Saturday, May 16, 2009

Would you hire you??

Would you hire you?? Notes from the SDForum May 11 meeting.

By Mark Helfen

Your resume is the principle piece of marketing material in your job search according to Denise Pringle. Yet many resumes do a poor job at addressing the key issues.

Pringle, a long time HR manager, was the speaker at the May 11 meeting of the SDForum Marketing SIG.

From the hiring managers perspective, your resume, your interview, and your references need to address two main issues - are you a good fit for the job, and will hiring you be a low risk decision. Not that you skills, education, and job history aren't important. But they are less unique, and take second place in the decision.

Hiring managers are "highly risk averse," according to Pringle. The cost of hiring the wrong person can be very high. It's difficult to fire an employee, and the manager might even lose the employee budget for the position.

During times of rapid economic expansion, managers make one judgment about hiring risk. In today's tight economy, with an abundance of highly skilled candidates, managers make a different decision, and are even less willing to accept risk in who they hire. Your marketing message, your resume, needs to create a "cushion of least risk," assuring a manager that they won't be making a mistake by hiring you.

Managers assess three things as they go through the hiring process:

  • can you do the job - do you have the necessary skills
  • will you do the job - meaning your work ethic. Will you show up every day, and get the job done.
  • your fit for the job. This includes chemistry, appearance, and personality. "Fit is huge," said Pringle. "It's not a fair world out there."

There are three ways that a job candidate presents their fit for the job - their resume, their interview performance, and references.


Many resumes look like job descriptions, listing the functions of the job you want, instead of showing the benefits to the manager of hiring you.

Resumes need to be concise and "crisp" and explain your accomplishments. "Crisp" is one of Pringles favorite words - in today's market a long resume will never be read.. Accomplishments should be quantified if possible - listing a percentage of sales increase, a reduction of time to market, an increase in customer satisfaction. Once you submit a resume to a company, it gets put into the company database and in future job searches that need your skills it might pop up.


Most hiring managers are very poor interviewers according to Pringle. It's your job during an interview to "gently guide the interviewer," to focus the discussion on your accomplishments, how you can help the hiring manager, and how you will fit the organization.

Pringle recommends thinking about the questions you will get asked, and practicing them out loud in front of a mirror. Just thinking about them, or writing them down isn't the same.


References are important, as a way of getting that cushion of least risk - someone who knows you can vouch for you. The person who is the best networked, best referenced, has the best relationships is the least risk.

Some references are more valuable than others, but any reference is valuable.

"Charles Manson is better than no reference at all," said Pringle.

A copy of Pringle's presentation materials can be found on the SDForum web site, here.

Pringle can be reached by email at


Mark Helfen is a Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. He can be reached at

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Going Viral (by Filomena U)

From SIG co-chair
Filomena U

Topic: Going Viral

The first article I read, when I get the latest issue of FastCompany magazine from my mail box every month, is Dan & Chip Heath's, co-authors of the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

Their May 2009 article is particularly interesting and timely to me, as we hear every day how companies are slashing marketing budgets, amongst all kinds of other cuts. I also think the article is very relevant to Marketing SIG based on the feedback from our monthly surveys. The title of the article is: Three Secrets to Make a Message Go Viral.
Here's an excerpt:

"Viral marketing has become a hip, low-cost way to reach a lot of people very quickly -- with little effort. But as marketers, including giants such as Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble, slash ad budgets, "viral" needs to mean more than "free" and "fueled by prayer." Making an idea contagious isn't a mysterious marketing art. It boils down to a couple of simple rules."

The article concluded with: "Viral doesn't have to be a crazy YouTube video -- Here's our CEO on nitrous! Start thinking about emotion, public service, and triggers."

I strongly recommend reading this article at FastCompany. It's also a fun read.

So, any suggestion on putting together a viral topic for the SIG later in 2009?? Email me directly or blog it here.

Filomena U

Marketing SIG co-chair

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Introducing the MarketingSIG team

The SIG doesn't run itself, and the volunteer team puts time and energy to help make it a valuable experience for our SIG members.

We recently held a planning meeting. Here is a photo of the team, and a brief introduction to each of them.

Marketing SIG Co-chairs:

Filomena U:
I'm one of the co-chairs of the SDForum Marketing SIG. I collaborate with the SIGs core team to ensure the SIGs overall program offers a rich learning experience and meaningful networking opportunity for the vibrant SIG community. Some of my responsibilities include seeking interesting topics and speakers, and managing operational details for monthly events.

I am a Program manager with over 15 years of R&D experience leading initiatives including customer requirements, design, development, usability, and delivery to the market. Domain specialty includes applications software and solutions, imaging, document management, and digital printing and publishing. Recently started my company,, creating, designing, and publishing childrens original art books.
You can reach me at:

Vladimir Gostrer:
With the help of my co-chair and the core team I do my best to take care of the details, big or small, that are required for the SIG to run as smoothly as possible.

I am a senior software engineer for Electronics for Imaging, or EFI. So far in my career I have been working exclusively on embedded software projects. I have BS in Computer Science from University of California at Riverside.
You can reach me at:

The rest of the team:

Leslie Butlar - Public Relations Director:
My role in the SDForum Marketing SIG is Public Relations Director to promote the best practices in "Marketing Yourself" and "Leveraging Your Strengths" in building new relationships and keeping former contacts current.

I am a Senior Events Manager specializing in managing strategic executive level/sales and marketing meetings/events in large multi-national corporations. Also a worldwide sales force development training coordinator.
You can reach me at:

Mark Helfen - Communications Director:
My role in the SIG is Communications Director, which means that I manage this blog. I try to give SIG members a preview of upcoming events, and at least the key points of a speakers presentation if you miss the meeting.

If you have an interest in contributing to the blog, and getting your 15 minutes (or maybe just 30 seconds) of fame just let me know and I will get you going.

I am a marketing consultant, journalist, and freelance writer, specializing in product marketing strategy and technology writing. And an extra hand when you need some marketing help.

I have degrees in Engineering and Computer Science from U.C.L.A., and experience as a reporter at a daily newspaper.
You can reach me at:

Paul Wcislo - Investor Relations Director:
The Investor Relations Director is responsible for sponsor development. My objective is to promote donor value in enabling ongoing marketing education on the best practices for entrepreneurs and the marketing professionals that serve them.

I am an accomplished marketing communications director. When I'm not running marathons, I bootstrap impactful communications, marketing programs, and sales tools for startups in wireless, telecommunications, and disruptive technologies that enhance the company image, attract buyers, and increase sales. I earned an MS in Journalism in integrated marketing communications (IMC) from Northwestern University.
You can reach me at: