October 28, 2008

ASK The Recruiter. . .

Here is a recent answer that I provided to someone on LikedIn regarding the changing job market.

Question: With newspapers in a quick decline, where should my students look for internships and jobs?

Free-falling revenues and major cutbacks at many newspapers are a cause for concern for my students at the University of Oklahoma College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Granted, they are learning all types of reporting/editing styles so as to keep up with changing media but some are still looking for that paper clipping to add to their portfolios. I also starting approaching freshman and prospective students with the ideas of getting internships as soon as they could. How should I, as a Career/Internship Coordinator, change my teaching tactics to fit these changes while still providing the 1,700+ students with traditional and changing resources? I'm a firm believer in networking (personal and online social) as well as being connected to various organizations and daily email news feeds to stay current on industry trends.

Answer: I would focus my efforts on networking for not only you but your students as well. They should be attending meetings for professional organizations throughout college and building their contact base. Social networking is also a great route to direct them to as they are already very savy in this department.

Here are some sites that might interest you in the local OKC area: http://www.prsaokc.com/ http://www.greatergrads.com/ You might want to consider students having internships with smaller magazines like the Gazette or Norman Living here locally. This would allow them the opportunity to learn about all areas of journalism-ads, sales, editing, reporting, instead of one. I would love to come and speak to your students more about using social networking both traditional and online to their advantage.

Kind Regards, Jessica

October 26, 2008

Blog Series-Moms Re-entering the Workforce

Being a soon to be first time mom, (Only 7 weeks to go!!) I have taken a recent interest in how mom's balance work/life demands. Because of this, I plan on featuring several upcoming blog posts dedicated to mom's in the workforce. I am a firm believer you can have it all--a great paying flexible job with a balanced work and family life. With a little planning, preparation, and research, moms and even dads can make it happen.

These posts are inspired by a friend of mine who is currently developing a great website just for moms who are looking to re-enter the workforce. Amie is also pregnant and clearly very driven and creative. Thanks for the inspiration!!

These featured posts for moms can also double for many others who are faced with the possibility and reality of altering their work schedules and career goals as our parents begin to age and we become dual caregivers. It is very common for families to have to balance caring for children, a career, and a parent or other family member.

Consider the possibility that as companies look to cut expenses, contract, part time and flexible positions may be an option. Here are some things to consider.

  • Update your skills. Take a local course at a community college, vo-tech, and even your local chamber of commerce.
  • Find a mentor. Do your research and leverage the resources you have. It is always helpful to get advice from someone who has been there.
  • Consider alternatives. Temporary jobs, part time jobs, contract, and freelance are all options to consider.
  • Network. Use your contacts to search for unadvertised positions. Having a recommendation from a contact can set you apart from the rest.
  • Don't undercut yourself. There is a high demand for qualified accountants, financial consultants, and those that can multi-task. Research the market rate and be prepared to negotiate.
  • Market yourself! Get your marketing plan and resume in place with professional business cards and a goal in mind. Be ready to make cold calls and call on family friends and contacts for leads. You need to be prepared to sell yourself. Don't feel uncomfortable. You are your best asset.

Happy Hunting!


October 24, 2008

LinkedIn Experiment: 48 Hour Update

It's been a little over 48 hours since my LinkedIn Experiment began. My current contact count is now at 432. My contact count has increased over 100 in just two days. I've also had 2 group invites as a result of my experiment. Additionally, yesterday I got a call from a headhunter inquiring as to my interest in entertaining a new position as a result of her finding me from my LinkedIn Account.

On another note, 25 people have viewed my LinkedIn profile in the last three days further increasing my marketability.

I'll keep you abreast of any interesting changes or updates as a result of my LinkedIn Experiment.

Happy Hunting!


October 22, 2008

LinkedIn Update

So it's been 24 hours since I first downloaded the contacts and added Toplinked.com to my profile headline as directed by the Toplinked website. As of 8:00 pm, I have 98 contacts more than I did yesterday. I've also been invited to two separate LinkedIn groups as well. Groups are great. They increase your exposure and your ability to network with others.

Currently, my contact total is 414. I'll keep you tomorrow as to how my contact total progresses.

October 21, 2008

Follow me on Twitter

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Check me out on twitter and follow my updates!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Look over here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

More fun and exciting updates to come. . . . or search me on twitter at blogging4jobs!!!


Job Fairs for Military Personnel & Families

Check out the link below with information regarding military jobs fairs that job seekers can attend free of charge.



A LinkedIn Experiment

If you have read my blog, you will know that I am a huge fan of LinkedIn! In my opinion, it's the most powerful networking tool someone can have in their online networking toolkit. To prove my point, I have embarked upon a little experiment.

I have been a member of many LinkedIn groups since joining LinkedIn. One such open networking group is TopLinked. TopLinked has their own website in addition to their LinkedIn group where you can use their group member list to increase your LinkedIn network base. They offer several different options either the free service where you can join the group, promote the group by including them in your headline name, and then upload their top member list and export it to LinkedIn to send invites or you can also purchase a monthly or year membership where you have access to all TopLinked members information for a low monthly fee of $9.95 or $49.95 for a year.

Open networkers accept all LinkedIn invitations even if they do not know the requestor. This increases their network size which allows for better and more in depth searches. Better searches equal greater access to contacts and their contact's contacts.

So, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, I logged onto TopLinked and downloaded their top member list, exported the file, and sent 134 invitations to other TopLinked open networkers. At that time I had 317 connections. To prove the power of this free service, I plan on providing daily updates on my blog as to the success of this experiment.

Stay tuned. . . More to come.

B4J Inspiration

Every Tuesday morning, I try to attend my local Distinguished Toastmasters Meeting and this week I was particularly inspired by two of our speakers. They spoke with great passion and energy. I left the meeting with a good feeling and ready to face the day!

One of the reasons that I love TM is the ability to get out there and focus on your own personal development. The ability to effectively publicly speak is an important part of not only being successful in your field of business but in all parts of your professional and personal life. TM also provides its members with great opportunities to network.

Periodically, I like to invite guests to our meetings. It gives me another opportunity to build a stronger connections with my contacts and assist them in their own networking goals. Having a network=great opportunities to secure a new job or increase your own contacts for greater professional interests like sales leads, candidates, or increased opportunities--whatever your reason.

Happy Hunting!!


October 19, 2008

B4J Tip of the Week. . .

Check out the link below that includes 97 great tips from a professional executive level recruiter and Career Advice for the Desperate Job Seeker.


Happy Hunting!


Employers and MySpace

I have discussed this topic briefly a time or two on this blog and it appears the topic has resurfaced again by the look of some of the comments and emails I'm receiving. It seems that with companies looking to cut costs with the downturn in the economy, they are replacing the background process with google and online social networking searches like MySpace.

First and foremost, let it be known that my opinion is that a google or myspace search should not and does not replace a proper background check. Background checks search for prior felonies and misdemeanors on the candidate's record. Online searches on social networking pages only provide the candidate's page content and not their past criminal history. Personally, I think that this practice is a waste of time. Understand, however, that many companies use this practice as part of the background check process.

I attended a legal seminar over three years ago where one of the topics discussed was how to use social networking search as part of the background check process and what companies and candidates legal rights are. Understand that anything that is posted on the Internet falls under "Public Domain" which means basically that anyone can view the information posted on the Internet for any purpose without your permission. Basically, you can't get your panties in a bunch because a company viewed your page content and comments. Anyone has the right to do this once you post your dirty laundry on the world wide web. So what can you do?

  1. Mark your page as private. This keeps people from viewing your page content but it does not keep me from searching your page content on the Internet. I can use a site like wink.com to enter in your name and keyword search. Although I can't see your page with the keywords on it, I can see that your page contained the keyword I search. For example say, I searched John Smith and devil worshipper and something popped up on your facebook page. Although I can't see the content or if you or a friend posted this information, I know now that it is contained on your page. From an employer's perspective this could be a cause for concern.
  2. Clean up your page. This is what I highly recommend. Since we have established the companies can and do view your page for whatever reason at any time, it makes since to clean up your page. Monitor your friend's comments and pictures they post in addition to cleaning up your own information. Although companies, should not discriminate based on certain information contained within your page, the reality is that they can and do. Change your age to a ridiculous number like 299, remove your salary information, and do not post racy photos or other potentially eyebrow raising content like references to drugs, alcohol, or criminal activities.
  3. Keep your blog in mind. If you are going to have a blog, I recommend keeping your blog titles PG and block only friends on your page to view your blog.
  4. Be weary of your friend's pages. If someone is listed as a friend on your page, they are also fair game and can influence a company's perception of you. Consider removing a top friends list on your page so that people can't click from one friend to another especially if a company is looking to gain more information.

By using these tips, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job without unintentionally disqualifying yourself for the position.

October 16, 2008

Dealing with Job Loss

The times we live today are changing and unstable all around us, but for many we have things we can count on--our family, friends, and our job. With the changing economic climate and culture, the latter is not as certain as it was before.

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago when a friend of mine was let go from his job that "Bob" was experiencing the psychological stages of mourning much like we would do for a loved one but for a job. Bob had worked at his job for more than a couple years, and he considered himself an company staple and had surfed the corporate waves of change and survived.

In the bereavement or mourning process, there is no magic amount of time we spend in each stage of grief or the amount of time before we accept the change and learn to move forward. Because of our own financial obligations, often times we do not allow ourselves the appropriate amount of time to grieve.

  • Denial and Isolation. The first reaction to learning about job loss or change is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts and say things like, "I never saw this coming, " or adding to the company grapevine. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

  • Anger. As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at the person's previous place of employment which is often the case. Depending on the situation and if the the job loss was progressive and based on our lack of performance as an employee, rationally, we know the company is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent it for causing us pain. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry. The manager who brought our attention to the lack of performance or who delivered the message, might become a convenient target. I recommend arranging a special appointment to speak to someone in Human Resource. Ask for clear answers to your questions. Understand the options available to you like severance or unemployment. Take your time.

  • Bargaining. The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. If only we had sought attention sooner from our manager, our friends, or family. If we got a second chance. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality.

  • Depression. Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret are common. We worry about the financial loss associated with being unemployed. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation where we remove ourselves from those that we love. Sometimes all we really need is a hug or big fat job offer.

  • Acceptance. Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. However, I urge you to make your peace with caution. Burning bridges and making poor choices during mourning can and will have long term professional consequences. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.
Bob took a couple weeks off to clear his head. Just this week he gave me a call and dusted off his resume wanting my professional opinion which I was happy to provide. It seems these days most everyone has been affected by a layoff or involuntary termination. It's in these moments that I believe we really learn the most about ourselves.

October 15, 2008

What's Your BRAND?

Companies spend millions and billions of dollars developing their BRAND. According to Wikipedia, Brand is defined as a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company,product or service. A brand serves to create associations and expectations among products made by a producer. A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols and sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality. The key objective is to create a relationship of trust.

Just last month, Best Global Brands announced their top 100 Best Global Brands with Coca Cola being named number 1 for the eighth consecutive year in a row. Their estimated brand value in 2008 was roughly $66,667,000,000 based on their brand alone. Conversely, the 100th listed brand suprisingly was Visa with an estimated brand value of $3,338,000,000. Both companies have went to extreme lengths in developing their brand with expensive and strategically placed marketing campaigns. Visa's most recent advertising campaign dubbed "Priceless" is a great case in point.

The importance of building brand is everywhere. In doing a MSN Search, the word BRAND had 311,000,000 web hits. So what's your brand????

October 3, 2008

Economic Job Report: Worst in 5 Years

Jobs: Worst in 5 years

Payrolls shrink by 159,000, the 9th straight month that employers shed jobs, bringing losses to 760,000.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Employers made deeper cuts in their payrolls in September, according to the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, as the economy experienced the biggest drop in jobs in more than five years.

There was a net loss of 159,000 jobs in September, the ninth straight month the U.S. economy has lost jobs. The August job loss was revised to 73,000 jobs, taking year-to-date job losses to 760,000.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast the loss of 105,000 jobs in the month.
The unemployment rate remained at 6.1%, the same level as August and in line with economists' forecast.

The report is based on surveys of employers and households conducted in the week of Sept. 8 to 12, a period before the worst of the current financial crisis hit Wall Street. That crisis caused banks to hoard cash and cut back on credit extended to businesses.

Fears that the credit crunch will cause widespread job losses and a severe downturn in the already struggling economy prompted Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to push for a $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

The measure, which passed the Senate Wednesday night, was voted down in the House on Monday. But the House is set to vote on the measure again Friday.

October 2, 2008

B4J Thought for the Week. . .

While I was in Chicago last week, I heard an interesting quote that I believe those in the job hunt need to take heart and is what this blog is all about.

Planning without execution is a hallucination.

-Thomas Edison

Without proper planning in the job hunt, we are hallucinating that opportunities will fall into our laps. Good things don't come easy but with proper preparation, we can be prepared to face challenges with more confidence. I believe that generally speaking luck is nothing but a four letter word. Preparation and planning lead to luck or what I'd like to call desired opportunity.

Happy Hunting!


Holiday Staffing as a Resume Builder

The beginning of October signals the beginning of the holiday staffing season for retailers. A temporary holiday position can add some much needed cash to your bank account while gaining some valuable work experience.
A temporary position usually lasts anywhere between 30-120 days allowing for an increased customer service presence to account for the additional customer traffic and increased sales during the holiday. Some big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart will add anywhere between 75-150 temporary associates each to account for the increase sales during the busy season.

If you decide to broaden your horizons and experience the retail industry during the holidays, consider the following:
  1. Flexibility. The schedule you work and the numbers of hours you work will fluctuate each week depending on the retail locations projected sales and peak sales times. If you are working as a customer service associate, expect to work evenings and weekends when customer and sales volume is the highest.
  2. Temporary Gig. The holiday season doesn't last forever and neither will your newly found position. However, companies will keep a select few top performers if sales budgets permit. Make managers aware of your interest or ask for a referral or store transfer.
  3. Resume Builder. Retail affords a wide variety of experiences including inventory and budget management, cash control, and customer service. These are all skills you can use in most industries and are great skills to highlight in your resume.
  4. Store Discounts. Not only can you make a little green but you can save some green too. Retails companies like Target and Lowe's offer a 10% associate discount while higher margin retail clothing stores like Old Navy offer a 40% discount in addition to the fact that you have first pick of clearance and discontinued items.

Lastly, do not forget other seasonal industries. Companies like Williams Sonoma hires seasonal help for their catalogue call center. This company offers flexible scheduling and a substantial employee discount.

Seasonal work can not only be a great opportunity to expand your skill toolkit but it can lead to a great long-term career as well.