So, your point is…?

I was checking out adage.com this morning to see if anything interesting has happened in the marketing world and came across an article about Getting to the Point: The ‘Six Words or Less’ Philosophy.  Before I even read the article I thought about how I sometimes feel like I ramble on during interviews.  You’re given this time to tell the interviewer as much as you can about yourself and your experience and they are just sitting there listening.  I sometimes wonder if they have any clue about what I am saying.

It’s even harder during a phone screen.  There have been a number of occasions when I’ve begun talking to a person on the phone and halfway through my monologue I can hear that I’ve been clicked on to speaker phone and the interviewer interrupts and says “OK, OK, sounds good.”  Am I really that boring?  I’ve already taken to only talking about my last two jobs, unless the ones on the last page are applicable.  I know that the trick is to really talk to the points in the job description and I plan to execute that trick in the upcoming week.

So, what does Meredith Vaughan suggest companies do to sell their brand in six words or less?  Focus on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a brand and company.  Your answer may be vague but it will allow the interviewer to ask YOU more questions which in turn will make your interview into a dialogue rather than a monologue!

What did you do today?

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Networking

Topic number one is networking.  Why?  Probably because I feel like I do not do nearly enough of it.  I am just not good at walking up to people at a networking event and striking up a conversation.  The number of times I have done it it apparently wasn’t the right time for it.

Recently I was advised that anyone who is anyone golfs…therefore, I should think about caddying in my free time and seeing who I can meet and network with.  So, this is definitely one thing I need to work on and change.

Hence, the following article.  Meredith Levinson shares her 12 tips that I hope will help me as well as any other person who is on the shy side.  Below are the twelve tips and my personal opinions about each.

1. Start Small: Don’t expect a big connection to happen right away or a big time job to come out of one connection.  It will take time and with time we will all get better at meeting new people.

2. Stop Apologizing: I have to say that I always feel bad about everything and I hate to interrupt or feel like I am intruding on someone’s space.  I suppose that networking events are meant for intrusions and I just need to open myself up to that idea.

3. Tap Into Your Primal Instincts: Be genuine…see below

4. Be Yourself: If you pretend to be someone else or aren’t genuine people will pick up on that right away.  My problem is that it’s not genuine to me to just come up to strangers…However, I do have to say that working in retail is opening me up more and forcing me to talk to strangers and approaching people in a way that, to me, at times may not be about the most genuine things.

5. Tap Into Your Passions: Network in circles that are within your industry.  I gave a list of groups in my Social Media+ Leads=Bigger Community post.  By networking in a group that you are really interested in will allow you to have similar interests and have genuine conversations with the people in attendance.

6. Ask For Introductions: LinkedIn is great for this sort of thing.  There have been a number of times when I have requested to be introduced to someone through someone else I know.  I should do that more in the real world…

7. Be Generous: Return the favor.  I am constantly sharing job openings with my friends if I think it may be of interest to them.  In my book, if you give then you shall receive.

8. Be Prepared: Always be prepared for anything to happen.  Worst case scenario, be prepared for rejection, best case scenario…pull out your business cards for a possible interview or informational interview!

9. Follow Up: I always try to get feedback from my interviews and I always follow up with a “thank you” to whoever I was speaking or meeting with.  A thank you doesn’t cost anything and it will only take a couple of minutes to draft up an e-mail.

10. Get Over Your Fear of Rejection: Everyone gets rejected at some point in their lives.  The worst thing that can happen is that someone may not want to speak with you.  I need to get over that and feel OK with striking up conversation with the person next to them.

11. Take Risks: Get out of your comfort zone!  That’s all…

12. See a Shrink: I can’t say I necessarily agree with this one so take a look at Meredith’s take on it.

What did you do today?

Word of the day…J.O.B.

Congratulations to all of those who graduated!

I had a lovely weekend with my parents but of course now that I have graduated, there are higher expectations to find a job.  All of a sudden, now that I have “officially” earned my degree, I am expected to find a job ASAP.  To me, this is just another day.  The only difference is that I can change the wording on my resume from “candidate for” to “Global MBA degree.”

So what happens now?  Do we pretend like the last months haven’t counted or that they were simply not successful and we should scrap what we had been doing and just start from step 1?  Do we need to reevaluate our resumes and cover letters, change up the sites on which we have been job searching, look at new jobs and think about how we can change up how we interview.  I urge you to take this sunny week to really think about what you can change.  Right now I couldn’t tell you one thing that I should focus on but I will devote this week to 4 main topics that I think and hope will guide me to that next job.

What did you do today?

What did you do…after graduation? Part II

My parents are flying in tomorrow morning and I am finally getting my Global MBA diploma on Saturday!  It’s been a long time coming and I’ve certainly gained a lot of life experience in these three years.  Between selling and buying cars, seeing my parents and brother move away, moving myself, going through a lay off process and being in a real relationship I think I’m going to look forward to not adding “going to class” to the mix.

Yesterday I wrote about my take on the top 5 industries in the greater Boston area.  Today I’d like to share an article I found on boston.com about the “Top 10 job search tips for college grads.”  Christine Bolzan states that, “More than 1.5 million men and women graduated from college this spring and fewer than 20 percent had a job on graduation day.”  That is shocking to me.  I remember when I graduated with my undergraduate degree you were almost looked down upon for NOT having landed a job as most of my fellow graduates had already secured a post grad job.  What are the other 1.2 million of us supposed to do?  Well, Christine has a few suggestions and they suggest you network, get feedback, set up mock interviews, volunteer and most importantly take care of yourself!  Sounds like so far I’ve been on point about my advice…

Read the article to find out more tips for success.

Let’s celebrate!  Happy graduation to all my fellow graduates!  What did you do today?

What did you do…after graduation? Part I

With graduation right around the corner I am sure that a lot of us are hoping that we can land our next opportunity sooner rather than later.  I decided to do a little research about the top 5 industries that are in our back yard and offer ideas about how to get your way into the job that fits your interests.  Also, I have looked into answering the “what keeps you in Boston?” question in an intelligent and unexpected way, thank you mom for the idea!

After comparing a few websites I have come up with my own list of the top 5 industries in Massachusetts:

1. Biotechnology– With all of these grads from schools such as Northeastern, Harvard and BU entering their first real job after graduation you may have a lot of competition.  However, getting into a training or entry level position could be your way in!

2. Pharmaceutical– Genzyme is expanding and you should expand your search!  Every company needs marketers and sales teams!  Entry level is not always the worst title.

3. Technology– There are a lot of MIT grads to compete with but the IT sector is not one you should overlook.  Every company needs computers and tech’s so this is one industry that will not go away.

4. Financial Services– There are your PWC’s, State Street’s, Deloitte’s, etc.  Too many financial services companies to name means a lot of opportunity!  With the economy slowly but surely rebounding should mean that these institutions are hiring new employees.  Yes, sometimes it is harder to get your foot in the door because a lot of the promoting gets done within the company but with so many options, you can’t go wrong.

5. Education– With so many universities, 52 institutions of higher education in the metropolitan area to be exact, there is no way that the education sector would not be in my top 5.  Whether you are looking to further your education or work in the education sector there are more than enough opportunities for you to choose from.  You can begin by volunteering at one of these institutions or looking for part time work as an assistant.  The best perk?  A lot of the times you could get a discount on the price of a course you might be interested in!

Still want more info?  Check out the Best cities for 2010 grads article from Career Builder, Boston is number 5…and there is your intelligent answer.  Why WOULDN’T you want to be in a city that has so much opportunity!?!

What did you do today?

Sometimes “No” Means “Maybe”

First off, I would again love to thank boston.com for featuring my blog on their front page.  Over the three days 2,999 readers stopped by!  I received a lot of great feedback and some great ideas and tips.

And now…how many of you have received the following e-mail: “Thank you for your interest in the___position. Although you have some fine credentials, we have decided to pursue other applicants who more closely meet the position requirements.”  I wish I got a dollar for every time I received one of these automated responses, maybe then I wouldn’t be looking for work!

I know that many might have a folder for the jobs they have applied for but then might delete the job the minute they get the above response.  I am here to tell you, DO NOT DO THAT!  I have shared numerous tips for job searching and one of my tips was to make one big folder in which you have sub folders for such things as your various resumes, cover letters and jobs you have applied to.  Another very important folder is for jobs you have been “rejected” from.  Why?  Because recently I was contacted about a job that I previously received an automated rejection e-mail from.  Thankfully, I still had the job in my “No” folder and was able to pull up the job description!

As employers look through resumes and cover letters they may be given one set of guidelines but as they begin to evaluate the applicants they and the hiring managers may realize that the candidate that is actually out there is quite different, in a good way, from the applicant they envisioned.  Hence, sometimes, “no” means “maybe.”

Create a folder for these maybe opportunities.  That way, when you are contacted, you will be prepared to answer questions about the job at hand.

On a side note: In my efforts to make this blog more reliable and relevant I have reached out to Career Builder in the hopes that I can interview someone.  I have some questions that I would like to ask about resumes, cover letters and the general job search but would love to hear ideas for questions you would like answered by the experts!

What did you do today?

Hitting the Streets…A Leisurely Job Search

Good Saturday morning!  From the looks of it, and I hope the weathermen are right, it’s supposed to be a fantastic weekend!

I am so excited to be featured on boston.com again and would like to thank everyone for all of their wonderful comments.  I am always seeking feedback and having such a big audience, even if it is for a few days, allows me to get new advice and hopefully gain some new readers.

This great weather is making me think about outdoor activities and how those can possibly lead to job or volunteer opportunities.  This morning I plan on attending Pilates in the yard at the Liberty Hotel.  I have previously written about this hotel and it’s fashion and fitness events in my Let’s Review blog and think that now it is time to see if they would consider someone writing a blog for them or helping them create a bigger online presence. I plan on following up this part of the day with a run and a walk through Boston.

So, what’s my point?  Well, if you are like me and looking for work, even if it is part time or volunteering, then make your leisure day into a leisurely job search.  Go outdoors and while walking past the boutiques of Newbury street or while driving past shops in downtown Hyannis think about whether a job at one of these places could lead to something bigger.  You could expand on customer service skills or get into an industry that you have always wondered about.

Have a wonderfully sunny weekend and…what did you do today?

Rejection, No One Wants It

The other day I received a letter in the mail from a place I interviewed with…it was a rejection letter.  I started to think back wondering when the last time was that I actually received a letter through snail mail that was a rejection and think it may have been when I applied to colleges, and maybe when I tried to apply to my first co-op job.  Regardless, it’s been YEARS since I got a rejection in the mail.

I mean…I guess it’s a nice touch but, knowing that this “older” and “family like” company is trying to move into the “new age” of marketing perhaps they could have skipped the letter and let me know, without having me wait for 1 month, that I was not the right candidate.

This little anecdote leads me to the topic of rejection. We all get rejected in our lives but the unemployed pool gets it a lot more.  It’s like going for seven different promotions at work and getting rejected every time.  In one sense you are being humbled that perhaps you are not the big shot you are but in another…it doesn’t really make you want to keep trying, but we have to. Being jobless doesn’t get you far, so we have to keep marching on.

I’ve told you before that I’ve tried to get feedback from places that have passed up on my resume, I have also kept business cards in the case that another job opens up and I can reach out to the HR person directly. However, at the end of the day you dust off, take a day off and keep applying.

If you are interested in some other ways of handling rejection, an article on boston.com, Bouncing back from bad interviews and job rejection, talks about points such as:

Realizing it’s probably not your fault
Feedback is you friend
Not getting defensive
Doing something with constructive feedback
Expanding your options and opportunities and many others!

Have a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy the warm weather and if you are interested, check out my Let’s Review blog later today for a local attraction I had no idea about until this week.

What did you do today?

Possible Reasons for Why We Are Still Out of Work

It’s a sunny day outdoors but I feel a little down.  Everyone else has a job, why can’t I?  I’ve decided that since it’s “summer” and the majority of the exercising I’ll need to be doing will revolve around running…yes I am training for another half marathon…I will put my gym membership on hold, save some money, and enjoy the outdoors more.

Anyhow…I wrote one entry previously that had to do with reasons why we are “unhireable,” or things we may be doing to shoot ourselves in the foot.  My entry “Possible Reasons for Why You Are Not Getting Hired” talked about things such as: having unreasonable expectations, being scared of rejection and not making the job search our job.

Well, this morning I came across another article that relates to this topic.  The first point does talk about unreasonable expectations again but the rest of the advice gives some new insight.  Here is my take on the following points:

You are relying too much on one technique: I’ve talked a lot about expanding your search to different job boards and networks.  I for one do not use Linkedin as much as I should, so I am planning on dedicating the next few days of my search to looking for jobs through the Linkedin search engine.

You use the word “I” too much in your cover letter: “I” have to say that “I” am at fault for this one as well.  Only two short paragraphs really say how “I” can help the company with my skills.  Perhaps another thing “I” need to dedicate some time to is retooling my cover letters again. You should really focus on how you stand out, how that will allow the company to succeed and what new skills you will bring with you.

You are not demonstrating long-term potential: I suppose this is that always present question of “what do you want to be in 5 years?”  What this means is that you shouldn’t just focus on the possible job at hand but how you can take that job to the next level in the next year or so.  We should try to talk long-term not only in interviews but also in our cover letters.  This is something I have not tried yet so I will let you know how it goes.

You are unknowingly repeating mistakes: Always ask for feedback because for all you know you are making the same mistake over and over again.  I told you that after one set of interviews I asked “what could I have done differently” and was told to engage and smile more.  I am definitely taking that advice and smiling more during interviews.  Just because I am trying to be serious I do not want to seem like I am unapproachable.

Let’s keep fighting and climbing and hoping that one day we will cross the finish line and win over the interviewers!

Read the 7 Little Known Reasons You’re Not Getting Hired article and think about where you can improve on.

What did you do today?

Targeting an Audience

I’ve heard too many times about advertisements and coupons that are being sent to all of us that have nothing to do with what our interests are.  Look at Facebook, even they are doing it.  You can’t even close an ad without being asked why you are closing it.  The honest answer?  It’s annoying!

We are all constantly being bombarded with ads that are irrelevant to us and our industries.  Finally, marketers are catching on and realizing that too much marketing may be a bad thing.  The key to success is TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE.

“The power of your brand relies on the ability to focus.” So what can we do to focus our brand?  Here is my list of the top 5 things you must do to stand out to recruiters and in your general job search.  Take this with a grain of salt as, like many of you, I am learning about these things as I go.  Once I find my next job I will be sure to let you know what “really” worked.  Right now, it’s all just a learning experience.

1. Research, then narrow down your interests. Talk to people and see what industries they are in.  Every business needs a marketer!  After speaking to those people, figure out how your interests fit into those industries.  After you’ve done that, narrow your focus!  You can’t possibly have 100 different resumes and cover letters and have them all be effective.  There has to be some sort of genuine interest on your part in order to gain your audiences attention.

2. Keep business cards! I was recently forwarded a job opening from a company I interviewed with in the past. I’ve taken to keeping all of the business cards I have received, and now have quite the collection, and immediately reached out to the HR recruiter at the company.  She got back to me right away saying she would forward my application to the right people.  Don’t knock the power of networking!

3. Be cordial. I have to say that I am at fault for this as well but make sure to call everyone back!  If you see that it is too late to return a call, at least write a quick e-mail and make sure the recruiters know you are still interested in doing business with them.

4. Tailor communications collateral.  I have previously written about tailoring your cover letters and resumes for certain jobs.  Just like effective marketing you have to tailor your “marketing collateral” to the right people with the right message.

5. Don’t give up, expand. When it looks like one target group isn’t responding, do more research and expand your audience!  However, always do your research!  You don’t want to flood the e-mails of those who in the long run have a very slim chance of helping you.  Target your audience just like you target your collateral.

Don’t be like this very well known designer and not do all of your research.  Does anyone else think of the “Nova” marketing case?

What did you do today?