The Other Side of the Job Hunt

The most difficult aspect of my job search so far has been trying to justify finding time to actually commence the search without falling behind on work. I’m one of those work on the weekends people, so it’s hard to find time that I don’t think I could be accomplishing something for the positions I already have.

But when I do focus on my job search, I make sure to pay attention to every detail of my resume, cover letter, emails, phone calls… all communication involving potential employers is checked (or rehearsed) 400 times before it is sent.

Recently, I conducted interviews to find a much needed assistant for my boss. Before the interviews, I obviously had to sift through tons of resumes, cover letters, and emails, and I was shocked at what I received. The candidates didn’t seem like they spent more than ten minutes on each document – no more than a few of them did anything to personalize or make themselves stand out.

There were typos, spelling errors, someone even spelled my boss’s name wrong.

People are constantly complaining about not having work – the unemployment rate is rising, they say. No one understands what it’s like out there. There’s too much competition. Well, DUH there’s too much competition! That means you do not let one typo or spelling error get through on your resume/cover letter – I immediately dismissed candidates with MBAs and ten years of experience because they couldn’t bother to even turn on spell check.

The interviews were also difficult to get through – I didn’t know anyone would even imagine not preparing questions to ask the interviewer, or not follow up with a thank you email after it is done.

Conducting these interviews certainly changed my perspective on the job search. I will take extra care to make myself stand out, to put more time into each resume & cover letter, and to follow up more than I ever did before.

Do people think they are simply entitled to jobs? Just because you sent me an email saying, “Please review my information” I should hire you?

Walmart: Friend or Foe?

Since the day I started business school, one of the biggest lessons was about WalMart. They are a brilliant company, there is no denying that. They are the largest retailer in the world; and they use that power well. WalMart has created an ecosystem of their suppliers and retailers, working together to serve their mission however they see fit. There is no way that a business person cannot commend them for this.

But consumers always seem to have such strong opinions when they see that big, yellow smiley face. I know a lot of people that love WalMart, in every sense of the word. I’ve never been to a WalMart, but only because I’ve never lived in a place where one was near. (I hear they have great deals on socks.) My point is, a lot of the people I know who won’t go anywhere else for a six pack of socks are women. Or minorities. Or anyone else that WalMart has reportedly hired screwed over its’ lifetime.

There is a flip side to that love – consumers also get angry when they hear the WalMart name. Documentaries have been made about how awful the organization really is. (I did have to watch that documentary in one of my business classes, after discussing the business’ brilliance.) These people protest, deny ever stepping foot in one of the chain stores, and criticize others for shopping there.

But do consumers actually care how “bad” WalMart is?

Women sue the company for massive amounts of money, and then the lawsuit is suddenly dropped. I know plenty of women that will still shop at WalMart. The same can be said for children caught in WalMart sweat shops – how many parents bring their kids into the stores because the clothes are cheap? It is understandable logic – as long as that same parent doesn’t preach about child labor laws.

I’m just wondering if all of this news REALLY affects the WalMart name. Consumers have hated them for years – and continually shopped there. Obviously business is booming for them. No problems on the home front.

Do they just have the most incredible PR team known to man? Or do consumers only pretend to care about corporate policy, and then turn their heads when socks are on sale for 3 for the price of 1?

McPunch

The golden arches have found themselves in the news once again.

McDonald’s have been “upgrading” their restaurants for some time now – leather couches, TVs, chandeliers, even fireplaces and aquariums have been found in these fast food havens over the past year. It is pretty clear that McD’s is trying to change their brand image and attract a wider market to their drive-thrus.

I always thought this was a strange move – you were established as a fast food diner; stay that way. It has been too long and too many customers going through those lines for their McFlurry to try and change your ways.

Well, turns out McDonald’s isn’t as classy as we all thought. An employee in a Georgia restaurant PUNCHED a woman in the face, while she was with her two autistic twins and one guide dog. Apparently, there was an argument over whether or not the dog was allowed in the restaurant. The woman said that it was perfectly legal; the employee fired person said that unless the kid was blind, there was no reason for the animal in the store. Intelligent.

So obviously, the logical thing to do was follow the woman to the bathroom and punch her in the face. She deserved it. Well done, McDonald’s. I wonder if that is in their training manual. “If the customer is wrong, punch them.”

Can’t wait to see the documentary come out about this one. They already have Hot Coffee under their belt – what’s next, Ronald?

Work After Dark

Relationships in the workplace.

It’s something that a lot of companies have very strict policies against; I’ve always thought it interesting to get people’s opinions on this general guideline. I’ve heard everything from “It shouldn’t be an issue” to “They can destroy everything.”

I can understand that relationships at work can be damaging if one of the partners is in a power position. This is something I’ve been warned about since I was nineteen – don’t date the boss. I’ve heard stories of people quitting their jobs so that they could date the boss; but I think that a dream career would be difficult to give up for a hopeful relationship. It’s different if you’re in an arbitrary position, a part time gig, but a career? I think I would have a seriously difficult time making that decision. What if the connection only works when you’re in an office, not in real life situations?

Maybe I place too much value on work. I’ve been called a work-a-holic since my first job. (Scooping ice cream at Haagen Dazs – I actually learned a lot about branding from that position.)

Can relationships still negatively (or positively) impact your work life if you are in lateral positions?

 

Here Comes the Bride – or not.

I was reading Time today, and they featured an article about a wedding dress shop in New Jersey, Here Comes the Bride, that refused to sell a wedding dress to a woman because the shop manager found out that she is lesbian. The woman plans to marry her fiancee in a perfectly legal ceremony condoned by the state of New York.

The post on Time has received several comments, most supporting the woman that wanted to buy a wedding dress, and some supporting the shop manager. The store has a Yelp page, and has received many one star ratings since the story became public, simply based on the fact that people consider her actions immoral. I can’t say that I was able to hold my tongue and not comment on Time’s post. I probably would have given her my own review on Yelp as well, if I had a Yelp account.

Aside from the repugnant acts of the shop owner, I am wondering how Yelp will respond to the inflow of comments for Here Comes the Bride. Yelp is not a platform for social issues, it is merely a way to find businesses you are interested in. However, if it is not made public that places like this exist in the United States of America, where all are supposedly equal and free, unknowing shoppers may buy from this wedding store, and not realize the kind of people they are supporting. One poster on Yelp pointed out that if people aren’t allowed to shop at certain places, they have the right to know they shouldn’t try before they expose themselves to bigotry.

Now, if you DO realize what Here Comes the Bride in New Jersey stands for, and still want to give them business, by all means, exercise your rights as a human being and shop wherever you want for a wedding dress – because you can legally marry whoever you wish.

I am a heterosexual woman, and I do not believe that sexual orientation defines a person. I do not believe that it makes you who you are. I do find it sad that people in our society claim that they want to move forward – that they want to truly be the “land of the free”, but do not allow others to be free. Everyone talks about moving past the days of slavery. I ask those people, how far do you think we have really come?

Time article: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/08/21/new-jersey-bridal-shop-refuses-to-sell-wedding-gown-to-lesbian-bride/

The New Caffeine

It is pretty clear that as a society, we have turned to medication to make our lives better. What started as simply taking Tylenol for headaches has become a medical phenomenon; people take prescription medications for absolutely every ailment that hits them. Makes you wonder how people ever got along without these magical pills. Businesses are thriving on the use of medication. Pharma companies are the richest out there, and people flock to their solutions that are poured onto us daily through advertisements.

I have heard a lot about the new pill that is supposed to take the place of caffeine for shift workers. Nuvigil, which is made by Cephalon costs about six times the cost of a Starbucks “grande” coffee – per pill. We have all heard of caffeine pills before, and it sounds like this is essentially what this drug is. However, it hasn’t been proven to be more effective than coffee alone. It also happens to have a plethora of side effects that could be fatal. Cephalon has been targeting this new drug to shift workers, and spending a lot of money on advertising. Shift workers are perfect for this product because they are usually unsure about the time of their work schedule, and if it is in the middle of the night, their mind may not be performing at top speed.

Seems like a perfect advertising mechanism – they certainly know who their target market is. The problem I have, is will these workers take the time to research the med before jumping to conclusions and taking this addictive, dangerous pill instead of having their regular cup of joe?

Is society ready for a “miracle” caffeine pill?

Losing Faith?

Fortune (magazine)

Image via Wikipedia

I read a lot of business news during the day – what corporation is doing what, who is succeeding, who is failing, what the newest innovation will be – after a while, all of the stories begin to run together. So, I took a new approach, and searched on WordPress for blogs about business. I thought it would be refreshing to hear what real people had to say about business today, rather than what CNN, Fortune, Time, (which are essentially all the same), or even Business Week and AdAge are talking about.

But I didn’t complete this search; my beloved WordPress website that lets me so freely analyze business news I come across, seems to hate business. The first sentence I read? “Business: it’s almost a dirty word these days.” And then the summary went on to talk about how people are steadily losing faith in CEOs, corporations, organizations, and firms, with the looming economy and unemployment rising. I know that most people have no faith in big business anymore – they are blaming corporations for the economic state we are in today. This is something that I can completely understand.

But it still makes me a little sad to know that society thinks business is failing them. I understand that businesses have their faults, as we all do; but I still find them intriguing and exciting to learn about. Hopefully, one day I will become a part of business, and be part of the change for the better; to restore humanity’s faith in what essentially runs this country.

Is everyone giving up on big business? If you aren’t seeing a six figure income each year, do you blame society? What’s going to happen when we all lose our trust, and stop responding to advertisements and messages that cost so much money and are essentially keeping these big firms alive?

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News of the World

Well, yet another newspaper is in ethical hot water (see my earlier post about The Village Voice & Ashton Kutcher).

Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World has sparked an outrage among the British public; and rightfully so. The newspaper is accused of hacking into a missing girl’s voicemail, after many allegations of doing the same to celebrities. All in the name of getting the latest scoop – I can understand that this is the business they are in, but when it is intentionally interfering with a police investigation, giving the little girl’s family false hope, and simply ignoring personal rights, there is nothing here that I can agree with.

I wonder how many advertisers are going to pull their ads from this newspaper after the verdict; if Murdoch’s empire does not suffer any harm, and are found not guilty, will the public’s outrage be enough to still pull critical ad money out? If companies do or do not take their advertisements out, will it hurt or help their public image? Obviously, having ad space in a major newspaper is important – but is it still important at the expense of ethics?

There are many major companies that advertise currently with News of the World – Ford is among one of those. They have stated they are waiting for the verdict to be announced before they decide to pull their ads or not. Which sends the clear message; if the courts do not find Murdoch guilty, then Ford will almost definitely stay with the newspaper. This makes some sort of sense, but I wonder if the people’s anger will go away even if the mogul is not found guilty – an example of this most recently not working is the Casey Anthony trial (while I understand Murdoch’s crimes are not of the same magnitude).

Will citizens care at all about companies’ advertising positions? This may not be even crossing their mind at this point.

Breaking Through the Noise

Noise. It’s what marketers have to break through in order to capture consumers’ attention better than our competitors. The problem is, noise is growing more and more dense every day. We know that social media, print ads, television ads, outdoor advertisements, e-mails, and product placement are common for advertisers in the 21st century. We know that American consumers see tens of thousands of ads every single day. And we know that in order to make them really register OUR ad, it has to be original, fresh, and clean. 

So breaking through the noise is becoming a serious problem. Marketers are having to become extremely clever about how they market their products. Not to mention it is absolutely necessary to understand your consumer; where they live, shop, what size family they have, what they purchase, etc. Grocery stores figured this out years ago with “club cards.” Japan is introducing billboards that register your face, gender, and age, and then display a product they think you would enjoy. Advertisements are beginning to watch people, rather than people watching advertisements. At what point have marketers gone too far? Gotten too close to the consumer that privacy boundaries are broken? 

Noise is a serious issue. And it is important to break through that noise. But do we have to invade privacy protocol in order to do that? Maybe. Maybe not. What I do know, is that 21st century marketing is changing the advertising world forever. And I can’t wait to be a part of that change. 

Watch the Japanese Billboard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n88CXYqzgU0