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This is a guest post by Sam Peters.
Unfortunately, nobody is going to be standing next to the stage waiting to hand you the keys to a brand new office and six figure job when you graduate. While the daydream is nice, the practicalities of finding employment are a little more involved than that. Don’t worry, though: with these steps, it won’t be long before you become one of those project management staffers you spent your years in business school admiring.
Hopefully you will have found a way to gain some practical business-related experience while you were still in college. Maybe you had a part time job at a bank as a teller. Perhaps you worked in the business office for your work study job. You undoubtedly have had at least one internship (most colleges won’t allow you to graduate without at least one these days) and hopefully you found one within your field. This is all experience that you can mine for potential employment after graduation.
Make sure you list all of these positions, even if they were gained through work study grants, on your resume! A potential employer wants to see that you have at least some practical experience in your field! Don’t worry if the experience is scant. There are plenty of ways that new graduates can beef up their resumes.
One of the best ways to not just beef up a resume but gain some real world experience (and, potentially make the connections you need to get a job) is by volunteering. Offer to help out in the business office at a local non-profit. While volunteering doesn’t pay off monetarily it pays off in other ways. It gets you out of the house regularly. It gives you “real world” experience that you can list on your resume. It also helps you meet people. These are people who might be able to help you find the paying job you need so much. If nothing else, they are great references to list on your resume and job applications.
Bridging the Gap
Unfortunately you might need to find ways to bridge that gap between graduation and gainful employment. This is where knowing how to create and live by a budget is important. You might also look into taking on at least a part time job to help with expenses. You’ll most likely need to live with a roommate. Don’t worry, these things aren’t permanent (except the budgeting thing—sorry readers, that’s a lifelong thing that you’ll just need to get used to doing).
The good news is that you will get there eventually. You just need to keep plugging away and stay active. That corner office will be yours before you know it!
Sam Peters is a blogger who enjoys writing about the employment market and education.
Guest post: Sam Peters
Today’s economy has hit many people in a hard way. Some people have lost their jobs, while others have simply discovered that they need to make more money to make ends meet. The job market has definitely suffered over the last few years. Now, even though jobs are returning, it is harder than ever to land gainful employment. Even if you have years of experience in your field, if you don’t have a degree you could find it very difficult to find a job.
Luckily, there is something you can do about it. There are many options available for busy adults needing to continue their education. Whether you want to attend full time to get a job quickly, or part time to keep the job you have, there are options available for you. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you are at in your career. If you want to advance in your chosen field or change careers entirely, it is never too late.
The first step in continuing your education is to determine how you are going to pay for it.
Thankfully, there are many programs available for a solution to this problem. If you have low income or no income, you may be able to qualify for a Pell Grant from the federal government to pay for part or all of your tuition.
In addition, you should be able to qualify for needs based student loans that are low interest to cover the rest of your tuition as well as books and supplies necessary for completing courses. Some student loans do not accumulate interest until you are out of school, and all student loans do not become payable until you are out of school for six months.
The next step is to find a school that you want to attend. There are online schools, traditional schools, and those schools that incorporate both methods into their degree programs. Which schooling method you choose will depend on your individual ability to learn, how you learn best, and what you have time for.
If you are working a full time job, it may be in your best interests to find an online college that offers the degree program you want to earn. This way you can do your work on your own time schedule. You can get a fair idea of colleges available and their degree programs by visiting sites like The College Network.
Once you have chosen a school and made financial arrangements, you can go about the process of transferring any college credit you have to your new degree program. This could cut down the amount of time it takes to earn your degree. In addition, many colleges offer the option to earn college credit for experience.
For example, if you have ten years of experience in marketing, you could take an exam that covers everything in a basic marketing course to get college credit for your experience. This can also greatly cut down on the work you have to do to earn a degree.
Sam Peters is a blogger who enjoys writing about career development.
A post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.
So you’ve been asked to ghostwrite a blog (or other social media status updates)…
PR pros have always served as ghostwriters in some capacity – speech writing, drafting executive quotes for press releases, developing ‘talking points’ for interviews… With the explosion in content marketing and more and more opportunities for self-publishing via social media, the role of ghostwriter has become even more common. I won’t get into the ethics of ghostwriting here. A fine and thorough discussion on that topic has already been held at the Marketing Profs blog when Beth Harte wrote Ghost Writing, Social Media and Ethics.
If you find yourself in the position of ghostwriting a blog, or tweets, or Facebook status updates, here are 7 tips for doing it well:
- Get in character – This is an obvious tip, but one that can be easily overlooked. If you’re writing a blog post on behalf of an executive, you should think about examples and references that person would use. Which media would they cite or retweet? How would they address industry leaders or bloggers (whom they may have a personal relationship with)? An easy way to remember these character references is to create a style sheet – a trick that those in the publishing world are familiar with. Copy editors use style sheets to refer to spellings of common words in the text (for consistency). Authors and “real” ghostwriters use it to keep track of their character(s)’ preferences.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – Remember that old saying, “a stitch in time saves nine”? Up-front planning is essential and so is an agreement with your boss that covers the rules of engagement, the editing and approval process for posts and an understanding of how responses and comments are handled. And timeframes! Don’t forget to talk about timeliness.
- Play it straight – There are many different shades of ghostwriting. Are you writing copy based on the perspective of one person? Or writing in the voice of a company or brand that needs to stick to core marketing messages? Whatever role and voice you are tasked with, stick to it.
- Be a professional at all times – social media is certainly a pulpit, but should never be used by a professional as a bully pulpit. And for pete’s sake, consider the bridges that don’t need to be burned and don’t do this.
- Know when to call in your boss – This is sort of an extension of Tip #2. It goes beyond notifying your boss when someone comments on the post or providing status reports on the SEO results. The purpose of social media is to engage with one another online – part of a PR professional’s role is to identify opportunities for their boss or client to make those connections and as a ghostwriter you are in a unique position to initiate and identify opportunities.
- Don’t misrepresent your identity and/or motives online — I can’t really think of any time when it makes sense to fool a reader. Most audiences know that the busy CEO who is communicating with them didn’t draft, edit and post their own lines. Unless it’s obvious that the CEO does do that (in which case a ghostwriter is not in the picture). Audiences accept that – to an extent – and they also assume that the ghostwritten words they’re reading reflect the true intent of the CEO.
- Be trustworthy – Trust is essential in all client relationships so earn that trust in your role as a ghostwriter. Start by building in extra review time and making time to discuss topic ideas and run concepts by your boss. Demonstrate that you are on top of things by having the right tracking mechanisms in place. These practices will seem more and more natural as time goes by.
Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on LindsayOlson.com. You can find her at www.kprcommunications.com. Learn more about Alison Kenney.
This is a guest post from Hearing Direct.
Hearing loss, especially age related hearing loss is a common condition which affects many job seekers. There are couple of strategies which will help to better manage the situation and to improve job interview chances.
Strategies to tackle phone interviews:
1. Ask for a written interview instead – employers will often conduct a telephone interview to short list suitable candidates for a face to face interview. If you have difficulty with telephone interviews due to hearing loss, you should be open about your hearing loss and request a written interview by email. Employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments.
2. Use a telephone aid – there are plenty of devices which can amplify sound to a level which will allow you to hear the other person on the line. These are called ALDs (or assistive listening devices) and for a job interview by telephone, an external amplifier or extra loud phone will do the job. You may also find it useful to conduct the interview in a quiet room where you can focus on listening to the interviewer rather than background noises.
3. Conduct a mock interview – if you haven’t had a telephone interview for a while or you are looking to try a new telephone amplifier, a mock interview is often the answer. The interviewer can be a friend or family member and will ensure you are ready for the real deal.
Strategies to tackle face to face interviews:
3. Position yourself accordingly – if you find yourself in a job interview and find it hard to hear the other person, consider these strategies. Move closer and position yourself so that you are facing the interviewer. Ensure that the room is well lit and you can see the interviewer clearly. Watch
the speaker’s face, lips and gestures for clues as to what’s being said.
4. Fill in words – don’t strain to hear every word. People with normal hearing miss words during an interview as well and ‘fill in’ the missing words and understand the concept from the other sentences. You should adopt the same strategy.
5. Use a hearing aid – hearing aids are small micro-engineered computers which can amplify external sound to a suitable level. In recent years, hearing healthcare professionals have seen large changes, not just in what hearing devices can do, but how they are worn. These changes
can be attributed to a reduction in the size of components, increased durability and cosmetic concerns on the part of the wearer. In most cases, the hearing aid will not be visible so any concerns of cosmetic appearance are unjustifiable.
Job Interview mistakes to avoid:
Hearing loss is a common condition and you should disclose your condition to the interviewer to avoid unexpected concerns and misconceptions. Employers have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for interviews and employees. People who suffer from hearing loss without disclosing their condition or without taking steps to improve the situation might be seen as difficult to work with by their co-workers or by their managers.
Article by hearing aids seller, Hearing Direct. If you wish to find out more about hearing loss you
can read our guide to hearing and hearing loss.
I started writing my bi-monthly column on PRNewser again. This week it's about digital vs. traditional resumes and which is more important.
Here's an excerpt:
The digital resume has been a hot topic of debate with the rising popularity of social and professional networking sites. People ask me all the time if they should be replacing their traditional resumes with a new, digital format. My answer: yes and no.
See the rest of the post on PRNewser - From The Recruiter's Desk: Digital Vs. Traditional Resumes
This is a guest post by Dacrie Brooks.
During this time of year, most people - determined not to make the same mistake twice - will take a retrospective look back to what could've be done differently.
And while this typically involves personal retrospection (i.e., losing weight, better financial planning, etc), it wouldn't hurt for PR professionals to examine PR lessons learned from 2009. Whether it's re-evaluating your approach to counseling clients, maintaining better PR budgets in 2010, or simply making it a priority to communicate more effectively to media - every PR pro should have a resolution!
So, while we're all in the spirit of giving this holiday season - I'm going to share my top two lessons learned in 09 and resolutions to strive for in 2010. Here we go:
1. Become a Better Communicator
If you've been a PR professional for more than a decade (like me), it's time to brush up on your communication skills. As a senior PR professional, I have been guilty (I'm admitting this) of assuming that my clients understand how to reach their target audiences through media. But in retrospect, I've learned not to assume and to challenge my clients' thinking, strategies and ways of doing things. The same approach is not always the best approach. In 2010, I want to push my clients to become more innovative, strategic and passionate in the way they communicate with media. In order to do this, I must also push myself to think beyond the now.
2. Gain A Greater Sense of Balance
In 2009, everything is social. Whether it's Facebook, Friendfeed, Linkedin, Digg or Twitter - almost everybody, everywhere is on one social media network. They're even corporate communications programs specifically designed to be social. So now, people in the PR world are seeking to fill positions that require social media savvy experts.
But amid all of the social networks and social buzzwords, communications professionals should never fully discard traditional media. In fact, a solid PR campaign typically strikes a good balance between social and traditional media, and depends on both to make a real impact. In 2010, I want to continue working with bloggers and online media but I should be coming up with new ways to blend the two to help clients build and reinforce their brands.
Dacrie Brooks is a seasoned PR executive with more than 10 years of media relations experience. She works with some of the nation's most widely respected journalists at the top business and daily news outlets. You can find her at Brooks Media Relations.
If you haven't noticed already, Facebook Search has become much more powerful. You can now search by keyword your Friends status updates. If you are looking for a job, this is one extra tool to add to your daily search routine.
It's easy. Search for any keyword terms you want (i.e. job, PR Manager, AE, etc.) Once your search results appear, take a look at the filters on the left side of the page and click Post by Friends (or everyone depending on your search terms).
It's that time again. I write a bi-monthly guest column on PRNewser. This post is about how employers view unemployed candidates and a job search tips for those who find themselves in this position.
Here's an excerpt:
Olson's latest column answers a question that has been popping up with increasing frequency as of late: is unemployment a disadvantage in your job search?
I'm asked this question every day. Maybe you saw the recent Wall Street Journal article, Only the Employed Need Apply, about employer's attitudes towards unemployed candidates? That one got me very fired up and I ended up writing a bit more about it on my blog.
I wish I could say that employers today equally evaluate the skills of the employed versus the unemployed for their open positions, but it's simply not true. Unemployment raises a whole slew of questions and judgments that doesn't affect employed candidates. Some hiring managers, especially those who have never been a victim of a reduction in their careers, admittedly or not, equate the laid off with the damaged. Others believe that a company would never let go of their superstars - if the unemployed candidates were any good they would be still employed.
See the rest of the post and three tips to help in the job search on PRNewser.
From the Recruiter's Desk: Is Unemployment a Disadvantage in Your Job Search?
This is a guest post by Chris Perry. Chris is a Gen Y Brand and Marketing Generator, a Career Search and Personal Branding Expert and the Founder of Career Rocketeer, the Career Search and Personal Branding Blog.
Being an avid fan of Michael Jackson, his music, his moves and his effect on the evolution of music itself, I was truly sorry to hear of his death on June 25th.
However, all of the recent media attention and tributes to his life and his music career made me realize how effective his personal branding efforts were throughout his career and how powerful his personal brand has become as a result.
While personal branding did not exist in its now-better-defined form when Michael first started to shine in the Jackson 5, Michael, like all musicians, did encounter the need to build up and protect his reputation in order to continue to rise to greater levels of fame and success.
Michael Jackson was a personal branding genius with respect to music and dance. He never ceased to push the limits with his look, his dress and his new moves and dance routines, and he continued to produce hit after hit in the height of his career, thereby totally revolutionizing the industry.
Despite multiple factors that detracted from his overall personal brand, including his eccentricities and the legal allegations against him, his natural strengths and promotional efforts in music and dance were so overwhelmingly powerful that they have almost overridden any negative memories of him. Regardless of whatever personal problems he grappled with, I have respect for his personal brand and the unique and differentiating value he brought to the table throughout his life.
What are some lessons you can learn from the late King of Pop about personal branding?
- Establish your own personal brand by identifying your true strengths, values and goals and by combining them into one-or-two-word personal brand and supporting brand pitch or statement. Remember, Michael Jackson was the self-proclaimed King of Pop; however, because he always reinforced that claim with his unique strengths, hit songs and musical and dance performances, that′s how he will always be remembered.
- Make yourself present and be heard on each and every stage on which you play a role. No one had any doubt when Michael Jackson entered the stage, because he made himself known and promoted himself and his personal brand through his performances. Make yourself, your strengths and your personal brand known whenever you enter "the stage" through your performance and actions.
- Be consistent in all of your personal branding efforts both online and offline and both professionally and socially. This includes your one-or-two-word personal brand, your appearance, the look of your online social networking profiles, your performance on the job, your contributions at and outside of work and more. MJ′s peculiarities and the legal allegations against him unfortunately weakened the social side of his overall personal brand; however, his professional side was so strong that it frequently compensated for the personal. Imagine how powerful your personal brand could be even on a more local scale if you remain consistent across all of the spheres in which you choose to exist and be active, both publicly and privately. Declare yourself, and then be what you declare.
I have been working with a recruiter for more than six months who has told me they have presented me for a number of different positions in a firm where I would very much like to work. I consistently see job postings for this firm in various places, but the recruiter has not been forthcoming with details about any positions available or the timing of interviews, etc, only to say... "they work slowly", "they have to coordinate a lot of people to see you" and "any day now".
I'm beginning to feel like I'm being strung along as a "backup candidate" to present if others do not materialize. Can I contact the hiring firm directly through their job listings? And if so, how do I approach them if I may have already been presented by the recruiter?
If this recruiting firm said they presented you for multiple positions with this company, then it's a safe bet to say they probably have. If you are a fit for the position, I can't imagine the firm is holding back your candidacy. If you have some of the qualifications, but are not the ideal fit for the position, then your suspicions may be correct. Also, if you aren't local, the firm may be holding out to find a local candidate to present at the same time as you.
It's important to remember how recruiters are compensated: They only get paid on a contingency search if they successfully make a placement and that's most likely the case here. The firm is not going to hold back a candidate who is a placement waiting to happen. If the firm said they sent you in, more likely, the company didn't feel it was an exact fit and has said, "keep her warm, but we want to see more candidates." The recruiter doesn't want to tell you that because the company may come back and he wants to keep you interested. Recruiter rationale is that stringing it along for a bit is better than saying the company didn't jump to see you and said they want to see more candidates - implying you are not a strong fit and leaving you with a negative impression about his client.
The other scenario is the company isn't communicating with the recruiter, so the recruiter has nothing to tell you. If he is at a stand-still, you are too. That happens typically when the company isn't really serious about hiring.
In any of these cases, if the recruiter has sent in your resume and presented you for multiple positions, you should not go over his head and re-submit your information directly to the company. The company is contractually obligated to work with the recruiter if he already submitted your information. The company will question why you are going around the staffing agency and you will burn a bridge with a recruiter who could be an essential part of your career toolbox for years to come.
Regardless, I'd continue to look into your other options. If it takes six months and counting for a company to move forward with an interview, they aren't serious about you or they aren't serious about the position. A job posting online doesn't mean the position actually exists.
On another note: Not all recruiting agencies or recruiters are created equal. If you feel like the recruiter is dishonest and lying, cut your ties and use your best judgment. Just remember, if he or she has presented you for the position and your efforts pan out in an interview, you'll be working with them anyways.
Photo credit: Eleaf