Archive for April, 2008

A Look Back at My First Year in the Corporate World – Rewards & Challenges

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
I just got my annual letter of renewal from the MSU Alumni Association. Has it really been a year already? If you're nearing graduation, as I was one year ago, you're probably both excited and a bit freaked out about leaving college and transitioning into the corporate world. There are certainly a number of challenges and rewards during this period (I have often referred to myself as a "transitional adult"). I thought I'd have a little fun by borrowing a "pain assessment chart" from the health care profession to illustrate the rewards and challenges from my own experiences in my first year out of school. So here you have it, my year in review—from the most rewarding to the most challenging experiences. You may not see all of these factors in your own transition, but from conversations I've had throughout the year with friends in the same life-stage as myself, it sounds like a number of these factors and feelings are fairly common in the first "transitional" year.
Pain Chart
  • meeting new people
  • sense of accomplishment
  • seeing my work make a difference
  • actually putting my education into practice
  • having supportive friends in the same life stage that I'm in
  • finding an apartment in a new city
  • choosing health insurance
  • learning about 401(k)s
  • learning corporate culture
  • money
  • balancing vacation days in a year
  • work/life balance
  • proving myself
  • looking for stability
  • stressful days at work
  • having friends who are still in college and just don't understand
  • keeping track of how I spend every minute of my time at work for my timesheet
  • not having all the answers
  • long-distance relationship
  • losing touch with friends because we're all so busy tranistioning

Suggested Books on Culture, Marketing and Technology

Thursday, April 24th, 2008
After becoming inspired by a few of the books recommended by Tara Hunt on her blog HorsePigCow.com, I've decided it's finally time for me to offer up a few of my own. So whether you're just getting started in the marketing and "new media" space or already familiar with the likes of Seth Godin , Chris Anderson and Malcolm Gladwell , take a minute to browse through my suggested books. I'll be adjusting this list over time as I discover new books worth talking about.

The Digital Spending Shift Continues, Leading to More “Traditional” Advertising Job Losses

Monday, April 21st, 2008
I'm always a sucker for trend graphs, and here is one trend that is increasingly hard to ignore. Many of you have heard by now that GM is planning to shift 50% of its ad budget (that's 1.5 billion dollars) online over the next three years. And today, Advertising Age announced the resulting layoffs at Campbell-Ewald:
Faced with cutbacks from its biggest client, Chevrolet, and plans by the automaker's parent to shift a substantial chunk of its massive budget to digital and one-on-one plays, Campbell-Ewald has let 50 staffers go.
I experimented with my own job trend search on indeed.com to graph out the relative job growth in "advertising" vs. "interactive advertising."
advertising Job Trends graph
advertising Job Trends advertising jobs
interactive advertising Job Trends graph
interactive advertising Job Trends interactive advertising jobs
Interpret these graphs how you like, but I think it's getting harder to ignore the fact that college students and graduates alike are missing the boat if they ignore the digital space. Find your own trends at indeed.com/jobtrends .

Public Relations Students, Professors and Practictioners Come Together on PROpenMic.org

Sunday, April 20th, 2008
If you're a public relations student looking for an awesome resource to connect with other students, professors and practitioners in the public relations industry, check out PROpenMic, created via Ning. Here's your opportunity to get out there and connect, ask questions and take the conversation beyond your own university. (As for you professor/professional types, here's your chance to share your hard-earned knowledge with up and coming communicators). And why not take it a step further—remember when I was talking about setting up informational interviews? Well, here's your chance to find a professional near you and set up a time to get together to ask some of those questions in person.

Mitch Joel on Entrepreneurship, Your Personal Brand and Finding Balance

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
[display_podcast] Entrepreneur Mitch Joel has been hailed the "Rock Star of Digital Marketing" by Canada's Marketing Magazine and was named one of the most influential authorities on Blog Marketing in the world. He is currently President of the award-winning digital marketing agency Twist Image. He regularly captivates audiences as a speaker on the digital landscape, as well as a blogger/podcaster at Six Pixels of Separation.

Show Notes

Mitch started his career in the magazine industry, where he became one of—if not the first—to publish magazine content online. He later went on to join search engine mamma.com, and then on to Airborne Entertainment, a company at the forefront of mobile content which later sold for over $150 million. After a short stint at a PR agency, Mitch co-launched Distort Entertainment, a record label which signed the award winning Alexisonfire and City And Colour. During this time, Mitch met his future business partners and went on to found the marketing agency Twist Image , which has come to be known as a the marketing agency that understands the interactive space and digital landscape. The 60-person agency in Montreal will soon be expanding to Toronto. Mitch and I also discussed the idea of your "personal brand" in the digital space. You are being Googled. Do you know whats coming up? Go to Google and search your name, or set up Google Alerts to keep track. Recommended Reading:

Add an Interactive Side to Your Resume

Saturday, April 12th, 2008
Seth Godin raised some eyebrows when he took a stand against the use of traditional resumes in a recent blog post :
"I think if you're remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn't have a resume at all... How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects? Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch? Or a reputation that precedes you? Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?"
Here's my take—if you're looking for a job right out of college, it can sometimes be pretty tough to get by the HR barrier without a resume. But why not have both a paper resume and these other things? Why not use your paper resume as a launching pad to an interactive space that shows the real you—all that stuff that you could never cram onto a one-page sheet of paper? The very first line on your resume—before you list that great internship or the amazing study abroad program you took part in—should be your personal URL. If you don't have any sort of personal site or blog, go to name cheap right now and buy your name (it costs less than $10). Or show your future employer that you have an opinion on your industry by starting a free blog with WordPress or Blogger . This is your chance to show what you're really about. Ask a previous employer or professor if they will write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn , and link to this from your site. And if you're going into a creative career, you've probably compiled more than a few projects that you could display in an online portfolio. If you lack the technical know-how to create a website from scratch, there are programs that make it easier for you to get started (and if you're still in school, you can probably access these for free) from Dream Weaver and Adobe GoLive to Apple's iWeb . Of course, if you're willing to take the time to learn a bit of code, the possibilities are limitless. Another option is to create what Christopher Penn has dubbed the Social Media Resume , a more interactive resume that let's employers get to know you on a deeper level. Someday, having a personal website will be as natural for graduating college students as having a phone number. But for now, if you take advantage of this opportunity, you're ahead of the crowd—which means you stand out. It worked for me anyway.

An Interview with Twenty-Something Career Expert and Author Alexandra Levit

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
[display_podcast] I had the opportunity to chat with Alexandra Levit , a twenty-something career expert and author. She has written multiple books on young people in careers, including They Don't Teach Corporate in College: a Twenty-Something's Guide to the Business World, Success for Hire and now her latest book How'd You Score That Gig? - a guide to the coolest careers and how to get them. Show Notes Strauss and Howe have written many books about generations and how they evolve over time, including: Alexandra and I also briefly discussed Inside PR #105 - Hiring Interns, about college students who are not interested in doing any administrative work. Is this realistic?

How to Set up an Informational Interview

Saturday, April 5th, 2008
So the end of your life as a college student is rapidly approaching, and people are starting to ask the dreaded question—what are your plans after graduation? I recently went to a dinner with a group of soon-to-be college grads, and I was surprised by how many of them have never taken advantage of informational interviews. Before you start freaking out that you don't know where you'll be in a month, consider setting up some informational interviews to build relationships and get advice directly from people in your business of interest. This may have been the single-most valuable resource to me when I was a college student. It's amazing how many people will take the time to offer up their great advice if you only ask. Don't know where to start? How about here: 1. Make a list. Write down the companies that you would love to work for. Make sure you do your research so you really know the companies before you start reaching out and asking to set up the informational interviews. 2. Reach out. When you are ready to reach out, one option I recommend is checking with a career counselor to see if you can get in touch with alumni from your university. (Who doesn't want to help one of their own?) Not in college anymore? Another option is to search for the company name on LinkedIn—this is a great resource because you can browse through titles and find the person who is most relevant to your interests, then send a message to that person directly through LinkedIn. 3. Don't get discouraged. Be aware that not everyone will get back to you. Sometimes professionals just get so caught up in their work that these things slip by. Still, they've all been in your shoes at one point, and most people would love to share what they've learned. 4. Plan your trip. If these companies are in another city or state, you may have to invest in a trip. I know paying for travel on a college student's budget is not ideal. Here's one idea—when I went to New York City for a career conference my senior year, I convinced a few friends in my major to come along&mdashlwe were able to split hotel and cab fares, which made it much more reasonable. 5. Dress appropriately. This may not be an official job interview, but you want to make a good impression. You may have the opportunity to build a valuable relationship or mentor for the future. 6. Enjoy the conversation. When I used to go to informational interviews, I usually started by asking for a person's story. "What do you do and how did you get to where you are today?" will usually kick start a great conversation. 7. Send a thank you. Follow up with a thank you to let them know you really appreciate the time they have taken to talk with you. It's always nice if you can point out a few of the points you took away from the conversation.