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December 2007
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Minnesota Headhunter To Present At The StarTribune Career Expo

Many thanks to Kevin Donlin of The Simple Job Search and The Simple Job Search Blog for referring the folks putting on the event to me.

Click Career Expo to see those presenting and list of the exhibitors with the job fair.

I was a late edition to the web site but my portion of the PR materials will have a picture of me and the following:

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

I have a "killer" resume, now what?
Tips on being your own Headhunter.
Paul J DeBettignies
Managing Partner, Nerd Search LLC

Paul has been an IT Headhunter for 10 years, is a frequent speaker on job search and networking topics, and writes the popular business blog MN Headhunter,

Paul will share principles he has learned that are universal to a job search through his own business and through his years of interaction with candidates that will help speed up your job search process.

Areas to be covered include: networking, what it is, how to get started, and who to contact; effective ways of using email to introduce yourself; finding hiring manager contact names; creating your 10 Second Sound Bite and the 30 Second Elevator Pitch; tracking your job search.

I will also lead the introduction to the networking presentation.

Minnesota Morning

I have a word that has been a major part of my vocabulary for the past week, “sucks.” As in the weather sucks. Moving sucks. Taking this long to get rid of my cold (you guessed it) sucks. I hope you are not offended by the word.

Last Saturday, 8 days ago, comedian Lewis Black was on Comedy Central with his 2007 show “Red, White and Screwed.” I am a huge fan of Lewis Black and preferably the unedited version. It’s a lot more fun when you for sure know which word was “bleeped.”

That Saturday night it was cold. Damn cold. As in it sucks, cold. -15 cold. It was part of the two weeks of winter we have every year that makes it tough to want to go outside. It is two weeks that sends fear to everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line (well anyone really) and why they would never consider moving here.

Watching Lewis Black reminded me of a show he did a few years ago and one part was regarding a cold spell. CAUTION, this is the unedited version. The “f*** word is used”. This is not safe for work or around children:

Like the last Lewis Black comment other than the links below I have no thoughts for the day.

But if you click on nothing else, click Women as explained by Engineers. This was forwarded to me by two women so I decided it was safe to do the link that was sent to Jim by his sister. Yes, I am trying to cover my backside.

Recruiter and Career blogs from The Day In Recruiting and

Minnesota business, technology, and political links from

MN Headhunter As Guest On The Recruiting Animal Show

For my Minnesota and/or non recruiter, HR, career blogger friends there is an interesting character who goes by the name Recruiting Animal who calls his cave, err blog, Recruiting Animal. He used to go by the name Canadian Headhunter. I am not sure why the change or if one of the provinces were in revolt, probably Quebec. He is one of the coolest guys around.

Recruiting Animal has a podcast called The Recruiting Animal Show and I was his guest today.

Others on the call were Harry Joiner of Marketing Headhunter, Maureen Sharib of, and my buddy (and college football junkie) Amybeth Hale of Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess. I have a lot of respect for Harry, Maureen and Amybeth so spending some time with them on the phone was great.

Recruiting Animal recently won the award of best recruiting personality at the contest and I think he lived up to it well today. This is not a button down show that would appear on the Wall Street Journal. This is more my speed with some character, a free flow of ideas, and I think I said, “suck” and “damn” a couple of times. In other words I had some fun.

After a 60+ minute conversation I came out in one piece and unbruised. We covered many topics including how I got into the business, my use of referrals, cold calls, being a IT recruiter in Minneapolis, and of course this blog.

Topic, or the line of thought, I enjoyed the most was talking about how I believe recruiting should be about creating relationships and not focused on the transaction.

There was a suggestion made that I should change the name of the blog, and/or my nickname, to “Minnesota Headhunter” from “MN Headhunter”. Recruiting Animal asked about that and I have no real answer why I went with just the “MN.” When I started doing this blogging thing there was not much thought put into it.

(and here is the disclaimer that while that has worked for me I do not suggest that for everyone)

So I am going to look into it.

If you are curious about the work he is doing you can go to The Recruiting Animal Show main page where you will find links to the previous shows, you can click The Minnesota Headhunter for my link there or click to listen here:


Many thanks to my Canadian and furry friend for inviting me to participate.

High Paw! (my version of the high five, he is an animal after all)

Minnesota Morning

It has been 3.5 months since my last Minnesota Morning. Huh, time really has flown by. That and I have been distracted. A lot.

A new sort of format as I start writing these entries again. Rather than writing like you would expect in a newspaper I am going to try some thoughts and see how that works.

Thought #1, Minnesota Jobs

Not trying to make light of a serious situation but the December Minnesota jobs report brings a quote from Scooby Doo to my mind, “Ruh Roh.”

I have posted the statistics at December 2007 Minnesota Jobs Report.

Here is the quote heard around Minnesota today:

"Minnesota is in a recession," the state's economist, Tom Stinson, said Tuesday "I don't see how you can label it anything else."

I don’t know if I would use the word recession. Are some areas getting hit hard? Yes. Is the state experiencing a slow down? Absolutely. Is the “mood” starting to suck? Yep.

Maybe I feel differently because while the hiring of information technology professionals has been slowing down in recent months there is still significant demand.

I guess time will tell but I will say that it is unlike Minnesota to be ahead of the national trend. We usually follow slowly behind. Leading the pack sucks if that is what we are doing.

Thought #2, Brr Brr Brr

Damn, it is and is going to get colder outside. I had a chuckle Monday when while driving Paul Douglas from WCCO TV was doing an extended forecast he said it would be below normal through the first week in January. That was not so funny but his next line was something about at least crime would go down and garbage cans do not smell.

See? A silver lining in everything.

Thought #3, More Blogging I "Promise"

Every few months I say this but I swear I am going to be blogging more. Some really cool opportunities have been coming my way the past two months and I look forward to talking about them when the time is right.

I also have some things on my mind that I need to get out. They are rattling around and I think if I write about them that will take care of it. They have very little if anything to do with being a recruiter but hey, I started the blog as therapy to being with. Maybe if I go back to that original idea ideas will flow here much easier.

Thought #4, Go Patriots

I really want the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Not because I like them to any great extent, although I am always cheering for University of Minnesota football alum Laurence Maroney, but because I am tired of hearing about the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Sure those guys have something to be proud of but one can choose to be humble or arrogant. Don Shula and Mercury Morris in particular always seem so happy with himself and that team. Larry Csonka and Bob Griese seem to have a better handle on it.

Recruiter and Career blogs from The Day In Recruiting and

Minnesota business, technology, and political links from


Nothing today but you can be sure that will not last long...

Click Minnesota Morning for previous editions or MN Headhunter for the main page.

December 2007 Minnesota Jobs Report

Not much good to say about 2007 when speaking about job creation in Minnesota. The first 6 months saw about 23,000 jobs created. That’s a rough break even number needed with a growing Minnesota labor force and a nice start to a year.

The last 6 months saw that number wiped away.

I have seen the number at -400 and -700 jobs created/lost during 2007.

Tom Stinson, the state's chief economist. says "It seems to me that that's enough of a decline to qualify as a statewide recession in anybody's book," Stinson said.

Dan McElroy, the employment and economic development commissioner, called the report "disappointing and concerning." and "Going backward in the number of jobs is clearly not good news," he said. The numbers will be revised next month and that could mean that conditions actually are worse than they appear now.”

Unemployment rate:

  • December ’07, 4.9%
  • November ’07, 4.4%
  • October ’07, 4.7%
  • September ’07, 4.9%
  • August ’07, 4.6%
  • July ’07, 4.6%
  • June ’07, 4.5%
  • May ’07, 4.6%
  • April ’07, 4.5%
  • March ’07. 4.2%
  • February ’07, 4.5%
  • January ’07, 4.4%
  • December ’06, 4.1%

Jobs Created/Lost:

  • December ’07, -2,300
  • November ’07, +6,900
  • October ’07, -6,600
  • September ’07, -6,300
  • August ’07, -2,000
  • July ’07, -7,300
  • June ’07, +4,200
  • May ’07, +7,200
  • April ’07, +500
  • March ’07, ???
  • February ’07, -1,200
  • January ’07, +13,100
  • December ’06, -1,600

Over The Year Job Growth:

  • December ’07, -700
  • November ’07, +2,566
  • October ’07, +2,100
  • September ’07, +9,800
  • August ’07, ???
  • July ’07, +19,165
  • June ’07, +35,133
  • May ’07, +41,515
  • April ’07, +36,711
  • March ’07, ???
  • February ’07, +20,787

All numbers above are seasonally adjusted.

Click Employment & Economic Statistics for more posts on the topic and MN Headhunter for the latest blog posts.

What Journalism Schools Should Be Teaching

The following article is part of my participation in the Recruiting Blogswap:

Written by Steve Borris of The Future of News

The New Media revolution has left J-schools grasping for relevancy, writes Steve Boriss, who helpfully offers his blueprint for a 21st-century curriculum. Lesson one: the customer is always right.

Should those seeking careers in news go to journalism school? Can today’s j-schools — with faculties that consist almost entirely of Old Media experts and practitioners, courses about conventional media tactics, and premises built upon now-failing models of objectivity and verification — prepare students for the new world of New Media? Of course not. Here’s a list of courses that j-schools should be teaching.

Introduction to Journalism: Back to the Future — Journalists mistakenly believe that news has been continuously evolving toward better forms when, in fact, we are in the midst of a century-old trend. In the early 1900’s an attempt was made to transform journalism from the rough-and-tumble craft it had always been to a science producing verified, objective, unbiased truths. This now-laughable proposition was sustainable only while technology, economics, and government regulation limited the number of challenging voices. This course will cover the last 600 years in search of business models to which we will return. It will focus on the days before the printing press when news was spread by word of mouth and, like today, everyone was a potential creator, editor, and distributor of news.

Remedial Studies: The Role of the Press in America — With the Internet now allowing everyone to exercise their freedoms of expression, a clear understanding of the Founding Fathers’ vision for the press is essential to success in news. This course will teach the correct interpretation of the First Amendment — that just as everyone has the right to speak their views (freedom of speech), everyone also has the right to publish their views (freedom of the press). This amendment did not grant elite status and special rights to a clique known as “the press,” which did not exist as we now know it at the time the amendment was drafted. The course will also analyze Thomas Jefferson’s wishes that newspapers serve as a “fence” to prevent government from encroaching on individuals’ lives. This will correct journalists’ common practice of “jumping the fence” by presenting government as benevolent and the people’s private sector as the greatest threat to our freedom, swapping the ideas of Jefferson for those of Marx.

Business for Journalists — Many journalists have become disoriented, losing track of where they fit into our economy. Some believe they are engaged in a public service, a branch of government, or an activist movement. This course will clarify that virtually every journalist works in the private sector for organizations that must maximize profits. This knowledge will be helpful in the workplace, as journalists may from time to time wish to avoid declaring independence from the demands of their employers, stockholders, business competitors, and acquiring corporations. The course will also highlight that their audiences consist of “customers who are always right,” and not “citizens who must be spoon-fed what journalists believe.” In a work-study portion of the course that teaches the humility required for providing customer service to average Americans, students will be required to clean the public toilets in a Wal-Mart.

Technology for Journalists — As technology advances, journalists will be both enabled and required to be self-sufficient. This class will teach journalists how to use a variety of independence-granting technologies such as search engines, content management systems, social computing, and video cameras. Would-be photojournalists who believe that ordinary breaking news requires extraordinary cinematographic excellence will be encouraged to apply to the film school.

Creative, Entertaining, and Very Short Writing — As everything now known as “media” converges to the Internet, journalists will soon be competing for audiences against former newspapers/TV news, prime-time programming, movies, video games, blogs, and even porn. Many now-common styles will not remain competitive, including the use of serious and faux-authoritative tones, the pretense of objectivity, and “inverted pyramid” articles that become increasingly trivial and boring the deeper one reads. This course will explore a variety of alternative and entertaining styles, including humorous, warm, crusading, inspirational, empathetic, and titillating. Students will also learn how to write catchy headlines and compelling text in 300 words or less, recognizing the mouse-trigger-happy character of news consumers.

The Argument Clinic — Journalists must stop using their mastheads as shields, and engage their audiences in civil debate to defend the accuracy of their facts and the validity of their opinions. This course will teach journalists how to differentiate left vs. right thinking, recognize their own biases, and treat critics as customers to be persuaded, not moral or intellectual idiots. Students will be re-educated to understand that “bias” is not a four-letter word, but a new way to attract audiences as news transitions to a multitude of voices competing in a freewheeling marketplace of ideas.

Until such a curriculum exists, J-schools will be, as journalist Ted Koppel once said, “an absolute and total waste of time.” They will also be a place where old dogs teach obsolete tricks.

Steve Boriss, Associate Director for the Center for the Application of Information Technology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Originally published January 2, 2008 by

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry-level jobs and other career opportunities.

Minnesota Recruiter Jobs

The following new Minnesota Recruiter Jobs have been added on the MN Headhunter Recruiting Gigs Page:


Click weekly newsletter to receive the Wednesday message of nonprofit needs, IT jobs I am recruiting for, recruiting jobs, and most popular blog posts of the week.

If you are using a RSS Feed click Recruiting Gigs.


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IT Jobs With Minnesota Non Profits

The following new IT jobs have been added on the MN Headhunter Volunteer Page:


Click weekly newsletter to receive the Wednesday message of nonprofit needs, IT jobs I am recruiting for, recruiter jobs, and most popular blog posts of the week.

If you are using a RSS Feed click Volunteer.


How To Transition From A Freelancer to Full-Time Employee

The following article is part of my participation in the Recruiting Blogswap:

By Tahjia Chapman, Tahjia is a writer for the leading job board for college students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


A number of college students begin their work history as part-time freelancers / contract employees because of its convenience. As they move closer to graduation, students begin to look for full-time, permanent employment with prospective employers. With a little planning and consideration, students can make a smooth transition from part-time freelancer into a full-time employee. In this article, we will review key components of breaking free from ‘freelance’ to secured employee in an entry level position.

Make Up Your Mind

Freelance opportunities are quite profitable with a strong client base, but do you want to live your life complete projects with benefits? If you are a recent grad, your freelance experiences play a significant role in your job search efforts. You can use your unique experiences to leverage your competition.  The importance of leveraging your competition includes understanding your transferable skills, capitalizing on references, and emphasizing your strengths. Your future employers want to see what makes you the best person for their jobs. Although there are many opportunities available for freelancers, you have to create a profile what kind of employer you are willing to work for.

What is Your Ideal Employer?

The best way to choose an employer is to compare what you want, what you have to offer, and what current companies need. To do this, grab a sheet of paper to draw a Venn diagram to identify each column. The diagram will work as an outline for you to see what benefits you can offer employers. This exercise is important and useful for recent college grads and students with freelance experience. Once you identify what kind of employer you would like, create a short list of companies who match your criteria. You may not find a ‘perfect’ company, but the right company will contact you once you market your value through your unique selling position (USP).
What is Your Value?

Employers may be in a bind trying to determine your value to their organization. It is your responsibility to develop a unique selling proposition (USP) to stand above your competition. Your value must show through your past achievements as a freelancer and what you can offer to an organization’s current force.
Review your history with past clients to analyze transferable skills needed in your desired position. If you want to learn more about transferable skills, Tracy Drake outlines their importance in Transferable Skills – They Matter to Employers.

Take heed to all of her details of why employers want to know about your skills. You must dig deep into your history to understand how well you can perform a position within an organization.

The transition from freelancer to full-time employee is easy once you make up your mind, profile an ideal employer, and understand your value. Organizations are itching for highly talented students with consulting experience. The experience can and may outweigh your current education (if you are still a student), but remember to focus on skills.


Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry-level jobs and other career opportunities.


Frozen Perl 2008 | Perl In Practice | To Be Held In Minnesota

Frozen Perl 2008 "Perl In Practice" a great event for the Minnesota Perl community will be held Saturday, February 16 2008 starting at 9 am and will be held at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus.

For more information click Frozen Perl 2008 and Minneapolis Perl Mongers for the local group.

Registration is open.

Yep, I will be there for part of the day. Not sure which yet.


Shhh A Quiet Launch Of

More than a year ago I acquired the domain I was not sure what I wanted to do with it but it seemed like something I should get and do something with.

Since I started writing the MN Headhunter Blog I have frequently been asked what blogs I read and what RSS feeds I have subscribed too. I had used quite a few different readers never really happy with any of them.

Then about 16 months ago I saw what Jim Stroud did with his The Day In Recruiting using Feedraider. After a conversation with him I started playing with it. I like the way it looked with the “card” style of seeing a certain number of recent blog post titles from each site versus the “river” that most readers use.

Unfortunately, I could not get it to look like I wanted it.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on what has become It is an aggregator of Twin Cities blogs from the Minneapolis, St. Paul area and a few from out state Minnesota.

It is a "river" style of feed for the moment and I am OK with that. I am looking to see if I can get the Feedraider "card" style incorporated in.

So far categories are:

For now those are the categories I am working with. There are other local blogs I read but not enough to yet create a meaningful category. Or, I guess maybe I could create an “other” category for now. Huh, just thought of that while writing this.

The main page of the site will be news about Minnesota bloggers and their sites, new blog announcements, and a “blog of the week.”

All of the blogs on my blog roll here on MN Headhunter are on

If you are reading a blog that fits into one of the categories above please send me the URL and if possible the name of the author and email address.

There is a little work to do this weekend on the site and then next there will be a press release with a more formal announcement.

MN Headhunter Celebrates 10 Years As A Minnesota IT Recruiter

Celebrates 10 years, more like survives.

10 years is a long time to do something. Other than being a recruiter and a Gopher football fan I am not sure what else I have done for 10 years. Besides obvious things like being a son, friend, etc.

Ten years, 2 months to be exact. I am not big on anniversary dates so I missed it but November 3, 1997 was my first day as a search firm guy.

I get this question all the time, what’s it like being in this game for so long?

One analogy I use is a 12 round boxing match is a lot like one specific search. Lots of punches thrown, some hit and a few miss. Lots of sweat. Getting cut happens when you are not paying attention to the little things. Occasionally you take a low blow like a counteroffer acceptance or a bad reference.

The other analogy is one month in the business is a lot like a marathon. Physical stamina, controlling emotions, getting in the zone. 8,10, 12 hour days. Running out of caffeine sucks.

Saying it like this makes me wonder why anyone would do it. Do I have another ten years in me? Yeah, I do. The question is will something else come along that I can get passionate about, that I would be willing to fully emurse myself in.

That could happen and there is part of me that hopes it does.

The past few years it seems as though being a recruiter has given me the time and ability to do other things like volunteering, writing the blog, explore my interest in social networks, etc.

So in a way, being a recruiter and a one man band of a search firm has allowed me to pursue related interests at the same time. For all the time that gets taken up with annoying and unproductive administrative tasks, those not recruiting but running the business, it does allow me the ability to do and try other things.

A few lessons to pass on:

  • Find a good (expensive) attorney
  • Find a good (expensive) accountant
  • Have a signed fee agreement for every search you do
  • Be honest in all business dealings
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Have the best interest of your client and candidate always ahead of yours. It all works out for the better in the end
  • Reputation matters
  • Do not let your ego get in the way of who you are
  • Trust is earned
  • Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally
  • Decompress regularly
  • Resist compromising your integrity, morals and values
  • Do not be afraid to make mistakes, own up to them, learn from them, do not repeat them
  • There are going to be good times and bad times. Do not get caught up in the moment

I have learned a lot since starting the business with little experience, no cash and in debt.

People ask me all the time why I did not go back and get my MBA. I have one, it’s called self employment. While my friends were learning about marketing plans, business plans, and other things I was at Perkins writing notes on napkins. Using QuickBooks. Finding ways to market myself for cheap (free). I was messing things up, making mistakes, learning things the hard way.

But in the end the one most important lesson I have learned or relearned as it is was engrained in me at a very young age by my mom. Every day, every time at every opportunity do the right thing, treat people right, fair and with respect.

10 more years? Yeah, maybe. One thing I know for sure it will not be boring.

Employers Want Honed Communication Skills

The following article is part of my participation in the Recruiting Blogswap

By Tahjia Chapman, Tahjia is a writer for the leading job board for college students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


Excellent communication skills could make or break your career. The ability to articulate your thoughts is a valuable possession for professionals in every field. Many students consider these abilities as a given talent, but neglect honing these skills for their futures. Employers want candidates who can provide results by interacting with customers, co-workers, and other important audiences. If you do not believe us, the current results of the National Association and College Employers (NACE) survey reveal employers’ desire candidates at

How Are Your Interpersonal Skills?

Speaking to others is a part of life. If you are antisocial or prefer to be alone, it may hinder your career in the future. Working within groups and making plans with individuals involves excellent interpersonal communication skills.  Your career activities will include working face-to-face with prospective customers or clients, securing project information from colleagues, and presenting your findings to individuals. Your employers expect you to have these skills in the job market so make them proud by honing them through practice.

Practice Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking is an essential business skill to hone through participation in public forums, class participation, and debates. A lot of college students naturally fear public speaking and it is normal that most overcome it. In group interviews, recruiters weed out the anti-social candidates or non-participants through public speaking exercises. Be prepared for this by applying your interpersonal skills to a group of individuals. Make each person feel as if you are talking to them directly and you will have a strong response from any crowd.

Writing Bridges The Verbal Gap

If you know how to speak aloud, your writing must speak directly to your readers. Writing skills are very important in the job market. You use writing for cover letters, emails, sales proposals, and reports in your career. You could find yourself fin a disappointing state if your writing skills do not prove themselves to future employers. Practice honing these skills by editing, proofing, and writing correspondence on a daily basis. The writing can be about anything as long as you can improve your ability to delivery coherent messages to your reader.

You may consider talking a natural ability, but it is an important tool for your job search. Recruiters, gate keepers, and employers will shut you out if you are not articulate. With practice, you can become an asset for prospective employers. Take your time, acknowledge your weaknesses, and move forward in your journey towards success.


Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry-level jobs and other career opportunities.


Minnesota Recruiter Jobs

The following new Recruiter Jobs in Minnesota have been added on the MN Headhunter Recruiting Gigs Page:


Click weekly newsletter to receive the Wednesday message of nonprofit needs, IT jobs I am recruiting for, recruiting jobs, and most popular blog posts of the week.

If you are using a RSS Feed click Recruiting Gigs.


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