Looking for a job? Recruiters are your new friends.

April 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I have started working as a consultant for Mission Talent Recruitment, an executive search firm for international organizations.  As we know, finding a job is about marketing yourself, but its not easy.  After one week on the job, I have already picked up some tips that anyone with a CV should know.

  • If you are looking for a job, recruiters are your friends, so make sure your CV is on file with a recruiter that relates to your field. Even if you aren’t looking for new job now, getting into a recruiters database like ours at Mission Talent, is a good idea because it could help you later. You can find out about our current searches by becoming at FaceBook fan.
  • Have your LinkedIn profile looking sharp and full of keywords related to the job you want.  If you want to do project management in Asia, those terms better be in there somewhere.  The best spot for putting these key words is under your name in the tagline slot. LinkedIn gives you generic choices, but it better to be specific about what you want.  If you want to work for the UN as a ” gender & security sector policy professional” put those words right under your name.
  • Recruiters are huge social networkers, with giant Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter following.  So look for them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and add them to your network.  (Check out this list of top 25 recruiters on Twitter).  If you are in Europe, and actively looking for a job, it might be worth it to pay 4.95 per month to join Xing.
  • Make your CV easy to read. This is Huge.  Recruiters and HR professionals input your CV into databases so any strange formatted boxes and embedded tables means your data will probably not be inputted properly.   Make sure your name is at the top, followed by your email. Short and sweet with key skills is best.  These long crazy EU CVs with columns are already driving me a little nuts.
  • Make sure key words for the job you WANT are in your CV a few times so the database will pick them up.   A few examples of key words for non profits are : advocacy, fundraising, project management, policy, partnerships, donors, government, procurement etc.
  • I always thought they were cheesy, but those short little descriptions of your objective at the top are helpful because it helps recruiters know what you want right away  e.g.: “Non profit professional with 7 years in international development experience looking for communications position in Africa.”   “Recent law school graduate searching for work in energy sector”.
  • And its just a hunch, but cover letters are overrated. We don’t look at them. (Sigh– I’ve spent so many hours on them.)  I don’t know about everyone else.

Well, after my first week of work I have learned a few things.  I am sure there is much more to learn!  Good luck with your job search.


An Invisible Year: Gabriel Thompson’s new book ‘Working in the Shadows’

February 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve been fascinated by the press around Gabriel Thompson’s new book, Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing Jobs Americans Won’t Do.  After I posted about it on Facebook (for the second time) a friend offered to send it to Germany (thanks Jose!), so I look forward to reading it soon.

Thompson spent a year working side by side with many undocumented immigrants, in chicken plants in Alabama, lettuce fields in Arizona and delivering take-out by bicycle in New York City.   He did things like tear apart 7,000 chicken breasts in one shift, cut 3,000 heads of lettuce per day.  He was also hit repeatedly by taxicabs.

I keep thinking about the act of what he did.  It reveals how class-based American society actually is, that working for low paid wages would be viewed the same as an extreme sport (or worse).  This especially comes out in an interview with MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’.   The journalists (if you can call them that) mouth’s literally hang open when he tells them what he did, and seem most concerned with if he wore gloves and if he deceived his employers:

Video is here ( I can’t embed it without it turning on automatically)

In an interview with the Indypendent, Thompson reflects on what kinds of  change is necessary: “To improve the work, we need much more vigorous government enforcement and union organizing. Organizers need to be more thoughtful in how they build a union and how they recruit workers who are diverse. But the expectations of how much output a worker generates must be changed. You can have a union, but if you’re still making 18,000 cuts per shift, you’ll still have serious health problems.”

Thompson believes that the role of journalists is to go where the silences are.  “The chicken plant fired me immediately upon learning that I was a journalist. This says something about their perspective: the less people know about where their food comes from, the better, because exposing these conditions doesn’t paint them in a favorable light.”

And, to top it off, he is also a fellow Johnston Center Alumni.

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