Archive for job hunting

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With job searching, finding the job you want is just half the battle. Prospective employees not only need to find the jobs they want to apply to, but it’s always helpful to know someone at said company so you can get your foot in the door. But how can you do that? Networking.

Networking is one of the most important items for a person at every level to do. You never know if that could lead to a new job, finding a good employee for your current job or maybe getting a new client. The possibilities are endless, which is also why it’s always good to meet new people and make sure you maintain relationships. But, how do you network when you’re more entry-level? Where do you go? Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

  1. Set up informational interviews at companies you may want to work for even if they’re not necessarily hiring. This will get you some great face time with the company and potentially allow you to connect with someone at the company.
  2. Stalk LinkedIn. See who in your network might already work at your dream company. Perhaps you already know someone there from college, or there is a friend that can set you up with an introduction to another friend.
  3. #HAPPO/Help a PR Pro Out is a great hashtag to search by on Twitter. Sometimes they have online chats and I have gone to a few in-person events, but many companies will tweet out about jobs using this hashtag.
  4. Go to any and all networking events. These can be a mix of industry events, maybe your college is hosting some, etc. These can be online and in-person, but great to go either way and get your name out there.

So get out there and start networking, it will help you get the job of your dreams (for starters).

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Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Pearce.

Lifeguard

As a typical 15 year old girl, my main priorities were hanging out with my friends, not tripping over hurdles during track meets, and finishing my homework in time to watch Gossip Girl (this was pre-DVR era, people). Therefore, my parents really threw a wrench in my summer plans when they told me that it was time to take on some responsibility and get a summer job.

Luckily, I developed my strategic thinking skills early on in life and decided that if I had to get a job, I may as well work on my tan WHILE getting paid. Therefore, I combined my “experience” of watching years of Baywatch episodes on TV and a one-week training course to secure the prime position as the youngest lifeguard at the Easton Town Pool.

While I did get a killer one-piece tan that summer, I also gained some valuable work experience that has helped me get where I am today.  Similar to my colleagues’ first jobs, lifeguarding taught me responsibility, accountability, and the importance of showing up to work on time.

Most importantly, I learned that age is just a number. As the youngest lifeguard, I had to prove myself from day one to show that I deserved the job and that I could handle the responsibilities that came with that position. As a young professional, this is a challenge that I am faced with on a daily basis. More often than not, I find that I am the youngest person in meetings. What I learned as a lifeguard and continue to remind myself on a daily basis is that age doesn’t matter, it is all about the ideas and experience that you bring to the table.

It’s important for young professionals to realize that their ideas are just as valuable as their colleagues and to never let their age deter them from participating in a conversation. Of course, this still means that you must exercise good judgment in determining when to speak and when to listen. But for those of you that fear that your input may not matter because you are young, remind yourself that you were invited to the table for a reason. Speak up and show that you deserve to stay.

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Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm senior account executive, Heather Lovett.

jokeMy first job was working for a land surveyor and mapper.  As someone who enjoyed staring at a good map and fantasizing about leaving my small town the second after graduation, this seemed like the perfect place for me.  And, the $5.30/hour wage sure didn’t hurt.

My job interview occurred at a yard sale that I was hosting (did I mention I like to make money?).  The owner’s wife stopped by and I convinced her that a fifteen year old high school girl was exactly what her family business needed.  A few days later I was getting dropped off after school to begin my career as a file clerk.

After two days I am proud to announce that I had that office in tip-top shape.  The maps were filed and I began accepting the new responsibility of janitor.  I also realized how amazing Lime-Away was (and still is!).  I worked 1.5  hours a day after school and full-time in the summer. I became incredibly close with the family and was later promoted to babysitter of their new and adorable granddaughter.  The world was my oyster.

My days consisted of cleaning, babysitting, gossiping with the owner’s wife and watching the clock for the last ten minutes to an hour of the day.  I might have been fifteen, but I was no Taylor Swift.  I had places to be.

All in all, this was a great first job.  I was able to complete my homework each day, catch up on the town’s latest gossip and learn the hard truth about taxes.  Most importantly, I learned that it was okay to be yourself at work (with some censoring here and there).  After all…

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LennyBoy

Recently, my mother (of all people) directed me to the following Cracked article from David Wong: “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person”. In her note with the link, my mom advised, “Long and with bad language, but funny and good points made.” Naturally, I was intrigued, and decided to give ‘er a read—and a delightfully inappropriate, engaging read it was!

In addition to a glorious image of Lenny Kravitz prancing around in a titanic scarf, Wong gave me the push I needed to “own” 2014. While this specific piece features many worthy pointers, one argument stood out in particular. To quote Wong*:

… The end of 2014, that’s our deadline. While other people are telling you “Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!” I’m going to say let’s pledge to do freaking anything — add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don’t ask me what – good grief, pick something at random if you don’t know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a parody. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Write a comment on PRiscope.

But the key is, I don’t want you to focus on something great that you’re going to make happen to you (“I’m going to find a husband, I’m going to make lots of money…”). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people.

“I don’t have the money to take a cooking class.” Then Google “how to cook.” Dagnabbit, you have to kill those excuses. Or they will kill you.

Of course self-improvement, and this idea of “adding value to society” is nothing new; but Wong found a way to voice the point in an amusing way that forced me to listen. As a semi-recent college grad making my career début in the PR field, Wong made me consider the many ways in which I can add value to the audiences in my life—I can learn a new communication skill or program that will benefit my agency and my clients; I can add a new activity to my repertoire to be more interesting and useful to my friends and family; I can be a more gracious neighbor to well…benefit my neighbors (duh); and the list goes on.

The opportunities are there, and excuses are so 2013. Now it’s up to you to develop the skills that’ll help you stand out—as a student, intern, prospective employee, whatever it may be—and benefit the world around you.

How will you apply Wong’s advice to your life this year? Tell us in the comments below!

* And by “to quote Wong” I really mean to “express Wong’s sentiment in a slightly** less offensive manner that aligns more closely with PRiscope’s values & purposes”

** And by “a slightly” I mean “an extremely”

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Oct
10

Tweetin’ for a Reason

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I don’t know about you, but I have been Twitter-obsessed since my senior year of high school, back when Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were the only Twitter celebrities around and trends were hardly even a thing. I’ve used Twitter probably every day since then, and am so glad that I’m now in a workplace that supports and encourages my tweeting addiction. With that being said, I believe there are five important reasons future PR/communications pros (like myself) should absolutely be active Twitter users.

1-Job Hunting- It doesn’t matter if you’re actively searching for a job or not, Twitter is a great way to see job listings in your industry. By the time I graduated college, I was definitely following @nyadjobs, @nyprjobs, @nymarketingjobs, and every career associated Twitter handle my school brought to my attention. It only takes a second to scan a job listing tweet and it could pay off.

2-Connecting and Interacting with Influencers- Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, is cooler then when a person you respect/idolize/are obsessed with responds to you on Twitter. Sometimes it can be a TV show (see below for an image from the best morning of my entire life) and other times it could be an industry journalist or magazine. Connecting with people you’re interested in is a great way to expand your network AND improve your mood!

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3-Catch up On the News in 140 Characters or Less- I think Twitter is a great and fast way to find out about national and local news. I love seeing what’s new at home by following my local Saratoga paper, and also enjoy feeling up to speed on global headlines by following @BBCBreaking and the @WSJ. Something important to remember is that you should try to follow sources that are relevant to your clients, not just sources you’re personally interested in. Being up-to-date on industry news is helpful to your teams, pitching, and overall client relations.

4-Twitter Parties-Twitter parties are becoming more and more relevant for companies and consumers. By following a designated hashtag, users can interact with thought-leaders, brands, and fellow chat participants to gain some great exposure. I recently participated in a @Forbes Twitter party about workplace trends. Not only did I receive a bunch of responses, RTs, and follows, but I learned a lot, too.

5-Giveaways-Every PR Intern should know about the cool and free things Twitter has to offer. Just this past week, I had read on Twitter about a free New Orleans style food truck touring around the city hosted by @TopChefBravo. I followed along with their tweets all day and got an awesome, authentic, and free dinner! And tonight, I’m seeing a movie with buy one get one tickets I found on Twitter, too. There are so many interesting and discounted experiences on Twitter that are perfect for an intern on a budget.

Happy Tweeting! @emily_roy

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Oct
09

Needed: Awesome Interns

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That’s right. We’re looking to hire some interns to start immediately. We need two PR interns and one for our Business Intelligence team. For more details on the program and positions, visit here.

They’re all full-time and paid . . . and you get to work with us!

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Oct
08

Creativity Can Still Burn

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By now, you’ve probably seen the “I Quit” video posted by former Next Media Animation video producer, Marina Shifrin.

You’ve probably also seen the response from Next Media Animation.

You might have also seen the news of the job offer to Shifrin from Queen Latifah to work on the Queen Latifah Show.

The original “I Quit” video is well-done and funny. Shifrin’s clearly creative, smart and a phenomenal dancer. But, is airing your grievances with an employer and quitting via YouTube necessary?

I can’t tell if the whole thing is a big stunt or who is telling the truth about the work environment, but choosing the high road and just taking it as a lesson learned might have gone a long way. I’m sure there are many of us who have had bad work experiences, but it may not be the best idea to go on to make a video that basically says “suck it” to said employer.

I would love to hear more about the type of worker Shifrin was and whether her experience maps back to the portrayal in the video. It’s great that she has turned this into a good job opportunity. I do wonder if the video will help or hurt her in the long run. Will future employers be impressed by her video or will it come back to haunt her? I can see it going both ways. Some people like Queen Latifah will be impressed by Shifrin’s guts, but others may shy away from someone who released a video to complain.

What do you think? Was Shifrin’s video a good idea? Would you hire her if you were a potential employer?   

One item I think everyone can agree on is that everyone who works or has worked at Next Media Animation clearly has fantastic dance skills. Not to brag, but I would fit in well.

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Jun
18

Skills for Entry Level Hires

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For those of you gearing up for your senior year of college, or recent grads unable to land that dream job or even those a bit younger looking to do everything they can to prepare for the job search, there are a few skills most employers look for that are MUST-HAVES.

Writing. This is a given. From writing emails to your colleagues to drafting more comprehensive strategy documents, writing will be about 90% of your job in this industry. You will need to do this and well.

Research. Whether you are helping with something for new business or for a client, you will likely have to research a good amount of time as well. Make sure you use your skills and know the best places to look. You want to become known as this person: “Well, if XX can’t find it, then there must not be any information on it”.

Great time-management. In this industry, you’ll find that there are many moving parts regardless of if you work in-house or at an agency. Being able to manage your time well helps you to be as successful as possible and really helps the company to succeed, too.  

Social Media. This is a trend that is not going away any time soon. The world has gone social and the platforms are evolving and changing. Always be on the lookout for what’s popular. But it’s not just important to know about it, you must be able to use it successfully and know why that particular platform is doing well.

Internships. So, this isn’t exactly a “skill”, but it is a must have for most employers, and I’d say you’re more likely to find a unicorn playing volleyball with a dodo bird than to find someone who has landed a job in this field without an internship. Start early with your interning and work on your skills. This is the best way to start to gain real-world experience. Also, don’t be afraid of taking internships post-graduation, especially as you continue to look for full-time work. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and to keep fostering the skills mentioned above.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some of the top items to keep in mind as you hone in your skills for your careers.

Are there any skills you’d like to see added to this list?  

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Jun
12

You Take the High Road

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Sometimes we have to leave our jobs. Maybe your company wasn’t a good fit for you (or them). Maybe a different opportunity popped up that was closer to what you see yourself doing long-term. Maybe you are moving to a different city.

Whatever the reason may be, almost everyone needs to leave a job at some point in their lives.

So, what’s my point? Whether you’re happy, sad or indifferent about leaving, you want to make sure you leave on a high note. Keep doing good work. Make sure people know that even though you’re halfway out the door, you’re still giving it your all because you are always 100% committed to your tasks.

What goes hand in hand with leaving and keeping up your good work is to remember that this is still a rather small industry. Everyone knows everyone else. You also never know when you’re going to run into a former colleague—and not just on the street, but in a new job.

This might be a case of “duh, why would I do that”, but always keep in mind that you never know who is reading your blog or anything on your social media channels. Be mindful of what you say about your current, new or former job. This can go a long way for your personal brand. You never want to be known as the person that spoke badly about a company or person. Doing this highlights a few unsavory characteristics that employers typically like to avoid, including: acting unprofessionally and being a gossip (to name a few).

Taking the high road is important and worth the effort, though it can be tough if you’re unhappy. People remember when someone leaves on bad terms and that can leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Put in that effort and don’t burn your bridges—it’s worth it in the long run, especially if you ever want to cross back.  

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Apr
16

Interview Etiquette – Part 2

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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?


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