Archive for June, 2008

Social Media Connections

Monday, June 30th, 2008
I finally had the opportunity to meet two people who had a huge influence on my career last week during the Edelman Academic Summit. First I met Richard French, a professor at Auburn University who started the PR Open Mic social network for PR students, professors and practitioners to connect (he shot and edited the video below). I also met Neville Hobson, who introduced me to the power of the social web nearly two years ago when I started listening to For Immediate Release, the twice-weekly podcast he cohosts with Shel Holtz. I owe a lot to these two, and I am so thankful for their efforts. It's amazing what a positive influence you can have over a person's life without ever knowing it. Maybe I should make an effort to reach out to everyone who has affected me through their blogs, podcasts and other content and let them know how much I appreciate what they have done. Find more videos like this on PROpenMic

Resume and Informational Interview Dos and Don’ts

Sunday, June 29th, 2008
[display_podcast] After seeing a number of resumes and students for informational interviews, Bryan Blaise, Kevin Saghy, Joseph Tateoka and I wanted to share a few important how-tos. RESUME DOs
  • Limit your resume to one page
  • Use bullets, not asterisks
  • Link to your LinkedIn profile and/or website
  • On your cover letter, add hyperlinks to relevant organizations, etc.
  • Take the time to gear your resume toward the job you are applying for (a resume is not one-size fits all)
  • Show that you are a great writer and can be concise
  • Put your most important information upfront; think of the inverted pyramid you use for writing
    1. Work experience
    2. Relevant volunteer or internship experience
    3. Any other activities you've done that can play up a certain area of expertise or strength
    4. Where you went to school
    5. Your GPA (if it is good)
RESUME DON'Ts
  • Don't list your "connections," especially people you have only met once
  • Don't make margins smaller than 1/2 inch (and even that is pushing it)
  • Font sizes shouldn't go above 12-14 or below 9
  • No word Art
  • NEVER use emoticons or exclamation points
INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW DOs
  • Do your research so that you are prepared to go in and ask good questions
  • Arrive prepared; dress nicely and have your resume printed out
  • Even if you talk to multiple members of the team, you can still ask them the same questions; you may get different answers from different people
  • Even though this isn't a formal interview, remember that this is still your chance to impress the team; they often regroup after your meeting to talk about you and may decide to consider you as a candidate
  • Use this as an opportunity to ask the questions you might not ask in a normal interview (For example, get feedback on your resume

Blog Your Way into a New Career

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
It's amazing where blogging can lead you. My colleague, Amanda Mooney , and I recently found ourselves in new jobs, largely credited to our participation in the blogosphere and other social platforms. Your resume won't give you a voice. The first thing you should have on your resume under contact information is a link to your blog or website. Sometimes I feel like having a blog is my little secret to opening doors to opportunities that once seemed unattainable. And the more I discuss this with other bloggers, the more I begin to see that I am not the only one experiencing it. Yes, maintaining a blog and building relationships with other bloggers takes time and commitment, but the rewards, from the first realization that someone is actually listening to the possibility of life-changing opportunities, are well worth it.

Companies Must Look Beyond Salaries For Employee Loyalty

Monday, June 23rd, 2008
Market vs. Social Norms in the Workplace In a fascinating look at human behavior, Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational points out that there is a distinct difference between social and market relationships. For example, when a friend helps you move, they do so based on a social relationship, and so they expect nothing in return. On the other hand, hiring a mover is a purely market relationship, based on the fact that the mover will be compensated for his or her work. If you tried to offer your friend money to help you move, he would likely be offended, but offer your friend a gift as a token of your gratitude, and he will be delighted by your thoughtfulness. So how does this fit in with the workplace? As Ariely points out, the American workforce used to be based largely on market norms. There was a clear separation between work and personal time, and wages were paid based on hours worked. Today, as wages shift from hourly to salary and we are expected to be "always on" with our blackberries and laptops (not even vacations are sacred anymore), employers need to find ways to make employees loyal to their companies, to build committed social relationships that go beyond the simple market transaction of work = pay. Look at Fortune's Top 100 Employers to Work For. This list is made up of companies that go beyond salaries to show that they are committed to the employee-employer relationship. They offer such benefits as onsite gyms, free healthy meals, childcare, full health-care coverage, continued education and "extracurricular activities" with colleagues. It's all too easy these days to jump ship for a new job with higher pay, and many are doing just that, but the companies that make the extra effort to create a social relationship with employees and make them feel that what they have is special will find themselves with lower turnover. What is your company doing?

Update Your Resume, Even if You’re Not Looking For a Job

Friday, June 20th, 2008
You're not really looking for a job right now, and with all of the other things on your to-do list, updating your resume isn't top priority. But what would you do if the perfect opportunity popped up today? Would you be ready? Would you have anything to show for the experience you've gained? I found myself in this situation recently, when I received a message through PROpen Mic from Phil Gomes (check out his Ask Phil videos on the site) about a position on the Edelman Digital Integration Team. I was not about let this opportunity pass. I was able to swing the LinkedIn profile for a little while, but ultimately I had to scramble to take that information and update my good-old-fashioned one-page resume (I did end up getting the job, and it has been fantastic so far). So if you found out the perfect job position at this very moment, what would you do? If you're a creative type, is your portfolio updated? Do you have a website to show off your work and voice? Do you have your resume updated, not only on LinkedIn, but also as a formatted document? If not, I suggest you schedule some time to work on these things.

The Pros and Cons of Working for a Small Company

Monday, June 9th, 2008
[display_podcast] Stephanie Zilles, a recent grad and graphic designer in the three-person design shop Graphic FX, talks about the pros and cons of working for a smaller company, including the work, culture and health insurance.

High Gas Prices? What High Gas Prices?

Sunday, June 8th, 2008
Between rising gas prices and the push for greener living, there couldn't be a better time to live in the city. My $75 monthly Chicago Transit pass allows me to travel the city as much as I want, and I can walk to the grocery store, restaurants, beach and plenty of other places in the city for free. Your pain at the pump is my ignorant bliss. And is there any wonder why urban living is kinder on the planet?

Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

Sunday, June 1st, 2008
When I arrived in Chicago last July, I was surprised to find that long distance relationships seem to be a trend among young people starting their careers in the city. A number of new grads opt to relocate for career opportunities while leaving significant others behind to finish school or wrap up other obligations. I'm still living a time zone away from my boyfriend (I'm in Chicago while he's wrapping things up in Michigan before moving here later this month), but over the past year, I've gained some insights through my own experiences and conversations with friends.
  1. The distance will make or break your relationship. Long distance relationships take a lot of commitment—they force you to put things in perspective. If you can make it work, your relationship will be better for it.
  2. Trust each other. Since you can't always be there, be open about what you're up to and trusting of each other. Don't try to be controlling or overbearing. Just be honest.
  3. You shouldn't see each other every weekend. Adjusting to a new city and beginning new friendships takes time, and it's next to impossible to build those relationships and establish yourself in a new city if you're leaving every weekend.
  4. Consider your cell phone plan. Waiting for your free minutes to begin each day will only add to the stress of being far away. See if you can work out a plan to talk for free. Text messages are also a great way to communicate the small thoughts throughout the day.
  5. Find new ways to communicate. If you have a webcam, this is a great way to have a "face to face" conversation. If you come across interesting articles or news online, email them to each other. You can also try choosing a book for both of you to read. I've found that these have all been helpful ways to stay connected despite the distance.
  6. Talk about it. It helps to know that you're not alone—I've been lucky enough to have friends in a similar situation to talk with.
  7. Know when the distance will end. Having an end date in mind has always helped me. It's nice to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
I'll be honest, long distance relationships are not easy. If I could have avoided the distance, I would have. Still, you should never be forced to choose between your career and your relationship. It takes a lot of work to be successful at both, but it can be done.