I’m a student of blogging. I say so because I’m not very good at it yet. I’m still learning about the technical aspects, objective, focus, SEO, look, theme, hosting and a whole load of other things. I’ve only been blogging a year and I’m very much a beginner.
The best way for me to learn is by looking at what other blogs do well, especially those out of the recruiting sector. That’s the reason I’ve started the blog uncarnival. It’s purely selfish although hopefully I can get a few readers for other blogs along the way.
I’m giving part of weekends over to reviewing and featuring other blogs and bloggers in any subject.
This week I have 12 submissions which have made great reading, and given me a few additions to the reader:
Blog 1: Online media Thoughts – Dom Sumners.
Theme: Digital media, recruitment advertising and running a digital agency.
Dom is the founding Director of On-line Media Experts, a consultancy specialising in On-line recruitment. Dom’s blog, like his business gives a good mix of social media and traditional recruitment advertising. It’s not all “bright shiny things.”
I enjoyed reading this blog which provoked some thinking. On average, Dom posts twice a month in the 4 – 500 word length on all things around on-line media.
Dom has a great, to the point writing style that is economical on word count and strong on content.
I’m featuring this post from September because I think it makes a great point and needs little explanation or thinking time:
Lessons of Digital Recruitment History
Nice simple blog post – it does not need much space but has benefit of being 100% true.
It is this – every single objection i hear about social recruiting/social media recruiting
– not proven
– does not work
– only works for tech/geeks/young people
– no case studies
– USA different to Europe
– dont trust the metrics
– can’t make any money from it (this is a supplier issue)
Are exactly word for word the objections – people made about job boards and PPC by print publishers or conservative clients.
and we all know how that one turned out.
Dom is worth looking up for a good, practicle read with no real rants or agendas. Unusual in this space!
Blog 2: Vancouver in Sepia – Jacinta
Platform: Blog at WordPress.com. Theme: ChaoticSoul by Bryan Veloso.
Theme: Personality blog about the life of the blogger with a focus on dating and romance.
First thing, visually, the blog looks fantastic. It is a personal blog about life in Vancouver that covers the music scene, life,dating, food and much more
through the eyes of the blogger. This is a real personality blog that has obviously taken plenty of time and effort to put together. (It’s a bit like reading a chick flick!)
You really get to feel you know the writer and look inside their world. It’s a rare skill to achieve this.
It’s a new blog, and amuses me. One worth a look in the future. It’s not recruiting, social media or anything from my usual world, but through this #unblog series I intend to feature all types of blogs.
My featured post is the recently launched: Seppia Vlog.
Blog 3: Finance Diva – Nicole Rosen
Theme: Corporate blog offering advice on all things personal finance.
Nicole posts nearly every day with new advice posts. It’s a corporate website with a blog attached giving advice on money matters. This will drive traffic to the website if this is the objective, but may turn visitors away on entry as the blog is a little bit hidden and not immediately obvious.
The finance diva posts is about personal money matters. It’s not entertaining or ranting, but it doesn’t try to be. There is no surprises, but anyone needing money advice in the states will probably find what they need here.
I think the purpose of a blog needs to be clear from the home page, and this meets the objective. in these times, it is a valid resource.
The featured post covers help and advice for completing a tax-return.If it doesn’t apply to you by geography or interest, you will probably want to skip it, but I see it as a good example of how a practical help post should be written. No frills and easy to follow.
Tax Season starts Janury 1st and many taxpayers including businesses will be surprised when the IRS doesn’t mail them the 1040 forms and instructions packets they are used to receiving. In addition, the IRS will not be mailing out schedules A, C, F, or whatever letter of the alphabet you use in your tax return. This is as a direct result of several new regulations being phased into existence by the IRS when it comes to the tax preparer down the street and new electronic filing requirements. About 96 million taxpayers have filed their returns electronically this year, an IRS spokesman says. He also say this move to stop mailing tax forms and schedules will save the IRS about $10 million per year. This is $10 million in taxpayer money collected via taxes.
Taxpayers will be notified of this change in early October via postcard, but the only ones being personally notified are those who filed paper returns AND didn’t use a tax preparer or tax software. There are instances where even though a tax preparer is used the taxpayer is still required to file a paper return as is the case when claiming the 1st time homebuyer tax credit.
However, taxpayers do still have a few options when seeking forms and sometimes free tax help:
- Pick up paper forms from the local IRS office, library, or post office. Although, in past years many smaller post offices haven’t carried forms.
- Download forms and instructions via an internet connection directly from the IRS website.
- Use IRS Free File (open to everyone regardless of income, but strictly form based) to fill in forms and file electronically. Requires a solid understanding of the tax code and underlying forms as there isn’t any step-by-step help or instructions.
- Follow free step-by-step software through the IRS website if you make less than $58,000/year.
- Utilize the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for free tax preparation and sometimes free electronic filing depending on income and location. Most military bases offer this program and income is not a factor.
- For Taxpayers 60 years or older use Tax Counseling for the Elderly.
The IRS has more changes in store for the taxpaying community which are aimed at creating better oversight of tax preparers, most qualified tax preparers, and to save the IRS money. This writer is hesitant to say if many of these new rules will save taxpayers any money. Costs for paid tax preparers are going to go up in the form of new licensing, testing, and continuing education classes. I do not see the tax preparation community simply eating the costs of increased licensing.
Read the full text of the original article on the IRS website – “Tax Package Mailing to End Following Growth of e-File”
I welcome your comments on this change and how you believe it will benefit the taxpayer and if you believe costs will increase. If you need to contact me directly, please use the contact link. I welcome reader mail and answer all emails personally.
Blog 4: It’s Digital Marketing – Gary Robinson
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Theme: Developments within digital media and how they integrate with marketing.
First up, this blog is really easy to navigate and search posts by popularity and archive. (I need to talk to Gary and use this plug-in.) One of the keys to bounce rate and keeping readers in the blog longer is offering up other posts that may be of interest. This is a strong point for this blog. It’s all about digital and you can even scan an image on the blog to read his bio. (Great gimmick for geeks)
As Gary is full-time employed with Jobsite.Com, this blog is personal with no reference to services offered or consultancy, obviously written with a genuine passion and interest in the topic. Gary is a practicing digital marketer who blogs to share his thoughts with other digital marketeers.
Gary posts about twice a month from what I can see, with a strong emphasis on facts and data, with some personal commentary and rants thrown in.
The featured post gives a fascinating insight in to the world of mobile:
- ebay sell 1 item every 2 seconds via mobile
- In 2014 there will be 300m mobile coupon users
- 7.1 million Brits now access the internet through their mobile
(If you’re just here for the mobile stats, scroll down, I won’t be offended)
In my recent ‘60 second mobile review’ post, I explained a very simple health check for your business to determine whether you should be building a Mobile offering. Even though you may feel your company or industry is not ready, your Analytics may prove otherwise. A quick check will illustrate just how popular your website already is with mobile users.
If you’ve tried accessing your website on a mobile phone, you may have already realised that those visitors might not exactly be getting a premium customer experience. You may already be deliberating which is better for your business – a mobile site or smart phone apps.
However, to get your mobile site or app built you’re going to need to present a business case. You can pull together your supporting evidence – including existing mobile statistics – from both internal and external sources.
Three of which include:
- Existing site analytics data – use this to illustrate how your audience already wants to access your service via a mobile device. It could also highlight the need for a mobile-specific interface, if the mobile stats don’t paint a pretty customer experience
- External data / case studies – sometimes the biggest impetus to getting something signed off comes from showing the successes of others. The whole ‘its working really well for them, so it should be okay for us to do it too’ thing. It’s about confidence – if you can show how its worked for others it makes it easier to feel comfortable with any associated risk
- Survey customers / prospects – sometimes the easiest way to get an answer is just to ask the question. Just be careful how you ask the question though. Asking ‘Do you think we should have a mobile site and iPhone app?’ will probably get you plenty of ‘Sure’ answers but won’t be very enlightening. You’ll be better off trying to understand their behaviours and needs via your questions and their answers.
The important thing to remember with the business case is to be clear why you need a mobile site or app. Just having one isn’t enough. Why should your company foot the development bill? What is the return on investment?
If it’s going to be a mCommerce site and generate revenue (selling products / services / access) then justify it with a financial forecast to offset the development costs.
However, it doesn’t need to be revenue generating to justify development. Adding value to the customer experience could be your reason – my favourite example is the Sky+ App that enables you to record your favourite TV programmers remotely. Sky doesn’t make direct revenue by charging for the App but it does contribute to the loyalty and retention of their customer base.
The final reason is innovation, or experimentation. This may seem a little fluffy, but for many it is justification enough to have observed the behaviours and trends and to want to experiment with a new product or service to see how customers respond. You may hit on something and grab market share with first mover advantage. Just be wary of the development costs with this approach, in case you have a few misses.
Mobile Statistics that may help your business case (or just interest you)
The majority of the following mobile stats came from Google’s recent Think Mobile seminar at the Royal Opera House in London. Others have come from a variety of sources. I have credited the original source where known, otherwise apologies, let me know and I’ll update.
- 2 million iPads were sold in the first 59 days after release (that is one iPad sold every 3rd second (Apple, 2010)
- Mobile advertising is expected to grow to £355m in Britain by 2014 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010)
- 24% of mobile users have a smart phone
- Today’s mobile phone would have cost £1 billion to build in the 1970s and would have been the size of a house
- In 2014 there will be 300m mobile coupon users
- 50% of mobile users start their activity with a search
- 90% of all apps are deleted in 30 days (so make it a good one with real value!)
- 25% of Android searches are made using Voice search technology (Google, 2010)
- 48% of US smart phone users have used a mobile browser
- Mobile search is growing as fast as mobile apps (
- ebay sell 1 item every 2 seconds via mobile
- 10% of all PaddyPower sales come via mobile
- 1 billion mobile phones were bought in the first 14 years – 1 billion mobiles sold in the last 12 months
- 11.5% of all UK shoppers use their mobiles to research before they shop (ITPro.co.uk)
- 48% of social media users check Facebook / Twitter after they go to bed. 7% said they’d even check during an ‘intimate moment’ (SF Gate, 2010)
- In the UK, 81% of mobile media users access mobile media more than once a week with 46% using it daily (MobiAd News, 2010)
- 7.1 million Brits now access the internet through their mobile phones (Internet Monitor Survey, 2010)
- Each month in the UK, 4.2 million consumers visit retailers’ websites using the mobile internet (GSMA & Comscore, 2010)
- Despite the recession, over the last year m-commerce has accounted for nearly £123million worth of goods sold in the UK and this is predicted to double by 2013 to £275million (eBay & Mobile Marketing Association, 2010)
- iPad applications have downloaded over 35 million times (Apple, 2010)
- More than 1 in 10 mobile users will download or buy mobile tickets in the next four years (Juniper Research, 2010)
- There are more than 150 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices (Facebook, 2010)
- People that use Facebook on their mobile device are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users (Facebook, 2010)
Blog 5: One Jillian – Jillian Jackson
Platform: WordPress with Magazine Basic theme designed by Themes by bavotasan.com
Theme: This is a job search blog that markets Jillian by featuring her thoughts and showcases her work.
I like the front page style lay out that posts an introduction to the last 6 posts and a headline post for the latest one. Each with the read more headline. This packs a lot in to entice the reader to look around with a magazine feel. I also like the Skype “call me” tab in the sidebar that makes it easy for potential employers to connect. A great function for a job seeker blog.
Includes some personal tabs on : “Now Reading”, “Now Playing” and “Now Watching” as well as a great call to action for any potential employer with a downloadable resume attached.
Jillian writes short posts twice a week and includes plenty of video to keep it interesting. On the strength of this blog, if I was looking for an editor, writer or community manager, I would have to meet her.
The featured post looks at why failure is an option, and combines others in a to the point post.
Failure is not FINAL.September 13, 2010
First, a quick shout-out to Paper.Li. It’s a free service aggregates the links posted during the day on your twitter feed and presents them to you in a newspaper-like layout. It’s ULTRA convenient if you take a siesta from twitter for a few days and the tweets make your head spin. You can also search out other “newspapers” that have already been created and that cater to your interests.
“Failure: an Opportunity in Disguise” was exactly what the career coach ordered this afternoon. Especially after facing my fear of being mediocre via Carol Roth this morning. Putting these two together created the elixir that I needed today to regain my enthusiasm about this phase in my life.
It’s full of possibilities. When one door closes, another door opens. And when that one closes, there’s still a window. Sometimes it’s not a kick in the pants you need. Sometimes you just have to flip the puzzle sideways to see where the pieces can fit.
Blog 6: Jim Joseph Blog – Jim Joseph
Theme: Marketing and branding with a big slant to digital.
Jim is the President of New York marketing agency Lippe Taylor Brand Communications. Jim posts every day with a short commentary on a current topic or news item. I really like these “thought for the day” type posts that are easy and quick to read. They are current, so on a talking point that the readers will be familiar with.
Theres a good archive of posts by heading in the left hand side-bar for catching the eye, and it’s also not stat rich or a hard read, and after scan reading 12 posts in about 5 minutes, i really got a feel for Jim’s personality and thinking. A good style for a corporate blog (in my opinion) that is not a brochure or product promotion. If this was my space, I would work with him.
The featured post is todays and looks at the gap logo story:
Seemingly out of the blue, Gap (as in the retail store) suddenly changed its logo, but apparently only on its website as a start although I’m sure there is a roll-out plan waiting to be seen. Or is there?The new logo was not well received, to say the least.It’s hard changing your logo, particularly one that is so iconic and well recognized. We’ve been living with the blue box and bold type for twenty years! I give the brand credit for trying – the retailer has been suffering and they are using every tool in the toolbox to reignite the brand. Freshening up a logo is certainly an option.The interesting part, and the most admirable, is that the company is listening to the feedback. On their Facebook page, they explained the rationale behind wanting a new logo, acknowledged the feedback that they’ve been getting, and invited people to submit new designs.No promises for yet another redesign, but certainly a valiant attempt to listen to customers and to create a dialogue with the consuming public.Maybe it was planned that way all along, or maybe their just staying on top of the buzz — either way it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.What’s your experience? Jim.
Career Advice from the Circus
“Palpitating pageant of pachyderms, pulchritude and pantomime! Desperately dangerous displays of unrivaled aerialism! Colossally comic comedians! Dainty and dexterous displays of principal bareback equitation!”
Do those phrases bring back childhood memories of the circus? They do for me. Funny thing is that some of the words aren’t even “real” words! But isn’t it fun to think about the circus under the Big Top? It’s a lot like life. There are the clowns, strongmen, jugglers of all kinds, contortionists, and lion tamers. And we can’t forget the Ringmaster!
Let’s think about how the job search (or your current career) is like one particular group of circus performers: the trapeze artists, or acrobats. How does it all relate? Below are four points of alignment with your acrobats and your career:
Strength. In all athletic feats, especially in acrobatics, you’ve got to be strong enough to do it; plain and simple. When thinking about strength, think beyond muscles and physical strength. Mental strength is important as you embark upon one of quite possibly the most challenging journeys of your life. Do the research, know your strengths and play to them. Think about what you do well, and learn how to do it better. Marcus Buckingham’s Now, Discover Your Strengths and Jim Collins’ Good to Great are both excellent books that speak to this.
Dedication. In your career and in the job search, you’ve got to be dedicated enough to commit yourself to excellence. It takes great dedication to remain positive in the job search. It takes even more dedication to find what you truly want to do in life and do it! Times will no doubt be challenging along the way. To use an analogy from showbiz and probably the circus, “the show must go on!”
Follow Through. Once you’ve mustered the strength, dedicated yourself to your commitment, don’t forget to follow through. This is a step that many don’t do well. Whether it’s with an application submittal, job interview, or simply having lunch with a potential employer, don’t forget to follow through. Do what you say (and what you’ve been telling yourself) you’re going to do. Send the follow-up information, ask for next steps, etc. If you’re an acrobat, you have to follow through or face crashing to the ground (safety net not always included). Give it your all – 100% all the time.
Support. A good acrobat has great support. Whether it’s their partner (team act) or their friends and family (solo act), support is incredibly important. There’s enough negativity to overcome in your job search, your career and in life. Surround yourself with people who support you for who you are, people who are behind you 100%, and those that keep you moving forward. For many, family and friends are the backbone of this support network. Your pet could also be that form of support (they love you, they’re always happy to see you, and they listen well).
Regardless of what your career objectives are, each one of the points above applies in some way. Ultimately, you’ll do what you need to do, but you don’t have to do it alone. So, go ahead, throw your hat into the ring and let’s get this show going!
Blog 8: Grad Futures by Grad Futures
Theme: Advice for UK Graduates.
The blog is part of the website with a job board and a break-down of services. it gets a bit lost in the tabs, which is a shame because the content is useful. Personally, I like to see an independent blog platform that links back to the site. The 2 can live separately and drive traffic to both in my opinion.
I like the weekly podcast answering a question from a reader. this is a good way to engage the readers with the blog and keep the content current. I think this is the number 1 rule in blogging. They also feature the occasional jobs, surveys and competitions to keep things kicking along.
Posts are weekly and alternate between 2 staff writers on a good range of topics, mixing advice with commentary on the market and some lively debate.
I’ve chosen to feature one of the podcast posts as a good example of how this works:
Agony Aunts Podcast #3 – When to Apply
Welcome to the latest in our series of Agony Aunts Podcasts.
Today’s question came from Dave in Nottingham, and leads me and Sarah to discuss when it’s best to start applying for graduate jobs and internships.
Don’t forget, if you’ve got a question on anything to do with graduate jobs, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do out best to answer it in under three minutes!
Agony Aunts – When to Apply (3:04)
Date: October 6, 2010
Blog 9: Susan Stephens writes – Susan Stephens
Platform: Blogger with Watermark template by Josh Peterson.
Theme: Personal blog by an out of work writer
This is very much a personal blog, with posts a couple of times a month or when emotion strikes. The posts range from job seeker advice on hashtags, hiking in the outdoors, medication, the unemployment office, a tour of the bathroom and a whole range of other personal views.
The posts are well written and give real insight in to Susan’s personality and thinking. Navigation and a list of recent posts would be helpful to the readers, rather than just an archive by number and date. (I have to work on how I show my archives too.)
I’m not sure all the posts are compatible with job search, and this is where objective and honest content can conflict. That said, if you enjoy a real personal blog, this one should be on your list.
The post I’ve featured is about Susan’s social media journey.
One of the wonders of the internet is that you can self-educate yourself on virtually anything. Twenty years ago I used to think how cool it would be to log onto a computer, ask it a question, and get an answer. I could’ve invented Google. Dangit.
When I finally went back to college at 31 years old to get a piece of paper that says I know stuff about communications and journalism, I was there because I wanted to be there. I wanted to learn, not just more about writing, but about everything. On a limited budget, however, I had to stick to the plan.
Being unemployed, I’m finding myself with lots of time on my hands. Duh. I’m productive, I’m sending out resumes, I’m soliciting freelance writing work, yet still have spare time. Aside from making my house spotless and becoming at one with my crockpot, I’m educating myself. I’m immersing myself in the world of social media.
I’m reading a lot about personal branding and networking and I’ve learned the power of a blog and a tweet. Social media has become such a powerful tool, far beyond anything I had ever imagined. I’m now adding that experience to my resume. I can rewrite my knowledge, skills, and abilities 20 more times using thesaurus.com, but being unemployed and capable of adding new information is extraordinary.
I did a favor for an associate recently and used social media to try to save 40 employees at his company. My blogging and tweeting reached several levels of government and media, but more importantly, it reached the executive board of the company that could put him out of business. My persistent use of social media as a tool in this case made a difference. Regardless of the situation’s outcome, I reached a lot of relevant and influential people.
I’m learning how to get my point across using social media. And I am truly enhancing my resume by capitalizing on my unexpected free time. I research, I read a LOT, I study, I ponder, I experiment; embracing the educational experience is keeping my brain moving and spirits lifted. I’m also learning that scheduled tweets are really not a bad tool. Just a little impersonal.
Unemployment is a terribly demeaning situation. My self-esteem plummets, my self-confidence is on a rollercoaster, yet I find these bursts of power all from learning something new.
I’m not only learning about social media. I’m taking the time to learn the history of the city in which I live, I’m educating myself on Florida primary issues, and I bought a domain name (iliveinstaugustine.com). I allow myself down time when I know I’ve done some good self-marketing work. Job hunting is exhausting but I remind myself that I’m making major improvements to my marketing tools.
Recruiters receive referrals on a daily basis. For me they are one of my main sources of hire, but sometimes I am overwhelmed by them. Why, you ask? Because more than half of the referrals I receive are candidates I wouldn’t ever call. It gets frustrating because everyone thinks their referral is the candidate for the job, and a lot of times that is not the case. Here are a few things to consider before sending me their names:
1) Job history. I understand that your boyfriend’s sister’s husband’s nephew badly needs a job and seems like a nice guy, but if you know that he has had four jobs in the past year, it’s probably not a good idea to send him to me for consideration. Recruiters are looking for the best candidates, and one of the traits we look for is stable job history. If he’s a job-hopper, I’m not going to call (unless there are extraneous circumstances).
2) Qualifications. If you refer someone for a supervisor position, make sure you know they already have supervisory experience, preferably in the same industry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone refer a candidate for a specialized position, and then when I look at their resume they don’t meet any of the requirements listed on the job description. It just wasted 30 seconds of my time, and in recruiter-world, that’s precious time spent on an unnecessary task.
3) Don’t ask me to schedule him or her for an interview. Just because you work here doesn’t mean they will get one. Of course it helps to know someone who can help get a foot in the door, but if they aren’t one of the best candidates then I’m not going to send them for further consideration. I don’t want to waste the hiring manager’s time by sending them someone I already know they’ll say no to, and I’m not going to put myself on the line for a bad referral.
4) Your referral is a reflection of YOU. Sometimes things don’t work out with good referrals, and that’s not your fault. However, if you send me name after name and none of them are up to par, I’ll probably stop taking the names you give me seriously.
I know it’s hard to find a job these days, and it’s hard to watch friends and family search continuously with no light at the end of the tunnel. One of my favorite things about recruiting is helping people find jobs they will enjoy and succeed in, but in doing so, I must make sure that they are the best candidate for the position.
Recruiting is my profession, so while I appreciate referrals and will review their applications, let me do my job and recruit the position myself! If I feel they are a fit, I will pass them along. If they aren’t, they may have to search elsewhere.
Blog 12: The Direct Recruiters Blog – Jean-Paul Smalls
Platform: WordPress with Theme: Bueno by WooThemes
Theme: Direct hiring tips and commentary for Corporate recruiters
It’s a new blog with only a few posts to comment on, that said, I like the look and I know Jean-Paul, and can testify that the content will be worth reading.
I like the look as a starter although would benefit from more connect buttons, an easy share function to get the posts out there and for the reasons already outlined, I’d lose the twitter feed.
The post I’ve chosen to feature is How do you measure quality of hire?
How do you measure Quality of Hire?
Over the past few months I’ve attended a number of recruitment conferences that have demonstrated some impressive case studies with regards to direct recruitment.
The in-house recruitment teams involved have taken a multifaceted approach; building their presence within social media, creating talent pools & communities, expanding their reach internationally and incorporating mobile technology amongst other things.
Several companies had metrics to illustrate the fruits of their labour such as reduced cost per hire, improved time to hire, % of candidates hired via social media, improvements to the candidate experience and enhanced employment brand perception.
However, the one metric missing for a lot of people and perhaps ultimately the most difficult one to measure is the actual quality of hire. This topic often comes up during the various in-house vs agency debates I’ve heard.
At the most recent conference I attended, Smart Resourcing 2010, one of the speakers did admit that quality of hire was administratively too difficult for them to measure. When you consider all the potential factors involved in quality of hire, it’s no surprise companies struggle with this. Having said that, quality of hire is so vital to the future performance of a company, I’m surprised more firms do not have some form of metrics in place.
So here are my questions for you:
1) How do you currently measure your quality of hire (if you do)?
2) What factors do you think should be involved in measuring quality of hire, and over what time scale?
3) How do you think technology could be used to facilitate measuring quality of hire?
That ends the first of my #uncarnival posts. I will feature any blog that posts a link in comments and subscribes in comments. I will blog on my learning points from this later in the week.
Thanks to the ambassadors that shared their work,
Links ToThe Featured Blogs