Tuesday, August 11, 2009

let's not beat a dead horse

Online Job Tool #862

PEOPLE, PeOpLe, people. Do I have the answer for you! Remember that "potential" boss you had an interview with that never got back to you? Payback, err - make that feedback, time is here.

The folks at EmailYourInterviewer.com have created the perfect communication to tell that almost super boss of yours to shape up. They have written an email that says it all...


A job candidate you recently interviewed asked to have this letter sent on his/her behalf and is utilizing this anonymous message service because he/she knows that writing personally would burn bridges.

The candidate never received a response from you about the outcome of his/her candidacy.

As you probably know, most job candidates put significant time and effort into preparing for a job interview: Many spend hours reading up on your company and industry and thinking about how they could best offer something of value to you. They may take a day off work and spend time and money traveling to you. And then they wait ... and wait and wait, anxiously hoping for an answer, any answer.

A quick email or form letter letting the candidate know he or she is no longer under consideration -- that's all it takes. Candidates deserve that. And so does your organization, which looks unprofessional when you leave candidates hanging.

On behalf of your past and future candidates, won't you please reconsider your practices?

A Fellow
Hiring Manager

The best part is that they will SEND IT FOR YOU! No damaged relationships. See what all the fuss is about - http://www.emailyourinterviewer.com/.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

herding cats

They're out there people - virtual job fairs.
Amazon just had one this summer.

Yes there is the good with the bad. Because I am sure you can imagine the bad - I'll keep to the good. Check out this positive experience...

Do you know of any up coming events? Do tell!

Monday, June 29, 2009


"Two remarkable figures: 96% of students

and graduates who plan their

next career move go online to look for

information about employers and career

opportunities. And out of these,

89% use the career websites of companies.

That makes company career

websites the number 1 place to go for

job seekers, even more important

than job and career portals or business

and social networks. " -

Top Employer Web Benchmark 2009

The Corporate Career Website Study

What are you waiting for? Get crackin'!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

lead, follow or get out of the way

We are a dedicated bunch. We love the internet. We shop, we plan, we communicate our online hours away. If you thought you could get away from social networking, think again. SNS are making a play to stay. Today, with recent insights from the recruiting industry, we have new reasons to love these connector sites. 

Shannon hails from a large staffing company here in NYC. In addition to being an American Idol fan, she is also a fan of sites like LinkedIn. I asked Shannon to share her thoughts and feeling about how to use the SNSite LinkedIn as a tool in our online search for work. Her suggestions are as follows:

1. It's imperative that you have a profile. If someone is aware of your skills and abilities but has no way of getting ahold of you - where do you think they are going to look? If you don't have a profile and they can't find you... NEXT!

2. Consider yourself as a brand. Use LinkedIn to market yourself similarly to how you would use a site to market a product or service. Be your own CEO.
3. Don't just create a profile and peace out - get in and stay active. Reach out and make connections with all your old co-workers. Tell them about recent project work that you have completed. For those connections that you value, make a recommendation about your experience together. Ask if they will do the same for you. Check out the Q&A section. Post and respond to issues that you have experience in or are passionate about. Stay fresh, stay relevant. 

4. Don't go beyond second degrees of an introduction. Just like the Kevin Bacon game, if you go beyond the known source you're busted and there's no connection. Keep traditional networking rules in mind. Have someone you know (one degree) introduce you. Grow the relationship from there.

5. Last SNS point Shannon has is a Twitter bit. Find your fav executive and become a follower. Knowing what your target contacts are looking at and listening to gives you a better idea of their world. Following is also a conversation point to share over LinkedIn.

There it is folks. From the pros. Listen, learn, get online.

The world is yours. Click to it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a good rule of thumb is

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself that sounded something like this?

Hum… I want to apply for this job position but they are looking for five years experience. I guess if I add up all my time here and all my time there it would count. Let’s see, they are looking for a manager. I wasn’t necessarily a manager but I worked with one often so that’s kinda similar. They are also looking for a candidate that has a college degree, which I have but they would like to hire someone who’s academic focus was in something I only had one class in. I guess I’ll leave it blank and maybe they will assume it’s covered. 

Yikes, this next part says they want the person to do this, this, and that. Arg. I only did one of those things [and actually I didn’t really like it but I love this company and I would really like to work for them] so maybe I will reference my responsibilities in a general way as to associate my experience with what they are looking for. How much did I make at my last job? [I want to make more, I want to make more] I made $75,000. [I made $60,000] They will never know.

Can you count the number of ethical upsets here? Have you been in this position before? Do you even notice anymore when you have a slight shift in the truth? I bet you do. I bet your body notices. I bet no matter if you have altered the truth once or a thousand times, your heart gets a little heavy every time. Listen to that uneasy and awkward feeling friends! Be true to yourself and your future employers. Tell the truth about who you are, what you have done, and what you would like to do.

In Job Search Ethics: Don’t Lie, Deborah S. Hildebrand looks at a survey done by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) on the most common resume lies. Might recognize these from our internal conversation above:

  • Inflated titles
  • Incomplete or inflated degrees
  • Inflated salaries
  • Inflated accomplishments
It’s been hard out there people to get a gig but compromising your integrity folks is not the way to go. We are all being tested right now with slim to none pickins for positions. If a company hires you because you came off more inflated and qualified then you are, that is only going to lead to disappointment on both sides when you really can’t do the job right.

Doing the right thing covers more then just correctly portraying yourself on your resume. There is any number of ethical job search dilemmas out there. In this PDF by Vassar Collage, you can see a couple of different scenarios that can happen to anyone. Proper advice is offered after each inquiry but check it out – what would you do?

This isn’t a one-way street. Employers need to be employing best practices as well. According to the NACE guidelines, as a job seeker, you have the right to expect the following from employers:

  • Confidentiality
  • Accurate information
  • Freedom from undue pressure 
  • Timely communication
  • Fair treatment in the case of changing conditions requiring a revoked job offer
  • Testing information 
  • Nondiscrimination

The flip here is that potential employers are also expecting you to:

  • Provide accurate information 
  • Interview genuinely 
  • Adhere to schedules 
  • Communicate in a timely fashion 
  • Accept job offers in good faith 
  • Withdraw from recruiting when you have accepted a position 
  • Claim fair reimbursement 
  • Obtain the information that you need to make the best career decisions

Job of your dreams = doing the right thing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

strike while the iron is hot

People, people, people. How the heck are you? Me… I’m good. Thanks for asking. I, like the weather, am making a change. Out with the jobless winter and in with the employed, new spring. Don’t jump ahead of me here. I didn’t get an offer YET but it’s close ~ sooooo close. I can feel it.

For me spring-cleaning is in order. This is no basic clean up job we’re talkin’ here. I am moving! Yup, leavin’ my digs of six plus years and witnessing the mayhem of moving. Not going far ~ only seven or so miles. Where am I going with this topic you ask? Good question. I’ll get there in a sec.

Do you know if you have bad credit landlords can decide not to rent to you? Do you know if you have bad credit Home Depot does not have to extend you a credit card to buy stuff to fix up your new place? Do you know if you have bad credit utility companies will charge you a deposit because you are a financially risky customer? [last one I swear] Do you know that you can get turned down for a job because you have bad credit?!

So you might have known those first three BUT the fact that employers run credit checks on potential employees is a BIG DEAL. Accountability for everything in your life starts with you. In this scenario, your financial life is talking to your professional life. Is it a good conversation for you? Check it out.

Once you have made it through the interview rounds and you’re in the middle of the process – it’s important you know what to do and what to ask for. Of course you have now checked out your credit so there’s no scare there but what other issues are you going to face during the pre-job offer period?

Negotiations between you and your (cross your fingers) new boss are a critical time in determining where you start and what you’re worth. As Stuart Smalley would remind us, your good enough, your smart enough, and doggone it, they're going to hire you! This link is industry specific but I think it offers a good shake down on how you should be thinking during the negotiation process in addition to pointers on what you could be asking for from an employer.

A site I would like to direct you to and leave you with today is the Salary.com site. Man do I love this puppy. It totally tells me how much I could be making in XYZ job based in XYZ location. It’s fun info. A good resource tool but honestly I have never found myself accurately portrayed in the average data numbers. See what it says about you…

PS – for all you students out there, LinkedIn just launched a student job search effort on the social (professionally oriented) networking site. For more info on social networks check out the last blog posting 

Monday, April 13, 2009

the ball is in your court

Have you ever had an interview like the one shown above? I hope so [it would be so funny to experience] but at the same time I hope not [how the heck would you get though it]. Today I think we should talk about THE INTERVIEW. Here’s the deal. I know we are all at different stages in the job search process but I would like to address this area for those of you who are ready and/or create this as a real and near future for you folks who are almost there.

To start this conversation, I would like to say there is a lot out there. In my research for this posting I felt overwhelmed and inundated with all the different “experts” I found online. My hope with this blog is to peel back the crap and find a few [free] online resources for us to utilize. If you have deep pockets and don’t mind paying for help – great! There are paid for solutions for you. The guys over at Pongo have a [pay for] service that provides an online training program. There are 40 interactive audio/visual training modules that guide and prepare you for each step of the interview process.

If you DON’T have an open wallet then come with me. I found a couple other places that can help. First up, the So You Wanna web site. I love these guys. They can help you with everything from throwing a bachelor party to joining the circus. In our case, they can get us on our way to acing the job interview in five steps.

I used to sell ads. One time in training the coach told us not to practice selling on our customers. I think the same applies here. Don’t practice your interview skills on potential employers. Call your family, sit down with a friend, heck sit in front of a mirror and practice! Depending on your school situation, past or present, you might be able to set up a mock interview. Here’s a link to show you an example from my under grad edu.

Our resident HR superstar JC offers a few interview words of wisdom. “After you get an interview, it is important to know as much as you can about a company. Read the job description that you applied to. Understand the skills they are looking for and be prepared to discuss your expertise in those areas.

In addition, it is in your best interest to learn as much about the company that you are interviewing as possible. Use your network (if possible) to find out some information. Go to the company’s website, and learn about their products or services. Do a Google search with the company’s name, and see what information comes up.”

Maybe you are quite familiar with this whole process but you would like to brush up on some of the questions you might get asked. Won’t hurt to hear how these questions should be answered either, a? If you are nodding yes then this site is for you. [note, you will have to salom navigate down the page and around paid search ads to get through the content]

If you need it from the beginning and in complete form then CT’s Dept. of Labor is ready to help you. Their web site offers a rather comprehensive shake down on all things interviewing. If you only read that, you won’t go wrong.

One last resource for ya. Once you have read EVERYTHING and you are plugging along this site can help you keep track of What by When. Did you promise Larry from Rubber Duck Company that you would circle back Monday or Wednesday? This site can help.

PS – Got a great informational interview story to share with ya. Check out the posting comments>>A win-win situation

Thursday, April 9, 2009

it's the 80/20 rule at work here folks

Work with me on this one. WHAT IF you were stuck in a room and you needed to get a job and the only resource you had was a computer that had internet access? What would you do? How would you reach out? Would you be able to land a job? That is the point of this blog. Ye old career search using just the internet. Found one more step for ya to make those e-employment dreams come true.

One word people. Virtual career fair. Ok fine, that’s three words but it’s ONE great idea. Just for a moment think about the cons of having to go to a real live career fair. Gotta look good and find the place. Gotta shell out dollars to get the resume ready. My all time fav. is standing in line waiting to talk to someone from a prospective employer. When you finally get to talk to them they look like they want to kill themselves if they have to shake one more hand. People forget those crowded fairs! Stay home. Send electronic resumes. “Shake hands” over the internet while you lounge in your PJs.

How does this online search tactic play out? I have five simple steps for you. Check them out here at eHow.com’s How to Attend a Virtual Job Fair. To lazy to read? [seriously, if that’s true – you really have a problem] Consider listening to this podcast about how the whole thing works from Secrets to the Job Hunt.

If I have piqued your interest then check out these links. 
Virtual Job Fair:
By location or employer>>
By industry>>
For students>>

Quick application note, I have had many of the interviewees of this blog say that candidates tend to over apply to positions. The overall recommendation is to find the one position with the best fit for you and go for it. Don’t apply to the same company for several positions.

We'll get there don't worry. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

let's think out of the box

To: The Universal Hiring Manager
From: BKLYN Nikki
Subject: Please give me a job.
CC: any other mythical creatures that create good luck

Dear Universal Hiring Manager,
My name is Nikki and I am looking for a job. I’m a good person that pays her taxes [yikes – I’ve still got a week to do this, right?!] and helps old ladies across the street. I’ve had my share of good and bad employers but right now I need a break! Please if there is a God of Employment – I am prepared if you have just been waiting to send me an opportunity. I am ready. Please bring it on. Thank you.

Your trusted follower,

PS – I can sacrifice a chicken [or a street cat, there’s lots around here but they are kinda mean] if that would speed things up and appease you.

Alright, alright. I can hear you.

“Nikki that won’t work. You silly lady. Praying to the Employment Gods – HA!”

I’ll have you know that I’ve tried everything thing else. Faith is all I have left. Well… faith, the Internet, and the will to go on.

Fine. Let’s keep moving. What else we got?

Have you ever considered working for the man? Maybe a job working for the government is a way to go. One summer I worked for a cities Parks and Recreation department. There are some good benefits there. Although not like working for an employer that’s international!

I have a handful of friends here in the city that have or currently work for over sea employers. THAT’S the way to go if you are looking for time off. You get the US AND the European vacation schedule. It’s like working only a couple weeks each year.

Seriously though, there are many multicultural opportunities out there. Inside the states and outside. Heck to take an example in my own media industry life – the Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing consuming audiences out there. If you or I decided to dedicate ourselves to serving this growing demographic many more job opportunities could present themselves.

There is also the green focus. I am happy to see that companies have decided to increase their positive involvement in the world’s environmental well being. Regardless if it’s a PR ploy or a legitimate business sector, this new area of research and resources is not to be looked over.

If you are not the siesta type or don’t have a green thumb then perhaps Doing Good has more of an appeal. At IdeaList there are any number of ways to apply yourself to the greater good. Looks like they have over one million profiles on the site so it’s gotta be a good conversation to jump into. If not, consider the over four thousand job openings. They also offer a job fair which just happens to be our next stop on the job express! Tune in next time for more info.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

barking up the wrong tree

Health, medicine, business admin, law, and information technology are all industries that have predicted growth. Or at least, that’s what I’m reading. Personally, I don’t have the patience or grace to work with the sick, and I lack the memorization skills for medicine. Participated in a law club at school and got creamed in cross-examination [mainly b/c I didn't prepare for the case as I was so busy starring into the dreamy eyes of opposing council]. That leaves me with business admin and info tech. Although I have dabbled in both sides, neither are of great calling.

One great fear I have always had is that I start working in a job that I consider a 'For the Time Being' job. A job that pays my bills. A job that has me participating as an active member of society. A job that keeps me tethered to an industry that I have no interest in, but decades later I have, low and behold, an established Career.

Just so we are all on the same page, I am thirty-two. I have a decade of work experience behind me. It is MY fear that I could wake up a week from retirement and find I have wasted myself in a Career I only started in because I needed to pay bills when I first got going.

[sad retirement note. I recently drove back to Cleveland to see my folks. they are, as usual, overworked at each of their places of employment. here’s where the sad note comes in. set to retire in a year or so, they now have to add several years to their working commitment because their 401k and other retirement accounts took such a hit in the financial market. *sigh*]

OMG. Could this get any more depressing? Here’s the difference we have - the power of choice. At this moment, we can powerfully choose the industry we want a career in. A good place to start that inquiry is at the US Dept. of Labor. Their career guide to industries shares up-to-date info on: occupations in the industry, training and advancement, earnings, expected job prospects, and working conditions.

One last HR note from our friend Jeff Comerford. “The current job market is tough. There are many companies that are laying off people, but there are industries that are growing too (right now there are technology companies that are doing well, there is a nursing shortage, etc.). A lot of things in this country are fueled by confidence. The stock market, consumer spending, etc. Obviously, these things will also impact company’s ability to maintain market share or grow – which will directly impact employment. I think that right now, people are reading all of the bad news and they are scared. That means they are less likely to buy that new car, tv, go on vacation, etc. This obviously impacts jobs in those sectors.”

Here's one last online industry resource for you to mull over before you go off and do something else with your time. Check out what the folks over at Deloitte have published - 2009 Industry Outlook. They have looked into over a dozen top industries to see what’s going on and if there will be opportunity within this years industry tumult. Look to see if there is an area that can help you have a better understanding of where you would like to go. Let me know what you find.

Until next time – peace.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

finally in your element

Do you have a dream team of employers? Maybe for you it’s just that ONE company you have always yearned to work for. My brother is a CG animator, so as you can imagine, Pixar is that place for him. I am trying to figure out who that company is for me.

What I like to do is match advertisers up with their customers on the web. Usually this means working for a publisher or media company. My current inquiry is to find a major content developer or media company that has a diverse demographic audience that advertisers would like to reach in the internet space.

BUT how do I find that one working environment, that one super boss, that one stellar crew of co-workers? First up, I figure we should look at who the best or most recognized players are. This list of Top Companies is a good start. Looking for inspiration or know who you would like to target? CareerTV has great employer profile videos for you to check out. You can find them listed in the left navigation bar under - By Company. If you don’t know someone on the inside that can give you a behind the doors tour, then these sneak peek videos are a great way to go.

OR you could be one of the lucky ones that does have an inside track to the employer of your dreams. If so, get crackin’! You got people to meet and questions to ask. Go back and review our posting on informational interviews.

BECAUSE I love you guys so much, I’ll share with you the source of my mystery interview from the last posting and her thoughts about the current standing of her awesome company.

Rosa Allen is in the HR department for the MillerCoors brewing company. Here she tells us about working for the parent company that offers brands like Coors Light, Peroni, Miller, and Miller Genuine Draft.

"My opinion is that the situation at my company is solid and stable. The company is performing as planned and forecasted and is in a good position financially, product-wise and in its market. Although sales had been on a dropping tendency for the last few years, the sales for 2008 and 2009 actually seem to be increasing. The company used to be solely Coors and since July of 2008 fused in a joint venture with Miller. So basically our company is twice as large and has twice as many resources that they did before. 
There have been various job cuts recently; however, they are not at all related to the economy, they are all products of synergies and consolidation of resources between the two companies. Some positions were duplicated during the joint venture process and had to be eliminated to cut out unnecessary manpower. All in all, I feel the company is stable and will not face any hardships either financially or with its brands in the market. People basically drink anyways; it doesn’t seem to matter if the economy is doing well or not."

There you have it. Good or bad, people keep boozin’. Maybe we should just get a job at our favorite liquor company. Hey, Brooklyn Brewery, you hiring?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

it's on your radar screen

Don’t you just love watching movies that have a character looking for a job - where they’re opening a newspaper and circling potential job openings with a big old red marker? The closest I can get to that these days is book marking the darn thing and putting a red ppt oval around it. Sigh, I miss the olden days of print. [internet, you didn’t hear me say that. I love you 2. darn it. I think that print comment already got search engine indexed. I am so much lower in my own blog search results! the internet hates me!]

Coming from someone who can’t figure out where her hours are going everyday – I swear, it’s a full-time job getting a full-time job. Do you know how many entries come up when you go to Google and search: job search? 199,000,000 entries pop up and I am going through ALL of them for you, my 27 blog following buddies. OK, that’s not true, but still, you can see how the web can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe we should let a pro guide us…

You remember our HR master and commander, Jeff Comerford. Here Jeff takes a look at two different sites – the profit and the not for profit. “If you are going to look for jobs that are advertised, a great place to look is Indeed.com. Indeed.com is basically a search engine for jobs. Enter your job title (general or specific) and a geographic location, and it will show you recently posted jobs. There is also a way to narrow down your search, based on potential salary and other criteria. If you are looking at non-profit opportunities, you can go to a website like Guidestar.com. This will give you access to the non-profit’s 990 – which is their annual tax form. It gives information like their revenue, top 5 highest paid employees, and the number of employees making over 50k. Let’s face it, if you are looking to make $60k, and the executive director makes $70k, this non-profit may not be big enough for you.”

There are also many sites out there that are aggregators of industry specific job postings. I happen to like my grad school’s online resources. On the Columbia site I can check out media/communication job links. They also have an advertising/marketing resource list that points to more inside info and job listings. Columbia or any college can provide resource lists for industries that you are interested in - regardless if you are a student of theirs or not. Hellooo, it's online. Another example in the media world is MediaBistro. In this portion of our job search, let’s start big [industry/aggregators] and go small. 

Feeling a little Down With The Man? There’s even a link for you, “…there are thousands of jobs listed on (Rat Race Rebellion) that offer people free-lance or direct employment jobs that can be performed off-site, remotely or in a personal office. Some companies even provide good benefits to their employees or contractors. The entire resume, application and interview process is conducted online, or in some cases by phone.” Readers, stay tuned - the source of this mystery interview to be revealed next time!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

run this one up the flagpole

Monster, CB (CareerBuilder) and the other online job search big boys are big for a reason. They do have some cool job search toys to play with. Consider CB’s iPhone app. Lucky iPhone owners can bust out this app on the bus ride home from their super fun jobs to see what better positions are open in the neighborhoods they are traveling through. All thanks to the Apple geo-location capabilities. Go Mac. Head to iTunes and download today! Maybe you have been holding out for the perfect job widget. My friends, HotJobs has answered your prayers. Your desktop job search just got easier. Heck, even Facebook has a ton of job assistance applications to add to your profile. Applications or widgets, these e-tools are here to help make your job search time more streamlined and targeted. Make sure to tailor each to your preferences.

But wait! There’s more….

Another tool I find to be particularly useful are email alerts. Not to be confused with marketing messages, these tailored lists can be a quick update during your search. All the big boys provide these emails. What I suggest is finding a company that you would like to work for and signing up for their career openings notification. Note, this e-communication is usually only offered for large to mid-sized companies. This might not be offered by small businesses. 

PS - if you are more of an RSS person over emails then consider getting a companies RSS job feed. Here is an example of TW's RSS

Sunday, March 22, 2009

that dog won't hunt

It is no surprise that after moving to NYC for a few years and wanting the company of a gentleman caller, I decided to get onto Match.com. [I have to admit that I was looking forward to moving to an island of lots of men. little did I know it was more like the island from Lord of the Flies!] Sure there was some online flirting, but really the end result? Nothin’. Zip. Zero. I swear those are the same feelings I have about using the major online job sites. 

There’s a listing and you are all oh man, oh man, oh man – this is just what I am looking for! I’ll respond with how well I fit the bill. Either dream job or man of my dreams ends up as the same [sucks to your asmar] disappointment. Too many folks responding for the one job or one dude. No, seriously, think about it. How many people do you know that got the big prize for using a big job site or a big dating site? Honestly, I don’t know anyone who got hitched from Match or employed from Monster. [in my opinion, Monster should have been the name of the dating site – yup, it’s that fun] For those of you who have yet to be disappointed [by dudes – you’re lucky] by job sites - then let me recap where the trail of broken hearts starts.

Monster.com - Hotjobs.com Careerbuilder.com

I recently got some great insights from a well-versed HR leader who’s been in the biz for many years. Here’s what Jeff Comerford had to say about the big job sites: “Monster.com, Hotjobs.com, Careerbuilder.com, etc. These are your more traditional job boards. Something to keep in mind is that for each of the positions posted, there may be over a hundred responses. If you are going to use these methods, make sure to use a cover letter that explains why you are a match for the position that you are applying to. Showing a link to what they are looking for is a great way to increase your chances of getting an interview.”

Just like Match, Friendster [don’t think we’ve mentioned them yet. sigh, they were my first major SNS] or Monster.com – ya gotta have a profile. Hopefully you did the homework from Get Your Feet Wet and put up a profile of yourself on the big job networks. The three things that I use these massive job sites for is to one, maintain a professional profile so that employers can find me; two, search job listings; and three, buff up on my latest career best practices. 

If you are wondering, I am more a Monster girl over the others. Personally I find CB (CareerBuilder) to be wrought with ads and opportunities for me to upgrade to some paid version of the site. Even the CB site and email communications are heavy on the Google text ads making it difficult and distracting to find job search info. [note to websites that use Google Ad Sense – layout your sites and communications so that users can get to what they want right away! don’t start the page off with ads and bury the content. bad websites. bad, bad, bad!] Both Monster and CB have a ton of job search info, which I find very helpful, as you’ve seen from the links I have shared so far. Kinda like how I take my religion - I use a little bit from everyone. That’s the backbone of this blog.

Monday, March 16, 2009

a win-win situation

And now, dear friends and followers, we come to a most important recommendation. It just so happens that Amy [a commenter from the previous posting AND an AWNY member ~ hey, hey, hey] has set the conversation topic for the day – make it a point to meet your network connections. Before we launch into that, I just want to remind everyone that I am trying to keep within the frame of the blog topic/mission, which is to locate a job using only a computer/the internet. I completely agree with Amy that meeting face-to-face is the number one way to go, but for now we’ll keep communications web based – online phone calls, Skype, and email. And away we go…!

I’ll start off with the oh-so-smart Lynnette Lebron from Simon & Schuster. During our call a few weeks ago, she dropped that HR departments are “actively recruiting” candidates. Lynnette and her team are “at the helm and ready to go”. When a position opens up and a candidate is needed - they have cherry-picked the best folks for the gig. Nice! How do we become one of these at the ready representatives? Lynnette’s advice is to conduct “exploratory interviews”. Get into the ear of an employer. Start the dialogue for a potential new future. Lynnette says she knows a sincere candidate when she sees one. Another good tidbit Lynnette shares: during an informational interview, “ask for more internal references”. Expand your chances.  Clever, eh?!

Need a little helping hand? This online pdf from FSU [man, I love acronyms] is just what you need. The easy-to-read guide walks you though finding contacts, preparing for an informational interview, questions to consider asking, actually arranging the interview, and of course, follow up.

Have you ever participated on either side of the informational interview process – interviewER or interviewEE? Let’s hear from you…

Friday, March 13, 2009

cast a broad net

I rambled on about AWNY in the previous post because I wanted to share with you my experience of a great local professional network. There are soooo many different kinds of these groups out there - you just need to look around and find the ones that have a proper fit for you. For me, this also includes networking with my academic institutions of Ohio and Columbia University.

Within those two schools, there are many networking groups like college groups, alum groups, and career placement groups [this link takes you to a FAB career newsletter for Columbia grads - look for one from your school!] Still within association of the schools, but sitting on the SNS side, are the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of OU and Columbia – still more groups! 

Side note about finding groups/associations on SNS (Social Networking Sites). Be aware that you might join a group that is not the “real” organizations profile. Although there might be a lot of members, which is good, it might have started outside the formal organization. If you want the real deal – check with the actual group as for its whereabouts.

Even my sorority Delta Gamma has a ton of sub-groups like my original Zeta Rho chapter, my old Cleveland chapter, and my recent tri-state area alum group. All potential contact points for employment!!!

All the groups I have just mentioned are merely a portion of the associations I have, and an excellent starting place to reach out and get the employment conversation rolling. As of this posting, there are twenty-eight followers to this blog [thank you, by-the-way!]. It doesn’t take a secret handshake to make US into a group and a network. Put up those comments, people, to start sharing the outlets and resources in your lives. Ya never know, opportunity could just be waiting for you to click - SEND.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

don't burn your bridges

A lot of people find opportunities in life through people they know.  Not having the nepotism card to play, I've been relying on personal and professional contacts to search for a job. I belong to the Advertising Women of New York group, AWNY for short. Joined about six years ago. This group has given back to me in so many ways that I can hardly keep my typing fingers from running ahead of my whirling and grateful thoughts. I’ll start with the most recent experience and digress from there.

I have always wanted to work for Google but I have never been able to get the timing right with a position and availability. Rewind to a few weeks ago, when we started researching companies we would like to work for – queue Google to the top of my list, and low and behold, they have a position. After having already worked over my resume from our resume posting, I still end up spending a whole day re-framing my experience for the position I was already well suited for.

Here’s where the network connection kicks in. I go online to the AWNY web site and search for all the members [mostly women] that work for Google. My search yields over two dozen connections with women who work at Google. I email them all. My message was simple. Hi. I don’t know you, but we are AWNY members and I’m hoping you will help out a fellow professional in this difficult employment time. Can you please circulate my resume? Note, this is not verbatim what I said, but almost ten members responded. Email message replies varied.

Got one sorry I can’t help unless I know all about you because Google has very rigid recommendation guidelines. Many women said sure thing and sent my resume along to the HR dept. The greatest number of responses gave me excellent coaching. Do this or that to your resume. Google needs to see a GPA – add it. [which I had never included before] A couple ladies even told me that my Yahoo email address wouldn’t fly and that I should be using a Gmail account. [not the biggest surprise coming from Google, but still a big ol' wow on the details]

I am sad to report that exactly one week later, an Ops person from Google People got back to me and said that they did not have a position that matched my qualifications.

[come on man, I spent a whole day directly re-positioning my resume to fit the listed position] Aside from sharing my disappointment, I wanted to share this story, because at the heart of it is a great handful of women that did all they could to help me get a job at a company I have always wanted to work at. This, dear friends, is just one of the advantages to making connections and seeing how the networks you surround yourself with can help support you!

One last shout out about AWNY. For the Givers of this world, consider becoming a Mentor. AWNY has 'em, and I got the US Marketing Manager from USA Today when I first moved into the city and was looking for guidance. For the Get-ers of this world, check out your groups to become a Mentoree and learn more about the industry and to start the hand shaking.

AWNY also has an AwEsOmE VIP Silent Auction. Until I turned thirty, this was only available to young professionals; I had a great time buying my way onto top VP's schedules. Think about it: having the opportunity to lunch with:

Carl Fremont, Executive VP/Global Director Media & Digital Marketing, Digitas
Ed O’Donnell, Senior VP Marketing, NBC
David Verklin, CEO, Carat North America
Caroline McCurdy, Director Business Development Marketing Communication, Wall Street Journal

A one-hour lunch with each one of these folks is a mind-bending experience. Wanna see what the AWNY group is about? On March 24th, they have a networking clinic, as well as a year round activities calendar. Give it some thought.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

massage your networks

Anyone reading score a job yet? If so, please let us know! If not…well, just keep reading. We’ll get there. We’ve done some good work so far. Look behind you. There’s a path of self-discovery and refinement now. Consider the fact we started talking a month ago. Since then, we have bemoaned the current economic climate and unemployment rates. We’ve looked at retreating into the continuing education shelter and listened to what our souls work should be. Hopefully, one of the assessment tests cleared up some internal inquiry or maybe you got better answers when we looked into researching industries and companies.

Certainly, our review of cover letters and resumes got us moving in the right direction. BUT if there is any part of our online career journey that is the most critical, then it’s where we are headed now. Working our social networks. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the headlines. Most news sources tout networking as the key to getting a job during this difficult time. CNNMoney.com offers many articles. Check out: Hired! Putting your best face forward for example.

At this point, y’all, I expect that you plugged in your online profile. If you haven’t... for heavens sake! Stop reading and GO SIGN UP! If you have, good on you. Now, a key thing to remember is this is a two-way connection. We are going to be asking for help, but we are also going to be giving help or offering help along the way as well. For those of you who recognize karma, this is the law of giving. To get (which we’re gonna need), we’re gonna have to give. Practice this beyond when it’s asked of you. Pass things along to other folks if they seem like a good opportunity but not such a good fit for you.

Before we jump into different stories, recommendations, and good jokes, I would like to point out a couple great resources for online career networking. The first is a podcast that sits on the JobDig web site. Or maybe you are more of a contributor and want to participate in an online conversation of sorts. In that case, the networking tips and advice forum at Monster might be a better resource tool for you. Oh heck, it’s free. Check’em both out!

You all remember Jane from the local NYC gov. agency and Lynnette from Simon & Schuster? These two ladies could not stop advocating the benefits of networking. Jane says, “It’s all about working your connections in professional groups.” Lynnette comments, “You need to leverage everybody. Look for connections several contacts deep. Don’t stop at first level or direct friends.”

It just so happens friends that I have a great example of this kind of exercise and I’ll share it with you TOMORROW. Ohhhhhh! Such a Fox ending. At least it’s not a commercial break. Ryan Seacrest OUT. [and yes, I am not giving that RS an extra hyperlink in the universe]

Sunday, March 8, 2009

let's get our arms around it

Sure enough, the President has “People”. We know that celebrities have agents and image consultants. I’m sure a whole team manages the business of Brad Pitt, but who is looking out for us? Yes, we have headhunters and professional recruiters (more on that later), but when it comes to who is looking out for you and I to become successful - all we have is each other. These days,because of social networks, that rather small or insignificant one-to-one connection between you and I has become HUGE.

Let's set the stage with a look at an interview Monster did with the authors of The Virtual Handshake'. I think this is a great frame through which we should talk this week. There is an overall paradigm shift happening here as the article demonstrates. And I would love to know – are you feeling the effect?

When I moved from Cleveland to NYC, I wondered how the heck was I going to keep track of all the new people in my life. Sure, I had an address book and a [heavy and awkward] Rolodex, but I needed some kind of online people tracker. I was honestly at the brink of buying a personal software package to keep track of contacts when a site called LinkedIn popped up. Mission accomplished. I now had a FREE online tool at my fingers tips to track my professional connections. 

No social network exposure is complete without a profile on either MySpace or Facebook.  Any combination of profiles can result in a tsunami of friends. If you are fleeing from this tidal wave of long lost chums, I advise you abandon your futile efforts at running and get Friended. I am not trying to talk you into the latest electronic high school reunion, BUT the odds are that through all of these connections, we will find someone who can connect us to something to help us earn some kind of a paycheck.

Don’t stop reading now – you need to know a couple more things before you start logging on. Namely, that you should not confuse two of the sites I just named or their purposes. DO NOT post party pix on LinkedIn. Post your resume instead. DO NOT post your resume on Facebook. Post your upcoming weekend plans. Different sites – different objectives. Combine them and all your hard work could be for nothin’.

At this time, I would like to give a little shout out to the followers and folks who leave comments. In late February, Wei left a comment with a great URL pointing to many of the sites I was hoping we could take a look at – thanks again, Wei! Since they are all consolidated and in neat list form, might as well just check them out at Mashable: Top 10 Social Sites for Finding a Job.

Consider for a moment LinkedIn from the Mashable list. You might remember our ‘to remain nameless’ friend from a local NYC government agency. During our interview, "Jane" told me that she knew of twelve people that have gotten jobs in the last year through LinkedIn. That’s a healthy number of people placed based on random online connections. Right now, and at this moment, whom are you connected to that you don’t even know? You might be surprised. Don’t wait… get clickin’!

get your feet wet

Howdy online friends and neighbors. It’s about that time. We’re heading into exciting stuff. [side note, I love the word STUFF. it covers so much STUFF. nothing is left out when you use the word STUFF] What stuff are we headed into, you might ask? Our personal online profiles, dear friends - the digital versions of ourselves. The electronic blips and beeps that come to represent each of us as a unique flavor on the web. Who shall we be today? I suggest we jump aboard the Good Ship Employment and sail into the waters of Internet profiles.

Let’s start from the idea that we are able to create an online likeness of ourselves that exists somewhere in the computer cosmos. Although we might be sitting on a beach looking at the Gulf of Mexico, our online personalities or profiles are hard at work representing who we are and what we want in that parallel computer universe.

There are a handful of different ways you can be manifested on the web. Maybe you’re a text based like the web resume I showed you before. Could be that you are an image and some personal info or you could be a straight up avatar. [totally not plugging my brothers current CG work on JC’s Avator or anything, but if you’re really interested…] You can be anyone online! For now let’s keep the conversation within a professional context. Don’t Tron out on me.

I recently talked to one of the HR folks over at Simon & Schuster to see if we could get a little insight about what HR departments are thinking. Lynnette Lebron shared with me her thoughts about professionals and job searchers having a “live self”. Lynnette warns that people need to be cautious about how they represent themselves online. She suggests not to over inform, but don’t remain isolated either. Lynnette had some great additional pointers in the online job search area but we’ll circle back to that later in the week.

The Washington Post has a good article about being aware in this area: Maintaining an Online Profile -- and Your Professionalism. OMG note – I have a classmate who works at an very large media company and she has personally seen her boss chuck out potential job candidates who have unacceptable (all party/no professional) online profiles. Take the time to establish yourself. Use friends, family, and trusted professionals to check out what you have created and if it works to represent who you are.

Ok crew, we gotta start somewhere,  so bust out those resumes and let’s get to work. Your homework for the week: establish your ‘online profile’ on three different career sites. I suggest Monster, CareerBuilder, and Yahoo! HotJobs. I must warn you that this will take an entire afternoon to establish and populate completely. Grab a pop [yes, I’m from the mid-west originally], use the bathroom, and find a comfortable chair – you’ve got work to do!

Already hit those sites and looking for an alternative posting location? Try your local craigslist. There is a Resume section or consider the Services section to post your online skills and abilities. This is all free, folks. Here’s a screen shot of when I posted - last listing at the bottom:

Next stop, social networking sites and more fun STUFF!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

moving forward

I was recently talking to my aunt about helping her daughter create an online profile. From that conversation, I started thinking about my entire family “being” online. From old to young, what would it look like if my Grandpa all the way down to my young cousin were online and connected? This leads me to the overall generational differences that exist between, not just my ninety-four year old Grandfather and twelve-year-old cousin, but folks of all ages using the Internet. The chart below takes a look at a variety of online activities from ages twelve and up. You'll see that Gen Y leads the charge of folks online getting info about jobs while Gen X leads as the generation researching for a job.

This chart also demonstrates that my twelve-year-old cousin is amongst the second largest group likely to create a Social Network Site (SNS) profile. On the other hand, my ninety-four year old grandfathers' group, when added with his cohorts in the two previous age ranges on the chart, equal only eighteen percent of folks fifty-five and older who have created online profiles for SNS.

Clearly, getting a job is not the objective of my young cousin when she asks for my help in creating her first online identity. Likewise, my Grandpa is beyond looking to get back in the job market but both of them have similar hesitancies about managing their online identities much like many of us.

I recently interviewed a woman that we will call Jane* about using the Internet as a job search tool. Jane shared with me that in her experience, there is an enormous difference in older users on the web. Jane sees that older executives view the interactive space as a “pain in the ass.” They don’t want to deal with it and would rather have someone come in and make everything work and make all the tech problems go away. One of the things that Jane explained, that I would also encourage anyone who is not tech savvy to do is - surround yourself with the people that DO know what they are doing and can help inform, guide, and support you.

Friends, our next step to full-time benefits and 401k contributions is to start creating online career profiles (next posting). If you feel a little web-wary, do like my cousin did – use a lifeline and call a friend to help.

*Jane works for a local government agency and is not permitted to be quoted as a source unless she goes through her corporate communications department, which she says will take forever. We’ll hear from Jane in later posts.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

in a nutshell

Pop quiz - name some famous couples.  Ready?  Okay... here we go... Lewis and Clark. Rock and roll. Peanut butter and jelly.  Resume and cover letter! [Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?] Where would we be without the favorite companion of the resume – the illustrious cover letter. Oh yes, that swell pastime of sitting and staring at a blank computer screen or piece of paper, trying to summon the gods of writing to help convey your awesome skills and abilities as a potential employee. Sigh, oh how I love delivering myself genuinely time and time again through this one-dimensional communication channel. Arg.

How does one compose a cover letter that connects you with a position and an employer? What words can a person arrange on a page that could possibly launch the hiring manager into action? Surely, putting due consideration into purpose, audience, content, and format are all elements to getting your cover letter to jump to the top of the stack. But let's be realistic and agree that the best way to make things happen is a good old bribe. That never goes out of style. Clearly, I am kidding folks, but here are a few cover letter resources to make the heavens part and deliver you a job, or at darn least an interview!

1) Need some literary handholding? Consider using this pdf worksheet.

2) Maybe you have all the right things to say but you just need a template to get you formatted and moving. My first recommendation is to hit up your local word processing application like Word. If you don’t have Word or are in need of an online template, then Google docs is sporting a great new beta tool you should check out made FOR cover letters.

3) If you are at a total loss and can’t seem to lay anything to a page about yourself, then check out this database of cover letters applicable to many different fields of work.

4) Lastly, this super nice lady has some keen insights about effective cover letters that speaks for itself.

Enjoy, my soon to be employed comrades! 

Monday, February 23, 2009

the whole nine yards

And the resume info keeps on rollin'...

It’s always possible that you, dear user, are an audio learner. If this is the case, then perhaps the podcast is your key method of learning. There are many available online. Anyone can listen in on this Columbia U. podcast but only affiliated students can get the teleseminar materials that are referenced. If you don't attend Columbia, do not fret.  Contact your alma matter to make sure they offer similar support. In the following YouTube video/podcast, you can see how the author uses PowerPoint to walk through the basic components of the resume: 

Before I jump off the career assistance topic of your beloved college or university, I do want to provide you with an excellent info packet that I know has helped me move forward on a few of my resume strategies. Again, I implore you to shake down your universities career resource office to help you in any way they can. For my fellow Columbia students, the Career Education dept offers many resources for our search.

For some of us, this is all too much work and we would rather be logging Facebook hours, watching as many Instant Netflicks as possible [did you know they have a career selection?], or playing Wii until the wee hours of the morning. Sound familiar? If so, there are an amazing number of paid ways to go. Careerbeam offers a service at ten bucks a month with the option to upgrade to some super sweet online product offereings like a seminar series. Another pay for resource is Peterson's Resume Edge. These guys work with the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo Hot Jobs.

If you’ve got the green backs and are looking for a resource that’s not online, then consider different software packages. About a thousand years ago, I got the Resume Maker suite that helped me put my first out-of-college resume together. Granted, the software doesn’t give you that much-needed-experience-just-out-of-school, but it did help me craft what to say about where I wanted to go. Although I am talking about having been a recent college grad when I was working with this resume resource - don’t dis it as a vet of the working world. It works for all experience levels.

This next resume resource does sneak into the social networking area, but it’s just too cool to step over or wait for. This web resource, from Peterson's RE, helps you publish an online resume. Looking to share just a link instead of passing the paper version? In ten minutes, your resume can have a URL of its very own. Here’s my jake version: www.webresume.com/BKLYN_Nikki.html

Now THIS, my friends, is an interesting place to sit online. At the Visual CV web site, users are not only able to establish themselves online, BUT may also add many different multi-media elements to round out the resume to provide more of an electronic portfolio. What better way to impress prospective employers than with actual work or accomplishments?! Check out what this guy did.
This is definitely a great place for folks who need to showcase their projects or talents. Don't just leave this for the artistic types. Upload examples of campaigns you've worked with, proposals you've developed, or any variety of bigger then text examples of your accomplishments.

Lastly, if you are looking to work the system to make money, then this recent paid search ad might interest you:
Do you have any other unique resume approaches that have been successful for you? Blog me back, baby!

everything from soup to nuts

As I sat watching the Oscars last night I wondered what some of the beautiful people’s resumes read like. What are the words that describe these folks in the dazzling tuxes and sparkling gowns? I know I can check out the always illuminating IMDB but have you ever seen an actors resume? They have to list ANYTHING that could get them a gig. I’m sure speaking foreign languages, juggling cats, crying on the spot [always wished I could do that] all pop up on the old thespian resume.

But take a look around you. Everyone is becoming a superstar online. The Internet gives us access to managing our own personal brand image. We may not be dating Leo, we may not wear Galliano but because of the web we now have the opportunity to represent online like never before. This idea plays out more around social networking which we’ll get to soon enough but where has it always been present? On paper, folks - your good old-fashioned resume.

In the last six+ years of living in the city, I have gotten the advice from several professionals about always having the resume waiting in updated form. Here in the city, there is an Always Be Looking attitude amongst young executives. Despite that advice, I really only updated my resume when a job change was just around the corner.

For me, that was managing who I looked like on paper every couple of years. Now because of sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIN, folks are managing what they look like on a daily basis. But let me pull back on the social networking rains for a sec. What we are talking about today is a person’s resume. That special piece of paper that can sum you up in seconds and tells the world of your accomplishments. Yes that, dear friends, is what were going to dive into now.

It’s safe to say there is a truckload of info about resumes out there on the net. Some are harmless like a mom and pop web site but others might strip you of everything, including your digital dignity. [didn’t think you had that, did you?] 

This week, I will to point you in the direction of a few different online resources. As usual, I hope you leave a comment if you happen to know of or use a service that is stellar and can help everyone else.

Just wanna be honest with you folks. There’s a few things that I do well, but can’t say that I am a pro resume writer. What I can do to assist you in this area is track down good ideas. I will not personally be telling you – This Is How You Do It. There are a lot more qualified folks out there to help. Here are some of them…

The team at Career Planning has a plethora of articles to help us. The resume section is quite robust and leads a person from start to finish. Check it out:

Resume Writing Basics
Review: The Resume Catalog
Lying On Your Resume
Putting Together An ASCII Resume
Keyword e-Resume Tutorial
Free Resume Banks
Why Employers Use Resume Banks

Don’t know about you guys, but there’s nothing I love more in the world then a super fun check list. The team at Monster walks us through the Have You's of proper resume writing:

More 2morrow on The Wonderful World o' Resumes...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

take the ball and run with it

It’s time. Time to put down the remote control. Time to put your iTunes music organization project on hold. Time to be in action. Think back to what we have been through, my 18 blog following buddies! After we met online we talked about a number of career obstacles and opportunities, like what difficult times we’re facing on the front lines of unemployment. We considered what life would look like if we had a career coach. We even dabbled in continuing education. But in the end, y’all, we’ve got to put down the snackie cake and get a move on. We can do it together. Hold hands as we cross the information super highway. Next stop – research and preparation.

Let’s be clear about what we want here. Make a list of what you want in exchange for a paycheck every week. Take a look at your past experiences and see what worked for you and what didn’t. We can’t launch into action looking for something if we are unclear about what we are searching for. For example, I would flounder in a job that didn’t challenge me. I need fast paced environments and to be surrounded by people that are thinkers, creators, and committed to open communication. That declaration itself automatically eliminates a ton of industries, jobs, and companies that would not be a good fit for me. Think about it for yourself. Know where you need to go.

For those of you sitting at a computer terminal in an Internet cafĂ©, put another five bucks on your machine tab because it’s research time. Jump onto companies web sites. Check out their About Us, Media, or Press Room sections. Companies might seem like giant faceless entities, but behind those corporate glass doors are people just like you and me.

Clearly, company web sites will tell you simply wonderful things about the organization but don’t stop your search there. What is the rest of the world saying about the company you are thinking about working for? Check out news and information sites, recent articles and online profiles. For this, head to Hoover's or Vault. A little light reading could also come from picking up a (public) company's annual report. Super fast short cut: Google them.

A quick way to put your ear to the ground is to check out career groups and forums. Craigslist has sprung up everywhere. Start listening to your job market area today, click here for NYC.

If you are a percent person – I’ll leave you with this:
CareerBuilder.com's survey "2009 Job Forecast"
  • 19 percent of workers' New Year's resolutions include finding a new job. The same amount plan to leave their current job by the end of the year.
  • 47 percent of workers planning to find a new job this year cite better compensation and/or career advancement opportunities as their primary reasons. 
  • 8 percent want to venture into a completely different career than their current ones. 
  • 80 percent of workers claim they aren't actively looking for a new job, but they would be open to one if the right opportunity presents itself.
  • 35 percent of workers did not receive a raise in 2008.
  • 80 percent of workers did not ask for or receive promotions.
  • 54 percent of workers say that their workloads have increased over the last six months.
  • 20 percent of employers say they take two months or longer to fill their open positions. 
  • 23 percent of employers will decrease their recruitment budgets this year.
  • 19 percent will devote more recruitment dollars to online hiring, such as generalist sites, niche boards and local job boards.

Monday, February 16, 2009

step up to the plate

It’s becoming clear to me that I am in a circular conversation that I can’t get out of. ["Look kids, Big Ben – Parliament."]

Nik: Hi [insert new persons name]
New person: Hi, nice to meet you. So what do you do?
Nik: Oh, well I’m looking for a job.
Person: Interesting. How’s that going?
Nik: [gulp of stiff drink] Gonna start looking tomorrow!
[and repeat]

That’s pretty much how it goes here in the city. What’s your name? What do you do? These questions give most New Yorkers the two-second insight they need to sum up a person. [if you get a ‘where do you live’ question, then another whole level of deep and rich demographic info is available to judge a person by]

It’s easy to see how looking for a job can get a guy or gal down in the dumps. The good news is – there’s good news. Resources are out there to help us in either direction we decide to go:

5 Custom Solutions by Marty Nemko breaks down your sad stories and offers a nifty two-week get’er done schedule. I like day seven.

10 Reasons Procrastination Is Good For You by Mark D Fillz gives ten swell reasons to justify your sad stories. Again, I like number seven.

But really there are tons of options to keep up the positive attitude during our job safari search. Have an iPod or MP3 player? Download an audio book. You can nab Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat Guide to Your Job Search for under ten bucks on iTunes.

Personally, I am a fan of thinking happy thoughts.

schedule a knowledge transfer

Friends, buddies, peers, peeps, homies, random strangers – hello again from the online waters of BKLYN! 

Have you ever considered continuing education? Maybe for some of us it’s finishing that high school or college degree. For others, it’s the conversation that flirts with going back and getting the old masters. We’re also talking about straight up continuing ed. Come on, fellow procrastinators - this job market stinks. [NY just passed the THIRD emergency unemployment extension for a total of 33 extra weeks] What better thing for you to do with your time then become super educated, never mind the outrageous student loans. You know your credit card debt wants a friend.

I am Nikki’s contempt for mounting grad school loans [mind the language kids]. But aside from my moaning, becoming more qualified to have that job you always wanted is a route for your unemployed spinning wheels. There are some pretty solid benefits to getting back into academia beyond student rate discounts at museums. For instance, networking, which we’ll talk about later, is a great student perk. Networking with fellow students [at the grad school level this can be an impressive crowd] or industry leaders can open conversations for future opportunities.

Most prestigious college and universities, as well as your more affordable community colleges, offer opportunities to peek into areas of study without making the commitment to full-time student status. Consider, if you will, the NYU continuing ed catalog. It offers more class then some colleges. If you can’t find a class you want, you can at least collect many of the thick books and build a house with them. [you know somewhere in the city, some smart homeless person is sitting like a king in his own catalog castle]

Bottom line, higher education has frequently been the shelter for professionals during difficult economic times. Consider coming in out of the cold. For those of you who suffer from banner blindness, the University of Phoenix offers distance learning. Maybe it’s right for you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

let's take a look at the big picture

Sometimes you just need professional help and no I don’t mean the psychiatrist sort [although that’s never a bad idea]. I mean more like a professional career development coach. I recently attended a workshop here in NYC called Discovering Your Soul’s Work. During the lunch break I caught up with the woman running the course. Allie Roth is the founder of the Center for Creativity and Work and is a career coach with more than twenty-five years’ experience in creativity, wellness and career development.

During our interview, Allie shared with me that we can’t separate our careers from what is happening in the economy. Allie definitely hit a cord with me when she mentioned individuals feeling like they forgot their souls and have lost the focus of who they are and the greater contributions they could be making. During the class, Allie talked with the two dozen or so students about feeling overwhelmed by these issues, but perhaps these hardships in our lives have happened to help point the way.

Quieting the mind, not giving way to the voice of fear, urgency, and external worry are all different suggestions she offers to find balance and positive footing. Doing this gives way to letting “creativity surface” and being able to find “your work in the world”. One method Allie suggests is journaling. There are tons of different online options to do this. I like Live Journal

"Technology can be a distraction. It can also enhance the human experience. We’re living in an exciting time” Allie tells me. So where do I go with this? The two-decade veteran tells me to reframe my current job to fit a new career platform. Ok, what if I don’t have one? Next recommendation: “What do you have in your life right now that creates an opportunity to bridge to where you want to be?” Great, just what I wanted, career homework.

Friends, you will be glad to know that if you are feeling left out of my workshop experience that somewhere near you a coach is glad to help. Interested in Allie? Good news, you can connect with her via Skype. Don’t look for the woman in Second Life. She’s keepin’ it real in-person, by web cam, or email.

If coaches aren't your thing, maybe you have heard of the Myers-Briggs analysis. This is what I think/this is who I am/this is what I should do – kinda thing. Answer a bunch of questions; see where you fall on the map. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about or have never taken the test, don’t fear – click here. The provided link takes you to a site that does a free, mini example of assessing who you are and what you might possibly be interested in doing based on your answers. FYI folks, there are more robust systems out there for self-assessment, but being low on dough or lacking the desire to give away my private contact info – this is what I got. Know of something else? I would love to hear. As it stands, the quiz told me that I am social, enterprising, and artistic. Last note, this is just a sneaking suspicion but I think the site might be funded by big brother!  ;-)