Job Search Advice Webinar: Be Your Own Headhunter

The upcoming calendar for my live sessions (and yes, there’s always an on demand session available):

What is Be Your Own Headhunter?

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Managing Your IT Career v.COVID 19 (Why do recruiters suck so bad?)


Hello Minnesota Tech Friends… to get started, click the video above for some info.

Really… click it

Did you?


Here’s the deal, I’ve been thinking about doing this… and then going to do this for the past six weeks. Notice thinking about and going to do this but have not.

No more thinking… we’re going to do this even with little (less than a day) notice. If you can’t join me live or are seeing this post after… click the link and register anyway. It will be available on demand.


  • June 16th at 12 pm CDT

Where (to register):


  • I’ll have some prepared topics (see agenda) for about 15 minutes

  • Q&A from you and email received

  • I want to engage so please type comments and I’ll answer back

  • I will be very laid back and casual


  • What is the job market like right now
  • What skill sets are most in demand
  • Tips on if I have to be doing a job search right now
  • Tips on if I want to voluntarily do a job search right now
  • The economy… how I see it now and as the year progresses
  • Questions already received
    • Networking virtually, how to do it
    • Where do I find virtual events
    • The year seemed promising, was it
    • I’m a recent bootcamp grad, what do I do now

Send a question in advance:

Who am I

  • If you are new to me, I have been recruiting in the Twin Cities for 20+ years helping companies of all kinds and sizes build their engineering, product, digital and data teams. I also do recruiting process and strategy things. And be an advocate for them in the tech and business scene. Look to your right and you’ll see links to LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram where you’ll find more info. I speak a lot and get on TV and radio now and again. That last line… I’m an introvert and despise promoting myself but I am told I should start taking (doing) the advice I give.

Why does the title include (Why do recruiters suck so bad?)

  • A number of years ago the camera in the room was not recording and I was asked not to start. We had that awkward, weird silence. I said, “While we wait, what do you want to know?” and someone in the back of the room asked, “why do recruiters suck so bad?” and most in the room started laughing. Of course, this is when the camera started recording. So… I added it in the title because EVERY year someone does ask the question.

NOTE… in the video I mention that Minnestar did have a virtual event in April:

Click Minnesota Headhunter
for current blog posts, Work With Me if you are growing your team and Minneapolis Tech Jobs for Minnesota IT searches I am working on.


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It’s Time To Go

Ready It's Time To Go

I’m done sitting around reacting to the news of the day: Coronavirus, layoffs, politics and whatever else is bringing on stress.

Dealing with the Coronavirus has already been a part of my work for… eight weeks.

Eight weeks.

Eight weeks of me reacting.

I’m done.

It’s time to go forward now.

This weekend and into next week you’re going to see a number of things I will be promoting. Things that had been on my mind when 2020 started (and in some cases for years) and it’s time to do them regardless of what the current conditions are.

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Minnesota Tech, IT, Data, Design and UX Job Boards

Find a Job

One of the most frequently questions I receive is where should someone go online to find a Minneapolis and St Paul Tech, IT, Data, Design or UX job. I put a list together below of where I would look.

NOTE: this is part of a project I am starting at the end of June ‘19 to put together a resource page => <= for Minnesota tech professionals and those looking to live and work here.

A few things to know:

  • This may not be a complete list… if you know of a site I should add, send me a note
  • These are the jobs companies are posting elsewhere… be sure to visit company career pages
  • Not all jobs are posted on a job board.
  • Not all jobs get aggregated by Indeed
  • Not all jobs are posted on a company career page (that’s a rant for my next recruiter conference)

So please… treat this as one of the tools in your job search, not the only one.

Local and Regional Job Boards:

“Big” Job Boards:

Click for current blog posts and for Minnesota IT jobs I am working on.

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St Paul #10 Best City For Women In Tech

Top 15 Cities For Women In TechFor the past five years SmartAsset has put together data (gender pay gap, income after housing costs, tech jobs filled by women and four year employment growth) and ranked them. Click The Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2019 for this years survey.

St Paul appears on the list (again) ranking #10:

St. Paul ranks in the top 15 for only one of our metrics: It lands at 12th for gender pay gap. But while it doesn’t hit the heights in any single metric, it also won’t leave women in tech with much to complain about. St. Paul ranks no worse than 33rd in any single metric — in the income after housing data point — and ranks in the top 20 in two metrics.

Minneapolis appears on the larger list at #42.

As I do… I take a look to see where we rank compared to other cities in the “Midwest”… #7 Kansas City, #11 Detroit, #14 Indianapolis & #33 Chicago.

Previous year rankings:


#6 St Paul

  • No city in our study has a faster growing tech industry than St. Paul. According to our data, the number of tech jobs grew by 41% from 2013 to 2016.
  • Women are fairly well-represented in the tech industry. Women in St. Paul occupy 26.4% of total tech jobs and the average women earns 89% of what the average man earns.

#35 Minneapolis

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Coding Bootcamp Job Search Tip #1: Do Not Call Yourself An Entry Level Developer

Entry Level Developer

I am starting a series of job search advice tips focusing on soon to be and recent coding bootcamp graduates. This first one may be the most important one…

Raise your right hand and repeat after me:

“I will never, ever, not once and surely never again call myself an Entry Level Developer”

Just don’t. Please. I am begging.

If you went through an intensive program of any kind be it in person, online or self taught, spent many weeks/months doing it and can write code that is useable… you are not an Entry Level Developer.

I want you to use titles like these:

  • Junior Developer

  • Associate Developer

  • Software Developer

The connotation of “entry level” is HUGE and using it any way absolutely does not help you:

  • Likely increases odds of you being passed over for a role

  • Likely leads people to believe you do not know anything

  • Likely gives a rationale to pay you less.

So why would use Entry Level Developer?

And now you won’t… because you just swore an oath you wouldn’t.

Click for current blog posts and for Minnesota IT jobs I am working on.

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1 Way To Make An Extra $10,000 As A Contractor

Raise your contractor rate

Hey there Ms./Mr. Contractor/Consultant, 2019 is approaching and you’re likely planning your year. As a part of that you are thinking about projects, how many billable hours you are targeting, rates, taxes, expenses, etc.

Here is one way to make an extra $10K next year…


Step back for a moment and ask yourself this question, “When was the last time I raised my rate?”

If it has been more than 24 months (I’m guessing for many of you it is more than that) let me ask you this question, “Are you the same contractor now, as then?”

If the answer is yes then, well… keep your rate.

If you are smarter, better, more efficient and have 2-3 more tools in your toolbelt since the last time you raised your rates… then do it.

At least try.

It’s that part that seems to be the barrier… you don’t ask. If you don’t ask, how do you know if it is possible?

Do the following right now and make it look as sharp as possible:

  • Update your web site

  • Update your resume

  • Update your LinkedIn profile

Continue reading "1 Way To Make An Extra $10,000 As A Contractor" »

Tech Career Advice: Take Control Of Finding Your Next Job

ctrlI am seeing a trend lately with the conversations I am having with tech pros… and I am not sure if it is because I have been attending more tech events and meetups so these conversations find me, if it is because many tech pros have hit a tipping point with their (dead end) conversations with recruiters or this is a natural progression in a long bull market economy (people are proactively doing a search)…

Tech pros are starting to take control of where they land next.

Conversations generally sound like this, “I usually wait for a search firm or corporate tech recruiter to reach out to me about a job and if the timing is right, I take a look at it. Now I am actively seeking out companies and roles I want and reaching out to them directly.”


YES!!! <= how I usually respond.

I get that your busy writing code, managing a team, architecting the app, listening to end users, keeping the system running and keeping board members informed and happy.

But to leave to chance that a corporate recruiter or search firm recruiter has your next dream job is freaking crazy.

Should you pay attention to the inquiries?


Should you rely on those being the only opportunities that are available to you?


There are some easy ways to stay in touch with what is going on including:

Take control.

Click for current blog posts and for Minnesota IT jobs I am working on.

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My Minnebar 2018 Presentation: Managing Your IT Career v10 (Why Recruiters Suck So Bad)

Paul DeBettignies at Minnebar 13

Minnestar sent out their email newsletter today and I saw after the Minnedemo 31 save the date for February 7 at Pantages Theater and the Minnebar 14 save the date for April 27th at Best Buy HQ’s… there is a note that Minnebar 13 session were posted in the past days and one of the videos in the image is mine.

And I thought… oh (bleep), did I say anything stupid that was caught on the audio?

So I am listening to it and taking notes for you here so you know ahead of time if this has some value to you. I’m talking about:

  • Why “Why Recruiters Suck So Bad” is in my session title. And no, I don’t think all recruiters suck. And I explain why some tech pros think we do

  • I do a quick intro of me and worked in that the “Badgers Suck”. I look forward to having a picture of Paul Bunyan’s Axe

  • Then clients who I was working with phData (Big Data consulting), Daugherty Business Solutions (IT Consultants) & Livefront (iOS & Android Dev’s and Designers)

  • My love for Prime Digital Academy

  • I mention the MSP on Deck podcast and CoCo now Fueled Collective

  • What the local job market is like and I use terms like funky, churn and weird

  • Why tech salaries seem stagnant

  • Why Midwest employers seem slow to hire Junior Dev’s

  • How to find potential employers that are not well known (and a what is going on in St Paul)

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Survey: Two Page Resumes Better Than One Page Resumes

Resume Template

Ahhhh yes… the long and frequently debated question, how long should a resume be?

Many years ago I mostly joked, with a side of serious, that I wanted to get 5 Recruiter and HR friends around a table with 7 bottles of wine and video/audio record the conversation that would include this question… how long should a resume be?

My guess is I would end up with 7 or 8 different answers. That some of my friends would end up contradicting themselves.

My answer to, “How long should my resume be” has been the same for as long as I can remember… not one line longer than it takes to get someone to want to talk with you.

I get that is subjective and we all don’t have a sense of what is too much or too little. If you’re cutting your resume short to fit onto a page, it’s likely too short. If you have 10 bullet points for every employer going back 10+ years it’s likely too long.

So maybe not a perfect answer just like the one page resume or only two page resume is not perfect.

“They say…” is what we always hear. “They say recent college grads should only have a one page resume.” Who the heck is “they” and who made them the all knowing on the subject. Oh, likely those who anoint themselves an “expert”.

Have you caught on to my sarcasm yet?

Some research from Resume Go with => Settling the Debate: One or Two Page Resumes

“Despite the common arguments given on the matter, there is little to no empirical data to support either side. In fact, so-called “experts” often base their conclusions on individual preferences and unsubstantiated claims from random sources. Furthermore, recruitment methods and the hiring landscape are constantly evolving, so what may have been true in the past may no longer be the case today.”

Some data:

One Page Resume Or TwoI don’t think they “settled the debate” with this one simulation but it is some interesting data. And it has me sticking to my advice… not any longer than it needs to be to get me or someone like me to call you back. However many pages that is.

My guess is, in the next two weeks we’ll see a major “expert” refute this and the debate will go on.

It’s worth noting that most applicant tracking systems (ATS) put resume content into fields so once it is in the system and without clicking on the original document… we don’t usually know how many pages it was.

If you are a Recruiter or in HR and want to try my wine experiment… send me an email Smile

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Survey: Q2 2018 Hottest Skills And Highest Pay For Freelancers


I have been posting a bunch of job, salary, economic, salary and hiring data lately. As a data and trend nerd it allows me to challenge if what I think I see and hear going on is true. It also allows me to figure out what is going on in the next quarter, rest of the year and next year. Yes, at times I am already thinking about 2019. Recent posts:

This next one is sort of a two for one set of data points.

UpWork released their Q2 2018 Skills Index, ranking the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers. Here they are:

  • Blockchain

  • Google Cloud Platform

  • Volusion

  • Risk management

  • Product photograpy

  • Rapid prototyping

  • Google App Engine API


  • Gitlab

  • Go development

  • Apple UIKIT

  • Enterprise Architecture

  • Tensorflow

  • Atlassian confluence

  • Apple Xcode

  • eLearning

  • Customer retention

  • Articulate storyline

  • Node.js

  • Scala development

Continue reading "Survey: Q2 2018 Hottest Skills And Highest Pay For Freelancers" »

Survey: Minneapolis-St Paul #1 Best City To Find A Tech Job

Minneapolis Tech Jobs, Minneapolis IT Jobs

ZipRecruiter has a survey that combines their “Best Job Market” and “Opportunity” Indexes with info from PayScale and Zillow that gives a list of The Best 10 Cities To Startup Your Tech Job Search.

Minneapolis comes in at #1:

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

Median Tech Salary: $72,800

Median Home Price: $257,700

Number of Paychecks Needed for a Down Payment: 21

The Twin Cities shouldn’t be thought of as an icy Midwestern outpost dominated by agriculture and manufacturing jobs. In fact, the metro area ranks 12th in the nation for tech workforce participation, according to the latest CompTIA data, with nearly 10% of the all workers in the Twin Cities employed in the tech industry. Minneapolis-St. Paul boasts a diverse array of tech jobs ranging from hot startups to cutting-edge jobs in biotech. It’s also an incredibly livable city, ranking at or above the 80th percentile in our index for health, affordability, and transit.

Other cities in the Top 10:

2. Washington D.C.

3. Albany, NY

4. Omaha, NE

5. Des Moines, IA

6. Pittsburgh, PA

7. Huntsville, AL

8. St. Louis, MO

9. San Francisco, CA

10. Denver, CO

No… we, “…shouldn’t be thought of as an icy Midwestern outpost…” I agree with that. It’s interesting that most every survey mentions our winter. Seriously folks, we need to show there are additional seasons besides winter.

Regarding the survey… I’m not surprised we rank high or #1. When surveys include lifestyle things like, “…account for cost of living, transit, walkability, commute time, and even a health grade.” we are going to do well.

If you want to learn more about the Minneapolis and St Paul tech scene or are looking for a Minnesota tech job send me a note [email protected]

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Minnesota Headhunter On The Schmidt List Podcast

Minnesota Podcast

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Kurt Schmidt to record a session of his The Schmidt List podcast. Kurt is the President of Foundry (@FoundryMakes | Instagram) and he can be found by clicking LinkedIn, @KRTS & The Schmidt List with (as I post this) 36 podcast episodes. We’ve bumped into each other a number of times over the years and had a bunch of quick chats. But this is the first time we had some quality time. Here is his current bio:

Kurt Schmidt began his career as a graphic designer and filmmaker in the skateboarding and BMX biking industry.

In 1991, while recognized as one of the top twelve professional bike riders in the world, he co-founded Standard Byke Company.

In 2010, he was tapped by The Nerdery to be the Director of Project Management and has been responsible for the delivery of over $300 million in software development and design.

Currently, as the President of Foundry, he leads product design workshops, drives digital transformation initiatives, and hosts a weekly Podcast called “The Schmidt List” where he interviews leaders in design and technology.

While well versed on his business and technology background, I did not know about his BMX skills until after we recorded. Where have I been???

Here is what we covered over the hour (we had wayyy more things we could have riffed on) and you can listen below. Be sure to check out The Schmidt List on iTunes.

We start by talking about how I got into recruiting (old school, answered an ad in the newspaper) and how “Minnesota Headhunter” came to be and my then lack of SEO knowledge.

We talk about how the Minnesota Recruiters group started including a nod to John Sumser.

“What makes a good recruiter” is a fantastic question.

I get to ramble a bit on why some recruiters suck and I stick up for my corporate recruiter and HR friends.

I take to task the line CEO’s give that they want the best and the brightest and why I think that is BS.

Can a technologist burn a bridge with a recruiter?

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Recession 2020: Will You Be Ready?

The dreaded “R” word reared its ugly head last week when the NABE (National Association for Business Economics) released its Q2 2018 quarterly report that their 45 economists saw the economy going the following way:

+2.8 % GDP in 2018

+2.7% GDP in 2019

That OK news. More of the same of the past 10 years. Not great, not horrible. Moving along at decent pace.

Here is the bad news:

Around 50% see a recession by the end of 2019 and early 2020

60%+ see a recession by the end of 2020

These numbers are similar to other recent surveys from The Wall Street Journal and Zillow.

Things are going great for most people so why does it have to end?

Most likely… wages should start rising more and at some point companies will have to raise prices. If inflation goes to high and the Fed raises rates then costs of borrowing increase, home sales will slow and individuals and businesses may slow spending. There are other scenarios like government spending, the Trump tax cuts, overseas issues including tariffs, etc.

Let’s be clear, I am not an economist. I do watch CNBC and Bloomberg all the time and I am fascinated by how an economy works. I watch for trends, numbers, hiring and layoff announcements all the time including a bunch of Google Alerts. I have survived 2 recessions while being a recruiter. They’re not fun for recruiters (corporate, search and consulting). If a company does not plan on hiring then we are the first to get cut. Long before noticeable layoffs are seen and heard about.

I watch this stuff because it impacts my life in every way. And the “Great Recession” gives me night sweats.

Why am I bringing this survey up?

What if it happens… if the shit hits the fan am I prepared, am I ready?

Are you prepared? Ready?

Are your skills current?

Is your employer stable?

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3 Lessons Learned From Minnesota Tech Layoffs: Capital One And ONE20

Laid Off

Back in December on the MSP On Deck podcast we made 2018 predictions and mine was that we would see continued greater tech hiring and we would see more layoffs… that we would see more churn in 2018 than 2017. To hear the episode click:

MSP On Deck #12 - The most popular tech news stories of 2017 + what big things are in the pipe for 2018?

At the beginning of May news broke that the Capital One office in St Cloud had cut around 24 tech staff:

Capital One announces another round of layoffs in St. Cloud

This one is not a big surprise… Capital One has been reducing the size of the St Cloud office.

Mid May the staff of Minneapolis startup ONE20 arrived on a Monday morning to find the office door locked. Outside of the company this one caught people off guard. Internally it seemed that many were aware things were rocky. There also seems to be some drama about this one regarding current customers, a few employees being retained (most are not) and what comes next:

Minneapolis Truck Tech Startup ONE20 Crashes, Laying Off 50+ ( may require a subscription)

There have also been a number of groups that have “realigned” in some fashion causing 5 layoffs here and 10 there while still hiring across the company.

Here’s the deal and I swear I feel like this is old advice that doesn’t need to be said but then it does when tech pros are surprised to hear of layoffs. And I think I spoke about this during my Minnebar session or maybe because it seems to come up all the time… generally companies are going to do what they need to do to keep shareholders and investors happy. Whether you work at a private/public/startup, large/small, agency/med tech/manufacturing company this includes you. Which is almost everyone.

Including you.

So no one should be shocked, surprised or otherwise taken aback when something like this happens.

Continue reading "3 Lessons Learned From Minnesota Tech Layoffs: Capital One And ONE20" »