EarthLink Departed

The expected announcement of layoffs happened at EarthLink yesterday.  My estimate on the cuts turned out to be a little conservative.  I have relationships with the lots of folks over there and they constitute a good share of readers of FoG.  With that in mind, here are ten tips about life after EarthLink.

1.  There is a vibrant technology community in Atlanta.

EarthLinkers don’t get out much into the larger technology community.  When you wake up and start doing so you will find a vibrant technology community.  There are actually two technology subcultures in Atlanta.  There is the more mature community (from both a company and people perspective) that you can learn about by subscribing to the TechLINKS community announcement email list.  There is also a newer hip and now subculture that is you can best immerse yourself in by subscribing to some of the blogs in the “Atlanta Tech” blog roll on FoG.

On October 2 ATDC is going to be hosting a presentation on the Atlanta entrepreneur ecosystem that you won’t want to miss if you are interested in the startup scene.  And to get it out there, part of that conversation is that you do not need to move to Cali to be part of the web services action.

2. Odds are you are not going to bring home as much cash.

EarthLink pays very well.  Go ahead, admit it.  That is part of the reason you were there.  Chances are your take home pay is not going to be as much.  But that’s OK, there are other ways to make money.

3. Seek more equity upside.

Keeping it real, Rolla huffed into town because since EarthLink, Inc. was created the stock has at best moved sideways.  The week I walked out the door over five years ago the stock was at $7.02.  It opened yesterday at $6.69.  Unless you got a big stock grant in late 2002 or early 2003, you currently have no equity upside.  That is not the case for most mid-size tech companies and certainly not the case for the returns that others have seen at companies such as Cbeyond.  Talk with people that have gone before you.  There is money to be made via equity upside.

4.  You need to decide what you want to be.

At its core, a job search is a sales and marketing exercise.  To be successful you need to focus and target.  If you tell me you want a job I can’t help you.  If you tell me exactly what you want to do, why you want to do it, and why are are good at it I can put you in touch with people that know somebody that might be hiring. Your most important tool is not a resume, it is a networking profile.  If no one along the way shows you one of these so you can make your own email me and I will send you mine to use as a template.

5.  Its going to take a while.

The general rule is 1 month for every $10k of salary.  Plan for that and you will sleep well and not appear desperate.

6.  Transitioning is a full-time job.

Work it like one.  Have a weekly plan.  Monday mornings review online job postings, respond, and setup your networking meetings for the week.  Tuesday through Friday work the street. Set goals and track your progress.

7.  Networking works.

Over 80% of people find their next gig via networking.  This is what you need to spend most of your time doing.  You need to network with a purpose.  The purpose of being connected to people that are in companies that you are interested in so that you can learn about them and any opportunities that might be there.  My dear friend Michelle Tullier (buy her book in the sidebar) is going to cringe, but networking is sales and sales is a numbers game.  Generally speaking its going to take 10 networking meetings to find one job opportunity and of the opportunities that you find one will be a fit and a job offer (that you may or may not accept).  Do the math for your specific situation.

8.  LinkedIn does not.

Do not use the LinkedIn as a connection mechanism.  It does not work.  Kinda like an early release v.92 modem the connection just seems to drop.  LinkedIn is good for two things.

One is researching people in your network that can connect you to targets in your search.  You then email or the phone to reach them (I have found that email works best in the tech industry).

Two is as a general online resume that you can point people to when they search for you.  Sending resumes via email is old school.  You need to fully complete your LinkedIn profile so that you use it as a proxy for emailing a resume.  You also need to format your LinkedIn public profile to look like this .  It shows up in search results.  Instructions for doing so as well as other methods to promote your public profile are here.

9.  You are going to be googled.

WIRED claims that google is an online reputation management system.  It is.  Over 70% of employers do an online background check.  What do they see when they search your name and obvious key word phrases including your name?  Close down your social networking profiles to friends only and clean up your twitter stream.  Do the LinkedIn work above.  If you want to get really serious set up a personal site or a blog.

10.  Indeed is your friend.

Indeed is a search engine for jobs. In one search, you get free access to millions of employment opportunities from most the major job boards, newspapers, associations and company career pages.  For the 10% of your search time that you spend on online resources, spend most of it reading the saved searches that receive you from Indeed via an email alert.  Do this every Monday first thing and you have it covered.

This list is pretty much focused on going out and getting a real job.  There may be some of you that are thinking about starting something on your own.  It’s a great time to be doing that and this may be the once in a lifetime chance to use your package to create the runway you need to get started.  The ATDC gathering on October 2 is a good start down that path.

When I departed EarthLink my direct reports gave me a book and they all signed it.  The book was Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  I will end with its opening.

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You off and away!”

It’s time for the next chapter in the adventure we call life.


August 29, 2007  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Business, Entrepreneurship, Personal, Web/Tech