Monday Funday

Before starting my day, I always like to check my Twitter feeds and Facebook posts to check up on what’s happening in the social world. Knowing tech news is pretty crucial to my job search, so I think this time is warranted.

Today, I noticed a weird trend. Tons of people were posting about how much they hate Monday, are already tired just thinking about the week ahead, etc. I was talking to a friend last night and he kept saying how he was so upset it was Sunday night because that meant work in the morning. I find this really discouraging – I happen to enjoy both Sunday night and Monday morning.

While two days off after a week of work is generally good for one’s sanity, a week ahead of work doesn’t daunt me; it excites me.

I love knowing that I get to contribute to an organization’s success and learn new skills to help me succeed in the working world. While not having a regular paycheck has been somewhat of a problem this holiday season, I know that every day I put my full effort into work means I learn more and have a better chance at getting the job I know I deserve.

Plus… aren’t we all told to watch what we post on social media sites? What if your boss sees how much you hate Monday, and decides to find someone else who might not hate it as much? I hear a lot of people are looking for work… Just a thought.

I may only feel this way because I’m pretty fresh out of college and excited to see what the world has in store for me; but I don’t see my attitude towards work changing anytime soon. Working should be about doing something you love. Happy Monday!

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Tall Latte, No Foam… Networking on the Side

I have been working out of a hotel since October; so needless to say, I spend a lot of time at the local Coffee Bean. While at first this was a simple way to escape the confines of a 250 square foot hotel room, it has become an adventure every day, full of networking opportunities.

I have met fellow young careerists, child therapists, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical salespeople, and even a cat psychic (only in Los Angeles…)

Although I was pretty impressed with the cat psychic (he Skyped with kittens)… I have always thought entrepreneurs are the one of the interesting group of people to speak with; one I met this week was particularly compelling…

I spotted this entrepreneur easily. He was forty-something and actively engaged with his iPad, iPhone, and laptop. I had a hunch he would be someone interesting to connect with. So I sat at down at his table, and when he ended the phone call where he was discussing raising capital for a startup (yes, I was rudely listening) – I asked him what he did for a living.

Luckily for me, he was the founder of said startup, so he was very excited to talk about his new venture. My curiosity in his business quickly turned into a legit, no holds-barred, coffee shop interview. He asked me to give him examples of when I’d “made things happen,” and wanted to know my work history. He grilled me about the “true meaning of marketing” and shared stories from his time as an advertising executive.

We swapped contact information, and he went on his way to becoming a millionaire.

Long story short, and moral of the story: Always being ready to network!

Spontaneous networking can be a huge advantage in your job search. I’ve been told countless times to work at coffee shops; turns out that advice really does pay off. Just having this man’s contact information is great for me. I’m a better networker from the experience – and who knows where this conversation may lead!

If you’re in the job hunt, pack up your laptop – and find somewhere new to work! Coffee shops, diners and dives, hotel lobbies, a warm spot in the winter or a park in the summer… all have huge potential to positively impact your sphere of influence – and help you perfect your networking techniques.

Have your Moo cards and elevator pitch ready; you never know who’s buried behind their laptop that could be a really important connection. (Oh, and you may want to wear something a bit more formal than ripped jeans and a belly shirt – just sayin’.)

College Graduates: Will Work for…Nothing?

Despite the worst economy in decades, as recent college graduates, we tend to think that companies are going to be fighting tooth and nail for us to come work for them.

Graduates have fresh minds, new ideas, and are eager to use our enthusiasm and energy to propel an organization forward. Getting recognized from within a work force is our dream. Graduation day quickly approaches, and fresh from removing our caps and gowns, we sit by the phone waiting for the hundreds of job offers that we just know will come in.

And we wait some more… and the phone calls don’t come.

Seems this is a different life than what we were told to expect from life after college.

Should universities be more up front when it comes to post grad life? Professors and admissions officers make it seem pretty glamorous; they say we will make $60,000 a year right away and gain great experience while working for the top corporations of America.

They do NOT, however, tell you that internships are where it really all begins – and right after graduation, we probably won’t be making much, if any, money.

When I first started applying to jobs, I got so many rejection letters I couldn’t count them. I realized the economy was bad and companies weren’t actively hiring grads with limited experience. At first I thought, “No big deal. It will change soon.” The turning point for me was when I applied to join the marketing team for a brewery. They said they would love to see where my vision could take their organization – but I had to wait tables first. Wait tables… in marketing?! No thanks.

My university didn’t offer “How to Land a Job 101.” So all of a sudden, it was the month before graduation, and I still had no job. I furiously applied for internships and hoped and prayed for someone to pluck me up and teach me something.

I had been skeptical of intern positions because everyone told us that a degree meant a career. Looking back, I should have gone about my job search a completely different way.

I should have applied for internships and networked – and not waited until I was about to graduate to blindly send my resume into organizations.

Like so many other students, I thought that graduating from college in itself meant I deserved a paycheck. I had worked extremely hard the last four years, and I was excited to see my name and a dollar sign on a little piece of paper every two weeks.

I am still working part time, and I’m gaining some really incredible experience. However, college painted this post grad picture differently for me. Much different. And now I work for… well, almost nothing – just for the chance to enter the workforce and contribute.

So, if you’re about to graduate from college and are staring at a mostly blank resume, you may want to stop listening to those who don’t know this version of the real world. You may want to do some work – quick – to build a formidable resume with real world experience. And you certainly want to network to foster the relationships you need to succeed.

Or, you can grab a piece of cardboard and start making your “Will work for          _____” sign.

 

 

 

(This post was featured on YouTern’s blog, http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern)

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?

Do You Measure Up?

There has been a lot (and I mean a LOT) of talk about the new Klout measurements this week. It’s almost as big as the Netflix outrage!

People are upset, mad, annoyed, even sad that their Klout scores have dropped a few points on the new system. Americans are finding out that they have less klout than they thought. Turns out, tweeting about your dog’s birthday doesn’t raise your influence among your peers after all. What a blow to the ego!

Checking your Klout profile is certainly addicting; I’m not saying I’m innocent in this movement. I was more than a little confused when I checked my Klout and the website told me my score had raised several points in the last 30 days, but it was actually lower than when I last checked it. I know I’m not the only person that checks their Klout score to see if it has gone up after a couple Twitter chats – which generally mean tons of re-tweets and new followers.

But over all, I don’t think the new Klout system is that bad. I would rather know how influential I actually am to my Twitter followers and Facebook friends (and WordPress followers, and last.fm friends, among other measurements…) than be disillusioned and think that people care about what I have to say when I’m not even on their radar.

Klout has tried to change the social media game, and they succeeded for a little while – but is this week’s outrage enough for people to stop checking their Klout scores? It will be really interesting to watch what comes out of this.

 

 

 

SoCal Serenity

A couple weeks ago I moved to Southern California. The main reason for the move was that my boyfriend (of 7 years) got transferred here to work on a job for five months. So I figured what better place to spend my winter than SoCal? Turns out, I was right.

Since the transition from Portland, Oregon – where it was gloomy and dark even in September, I have felt a serious lightening of my energy. I’m not a zen master or yogi by any means, but my whole outlook has completely changed.

My job search is getting increasingly intensive, the work I’m doing for the positions I have now is getting better, I even applied to be a writer for the 2012 Obama campaign! (Talk about infused ambition.) Everything around me is new and fresh – just like it’s supposed to be when you’re 22 and straight out of college. But I wasn’t getting that in Portland. Graduating & moving back to where I’d been my whole life was nothing short of discouraging. And I LOVE Portland.

But a change of pace, of scenery, of people, of weather, was necessary for my life journey. I’m sitting in a courtyard looking over the city and straight onto the beach. It doesn’t get much better than eighty degrees on October 28. This is something so new and exciting to me that I can’t stop smiling.

Sure, it was difficult to leave family and friends; but I have my soul mate with me every step of the way, and we can find new loved ones here.

Maybe a change of location was all I needed to revamp my life search. But it’s good to keep your roots; I know that by February, I’ll be ready to move back to Oregon… at least until my next adventure :)

 

#OccupyWallStreet

Social media has had a huge impact on Generation Y. Everything we do involves tweeting, facebooking, being linkedin, or plussing something on Google.

Social media has also contributed to significant events over the past few years; suicide victims saved because of tweets sent, the public made aware of the Bin Laden raid because a man explained what he saw in realtime on Twitter, and more. Now, the social media revolution has captured the United States. More specifically, Wall Street.

#OccupyWallStreet has been going on since September 17 – essentially a protest, mostly from young people, against the large banks that have caused so many foreclosures, and are still rolling in money. It was promoted through social media. Gen Y is sick of seeing their parents suffer, is sick of being treated as profits instead of people, and they have decided to do something about it.

The protest is by no means a large gathering; a couple hundred people every day go to Wall Street or a nearby park and protest. (Or do yoga.) Several arrests have been made for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and in one instance, assault on a police officer.

But this says something bigger about social media. Generation Y is finally taking a stand; Michael Moore seems to think this protest is one that will roll out through the entire country, and in time, there will be many more fighting than just a couple hundred on Wall Street.

Does this protest have the potential to reach the volume of the recent, not so publicized, protests in Madison, Wisconsin? Is Generation Y finally going to take the lead and say enough is enough? Is it time to rise against the powerful, profitable banks of America and say that we will no longer put up with these atrocious actions?

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?