Sunday, August 9, 2009

A lot has happened since my last post, and I have been waiting for the right moment to share it with the world. 3 months, 28 candidates and 3 interviews later: the Account Coordinator position is mine! It has been four weeks since I became the newest addition to the Travel & Lifestyle Team, and it has been a crazy ride. I have only waited this long to share the news because it has taken me this long to feel secure enough to broadcast the words: I HAVE A JOB! And really not A job, but THE job. My clients, my team, my company; it's all too perfect for words. I have spent this past month waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it has taken a lot of courage to finally admit to myself, I can do this.

The job is half administrative, half client work, which is perfect because it gives me the chance to learn all the quirks and how to best deal with them. I have made it my personal mantra to go above and beyond the requirements; I'm always trying to get started on what needs to be done, before someone can ask me to. It has been tricky, trying to fill in the holes and learn what isn't written for me, but I feel that I am doing the best I can. Positive feedback from my colleagues helps me to know I am in the right place, and that I am succeeding at my tasks.

It's really hard to believe that despite the economy and despite all the factors that were hindering my chance to go after and achieve my dreams, I made it. Honestly, there were times I thought, maybe this profession isn't for me, or maybe I should go back to school. And there was a job offer before this one which I almost took, all the while knowing, while it was PR related, it was not the right place for me. But I kept on trekking and kept on forcing myself to break through walls so I could peek my head in and see what was going on in this world I couldn't find a way into, and luckily, I made it.

Something I said to my then future boss after my interview, still rings true in my head. I told him, despite all the obstacles I was currently facing, I was not going to give up. In fact, these obstacles had only made me try harder to succeed. I had always been someone who could coast through anything. However, when I faced something demanding that extra oomph, it was then that I really stood out as a star. And this is what happened with my job search. I could have graduated, contacted my past internships and probably coasted through the job search, landing somewhere I may have wanted to be. But instead, I networked by contacting people I knew, people I had recently met, and people I barely knew, and wound up with the most fantastic job opportunity, hitting me smack in the middle of the head. And I LOVE it!

So, for the last time I will sign off. But I will leave you with one last piece of advice: Please, if you are in the midst of a job search, don't give up. While there will most certainly be times you feel rejected, dejected, depressed and ready to give up - do not, under any circumstances, let those feelings take control. You just need to stick with it and face the fact that the more you put into this search, the more you are going to get out of it. And that, my friends, is a hard-learned fact.

-Chelsey, the Ex-Job-Hunter

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Finding the Right Fit

The week after I graduated, I had a HUGE interview with A Company. They needed to fill a position FAST and they received my name via the CEO of A Company (via my networking). I interviewed with HR for the position. I hit it off with the HR gal, we had some common connections and we got along great. Her intuition told her that I wasn't interested in the department I was interviewing for, but rather the company as a whole. Her intuition was correct. As she once mentioned during my multiple interviews, the team could "smell a consumer PR candidate from a mile away." I didn't get the job and I was actually happy, as I knew, and they must have known, it wasn't the right place for me.

Flash forward one month later. The right opportunity opens up. It is in the Travel & Lifestyle department; THE place I want to be. If I could have my pick of top job, the Account Coordinator position at A Company in the Travel & Lifestyle division would be it. Through another contact, my name gets thrown in the mix, and I get the first interview with HR for the position. They know I want it. This is where I want to be and I couldn't be happier being considered for it.

There's a lesson to be learned from all of this: Even if a company turns you down for a position, don't stop trying. You may be a better fit somewhere else.

Maybe they will see me as a fit. Let's hope they do.

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top 10 "Dos" for Interviewing Preparation

Here is a list of the Top 10 things you can do to prepare yourself for an interview. I have compiled this list from talking with friends about their own experiences, talking to people about what they expect from interviewees, and of course from my own experiences.

10. A manicure is 100% necessary.
When you are sitting down in front of your interviewer, they can only see a few things: your face, hair, chest and hands. These are what they will use to judge your appearance (so you probably don't want to wear a halter top). Even if you're a guy, go get your nails cleaned. Dirt under your fingernails, not a great indication of good hygiene.

9. Know your current events. But more importantly, know yourself. Or at least know some stories of current interest. Most interviewers, if they are experienced enough, won't ask you anything besides information about you and how you fit in with the firm, but there is a chance you will have to talk with that one guy who will cockily ask "so what news story is catching your interest at the moment?" They will only ask this when they foolishly don't know what else to say, but still, you want to be prepared. As long as you were there for your own experiences, you will be able to intelligently answer any questions they ask about your past and what you have learned.

8. Minimal jewelry. No gaudiness. No costume jewelry.

7. A little heel goes a long way. Just the fact that you went through the extra effort to be a little uncomfortable and look a little more professional will be impressive. You don't need to wear 5 inchers, in fact you probably shouldn't, but you don't want to wear flats either.

6. Print out your resume on some nice looking paper. And bring MORE THAN 1 copy. Most likely, you will be meeting with more than one person, and you will want to hand everyone you meet a copy of your resume. Your preparedness will be an indicator of what they can expect in the future.

5. Get a good night's rest. Don't go into an interview hungover. You won't be able to hold an intelligent conversation, and you'll probably look like crap.

4. Wear a suit. And you better make sure it fits.

3. Research the person you are interviewing for. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn. Look at their blog (if they have one). Research their bio and know where they grew up, went to school/college and where they formerly worked. This way you can work any commonalities or connections you may have, during the interview. You will be much more likely to be remembered long after the interview, if you do this.

2. GET YOUR HAIR DONE! This piece of advice comes from a friend who was yelled at by a head hunter firm when she walked in with her hair in a semi-curly bun. Apparently, this isn't acceptable (they yelled at her until she started crying).

1. Research the firm you are interviewing at. Know their goals, areas of expertise and clients. You don't want to go in for an interview completely ignorant of what you will be doing and risk sounding like you have no idea what you're talking about.

Today, I made a lot of progress on the job search front. At an event I volunteered at about two weeks ago, I made a contact through networking who I followed up with. Turns out, The Person knows a lot of people, and is more than willing to help me in my search. The Person sat on the phone with me for 45 minutes, telling me everyone they knew at each of the firms I'm interested in. The ball is in my court now, to go through and research all these people at the firms and get back to The Person with a prioritized list. The Person is then going to CC me on emails to these people, giving me an extra few inches on that heel of the shoe I'm getting in the door.

People are more than willing to help you, if they believe in you.

So don't give up yet!

-Chelsey The Job Hunter

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When Good People Get Knocked Down, They Get Right Back Up On Their Feet

I received an email today from an acquaintance who found a job after enduring a rough search. Here is an excerpt; some inspiration to get you through your own search:

"Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed reading your blog. When looking for a job, there will be times of fear, disappointment and anxiety and yes, I too, could share some disappointing stories with you. When I was looking for a job last year, in the six weeks I was unemployed, I had a total of 4 in-person interviews. At those interviews, I met with either the head of HR or the person who was responsible for the hiring. I believe all interviews went very well, and each person I interviewed with asked me for my availability for the next few days to come back and meet the CEO who I would be working with. My schedule was completely open since I was unemployed. This is a true story, I never heard back from those three firms for the second interview. Why? It's hard to say. For some reason, maybe when the CEO saw that I commuted to NYC, he didn't like that, or who knows. The fourth interview was here where I am now. Keep your chin up. For me, it was unfortunate that I lost my former job I had for 20 years. A good friend at my former job told me, "When good people get knocked down, they get right back on their feet." Good luck to you and I'm certain you will find a good job in the near future."

So today, my search for a job continued in the form of an informational interview. This was one I had been looking forward to for weeks, and it didn't disappoint. I spoke for about an hour with a Senior AE about all things PR related. Everything The Person told me about the firm only made me want to work there more. It was the EXACT place I picture myself working, except for one small problem: NO ENTRY LEVEL POSITIONS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW! After I received The Person's reply to my thank you note (which should always go out the same day as the interview - thank you "What Color is Your Parachute?") which stated there were no positions, I felt my happiness deflate a little bit, as I had been daydreaming about a sudden magical position opening out of thin air just for me - "I can't believe we forgot but we DO have a Junior Account Coordinator position available and it goes to...... Chelsey!" Obviously, that didn't happen, but maybe one day, right? We have to be optimistic people!

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities and new online job postings. And its Friday. (Job searching only requires half of your attention on the weekends, no one checks their email, or if they do, they aren't going to answer you out of the office)

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beware: The Marketing Scammers And How They Suck You In

Kind-of-Hypothetical Situation: You're searching for jobs through an online aggregate, let's say You come across a job posting, it lists: Account Executive and right under says something close to, "The Company is the Northeast's fastest growing marketing firm with many Fortune 500 clients! We are looking for career-oriented individuals that are in search of rapid growth in an entry-level sales and marketing position."

You think,
huh, it says Account Executive, they seem to have a credible position, let me check out the website. So, you go to the website, which basically lists a whole lot of nonsense about the services they provide, their excellent customer reviews, and their management team's information, without ever actually saying what it is they do. But hey, it's a job listing, it's an entry level position. You send them your resume.

A day later, you have a voicemail: "It's A Person from The Company and we were impressed by your resume and want you to come in for a preliminary interview and hopefully get you on track to become a part of the managerial team. And we need you to come in immediately"

You leap into the air, let out a "YAHOOOOOO!" You got an interview! Then you realize, you still don't know what the hell this company does. So you call back, ask to speak with A Person and ask a little bit more about the job description.

"Well, you would be part of a team, dealing with clients face-to-face," says A Person.
"But, I still don't understand, what would my primary responsibilities be?" you ask.
Five minutes into the conversation, you still don't know what this company does!
You ask your last resort question, "Is this a company that sells directly to people, and would I be out selling products all day?"
"I don't believe I understand your question," says A Person.
"Is this a CUTCO type company? Will I be going around selling a product such as knives?" you ask.
"I'm not sure what you are implying, but this is certainly not a job where you sell knives. Should we set up the interview or not?" A Person answers.

So you go ahead and set up the interview, feeling a bit more assured that this is definitely not a selling job. Instead, you picture yourself interacting with a team, sitting in an office tossing around ideas to market a product, all the while on track to one day become a part of the managing team.

Two days later, you get off the subway, all the way downtown in the Financial District. You enter a building, follow the directions and find the office for The Company. You enter the office and see what can only be enough room for three private office rooms with one secretarial desk and you are immediately concerned.
Oh well, you assure yourself, I'm sure this is just the HR office. You arrive fifteen minutes early, hoping to impress the staff with your punctuality and knowledge of the time needed for form-filling. Sure enough, you are handed a five page packet that you must start filling out. Halfway down the first page, another person, someone around the same age as you, walks in. They tell the secretary they are here for an interview, and are handed the same packet to start filling out. Maybe they just want us to sense the competition, you think.

You turn the page, and two more people walk in. They are here for interviews too, you hear. They sit down and start filling out their own packets. Then you wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, a half hour after the interview start time, and two other interviewees, you are called in to one of the three offices. Two minutes in you ask the blatant question, "Will I have a desk and work in an office?" Finally, you get an almost-straightforward response. "Well you will be on your feet about 80% of the time," says A Person.

"You don't seem interested," A Person states, not asks. You agree. And you leave. And then have to find a subway back uptown toward civilization all the while slapping yourself on the forehead and saying out loud you can't believe you fell for it, while the homeless people on the street give you condescending stares and whisper among themselves, "That lady is loco." That's right, you are officially crazier than anyone else on the street because you believed in something that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Yeah, this was me. Don't let it be you. ALWAYS ask if you will have a desk in an office which you will be at for most of the time (if this is the type of job you want). They won't give you a straightforward response, but keep asking. Also try to ask if this will be a job primarily focused on face-to-face selling (like, ahem, CUTCO). They probably will manage to tiptoe around that answer, but still try. It's not worth the hour and half of your time you could be devoting to finding a REAL job.

-Chelsey The Job Hunter

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chelsey The Job Hunter

I am a virgin-blogger. (Embarrassing, but true).

This will be my first time writing, posting and hoping for responses to a blog. My decision to begin this comes with the hope of educating other undergrads, grads and anyone else new to the art of finding your first job.

I have to admit, I've always been cocky about finding a job. I have the experience, due to my school's Co-op program which provided me with full-time, six-month internships in the field in which I want to work. I have the ability to write and communicate in a way that engages my audience and lets them know what I'm trying to say. And I have the ease of human interaction, allowing me to arrive on-site for an interview, with little to no nerves and go on to have a great conversation with my interviewer. Unfortunately, none of this matters right now. It doesn't matter how much experience I have, or how great I am at talking and/or writing. Either no one is hiring, or the people who are hiring aren't hiring me!

So, I've decided to start this blog, to track my progress on the jobsearch front. Hopefully, it will give me and my audience a guide for jobsearching, whether it be things to do or things not to do. You can learn from my accomplishments or my screw ups.

My next posts will talk about what steps I've already taken, interviews I have already gone one, and disappointments I've already encountered (including a horror story or two!)

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer!

Find me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob