Resume Consult: Larry wants to change careers from operations management to data analytics

One of my blog followers, Larry, came to me with the following challenge: “I am looking for two types of jobs. One type would be as a Director or Regional Manager of Operations. The second and the preferred one would be a job in the data analytics/data science field. I am currently enrolled in a Master’s Degree program to formalize the practical knowledge I have learned through the years.  My ultimate goal is to move on from the small business environment. Over the last 3 to 4 years, I have implemented a data-driven approach to running our business, particularly in the operational and sales & marketing segments of our business.  However I have not had much luck in getting calls for interviews after submitting my resume to different positions

I will tell you that one of the reasons I wanted to get in touch with you as opposed to hiring one of those ‘resume writing’ shops is that I like your approach, straight and to-the-point.”

>> Click here or below screenshot to view original resume << 

screensh Larry orig

Employers are looking for each resume to tell a coherent story.  In order for us to tell the story we want our readers to hear, it is our job to edit out extraneous experiences (such as an Etsy onesie-knits boutique you ran in between software design gigs…or the Verizon sales rep job  you had before you dedicated the rest of your career to product development consulting).

Plotting a drastic career change– wholly jumping to an entirely new field–  such as in Larry’s case, makes keeping the coherence of that story especially challenging but still doable.  I ended up creating two resume versions for Larry: one that, like his original resume, tells the story of operations management (not shown); and one below that tells a story about an ops management guy in data analytics.

>> Click here or below screenshot to view resume tailored for Data Analytics roles <<

screensh Larry data analy

 

Again, take one more look:  Original resume and data analytics resume version.

 

Hold up! Looks different, right?  Angela, you do anything hokey-pokey with the second version…like fabrica— dabra?  Resume writing isn’t story telling where you can pick fact or fiction (although we all know people everyday break that rule).  I simply teased out what Larry had in his repertoire of experience that would made sense in building a story for a data analytics career.  Luckily, Larry had already begun taking actionable steps towards this career change by enrolling in JHU’s data science/analytics certification and master courses.  (You go, Larry.)

A large portion of my consulting time boils down to asking questions over the phone, Google Hangout, or email.  I listen, probe, and help clients  take exploratory ‘look back’ walks, look at old ideas in new ways, connect the pieces of their story; reawaken to  forgotten pieces, and realize what these pieces mean as a whole.  Larry, tell me about some of your analytics projects in your courses.    What type of analytics tool did you use here….?  What type of analysis method(s) did you use there…?  What types of models did you create here?   Did you use any linear, regression, decision trees…?   What about SAS…MatLab…R…SQL…?   What was the size of this data set for this project?   What about that data-driven approach you mentioned implementing in your day job?  How did you…? What did you use to…?  Tell me more.  What kind of measurable impact did that approach…?   You said the approach was particularly useful in the operational and sales/marketing segments of the business. [Angela, what do you mean, measurable impact?] Well,  for example,  did it increase revenue…sales rates…ROI….?  Once Larry started talking, he realized just how much data analytics he was employing in his everyday responsibilities– from using data analytics for company delivery times to google ad spending and so forth.

Consulting is very much like therapy in that I help to facilitate client breakthroughs largely by asking questions and listening.  In the end, what that client learns or connects is his own achievement.  I’m just here to help drive the process, and capture and polish the end result.

Each person’s story, connectable pieces, and fodder for new stories will vary. Larry’s story is just one story.  I’m here to help you with yours.

To inquire on my resume services, email liu.winghong@gmail.com with the following:

 

 

What is the best strategy when a recruiter asks you your current salary before making an offer?

Originally from: my Quora . ( Quora is my crack. Or, more accurately, it’s an open-repository Q&A site.  Or, back to my un-PC verbage, it’s an amalgam of opinions: ranging from the the stupid and stock to the brilliant.  It’s like having Big Macs and Le Truffle Noire at the same buffet table.)

As a recruiter, from the money standpoint, I ask for two things: current/recent compensation and desired compensation range.  Reasons being:

  • I take a holistic viewpoint.  I’m not looking to see if your comp needs match what can be offered by one opening.  Day in and out, I’m looking at a plethora of openings offering different ranges and I need filters– filters in the geographic/work commute area, skillsets/role area, money area, etc.  Even if you say you are flexible, everyone has their own bottom line.  For example, some VIP/lead in big data architecture within the equities market is used to commanding anywhere from 180k base with 20% bonus; another is making 150k base and, then, an additional, 100k guaranteed bonus.  One person may need 100k bottom line to sustain his lifestyle; another much more or less.  Each individual professional has a different story and different subsequent needs. I need to understand the backdrop.
  •  I need to manage expectations on both ends– the candidate’s and the hiring manager’s.  If someone is expecting a bottom line of 115k but a hiring manager has only been allocated a budget of 90k for an opening, I need to know how wide the gap to figure out if I can even try asking for an exception in the rate, etc.
  •  Some clients DO ask for verification of current or most recent salary after making an offer.  If someone is at 50k and asking for an 80k raise, better for me to beforehand ask them how they arrived at this number.  Is it a lack of market knowledge, or can candidate back up this pay bump request?

Lest a candidate fear I’d use their current/recent comp to lowball them, I tell them honestly, it’s never my intention to lowball them.  Lowballing someone means you are creating a flight risk– someone who will easily leave your position for another that will pay what he/she is actually worth.  Why would I want that risk hanging over my head?  Happy wife, happy life.  Happy you, happy me.

Closing points: I’m not out to get you when I ask for your current comp. I’m not playing smoke screen games.  I want to understand where you are coming from and where you are looking next.  I am on your side and I look at myself as your partner.

Caveat: There ARE recruiter who will lowball, who will do a ‘bait and switch.’ My best advice is:  If, in your gut, you feel you can trust a recruiter, be candid.  If you feel like a recruiter for whatever reason reminds you of an oily salesman, you are free to refrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello my name is Bad Hire

Screenshot 2015-06-05 23.07.31

One of my favorite idioms is “think per pound not per penny.”  In my previous post (https://liuangel.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/outsourcing-your-companys-recruiting/) I talk about the hidden costs of not investing in outsourcing services outside of one’s specialty.  Today, judicious outsourcing is arguably a responsibility to uphold.

The majority of us adhere to a risk-minimalist investment approach: diversifying financial portfolios, bundling up investments, conferring with legal team, etc.  And, yet, in the recruiting and hiring arena, we often end up the high-stakes roulette player– not realizing the bet we are making against ourselves and what we are putting up as our giveaway items in the event of a likely loss.

Dry statistics (10% to 250% monetary losses):

Other costs:

  • Take 1 minute to Google “cost of bad hire” calculators. You’ll find quite a few options that funnel out into cost sub-categories such as time/$ spent on ad placements, sourcing, interviewing, onboarding, offboarding, training, HR-admin resources– stuff you may or may not have thought about in the cost-scheme of things but that all aggregate into a rearing lion’s head type of number.

You are Superman in technical project delivery, or cloud architecture, or whatever.  But you are human, and your superhero value-add does not extend to every area of your work or life.  You are a human hero at best– not a God.  The cost of trying to do everything is…everything, if not close to everything.  Just look at the numbers.

And, again, look at Economics.  I tagged this as a comment to previous article but felt it important enough to re-bubble up a seven minute introductory video on “Comparative Advantage:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwx9fZOL81c

(If short on time or attention span, skip to 3:27 and stop at 5:00.)

“The more different we are from each other, the more we benefit from trading with each other…Do you know what you are comparatively good at? What you get paid for at your job tells you that. Comparative advantage is the main force driving us to use our talents in those jobs that we do best…Specialization plays a key role in the move from poverty to prosperity. “

Outsourcing your Company’s Recruiting

outsource stress

Specialize.  Delegate.  Outsource.

I specialize in recruiting, career consulting, resume writing, staff augmentation consulting, and blogging.  I delegate or outsource the rest:  taxes to my CPA, domestic duties to the maid, landlord duties to property management firms on my rental estate, and so forth.  The point is not what I’m outsourcing (nor that I’m criminally lazy in certain areas of my life)  but that I am recognizing where my strengths and subsequent best ROI lies.

Let’s say, your company or team specializes in PaaS solutions delivery and you, the team lead, specializes in the architecture and management of the actual implementation.  You may or may not be also skilled in recruiting and hiring but this is not your bread-and-butter area.  What’s the difference in ROI between time spent in your specialty or time spent outside of that?  Answer seems intuitive.

I’ve talked with directors, TPMs, and C-Level execs trying to wear multiple hats (hats off to them); during these late night calls to catch up, I can hear their fatigue.  I was gunning for one ‘rockstar’ DevOps director who was perfect for one of my openings and he himself was interested.  The problem was, I wouldn’t be able to have him as a candidate until he had his own internal openings filled.  Another director told me he spent at least 4 hours daily (totalling an average workday of 15-18 work hours) to sift through resume applications.

For the company who has never dealt with outside recruiters, the thought can be scary.  First thing one might see are the dollar signs; we don’t want to hemorrhage money when we are a startup struggling to bloom and see revenue, or even a medium to large company struggling to re-org overhead, operational costs and get lean. (The smaller shop or startup may argue that the risk and cost of outsourcing recruitment is on a different, harder scale than that of a big firm.  While I agree, I also want to point out that there are recruiters with the flexibility to adjust their cost models to absorb more of the risk burden in order to support a business.)

Here’s a different game-changing way to look at outsourcing recruitment efforts.  It’s more often that you can’t afford NOT to outsource than it is whether you can afford to outsource.  I’m going to get more granular on the following items in my next article but some example costs of not outsourcing recruitment efforts are:

  • Time away from revenue-generating activities and productivity.  If I’m aforementioned DevOps director, the hours I spend recruiting are hours I could have been managing my technical initiatives instead.  And, sure, I may play the role of Superman for a time– doing my full core working hours and, then, burning the midnight oil to play HR/recruiter.  Long-term trajectory that’s unfolding?  I’m getting burnt out.  Even if I don’t know it, there’s a brain-drain happening that’s detracting from my ability to give my all to my specialty.
  • And even if I, the DevOps (or whatever) director can proudly allocate 4 extra hours daily to recruitment, the specialists in this area can usually scale up much  more quickly in terms of time, reach, and resources.  They can shell out the expenses for ad postings, market and trend data and analysis, technical screenings, and other costs.  They have the time and focus to do everything to mitigate bad hiring decisions which can end up costing a company a figure 30% to 150%.  They are able to take a step back as an objective outsider and understand gaps in hiring processes or vision, and bring you both individual talent and enterprise staffing solutions.

Several months ago, my parents told me proudly they spent XYZ hours hacking down a dead tree in their backyard.   Kudos to their self-sufficient and frugal nature which has served them well many a times.  At the same time, they are now quite well-off in the socioeconomic scheme of things and (I pointed this out to them, rather bluntly), they are getting old.  I’d rather have them reduce risk to their body and spend time on creating or sustaining value in other areas (for my Daddy, working on whatever OOP or dynamic language he needs to learn in latest software project, or, for my Mommy, her crocheting Etsy-worthy stuff).

Outsourcing should not inspire the image of some strange party weaseling its way into your business and funneling your hard earned funds away.  We are here to solve problems and let you focus on what you do best.

For more questions on outsourcing your company’s recruitment efforts, email liu.winghong@gmail.com .

Rumpelstiltskin: Spin Shit into Gold

gold shitI have mindfulness quotes on “failure”  all over my cyber-interiors: archived in automated daily Calendar reminders, bookmarking apps, my Google Drive work or self-health docs.  Basically, I’m housing tons of the stuff online in hopes of housing it as ubiquitously in my head.

Failure and adversity is awesome sauce– linked to  the stuff that makes Richard Bransons, Sergey Brins, Oprahs, and literally ANYONE who’s ever been ‘success stories.’   It’s ‘because of’ not ‘in spite of.’  It’s antibiotics, steroids and fertilizer for your inside guns.  You are shit out of luck without any crap in your life. It’s easy and logical to take all this to heart when the crap chute ISN’T shooting.

Human nature that, once the thing is going, our chutzpah dies away a bit. I’m struggling like hell right now with something so this is my crap chute shooting moment.   Time to put down on paper an example of how big time crap fests were responsible for ushering me into the best, next, new things in my life.  Or, not just the big time stuff…even any small nonsensical thing that led to a big thing showing me that everything has a reason and a way to move me forward if I receive versus resist.

Example 1:  Big, Bad Love Story

A decade ago, I was harping to a friend about some romantic fall-out and he encouraged me to go out to clear my mind.  Had I not taken his advice, I wouldn’t have that night and probably would never have met the man who would take over the next five years of my life in a technically terrible, doomed, ‘death by a thousand cuts’ relationship.

While in this dysfunctional relationship, he was my gateway into both good and bad things.  Due to his line of work, the nightlife industry became a huge topography in my daily life.  Out of all the clubs I rode around, I had my favorite– which happened to sit across the street from Robert Half Staffing.  Countless bawdy to more professional bar-side conversations later, I had gotten to know many of them.  One of them connected me to a company that I belong to, current-day, and introduced me to the world of recruiting.  It was all organic, back-door happenstance given that I was a teacher with no ties nor knowledge to this industry, and this position existed as a need but not on print in any company or job board posting.

Recruiting is one of those professions that no one ever expects or plans for.   Frankly, I didn’t start building a cogent concept of ‘recruiting’ until months after I was at the company.  And, then, I fell in love with the career.  Today, I love what I do.  If it wasn’t for a random night out, followed by poor choices and big bad love, my career might be something completely different from what it is today.

End – word: 

One day, your insides feel like it’s being shredded by heartbreak or the aftermath of an Oxycodine high. You  wake up in a jail cell or a hospital ward.  Your startup fails; your MVP (minimal viable product) flops.  Your wife leaves you.  Your sonofabitch business partners that are supposed to stand by you stab you in the back. You get sick.  You get into an accident.

Colossal shit. Storybook writing = problem –> solution.  There has to be bad apples at work before the rainbow.  The bigger and badder, the better.  It is hard if not momentarily impossible to appreciate the grander picture of things.  Like, did it really have to suck this much and this way for me to get a win?  And what kind of win?

But what’s the point of tearing up the shit to bits?  From http://www.thisamericangirl.com/ bloggist:  Whatever decision I made, and whatever decisions I will make throughout the rest of my life, will lead me to whatever experience I need to evolve my consciousness.”  Yes, yes to that.  Doesn’t matter the circumstance, either.  You are the artist.  You take that paper canvas or that stone slate and you put yourself on the material and get on with it.  Smile and rally the next time you bleed.  May sound fanciful but fuckit and it is actually feasible: Bezos, Icahn, Jack Ma..hell- Genghis Khan– will probably agree with me: Be that girl in the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale turning shit to gold.

From Quora: How could a fresh graduate contribute to the company he’s applying to?

Originally posted on: http://www.quora.com/How-could-a-fresh-graduate-contribute-to-the-company-hes-applying-to/answer/Angela-Liu-12

Foreword: Quora is an open-source Q&A repository.  In other words, an amalgam of opinions: ranging from the the stupid and stock to the brilliant.  It’s like having Big Macs and Le Truffle Noire at the same buffet table.

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Q: Recurrent interview question:  How will you add value to our company? What is a great way to reply to such questions for a fresh graduate, without experience in the target industry yet?
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A: I’m going to go a bit off-kilter here so bear with me for not answering your questions straight-shooter style.  When confronting these questions, remember and try to think in manner of the following:

  • For the life of me, I can’t remember from which book and wise figure this came from but someone said that once you acknowledge that there is no one like you in the world, your ability to change the world becomes limitless.
  • Already discussed in a previous post but, anyways: Google’s hiring philosophy prioritizes LEARNING ABILITY over experience or intelligence.  This includes the ability and willingness to retool; to, essentially, understand that what skills, knowledge, and approach you have now are just means to an end and not be married to any one aforementioned; to eagerly dive into risk from a learning-oriented versus a loss-aversion and fear-oriented mindset; to think “Cool what next new awesome thing awaits?” as you face the unknown.
  • You are a fresh mind, a maverick.  While the more ‘senior’ workforce tends to have the opposite heuristic foisted on them which sometimes works against them, this common young-blood type of idea in many employers’ minds does work in your favor.  Let this bolster your spirits.
  • Don’t trivialize your passion, drive, and potential.  Even if not manifest in professional work experience, I bet it’s manifest somewhere else…whether it’s in a personal struggle like a health issue or a mini-existential crisis (b/c god knows, even as young bucks, we ‘thinkers’ will have our fair share) or a personal for-fun, pet project (wrestling with devising an app that’ll save you the manual trouble of importing and organizing Kindle reads on the cloud…or whatever), a volunteer or internship or school project experience…whatever.  [Obviously, when we are talking concrete projects, any presentable artifact such as project or code uploaded onto some open-source repository like Github….or a WordPress blog post or a website or whatever …shouldn’t be forgotten.]  No matter how seemingly divorced these experiences may be from the ‘professional’ work context, you can always find a way to tie it together if you allow yourself to see the connection and let your experiences in all arenas of life move you holistically forward.  I’ll unabashedly tell someone that one of the bajillion reasons I will stand by my current merit and potential as a recruiter is my experience in teaching, which taught me about understanding people’s needs and how to differentiate my approaches in capturing their buy-in’s; about reconceptualizing my teaching abilities as how good of a learner I could be and how much I could let my students teach me, etc.   (When I first tout my teaching as partly attributable to my recruiting success, most people look at me quizzically.  Once I explain it with zeal, they usually get it along with a bonus ‘I never thought of it that way and it’s cool that you did’ admiration dealie.) It all connects.  NOTE: Don’t trivialize the above either with some canned, trite “I’m really motivated or xyz” and leave it at that.  We’ve all heard it.  Again, if you truly understand the tie-in’s of your past experiences and how the lessons, skills and xyz’s can transfer to what you bring to prospective job, doubtful you’ll give a canned response.

These viewpoints require a general trust in your present, developing, and future self.  That self-belief will give you some compelling answers to those questions on your value-add.