Friday, October 31, 2008

Some Good News Now

I guess it's not all bad right now. Even though the focus in this market remains on the automotive industry and the GM/Chrysler talks, which are on hold now, there are still companies with good stories to tell with bright futures ahead. HealthMedia was sold earlier this week and the result of this acquisition appears to be nothing but positive. When they talk about growing a company from $23 million to $500 million you have to take notice. And they are not the only company expecting to add IT jobs in coming years.

Will it Never End?

With the inevitable eradication of Chrysler as we know it, it seems like the hits keep on coming. Compuware announced new lay-offs two days ago, Chrysler Financial is looking to outsource most of its IT work. These direct hits to IT jobs are still nothing compared to the manufacturing jobs already lost, and those still to come.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Chrysler Cuts Coming

Chrysler to cut 25% of salaried workers, about 5,000 workers. Buyouts will include new vehicle vouchers, I guess that's one way to clear the cars off the lots. And of course the cuts in overhead and discretionary spending implies that something is close. If you're a salaried Chrysler employee and you get offered a package, how do you say no knowing that if you don't you will probably get the boot eventually anyway?

Monday, October 20, 2008

4 Job-Search Tips From The Street

Article Title: 4 Job-Search Tips From The Street
Author Byline: Kevin Donlin
Author Website:

The recent bad news from Wall Street may have you worried about the job market.

If so, you're not alone.

You need to do more things right to find employment these days, especially if you're in banking, finance, or a related field.

So, if you suddenly find yourself looking for work, or if your search is taking longer than planned, the following four tips will help, whether your goal is a job on Wall Street or Main Street ...

1) Know Thy Skills
The first thing to do if you're laid off or let go is to recognize that your skills and smarts haven't changed just because your company is going through tough times. That's according to John Benson, Founder & CEO of

"Losing a job is traumatic, and it's important to step back and make an assessment of your skills and weaknesses, and examine where you are in your career."

Write this all down on paper, because writing clarifies your thinking. After that, "show your list to a friend or colleague who can be objective enough to challenge your assumptions," advises Benson.

Bonus: Every career-related conversation you have is a networking conversation ... which can turn into a job lead. So choose your confidants carefully for this exercise.

2) Consider All Options
After analyzing your professional skills, it can help to take another look at temporary or contract positions.
While it may be tempting to wait for your ideal job to pop up, it can be faster to find an ideal employer first, then prove yourself in a contract position that leads to a permanent role, according to Jennifer Kleven, Practice Director for Accounting & Finance at the Minneapolis office of recruiting and staffing firm Mergis.

"There are temporary and contract positions in all fields, from entry level and up. I have seen a number of people get their foot in the door and later become managers with employers," she says.

To move up from temp to perm in today's job market, you should offer employers relevant skills, a good attitude and an even better work ethic. "Companies tend not to let people like that go," says Kleven.

3) Differentiate or Dole
Perhaps the biggest mistake job seekers make is a failure to differentiate themselves from the crowd, according to Benson. "Employers want to know that you have thought long and hard about wanting to work for them."
In many cases, the first exposure you have to hiring managers is your cover letter. And sending out a formulaic letter won't help your cause.

"Write a personalized cover letter in which you explain why you are a good match for the company and how you will bring value," says Benson.

This is essential -- get the letter wrong, and many employers won't even look at your resume.

4) Network -- Always and Everywhere
In the end, it's a person who will hire you for the job you want. And people are everywhere. Logically, then, job leads are everywhere, too.

That's why your networking radar must be turned on every moment of every day. Even when commuting. "I've seen people network while riding the bus. It was as simple as asking the other person, 'What do you do?'" says Kleven.
So, the next time you're seated next to a successful-looking person on a train, or in a coffee shop, why not strike up a conversation and ask about their profession?
The worst that can happen is ... nothing. But, if you open enough networking dialogues, you're bound to turn one into an interview later, which can lead to a job.

Tip: Need an excuse to start a networking conversation? Use me! Here's how ...

Walk up to someone you'd like to meet (professionally, of course) and say: "I read an article by Kevin Donlin in (INSERT PUBLICATION NAME HERE). He said you can meet almost anyone just by asking what they do. So, do you mind if I ask you what you do for a living?"

Why not try it and see?

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IT and the Wall Street Meltdown

Although Information Technologies has been fairly stable in recent years, with its low unemployment, decent spending levels, and recent overall economic resilience, it appears that the financial crisis on Wall Street will do the obvious and trickle down to IT. Gartner Group is now warning IT Managers of hiring freezes and staff reductions after a previously optimistic outlook. According to this article, cost saving projects such as virtualization and SaaS will remain hot, which makes sense. Another article here, talks about what Gartner considers the hottest technologies for 2009.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Set Yourself Apart with a Job Interview Thank You Letter

Article Title: Set Yourself Apart with a Job Interview Thank You Letter
Author Byline: Mary White, M.A., SPHR
Author Website:

The best way to distinguish yourself from other job applicants is to follow up your interview with a job interview thank you letter. Employers typically interview a large number of people who have similar qualifications for each open position. After several days of asking people the same questions over and over, interviewers often have a definite case of information overload.

Even though their heads might be spinning after talking to several people about the same job, they still have to face the tough task of deciding which candidate will receive a job offer. It’s pretty easy for most interviews to decide who isn’t qualified for the job. The difficulty comes in when trying to wade through the applications of people who are qualified.

At the conclusion of a long round of interviews, employers usually have two stacks of applications. One of the stacks is full of people they are not interested in for the position. The other stack is full of people who they are interested in considering for the job. Assuming that your application is in the second stack, sending a job interview thank you letter might be just the extra boost that moves you to the top of the callback pile.

Interviewers want to select someone who has the necessary skills, and who really wants the job. If you have the necessary skills and handled the interview well, your application probably made it to the right stack. However, there probably isn’t anything tangible in your application paperwork that lets the employer know how much you really want the job.

Sending a job interview thank you letter is a great way of letting the employer know that you are genuinely interested in the job. Taking the time to sending a job interview thank you letter demonstrates initiative, ambition, and commitment. These are all characteristics that employers desire.

Keep in mind that employers also like to hire people who have effective communication skills. Make sure that the job interview thank you letter you send is well written and attractive in appearance. Proofread your work carefully and have someone else check it for errors too.

You can send a typed job interview thank you or a handwritten one. The best choice depends on many factors about you and about the particular job. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

There is a lot to be said for handwritten thank you letters in this age of electronic communication. When an employer receives a handwritten job interview thank you letter, he or she knows that the applicant took the time to write a personalized letter just to them. There is just something special about a handwritten thank you note that people tend to really appreciate.

However, if you have illegible penmanship sending a handwritten job interview thank you letter is not a good choice for you. If you have a severe case of procrastination when it comes to writing thank you letters, you are better of using an electronic version that you can just print and send right away. If your job interview thank you letter gets there too late, the job will probably have already been offered to someone else.

Electronic thank you letters are favored by many applicants because it is easy to update them. You can write your electronic letter once, have it carefully proofed, and use it forever just by making a few minor adjustments each time you print it. You don’t have to worry about a laser printed letter being illegible, assuming you have ink in your printer and use an appropriate font.

However, electronic letters often come across looking and sounding like form letters. Even though most people do not bother to send job interview thank you letters, it is important that the interviewer who receives your letter feels as if it was written just for them.

With a little thought and planning, you can easily create a job interview thank you letter that will help set you apart from the competition. A side effect of interviewing people with similar backgrounds for the same job is that the candidates who have the basic qualifications become hard for the interviewer to distinguish from each other once the interview is over.

The fact that you take the time to send a job interview thank you letter might be just the thing that makes the interviewer pick up the phone and offer the job to you.

About the Author
Mary G. White, M.A., SPHR is the Training Coordinator for for Mobile Technical Institute & MTI Business Solutions, where she specializes in human resources, management, and marketing training. She teaches open enrollment classes for MTI, provides on-site corporate training, and frequently speaks at conferences and association meetings. MTI also provides a variety of consulting services, including IT Training, certification testing, HR consulting, custom database development and website solutions. For career and business development tips, see MTI's blogs, Daily Career Connection and Daily Biz Solutions.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The GM IT Strategy

Saw this article earlier this week on General Motors' IT strategy, with the focus on outsourcing non-core activity, and hiring and empowering technical Project Managers. The article implies that GM only hires managers with a strong technical background and some sort of graduate degree. I don't think that's the case across the board though, based on what I see. And the difficulty for employees in this model is the risk of pigeon-holing their careers to be marketable to GM only. Too often I see candidates with extensive experience at GM, or Ford, and they are so entrenched in their business processes and technologies that they are not marketable elsewhere. Hopefully this article rings true and anyone affected by future GM cutbacks will have the business and technology background necessary to be attractive to companies other than GM.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This is what we need

This is the good stuf that we need more of. Established companies reinvesting in the local market. Caraco is investing in their Detroit facility, adding jobs, and investing in their employees. They recognize that there is a qualified workforce here. I've heard of other companies looking to the Detroit market as the workforce here is available and qualified. Not that these efforts will come close to replacing the automotive manufacturing jobs that have left us, but it is certainly better news than we have had lately.