No cold calls!!!

This is something that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’ve written about this before. Because it keeps happening, I’m writing about this again.

I often get requests to connect from people I don’t know. I will only connect with people with whom I have some kind of established relationship. It’s so bad that I put this note prominently at the top of my LinkedIn profile.

If you want to connect with me, please indicate how we’re connected; otherwise, I will ignore or delete your request. I do NOT accept unsolicited connect requests from people I don’t know.

I especially hold a strong contempt for spam recruiters. For starters, I once had a bad experience with a spam recruiter. There are also many documented cases about spam recruiters being bad for professional development. And their queries are often downright insulting to me. They make absolutely no attempt to get to know me or what I want; all they do is look for buzzwords in my LinkedIn profile or resume. Any connect request I receive from a recruiter I’ve never heard of gets deleted immediately.

Granted, just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean I won’t connect with you. However, you need to give me a reason as to why I should connect with you. It doesn’t have to be much — even something as simple as, “I enjoyed (meeting/talking/listening/whatever) to you at (user group/activity/party/whatever). Can we connect?” is enough for me to at least acknowledge you.

There are a number of people who think that just because we have friends or groups in common that they can just connect with me. The fact is, if I don’t know who you are, and you don’t tell me how we’re connected, I will not connect with you. Just because we’re part of the same user group doesn’t mean I will connect with you. Several user groups and activities I’m in often have numbers of people whom I don’t know. You need to tell me we’re in the same user group. Do not make me have to work to figure out who you are.

I am very particular about this, especially in this day and age of identity theft and data security. It’s one thing to be asked a favor, but it’s quite another to be taken advantage of. There is a difference.

Networking is about relationships. Tell me what our relationship is, and I’ll be happy to connect with you, even if I don’t know you. But if you send me an unsolicited connect request with absolutely no indication as to how we’re connected, chances are I will delete or ignore your request. Don’t send me a cold-call connect request with no explanation as to how we’re connected and expect me to connect with you.

Upcoming speaking engagements (as of 2/6/2020)

I’ve had some updates to my speaking schedule, so I figured this would be a good time to update my speaking schedule.

I am confirmed to be speaking at the following two events.

I’ve also submitted presentations to the following events, but they are not confirmed (and I might not get confirmation for at least a few weeks, if not longer).

Additionally, SQL Saturday Boston is listed for October 3, but the event is not yet live. I intend to apply once it is. I will also likely apply to speak at PASS Summit once speaker submissions are open. I will also apply to SQL Saturday events within easy driving distance of my home, such as New York City and Providence, RI.

Hopefully, I’ll see you at an event near you sometime soon!

When does a request for info become spam?

I recently saw a post in a Facebook group that I manage for a user group to which I belong. She was brand-new to the group, having joined just hours (maybe even minutes) before she posted.

She turned out to be a recruiter. I won’t say too much about her because her firm is one with which I have a very good relationship. That said, I’d never heard of her, which made me wonder how new she was.

It also made me question her motives for joining the group. It’s one thing if she joined to become an active member of the group or to network, with which I have no problem, but it’s quite another if her sole reason for joining is to post online job solicitations — something with which I take issue. Since she seems new, I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. I sent her a PM, explained my relationship with her firm, and asked if I could assist.

It made me think: when do job solicitations become spam?

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about recruiter spam, and, of course, I’ve written extensively about networking. Those of you who are inundated with recruiter emails or postings know how downright aggravating it gets. Unless we’re actively looking for a new position, we have no time or patience for responding to the deluge of messages about which we couldn’t care less. And it’s only once in a great while where we come across one that looks interesting enough to look into it further. And for those of you who think these things are harmless, I once had a bad experience with a spam recruiter.

I do give leeway if the message is from a recruiter or firm that I know. As I’ve written before, it’s about relationships and trust. If a recruiter that I know asks me if I know someone with a certain set of skills, I would be happy to refer someone to him or her, and I’ll be more likely to take their job search requests more seriously. But if the recruiter is someone I don’t know who cold-calls me asking for a referral, what do you think the chances are that I would give one? In all likelihood, slim to none.

So in my mind, the difference between a referral and spam is the relationship. If the person who posted that request already had a preexisting relationship with our group, I’d be happy to see the post. But that she posted nearly immediately after joining the Facebook group has me questioning her motives. Establish yourself before you go looking for favors.

Postscript: As I was winding up this article, the recruiter to whom I sent the PM responded to me, and in doing so, dropped the name of someone I know. I now trust her a bit more, and I feel a little more comfortable with her posting.

I'll be in the Windy City on March 21! #SQLSaturday #SQLSat945 #SQLSatChicago

I got the official word this morning that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Chicago on March 21!

I will do my presentation about job hunting and networking entitled “I lost my job! Now what?!?

This is a milestone SQL Saturday for me. It will be the farthest I’ve traveled for a SQL Saturday (PASS Summit excluded), and the first where it is not feasible for me to drive to it. For me to drive to Chicago would take longer than a day, and that’s not a drive I’m willing to make!

This will also be only the second time I’ve ever been to Chicago. (Changing flights at O’Hare doesn’t count!)

Hope to see you in the Windy City on March 21!

The extracurricular resume

For those of you reading this who work in some type of professional position, how many of you have a resume? I’m guessing that at least 98% of you (if not more) would have your hands raised.

Now, for those of you who are very active in some extracurricular activity (just for context, that activity for me, personally, happens to be music) — and by “very,” I mean you dedicate large amounts of time, money, energy, and resources to it, as though it was another job (even if you’re not making money off of it) — how many of you maintain an extracurricular resume?

I didn’t think about this until recently. This past winter, I music-directed a local show production. One person I met in the production told me he was looking for a music director, and said he wanted me to do it. I hemmed and hawed about it a bit (and I still am — those of you who’ve done theater shows know that it sucks up ALL your free time). He did tell me that the board of directors asked for my resume so they could get a look at my background.

Until this came up, it never occurred to me that I should have a resume outside of my professional life. Immediately, I started coming up with questions. How would it differ from my professional resume? What should it look like? How should I organize it? What should I include?

In any case, I have an idea in the back of my head as to how I’m going to put it together (and I do intend to put one together). Music is an activity that I take very seriously, and I do look for opportunities to do something with it, even though I don’t do it for a living. So it makes sense for me to have one. Besides, if I do decide someday to leave my professional life behind and make music my career, who knows?

So if you have some activity outside your professional career that you pursue seriously, consider putting together an extracurricular resume. You never know what opportunities could come from it.

#SQLSaturday Albany, July 25, 2020 #SQLSat961

The SQL Saturday #961 site went live this morning! It will be held on July 25, 2020, on the campus of the University at Albany. This will be the seventh time that CASSUG has hosted SQL Saturday!

I’ve already submitted my sessions (in fact, I was the first one to submit)!

My hometown SQL Saturday is always a special one for me, and upstate New York is beautiful in the summertime (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a native of upstate New York)!

Come and join us in late July for a great day of learning and networking!

#SQLSaturday #953, Rochester — February 29 #SQLSat953

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted presentations for SQL Saturday #953 in Rochester, NY on February 29, 2020. The other day, I received an email from the organizers (Andy Levy, I presume) encouraging us to spread the word about the event.

Okay, Andy. I will oblige!

I submitted the following five presentations for Rochester.

Assuming that I’m selected to speak, this would be my next scheduled presentation event, as of today. Hopefully, I’ll see you in Rochester in a couple of months!