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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

In case you hadn’t noticed the sadly neglected blog, I’ve kind of stepped away from the computer for over a week now. Well, less from the computer, more from my social networks and this blog.

I’m going to take a moment here, take off the professional happy face, and just be honest.

I’m on the verge of burn out. I’ve been unemployed six months. During this time I have been just as busy as I was while ‘working’. The difference is, the past six months have been focused on me… working on my resumes, cover letters, online portfolio, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, checking the job boards, making connections, applying, following up, interviewing, researching, hoping… wishing…

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking. I’m still doing all of the above. But for about 30 minutes a day I sit in the car line, waiting to pick my niece up from school and just think (and listen to my iPod).

I never expected to be here. I never expected to graduate and make my part-time college job a full-time job. I never expected to be laid off two years later. I never expected to still be looking for a job half of a year later. I didn’t think I would have to write dozens of cover letters and I definitely didn’t think I would ever lose track of the number of interviews I had.

Yet, here I am. When I got laid off I felt confident that it was for the best. I was unhappy in my position and I knew that there was no room for growth there. I had already started my job search anyway, now I would be able to dedicate all of my time to it. No more difficulty while trying to schedule interviews. Since my job search had been going strong for a few months already, I expected to find my dream job in three months or less. I was obviously wrong.

Still, I continued on, month after month, interview after interview. Every time I didn’t get a job I assured myself that it wasn’t meant to be. Everything happens for a reason. I still believe that… but I’m starting to wonder if I’m missing something. Maybe there is some other big lesson I’m supposed to be learning and I won’t find employment until I do.

Or maybe the economy just sucks. Hard to say.

I know there are people out there who have been fighting through unemployment for much longer than I have. How are you handling it? I feel like I’m falling behind, despite my best efforts to stay up to date with all things marketing, communication and social media related. Am I the only one doing a lot of thinking and reflecting? What else can I do right now to help my search? Let’s start up some honest conversation.

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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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Resume Restrictions

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!

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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!

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A resume is one of the most important tools of the job search. If you take the time to look, you will find loads of information from dozens of different sources. There are recruiters, career coaches and counselors, professors, professionals, bloggers and more all trying to tell you how to write your resume.

As a member of PROpenMic, I have joined a group for resumes. Members of the online network can post their resumes, get feedback and hopefully get noticed by recruiters. When looking at these resumes, it quickly becomes obvious that everyone has received different advice. Each resume is formatted differently and it’s interesting to see how they differ.

I spent a lot of time feeling less than happy about my resume, editing it, then still feeling unhappy. I just couldn’t quite figure out how to fix it. Thanks to Careerealism and their ‘Am I Money?’ Quiz, I gave my resume a complete overhaul after realizing just how much work it needed (Check out the finished product on this page or on the right sidebar of this page in the box widget!) I am so thankful for the opportunity and advice that I received.

The thing about the resume is the same thing regarding cover letters, interviews, fashion, television, books and music… everyone has a different opinion.

You simply can’t please everyone. What one recruiter may love, another recruiter may frown upon. Still, there are a few resume rules that most people agree on. I chose to focus on those and my own intuition to create my new and fabulous (if I do say so myself) resume.

J.T. O’Donnell from Careerealism advised me that unless you have over 15 years of experience, your resume should only be one page. (Hear that college grads?!) I had heard, over and over, that my resume needed to be one page. Still, no matter how many times I edited, I couldn’t narrow it down. At my last job, I had a variety of duties in multiple positions and I wanted to show my diversity and ability to take on many different tasks. I finally changed the format of my resume completely, from chronological to functional. This allowed me to focus on the duties that I feel will best transfer to future positions and that have quantifiable results.

Another piece of advice I received was from Dawn Bugni.

In it’s current format, your resume is trying to tell the reader absolutely everything you’ve ever done in the hopes they’ll take the time to see where you fit. It doesn’t work that way. You have to take your reader by the hand and lead them down your career path, showing them only what they need to see to determine they want to speak with you further.

This was my “ah-ha!” moment. I realized that I was leaving my readers standing in an open field unsure of where I fit instead of leading them down my desired career path pointing it out.

Writing a new resume was a time consuming and frustrating task. Like any other time consuming and frustrating task, the results are rewarding. I have a renewed confidence and excitement and hope that my next reward will be the perfect position!

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adviceSo far on my blog I have offered a little advice and stated my opinion. Now I am asking for something back.

 I have no idea how many people (if any) read this blog. I’m hoping at least one or two and I’m hoping these readers (yeah, that would be you!) come out of hiding and contribute. Maybe asking for comments is against proper blog etiquette (though somehow I doubt Miss Manners has rules for blogging) but I’m taking a chance and potentially rebelling against the status quo (and pretending that the status quo song from High School Musical didn’t just pop into my head.)

But I digress…

I would like some job hunting advice. I know the basics, I’ve done the basics (you know, all that stuff I talked about here) and I’m still hunting. I’m hoping to find some insight, something that I’ve missed or just hadn’t thought of.

As we already know, I’m on all the social networking sites. I have profiles on CareerBuilder, Monster, and get daily emails from Simply Hired. I check the local big companies (Aflac, TSYS, Auburn University, etc) several times a week. I have written and re-written my resume more times than I can count. I have a VisualCV, a blog, and a Twitter account.

Maybe it’s just the economy or maybe it’s just the areas I’m looking in (Columbus, GA and Auburn, AL). Maybe I should blog more or connect with more people on Twitter, or contribute more to those social networking sites I’m a part of. What do you think? Other than the same ol’ stay positive, keep on trying, be confident advice, what can you tell me?

I don’t want to sound desperate here because I’m not. Sure, it’s been nearly 6 weeks since I was laid off and yes, I was job hunting even before then. However, I’m still not feeling desperate or depressed or pessimistic. I simply want to be sure that I am doing everything. You see, when you are unemployed and finding a job is your full time job, you need to do it right! I just want to see what else I could be doing.

So what do you think? More in-person networking? (I’m thinking this would be good… but where? In a small town area, where can I go? What should I look for?) More followups with potential employers? (I always worry I’ll bug the crap out of people who are already busy enough) More blogging and Twitter and social media and social networking and patience? Please advise.

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As a communication major at Auburn I took several pubic relations classes. In a couple of those classes we had to create fake press releases, fake VNRs and even an entire fake press kit as a final project. It was great experience and definitely helped us learn by doing.

Then I came across a blog on PROpenMic. What not to do if you’re a PR student. This blog was written by Brian Camen, a PR professional who first published the story on his blog here

Basically, when Camen was randomly googling himself, he came across an interview… with him… but not really. A student had created an interview, claiming it was with Camen and then changing the name. The answers matched up with Camen’s information on his About Me page on his blog and information from PROpenMic and Twitter.

I have to question and wonder what exactly happened here. Did the student pretend to interview Camen for an interview assignment? Was it suppose to be fake like those press releases and other projects I did? It’s hard to say.

Still, it got me thinking. A couple of the press releases that I wrote were about real companies with real professionals’ names. I have these releases included on my VisualCVas press release writing experience. I wonder if those professionals would mind? Now, I should add that I state on my VisualCVthat the press releases are fake and created for a class. I also do not have quotes from any of the professionals in the releases. In addition, I’m pretty sure my releases don’t show up in a Google search (or maybe they do, but not on the first few pages).

So where do we draw the line? Should students write fictional assignments with real names? Should everything be made up? Should students have to ask permission before writing? If so, should it be for everything or just to get quotes? Do we just need to make sure we state that it’s fake? In the age of Internet, Google and social media, is it too risky to compromise a professional’s reputation with false information?

I would really like ideas and opinions on this – looking forward to some comments!

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