Over the last couple of weeks the Sunday Business Post has run a couple of stories from me looking at how the web and particularly online social media can be helpful in building careers.
First up Marie Moynihan, vice-president HR, Dell EMEA spoke to me after the recent Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) event in Dublin. In the feature (out Sunday July 10th) she discussed how people could build their own ‘personal brands’ online.
‘‘These new tools give people the opportunity to plan their professional online presence in a really positive way. There is value in really analysing your network and knowing the key people to reach out to and engage with. The key thing is to put the work in to build relationships, build trust and build your own credibility.”
The second piece was out last Sunday (July 17th) – a chat with Richard Clunan founder of Wordfruit.com, a new online recruitment service for the advertising industry. Clunan told me that the web and the rise of social media were changing the way agencies were structured, and helping previously under-valued staff break through glass ceilings:
‘‘Since the 1960s, advertising agencies have produced campaigns from core teams of copywriter-plus-art director. The newer digital agencies instead have larger teams, with more diverse skills, to deal with the diverse needs of new media. These collaborative environments generate a greater sense of inclusivity, telework and flexi-time are often more acceptable. There is also more of an emphasis on communities and on nurturing relationships. These trends are more conducive to increasing the numbers of and promotion of women, and of people from ethnic minorities.”
Did you know that Ireland should finally get a proper modern postcode system at some point in 2011? If not then you must not have read the feature I put together on GIS (geographical information systems) for March’s Computers in Business magazine with the Sunday Business Post.
The feature included a basic intro explaining what GIS solutions can do and how organisations use them, panels looking at where the info used comes from and how they typically work – and then a forward looking conclusion looking at how the introduction of the post-code system, and other developments such as social networking location based services and mobile internet use would impact on the GIS space in future.
‘‘Promising Generation Y candidates always have their ear to the ground for new challenges or opportunities,” Mark Hamill, global managing director of Spengler Fox said. ‘‘While they may be empathetic to recent workplace challenges, they recognise that this is not their responsibility. The problem for Ireland’s future is that, if we cannot retain Generation Y here in their early careers, we may never get them back.”
The article included research recently carried out by Spengler Fox, looking at the recruitment and HR challenges posed by ‘Generation Y’ candidates, who are typically “more confident, independent, creative and ambitious” than older workers but who “want to be challenged, take responsibility and feel they are progressing year after year.”
Hammill advised companies and recruiters to make better use of the web to impress these young folk going forward.
‘‘You are constantly trying to build systems, networks and communities so you know what talent is out there,” he said. ‘‘Respondents to our survey made suggestions such as online student games and portals, university partnerships and improved employer image and branding. It is about engagement and building emotional connections. This can be done either internally yourself, or with external recruitment partners, or in most cases by a combination of both.”
According to LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site has over 80 million members in over 200 countries with a new person signing up each second. The official stats don’t say how many of these accounts just lie dormant or are rarely used, but I’m betting most people check their Facebook page more often.
Part of this is because Facebook is more fun, but other reasons for people’s reluctance to really engage with LinkedIn are that the value of its tools is not always immediately evident and it’s interface can be kinda finicky and hard to get used to.
Luckily then, I put together a guide for professionals who want to get the most of LinkedIn for the latest ebusinesslive newsletter from Enterprise Ireland. The article covers how to create a profile, make connections, manage your reputation, search for individuals or businesses and, most importantly perhaps, how to leverage LinkedIn to build offline, real-world relationships. The full piece is through here on the ebusinesslive.ie site.
Oh, and here’s a link to my own LinkedIn profile too. I should probably update that pic.
Last week I was in San Francisco flashing a press pass at Oracle’s OpenWorld 2010 conference, and reporting back for ENN.ie.
It was my first visit to such a huge technology event (44,000 attending from 116 countries) and it was interesting enough to see how it was put together. All went swimmingly and I got to see all the keynotes, speak with some Oracle customers / partners and do a bit of sightseeing in between seminars.
Some general things I noticed included blaring rock music welcoming keynote speakers onstage, Oracle signs on city pavements with arrows pointing towards the conference centre, continuous coffee consumption being only moderately successful in impairing jet-lag, iPads everywhere, free buffet breakfasts and lunches for international journos and bloggers, local down and outs lodging in bus shelters advertising tech companies and that Larry Ellison wants Oracle to be like Apple not Microsoft.
Here’s the links to the three reports on ENN:
A decent number of new desktop and web-based applications and tools which help people manage their email traffic more efficiently have been launched recently.
An article I wrote for the September edition of Enterprise Ireland’s ebusinesslive.ie looked at five of these tools – Xobni, X1, Gist, Meshin and Liase – explaining what they do and why they might be useful. Key quote:
“Used well, these tools mean staff are not buried under a deluge of unmanageable email, but instead can quickly and professionally build and maintain the critical relationships that drive real business results.”
The piece – entitled Manage your Email – is online here on the ebusinesslive.ie website. Also in the newsletter this week – protecting online stores against fraud and leveraging localisation in social media. Enjoy.
July’s Computers in Business Magazine with the Sunday Business Post contained a special feature I put together called ’20:20 Vision: a special eight-page section on future-proofing your company’s investments in telecommunications, hardware and software’.
It featured comment and input from the likes of Vodafone, eircom, BT, IBM, HP, salesforce.com and Microsoft, offering advice to companies keen to get the best value from their IT investments. It also covered different technology and business trends and developments such as cloud computing, unified communications, virtualization, software as a service, IP telephony and all the other good stuff. Comprehensive, I think, is the word.
Anyway, it’s available to download now as a pdf from the www.computersinbusiness.com website.
It is a shame that computers which still work but can’t run the latest business software or games tends to either lie in the basement for ages or go straight to recycling, when a more useful thing to do might be to give it to other people who could put it really valuable use.
Last Sunday’s SBPost Computers in Business magazine had a feature which I put together on the decommissioning and re-use of IT equipment. This included a look at Camara, an Irish NGO which takes in used IT equipment from companies or normal people, securely deletes all data and then refurbishes the machines for use in schools in Ireland and Africa.
“We reuse the equipment in schools, but that is not the reason businesses deal with us,” said ” said Eoghan Crosby, technical director of Camara. “They come to us as we offer them a clean efficient service, we can match any quote that a business gets and the company get some good PR. It costs €50 for Camara to send a computer to a school in Africa. We try and get €20 from the original donor, the business or individual, we fundraise €20 and we ask the school for €10.”
The full article, which also has info on issues like secure data destruction and the relevant environmental legislation, is through here on the SBPost site.
Or you can go straight to Camara’s own website and learn more about their activities by clicking here.
I did an interesting interview with Libby Gribben, international human resources director with US chip design firm Xilinx, for last Sunday’s recruitment page of the Sunday Business Post.
Xilinx has been in Ireland since 1995, growing to 450 workers by 2005, but since shrinking to 130 as the company re-organised its global operations, leaving high level R&D and sales support jobs in Ireland and moving the rest elsewhere.
‘‘India is our engineering and software development hub,” said Gribben. ‘‘We have centralised our operations and logistics function in Singapore, close to our manufacturing. We need to be near our customers across the globe, so we have the Irish operation covering Europe, Middle East and Asia. It is not that each region carries out the same role – and is therefore in competition with each other – but more that each region has a value of its own. Over 80 per cent of our staff in Ireland would be educated to third level and above.”
We didn’t really have time to get into whether it was better for Ireland as a whole for multinationals with Irish operations to have 450 jobs spread across different specialities and levels or 130 high value ‘knowledge economy’ jobs. It’s a moot point anyways I guess.
Full article, including comment from Gribben about the HR challenges of going through a restructuring process, how Ireland is fixed for attracting high value jobs and the technology being developed by Xilinx in Ireland, is through here though on thepost.ie, if you want a read.
Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post ran a story I wrote about Bluebrick.ie, a new website which helps candidates find out about the flexible learning options on offer across Ireland’s 14 institutes of technology. The site, and the courses behind it, are being promoted by Dr Richard Thorn, director of flexible learning at Institute of Technology Ireland.
One of the more interesting features about BlueBrick.ie is the way the site can intelligently guide users towards courses or subjects, which they might not have thought of before.
‘‘The site makes suggestions of other courses or areas based on what you have searched for already, similar to sites like Amazon and Expedia,” Thorn said. ‘‘If you are looking at a green energy course, it will remember what other things people who looked at green energy before also looked at, and prompt you to look at those courses too. For example, someone with an electrical installation qualification might be pointed towards courses around sustainable energy.”
The full text of the article, including some very interesting stuff about how the ITs are focusing more now on lifelong learning than school-leavers, and attempts to bring in flexible, modularised learning that would allow students to pick subjects from any course in any IT, is through here on the SBPost website.
Or you could go straight to the BlueBrick.ie website itself I guess.