June 27, 2009

New Site, New Name, New Location

Hello Friends!

Thank you for visiting Blogging for Jobs. Great News! Our site is moving to it's own domain now located at http://www.blogging4jobs.com. I'm excited to announce several different features and updates that will be coming to the site in mid-July 2009.
Some exciting things will include:

  • Free Job Board

  • Ability to Tweet your Job Postings

  • Guest Bloggers

  • Interactive webinars for both businesses and job seekers

  • Prizes, prizes, and prizes!!

Go ahead and please visit the site, leave comments, and subscribe to my feed. I'm looking forward to bigger and better things at http://www.blogging4jobs.com.

It's been a wild ride these last two years and I'm excited about continuing to educate job seekers on the unwritten rules of the job hunt. Learn tips and tricks at Blogging4jobs.



June 14, 2009

Shoestring Networking

In these economic times, the best defense in the job market is a good offense. Building a solid networking base to draw from takes time, planning, and effort. Effective networkers develop and maintain relationships long before they become an aggressive job seeker.

Traditional networking is about getting back to basics and streamlining your networking in a creative and cost effective sort of way. My concept, Shoestring Networking is all about high octane networking and developing relationships for the budget conscious.

  • Conference Volunteering. Volunteering at a conference is a way to network and develop relationships with different professionals in an industry or location that is of interest to you. A close, personal friend of mine, who was recently downsized, volunteered to man the registration booth at the Oklahoma State Human Resource Conference. My friend, whose interests lie in the Marketing Industry had access to 400+ Human Resource professionals from throughout the state.

  • Local Coffee Shops. Frequenting these establishments is a great way to engage and interact with professionals across industries. Choose peek times to set up shop either at the beginning or end of the day. Ask the management staff if there are any networking meetings or groups that meet on a regular basis.

  • Summer Parties & BBQ’s. Not only are summer parties fun and a great way to enjoy the hot summer months, but they are also an effective way to develop relationships and network all for the cost of a few beers and a bag of chips. Perfect your elevator pitch, bring business cards, and a pen and paper to quickly take down a number.

  • Hair Salons & Spas. Your hair stylist and massage therapist can be a great resource for networking. Make sure to spell out your intentions and provide him/her several business cards to distribute.

  • Your Daily Commute. Those of us in metropolitan areas that use public transportation like the subway and other types of transit can easily strike up a conversation with a stranger leading to job leads, new connections, and other possibilities.
    The Travel Bug. The airport is also another great place in which to engage in conversation. Several years ago, a co-worker returned from her vacation only to immediately resign. A contact, she met while in flight led to an amazing job opportunity.

  • Gym Rats. This is another great place to engage professionals in a casual atmosphere. Most gyms have great group classes or activities that are included in the cost of a monthly membership. Strike up a conversation with someone in your Spin or Yoga class by complimenting them on their gym bag or other fun accessory. Have you been recently downsized? Many gyms like the YMCA allow you to maintain your gym membership by applying for financial aid or scholarship.

June 10, 2009

HR and Our Social Media Due Diligence

Last week, I attended the Oklahoma State Human Resource Conference as an attendee and speaker. My topic of choice was Social Media and how it can be successfully leveraged as a business, as well as for recruiting, and also a marketing tool. By more than a handful of human resource professionals, I was dubbed "the Twitter Girl," a more than all too familiar name I've been called.

During the conference I engaged in a number of conversations surrounding the use, success, understanding and safety surrounding Social Media. I received more than a few open mouthed stares, comments, and questions like-
  • How can I use this tool called Tweeter?
  • I really don't have time to spend hours on FaceBook. How is this beneficial?
  • Can someone gain access to my all my personal information and find my home address on MySpace?
  • I'm over 30. I don't do Twitter.
  • This sounds like something for marketing. Can I have them contact you for questions?

What really hit home for me at the conference was that I was the lone human resource blogger of the more than 400 attendees at the State HR Conference and that my beliefs and acceptance of Social Media as a way to engage and develop relationships with employees, candidates, and customers are a very new and foreign idea to those within the Human Resource Industry.

How can the 17 million unique users who logged onto Twitter in April be wrong or the 3.37 million mentions Starbucks had on Twitter in a three day period be something that can be casually overlooked? Social Media is a free resource in which businesses and human resource professionals can use to build relationships and develop a brand, realistically cut their advertising and recruiting expenses between 20-50%. And most businesses I have spoken within the past six months, are always interested in cutting overhead and expenses.

I urge all human resource professionals to get out there and do your due diligence and bring an open minded attitude when considering Online Social Media Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Isn't it our responsibility as progressive HR professionals who desire the coveted seat at the table to take advantage of learning about new resources and opportunities and these sharing with our business leaders as a way to further strengthen our business and also gain crediability?

How amazing would it be to flex your strategic business muscles by benefiting your company's bottom line in a way other than outsourcing payroll, suspending your 401(k), or exit interview process? How's that for job security?

June 2, 2009

Job Search Bermuda Triangle

Just like the Bermuda Triangle, it is easy for job seekers to get lost in the sea of applications, customized cover letters, and advice from experts and friends on how to successfully and effectively manage the job search. Throughout the job search, job seekers often lose their sense of direction mysteriously vanishing and falling victim to the Job Search Bermuda Triangle. However, with proper preparation and a good sense of direction, job seekers can navigate the seas of change.

  • Know your Destination and a Plan to Get There. For a job search to be effective, job seekers must have a marketing plan and strategy to promote themselves in this crowed market. Job seekers need solid marketing materials to effectively and creatively market themselves in these economic times. This includes eye catching business cards, customized cover letters, job specific resumes, and career portfolios. Job seekers also must consider both their online and offline brands. Candidates are strongly urged to pay close attention to those in the professional community and their perception of them in the every day face to face interaction and also online through social media networking platforms like LinkedIn as well as reviews and blog comments on sites including Amazon and YouTube.
  • Tune Up Your Engine. Many professionals fail to take a personal inventory of their skills and abilities while in the job search. Seek out mentors or advisers to provide you with guidance, advice, and direction. Your "Professional Tune Up" could be in the form of a career coach, community college class, or other recommended reading list. Find creative ways to fine tune your brand and experience through volunteering or serving on professional committees. Follow a brand and development strategy. Understand that a strategy or plan such takes time. New skills, abilities and experiences must be developed and cannot be rushed. Pace yourself and do your best not to over commit.
  • Working on Autopilot. The job search can be turbulent and sometimes their are even flight delays on your way to a new position or career. Do your best to understand and realize that the flight to your destination takes time and offers personal and professional challenges. Companies are now receiving hundreds of resumes for one open position. Because of this, it is easy for your luggage to get lost in the shuffle. Know when to led and when to follow. Your job search has many different layovers before your final destination. These might include the phone interview, the face to face interview, and the job offer and negotiation process. The art of balance is very important in these processes. Be confident but not overbearing, available but not desperate, and polished but not brash.

And with proper planning, preparation, and creative spunk, job seekers are sure to see clear blue skies ahead. . .

Tweet This! Powerpoint

Take a look at my discussing tips and recommendations for businesses interested in using Twitter as a business tool. I presented this powerpoint to HR Professionals during the Oklahoma State Human Resource Conference held in Oklahoma City, OK May 31st-June 2nd, 2009

May 12, 2009

Tweet This! Twitter for Business Seminar

Two hour interactive course that teaches Tweeps how to navigate Twitter for the business professional.

Thursday, May 28 from 3-5 pm

Boldt Construction

101 W. Hefner Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Pre-registration is $50 via Paypal or $60 paid at the door.

Register here or at www.tweetthis.eventbrite.com

Contact Jessica Miller-Merrell
Jessica@xceptionalhr.com or 405.343.5751

May 11, 2009

OKC Listed as one of Top 10 Best Cities for Remote Workers

Oklahoma City is one of the top 10 best midsized cities for remote workers

Would you be surprised to know that Oklahoma City is one of the top 10 best midsized cities for remote workers? According to initial findings from a survey of information workers commissioned by Microsoft Corp., Oklahoma City was slotted at number six. Today, a growing number of area employees are spending one or more of their work days at home each week. What’s occurring is a quiet but very real and steady shift toward teleworking.

The top 10 best midsized cities for remote workers are these:

#1 San Diego

#2 West Palm Beach

#3 Buffalo, N.Y.

#4 Salt Lake City

#5 Raleigh, N.C.

#6 Oklahoma City

#7 Nashville, Tenn.

#8 Charleston, S.C.

#9 Greensboro, N.C.

#10 Hartford-New Haven, Conn.

Until recent years, businesses often objected to remote workers. Preconceived notions pinned remote workers as difficult to locate when you needed them, security risks and in need of expensive technical support. The workers themselves often felt disconnected. Thankfully, new technologies have emerged to squash those objections significantly and have contributed to the viability of remote working.

Advancements in technology have made remote working not only more convenient for the worker, but for the employer as well. While the employee will see a significant improvement in their work-life balance, employers can look forward to spending less on travel expenses. Innovations like video conferencing allow meetings to occur between people who are in different locations, without ever taking away from the valuable face-to-face interaction that is so important in the work world. Additionally, mobile phones provide the same access to documents and co-workers that a regular work computer does.

Surprisingly, despite the widely understood business and personal benefits, the survey results suggest that workers need a more formal usage policy from their employers before they will embrace remote working. According to those surveyed, even though nearly two-thirds of employers are supportive of remote working arrangements, less than half of their employees have ever used the option. Businesses that encourage and empower their employees to work remotely now, will gain a much-needed competitive advantage for the future.

If you are tired of the confines of your cubicle, don’t fret. As one of the top ranked midsized U.S. cities for remote working, Oklahoma City has businesses that are ready to go mobile! Using the survey results could be a great way to start a conversation with your boss on how to implement a remote working policy.

Article courtesy of www.journalrecord.com

Baby Ryleigh & OKC Tweetup

Check out my daughter, Ryleigh, the newest youtube sensation! She is promoting the OKC Tweetup. Visit www.okctweetup to learn more. Don't forget to leave a comment and show my Ryleigh some LOVE!

Approaching HR

Since I work in the human resource field as a recruiter and HR professional, I am often asked by those in the job hunt how to approach individuals in my own field. Understand that those in the HR industry especially in this current economic climate receive hundreds of calls from would-be job seekers even without a single opening.

Catching a recruiter or human resource professional at the right place and the right time takes a little bit of luck and a whole lot of preparation. Prospective job seekers need to ensure their marketing materials (resume and cover letter) are top notch and specific to the position. My advice to job seekers who desire making meaningful connections with industry professionals, is that timing is everything and preparation is essential in maintaining a professional and polished front.

When approaching HR, do your best to walk in the mile of their shoes and make the most of the moment when doing the following:

  • Cold Call. As an HR Professional I get job inquiries daily. Prepare for two separate scenarios either talking live or via voicemail. Be ready for your fifteen second elevator pitch when inquiring about a vacant position. Be direct and to the point respecting the HR Professional’s time. If leaving a voicemail, speak slowing and leave a brief message. Make sure to leave your name at least twice, your phone number, and why you called. The best times to contact someone live is just after the schedule workday begins or just after lunch. These are times when I'm likely in the office just before or after daily meetings and other work-related activities.
  • Using Your Network. Email or call those within your network and make them aware of your intentions. Be clear about the type of position you are looking for, benefits, and other items like relocation. Ask for referrals and contact names of target companies. Don’t be afraid to follow up either by phone or email referencing your referral’s name.
  • Email. Just like a voicemail, your email to a human resource professional should be to the point and outline your intentions. Attach the necessary marketing materials including your resume and cover letter. Make sure to include your contact information including your email and phone numbers. Make sure to reference the person with whom provided their contact information in your email. I am happy to forward resume and job inquiries to a hiring manager contact if I have a good, personal relationship with the job seeker.

May 6, 2009

Online Social @Networking

View my newest social media presentation discussing three of the most popular social media platforms. I served as lead speaker at the ISACA Conference in Oklahoma City. Leave your comments below.

Cheers! Jessica

May 3, 2009

6 Interesting & Obscure iPhone Apps for the Job Search

The future of communication is with mobile technology, and iPhones are no exception. Below are some interesting iPhone apps that can be used in an interesting and usual way while in the job search.

1. LinkedIn. Access connections, view your profile and immediately invite others allowing you to networking anytime and anywhere with just the touch of a button. Be sure to update your profile and keep others in the know.

2. Jobcompass. This application allows you to access online job postings anytime and anywhere. Use the keyword search function and sort by distance from your location. View job descriptions and email job details with ease.

3. PublicSpeech. This application is a great tool that allows you to record and save your speeches. I recommend using this app to perfect your elevator pitch and to record and analyze your responses to interview questions.

4. MyCard Free. Don’t commit the cardinal sin of networking. Never been without a business card with MyCard Free. Exchange electronic business cards with MyCard Free application. Send a card or exchange with other iPhone app users.

5. Action Word Lite. This application provides impactful auction words sorted by category and its usage in sentence form. This application is great and very useful for quickly updating resume, cover letters, or as part of interview preparation in a pinch.

6. Twitter Summarizer. Easily keyword search Twitter without a user account to view trends and keyword topics. This application is useful in the job hunt for sorting newly listed job openings and positions that allow you to sort by city or zip code. This app also allows you to stay up to date with trending topics.

April 24, 2009

OKC's Social Media Draft Pick

Earlier today, Schnake Turnbo Frank, a public relations first based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma announced their new social media director via youtube. Their new SM Director, Mike Koehler who is a fellow blogger, tweeter, and friend will lead STF's Social Media division. Koehler and STF will provide public relations consulting and social media solutions. I'm proud of Mike and am excited that social media is beginning to get the respect it deserves. SM is here to stay and STF's announcement will be followed by many others as businesses look to gain a competitive marketing advantage using social media in their business marketing and public relations.

Congratulations, Mike!

April 23, 2009

OK State HR Conference 2009

HR Peeps,

Please view the attached video for more information about our upcoming Oklahoma State HR Conference May 31-June 2. It's a great opportunity to network and stay up to date with recent HR changes and trends. Don't forget to visit www.okhr2009.com for more information and to register.


April 20, 2009

Green-UP Your Job Search

Going green is more than just a passing phase. It's an important topic that is finally getting the attention it deserves. Going green is not just recycling and energy conservation, it is a lifestyle choice that impacts every part of your life--including your job search. Here are some ways you can positively impact the planet and Green-UP your job search.
  • Green-UP Your Resume. If printing your resume, use recycled paper and soy based inks. Emailing your resume or applying for positions via electronic application is a great way to limit your carbon footprint.
  • Green-UP Your Commute. Car-pooling or taking public transportation are not always options depending on your location. I recommend scheduling your interview during non-peak commute times when there is less traffic. Try to schedule other errands after your interview, saving you time and energy.
  • Green-UP Your Home. Turn off all unnecessary home appliances and electronics during your interview. "Vampire Electronics" like your hair dryer or your cell phone charger continue to suck electricity even when plugged into the outlet and not in use, adding up to 25% of your home utility bill.
  • Green-UP Your Job. Ask your prospective company, what ways they are making an impact in saving the planet or improving the environment. Not in the job hunt? Make a difference at your place of employment by starting a paper recycling program or encouraging others to use biodegradable cups and silverware.
  • Green-UP Your Water. Use an aluminum refillable water bottle instead of purchasing a plastic bottle. You can save some green by being green.

April 15, 2009

Recruit 2.0

Check out this SlideShare Presentation that I will be presenting at the OkACE Conference this Friday, April 17th. I am presenting to a group of Recruiters and Career Service professionals on how to use Twitter effectively. As a job seeker, take a moment to learn and understand how businesses and universities use social media for business and recruitment purposes.

Understanding this process, allows you to be found by recruiters, hiring managers, and other professionals who are part of the employment and job search process.



April 14, 2009

Twitter Communication for Termainations

If you have ever heard me speak about Twitter, you know I am passionate about this social media platform and its possibilities. I am also an advocate of Twitter's use as a form of internal company communication as well as company branding and marketing possibilities. However, there are a handful of instances and examples that force me to draw the line especially when used in the Human Resource industry.

  • Terminations. An employee of the Doner Advertising Agency learned via Twitter from @thefounder that his company was laying off employees prior to any notification being made to employees. Examples like this will continue to be the norm as Twitter and 3G phones and technology continues to grow. I only hope that companies learn to plan appropriately when communicating a downsizing or layoff to their employees via internal memo or other company communication as soon as possible.
  • Job Offers. Twitter user @tomraftery received a job offer via Twitter from @redmonk. Interestingly enough @tomraftery accepted and is current working from them as a Technology Analyst in Spain. Certainly, many of 6 million plus that are currently unemployed would be more than thrilled to receive a job offer. Twitter as a means to communicate this message is unprofessional and a slap in the face. A new employee deserves to be communicated and welcomed in more than 140 characters.
  • Job Interview. On March 17th, Twitter user and ABC journalist @GStephanopoulos (George Stephanopoulos) and @JohnMcCain (Senator John McCain). While the back and forth banter was very entertaining, I do not see a future in this form of communication if being used in the job interview and hiring process.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are here to stay. Companies need to consider these mediums and use them appropriately in a business and human resource setting.

*Special thanks to www.mashable.com and Tribble Ad Agency.

April 9, 2009

Rise to the Occasion with Creative Interview Strategies

The job search is all about a little luck in finding that right opportunity. It's challenging in these current economic times to keep your name at the forefront of a hiring manager and recruiters mind. Creative and out of the box thinking with a few inexpensive ideas can go a long way.

  • Marketing Materials Box. Leave a lasting impression by providing colorful and creative marketing materials during your interview. Go the extra mile by placing them in a colorful and tasteful box. Managers will place this box on their desk and constantly be reminded about you and your creativity.
  • Thank you notes. These are very important in making a good impression. A great way to do this is to leave a thank you note with the receptionist upon leaving the interview. Take a moment to write a handwritten and custom note.
  • Colorful Business Cards. Professional business cards with your personal information are a great way to get your name and contact information in the hands of a hiring manager. I regularly "shop for candidates" during the evening and weekend hours at various events. Have your personalized business card ready. Include your blog, website address, or linkedin profile url to make a lasting impression.
  • Props. These are another great way to make a memorable impression in the interview depending on the type of position you are interviewing for. Use great caution when deciding if and when to use these. I recommend tasteful props during the second or final interview especially for a marketing, public relations, or media positions.
  • Web or YouTube Video. Depending on the type of company you are interviewing for, a thank you note via a web video is a great way to make a memorable impression. Thank the hiring manager for their time and give your 15 second elevator pitch. I recommend your video be no longer than 60 seconds.

April 5, 2009

Twitter Basics for Business

Below is a slideshow presentation I will be giving later this week sponsored by the South Oklahoma City Chamber. Please take a look and leave me your comments or contact me directly at jessica@xceptionalhr.com for questions.


March 30, 2009

Get LinkedIn or Left Behind

With the increased competitiveness in the job market, job seekers need to take advantage of every opportunity to follow a job lead and make a good first impression. One of the easiest ways to engage recruiters and hiring managers is through the group function of LinkedIn.
  • Group Keyword Search. Use the search keyword search function to search for groups geographically and by industry.
  • Join Large Groups. Once you conduct a keyword group search, groups are listed by those with most members first. LinkedIn allows basic users to join a total of 50 groups. I recommend taking advantage of this free, networking service and join all available groups.
  • Personal Group Settings. LinkedIn allows you to control the number of updates you receive from the group administrator and if you prefer the group logo displayed on your page. Keeping the group logo confidential helps in keeping your job search under wraps.
  • Leave comments frequently. Leave interesting comments, tidbits, and other information on a regular and frequent basis that are professional and related to the group you are member of.
  • Take advantage of free messaging. Messages between group members are free. You need not be part of their network to contact them directly. Unlike inmails there are no monthly limits. Make sure to reference the group you are both a member of when contacting them directly.
  • Create your own Group. Take control of your networking and create your own group allowing you to control the content and members.
LinkedIn groups are another great way to develop your online brand presence in addition to the traditional uses and features of LinkedIn. Keep your name and professional profile fresh in the minds of business managers by utilizing this great LinkedIn feature.

March 25, 2009

April Speaking Engagements

The South Oklahoma City Chamber Presents:

"Media Mix-a-Lot: Using traditional media in conjunction with online social networking to promote your business" featuring Jessica Miller-Merrell

April 8th from 9:00 am-11:00 am or 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
John Massey Center
11919 South I-44 Service Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73173
Visit http://www.southokc.com/index.asp
or contact the South Oklahoma City Chamber to register. (Space is limited to 30 per session)

The OkACE Conference Presents

"Social Media & Recruiting:" presented by Jessica Miller-Merrell

April 17th from 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Will Rogers Theater
4322 N. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Visit http://www.okace.org/ to register.

Interested in having Jessica Miller-Merrell speak at one of your events? Email me directly at jessica@xceptionalhr.com.