• I know what you did last summer…

    Well it’s the last week of summer, which means it’s getting time to put the boat away, send the kids back to school, get the grill ready for tailgating, and get ready for football season!

    It also means that it is time to Google yourself.

    You see, with the Web being the first place that people go to search for things to buy, places to fly, or new things to try, it’s also where recruiters and hiring managers go to learn about you “on the sly.”

    And it’s important to Google more than just your full name. When companies are trying to poke around in your history, they’ll search out all of your past experiences. Check it out, each of these searches yield different results:

    Marc Cenedella

    Marc Cenedella TheLadders

    Marc Cenedella New York

    Marc Cenedella 10013

    Marc Cenedella Harvard Business School

    It’s the first page of results that’s most important, so it’s the first page of results that you really want to focus on and understand.

    Go through each of these searches and check, carefully, each of the links on the first page to understand how you are being presented or referenced on the Web.

    If all you find is glowing praise and adulation, fantastic for you and congratulations!

    But if you find material that might put you in the wrong light, it’s important to try and do something about it:

    Patch up: If you control the site or page that has the troubling information or photos, patch up your online reputation quickly by removing or deleting the questionable material.

    Push it down: If you do not control the site, another way to improve your online reputation is to push the offending material down in the results. By expanding your presence on social networks, blogs, and community forums, you can generate new web content that could get ranked higher in the search results than the bad information.

    This means making sure you have a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Quora, Meetup, About.me, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Each of these sites allows you to have a public presence on a highly ranked website that count toward your appearance on the Web. By creating a consistent presence across multiple properties, you improve your chances of controlling the first page of results.

    Petition: It’s a long shot, but if you’re unable to remove the offending information, you can petition the site owner or webmaster to remove it. You are asking for a favor, so never approach a website proprietor with outrage, incredulity, or legal posturing. I can guarantee that won’t work, and it usually backfires when said proprietor posts your communications for future visitors to read and ridicule.

    Your best bet is to humbly seek their help… “I’m looking to clean up my online reputation so that my family, friends, and business colleagues won’t get the wrong idea about me. There is some unfortunate information on your website, and I’d really appreciate it if you would consider removing this particular bit. I know you have the right to have whatever you want on your site, and perhaps you didn’t even put everything up there yourself. So I would really appreciate it if you could help out a guy who is in a little bit of a jam.”

    Again, the anonymous Internet seems to make e-mail arguments much easier, and many website operators can be very prickly about preserving their independence, so never, ever take a high-handed or aggressive approach.

    Prepare: If patching, pushing and petitioning don’t work, that means you’ll have to prepare for the question in your job interview. Simply and clearly state the circumstances that led to the bad information and then stop. Don’t go into a long or tortured conversation about implications, how it makes you feel, or how unfair it is. By being open, honest and sensible, you may actually be able to come out ahead…

    “Yes, during the downturn I was required to let go over 650 people in my division. Unfortunately, several of the impacted people shared their negative viewpoints of my performance in that role online. I can understand and sympathize with their anger, but I thought that preserving the ability of our company to survive very difficult economic times was in our best interests.”

    “Is there anything specific I can address for you?”

    If you forthrightly answer the question, show an openness to further inquiry (the appetite for digging through dirty laundry is actually much smaller than you’d imagine), and then move on, you’ll be doing the best to put a positive spin on an unfortunate situation.

    OK, Readers, I hope you have a great last week of the summer, and let’s “get back” to work next week!

  • Who did you become?

    It’s a Monday in August and I want to share three stories with you.

    They’re stories of the sad, the dispossessed, the over-the-hill:

    The 12-year-old child of a single mom, a washed-up milkshake-maker salesman, and a rock critic. (Tell me truly… is there anything sadder than a rock critic?)

    And I’m sharing these losers’ tales with you because you need to understand something about yourself.

    On this Monday morning in a humid August when you might not be particularly optimistic or positive about the future… or the present… or the past for that matter… I need you to understand this:

    You get to choose.

    Whatever you want, you get to choose.

    The stories?…

    A 12-year-old girl was watching the Summer Olympics and saw something she liked. We all see something we like in the Olympics, don’t we? But this little girl saw the way a coach did his coaching, and the little girl made a decision: she’s going to be a star.

    And this 57-year-old sad-sack travelling salesman dude got too many orders for one of his milkshake machines from a burger joint. Now look, he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth (he made quota!), but he couldn’t quite believe his good luck and wanted to see the place for himself. And man, was he surprised when he decided to go and visit the burger flippers extraordinaire in person.

    And you might know that Bruce Springsteen is back on tour and played Boston last week. A rock “critic” (stop laughing) wrote:

    “It’s four in the morning and raining. I’m 27 today, feeling old, listening to my records, and remembering that things were different a decade ago… Last Thursday, at the Harvard Square theatre, I saw my rock’n'roll past flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.”

    Who are these beautiful losers?

    The little girl who found her coach is Gabby Douglas. She left home (still hasn’t been back in two years!) to go live with strange people of another race in another state and become a champion.

    The milkshake man is Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s. He saw his future at the burger flippers’ roadside stand, and decided that what he wanted to be was an ex-salesman and the progenitor of the world’s most famous restaurant chain. His life is immortalized in this quirky, catchy Mark Knopfler tune.

    And the rock critic is Jon Landau, who wrote that bitty ditty to youthful ennui back in 1974. He eventually left his pen behind to become part of rock and roll’s future as Bruce Springsteen’s manager and co-producer, and is rolling along with the Boss now almost forty years later.

    What do all of these people have in common?

    They had none of your advantages in life.

    None of your training, none of your position, or privilege, or luck, or good fortune. They had none of the advantages that you currently enjoy.

    And yet.

    They decided to change.

    They decided to become something different.

    They decided, it’s true, to become themselves.

    You see, that’s sometimes the most difficult thing we can decide to do in our lives.

    Because becoming yourself means giving up other things. A home. A story you tell yourself. A respectable bland career. An excuse you’ve cherished and nourished and cultivated for years and years and years.

    Deciding to become who you were meant to be, agreeing to the hardships, accepting the pain, taking the ridicule that oftentimes goes with it…

    That’s the most difficult thing you can do.

    My namesake, Marcus Aurelius, said two millennia ago:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    What you think is who you become.

    Now, you can’t tell me that that little girl had it better than you.

    Or that your position is more hopeless than an over-the-hill guy who peddles dairy drink stirrers.

    Or that you’ll ever be in quite so desperate a position in your life as to write rock-and-roll criticism for cash.

    So if you ain’t got it half as bad as they had it, what’s stopping you from becoming…


    Now I bet you probably have an answer to that question. And I’m sure you think it’s a good one.

    But after you get through your whatever list that you use to keep track of your excuses: it’s your spouse, your parents, your dog, your boss, your children, your industry, your company, your politicians, your car, your weather, or your ever-lovin’ sign of the zodiac…

    After you get through all those excuses, ask yourself:

    What are you thinking?

    Who did you become?

    And who will you decide to be tomorrow?

    Because on this hot humid August dawn, I know you can’t possibly be telling yourself that you’ve got it worse than Gabby or Ray or Jon.

    But you could take this opportunity today to learn from Gabby and Ray and Jon.

    Just as they decided to become something different, just as they decided to become the heroes of their own future, you get to choose. You get to take your thoughts and make the life you want with them.

    So I hope you’ll take this opportunity, in these fading days of summer, two-thousand-twelve, to become who you were always meant to be…

    Your own best hero.



  • Hired!

    Last month, I told you about the employers and recruiters that were hiring here at TheLadders, and asked for your help in filling their open jobs. And you responded!

    And you know what the outcome of all that activity is?

    Hires! Loads and loads of hires.

    Here are just fifty of the successful landings, out of the thousands hired here at TheLadders in the past month:

    Job Title Salary
    Account Director $110K
    Analyst, Lead Business $120K
    Branch Manager $132K
    Brand Manager $100K
    Business Development Director $90K
    Client Executive $100K
    Digital Marketing Manager $116K
    Director of Marketing $135K
    Director of Marketing $165K
    Education Consultant $105K
    Engineering Manager $121K
    Executive Director $105K
    Foodservice Director $90K
    General Manager $124K
    Global Director $169K
    HR Manager $110K
    HR Technology Operations Director $140K
    IT Director $300K
    Manager $90K
    Manager Business Development and Sales $110K
    Manager Global Operations $145K
    Manager, Patient Care $130K
    Operations Director $115K
    Operations Manager $100K
    Partner $140K
    Patent Agent $135K
    Plant Superintendent $100K
    Principal Engineer $175K
    Product Manager $115K
    Quality Assurance Director $146K
    Quality Manager $90K
    Regional Manager $120K
    Sales Director $115K
    Sales Engineer $95K
    Sales Manager $155K
    Senior Manager $135K
    Senior Manager, Product Marketing $165K
    Senior Product Manager $125K
    Senior Project Manager $100K
    Senior Solution Architect $250K
    Senior User Experience Designer $105K
    Supply Chain Advisor $120K
    Supply Chain Director $135K
    Supply Chain Manager $107K
    Supply Chain Manager $155K
    Territory Account Manager $95K
    Vice President, Operations $180K
    Vice President, Operations $200K
    Vice President, Sales $175K
    Vice President, Sales $225K

    Don’t let the “dog days of summer” fool you… HR folks, hiring managers, and recruiters are going to work, every day, and trying to hire professionals like you to fill their open positions. Make the most of your competition taking it easy!

  • Don’t ask for a job

    Here’s an easy way to turn dreaded employment networking into deadly effective bonding:

    When you’re networking, ask for a reference, not a job.

    Whether you’re doing catch-up drinks or grabbing lunch to reconnect, your main goal is to get an ally, not a tally of job listings. Recruiting a helping hand to your search is your aim.

    So don’t ask your college buddy if he knows of any jobs for people like you. How would he?

    And don’t ask your boss from two jobs ago if she has the names of any people who are currently looking to hire somebody like you. It puts her on the spot.

    No, instead, ask for a reference. Mention that you’re going to be moving on, or you’re already looking, or that you’re actively out on the street. Let them know the type of positions you are and are not suited for, and what you’re hoping to achieve in your next opportunity.

    And then ask them if — when it gets to that happy place in your search — it would be OK to use them as a reference.

    By not putting them on the spot about specific job openings, you reduce the awkwardness inherent in the networking conversation.

    And by letting them know that you hold them in high enough esteem to potentially use them as a reference, you’re actually paying them a compliment.

    You’re also making it easier for them to say “yes”, and to feel good about themselves for being a good friend and helping you out with this little favor.

    All of which means that you have a new buddy in your search — one who’s going to be thinking about keeping an eye out for new opportunities and an ear open for fresh possibilities for their reference-able friend: you.

    It’s wins and grins all around.

    Now, this doesn’t work for just any old person you meet on the street. There’s probably a pretty good match between people you’d take to lunch and those you could ask to be a reference. So my advice would be to stick to asking those you know well enough.

    Being realistic, the widely offered and deeply wrong advice from the past decade that you should try to extract favors, concessions, names, jobs, and career assistance from people you’ve only met over the phone is not only useless, it can be counterproductive to your aims by antagonizing your broader network.

    By making your networking about compliments, you’ll find it pays dividends.

    Good luck in the search this week!

  • Enthusiasm… “the spirit of god within”

    Readers, I’m a big fan of words.

    Whether it’s the fact that Shakespeare coined the words “manager”, “employer”, and “investment”; or the fact that fine, finance and finite all come from the same beginnings (“fin” meaning to end: originally as “fine”, a way to end an obligation, and eventually as “finance”, taking on the meaning of ending debts, and subsequently, all monetary matters).

    Here’s another one for you to consider this week:


    “En-” means “inside” or “within”.

    “-iasm”, like any “ism” makes a word into a noun.

    And “-thus-”? That comes from the Greek word “theos” meaning “god”, from which we also get monotheism and theocracy.

    So one way of interpreting the meaning of “enthusiasm” would be “the spirit of god within”.

    And I think that’s just about right, Readers. When we show enthusiasm, we’re showing the proper appreciation for the wonderful world in which we live.

    Whether it’s the technology that really works like magic (FaceTime with the grandparents from your vacation in China? wow!), or the beauty of competition that infuses the Olympics this week, or even something as simple as your kids’ Little League game, this world is an amazing place, and we should be thankful for all we’ve achieved here in this great land of ours.

    “The spirit of god within”, indeed.

    So, Readers, I’d like to ask you to dig deep this week and find a way to be enthusiastic about your job hunt.

    Yes, I know it’s not easy. A job search is about as inspiring as a trip to the dentist or paying your taxes. But if you focus on the outcome, and your excitement for the future, and the fact that you’ll soon be in a new job that you love and stretching and growing yourself in ways that your current or past position did not allow…

    If you focus on that, isn’t that worth being enthusiastic about?

    Have a wonderful week, Readers.

  • These recruiters are hiring!

    Last week, I let you know which companies were hiring on TheLadders. Today, I’m sharing the top HR professionals and the recruiters that can hire you:

    Top Talent Pros

    Jeff Kliegman
    Follow Jeff Kliegman

    Jeff Kliegman – 13924 followers
    Executive Director at Lloyd Staffing

    Michael Adler
    Follow Michael Adler

    Michael Adler – 2123 followers
    Managing partner at AC Lion

    Dan Shapiro
    Follow Dan Shapiro

    Dan Shapiro – 2022 followers
    Director of Digital Recruiting at AC Lion

    Elisa Sheftic
    Follow Elisa Sheftic

    Elisa Sheftic – 1932 followers
    President at Right Executive Search

    Jack Kelly
    Follow Jack Kelly

    Jack Kelly – 1920 followers
    Managing Director and Executive Recruiter at Compliance Search Group

    Steven Englander
    Follow Steven Englander

    Steven Englander – 1675 followers
    CEO at RecruitingScience

    Dan Conroy, CPA
    Follow Dan Conroy, CPA

    Dan Conroy, CPA – 1597 followers
    Managing Director at Henderson Harbor Search LLC

    Eric Di Monte
    Follow Eric Di Monte

    Eric Di Monte – 1591 followers
    Senior Corporate Recruiter at Verizon

    Gary Zelamsky
    Follow Gary Zelamsky

    Gary Zelamsky – 1404 followers
    President at Executive Alliance

    Matty Meyerberg
    Follow Matty Meyerberg

    Matty Meyerberg – 1400 followers
    Recruiter at Royce Ashland Group, Inc.

    It’s easy to "follow" these recruiters and get instant e-mail updates when they’re hiring. Just go to "Follow Recruiter", search for the recruiters you’re interested in, and click "follow".

    Then, whenever they have a new job or update to broadcast, you’ll hear
    about it first. Direct to your inbox.

    Can it really be that simple?


    Sometimes simple is the easiest solution!

    So go check out "Follow Recruiter" for yourself right now and
    get a great jump on your week…

  • Help! These companies are hiring…

    With the continuing challenges in the jobs picture, you’d think companies would have it too good?

    Here are fifty of our employer friends looking to hire right now:

    Kforce, Inc.
    Novo Nordisk
    Sears Holdings Management Corporation
    Coventry Health Care
    Home Depot
    Rosetta Stone
    Thomson Reuters
    Pitney Bowes
    GE Energy
    UnitedHealth Group
    Ingram Micro
    Aon Hewitt
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
    Daiichi Sankyo
    The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
    Cox Communications
    MR Elgin
    DaVita, Inc.
    Owens Corning
    VeriSign, Inc.
    Georgia Pacific
    Starbucks Coffee Company
    GE Transportation
    Sava Senior Care
    Sierra Nevada Corporation
    MasterBrand Cabinets
    Quest Software

    You might ask: how can that be? With the unemployment rate still above eight percent, and the discourage rate even higher, how can it be that so many companies are hiring so many people?

    Well, it’s two things, Readers.

    First off, you have to remember that most hiring is replacement hiring. It’s not companies saying that they’re going to grow their workforce by leaps and bounds, rather, it’s companies replacing routine attrition that occurs as employees flow in and out of any organization.

    Think of it this way. Even though the level in your bank account probably doesn’t change too much in a particular year, and you may be more or less happy with where it is, a lot of new dollars come into your account each year from your current job. And then those dollars go out as expenses. So the vast majority of activity in your bank account is the addition of dollars to replace the ones you’ve already spent.

    Same thing in the employment market.

    We may be more or less happy with the overall rate of employment or unemployment, but the changeover from new employees coming in and old employees going out is far, far greater than the change in overall level.

    Therefore: most hiring is replacement hiring. Which means that most companies are hiring all the time.

    Second, some companies are always expanding. There are always sectors of the economy that are growing while others shrink. As an example, if your company has anything to do with Apple Inc. right now, you’re growing. Man, are you growing!

    And that’s whether or not your company has anything to do whatsoever with technology. If you sell cardboard boxes to Apple, you’re growing. If you sell real estate maintenance to Apple, you’re growing. If you sell the little plastic biodegradable forks that the geniuses who design iPads use to eat their arugula salads at their gorgeous headquarters… guess what?… you’re growing.

    So part of the job search is figuring out where’s the growth and where’s the shrink, and allocating your time accordingly.

    With that, I’ll wish you the best of luck in your search this week, Readers!

  • My proven question for getting the job

    Sometimes the career advice business is about finding what works and sticking with it. This week’s newsletter is about the best question for you to ask in interviews.

    Over the past decade, I’ve tried a lot of different thoughts, tricks and tips for getting you the job. But the one which I’ve found has been the most consistently successful for people is to ask their future or prospective bosses:

    “How do I help you get a gold star on your review next year?”

    This bit of advice has helped more people in more interviews than any other bit of advice I’ve shared over the years.


    Well, the interview process lends itself to our being self-absorbed bores. You’re asked so many questions and do so much of the talking that you can end up coming across as self-interested and selfish, to the detriment of showcasing your teamwork and thoughtfulness in the best light.

    Or, conversely, we become “job analysis engineers” and ask all sorts of questions about the job, and the reporting structure, and how that fits in with the company’s five-year plan, and so on, and so on. I love getting questions from prepared candidates in interviews, but I do have to admit to feeling that they’re not quite getting the point of the interview process when they pull out six pages of typed, single-spaced questions and proceed to grill me on each one in succession.

    We can get so obsessed with the details of the job that we forget about the work that goes along with a job.

    Working together and being a good addition to the team mean being concerned with how you are making the team successful. And that means being concerned with how you are helping to make your boss successful.

    Asking the “Gold Star” question shows that you have empathy. It shows that you have an interest in your boss’ career and future success. It shows that you are not just a self-absorbed “what’s in it for me” kind of person. And it shows that you know life is about “give” just as much as it is about “get”.

    As Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said:

    “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that say ‘Make me feel important.‘ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

    Subscribers to my newsletter often say that with the “Gold Star” question, their interviewer’s face lights up, their eyes smile, and their interviewer will respond with a big grin about what you can do for them when you’re a part of the team in a few weeks.

    I’ve heard time and time again from our five million subscribers how effective it’s been in interviews:

    It’s an easy tip to implement in your job search. It’s easy to do, easy to understand, and easy to measure.

    So why not add the “Gold Star” question to your repertoire, and make your next interview… golden?

  • Why your critics don’t count

    With the 4th of July coming up on Wednesday, it’s a good time to reconsider this advice from a great American:

    It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

    That was Theodore Roosevelt speaking at the Sorbonne in 1910, but he could have just as easily been speaking to you.

    Those critics, those naysayers, the nags and the negative people in our lives who want to tell us: “No. It can’t be done. Don’t try. Give up. Why do you have to stand out? Why won’t you just be sensible and give in to the inevitable?”

    They don’t count. And you mustn’t mistake their words for truth.

    Don’t buy into their message of settle-settle, underachievement, and muddle-along-now.

    Because you’ve been blessed with talent, because you’ve had the fortunate happenstance to be born in this great country (or emigrate, or visit!), because you’re one of the leading professionals in this land, you have a higher calling this Fourth of July.

    Use the great gifts you have been given, find the forum where your talents will shine, discover that place where your spirit soars and the work smells like… victory in the morning.

    Enjoy this week of the Fourth, and then go find your new arena.

  • One-armed man knocks out kickboxer

    There are a lot of reasons why you might not want to be a kickboxer.

    You could be timid, you could not enjoy fighting, you could prefer kung fu, and so on.

    But let’s take one really obvious reason why you can’t be a good kickboxer:

    You only have one arm.

    You know, it’s great to have dreams in life, but, hey, you also need to be realistic.

    Because half of kickboxing is boxing, sometimes you have to realize that you actually can’t do it; that it’s better to lower your expectations so that you don’t get your hopes too high and wind up disappointed.

    Sometimes, when your fantasies are unrealistic, you need to be reasonable. You need to be prudent. You need to let your dreams — let’s admit it, they were “crazy dreams” — pass on by, so that you can grow up and be an adult and be responsible.

    Like, for example, if you wanted to be a kickboxer, but, during a difficult childbirth, your right arm had been entangled with your umbilical cord and been amputated below the elbow.

    And that left you with just one arm and one hand.

    Then, you know, it’s pretty obvious that you…

    Well, you just can’t be a kickboxer, y’know?

    And maybe it’s even really disappointing to you because that was your crazy goal in life, and you were willing to do anything — work out in any gym, run any number of miles on the backroads of Winnipeg, jump as much rope as your father would turn for you — you were willing to do anything to be who you wanted to be.

    But it’s important that you trim your dreams in life to match your abilities.

    So let’s just face it and talk straight:

    If you only have one arm, you can’t be a kickboxer! That’s so obvious that I can’t believe I have to keep on telling you this…

    You. Can’t. Be. A. Kickboxer!!!

    That is, unless you’re my hero, Baxter Humby, and you think that’s all a bunch of baloney that other people are trying to push on you, and you don’t care that you only have one arm because you were born, and you breathe, and you beat, not just the opponent, but every excuse we ever tried to weigh down on you…

    You know, in some ways, it’s a totally unfair fight.

    Sure, the other guy’s got more hands, but Baxter’s got more heart.

    Guess who wins in life?

    Now, if you would be so kind as to do me the favor of writing down on a piece of paper all the reasons that you can’t be successful this week — please, really, right now, take the next sixty seconds to just write down on paper the reasons and the hassles and the obstacles to your being successful this week.

    And now take… (lucky you!)… both of your hands, grab that little piece of paper between them, and then rrriiiiiiiiiiippppppppppppppp those terrible little lies into teeny, tiny shreds. You won’t be needing them anymore…

    Now go out and be who you were born to be: today, tomorrow, the rest of the week, and the rest of your life.

    UPDATE: An even more compelling fact about Baxter Humby is that he is not just “a” kickboxer, he is the World Champion in his weight class! Which is really astounding. For more, you can visit his homepage or check out his Wikipedia entry.