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.


Cheers!


Jessica


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.

Cheers!
Jessica

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.

Cheers!

Jessica

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.

Enjoy!~Jessica

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.

Connect with Social Media Connect

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to drive traffic to your web site, but companies like Connect Social Media (www.connectsocialmedia.com) can help. Jim Quillen, owner of Connect Social Media assists companies with special social media projects like increasing web traffic through the utilization of free social media platforms, increasing your google rankings, and search engine optimization strategies. He also provides online workshops and training for businesses who are looking to streamline their online brand.

Jim who calls Oklahoma home aims to help businesses take the social media plunge. He says that interest in social media has increased over the last several months as the economic downturn has brought an increase in business.

Jim's easy to read website and blog includes valuable information and insights discussing a variety of social media topics in real time. His most recent post discusses Twitter and their use of new advertisements and how they will impact applications and Twitter's simple format. Other posts discuss the race for social media supremacy.

March 24, 2009

Mullets & Your Social Media Image

According to Wikipedia, a mullet is a unisex hair style that is short in the front and long in the back. The mullet began making appearances in the popular media in the 1960s and 1970s but did not catch on with the masses until the early 1980s.

Job seekers can learn from those that sport this fashionable cut when managing their online brand. A popular saying when describing a mullet comes to mind-

"Business in the front. Party in the back."

Wise words when considering your online brand while in the job search. Keep your business and professional profile in the forefront and in plain view of recruiters, prospective employers. and customers. Keep your personal life and party in the back. Users of social media need to be mindful doing your best to maintain a professional image while showing your creative and unique qualities at the same time.

Business in the Front

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn,Blogs, and Twitter are great mediums in which to develop relationships and grab the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Share your expertise and lead with the business in all you do. Your posts, pictures, and tweets should be at least 70% business related. Lead with interesting articles, tidbits, and information that is industry specific or related to the job in which you currently work or aspire to.

Party in the Back

The remaining 30% of your social media content can be related to your personal side but be weary. I have visited FaceBook profiles with one too many drunk pictures and tweets leading me to search for talent elsewhere. If you are unsure if something is inappropriate, ask yourself if your mother would approve. Items that your mother would approve and/or tolerate are generally appropriate to display on your social media profiles. Social media is all about interacting and developing relationships. I encourage you to tweet or post comments seeking input and feedback from others. Commonalities make you interesting which lead to engaging conversations with persons from a wide variety of backgrounds.

**A special thanks to Jim Quillen for inspiration! Visit Jim's site at www.connectsocialmedia.com.

March 22, 2009

"Always Be Prepared" in the Job Search

With the current state of the economy, the girl scout motto says it best, "always be prepared" especially when it comes to your job search and my friend Mark is no exception. Four weeks ago, Mark started to feel uneasy in his job as a IT professional.

Over the last eight months, Mark had survived two reductions in force and been witness to massive cuts in employee benefit programs, expense reductions, and most recently offers to staff for unpaid voluntary time off. He is relatively tenured at the company working there for 5 years. Mark began to feel increasingly uneasy when his supervisor began requesting to be copied on daily emails and questioning daily tasks. So to protect himself and his family Mark did the following.
  • Network. Mark networks regularly both online using social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn in addition to the face to face networking events he regularly attends. He put his online and traditional network on notice that he was interested in entertaining new opportunities.
  • Update his resume. Mark updates his resume on a regular basis so within a matter of minutes it was perfectly polished and ready for distribution.
  • Scour the internet. Mark visited traditional job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder in addition to niche job boards like Dice as well as other non-traditional methods like Twitter using RSS Feeds and Craigslist.
  • Informational Interview. Using Mark's network, he was able to schedule informational interviews with two top companies he is interested in working at. If an opportunity arises at one of these companies that fits Mark's skill set, he will be at the top of the list.
The Result:
Mark is still in the job search but in his own words he feels more in control and better prepared in the event he is laid off. He has applied for three positions, has received one interview, and two informational interviews thus far.

For many of us in the job search, Mark's story is not that different from our own. The key is always being prepared because within a matter of days or minutes, your situation can change drastically. A good defense is the best offense.

Mark's Story. . . To Be Continued. . .



March 20, 2009

Why I Blog

For almost the last two years I have been an avid blogger. I enjoy it and oddly enough it brings sanity to my otherwise hectic life as a new mom, wife, and human resource professional (all in that order). Blogging has done a number of things for my career and personal life since I made my first blog post.
  • Subject Matter Expert. Done correctly an effective blog that provides solid and credible information can make you a subject matter expert leading to new opportunities like interviews, speaking engagements, and consulting opportunities. Since beginning to blog I've had the chance to do all three.
  • Develop Your Brand. As a blogger you control the content allowing for as little or as much of your personal life and your style to be demonstrated through your blog. Some bloggers choose to provide as little information about themselves as possible. The Evil HR Lady is a perfect example. Her blog is a great resource and also provides the reader little personal information about her. Her mysterious nature and anonymity is part of her personal brand essence.
  • Personal Growth. Managing a blog, your family, your career, and personal life all take time. My blog has allowed me to learn what's most important while gaining valuable experience in time management and professional development. Sometimes my blog posts are experiences out of real life and other times they are not.
  • The Power of Social Media. My blog has is opened doors that I had only dreamed. I am a firm believer in the use of social media to help build your brand through viral social media marketing. I've developed strong personal and professional relationships with individuals around the globe with whom I would likely not have met.
  • Confidence. And a belief that through hard work, proper planning and preparation, and a great support system that anything is possible.
Did I mention I'm an optimist?

Happy Hunting!

Jessica

March 15, 2009

Keep Your Resume Atop the Miles of Piles

Just last week in Illinois, over 1,000 applicants were accepted in the first hour for 125 open grocery warehouse positions. Two weeks ago in Florida, a job fair in Miami had over 7,000 candidates in attendance. With so many unemployed and in the job search, even high qualified candidates and their resumes can get overlooked and lost in the shuffle.

Working with a professional recruiter or headhunter could be the answer to navigating the growing candidate pool. Decision makers and human resource professionals are now faced with thousands of applications per open position. Companies are overwhelmed with piles of resumes and phone calls from desperate job seekers looking to make contact with the decision maker. Professional recruiters and headhunters should be considered as an option for job seekers looking to land a position in a difficult, niche, or specific industry. These individuals work on a 100% commission and contract basis directly with the employer.

A recruiter who specializes in an industry can help you do the following:

  • Candidate Marketing. Headhunters sell and present the highest quality candidates and assist the job seeker in highlighting qualifications and experiences.
  • Connected. They are connected with industry leaders and know the industry trends. These individuals interact directly with the decision maker.
  • Forefront. Headhunters contact the decision maker directly. Job seekers who work with headhunters can avoid the red tape associated with applications.
  • Sales Oriented. Headhunters are revenue driven and typically no nonsense. Their direct nature is to the point and clear cut.

Contacting a recruiter is relatively simple. A LinkedIn keyword search for recruiter will result in thousands of hits. I recommend utilizing industry specific LinkedIn groups to find a recruiter(s) that specializes in your industry or a more specific keyword search. Do not be discouraged. Recruiters log your information in databases and will contact you once a position that meets your qualifications surfaces. Depending on your industry, qualifications, and ability to relocate will determine your marketability as a candidate for the recruiter. Contact them regularly, to keep you at the forefront of their minds and atop the resume pile.

Finding Your Balance. . .

Darrell Marsh received his layoff notice in May of 2008. Like millions of other Americans and Canadians, Marsh’s emotions ran the gamut from anger to depression to mourning. Marsh, however, would not let unemployment define who he is and his website, Balance Force (www.balanceforce.ca) was born.


Marsh’s site, Balance Force went live in November of 2008. It provides resources for the unemployed and is a community to share tips, network, and vent. His site which boasted over 10,000 visitors in its first month of existence serves to expose the face of unemployment and aims at assisting others in learning how to define themselves not by their job or lack of one, but by who they really are and who they choose to be.


Visitors to Balance Force can express their interest and opinions in a number of ways through art, video, photography, and even poetry. I was particularly intrigued by the “Giving Face” Tab. It is here that visitors are encouraged to use social media to educate the public about the face of unemployment in that this face cannot be defined. Unemployment has impacted those in all classes, educational backgrounds, ethnicities, and geographic locations. Balance Force seeks to educate its visitors that they are not alone and through hard work and spirituality they can find their life balance.




March 6, 2009

Creative or Overbearing Job Search Tactic: You Decide!

It's no secret that the job market is flooded with qualified professionals who are eager to work. Earlier today I received an interesting email from a first level LinkedIn contact who is currently in the job search. Receiving an email like this is not unusual given my profession, however, this particular communication caught my attention.

Hello - You are receiving this email because you are on my first level of LinkedIn connections. I am looking for a new career opportunity and I'd like to ask for your help to reach beyond my network to find it. I am offering a reward of $250 to the person that finds me the job I land as an expression of my gratitude for your help. Just refer me to an opening, introduce me to the hiring manager, or get my foot in the door somehow and when I land the job you get the $250 reward.

With the current market, I ask, is $250 really enough? Done correctly, an email like this could really make an impression to someone you network with virtually that you may not have had a personal face to face relationship with. Readers, what are your thoughts? How are you using your social media networks while in the job search? Leave your comments below.

March 3, 2009

My Life as a Professional Working Mom

As I head into week of two of my new professional life as a working mom, I am humbled by the others who have come before me. Over the last two weeks, I’ve learned some life lessons in time management, delegation, and relaxation. It’s not easy to find a balance but what keeps me going throughout the day is that smiling face to come home to.

This new responsibility is something that should not be taken lightly. Parents, who are contemplating entering the workforce after the birth or adoption of a child can use these life experiences and responsibilities to their advantage when marketing themselves to prospective employers.

Consider these skills when prepping for an interview and preparing your marketing materials:

  • Multi-tasking. This morning while breastfeeding, checking email, and preparing my toastmaster’s speech I came to the conclusion that in just twenty minutes I had accomplished more than what most people do in a half day. Job seekers can use their project and task management skills to their advantage. Make a point to include this special skill on your resume.
  • Manager. Whether it’s managing your family’s finances or your council’s Girl Scout cookie sales, managing and motivating others is great skill highly sought after. Use these experiences to your advantage and come to the interview with prepared explanations and examples.
  • Flexibility. All parents especially single parent households have to learn to go with the flow or be left behind. When the hiring manager questions your ability to adapt to changing environments or situations, confidently and without hesitation provide an example from your long laundry list.
  • Coach. Providing your child with honest and positive guidance and reinforcement while allowing them to grow and develop is another highly sought after management skill that can transition well to the professional world. As a manager or a parent we want our team to learn from their mistakes both good and bad.

February 27, 2009

Are You the Next Director of Social Media?

Schnake Turnbo Public Relations firm based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa announced earlier this week that they are hiring a Director of Social Media. Yes, I said Director of Social Media. And of course, the position was announced via a youtube video which at present time has 400 plus views in addition to the numerous tweets, online comments, and blog posts that the position announcement has also generated.

This announcement and position comes as no surprise to those of us who advocate the use of social media for personal and business branding and marketing. It is a testament to the fact that managing your online brand is more important now than ever. How you to choose to brand yourself could result in a new position as the Director of Social Media.

The buzz this announcement has generated has resulted in multiple newspaper articles, water cooler talk as well as the viral and public relations frenzy. I'm looking forward to seeing how ST goes about announcing their new Director Social Media possibly via live podcast available through multiple social media channels.

With so much buzz generated from this announcement, what do you think is the best way as a potential candidate to grab ST's attention? Certainly, a tradition resume won't do.


February 25, 2009

Networking on a Budget with Cup of Coffee Networkers

Want to network locally for just the cost of a cup of coffee?

Whether you are in the job search, marketing, sales, or new to the area, networking is an important part of being a successful professional. These days it's not just about your skills and qualifications but also about who you know.

Join Cup of Coffee Networkers at Cafe Bella in South Oklahoma City on March 5, 2009 from 7:30-9:00 AM for a good cup of joe and networking.

  • Where: Cafe Bella, 9018 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73159
  • When: March 5, 2009 from 7:30-9:00 AM




Interested in starting your own Cup of Coffee Networkers Group? Visit www.cupofcoffeenetworkers.com

February 22, 2009

Surviving Unemployment

Surviving unemployment seems to be at the forefront of everyone's minds these days. Take a look at the slideshare below and be sure to read my previous post also titled, "Surviving Unemployment."

February 20, 2009

Jumpstart Your Jobsearch with B4J

Need to jumpstart your job search?

Receive a job tips pdf from Blogging4jobs. Leave a comment on any of my blog postings between now and April 1st and receive a free job tips pdf via email from me. Make sure you include your email address with the comment posting.

A good friend of mine hosted an event in Topeka, Kansas, earlier this week called "Resumes & Wine." Young professionals received my job tip sheet, a free resume critique, networking opportunities, and of course wine! Don't miss an opportunity to get a leg up on the job search!! This job tip sheet is a great start.

Leave me a comment. Request a topic or post your link/website address. A great deal of my blog traffic comes from other recruiters so this is a great opportunity for self promotion. Don't have a link? Use your linkedin profile address.

Cheers,

Jessica

**Don't forget to follow me on twitter @blogging4jobs