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 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 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 [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. -

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: “,,, 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 – 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. 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.