Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"How to Find a Job on LinkedIn..." by Brad & Debra Schepp

If you have never used LinkedIn, read this book.  If you have used LinkedIn for years (as I have), read this book!  Go through it with your web browser open to LinkedIn.  You will keep looking back and forth between book and screen and finding ways to:
  1. Make your profile more expressive of what you can do, and more attractive to employers.
  2. Expand the network of people that you can rely on for advice, information, and referrals.
  3. Build a reputation for being an expert in your field--and a helpful person whom people want to help in return.
  4. Find companies you want to work for and people there who might be willing to talk with you.
  5. Actually apply for jobs using your LinkedIn profile, which can include a lot more than a printed resume can do.
  6. Receive thoughtful answers to your questions about how to do the job, once you get it.
LinkedIn is the focus of this book (even though it also includes useful chapters on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+) for one simple reason: people are on LinkedIn to talk about doing their jobs, not to watch cute cat videos or share recipes. The authors consider it the single most important online site for job seekers, and yet they are clear about what it can and cannot do.  With all their emphasis on professionalism, they still write with a funny, human voice, and give tips on how you can distinguish yourself by doing the same.

It is amazing that a book published in April 2012 can contain any out-of-date information, but social media sites change so rapidly that the printed word cannot keep up.  Usually, if the book says a feature is on LinkedIn (or Facebook, etc.), it is still there--you may just have to look in a different menu to find it.  Then there are things that really have changed, like LinkedIn no longer letting you display a reading list.  (I had to do an online search to find out that it was really gone from the site and I wasn't just overlooking it.) 

The book is most useful for ideas on how to use these sites, rather than specific techniques.  That's the advantage the Schepps bring to their readers.  They know what works.  We can figure out how.  I am having a wonderful time doing just that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Read It Again

Joan Wickersham's column today in the Boston Globe perfectly expresses my feelings about the joy of re-reading.  I would add that the traditional Jewish practice of re-reading the Torah every year is the best example.

  • When I was a child, I looked to the Torah for heroes and villains and models of how to behave.  
  • As a grown man, I read it for deeper insights into how reality works, and what we are called to do in this world. (See my book Political Discourse in Exile for some of those insights.)
  • As a man growing older, I continue to read (or as the idiom goes, to learn) Torah.  But I re-read it these days with more appreciation for other points of view and for psychological insights that my exclusively political readings would have left out.  
 My series of blog entries on Avivah Zornberg's The Particulars of Rapture shows that appreciation.  (And I also appreciate those of you who are following along with me!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Brotherly Love

Throughout the book of Genesis, brothers are fighting brothers.  At the same time, there are barely concealed lessons on how the fratricide is going to cease.  By the time Exodus begins, the Israelites have learned those lessons.  Have we?

Sibling conflict is as old as the world.  Cain kills Abel.  The birth of Isaac leads to the expulsion of Ishmael.  Esau loses his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, and Jacob has to flee Esau for his life.  He goes to the home of his mother's brother, Laban, who treats him like a brother: that is, cheats and exploits him.  Ten of Jacob's sons sell their brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt.  It seems as if this cycle of family violence will never end.

Yet along the way, we see brothers coming together when they share a concern for someone other than themselves.  At first, it is their father.  Isaac and Ishmael come together to bury their father Abraham.
File:Figures Isaac and Ishmael Bury Abraham.jpg
And Rabbi Jonathan Kligler comes up with a beautiful midrash to say that burying their father let Isaac and Ishmael reconcile.  (May this be a model for their descendants in Israel and Palestine!)

Similarly, the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Menasheh, could have been at war with each other over their grandfather Jacob's blessing.  Jacob, a younger son himself, gives his best blessing to the younger son Ephraim.  He does bless both of them, however, without hesitation or reservation.  They, too, come together for the funeral of their father, Joseph.  And they stay together.  Even though (or because?) the two half-tribes are allotted separate territory in Canaan, they remain the tribe of Joseph.  

Look now at the book of Exodus, which we are reading from January through mid-March 2013.  Moses is a younger son, raised in luxury in the Egyptian court, while Aaron, his older brother, is an Israelite slave oppressed by the Pharaoh.  Moses returns to his family and his people with a message from God--which he stutters too much to deliver by himself.  He needs Aaron.

And Aaron steps in.  Until his death, Aaron speaks for Moses and acts in concert with him.  Certainly, Aaron and their sister Miriam (a leader and prophet in her own right) sometimes argue with Moses, but only about whether he is leading well, not about whether or not he should lead.  The project of making the Jews ready to receive the Torah and to live by it was bigger than any sibling rivalry.  It still is, today.  Jews need to remember that, and all people can take a lesson about how to turn brotherly hate into brotherly love.

This blog entry is dedicated to my brothers Gary Fischman, Joel Fischman, and Ron Fischman, my sister Yael Fischman, and my brother-in-law Jonathan Charry. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolve to Communicate Better in 2013!

It’s a new year.  Here are ten resolutions that every organization should make to improve their communications in 2013.
  1. Google yourself. What are the first things people see about you? Would you support the group you see on screen?