Jeff Lipschultz’s Blog

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Why You Should Know About "The Rise of the Creative Class"

This guest post is contributed by Angela Martin, who writes on the topics of Job Search Web sites. She welcomes your comments through email:

So you may be on the job hunt right now, or perhaps you already have a job and you’re considering switching careers. Now as all of us who are hyper-connected to the Internet know, there’s a glut of career advice tips out there, and they all promise that if you follow the advice, you’ll land that job immediately. Of course some pieces of advice are better than others, some are given by recruiting experts, like here at Jeff Lipschutz’s Blog, and some by people who may just be unemployed bloggers themselves.

What I propose to discuss is not any specific “trick of the trade” that will supposedly net you a paid gig, but rather a current trend in economic development that demonstrates the future direction that jobs will take in America and arguably around the world. Being aware of this trend, I think, will be helpful in understanding the subtle shifts in attitude that many in business are taking toward hiring. Richard Florida, an economist and social scientist, wrote about this particularly theory in a book called “The Rise of the Creative Class.” He also wrote an accompanying article for the Washington Monthly that previews this theory.

To sum up Florida’s ideas, basically, what typifies the creative class is knowledge and, as the name implies, creativity. Florida believes that the best jobs will be taken by those in the creative class. The “Super-Creative Core” is the smallest but most important of the group, and it is comprised of individuals who “fully engage in the creative process,” and along with “problem-solving…their work may entail problem-finding.” This core group of creative people can be found in a wide variety of fields including engineering, education, research, and computer programming.

The secondary group that comprises the creative class is what Florida terms “Creative Professionals,” and these people, too, encompass a broad range of specialty fields, like business and finance, law, healthcare, and education. The two groups together form a discrete entity of people who are driving economic development and are generally looking for work in “creative” cities that appeal to their lifestyles. In Texas, the state’s three major metropolitan areas—Dallas, Houston, and Austin–all make the cut for the top ten cities that have the conditions needed to satisfy this growing class.

But what does Florida’s theory of the creative class have to do with a typical professional’s job search, and ultimately, the recruiting process in general? Well, Florida proposes that recruiting strategies will change in order to attract this creative class. Gone will be the days of static interviews. Now, recruiters will increasingly be trying to gauge creative capacity, to understand what makes each candidate really tick, and what he or she can do for the company that will be innovative and forward-thinking. Thus, something to think about in your own job search is to not only reflect on what you have already accomplished, but what you can accomplish in the future in creative, unusual ways.


April 27, 2010 Posted by | Candidate Selection, Careers, Guest Post, Job Search | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Top 15 Interviewing Mistakes

When you are fortunate enough to be granted an interview, you have become one of a small group being considering for the job.  The interview is paramount in separating yourself from the pack.  Unfortunately for some, it is where they do not prepare well enough or stumble during the process.  This guest post by Nikki Ruth outlines some key pitfalls to avoid during the interview.  Nikki is a CV writer and founder of job interview coaching company My CV and Me.  Nikki has over 10 years experience conducting job interview coaching and is an active blogger.


A big part of a successful interview is avoiding simple mistakes. You can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these top 15 interview mistakes.

1. Badmouthing your boss – 49% percent of interviewers cite badmouthing a former boss as the worst interview offense. Don’t speak negatively about your former boss or company. It’s the fastest way to talk yourself out of a job. Instead, put a positive spin on your experiences and your job search.

2. Not being prepared – If you really want the job, you need to do some homework. Find out all you can about the company, using their website. Read press releases to find out about their products, customers and competitors. You are looking for indications of where a company is going and what problems the company and the industry are having.

3. Sounding too rehearsed – While it’s important to practise your answers, try not to sound too rehearsed. When you are practising, write the answers in bullet points which will stop you memorising information word-for-word.

4. Not knowing yourself – Make sure you know what sets you apart from other candidates and be specific about what you’ve done that has made you successful. Know your background without having to refer to your CV. There is no one better than you to tell your story.

5. Talking too much – There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on. 35% of interviewers cite waffling as their pet hate. The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and don’t ramble. The best way to do this is to prepare and practice your interview answers beforehand.

6. Focusing on the past – The projects you worked on ten years ago bring context to your career and the professional you have become. However the skills you now possess are what will be valuable to your new employer. Concentrate on your current roles and experiences.

7. Lack of enthusiasm – This is your first and sometimes only chance to showcase your personality. Be polite and upbeat. Show your enthusiasm for both the job and the company. Focus on positive topics and achievements.

8. Exaggerating work experience – Recruiters know if you’re exaggerating in interviews by vague responses, missing information and inconsistencies. If there is anything that appears odd, they will ask the same question in various ways. If you are telling the truth your answers will remain consistent. 

9. Not asking questions – Having no questions indicates that you have not thought much about the position. Prepare at least three questions to ask the interviewer. One of the most effective questions to ask is: “What do you think my biggest challenge would be in this position?”  You can discover if the interviewer has any concerns about you and can address these there and then.

10. Arriving late – Nothing makes a worse impression. If you can’t turn up on time for the interview, what would you do as an employee? If there’s even the remotest chance that weather or traffic might be a problem, leave early just to be sure.

11. Poor presentation – A limp handshake, not making eye contact, chewing gum and clock watching are all a big turn off. A lot of interviewers make up their minds in the first two minutes and spend the remaining 28 re-enforcing their judgment. First impressions count! The best way to be aware of your interview body language and the way you are coming across is to practice in front of a mirror. This way you can be confident that you are sending the right message in your job interview.

12. Treating the receptionist rudely – The receptionist is the first person you’ll meet in the company and they often take you to the interview. The interviewer will usually ask their opinion of you after you leave.

13. Asking about benefits or salary – You have a right to know about the benefits package you’ll be offered, but chances are the interviewer will bring it up on his/her own. If this doesn’t happen, you can broach the subject when salary negotiations begin.

14. Building a rapport with the interviewer – If the interviewer seems all business, don’t attempt to loosen him/her up with a joke or story. Be succinct and businesslike. If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his/her interests. Also pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. They might be sending you subtle signals with how they act that you can use to your advantage. You ideally want the interviewer to be doing the same things you are like maintaining eye contact, nodding, smiling, leaning forward or sitting relaxed.

15. Talking about ‘we’ – When you are describing your experiences stay focused on you, talk about what you did, not what ‘John’ or ‘we’ did. After all it is you going for that job not your entire team and interviewers want to know what your specific role in achieving the desired result was.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Guest Post, Interviewing 101 | 7 Comments

Six New Rules of Executive Job Search

Meg profile Guest blogger:  Meg Guiseppi, CPBS, MRW, CPRW

I was commiserating recently with Jeff Lipschultz of A-List Solutions about how overwhelming the new world of executive job search can be for those facing one.

With fewer jobs at every level, when faced with a layoff or when considering a career transition, executives may find they’re not in demand the way they used to be. In the past, they were probably approached as passive job seekers by recruiters who slid them into their next great gig. They can no longer rely so heavily on recruiters to place them.

So much has changed in just the past year or so. Several factors deeply impact landing  an executive job today − personal branding, the need for a strong online footprint, the rise of social media, the fact that recruiters and hiring decision makers source candidates on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, and, of course, the current state of the economy, resulting in much more competition in the job market for fewer top-level jobs.

Jeff shared his advice on connecting and working with recruiters in a Q&A with me on my Executive Resume Branding Blog, “Working with Executive Recruiters.”

Senior-level executives who come to me for help are all at sea when it comes to understanding what they need to do first, what they shouldn’t do, and that they need to build a different kind of job search strategy.

Here are six tactics that will help you get a handle on and excel in today’s new world of executive job search:

1. Personal branding to differentiate and strategically position you.

In brief, personal branding links your passions, key personal attributes, and strengths with your value proposition, in a crystal clear message that differentiates your unique promise of value and resonates with your target audience.

One of the many powerful things about branding is that it generates chemistry for you and helps hiring decision makers connect you with and see you in the jobs they’re trying to fill. Branding shows them how you make things happen.

2. Portfolio of career marketing communications for your personal brand toolkit.

An executive resume, career biography, covering letter or email message, and reference dossier are must-haves.

But you may need other documents such as a Leadership Initiatives Profile, Achievement Summary, One-page Networking Resume, Performance Milestones, Product Launch Chronology, Project Management Highlights, Technology Skills, Training & Certifications, Speaking Presentations, Publications, Patents, Commitment to Community Service, etc. Name the document to fit the content and target.

Get ready to transform these documents into your online identity-building strategy.

3. LinkedIn profile and strategy.

Did you know that recruiters and hiring decision makers routinely search LinkedIn for talent and even have special applications designed for that purpose?

If you do nothing else online, you have to have a great LinkedIn profile. But don’t stop there. Get busy making connections, joining clubs, and leveraging all this site boasting over 45 million professional members has to offer.

Go back to your executive resume and career biography and copy relevant contentLinkedIn E-book into the appropriate sections to create your LinkedIn profile. Download a copy of my FREE E-book, “Executive Branding and Your LinkedIn Profile: How to Transform Your Executive Brand, Resume, and Career Biography into a Winning LinkedIn Profile.” The book takes you through building a branded profile, step by step.

Optimize your profile and make it searchable using the relevant key word phrases hiring decision makers will be looking for in candidates like you.

Once your profile is together, be sure to include a link to it in your email signature and at the top of your resume, along with contact information.

4. Tap into the hidden job market with targeted industry and company research.

Track down warm leads at companies of interest to you, identify the challenges they’re facing, learn about the company culture, and pinpoint how you can help.

Circumvent the gatekeepers by identifying and connecting directly with top decision makers through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other online social networks.

Your research also arms you with market intelligence, serves as your due diligence for companies, and positions you as an informed, engaged candidate in interviews.

5. Face-to-Face Networking Strategy

Along with online networking, in-person networking is still one of the best ways to land a job. Many executives neglect their networks when they’re not job seeking − a serious mistake. You’ll need to revive your connections and once again start practicing “give to get” networking.

Leverage the Internet employment portal to connect or re-connect through professional associations & societies, company, military & government alumni groups, and networking & job search support groups.

6. Online personal brand-building and online brand identity management.

What will recruiters and hiring decision makers uncover when they Google “your name”? Checking out candidates’ online presence before even considering or contacting them is pretty much standard practice now.

If they find nothing about you online, you probably don’t exist to them. Conversely, if they find information that discredits you, you’ll probably be out of the running. You’ll need to run damage control and start building up accurate, on-brand results to push down the negative ones.

Here are a few places to build a presence online and increase the number of positive search results associated with you:

  • Create a VisualCV and Google Profile.
  • Blog in some way − your own blog and/or guest blog and comment on other relevant blogs.
  • Create key word-rich profiles on Twitter and Facebook and get busy leveraging all they have to offer.
  • Write book reviews on Amazon and other online book sellers.
  • Publish articles and/or white papers online.

For more strategies, see my series of blog posts, Top 10 Best of C-Level Executive Job Search Strategies


© Copyright Meg Guiseppi, 2009. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

A C-level / Senior-level Executive Branding & Job Search Strategist and CEO of Executive Resume Branding, Meg Guiseppi loves collaborating with forward-focused corporate leaders to differentiate their unique value proposition, demystify today’s world of executive job search, and strategically position them for success. A 20-year careers industry veteran, Meg has earned multiple certifications ― Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Master Resume Writer, Certified VisualCV Creator, and Certified Professional Resume Writer.

Meg works one-on-one with clients to define their personal brand, craft interview-generating documents ― elite resumes, career biographies, cover letters, and collateral documents. She transforms these documents into a strong online footprint with LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking profile creation, VisualCV creation, and other online identity-building strategies.

For a wealth of insider tips on personal branding and executive job search, visit her Executive Resume Branding Blog/Website. View Meg’s LinkedIn profile. Follow Meg on Twitter.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Guest Post, Job Search, Social Media, Working with Recruiters | 2 Comments

Setting Goals: Do It or Get Passed

Whether managing your career, your job search, or even your personal life, goals play an important role is achieving new heights.  062

I recently wrote a blog post as my alter ego, The Bike Whisperer, on setting goals in cycling.  The parallels to life “out of the saddle” seem pretty clear to me.  Take a look at the post and see if you agree: The Secret is Setting Goals.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Careers, General Musings, Guest Post, Job Search | 1 Comment

Resume Writers: Keep Your Plate Out of the Boiler

I’ve always said your resume needs to tell a story.  It should be compelling enough to spark some interest and get the reader to continue learning about you.  To appear truly interesting, you need to include unique accomplishments, but at the same time, avoid boring, boilerplate phrases.

What are “boring boilerplate phrases?”  In many cases, these are phrases that used to be unique and business-savvy, but then got used so much, they became trite.  Liz Ryan graciously agreed to allow me to repost her article written for Yahoo! Hotjobs that hits the nail on the head with this topic. 

See how many of the boilerplate phrases you’ve used in the past.  Time the think outside the box…oops, that’s a tired expression, too.  Time to raise the bar…dang, again.  Nevermind.  Maybe you’ll have better luck!

photo-lizryan10 Boilerplate Phrases That Kill Resumes

by Liz Ryan

The 2009 job market is very different from job markets of the past. If you haven’t job-hunted in a while, the changes in the landscape can throw you for a loop.

One of the biggest changes is the shift in what constitutes a strong resume. Years ago, we could dig into the Resume Boilerplate grab-bag and pull out a phrase to fill out a sentence or bullet point on our resume. Everybody used the same boilerplate phrases, so we knew we couldn’t go wrong choosing one of them — or many — to throw into your resume.

Things have changed. Stodgy boilerplate phrases in your resume today mark you as uncreative and “vocabulary challenged.” You can make your resume more compelling and human-sounding by rooting out and replacing the boring corporate-speak phrases that litter it, and replacing them with human language — things that people like you or I would actually say.

Here are the worst 10 boilerplate phrases — the ones to seek out and destroy in your resume as soon as possible:

  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation

You can do better. What about adding a human voice to your resume? Here’s an example:

“I’m a Marketing Researcher who’s driven by curiosity about why people buy what they do. At XYZ Industries, I used consumer surveys and online-forum analysis to uncover the reasons why consumers chose our competitors over us; our sales grew twenty percent over the next six months as a result. I’m equally at home on sales calls or analyzing data in seclusion, and up to speed on traditional and new-millennium research tools and approaches. I’m fanatical about understanding our marketplace better every day, week and month — and have helped my employers’ brands grow dramatically as a result.”

You don’t have to write resumes that sound like robots wrote them. A human-voiced resume is the new black — try it!

Additional Information:

I have a few other blog posts on resume writing for reference:

Resume Writing for College Students

Is your resume too good?

The Basics of a Good Resume

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Guest Post, Resume Writing | 17 Comments

How Will You Be Remembered Tomorrow?

How many of us know what our great-great-grandfather did for a living? Or what our great-great-grandmother looked like?  Much has changed since their day; now we have the ability to capture every aspect of ourselves in multitudes of ways.  Social Media has grown to be one of the most prolific–we share our videos and photos as we chat/blog/tweet/email about our life experiences.  In essence, we are creating a virtual time capsule that our future generations will be able to explore.  They will learn our views on many topics and see samples of our work. They will have a clear picture of who we are.  All of this captured in the databases of Social Media.

But not just family and friends visit this portal to our world.  With today’s ease of access, potential employers are leveraging this same information.  Job seekers: beware!

Bill Boorman, a managing director and trainer at Bill Boorman Consultancy in the United Kingdom, has graciously agreed to share his views on the pro’s and con’s of Social Media for job seekers. 

The best and the worst in social media for job seekers 

by Bill Boorman

BBThere is a lot of talk in how to make the world of social media work in the quest for new employment. It is one of the areas I’m asked about most on my travels. Before you invest lots of time jumping in to the realms of social media, you need to consider the positives and negatives and what you want to get out of it.

The best of social media

Social media provides a shop window for you to advertise yourself to the world at the touch of a button or click of a mouse. You can sit your profile on a platform like LinkedIn and recruiters will have access to your details and be able to contact you easily. This also differs from a CV database as you don’t need to worry about your boss finding your profile. There are lots of other commercial reasons for being there. You can highlight your background, experience and show references from clients and colleagues to enhance your reputation. I would also recommend that you join groups in your sector and post often, this will get you noticed.

Back up your LinkedIn profile with twitter activity. Recruiters are very easy to find here, and will circulate your message among their own followers, which usually includes a healthy collection of those in and around recruitment. (We tend to stick together for support.) If I were looking for a position, I would be regularly tweeting headlines about my key skills with a link to my Linkedin profile. You can repeat this fairly often, as twitter is instant though your tweets are forgotten after 10 minutes. Mix up your headlines and messages often, and look to sign up with recruiters who will also regularly post job openings. If you find direct recruiters, you can message them questions like “I’ve always ben interested in working at XYZ, what advice can you give me?” This will get you noticed, it has never been easier or quicker.

The worst of social media

There are no hiding places in social media. Once you’ve posted, it can always be found via Google. This can become a real problem if you combine your personal networks with your business contacts under your own name. Think about any entries you might have on Facebook or other social media platforms. Google yourself, a new employer may well do this. Do you want to be seen in this way? Now might be the time to start changing your profiles and leaving a positive footprint by intelligent blogging, leaving comment on others blogs, comments in groups and tweets that reflect you in the right light. Much as I hate the term, think of yourself as a brand and market yourself accordingly.

Last point, look at your e-mail address. Some of the ones I receive on resumes leave you on the reject pile straight away. Funny among your friends, but not professional.

On the good side of social media, I would like to emphasize Bill’s point that blogging is a great vehicle for portraying yourself as an expert in your field.  I have coached many executives that they need to speak out on topics that are relevant to their field.  Not only does this give insight to your deep knowledge, but also your writing style and ability to explain concepts to a wide audience.  A secondary benefit of LInkedIn and Twitter is you can “broadcast” to the world when you have released new posts.

On the flipside, social media can capture a version of us in our weaker moments.  As mentioned many times in this blog, there’s no downside to letting the employment world see that you have a personal life (you like camping, enjoy being a parent, champion a worldly cause). However, you must always use the rule of thumb: would mom approve?  Would she be concerned about you posting that video/lambasting that political figure/sharing a distasteful joke? There are plenty of precautions you can take like using privacy settings on Facebook.

The benefits of Social Media greatly outweigh the downside, as long as you keep the window to your world clean.

Feel feel free to add to the discussion in the comment section or you can Tweet Bill at @BillBoorman (he keeps strange hours–he might just Tweet you back straight away) or me at @jlipschultz.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Guest Post, Job Search, Social Media | 11 Comments

Show Your Face(book), Part II

Last month, I shared my high level view on Social Media and the new ways friends, colleagues, and co-workers have embraced new communication tools that technology has provided [Show Your Face(book)].  I mentioned that although millions have jumped in this new sea of interaction, many are still slow to “dip their toe in the water.” I also shared some insights on Facebook specifically, as this is one of the more mainstream applications.  In a second post, I talked about the concepts of transparency and social capital associated with these tools (Just How Transparent Are You?).

Recently, my friend, Jeff Hurt (who I met on Twitter, by the way), shared with me great insights on the bigger picture.  He spotlights the ways in which social networking is effecting our relationships.  I love what he has to say on this and would like to share it with you.

“Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are fundamentally changing how we live, work and relate to one another as human beings. The edges between work and social life are blurring. People are shifting their social networks into their work networks and vice versa—business associates and childhood friends, side by side. Business has invaded Facebook. Creative talent seekers are scouring Twitter and YouTube for their next star. Do you “friend” (befriend) your boss on Facebook? Do you send Twitter messages to your sales rep? You do now.

As individuals, we have two sources of personal competitive advantage: human capital and social capital. Human capital, which includes talent, intellect, charisma and formal authority, is necessary for success but often beyond our direct control. Social capital, on the other hand, derives from our relationships. Consciously or unconsciously, people use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as tools for maximizing their social capital (the currency of business interactions and relationships).

People don’t trust advertisers, buzz, marketing hype or strangers. Business people, consumers and people, like you and me, are looking for relationships built on trust. We want our friends and those we’ve built a relationships with to tell us something is good. We want someone we know, in our community or network, to tell us to read something, consider a new product or purchase a specific service. In this “Attention and Trust Economy,” communities are king and ROI stands for Return on Influence. As Chris Brogran says, “Friends are the Wall Street of the Trust Economy.”

Individuals with greater social capital and stronger networks close more deals, are better respected and get higher-ranking jobs. Online social networks offer access to social capital, empowering those who are well connected with private information, diverse skill sets, and others’ energy and attention. Participation in social media is the way to increase your social capital and ROI (return on influence).”

April 18, 2009 Posted by | General Musings, Guest Post, Social Media | 1 Comment

Your Job Interview IQ

I read an interesting article today written by C.J. Liu of where she asks us to determine our Job Interview IQ.  She asks some pertinent True/False questions about interviewing and provides good insights with the answers.  I’ve added some of my own at the bottom of this post that I’ve discussed with candidates over the years.  Feel free to use the comment option on this post to add one of your own.

What’s Your Job Interview IQ?

by C.J. Liu,

After networking, sending resumes, and waiting patiently by the phone, all your hard work has paid off with an invitation to interview. But, how do you prepare? What do you wear? And, how should you explain any layoffs or gaps in your resume?

See full article>>

My additions to her article:

11.  When asked the age-old question of where I see myself in five years, I should say, “in your position.”

False.  It is good to show ambition in your interview and that you seek growth in your career.  However, unless you have really good information on the career path on this job, you’re guessing as to what the plans for this job are.  It is best to stay generic.  Let them know that you would expect in the next five years, you would have grown your skill set, learned their industry well enough to teach others, have enhanced your abilities in working with all types of people (vendors, clients, colleagues, management), and would be positioned well for any new opportunities the company has planned for you.

12.  When asked what is your pet peeve, you tell them you can’t stand people who eat their lunch at their desk and talk endlessly on the phone to their aunt in Tallahassee.

False.  Although this may be true, there is no need to share this pet peeve of yours.  The reality is, this is a trap question. There really is no good “real” answer.  So instead, use humor or a light-hearted comment that has little relevance.  Example: “I hate when I get my coat caught in the car door on the way to work and everyone is pointing at my car on the way in.”  When pressed for more peeves, you can say you’re not the type to get “peeved.”

13.  You’ll sound too desperate if you tell them you really want the job.

True/False.  You’ll sound too desperate if you say it in a begging tone or down on your knees.  But, I always advocate sounding very interested in the job.  During the interview, consider it your best option for a job (you can evaluate this assumption later).  Thinking this way will naturally guide your comments to lean toward enthusiasm, true interest, and excitement about the prospect of working there.  Interviewers gage this and want to hire candidates who really do want to work there, not just be employed.

For more insights on all these questions along with interviewing preparation, etiquette, and strategy for answering interviewing questions, feel free to download my eBooks.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Careers, Guest Post, Interviewing 101 | 11 Comments