Archive for job hunting
Today’s post is a continuation of another post from one of our rock star interns & future PR pro, Jamie Hogan, on interview etiquette. You can read the first part here, but read on as she goes through some of the obvious (and some not so obvious) tips on how to be successful in your next job interview:
- Bring an extra copy (or two) of your resume printed on nice paper.
This is an “old school” rule of thumb, but one that should be followed. I don’t feel like this is stressed as much these days, but keep in mind that more often than not, you probably aren’t being interviewed by a millennial. If you’re asked for a copy of your resume and you have one on hand, you look mature and prepared.
- Speaking of prepared…PREPARE.
I once referred a friend for a job because she had been out of work for a bit and her past experience was a perfect fit for the position. I found out later that when asked why she was interested, her response was, “Because I need a job.”
Not only was this embarrassing for me (I referred her!) it was a blatant act of being unprepared for certain questions. You should always show up with a good response for the following:
“Why do you think this position would be a good fit?”
- “Because I need a job” is not going to work”
“Do you have any questions for me?”
- Do your research on the company. Have at least one (but hopefully more than that in case they answer it during your interview) question that you can ask.
“What is a negative quality that you possess?”
- I think this one is key. It’s easy to get caught up in singing your own praises (that’s what you should be doing!) but if asked, you don’t want to say, “I don’t have any negative qualities.” If that’s your answer, your negative quality is that you show up unprepared for things. On the other hand, don’t give an insincere response. They will see right through an answer like, “I work too hard, that’s always been my downfall.” Come up with something that’s realistic, but punctuate it by saying that it’s something you’re working to improve.
- Be yourself, but within reason.
Show off your winning personality, but maintain a level of competence and professionalism. If you get hired, you can (maybe someday) share stories of what happened when you went out last night, but during an interview is probably not the time. A personal anecdote here or there is fine if the situation really calls for it, but don’t go overboard.
A good interview is not just about being qualified, outgoing and coming in with a 4.0 GPA. While all of that can definitely help you score the job of your dreams, sometimes the devil is in the details.
And please, remember to forget that you own a cell phone.
Any tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way that Jamie should add to her list?
Today’s post is one of two from one of our rock star interns & future PR pro, Jamie Hogan, on interview etiquette.
The end of the academic year is rapidly approaching and the hunt for jobs is as competitive as ever. As someone who has been on both sides of the interview process at one time or another, here are some of the obvious (and maybe not so obvious) tips for representing yourself positively in an interview.
- The moment you walk through the door, pretend the interview has started.
The first impression can begin as early as your arrival. If you’re waiting in the lobby, sit up straight, look confident and keep your things (coat, folder, purse) in order. A great trick to remember is that the receptionist is also their employee! I worked at the front desk of a company for a couple of years and I would be asked how a person conducted themselves while they waited. If someone was rude or acted in a way that was really unprofessional, I was truthful about it.
Also, forget that you own a cell phone. Even better, turn it off. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, it can be boring to wait for someone without checking email quickly or updating your Facebook status (“Job interview, wish me luck, yay!”), but if management rounds a corner to collect you and you’re scrolling through your phone, it shows disinterest on your part and that you might not have the capacity or attention span to do the job you’re there for.
- Dress appropriately for a job interview.
This does not always mean a full suit, but it does mean you should be neat and pulled together. See Repman Cody’s blog for some sound advice.
- Shake hands like you mean it.
The limp, or “dead fish” handshake may not make or break an interview, but I think it’s worth mentioning. No one’s going to report back that you shook hands well, but sometimes a bad handshake gets scrutinized. Be sure to make eye contact and have a firm, meaningful grip.
It’s such a simple thing to correct, so don’t let this become a strike against you!
- Keep your hands to yourself (when you’re not shaking someone else’s).
On a recent interview that my husband conducted, the person who was brought in nervously played with a telephone cord that was on the table during the entire meeting. This act raised a red flag and while this wasn’t the only reason, the individual did not end up getting the job.
If you know you’re a fidgety person, discreetly sit on your hands if you have to. Just don’t touch anything that isn’t yours. And if it is yours, like a pen or a notepad, be reasonable when handling them.
And, again, forget that you own a cell phone.
Stay tuned for the rest of Jamie’s advice on interview etiquette.
Today’s post is by Peppercomm co-founder, Steve Cody, and originally ran on RepMan.
Mandy Roth (pictured) is one of hundreds of thousands of college seniors scheduled to graduate this Spring. And, like her peers, Mandy faces a formidable task: finding a job.
But, that’s not enough of a mountain for Mandy to climb. She also wants to work for the public relations firm of her dreams. (That would be Peppercomm, who else?)
So, Mandy set about setting herself apart from the hundreds and hundreds of applications we receive every year from upcoming graduates. And, to say she succeeded is akin to calling North Korea a rogue state.
Here’s why we’ll be interviewing Mandy this Friday and, if her in-person skills match those of her strategic branding campaign, offering her a paid Summer internship:
1.) Mandy created her own website JUST for Peppercomm. See:http://filebox.vt.edu/users/mandyy/Peppercomm/PepperCommsNextTopIntern.html. On the site, she included her resume, a cover letter and our personal favorite: ‘The 10 reasons why Mandy Roth would be Peppercomm’s next top intern.’
Note: Mandy says she built the specially-tailored website because she’d LISTENED to Peppercomm’s messages and wanted to ENGAGE in our conversations with a site that demonstrated her talent and creativity. FYI, our firm’s tagline is: ‘Listen. Engage. Repeat.’
2) In her cover letter, Mandy detailed the journey she’d taken during her college years, how she’d discovered Peppercomm and why our culture is perfectly aligned with her personal and professional goals.
3) She cited two separate Peppercomm blogs as truly inspiring her subsequent actions. One was written by our resident male fashionista, Jason Green, and entitled, ‘Don’t be boring in life, don’t be boring when applying’ . The other one, happily, was one of mine, and entitled, ‘Third party endorsement’.
4) Last, and definitely not least, Mandy’s 10 reasons why Mandy Roth would be Peppercomm’s next top intern was a show stopper (insert link). For the record, Mandy, you had me at 10 reasons. And, BTW, her number one reason (as well as the final sentence in her cover note) killed: ‘I know I could be the salt in your Peppercomm.’
Whether you’re 19 or 90, you MUST create, and continually refresh, your own, personal brand. Why? Two reasons:
- There are more people searching for fewer jobs than ever before.
- There has never been less corporate loyalty. I can personally attest to the fact that many clients will toss away their agencies of long-standing like yesterday’s newspaper if it’ll save their jobs. And, sadly, most businesses today place profits over people.
I don’t know how Mandy’s interviews will go on Friday. But, I can tell you this: regardless of whether she clicks with us, Mandy Roth has a bright future because, at a very early stage in her career, she’s figured out how to breakthrough the clutter AND build her own brand in a cool, compelling way.
We’re always asked about the process for interviewing for internship and entry-level positions. Essentially, sometimes the process seems to be a bit longer than one would imagine because we’re looking for the best fit for the position and Peppercomm.
To get more of a glimpse into what is happening across the board in terms of hiring, check out this article in The New York Times: With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection.
Do you agree with the assessment?
The goal for most when finding a job is to land a position at your dream company. So you go through the interview process, you like them, they like you and a few months in, you realize you’re not actually the best fit.
No one will fault you for leaving a job after six or so months, in fact, recognizing that you are not happy/fitting within the company shows a sign of maturity (though be mindful of how many times you do that, you can be tagged as a “job jumper”).
Sometimes you just know you need to leave your job and whatever the reasons are, it is important to tactfully resign.
Check out this article from CIO.com on 5 LinkedIn Tips for How to Resign From Your Job Gracefully for some good advice if you need to leave.
We probably hooked you with that title, right?
Everyone wants to find THE best place to work. Well, Kristin, Lin and I were asked to give some tips on what to look for and how to get to that perfect company for New York Women in Communications’ NEXT Blog.
Check out the post for all of our tips.
We’re all about providing the latest, greatest and most unique interviewing tips to help you secure that dream position. But check out Kerry Hannon’s “Want An Unbeatable Interview?” in Forbes for a great reminder on the tried, tested and true tips that can land you that job.
Today’s post (by Laura) was originally featured on Peppercom Cofounder and Managing Partner, Steve Cody’s RepMan.
The millennial generation has been under fire for some time, especially in the past year or so. I frequently see articles and reports popping up with ridiculous “reasons” for why my generation “is the way it is.” I was alerted to an article in The Wall Street Journal titled: “Delayed Development: 20-Somethings Blame the Brain” (special thanks to Steve Cody and Ann Barlow for sending it my way). This article was no different in terms of the tone.
The piece begins by pointing out that many parents of the millennial generation are worried that their respective children don’t have a career, aren’t married and/or aren’t financial independent—to name a few issues.
According to the article, this is all OK because recent research suggests that the brain develops at a pace that makes people better equipped to make major life decisions in their late 20s rather than earlier in their lives.
Great? From this millennial’s perspective, absolutely not.
First, this seems like another excuse to explain and project a behavior of a small group upon an entire generation. This can’t be too drastic of a development in the brain, otherwise I would think groups should probably start lobbying to raise the legal age of adulthood. Why position it as the reason for why millennials “act the way they do”?
Second, for those who do exhibit any irresponsible behavior, hopefully the millennials parents’ minds are not at ease because this research is just an easy way to justify poor choices. And guess what, Mom and Dad, those poor choices are coming from you too—it’s called enabling.
On a base level, this research is very interesting and makes a tremendous amount of sense, especially in terms of how the average age people are marrying has risen by six years. However, (and, full disclosure: I am not a scientist) it sounds like this is how the brain has been developing since the dawn of man?
So, we’re better equipped to make bigger decisions in our late-20s? Why is it that all of the previous generations have been capable of functioning without having full-scale investigations launched to figure out why they aren’t “successful”?
This article and ones like it stereotype millennials to seem like we are all dysfunctional humans unfit for this world. I’m not sure where all of these examples are coming from; I know plenty of younger people with “underdeveloped brains” who have not been financially dependent on their parents for some time (myself included).
Of course, when I hear some of the examples people have about their freeloading kids, I have the same natural reaction and tone of the authors of said articles—I am incensed. But I think there is a larger issue at work here.
Let’s discuss the group of millennials giving the entire generation the bad name. It is safe to say that parents from an early age want to make sure their child has the best life possible—which includes college. But what are parents really telling their kids? Are they letting their kids know that while college is important, it is still equally as important to pay for said education and also be a functional member of society? Education can become very expensive, very quickly. Why can’t a kid take a gap year and start saving to pay for school? Why can’t they take part-time classes while working to help make school more affordable? Also there is nothing wrong with delaying or not even attending college. I was always told there is nothing wrong with hard honest work, and to be honest, it’s made me who I am today.
Clearly, some parents choose to coddle their kids by allowing them to stay financially dependent for them to focus on their studies. At that point, is the millennial to be fully blamed? Those who act entitled had to learn that they are entitled from someone.
We are a smart and resourceful generation. We seem drastically different because we are dealing with a very different world—a world and economy that our predecessors created for us. We work hard. For those of us who do not, guess what, there are people who are lazy in every generation.
To circle back on the article, I myself am in my late-20s and I made very big decisions in my life starting at age 18 up until now. My brain may not have been fully developed yet, but I still made those decisions and used research and advice from those who have been in similar situations and made the best choices. I am still standing and have been on my own two feet for some time and I certainly did it on my own. I speak on behalf of all millennials as I say “pick on someone your own age!”
Looking for a job but all you’re getting are rejection letters? In today’s increasingly competitive job market, it is easy to get frustrated after months of ”no’” from employers and feel like you’re never going to find a job that is right for you. With that said, it is increasingly important and expected that you find ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool during your job search.
In this article, career and workplace expert Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter lists five ways on how you can increase your chances of winning over a prospective employer, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer on a job hunt. In addition to having a clean and well-written resume, having the right mindset and focus during your search may just give you that little boost you need to land your dream job.
There are many things in life that annoy me and other people who hire for his or her respective companies, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Spelling errors on a resume/cover letter
- Using a different company name when mentioning the place you’re applying to
- A resume that’s on two pages—especially when you’re entry/mid-level, there is no need for a resume that long and if you do, make it two FULL pages; not a page and a half . . . or a page and a quarter
While these are pretty big errors, sometimes they can be saved by a follow-up note apologizing, etc. However, one faux pas that you can never save yourself from (without having a very legitimate excuse) is having a set interview time and not showing up/picking up the phone when you are called by the person who has set that time aside.
There is nothing more disrespectful to an interviewee and someone who coordinated a meeting time than to simply not show up. Of course, things happen and some people take different positions at other companies, but you should alert the person you’re meeting with to withdraw your application.
Many may think this is just common sense and the first rule of interviewing etiquette, but you would be surprised. It’s one action that will make me remember someone in a negative light. Cue Stephanie Tanner’s catchphrase.
What are your thoughts on this behavior? Do you think this is the kiss of death with a potential employer? Or is there something worse?