topics of the day for job seekers, social media enthusiasts and talent professionals.  While I attended the event to learn more about up and coming social media tools and their application in the recruiting industry, my biggest take away came from the Keynote address delivered by Michael Long and part of his Culture and Communication Team.

Michael Long is the Head of Culture Branding at Rackspace Hosting, and yes, his department is really called the Culture and Communication Team.  Michael and his team were on hand to give us an inside look at how Rackspace is building their culture brand from the ground level.

Michael, also known to many as @theredrecruiter, shared an interesting analogy that really hit home with me: bird watching. Michael has a serious disdain for the overused buzzwords “employment branding” and considers what he and his team are charged with as “culture branding.”  Sounds like a simple play on words and not much difference, right?  So what’s the big deal, and where’s the connection to bird watching?

Bird watching, as Michael put it, is simply going out into the woods and faking like you are a bird in order to see, chirp, and/or interact with a bird.  Employment Branding is similar: fake and dis-ingenuous. The Culture and Communication team isn’t in charge of developing and imposing a culture at Rackspace, they are PART of it.  They are Rackers.  They are the bird.  Culture Branding is being the bird, documenting  the life of the bird, and sharing it as appropriate.  This my friends just might be the next great hash tag if you are looking to get one kicking #BeTheBird!!

The crazy thing about Being the Bird is that is seemed like a lot of people didn’t get it.  I got the feeling they were looking at this idea in a very shortsighted nature, as in, “be the bird like they do at Rackspace.” Michael wasn’t suggesting we make the same kinds of videos or share same stories, he was suggesting that every company has their story, culture, and reality to document and share.  In essence, birds of a feather flock together.  An accountant might HATE the culture at Rackspace, and that’s OK.   A Racker might, and probably would, HATE the culture at Deloitte, and that’s OK too.  The point was that each company should embrace what makes it special, document it, and share it.  What better way to build the culture of an organization than to embrace the culture that is already there, and let it grow organically.

The bottom line; there are over 10,000 species of birds in world.  All of them look, act and sound different. Don’t try to make your company look like something it isn’t, and don’t try to make your brand like some other company. Embrace who you are, document it and share it with the world.  Just Be The Bird.

Here are some of my cryptic notes from the Keynote:

  • Transparency and Authenticity are the key to attracting the right people
  • Document and share everything
  • Culture and strategy love each other
  • Look for the right talent, as opposed to the best talent
  • Culture is the behavior you reinforce, sited from Rework
  • Celebrate values, and constantly revisit
  • Employment Branding is bird watching
  • Culture Branding is real, be you