Feature: Digitalysis: Paralysis By Digitization

Feature: Digitalysis: Paralysis By Digitization

Feature: Digitalysis: Paralysis By Digitization

One of the key axioms for a successful job search is to avoid putting your foot in your mouth when communicating with a prospective employer. Now, however, even that’s not enough. In today’s digitally connected world, it’s also important that you avoid putting your fingers where your mouth should be.

Consider the results of a recent survey by Achieve, a non-profit organization working to improve academic performance among students. According to its 2005 survey:

  • 53% of teens who use both the Internet and cell phones to communicate with friends, do so most often via written messages.
  • 34% of employers were dissatisfied with the oral communications skills of high school graduates.
  • All too often they can text like crazy, but they can’t participate in a team discussion, make a presentation to a client, or brainstorm with their coworkers.

    Lest we think this is a teen or twenty-something phenomenon, however, check out what’s going on in your office every day. Undoubtedly, you’ll find more than half of the population hunched over their computers sending, responding to and forwarding e-mail messages. Phone conversations and meetings are now shoehorned in between key-pounding sessions at the keyboard or text messaging on our Blackberry or other personal digital assistant.

    To put it another way, we’re typing ourselves into silence. We are starting to experience what I call “digitalysis” or paralysis by digitization. We’re spending so much time clicking out messages that we’re losing the ability to communicate verbally. And that’s a sure fire way to hear silence from the employers for which you hope to work.

    Looking for a job is a multidimensional activity. Yes, it is possible to use e-mail and text messages in some of your contacts with recruiters and employers and in some of your networking with others in the workforce. But no, you cannot make all of your contacts that way. And no, you won’t be offered a job with the click of a key. To be successful in your job search, you have to get out of your digits and into your vocal cords. In short, you have to contact people by making verbal as well as virtual connections.

    What does that mean? Practice and hone your verbal communications skills as much (or more) as you practice digital messaging. Step away from your computer, put down your Blackberry and work on your:

  • Elevator pitch, the brief, but hard hitting précis that summarizes your skills, background, and potential contribution to an employer;
  • Interviewing skills, to make sure you can both clearly articulate what you’ve done in your career and sell that capability to the interviewer.
  • Conversational ability, so that you take advantage of every networking opportunity to expand your access to every corner of the job market.
  • This practice should involve both the telephone and face-to-face interactions. Its purpose is to strengthen your competency in building relationships through verbal expression. While organizations are employers, it’s people who do the hiring. And more often than not, they select people with whom they can communicate and feel comfortable. Your ability to establish rapport with recruiters and prospective coworkers predisposes them to pay more attention to your potential contribution to the organization and to give it more weight in their evaluation.

    That’s the real meaning of a contact. It’s not the linkages you have on a social networking site or the e-mail addresses in your Blackberry. It’s what you do with the people behind those digital access points that determines your success. Making a contact is actually an exercise in building a relationship.

    Text messages can help you carry on a relationship for a time, but they cannot do so indefinitely. Perhaps more important, they also cannot establish the relationship in the first place. Most of us have been in relationships, so we know from personal experience that they take more time and effort than an instant message. Relying exclusively or even primarily on digital communications to interact with others freezes relationships in place-paralyzes them-and precludes them from developing their full potential.

    To create a vital, human connection with another person-whether that person is a recruiter, a hiring manger or an employee of a company-requires the sound of a human voice. Only Shakespeare could replicate that sound with the written word, and even he wrote with the expectation that his text would be verbalized.

    Thanks for reading,


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    CareerBuilder.com published the results of its recent survey on honesty in the workplace. It found that 19% of all workers have lied at work, and 15% report they have been caught lying on-the-job. At first glance, such falsehoods may seem insignificant. For example, the most common lies employees say they tell are:

  • “I don’t know what happened.” (20%)
  • “I have another call to take.” or “I’ll call you right back.” (16%)
  • I’ve been out of town.” or “I’ve been sick.” (10%)
  • “I didn’t get your e-mail, voice mail or fax.” (8%)
  • Such behavior, however, does have consequences. According to the data above, almost 80% of those who lie at work get caught, and when they do, careers get derailed. A quarter of all managers (24%) say they have fired an employee for dishonesty. Almost nine-in-ten (85%) say they would deny a promotion to an employee who had lied to them or to other employees in the organization. The bottom line of the survey? It pays to be honest … literally.

    CareerJournal.com and the ERI Economic Research Institute released the results from their latest Total Cash Compensation Report, and guess what? Boards of Directors are giving CEOs annual raises that are more than ten times greater than the measly 4% or less that CEOs are approving for the workers who make those CEOs successful. Total cash compensation rose an obscene 41.3% above the already super-inflated levels of 2005. The data were drawn from a randomly selected group of 45 publicly traded companies. Why is this happening? Is it true-as many Board members claim-that such pay is essential to recruiting and retaining top executive talent or is this some sort of vain one-upmanship-my Board pays more than your Board nah, nah, nah, nah-on the part of Board members themselves? It wouldn’t be so bad if the Board members were equally as focused on paying whatever it takes to recruit and retain top talent below the executive level, but apparently that’s an issue beneath their concern.

    Psychology Today published a list of tips for those who are smarter than the bosses for whom they work. Among the suggestions:

  • Remember that nothing is black and white. Even the dumbest of bosses may have a good idea or two. Overlooking them can hurt your own reputation.
  • Keep your opinion of your boss to yourself. Your boss may not be a rocket scientist, but they may be smart enough to blow up your career.
  • Don’t make fun of the intellectual ineptitude of your boss. If your commentary gets back to your boss, the joke may be on you.
  • Help your boss offset his or her weak points and then try to leverage your role into some visibility for yourself. For example, ask to participate in the briefing you helped your boss put together. Don’t try to outshine the boss, however, as that can turn the lights out on your own career.
  • Right Management conducted a survey of the re-employment histories of its clients and found that more than one-out-of-ten (13%) were rehired by the same employer that downsized, rightsized or otherwise laid them off. What’s that mean? Don’t burn your bridges behind you. Employers make mistakes. Their financial situation improves. New bosses arrive and policies change. In short, you just never know. The door that was slammed in your face yesterday may be wide open today. Even better, as a former employee, you have a competitive advantage. You’re a known quantity who has already proven that you can fit (back) into the organization’s culture-as along as you didn’t leave with a Bronx cheer for the employer.

    Worldwide ERC, the association for global employee relocation, and Primacy Relocation, a relocation provider, announced the winners of their 2006 Best Cites for Relocating Families ™. The survey covers large, medium and small U.S. metropolitan areas and rates such factors as commute times, tax rates, average home cost and appreciation, and a diverse set of cost of living and quality of life variables. The winners are:

    Large Cities

  • Louisville, KY
  • Austin-San Marcos, TX
  • Mid-Sized Cities

  • Evansville, IN
  • Lexington, KY
  • Small Cities

  • Athens, GA
  • Grand Junction, CO
  • Most of us don’t like to move, but if you must, the cities above are apparently great destinations.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If you’ve been laid off from your manufacturing job and want to find another position fast, which of the following sites would produce some high quality output in employment opportunities?

  • JobsinManufacturing.com
  • WeMakeIt.com
  • iHireManufacturing.com
  • ManufacturingJobs.com
  • 2. You’re a biologist with experience in laboratories providing commercial testing services. If you want to move to another lab located closer to your home, where could you go online to distill a list of appropriate openings?

  • ScienceCareers.org
  • BiologyJobs.com
  • ScienceJobs.com
  • Naturejobs
  • 3. The company for which you work is relocating and you don’t want to move. If you’re an experienced Controller, which of the following sites would pay dividends in your search for a new job?

  • 6FigureJobs.com
  • ExecuNet.com
  • ConWork.com
  • ConJobs.org
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories



    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 60,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $20-30K/yr, $31-50K/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 365 days

    Restrictions on who can post: None

    Other services for job seekers: Listserv/discussion forum for networking, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to other sites with resources

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but WeMakeIt.com, a site owned by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company.

    2. All of the sites.

    3. All but ConWork.com, the site of a German business, and ConJobs.org, the site of a company providing convention support.