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Archive: March - 2014 (4)

  • Game Time Strategy: A Super Bowl Approach to Your Job Search

    Article by Samantha Epstein, Practice Manager in Workbridge New York

    I’ve been in the business of helping folks get jobs for nearly six years now, and I currently run our Microsoft recruiting team here at Workbridge Associates New York. Throughout my time in the recruiting industry, one of the things that has become most evident to me is that no matter how you swing it, a lot of people don’t know how to look for a job. Now, that is fairly bold statement. Of course people know how to look for jobs, it’s just that they aren’t doing it the most effective or efficient way possible.

    As we moved on from Super Bowl XLVIII and I was listening to all the talk about offensive and defensive strategy, I started to think about the various ways people search for a job and which ways are the most effective. What I came up with was four types of job searchers: The Spammer, The Bystander, The Sniper and The Renaissance Man.

    The Spammer

    “The Spammer” is someone that you have to give credit to because of the shear amount of time they spend submitting resumes to job advertisements. The Spammer’s approaches their job search by systematically applying for every position they can find, on every online job board they are aware of. Typically, this process occurs once a day and can last a few minutes to a few hours. The Spammer typically has a pre-written cover letter and resume in an email that they forward, edit, and send. When asked, The Spammer is typically unable to remember all of the places they have applied and has a vague recollection of the actual interviews that they have been on.

    The Bystander

    “The Bystander” is just as the name implies- a spectator. The Bystander is someone who has a very wide and impressive network of connections in their given field. Typically, The Bystander has bought a ticket to the game, but is more interested and/or capable of watching, rather than playing. They approach their job search by creating the most widely applicable and impressive resume they can for their given field, and they then send it to everyone they know with an accompanying request for assistance in finding them a new opportunity. At this point, The Bystander sits back in their lazy-boy, flipping through the channels and checking on the score occasionally.

    The Sniper

    The Sniper is a very specific and well-trained job seeker. The Sniper knows exactly what their target is, how to find it, track it, and how to angle themselves for the kill shot. This type of job seeker knows exactly what they are looking for- typically based on previous job searches and places of employment. They also clearly understand what they don’t want, based on said experiences. The Sniper’s approach to their job search is to look for very specific companies or types of companies, research everything about them, their employees and their open positions, and then attack. They execute this process over and over again until they find something that meets their requirements and expectations.  

    The Renaissance Man

    Just like their namesake, this is an enlightened job seeker who utilizes a variety of approaches. This person often has a systematic approach to things, often seeming somewhat compulsive in structure, organization, and repetition. The Renaissance man maximizes efficiency by including all of the approaches in a very well-targeted manner. He will typically dissect job boards by using specific searches to identify only the most appropriate jobs, quickly applying every morning or frequently throughout the day in order to be a first responder. He will keep in contact with his closest circle, regardless of his current employment situation, constantly networking and updating his network of interesting projects, personal endeavors, etc. His network will also constantly be updating him. This enables his network to constantly be working for him in a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Which Job Seeker are you?

    Ask yourself honestly, “which am I”? There is no wrong answer, and everyone usually falls into different categories depending on their seniority, urgency, and priorities.

    However, just like the big game, a strategy is necessary for success. Typically the best strategies include multiple different approaches to maximize efficiency. In my experience, the best example of this tends to be “The Renaissance Man” approach. Let’s just say it can be enlightening, to say the least.

    Now give it a try, and let us know what works for you!

     

  • Three Letters to Get Your Resume on Top of the Slushpile: C-M-S

    Article by Felipe Estrela, Practice Manager in Workbridge Boston.

    Felipe Estrela, Practice Manager at Workbridge Boston

    CMS, Content Management Systems, is defined by techterms.com as “a software tool that allows you to create, edit, and publish content” but to experts, it’s more than just a product.

    “Painful upgrades are just one example of how selecting a Web CMS is more than just buying an off-the-shelf product.  When you commit to a content management system, you’re investing in the system’s leadership, vision, and reliability.  It’s not just about how the system looks now – it’s whether you can trust it to perform year after year, and upgrade after upgrade.” – Marianne Kay, Research Analyst, What a Failed Umbraco Release Can Teach Us About Upgrades.

    Business owners are using CMSs more and more because not only do they make websites look better, they are cost-effective and as we all know, everyone is in the business of making money. Some of the most popular CMSs being used today are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Blogger. 

    Top CMS Softwares

    Scott Brinker, Co-Founder and CTO of ion interactive created a Marketing Technology Landscape for 2014, and as one can see below, it is very extensive. With this ever expanding marketing landscape, company owners need to adapt and have the technology in place to deal with it. Now, we’re not talking about mom and pop shops who need some help, we’re talking huge companies with a lot of data, and a lot of content that is constantly being shifted around.

    Marketing Technology Landscape

    These companies are adapting in two ways: investing in a great CMS, or hiring ad agencies to customize an enterprise level CMS such as Sitecore, Ektron, Drupal, or Umbraco. No matter the way, the bottom line is always the more time saved, the bigger ROI. 

    So what does all of this mean for the CMS job market today? With the current technical market, companies are slowly realizing they need to be accessible through the media we use the most, the internet. They need a website with a great CMS to help manage it. There’s only one problem…

    Techies who can manipulate the code inside these CMSs are in high demand. That combined with the fact that we’re dealing with a niche technology, they are few and far between. While any .NET or opensourse developer can learn CMS, knowing its ins and outs makes for a much more marketable and desirable candidate. The less time a company has to spend teaching you a skill, the better off you are, because at the end of the day, companies are looking for candidates who know how to manipulate the CMS to make a website as efficient as possible.

    As the Practice Manager of my own .NET recruiting team, I see candidates all too often with less experience, but strong CMS skills get hired over those who are experienced but lacking in CMS.

    If you are interested in learning new technologies or want to add a new skill to your resume, I beseech you to follow through and learn. Send your resume to the top of the pile and learn a CMS in your technical language (opensource, .NET, drupal, sitecore) where you can even achieve an MVP level within the CMS space. 

    Go out, learn, and set yourself apart from the rest with CMS. 

  • Benefits of Training Up Your Junior-Mid Level Developers

    Article by Peter Withers, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Orange County

    Cliché phrases like “black-belt in JavaScript” and “Rockstar Developer Wanted!” are all too common these days on job boards written by software companies looking for their ideal software engineer. Many tech companies in this day and age, from the two-man start-up to the Fortune 500 giants, seek that perfect software engineer that will sweep them off their feet and meet their wish-list of qualifications. But in many instances, companies can avoid the long, drawn out search for that needle in a hay stack developer by hiring a more junior candidate and training and molding them into their ideal developer. Avid Flombaum, former co-founder and CTO of Designer Pages, states “The bottom line is that for most products, seeking out “rockstar” senior engineers is like hiring Picasso to paint your apartment.” There will always be unique instances where a software company really does need a highly skilled software architect or unique senior software engineer that a company cannot fill from its own internal workforce. But there are also many cases where junior to mid-level candidates are overlooked by employers simply because they lack something as minor as experience with a unique or specific framework and/or database. However, these junior job-seekers often make up for this ten-fold with their drive to succeed and motivation to build upon their skillset. Companies can avoid spinning their wheels and prevent the risk of hiring a senior engineer who might not live up to high expectations. Instead, hire the up-and-coming, more affordable, “green” engineer and mold these engineers into the ideal developer.

    Handfuls of interviews with senior software developers that don’t live up to a manager's high expectations can waste substantial amounts of time and energy and can be avoided by hiring a trainable junior developer. Additionally, these junior to mid-level developers are often less money-motivated and are frequently more interested in the opportunity itself. There are many cases in which a junior developer will be more than willing and excited to make a lateral move in order to expand their skillset just so they can get their hands dirty with a new tech stack. Junior developers will also strive to push themselves on a day-to-day basis to grow into the role they were brought on to do, and will work to prove themselves if a company takes a risk and invests in them by providing mentorship via their current senior developers.

    Implementing a mentor/mentee program for new junior developers can be an attractive selling point to potential developers, and can also help retain existing senior engineers by giving them that added responsibility and a feeling of importance. Additionally, this gives the mentor a sense of pride and ownership by developing the skill set of a more junior programmer and may incentivize a senior programmer to stay at a company with a mentorship program if he feels like he has more responsibility and a direct impact on the company’s success. Lastly, a mentorship program undeniably makes a junior developer want to stick around at a company if they are always developing their skillset. It makes the junior developer feel indebted to the company/mentor that has invested in and fostered their skillset, and in general, it strengthens employee relationships within a company.  

    At the end of the day, it’s more rewarding for a manager to have assembled his or her own successful software team from the ground up, as opposed to having temporary contractors come and go. Training/mentoring your developers and building solid relationships with them can create a strong sense of loyalty for the mentor/mentee as well as create a work environment that feels like home to everyone. Also, promoting junior developers within a company and having them climb the ranks into the lead, managerial, or even a C-level role is a great success story that can breed additional success and create a winning culture that spreads to other employees within the company.

  • Hottest UX Design Trends

    Article by Eitan Sheer, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Silicon Valley

    Eitan Sheer, Lead RecruiterIt is no secret that User Experience and the emphasis on interface have become one of the more vital aspects to the product development process. While UX existed in the past, it was never as abundant as it is nowadays when most industries are moving away from the idea that everyone can do UX and into an era of UX as a specialized field. As such, more companies are realizing that UX is directly correlated to an increased user base as well as profitability. This increase in the popularity of UX has led to an industry wide pursuit of user centric design and an idealization of a simplified product. And while we’ve seen and heard of many possible answers to the question of the hottest and most prominent recent design trends, I would say that the answer can be boiled down to the following four trends: iOS7, responsive design, data visualization, and dashboards.

    We’ve heard of many opinions and mixed reviews about iOS7, but no one can disagree that the overall experience had a major impact on current design. While Windows 8 came out with the flat style prior to iOS7, it is no secret that iOS7 has been the raved about ecosystem for coming out with a very flat design and color scheme that a lot of people are looking to match. As such, iOS7 is pioneering a new shift to cleaner, lighter, thinner & flatter design, and it feels like everyone is jumping in line to fit in. However, we’ve also heard of flaws in the new iOS7 experience. For example, one could always create folders, but now the user is given the option to create folders within folders. This feature is great for organizations that need to consolidate and combine large amounts of relatable items, but it also offers a challenge. On the old iPad, the user could place 20 items in every folder. With the new design, users can only place 9 items in every folder. This has turned the new feature into more of a constrictive necessity than ability, as people are forced to create folders within folders in an attempt to abide by the 9-apps-per-folder design.

    Another major trend is responsive design. In the past, we didn’t really have tablets and so many different types of smart phones with varying screen sizes and interactive experience. This variation coupled by the fact that people are now accessing information while on the go more than they ever have before, has made responsive design the most relevant trend. Traditionally, if you are looking to build and design on multiple platforms you also need to write code that fits those different platforms. Responsive design allows development team to use the same code base across multiple platforms, and simply shift the look and feel to best fit the intended interface (be it web, mobile, tablet, or any other device). This has led to a code base that is easier and much more scalable; and in turn, a lot more efficient with lower development costs.

    I’d also like to touch on data visualization. While data visualization has already been established, we are definitely seeing a major emphasis on certain aspects of it. Infographics may be trending, but not necessarily new. That said, what has been identified as important and trending is data visualization for the financial sector and the data mining industry subsector. And if you are able to innovate in the data mining space the result is absolutely something that trends.

    Lastly, we’ve also seen a recent rally around dashboards. By common definition, dashboards are a matter of displaying large amounts of information quickly and with efficiency. This functionality offers awareness and quick action to those in leadership positions or, for that matter, to any person who needs to be able to make some sort of educated fact-based decision, and make it quickly.

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