2010 in Review

I hope everyone had a good year.  In honor of 2010 I am sharing my top 10 successful posts.

1. Rejection, No One Wants It – “We all get rejected in our lives but the unemployed pool gets it a lot more. ”

2. Explaining Gaps in Your Resume – “We all wonder how to answer the “gap” question.  Should I fill the time between being laid off and now with the part time job I am working in?  But what if it has nothing to do with the industry I am looking for a job in?  What if I fill it with classes I am taking?”

3. Non-Compete Laws, The Ugly Part of Contract Work – “A number of people I know are freelancing, or have started their own businesses in an effort to make ends meet.  What if they keep in contact with contacts they have made in their previous job?  Well, your previous employer could potentially take you to court.”

4. Looking Good, Job Candidate – “As the job pool widens and the job search closes in, how about another thing we all need to think about when interviewing? And that “thing” is, looking put together, a.k.a looking good.”

5. June Will Be Our Outdoor Month – “All of this great weather is making me think about how I can get different types of exercise in…for free!”

6. Why Aren’t We Getting Hired?  We’re Perfect! – “we all think we are great at what we do, so then why aren’t we getting hired?  Perhaps it’s because we’re looking in the wrong industries.”

7. Informational Interviews – “The informational interviews are a great way to gain insight into your industry and network. These interviews have been especially helpful for me as I’m in a niche industry and well, the more people you know the better your chances are of finding a job!”

8. The Long Hard Road…To Employment! – “16 months, 457 job applications, 93 rejections…”

9. The Power of LinkedIn – “…some hiring managers don’t consider you if you’re not on LinkedIn…”

10. The Terrible Woes of Unemployment – “After talking to three different people on the unemployment hot line I was told three different stories about what extension I am on and about my eligibility. ”

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a fantastic 2011! See you next year!

What did you do today?

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The 12 Days of Blogging

In honor of the 12 days of Christmas I am sharing my favorite 12 blogs with you:

1. The Long Hard Road to Employment.  “16 months, 457 job applications, 93 rejections…”

2. SEO and How it Will Help Your Company. “…if you don’t optimize your site for certain keywords it my never get found.  Being found is something that’s very important for a company, especially one that is starting out.”

3. Top 20 Interview Questions. ““Bare in mind that the interview starts from the minute you walk into the building until you leave and are out of sight. Don’t think that just because you have left the meeting room, you are “off the hook.” You need to maintain an image of confidence, enthusiasm, competence, reliability and professionalism throughout.”

4. The HIRE Act-Encouraging Employers to Hire the Unemployed! “The HIRE Act is aimed at providing hiring incentives to restore some of the jobs lost in the latest economic recession. The goal is to help put Americans back to work as soon as possible. Business owners that hire qualifying workers sooner rather than later will get the most out of the tax credits, as the tax credits diminish over time, disappearing completely by January 1, 2011.”

5. Fall Office Fashions.  Nothing more I can say than…I love clothes.

6. Old School Interview Tips-Step 4: Interview Questions. “Yesterday I promised to share with you what I believe to be one of the hardest interview questions…”

7. Questions to Ask During an Interview.  “…the interview should be a dialogue and not a monologue….”

8. The Future of Social Media. “…I was happy to come across an article outlining the next 5 years of social media…or at least what this one writer thought the next 5 years might bring.”

9. Non-Compete Laws, the Ugly Part of Contract Work. “With the economy still in the dumps, those of us who are required to sign non-competes find ourselves in a pickle.”

10. How to Successfully Use Facebook for B2B Purposes.  “Here are 5 tips for a successful Facebook page.  Your company can’t succeed without these!”

11. Resume Gaps. “…although I am not an HR director, here are my tips for how to fill gaps in your resume…”

12.The Job Search as It Relates to Dating. “the job search is a lot like dating. And here is why…1. When you look for a potential person to date, you, nowadays, explore your options in clubs, bars and sometimes even on line…sounds a lot like, networking and looking on job boards…”

Merry Christmas and…what did you do today?

Winter Activities

With Christmas right around the corner here are my favorite Christmas/holiday activities:

1. Seeing the Nutcracker ballet. It’s one of my favorite activities around the holidays and I still plan on seeing it sometime this winter.

2. Skiing!  I love getting out there for my first run of the season.  Check out the best ski deals around New England: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont.

3. Sign up for the first night and get discounts on such performances as the Nutcracker!

4. Check out the ice sculptures at the Boston Common, Copley Place and Northeastern University.

5. Ice skate on Frog Pond!

What did you do today?

Christmas Office Parties 101

We all look forward to this time of year.  Everyone is jollier, more relaxed and is focusing on Christmas and overall holiday cheer.  It’s also time for Christmas/holiday parties.  You may not need to watch your language or behavior while attending a friends’ party but the office holiday party is a different animal all together.

After coming across a number of articles about this topic here are my top ten tips to a successful night:

1. These days parties are less party and more a holiday lunch.  Keep in mind that unless you are told that everyone can feel free to order alcohol, stick to the sodas and non alcoholic drinks.  If you can order a cocktail, do just that, order A cocktail, not ten.

2. Even though everyone is in a jolly spirit and you feel that everyone is bonding, this is not the time to divulge how you REALLY feel about someone in the company.  Keep those comments to yourself and between friends.

3. Holiday garb doesn’t mean that you need to pull out your shortest and sparkliest dress.  Unless it’s a black tie or disco theme, keep it appropriate.

4. Don’t arrive so late that you actually do end up making an entrance.  A) people will think that you don’t respect them and their time B) this is a work affair, you still need to come on time, even if you’re not on the clock.

5. Mingle! This is the time to do it.  Meet and converse with new people.  Just like networking is important outside of work, it’s ten times more important at work.

6. Don’t tell racy jokes.  You don’t want to be remembered for your inappropriate commentary. Although others will laugh, they may question your judgment.

7. If kids aren’t invited to the party simply don’t bring them.  It’s not hard to find a sitter for a few hours.  Enjoy your night out and let others enjoy theirs.

8.  This is not the time to let the hot guy you share a cube wall with know that you are in love with him.

9. Don’t forget to eat!  An open bar does not mean that you have your dinner in liquid form.

10.  Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself.  If you conduct yourself in an adult and respectful manner you have nothing to worry about.

What did you do today?

P.S. Here are the articles I pulled inspiration from:

How not to behave at the office party

Holiday Office Party Don’t, 10 Things You Should Never (EVER) Wear

10 Things Party Guests Don’t Tell You

Holiday Office Parties Do’s and Don’ts

What is Your Brand?

I’ve written about building your brand many times.  Building or RE-building your brand revolves around your sales pitch.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Are you perfecting your pitch in order to land an interview or land a job?  These are two very different pitches!

Are you trying to explain why you want a certain job?

Alesia Benedict from GetInterviews.com has the following advice:

“Think of yourself as a product. What are you trying to ‘sell’ to the employer? What is it about your ‘brand’ that can optimize the company’s bottom line?

These are points to emphasize in any brief contact you have with the organization. This can be the brief bio you provide, a voice mail, or an email message, all of which should contain a consistent message about strengths, skills, or that special project you are offering. This is not a time to be secretive, coy, or too concerned about proprietary rights.

If you have a great idea and the company actually usurps it, you have dated documentation of when you provided this to the company. In that event, you have a very different scenario on your hands. What you want to focus on is your initiative and willingness to be a team player even before you become a part of the team. Hopefully, you can lessen the odds of any negative outcome by conducting thorough research that includes some information about the company’s ethics, relationships with staff, and orientation toward innovation and intellectual property.”

What did you do today?

Does the Most Qualified Candidate Get the Job?

Thank you again Doostang for a wonderful topic to write about.

This blog entry talks about the top three interview misconceptions:

* The Most Qualified Candidate Gets the Job

These days…it’s all about networking and internal hires.  Many times it is much easier for someone who has been working at the company to get hired because it is thought that someone from the outside will have a hard time adjusting to the environment and learning about the business.  This results in posting the position on job boards, just so that the company can say they did that, but no matter how exceptional you may be the position is already spoken for.

* The Interviewer is Prepared for…the Interview

Unfortunately I had gone to my fair share of interviews where I truly wondered if the interviewer had even looked at my resume.  I understand that HR or a recruiter usually does the hard work of picking who should be brought in but come on. Even though those of us who are looking for employment are trying desperately to wow you, we feel ripped off. The time we took to prepare and drive over for the interview could have been used much better.

* The Interviewer Will Ask All the Necessary Questions

I really don’t understand the point of this one.  You are expected to ask questions about the job, the company, the people, etc.  Prepare at least 10 questions before you head in to an interview so that as you find out about the job, and some of your initial questions get answered, you still have something to talk about!

Good luck!

What did you do today?

P.S. Read the full Doostang blog entry!

P.P.S. Anyone in Chicago looking for a Market Analyst job at Groupon?

Winter Fashion

It’s Friday so let’s have a little bit of fun.

With winter a mere 11 days away I can’t image that I am the only one wondering what I can wear that will look good AND keep me warm.

Here are my top fashion picks/my inspiration for every day work wear:

*Thank you to Loft, Marc Jacobs, JCrew, Banana Republic and others for inspiration*

Here are my actual Monday-Friday work options:

What did you do today?

Prepared to Work

I’ve filed this post under, among other things, Stretching Your Skill Set because…quite honestly I’ve never felt more prepared at a job.  I attribute it to always trying to do 100 things at once while I was unemployed.  I volunteered, worked part time, looked for work, networked, took online and night classes, finished my MBA and well…blogged.

Usually when you start a new job you are coming from another company.  Yes, I absolutely agree that in those situations the skills you have acquired are what in the end get your hired.  However, you don’t really have much more to offer than what you’ve learned in your previous position, which in some cases is perfect.  The part that isn’t perfect is that the only thing you’ve really had time to prepare for your new employer is a good pitch about yourself and learning what you can from a company website.  You are so bogged down with your day to day work that you don’t really have much time to do more than exactly what’s expected.

What am I trying to get at?  Simply that I think that all this time I spent being unemployed has prepared me like nothing else for the work life.  I had to be resilient, I had to teach myself new skills and I was constantly being shot down.  And…what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

I come into work every day and start off by going through my e-mails, looking at my To Do list and then jumping into whatever task I think should be completed next.  I seem to be getting along well with everyone around me and as of right now I see nothing but blue skies and green lights.  I LOVE to work!  I’m so happy to finally be back to my routine of gym, work, home.

So remain resilient.  If you have yet to find a job, your day will come.  And when it does, you will be more prepared than ever to jump back into the workforce!

What did you do today?

Job Postings vs. Networking

Those that find themselves looking for work in this tough economy have no doubt asked themselves the following question, “How do most people find work?  Is it through networking or numerous job applications off job boards?”

I can tell you that I did get a lot of leads from my network.  However, dedicating time every week to apply to at least 10 jobs off job boards is what ultimately paid off.  But is my experience the norm?  Well, according to someone who has a hand in the Boston Globe’s Career Makeover section told me the following, “…one stat that said in a tough economy there can be as many as 700 resumes for one position…[and] based on my experience with my own clients, it’s always, always networking that has landed them their jobs.  I can’t think of one that landed an opportunity (not in the last 5 years, anyway) who did so through a job board.  I’ve found job  boards to be helpful for research – but relationship-building trumps applying for jobs online.”

So what should you do?  I suggest, as do many others, making the job search your full time job and dedicating half your time to building relationships and the other to job boards.  Perhaps there is also a way you can bridge the two together.  I.e. download the LinkedIn toolbar so that every time you search for jobs it will show you who you could possibly know in the company!

Good luck!

What did you do today?

Volunteering

I picked up a printed copy of the Brookline Adult & Community Education booklet for Winter 2011, this week in the hopes of finding another computer course I could sign up for.  While browsing the listed courses I came across one titled “Volunteering: Alternative Ways to the Job Market.”  I have to share the description with you as I feel that it preaches everything I have ever written about:

Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, meet new people, make professional connections, and make a difference in the world. Join us to learn how to find the agency and volunteer opportunity that is best for you so that your experience is enriching and rewarding. This course will give you practical information about finding nonprofit organizations that need your help, as well as opportunities to reflect on how to match your interests with a volunteer position. Join us to discover how volunteering can help you find new career paths and support non-profits in the greater Boston area.”

As you check out my Volunteering category you may come across a blog post titled, Volunteering is always an option, in which I talk about my exposure to the advertising world through my connection at The Ad Club…all thanks to volunteering!

While looking for courses that help you during your job search you may also be interested in a class titled, Weathering a Job Loss.

What did you do today?