Lazy Innovation Chronicles: How I Got Paid to Watch Netflix

This story features an app that you could maybe – just maybe – use to automate your entire job.

Probably not, but hey – stranger things have happened. Like that guy who outsourced his entire job to China.

Primarily, though, this is a story of how I channeled my own laziness to create an innovative solution to a problem. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you to do the same.

My friend Zach Sexton (from Asian Efficiency) asked me to write about these episodes of “lazy innovation,” which I told him about while we hung out in Portland; here’s the first one.

I supposed I should start out by saying that there are two types of lazy people in my mind:

  1. Type-1 lazy people: Those who are too lazy to do tedious work.
  2. Type-2 lazy people: Those who are too lazy to find ways to avoid said tedious work.

As time has gone on, I have found out more about myself. Specifically, I have found out – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that I am a Type-1 lazy person. Tedious, boring work is the bane of my existence and I will do just about anything to avoid it (including weaseling my way out of required classes).

“Peter Parker. Brilliant but lazy.” – Doc Oc

Type-1 lazy people are likely to be innovators. They’re more apt to put in a few hours of mentally taxing, creative effort to come up with an innovative solution (or at least research one), rather than take the easier route of simply following the script. Read More…

97 Actions You Should Take To Become THE Person Companies Want To Hire

This is a brain-dump of strategies, tactics, and other random stuff that I know will help you land a great job.

Heads up: This post is kinda ginormous. Don’t overwhelm yourself and try to do everything here at once. Pick a couple things to work on at a time, and save the rest for later – maybe bookmark this post so you know where to find it.

I have 97 tips to share with you today. Many come from direct experience – after receiving an internship offer without even interviewing (which I accepted), getting 7 other interview requests during the same semester, and working with recruiters and career advisers, I think my tactics are pretty effective.

Others come from the minds of friends, mentors, and experts whom I trust.

Each tip is brief, but lots of them link out to great resources where you can learn more. Read More…

Are You Investing Your Effort In The Wrong Places?

I’m going to start this one out with a story, because stories are fun.

Commander Brutus looked up at his head of military research with an expression torn between incredulity and sadistic glee.

He always liked having a legitimate reason for throwing someone off of a cliff.

“You wanna run that by me again?”

The lieutenant stuttered for a moment, then regained his composure: “Archers, sire. We should train every man in our military to be an archer.”

“Explain yourself.”

“Well, sire, our scouts have confirmed that the city we’re planning on invading has many guards on top of the walls. So if we train every man in our army to be an archer, we’ll be able to pick them all off easily!”

The lieutenant beamed. Read More…

The Overwhelming Value Of Being Specific

Want to know a simple tactic that will make your resume pop and put you at the top of the short lists of hiring managers?

Eliminate the competition. Got the guts for that? Alright, we’re going to need a semi trailer, a printing store willing to overlook certain inaccuracies and “embellishments” in job ads we’ll be printing on large banners, several dozen gallons of horse tranquilizer…

Nah, just kidding.

The real “tactic” is this: Be fucking specific.

“Alright Tom – what, specifically, do you mean by that?”

Glad you should ask.

I mean this: Whenever you’re trying to communicate the value you can offer to someone else, be fucking specific. Show them exactly what you can do for them.

People crave specificity. When they’re looking to buy a product, they want something that promises a specific end result. Likewise, when someone is looking to hire you, they want you to be able to help them accomplish specific things. Read More…

5 Resume Mistakes You’re Totally Not Making (But Your Friends Are)

So you just got home from the bookstore. You’ve got a one of those ridiculous $11 packs of linen paper (the good stuff), and you’re getting ready to print a stack of resumes with it.

MyresumeFinalNoReallyFINAL.docx is loaded up on your computer screen and you’re about to put printer head to paper; soon, all the recruiters won’t even know what hit them.

Weeelllllll….. hold up. See that flashing symbol in the image above? That’s right, pause. Before you waste that printer ink, you need to check your work over and see if that resume isn’t due for yet another final iteration.

…nah, who am I kidding. The fact that you’re on this website means your resume is probably perfect. You probably already have three internships and a job lined up already. No worries in your neck of the woods, right?

But then there are your friends. Those people you care so deeply about – what do their resumes look like? You know your resume is a diamond in the rough, but you owe it to your dear friends to make sure theirs are at least passable.

Here are 5 stupid mistakes people commit that make their resumes crappy. If one of your friends is doing one of these, smack ’em in the head and make them fix it! They’ll thank you later 😉 Read More…

How To Rock The Career Fair And Make Recruiters Love You

There are a lot of ways to go about looking for that dream internship, but few are as effective and time-worthy as a career fair. If your school is a big one, it probably has one; if not, there’s probably a big school within 50 miles (if not, you need to move).

This article was originally published in September of 2011. I’ve gone through and updated a bunch of sections with knowledge I’ve acquired since then.

Career fairs are a freaking gold-mine of networking opportunities, and they are easily the best place to look if you’re seeking an internship or job with a larger company.

However, you can’t just waltz willy-nilly in to a career fair. Not being prepared is a recipe for failure, and failure is for tools.

Unfortunately, I see far too many students attend career fairs like complete dumb-asses; they go dressed like they just rolled out of bed, don’t prepare at all, and lack any enthusiasm or self-confidence. Read More…

4 Essential Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out From The Crowd

This is a guest post by Shankar Ganesh, one of my long-time blogging friends. He’s also the founder of  Red Squiggle, a service that helps students and professionals revamp their resumes and land the jobs they want.

Seth Godin says if you’re remarkable, you probably don’t need a resume at all. That’s not the case with many of us in college though – almost every job interview requires you to submit your resume listing information about your academics and internship experiences. However, there’s more to creating an attractive resume than just firing up a word processor and typing out bullets. Read More…

5 Things You Can Do Today To Make Yourself 2 Billion Percent More Hireable

Outlandish claim time: This post will make you a million dollars and will make your life 600 times better. Yup – I even sent my friend Chris to the future to verify this and he said I was totally right.

Okay, maybe that’s not true. But. I will say that this post does have the potential to get you closer to those two things.

This post is about making yourself the most irresistible candidate possible for any internship or job you might be going for. It’s about standing out from the crowd and being impossible to overlook.

Think about it: you might be incredibly freaking awesome at whatever it is you’re studying. You might be a badass programmer, or know the details of every court case since 1894, or have a ton of experience in forensic accounting. You know that you’d kick ass doing the job you want – but the problem is that other people aren’t so aware of that talent.

That’s why you can’t rely on your talent and raw experience alone to stand out. Other factors count, and they count a lot.

In this post, I’ll detail not 2, not 87, but 5 things you can do (or at least begin) today that will help you to become an irresistible hire. Remember, the key here is doing them – just reading over this post won’t get you anywhere. Challenge yourself to actually do a few of them now. Read More…

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