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Sorry it’s been so long since my last update… I’ve been busy holding my breath.

Unemployment is a waiting game. You wait for the right positions to open up so that you can apply. You wait to hear back after you apply, crossing your fingers for an interview. You wait after the interview (the worst of the waiting) to see whether or not you got the job. If you are lucky, you’ll find out either way… or you may just wait around forever while the company fills the position and doesn’t tell you that you weren’t chosen. The waiting really starts to weigh on you.

I’ve had a couple of interviews lately which is why I’ve been holding my breath. Oh, and crossing my fingers of course. I think they are permanently stuck in the crossed position.

So, as I continue to wait, holding my breath and willing the phone to ring, I’ll leave you with some links. These sites helped me prepare for what I think have been some successful interviews. I hope they can help others too!

Interview Tips to Make Your Next Interview Your Last from the VisualCV blog (If you’re a job seeker and don’t have a VisualCV yet, definitely check them out! It’s free and easy and a great supplement to your resume.)

In job interview, passion packs a punch From MSNBC: an interview with the author of What Color is Your Parachute? Really great advice.

Ace the InterviewTo-the-point interview rules from David Silverman

And just in case… the negative side:

5 Common Reasons For Failure at a Job Interview From one of my favorite blogs by Bill Vick

Job Interview Tips: How to Handle Rejection From Lewis Lin explaining how to cope with the worst part of the job search

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Pet Peeve

I really need to become more consistent with my blog posts. I’ll work on that.
Now on to today’s post…

At one interview I was slightly thrown for a loop when I was asked “What are some of your pet peeves?”
Umm…uhhh…. *gulp*

When interviewing you shouldn’t say anything negative. You shouldn’t bad mouth former employers, coworkers, or anyone else for that matter. You can twist around ‘What is your weakness?’ (though lately I’ve been reading that you shouldn’t) but ‘What are some of your pet peeves?’ What do you say to that?!

I honestly don’t remember what I answered… probably something about a lack of communication within organizations because that definitely is one. I do remember that I was prompted to add more to the list and I couldn’t think of anything at the time. I was also afraid of the question; I didn’t want to say anything that might be held against me!

Today, while at a job fair, I was reminded of that question and realized what else could be added to my list.

A limp handshake.

image from globalexperiences.com

image from globalexperiences.com

Seriously, why is the handshake so hard? I have gone to several job fairs, meetings and interviews and the majority of handshakes that I have received have been limp and lifeless. As a woman, I always get self conscious because I feel like maybe I’m coming on too strong. I don’t want a Vulcan death grip or anything, but a handshake speaks a thousand words. I may not be the most outgoing person, or the most self confident, but you’d never guess that by my handshake. It’s firm and proper and all I ask is that it’s reciprocated.

During my Speaking Before Audiences class at Auburn, we spent a week on interviews (this class was during a summer minimester). At the end of the week we had a short mock interview. I forgot to shake my TA’s hand and it wrecked my perfect grade. Maybe that’s when my handshake obsession focus began. No handshake or wimpy handshakes have bothered me ever since.

So is it just me? Do you think you have a good handshake? Are you bothered by those who don’t?

We already know that I love (and have a passion for) communication. It should come as no surprise that I want to talk about it a little more…

After working for a couple of companies, both large and small, I have realized just how vital internal communication is. I think that often companies don’t focus on it enough. The focus is usually on outside clients, customers and media. Companies aim their attention at keeping their customers and the public happy, but what about employees? Open conversations between managers, HR and employees lead to happier and more productive team members. Happy employees are the best advertising! I am more likely to do business with a company whose employees seem to enjoy their jobs and believe in the company they work for. Employee morale has a strong impact on business. Communication seems like such a simple thing and maybe that is why it is often overlooked.

Ask someone who is employed about problems that they have dealt with at their job, or listen to a random complaint from them. Often times, the problem is linked to a lack of communication. Maybe their benefits were messed up, they didn’t know about a policy change or their boss failed to mention something major that affected them. It’s all communication. Employees just want to be in the know… is that so much to ask?

Now, I’m not so naive to think that everyone can always know everything. Sometimes there are sensitive matters that can’t be discussed throughout the company. However, if something directly impacts an employee, I think it’s their right to be aware of it and have an opportunity to offer feedback.  

Communication is invaluable and shouldn’t be ignored or tossed aside. Lately I have read many articles about communication departments having to defend themselves. Showing the ROI of communication can be difficult and many companies are cutting corners. I hope that companies, large and small, realize the benefits of strong internal and external communication.

What are your thoughts on communication?

One of the benefits of unemployment (yes, I admit, there are some perks!) has been the time to think, reflect and realize. When you take a step back from your job (or you’re pushed back from it) you can focus more on your field in a broader sense.

During college I changed majors several times. I couldn’t quite find my niche and didn’t feel passionate about my classes. Honestly, I was on the verge of my senior year and my dad kept reminding me that I had four years – and only four years– to graduate. I had been pre-physical therapy but realized I hated math and science. I remained undeclared for about a year and focused on general pre-req classes. I ventured into psychology and enjoyed it, but couldn’t see a career emerging from it. Then I somehow arrived at the department of Communication and Journalism. I started in public relations, taking classes in marketing, communication, PR and journalism. I realized that I loved to write and edit. I was fascinated by my communication classes. I switched my major to comm. after realizing that the communication classes were the ones I really enjoyed (and because I could graduate on time in Comm but not PR… just being honest!)  I left Auburn with an interest in everything I had studied but little direction. Majoring in communication isn’t like majoring in accounting or nursing… you don’t graduate with a job title, you have an entire list of avenues you can choose.

I now realize just how great my time at Auburn was. I enjoyed learning how to speak in front of an audience comfortably and how to work successfully in small groups. Interpersonal communication was my favorite course at Auburn by far. I loved learning how to deal with different types of people and the difference of communication style between men and women or introverts and extroverts (both have really helped in my marriage as well as my professional life!) Over two years later I can actually say that I am passionate about communication. I have realized how broad communication is and everything that it entails and I love it all.

I can wholeheartedly say that communication, in its broadest sense, is my passion. Have you found yours?

I came across a very interesting blog post today and wanted to get some more opinions on it.

This post on Fishdogs states the top 10 things to leave off of your resume. The writer, Craig Fisher, asked people on Twitter and LinkedIn, “What should job seekers leave OFF of their resume?” Along with the list of the top 10, Fisher created an image on Wordle with all of the responses.

Some answers weren’t surprising, like objective or family information. Some answers surprised me because I don’t see why anyone would put them on a resume! These were things like weight, middle school education, slang and Dungeons and Dragons.

Then, there are the responses that made me curious. I have heard and read that volunteer work and organizations should always be on your resume. Additionally, I have read about including information to explain employment gaps. If you were a stay at home mom, for example, you could list the skills you used during that time. However, things like school board member and Toastmasters were included on the list. Furthermore, MSOffice was mentioned. That one is on my resume (and I plan to keep it there unless someone gives me good reason not to).

So what do you think? Should an organization like Toastmasters be included if it is relevant to the job? What about school board member? MSOffice?

I’m looking forward to some feedback on this one! Thanks to Craig for the interesting post and inspiration!

Follow Friday is a great part of Twitter. Users post a message and @ the people that they think others should follow. Sometimes people list why these folks are great and sometimes you have to check it out for yourself. Fridays almost always lead to a few (or many) new followers.

I won’t lie, I am not ashamed… I get giddy when I receive an email stating that I have a new follower on Twitter. I’m not vying for thousands of followers and have no desire to whore myself out Ashton Kutcher style but new followers are exciting. Sometimes.

Then there are the times when I click on the new followers page and wonder how the heck they found me and why in the world they would want to follow me. My Twitter page and tweets scream marketing, communication, public relations and job seeker 97% of the time. Sometimes I mention a random daily tidbit or quote or thoughts on a t.v. show, but mostly it’s professional. For me, Twitter is one of my many job searching tools. Sure, I follow Pizza Hut (no one loves pizza more than me!) and a couple of celebrities (not aplusk) but mainly I follow PR/marketing/comm pros and recruiters.

Of course the worst new followers are the spammers. The people (or bots) who want to make me a million dollars in an hour. Often times, these profiles are deleted before I even get a chance to check them out, leading me to the always disappointing “Who goes there” owl.

I have a nearly equal amount of followers vs. those that I follow. However, I don’t always follow back (and obviously neither do some of those that I follow). I block those that look like spammers (or the sex toy store). If I see your profile and you have an interesting bio (or even better, a customized background with more information) and some relevant tweets, I’m sure to follow back.

If you meet my somewhat picky criteria, feel free to check me out on Twitter @Danielle2507, I’d love to follow you back!

Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

I made the mistake to apply to basically anything and everything when I first graduated from college. I didn’t know that it was a much better idea to tailor your job search. If the position was at a company in my chosen location, I would apply without paying much attention to the qualifications. I realize now that I was HR’s worst nightmare. As an end result, I had an unsuccessful job search and wound up remaining at the company that I worked at part time through college.

Now I know better. I don’t apply to anything and everything. I have tailored my job search. My applications, resumes and cover letters reflect that. Still, sometimes there are jobs that I’m not quite sure about.

I know that I need to have the bare minimum qualifications but I read an blog from Keppie Careers that got me thinking. This blog post claims that sometimes you should consider jobs beyond your qualifications.

When “desired qualifications” include experiences you do not have, it can still be worth applying. As long as you can make a direct connection between what they want and what you offer, I advise going for it!

I’ve had to deal with this before. I read a job description, get excited as everything sounds fitting and then get slammed with something like 8 years of experience or advanced graphic design knowledge. It’s disheartening, especially when I feel that I could truly do this job! Should I ignore the basic requirements and apply anyway? Will my application even make it to a person?

A job opened up at a company that I would LOVE to work for. It involved social media, marketing and communication. I got excited reading the job description… and then I found out it’s a management position. They want someone with management experience. Darn.

Then I start to wonder… just because I don’t have management experience doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make a great manager. One of my career goals is to become a manager, but am I ready for that now? I decided to ask for feedback from you guys. What makes a good leader or a good manager? How much experience do you think someone should have before becoming a manager? Do you need to be an expert first then a manager?

Please, leave a comment and let me know what you think!