Are You a Linchpin?

I have just finished re-reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, and was once again blown away by the insightful collection of thoughts.

In Purple Cow and Tribes, Godin focused on how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book, the reader finds, is all about oneself, one’s own future, and the potential one has in making a huge difference no matter the job or occupation of choice. While it might seem a typical sort of professional self-help tome, it definitely is not. Instead, he focuses on the notion that there used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Today there’s a third team, the linchpins. These are the people who figure out what to do when there’s no rule book, and, one might imagine, no limitations. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.

Linchpins, he points out (and demonstrates through numerous examples) are the necessary building blocks of great organizations. They may not always be famous, but they’re indispensable.

And, in today’s world, they are the people who get the best jobs and the enjoy most professional freedom.

I especially like a section that deals with the tiny voice within us that pushes back when we are tempted to do something extraordinary. He calls this “the resistance”, or the “Lizard Brain.” Having worked in creative endeavors over the last decade+, I know what it is like to encounter the Lizard Brain. Overcoming that sort of resistance can lead to great and innovative things. Godin describes this as: “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”

Additional excerpts I found compelling include:

  1. “Abundance is possible, but only if we can imagine it and then embrace it.”
  2. “Organizations that earn dramatic success always do it in markets where asymptotes don’t exist, or where they can be shattered.”
  3. “Work motivation factors (top ten in order): 1-Challenge and responsibility 2- Flexibility 3- A stable work environment 4- Money 5- Professional development 6- Peer recognition 7-Stimulating colleagues and bosses 8- Exciting job content 9-Organizational culture 10- Location and community.”
  4. “Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is. Art is not related to craft except to the extent that the craft helps deliver the change. Technical skill might be a helpful component in making art, but it’s certainly not required. Art doesn’t have to be decorative; it can be useful as long as the use causes change.”
  5. “A trade leaves things as they were, with no external surplus. A gift always creates a surplus as it spreads.”
  6. “The people you work with won’t change if you don’t believe. The communication and leadership starts with the gift you give, not with the manipulation you attempt.”
  7. “Here is one way to think about the list of what makes you indispensable: 1- Providing a unique interface between members of the organization 2- Delivering unique creativity 3- Managing a situation or organization of great complexity 4- Leading customers 5- Inspiring staff 6-Providing deep domain knowledge 7- Possessing a unique talent”
  8. “The vivid truth is this: now that we have the freedom to create, we must embrace the fact that not all creations are equal, and some people aren’t going to win. That doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It might mean that you’re making the wrong art, drawing the wrong map. If your’re not winning as a stick-broker, perhaps your art lies somewhere else. The challenge lies in knowing your market and yourself well enough to see the truth.”

Essentially Godin challenges all of us to become a linchpin in our organization.

You just have to do things differently, do work that changes things for the better. Make the leap. Become an artist. Do emotional work, whatever makes you tick. Go the extra mile and be remarkable!

It’s your choice.

Why & How to SEO Your Resume

Did you know that in a majority of cases where you are applying for a job online that your resume is being stored into a searchable database…and it’s not being sent to a human being for perusal? That’s right. Things are different now. Instead of sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes, recruiters search the database…for relevant keywords…and pluck out the best matches. They are keyword searching resumes.

Just the same as how you use Google to find a website, recruiters are using search tools to find the most qualified applicants in their database. What that could mean for you is lost opportunities, even if you have a great resume, excellence skills, and the exact experience they are seeking. You still run the risk of failing to float to the top of the pile.

While search engine optimizing (SEO) your resume is easy, it’s not as simple as loading it up with a whole bunch of keywords from the job description. There’s a big difference between general search engines and specialized search engines. What recruiters use on the backend of applications like Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Resources or SaaS solutions like Taleo is a specialized search engine, and specialized search engines look for keywords that show up in the right places…not just anywhere.

Think of it this way: If a recruiter is looking for an experienced marketing professional, she is probably going to search the pool of resumes for something like “Marketing Director.” The results will include those resumes where “marketing” and “director” appear in job titles for recently held positions. Resumes where both words appear, but are not together or in job titles, are not going to end up in top search results.

What that means is, optimizing your resume for searches is not about throwing in every keyword you can think of, but about creating relevant copy, with relevant keywords, that address relevant experience. It goes back to the golden rule of SEO, whether for a website or a resume, Relevancy Is King. If you use applicable keywords in a relevant fashion, there’s no reason why your resume shouldn’t pop to the top.

Therefore, selecting keywords is extremely important, and rewriting your resume to be more applicable to each job or job type is assuredly de rigueur.

If you are submitting your resume as a PDF there’s an additional step you can take to optimize for SEO and it’s making sure not to overlook the file’s metadata.

Metadata is just another way to say “descriptive” data that is embedded into the file that helps explain the contents further for proper classification. It’s not unlike the cataloging data used in your college library that allowed you to easily find Plato’s Republic for your poli sci term paper (is that an exaggerated example or what?!), comprised of author’s name, book title, subject matter and synopsis.

You can easily add metadata to your resume PDF.

Go to File > Properties and fill in the following fields:

  1. Title – This could be the single most important element of your PDF document properties. In almost every case, the title is used on the search engine results page. If you don’t write a title the file name is used by default, and that isn’t going to make anyone very interested in you. 
  2. Author – You can use your name here. 
  3. Subject – The subject serves as the meta description for your PDF document. This is the second most important element. Write something that is relevant and descriptive. Use your keywords, but do over do it.
  4. Keywords –  Use your relevant keywords here. Filling this space up with all sorts of trash is only going to hurt you.
There is an Additional Metadata button, but it really just allows you the opportunity to enter copyright information. That is not necessary when it comes to a resume.
I hope that helps. Don’t forget the golden rule of SEO (see above if you have already) and happy job hunting.

I Encourage Comments

What’s a blog without comments? It might just be the ramblings of a lunatic! 🙂

But, seriously: I won’t lie, I’d love to increase traffic — and search standings — for this blog.

Therefore I am encouraging you to leave comments.

Let me know what you think. I really would love to know.

I will also take this opportunity to mention my Twitter page (http://twitter.com/tonykelsey), which I think is a really informative mix of links pertaining to SEO, digital marketing, design and social media. I try to keep it focused and useful. Check it out and give me a follow.

Okay, wouldn’t you say that is enough shameless self-promotion for one Sunday morning?!

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" – A Study in Personal Branding

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see Exit Through the Gift Shop, the 2010 documentary that tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, and his obsession with street art. After all, the film was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Documentary Feature) and was directed by the mysterious Bansky, one of the most famous and contemptous street artists in the world (along with Shepard Fairey, who gained worldwide fame with his Barack Obama “Hope” poster).

Normally I see all the nominated films and I find street art to be absolutely enthralling. But, until this past weekend, I had somehow missed ETTGS and I am now recommending that if you missed it too…you’ve got to see it!

This film is not only interesting, exciting and well made, it is a compelling study on two levels.

One, I found it to very creatively inspirational. Sure, some people might be put off because street art to some is actually graffiti to others. But this graffiti isn’t like the stuff you find spray painted on your garage one morning. It’s a variety of things and can include sculpture, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheat pasting and poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art and flash mobbing — among other things.

Its messages arise from currents in activism and subversion and can serve as a powerful platform for reaching the public with themes that include adbusting, subvertising and other culture jamming techniques. Some street artists use what could be called “smart vandalism” as a way to raise awareness of social and political issues. Others do it solely for the fun, artist nature.


My interest in street art and street activity most likely comes from the fact that my father, a retired Denver policeman, was truly intrigued with flash mobs. Not as an opponent — but a participant! In the early days of flash mobbing, and on more than one occasion, he left the office of his new job as an investigator for the State of Colorado to participate in flash mobs. He found them to be energetic and fresh and loved to be part of the sponaneity.

On a second level, the movie is an enlightening example of how a person can totally take charge of their own personal brand. Without going into details that may ruin the movie for you, it shows how one man can reinvent himself, develop a unique personal brand and build that brand into a wholly successful opportunity. This individual uses all the basic elements of marketing/branding to capitalize on a unique situation. It is there that the film becomes a remarkable study in Branding 101. I would be surprised if it wasn’t currently being shown in college business classes around the country.

Therefore, from a creative, marketing and branding perspective, I definitely recommend the film. As a purely entertaining experience I also recommend. It’s just good fun.

Now all I need to do is decide on a street artist name for myself (*wink*).