Sebrieanna’s Start

Driving Traffic and Recruiting?

Posted in START Working by Sondra on January 13, 2010
Tags: , ,

I’ve run into the second job post where an employer has actually referenced their own blog in their job description. Nothing too unseemly about that, except they’re directing the applicant to the blog for resume tips. Which pretty much implies that if you don’t check out their blog and make sure your resume is up to their code, then you’re probably not going to be put on the short list.

In theory, this seems like a good idea. With the economy in poor shape, and so many applications coming through the door every day, an employer doesn’t want to waste their time with, to be blunt, – shitty resumes. So they write a post for some guidance for us tired, becoming-bitter job seekers. But that’s not REALLY the whole story, is it? For one, with the economy in poor shape, and so many applications coming through the door every day, think of the hits you can get on your blog! It’s kind of genius actually. Plus, this particular position is within the media industry, and if you actually didn’t go to the blog and see that they suggest sending your resume in PDF format, and you send in a *gasp* word document? They’d know you didn’t check it out. And they’d be asking themselves, what kind of media professional would we really be hiring?

This is a whole new level of weeding. Like those clorox-for-your-lawn chemicals you can spray on your walkways and driveways (kill weeds at the source!). But my beef isn’t with how clever this tactic is. It’s that for one, both job postings didn’t actually provide the blog name or URL. Just a simple “See our blog for resume submission tips.” So you have to google the company’s name and find their website. Something you may be doing anyway if you need to get their address for the cover letter. The link to their blog is listed on the homepage – thank god, because I really can’t be tooling around on the internet… But then, I have to sort through their entire blog to try and find this post they’re talking about. Their lengthy tag cloud provides nothing – no links or posts that would direct me to this article I’m supposed to read. The search bar is my next attempt, and I pick the word resume. Voila!

The actual post is all right, – nothing ground breaking, but I’ll admit it is nice to see the resume perspective from the company you’re actually applying to. That’s one of the things that is so frustrating about the job hunt. Some companies will call you the week after you apply, others have a position open in three months and you get a call after you’ve already moved to a different state… all the inside information you can get, the better. But when you’re job hunting all day, the last thing you want is another task and a search for a blog you wouldn’t have otherwise bothered reading.

Employers should put all the necessary information in their job description. Bottom line. There are plenty of postings out there that request documents in Word format; it’s like asking for writing samples, so why does that have to be in a blog instead? We can’t read your minds, and when the goal is to get as many applications out as possible, honestly, we don’t want to read your blog either. There’s already not enough time in the day, so I really hope this is not becoming a trend. I will research your company and read your blog when you call me to schedule an interview, because at this stage, I’m not in a position to be picky about my employer. I’ve singled out my industry, and in the beginning stages of the application process, that’s good enough for me.

Finally, if you are going to direct us to your blog post, make sure the job description you posted on someone’s job board matches the information in your blog. Because one says 2 – 5 years experience. The other says 3 -6. Two – 6 years of experience is simply an odd bracket.


There is Material.

Posted in START Working by Sondra on August 8, 2009
Tags: , ,

Looking at it from the mind of an annoying optimist, there is a good thing about all this job hunting and lack-of-employment-for-everyone. Stuff to read. (And from my perspective, stuff to write.)

This blog features an exec’s search for an assistant editor, and I’m looking forward to reading about his thoughts on the process.

Here’s an excerpt:

“‘Reading Resumes is Like Online Dating’

Honestly, going through resumes is akin to online dating: you pick and choose based on your own preferences. For example, in her cover letter, one applicant wrote of her move from Chicago to Alabama (where Southern Breeze is located): “In addition to awesome weather, where else can I order macaroni and cheese as a vegetable?”

Letting your humor shine is especially valuable, especially in this case since the assistant editor shares an office with me. I invited her in for an interview.”

That’s interesting. I’ve been trying to think of more creative ways to spruce up my cover letter. Unless I read more about cracking jokes, I’m not entirely sure I’ll go with this approach, but I’m definitely interested to find out what else I can do. So I’ll keep reading!

The Online Portfolio

Posted in START Working by Sondra on August 5, 2009
Tags: , , , ,

When I first heard of creating an online portfolio, it was through various career websites. Meaning, I was already applying for a job when I was asked for a url for my work. None of the sites had this as a requirement, which I originally thought was good because how the hell was I going to create an online portfolio?

But it’s really easy. You can do it on any blog.

For starter’s, I would make the name of your blog professional. Like your initials followed by the word “Portfolio”. This is one of those no-brainer things, but you always hear of people rejecting someone’s resume because their email address is “”. And if you already have a blog, I wouldn’t create a post of your work within it — have a separate one dedicated to what you’ve done. The simpler, the better.

What if you haven’t really done anything? Still create one. No matter what job you end up doing, you want to make sure you keep a record of your work. If you have an online portfolio, this can help you remember to save stuff — send everything from your work computer to your personal email address. Created a brochure for an event? A sales letter or a press release? That can go on there, and if down the line, you find you love communications, you have something to show potential employers.

Research and look into other online portfolios to help you get an idea of what yours should look like. Here is one blog offering advice, which has more of a focus on design work, but a lot of the tips do apply to other arenas. This one has better advice more suited to writers and editors. Here’s an example of someone’s online resume, which combines skills and clips all in one place, and here is her original blog post about the subject. Personally, I think this one looks pretty clean, and is nicely categorized. I have also read that your portfolio should tell potential clients why they should hire you, but it’s important to note what the purpose of your portfolio is. If it’s supposed to be a site that stands alone, and needs to convince ‘passer-byers’ that you’re the (wo)man for the job, then I would definitely use the tone and tactic that’s utilized in the last blog. But if you’re using it as a supplement to a resume and cover letter for full-time employment, you might just want to try the list version.

Resume Issues

Posted in START Working by Sondra on July 23, 2009
Tags: , ,

I recently met with a contact to discuss my job hunting, and the woman mentioned to me that a lot of companies have strictly been hiring college grads from their CEO’s – or other C-Suite execs – own colleges. And that’s it. I thought that was kind of strange – what’s the point of it really? They just LOVED their school that much? Or they were so impressed with their own education, they figure every other student will come out of it top-notch? It was a little disheartening of course, but I didn’t devote too much time to it. I then recently came across this little article, and it looks like us job-hunters really do have something else to worry about.

So I guess, lawsuits aside, networking may be everyone’s saving grace. Hopefully, anyway.

Or, maybe you should just apply for jobs at the NY Times: “After losing $61.6 million last quarter, the New York Times company reported a gain of $39.1 million in the second quarter of 2009.”

Another Question…

Posted in START Working by Sondra on June 18, 2009
Tags: ,

Should you apply to two jobs within the same company? Sounds like no.

Although here you will find a broader discussion. I’d love to find an article on this question and hear from people who actually do the hiring. Personally, I think I’m particular to this answer, although probably not as applicable for entry-level positions:

“You’re not actually applying for both jobs. You’re applying for the “Senior” job. One sentence is all that is required: “I would like to show my interest in the “Project Manager” position if I am not selected…” etc.

But honestly, whoever is hiring knows exactly the situation the unemployed are facing. If you apply for ten jobs that are totally different within one company, – yeah, maybe you’re in trouble. But if you have the qualifications for a couple different things, do it.

How to Submit Clips

Posted in START Working by Sondra on June 18, 2009
Tags: , , ,

I’ll be updating this post periodically, but I’ve been wondering recently how to submit writing/editing samples and clips when applying for jobs. I found this blog entry that I think is pretty good. The more I learn, the more I’ll post!

Answer to How To Submit Your Clips

First things first…. jobs

Posted in START Working by Sondra on June 12, 2009
Tags: , ,

While you’re writing your super amazing, sure-to-be bestseller, there simply has to be other cash flow. Being interested in all things writing — editing, proofreading, magazines, etc, etc — I’ve been trying to focus my job hunt in the publishing or media industry. Here are some helpful sites to find jobs and internships in the field. much more helpful for larger cities, and as the name implies, posts jobs for all things media. Copy Editors, Account Managers, Traffic Coordinators, Sales, and so on. I really do like this site and have applied to many jobs because of it. Get their email alerts!

Publisher’s Marketplace: As the tag says, this site “Track Deals, Sales, Reviews, Agents, Editors, and News” and they have a job board. You have to pay to see the Marketplace info (new book deals, etc) but the job board is free. And way more legit than craigslist! This site has a lot of info for those seeking internships as well. My gripe is that you can’t search them by locale… at least not that I know of. If you’re in New York, not to worry, but otherwise it’s a big pain to click through all of them just to see if they’re in your area. The job search is a whole lot easier to use. I’m actually considering unsubscribing from this one, but it’s probably best not to exclude anyone when you’re job hunting, so I’ll refrain from doing so. This is another site that doesn’t outright list locations, but that’s only in their notifications to you (trying to drive traffic to the site or something??). You can search by locale on their actual website. Doesn’t always seem to have too much, but they also list a decent amount of internships.

Aquent: This is an interesting one. More of a head-hunting resource, but you can post your resume and search for jobs. I haven’t had too much contact with them yet: I selected an agent based on my location and specific industry (there’s only a couple options) and the woman contacted me with a set of questions and a reminder to create my online profile. I was skeptical, but seems to be free. It takes a bit of time getting everything in, but you can upload any portfolio work and list websites you’ve worked on as well. We’ll see what happens with it. Getting more specific here, but the NNA is the National Newspaper Association and they support community newspapers. Although their job board is not exclusively for positions AT newspapers. Allstate had a posting the other day, and there really aren’t all that many postings. But a cool site nonetheless and you never know what could crop up. I really like this site, and would probably have liked it even more if I was still in college or just out of college. Seems incredibly useful for interning, and it’s basically a guide on entering the job world. But seeing how I have little magazine experience, which is their main focus, it’s pretty fitting for me now too. Oh, entry level! Again, there aren’t a ton of postings, but the ones that are there always seem pretty cool and would be great gigs. Plus, even if the job isn’t right for you, most of the time it’s for a company/mag you’ve never heard of, and that’s always worth checking out. Like the name implies! More convenient if you’re looking for reporting gigs, but they do claim to be all-things media. Postings can be seriously lacking in some states, too.

Obviously, I use and all the major ones. My tip with those is to refrain from searching by keywords. Perhaps that’s standard fair, but I feel way more comfortable searching by city/state and skimming over irrelevant listings, than I do entering a keyword and possibly excluding the perfect job because of a title or something silly. It’s really not that difficult doing it the other way, and if it’s not a standard practice on all the sites – it should be! Oh, and a note about Craigslist — can be worthwhile if you’re searching for a job in a major city. Not so much in smaller areas. Either way though, be always mindful of ‘scamming’, and this is not for those stupidly obvious scams, but for people simply trying to get your contact information. Sometimes, you can’t really tell which is which. Even if the company name isn’t listed, it could still be a legit job, so there may not be a way around that. However, after you apply, you’ll get an email back saying you need to finish the application process online to be considered. You’ll go to the site, they’ll ask if you want an online education from Phoenix, – blah blah blah – which you can decline and then they’ll ask for references. Not only do they get YOUR email and phone number, but they get your references’ as well. So don’t even bother with these sites. I got a million calls from Phoenix and now I get a ton of Spam. I tried to find the article, but apparently some of these companies go so far as to call you in for interviews!

I’m also about to try — might end up being a good resource.

I’ll be sure to list more sites as I continue my search!