Posts Tagged ‘career advice’

Jamie Ridler, Creative Self Development Coach, Shares a New Approach to Networking

Monday, November 17th, 2008
[display_podcast] Jamie Ridler Jamie Ridler helps people create the lives they love based on who they are, rather than who they think they "should" be. She has some helpful advice for students as they approach their careers and networking Learn Not to Take Things Too Personally This one can be especially hard for students and young professionals—it can be very challenging when we put out our creative work out there and people don't like it, but sometimes the work just isn't the right fit for the particular project or person. It's like an actor going to an audition. Sometimes they are looking for a very particular style, and it's not yours—but your style may be perfect somewhere else. Traditional Networking Doesn't Work For Everyone Networking doesn't have to be a chore. Try to reach out to interesting people. If you appreciate someone's work, tell them, or take it a step further and ask them to go out for coffee or lunch. You may be able to learn from or help each other, and this will often lead to more genuine relationships. Don't Limit Yourself Don't start with what you think you can get—you're already limiting yourself. Think about where you really want to be, and make it happen. Book Recommendations Clear, useful, practical and inspiring books: Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life Find Jamie Ridler online

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.

Building Your Personal Brand On and Offline – Advice From Christopher S. Penn

Sunday, March 30th, 2008
[display_podcast] Christopher S. Penn has been paving the way for companies in new media since he started the award winning Financial Aid Podcast for the Student Loan Network and co-founded Podcamp, the new media community unconference, with Chris Brogan. He blogs at, twitters regularly (great stuff, I might add—a good follow) and co-hosts a fantastic weekly podcast with John Wall called Marketing Over Coffee (which I have recommended in the past).

Show Notes

  • Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, summed it up when he said, "Your brand isn't what you say it is, it's what Google says it is." This can be applied to your personal brand as well, so it's time to start thinking about protecting your online reputation .
  • - When it comes to new media, there is no substitute for getting out there and playing with new tools. Do it yourself if you truly want to understand it.
  • - Go to conferences like PodCamp and BarCamp (unconference are free, which makes them ideal for students who have time but no budget).
  • - Create an account on LinkedIn (or your "resume on steroids," as Chris puts it). This will allow you to provide more details about yourself than a typical resume. Go out and ask relevant people to add recommendations/testimonials to your LinkedIn profile to build your personal brand.
  • - Read Chris's comments about commitment, motivation and consistency over at Mitch Joel's blog, Six Pixels of Separation.
  • - Keep a calendar and update it regularly—ask yourself, "What do I need to accomplish today?"
Books and ideas Chris recommends, depending on personal weaknesses you want to improve on:
  • - What Sticks, by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart—for those looking for advice on how to distill ideas down into something that is usable and memorable.
  • - Seth Godin's Books—for those looking for ideas and inspiration on how to become a better marketer.
  • - Study Art, particularly paintings and photography. The principles that are important to marketing (capturing attention, for example) have been studied for years in art.

5 Questions for Jean-Francois LeBlanc

Saturday, January 5th, 2008
I met Jean-Francois LeBlanc during the Cannes International Advertising Festival last summer. He currently works for Bleublancrouge, an agency in Montréal—he has won a number of awards and done work for many well-known clients, including Coca-Cola, Toyota, Burger King, Home Depot and Bauer/Nike, among others. So naturally, I thought he would have some good advice to offer those of us who are just getting started in our careers. I sent along 5 questions to JF, and I found his answers to be incredibly interesting and entertaining. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. 1. What was your first "real" job out of school? Well! first job after college...hum? It was a long time ago in a galaxy far away...I was doing some cheap handmade lettering posters with just a brush and One Shot paint for a vegetable store called Le Végétarien in Sherbrooke Quebec. Ouf! At the same time I was doing some graphic work for a silkscreen printing shop in Magog at 7$/h...Nice! But it didn't matter because at night I was the lead singer (Ok I was yelling) of a Speed Metal band called Blaylök and making records, touring, was my ultimate goal. It is not an easy thing to make a career in the Metal industry and I salute you Tom Araya (Slayer rules!). So that's when I decided to go back to school to have a back up plan if the band didn't work out. Exile! Montréal here I come. After four years of Graphic Design at university I tried freelancing. It was perfect for my flexible hours with the band. "Ok sir, when are you gonna send my check, I've got a microphone to buy?" was not for me at all. So six months later I saw a fulltime graphic designer job offer that I was really interested in. This agency was called Desjardins Bibeau inc. with about 35 employees. It was really perfect except for just a small problem... "I'm sorry but we have no more computers available for you," said the creative director. "...and what about I work during the night..." stupidly I said. I really wanted this job. "Good, I'll see you tomorrow," he answered with a smile. "F@ck! What have I done? The band is going to kill me," I said to myself. 2. What was the most important thing you learned in this job? "Hello? Anyone there?" It was kind of freaky to work at night in an empty agency. I was working from 5pm to 2am. "...All by myself...Don't want to be..." was the song I had in mind. That's when I began to understand the true meaning of «responsibility». When you have no one to turn to, you double-check everything, you make decisions on your own, and so you slowly start to build your confidence. That's what this job is all about. Three months later, I was joining the rest of team during daytime. After three years of hard work and the determination to always do great things, I was offered the job of the Creative Director. A year later, the agency split in two and I became partner with Desjardins in our new agency called STATION. So long Blaylök! Design is fun and it pays more! What did I learn: Believe in faith! Never give up! Listen carefully to what people tell you, but do what you feel in your heart. Stay alert and never forget to have fun! Always smile, it's such a great job. 3. What was the hardest part about transitioning into "the real world"? What! Is there a real world? Hardest part in 7 steps:
  • 1) Clients: They have the tendency to say "NO!"
  • 2) Account people: They have the tendency to say "Not on the brief"
  • 3) Producers: They have the tendency to say : "No money"
  • 4) Media buyers: They have the tendency to say : "That's the only format available"
  • 5) The boss: He has the tendency to say : "Do this"
  • 6) The coordinators: They have the tendency to say : "Hurry up!"
  • 7) Yourself: You have the tendency to say : "It everyone else’s fault"
The hardest part is to take time to think, everything is going so fast. Also it's not always easy to work with different people with different minds and point of view. Selling your concepts to everyone is tough. You have to trust your judgment without thinking your God. Some creative have the tendency to do. It's only advertising. 4. When you first started out, where did you picture your professional life taking you? I don't really know, around the world!... Working for Coca-Cola I guess, and so I did, but that's not important. For me it was always about having fun and doing cool stuff, learning, discovering, exploring the different aspect of creativity. 5. How does your present situation compare to this original picture and how did you get there? Well I think it is close and far away at the same time, it changed and it didn't. Like I said before, it was always about seeking new experiences. I could have been a Metal dude, a film maker (witch I'm starting slowly), a painter (which I'm doing as a hobby), a writer or something else; I was and still am looking for something that is related to my imagination. There is always new things to do, and for me you can never «get there» when you have a creative mind...