It’s Saturday, I’m in at the office and I have 350+ emails in my in-box. Arghhh. I took a 1/2 day off on Friday to be the helper at my daughters school…so I got behind. However, 350 emails is just crazy.
Here is approximately how the numbers broken down.
50 legitimate business emails. These are client, partners and prospects that I want to communicate with
5 personal emails.
10 alerts from various services
120 LinkedIN invitations. No problem here, but I don’t need to see these in my inbox.
30 invites to various webinars. Most of these are from legitimate business connections that somehow decided I should go on a general distribution list.
50 requests from other social networks.
75 absolute unwanted spam messages.
Somehow I let my in-box get away from me. I lost track of best practices. Anyone with some ideas on managing an out-of-control inbox, I want to hear from you. This blog is part 1. In part 2, I post the solutions & suggestions that I gather over the coming weeks. Part 2 will only be posted once I get back control of my email inbox.
For those about to send me suggestions. I already make good use of filters and I have a professional email spam-blocking service that I am happy with. The spams I am getting are from contacts that somehow make the conceptual leap from being a business connection to putting me on their distribution lists.
Idea: wouldn’t it be nice to have a program that took all webinars and events emails and only shows you ones that fit your schedule? hmmm
I just came back from the Kennedy conference in Orlando, FL. The most important thing I learned is that Broadlook needs to buy more headphones. Anyone who has been to a conference and seen the Broadlook booth, knows that we get lines backed up to get a peek at our wares. In order to reach more people, we created a 4 minute video, that concisely describes what Broadlook does. So, even though we did not have enough headphones for everyone… I want to thank the great attendees at the Kennedy show for sharing. Next time, we will have more headphones!
Among the groups of people at Kennedy, there was a contingent of professional resume writers. One of them stopped by the Broadlook booth and I gave her a quick walk-through of Diver.
“Can you do a search for Chemical Engineer resumes?” She asked
Sure, I said.
I let her then type a search string into Diver, to let her put it through the paces. She pressed the SEARCH button. As Diver started extracting resumes from across the web, she spoke out loudly “There he is!” as she jumped up and down. This was good for me, as it drew additional people to the Broadlook booth.
She was loud, proud and rather giddy. One of her recent clients, for whom she wrote the resume, was pulled up with a large group of other resumes.
Then I scared her.
She asked me to show her how the filter function worked in Diver. In the filter box inside Diver, I typed in, at her request, “polymer clay”. Her candidate, her work, her resume was filtered out. Gone.
At first, she blamed Diver, telling me that she knew that she added “Polymer clay” into a skills list to help with search engine optimization (SEO). I then explained to her that Diver filters based on the significant parts of the resume. It was designed this way based on my years of being a recruiter. During my recruiter years, most systems, like job boards would search on text anywhere within the resume. A quasi-smart candidate could add a Über list of every tech skill imaginable to a resume. The intent being that is it would turn up in every search.
Those days are over. Diver ignores the skills section of a resume and applies it’s filter to the education and experience blocks of the resume. This way, Diver is looking for skills listed within the language of the job history. Basically, Diver is doing exactly what a smart recruiter does; Ignore the big skill list and read through the job history and look for a direct correlation or inference for the desired skill set.
Keep in mind that most job boards still perform a “stupid” search. If you are looking for a keyword it doesn’t matter if your first name is Java, you list a skill as Java, or you write about Java in your work history. All keywords, at all places, are equivalent. The same can be said for searching Job Postings. Think about it… a job posting can have multiple sections, the actual job description, a section about what the company does, information on how to apply, benefits, etc. Most Internet search is poor.
I didn’t really want to spend much time on Diver, but it is a glimpse of how things will be done in the future. Eventually, the job boards will catch up. A friend of mine, a CEO of search technology company points out that the job boards may never want to do this. Why? “Because it will significantly reduce the resumes that match your query and people will realize how few candidates job boards really have”. Interesting point.
So, for those resume writers out there, personal or professional. Here are some tips on how to develop your resume so that it will have greater impact within “search”.
Before doing this, I read up on many resume writing services. The fact that most of site (not all) that I visited reminded me of web 1.0 tells me that most of the writers have no conception of SEO. They may be good writers, but they do not understand technology. They are writing for the reader and that is the cardinal mistake.
1. Write your final resume for the searcher, not the reader.
This is the biggest mistake made. It is a frame of mind. If you can “grok” this, you don’t need to read any further. The searcher is not just a person. The searcher is a person combined with the capabilities (or inabilities) of the search mechanism being used.
2. Use permutations to your advantage. Leverage it in work history, education and anywhere
Work history line:
BAD 2001-2008 CEO, Broadlook
GOOD 2001-2008 Chief Executive Officer / CEO, Broadlook Technologies Inc. / BTI / Broadlook.com / Pewaukee, WI 53072
Broadlook has never been referred to as BTI, but think of the ways that IBM could be search for: IBM, IBM CORP, International Business Machines, etc.
3. Put your most important skills within the description of the job history. As discussed earlier, technology will improve over the next few years. More and more search tools will allow the targeting of specific sections of a resume.
4. Post your resume on your own site as well as the job boards. Get a free hosted blog via wordpress.com and add a resume section to it. This is something that resume writers could do for free, it does not cost anything. It would even be the delivery mechanism vs. a WORD or PDF file.
5. If you do post on the job boards, include a link back to your own resume site.
6. Post your resume now, even if you are not looking for a job. Why? The longer something is online, the more chance that it will get indexed. Make it an anonymous resume if you don’t want your contact information out there right now.
7. Make sure that some part of your resume page has dynamic content. Search engines like pages and sites that change. It is easy to find free plug-ins to add content and feeds.
8. Lastly, do make sure that you have a well-written resume. Having all the SEO in the world with a bunch of spelling mistakes won’t endear you to a recruiter or employer.
There is a tremendous GAP in what could be done as a service for job seekers and what is being done. What this means is that some entrepreneur is working on that problem already or someone should. I surely don’t have the time for it.
Companies and the minds within them evolve over time. I have experienced it firsthand in founding Broadlook Technologies and steering its growth over the last 6 years. Core competencies change, competitive landscapes change, opportunities come and go and through all this there is your corporate identity and messaging. There is internal messaging, external messaging and…
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
While internal messaging may be something like “don’t complain about the 150 lbs slobbering behemoth of a dog the CEO brings in with him” (if they do, I bring in her soon to be 200 lb offspring), I am not focusing on that here. Today I am concerned (sometimes, up at night) about external messaging; that which is projected outwards to the marketplace. What brought this to my attention was my wandering around the booths at the recent Onrec conference in Chicago. Innately, I a very curious person; I want to understand. So I made the rounds to each vendor booth and simply asked them.
“So what do you do”?
For the most part, I was horrified with the experience.
Why? It was NOT because what I heard was awful. In fact, many pitches were excellent. I was horrified because it made me question and run to the Broadlook booth. Was my team excellent, or not so excellent?
Let me digress…Understand this is an area of pride for me, Dan Hughes (one of Broadlook’s co-founders) and I rock at the trade shows. People line up to get a peek at our latest solutions. We have well crafted pitches, regardless if we are talking to a recruiter, recruiting manager, sales rep or CEO.
How did my team at Broadlook Technologies do with their pitches?
Mixed results. Some were very good and some were poor. Next step, I called each of my reps that were not attending the show.
“This is Donato, I want you to call my cell phone back ASAP. I won’t pick up my cell phone. Leave me a message as if I was a prospect at a trade show and I asked you.”
“So what do you do?”
Armed with a larger sample size, it was hard for me to accept that Broadlook Technologies was, as it relates to elevator pitches…average. We filled out all sectors of the bell curve. That hurt. The blame was solely mine and I needed to do something about it. Average sucks.
Fast forward. Today Broadlook Technologies rocks the pitch.
How did Broadlook get there?
I did a deep dive into researching elevator pitch. Most of the research, materials and advice I found was related to making a pitch to get financing. In reality, this type of elevator pitch is 2-3 minutes long and is too lengthy for a trade show pitch. I needed techniques for a 20-30 second pitch, not 2-3 minutes.
Most of what I learned is that people have mastered copying each other. Like almost all writing in all industries, industry “experts” are copying 5 of the top 10 something’s from one place or another to build their top 10 list of something else.
I’ve never been good at that.
So it was time for fieldwork. Thus, for those that saw me in October conferences with my camera, I was learning. At the first conference, I was in not helping with the pitches; I recorded them as-is. The camera was cheap, and the audio quality was lack-luster. At the second conference, I had a new Sony HD camera. Video was great but the audio was poor with all the background noise. By the 3rd conference, I added directional microphone. By the 4th conference in October, I learned what made a great pitch and I was able to coach the people I was recording. After the 4th conference, I was confident enough to put together a 60-minute webinar: “The Art of the Elevator Pitch”. It went over very well for the vendors attending the Kennedy conference. In the webinar, I talked about elements of a good pitch as well as how to measure and coach a pitch. Info on measuring and coaching was absolutely void, so I feel I made a break-through contribution. What good is teaching something if you don’t have the tools to measure effectiveness and coach the topic?
This was a fun experience. In total I did about 60 recordings. 38 of the recordings made it into this blog entry. The ones I cut out were either very bad, or the video/audio quality was poor. I am not a videographer, some pitches were fantastic, but my camera skills were not and the end result was unusable. My end goal was to (1) share what I learned about pitches and (2) give the vendors that spent time with me a venue to get them some exposure.
If anyone that I excluded wants to be included, contact me and we can record your pitch via Skype and I will post it on a future blog. I’ll be adding an “elevator pitch” section to my blog, as I intend on continuing my research.
Much of the existing literature on the Internet about elevator pitches included 8-10 points to remember. Trying to remember 8-10 concepts at the same time can be paralyzing. I wanted to bring the whole process down a few, simple, memorable steps that anyone can implement. After my research and fieldwork I can up with a three-step process to build your elevator pitch. Enjoy the videos!
1. Talk about a problem. What is the problem in the market that caused you to create your product or service?
Sales reps spend 30% of their time prospecting. They use the Internet inefficiently. They are manually picking through web sites… cutting & pasting contact information. They do this because the leads they are getting are stale and overused.
2. How do you solve that problem? Be concise and clear.
Broadlook provides solutions that harness names, titles, emails, phone numbers and bio’s from the Internet. You choose the sectors or companies to target. The data is fresh. The data is actionable. Think about it: The most powerful list is the one no-one else has. We can help you build that list.
3. What makes you unique? Don’t use generic terms like the “best”, craft a something that truly differentiates you in the market.
We automate the entire process of Internet research from finding the data to moving it seamlessly into your CRM. We can change 8 hours of research into 15 minutes.
Lastly, for those interested in the powerpoint for the Art of the Elevator Pitch webinar. Get it here.
My blog is about “what keeps me up at night”. For people that never read my blog, they get the impression that these things are things that worry me. It couldn’t be more opposite. It is the passion and excitment about a new idea, new opportunity and new potential that keeps me up at night.
Last night, I tossed and turned with that excitement. Hearing the new president elect Barack Obama speaking on the theme of “Yes we can” last night resonated with me. I was moved. “Yes we can” is at the core of American innovation. The same curiosity that pushed our manifest destination to expand from ocean to ocean is core American. I’m looking forward to seeing our country move forward with an intense curiousity which was void in the last administration. Intense curiosity makes you ask “why not” when you start to realize what the possibilities are. If enough bright people as “why not”, soon people are believing in “yes we can” vs. just saying it. I’ve always believed we can.
I’m thinking that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in yes we can. Nearly half a century later, the majority of Americans truly accepted a man by the “content of his character”, not just to be a friend or acquaintance, but to be their leader. Wow.
Yes we can. One of my passions is seeking alternative energy sources. This is the time for yes we can as it relates removing our dependence on foreign energy sources. Anyone who doubts the possibilities should review the work that our good scientists, American scientists, are doing at the National Ignition Facility (http://lasers.llnl.gov where they are working on nuclear fusion. How about unlimited energy that is clean, can produce more energy than it requires to make it and we can export it to the rest of the world for a good capitalistic profit. Why not? Yes we can!