The result of interviews with Fortune 500 hiring professionals, this book provides advice and information on maintaining an online presence and personal brand; finding jobs that match your skills; staying ahead of emerging technology and social media innovations; and maximizing the job-finding potential of your online social networks.
One thing this book had going for it was that it was a relatively smooth read. Although it was dense and verbose, it didn’t take longer than it needed to on any one point, and the information flowed logically. As it happens, I found a job while reading this book (more on this in a future blog), but I still felt compelled to finish reading this one, if only to write this review.
The second plus was that the book genuinely had new (at least to me) and useful information on the other side of the hiring wall, which is what I think most job seekers are looking for in a self-help book. The fact that the authors were able to present direct quotes from the people who hire for Fortune 500 positions, as opposed to recruiters or “career professionals,” lends this book a degree of credibility. These quotes confirmed some things I had always thought, such as the fact that being a friend, or friend of a friend, is a factor in hiring decisions. Another revealed a practice in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that I found ridiculous. Their system asks if the applicant has experience with Excel, yes or no. Of course, anyone who’s ever opened Excel on a friend’s computer once, by accident, is going to say yes. A far better question would be, “Write a formula to do such and such.” Still others pointed out that while online reputation is important, hiring authorities will generally not act on the information without vetting it.
The book also included some good nuggets on current recruiting technology. For example, I had always assumed that PDF was the best way to submit a resume in every situation. Reading this book, I learned that many ATS sites have trouble parsing keywords in PDF files. As we job-seekers know, keywords will make or break an online application. Word documents saved with compatibility are the better option, apparently.
What this book lacked was depth in the area of methodology. It provides limited how-to information on completing specific tasks. I also felt it dwelt a little to long on the resume, considering the topic was Web 2.0.
Still, the book provides lots of food for thought, along with some inspiration (it got me to start a Twitter account). Overall, a worthwhile read. -- JP Brown
About the Author
Brenda Greene is a former editor at Working Woman and the author of the recently revised Get the Interview Every Time: Proven Resume and Cover Letter Strategies from Fortune 500 Hiring Professionals. She coauthored The Business Style Handbook and America's Girl, a biography of Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel. It recently won the International Swimming Hall of Fame Buck Dawson award. Brenda recently moved to Enfield, North Carolina.
Coleen Byrne is a veteran Internet executive with more than 15 years' experience working for Internet giants, including: Yahoo!, CNET (a division of CBS), IGN (a division of News Corp) and Excite@Home. She has both international and domestic experience in Internet advertising, marketing, and business development. She also held public relations positions at Lucas Films and Louis Paul & Partners. Coleen lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and two sons.