Sebrieanna’s Start


Driving Traffic and Recruiting?

Posted in START Working by Sondra on January 13, 2010
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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.

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There is Material.

Posted in START Working by Sondra on August 8, 2009
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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
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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 “IWantToMarryEdwardCullen@gmail.com”. 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
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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
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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.