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When Did Desk Jobs Become So Dangerous?

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0163024523d9970d 800wi When Did Desk Jobs Become So Dangerous?

This is a guest post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

It used to be the biggest workplace health risk us office workers faced was ergonomic injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. HR sent experts to talk to us about the correct chair height and the right hand position for typing, and we tried out special chairs, including the kneeling chair, or sat on inflated balls.

But like everything in life, workplace danger has amped up and PR pros who work at a computer (which would seem to be all of us; heck, 70 percent of us regularly eat lunch at our desk) are now prime candidates for “Sitting Disease.”

It’s very serious. According to a study by the American Cancer Society, men who sit for six hours or more daily have an overall death rate 20 percent higher than men who sit for three hours or less per day, i.e. they are 20 percent more likely to die of any cause than more active men.

In her U.S. News & World Report article, Lindsay Olson describes the effects of sitting disease.

…“Prolonged sitting increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and even death. Here are other shocking statistics:

  • People who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40 percent increased risk of death in the next three years, compared with people who sit for four hours or less.
  • Workers who have held sedentary roles for more than 10 years have twice the risk of colon cancer.
  • The longer people sit, the shorter their lifespan, even if they exercise regularly.
  • Sitting for long periods may also affect the development of musculoskeletal disorders.”

Olson recommends that PR pros become more active. Although she says there’s a caveat: “even if you consider yourself active now (meaning you spend 30 minutes or more a day engaging in physical exercise), you’re still considered high risk if you spend eight to 10 hours a day sitting.”

Her advice:

“If possible, aim for more exercise, especially on the days you’re sitting for work. Walking, hiking, biking and swimming are all excellent forms of exercise that counter the effects of sitting.

Also, look into standing and walking more at work and at home. Rather than call or IM a co-worker, walk over to her office. Park farther away in the parking lot so that you have another opportunity to walk. Invest in a FitBit or other pedometer device and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Stand up while watching TV, or at least during commercial breaks. Build activity into your day, even if it’s in five-minute bursts.”

Other options include getting a treadmill desk. Susan Orlean wrote this piece for the New Yorker about her experience with a treadmill desk and the compulsive step count-checking she does with her Fitbit (may need to subscribe to read the entire article).

Of course, there are times when all you’ve got is a chair. If you want to make the best of your situation and ensure you’re practicing the proper posture, perhaps you’re a candidate for the LUMOback, a belt-like device that vibrates if your posture slumps.

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.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.

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What’s the Best College Major for a Career in PR?

college degree What’s the Best College Major for a Career in PR?

This is a guest post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

Back-to-school season is in full swing and President Obama has finished up his tour to promote reforming the cost of college. Among other things, he is proposing a new college ranking system that includes schools’ track record in finding graduates jobs. Which got me wondering about how many of my colleagues in planned to work in PR while they were still university students? How many PR pros selected their major because they thought it would be the best choice for a career in PR?

Is it best to get a degree in PR (if it’s offered)? Yes, argues Staci Harvatin in her PR Daily article. She makes the case based on the availability of PR programs today that have strong curriculum and offer solid foundations to prepare you to handle everything a PR job in the real world can throw at you.

For me, PR evolved as a career choice – there were no PR or communication courses at my alma mater (I guess I’m one of the “veterans” that Staci Harvatin refers to); it was after a couple of PR internships that I actively pursued it as a career.

Like me, many PR pros are English majors. It has typically been deemed a good major for PR. The emphasis on writing and clear communication is critical in public relations and having a broad, liberal arts education can help in strategic and creative PR program planning. As, this Princeton Review entry explains,

“Though some colleges offer a degree in public relations, most industry professionals agree it’s unnecessary. Since public relations requires familiarity with a wide variety of topics, a broad education is the best preparation. Any major that teaches you how to read and write intelligently will lay good foundation for a career in public relations. Or, as one PR person put it “if you can write a thesis on Dante, you should be able to write a press release.” Internships are a common way to get some practical experience and break into the field.”

But times are changing, and this NY Times opinion piece explains that that reverence for an education grounded in the humanities is declining, as its most obvious manifestation: the ability to write well. The media has been reporting on the decline in liberal arts educations, which can be expensive and are becoming viewed as a luxury that’s not viable. The New Yorker tries to put an end to the discussion by addressing each argument for and against majoring in English, and settling finally on “just because” as the answer.

What about other routes to a career in PR? Lots of PR pros got to their position after studying other aspects of marketing and business management. Others switch over to PR after a more technical role in a particular industry, e.g. practicing healthcare PR after working as a nurse. The HR director at my former agency used to say that he prefers to hire account coordinators who’ve worked as waiters, because they adapt easily to the service business aspect of PR.

What was your college major? How has it affected your career in PR?

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.

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Are Recruiters Looking for You On Social Media?

social media search 320x202 Are Recruiters Looking for You On Social Media?

Think only your friends are hanging out on Twitter or Facebook? Think again — especially if you’re hunting for your next job.

Employment recruiters are spending more time looking for qualified job candidates on social media, it seems. Because so many professionals are branding themselves as experts on social sites, recruiters are finding it easier to locate people with the skill set they’re looking for.

Here’s the portion of recruiters that are looking for you on social media (Inc. Magazine):

  • LinkedIn: 98%
  • Twitter: 42%
  • Facebook: 33%

Position Yourself to Be Found Through Social Media

For those of you who haven’t put any attention into making your social media profiles a beacon for recruiters to find, Vinda Rao, Marketing Manager for recruiting software company Bullhorn, offers these tips:

  1. Keep your social media profile clean. It does matter: 98% of recruiters used social media for recruiting in 2012, so make sure what they’re finding out about you online is professional and appealing.

  1. Can’t juggle several social media accounts? Focus on LinkedIn. You’ll find more recruiters on LinkedIn than any other social media network. Nearly 100% of recruiters use it, compared to their less frequent activity on Twitter and Facebook.

  1. Are you aiming big or small? Tailor your social networking use to your goal. U.S. recruiters at small companies are less likely to recruit on LinkedIn than big companies, but are more likely to use Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Have some downtime while lounging by the pool or on a long bus ride? Check job opportunities on the go: 53% of recruiters found mobile recruiting technology extremely important.

  1. Your Alma Mater may not matter as much as you think. Fewer than 4% of recruiters say that the name of the school the applicant attended would truly help differentiate her as a candidate.

  1. Depending on what field you studied, research what social network your industry focuses on. Interested in the restaurant or fashion industries, for example? Twitter is your best bet. Security and legal candidates are best suited to search for opportunities on LinkedIn, and those looking for a job in nursing should be perusing Facebook.

Let Your Beacon Shine

The point here is: social media can expand your horizons when it comes to helping you find a job. The more places you look, the faster you’ll secure the position you really want. Make sure you shine on social media, and share a variety of updates and links to show that you know your stuff:

  • Share links to your blog content and promote relevant content of others. Ask questions to get people to click
  • Engage in conversations with other industry professionals
  • Answer questions people have about your field on LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, or hop on Quora and get involved in discussions
  • Retweet relevant content and share your own two cents
  • Share your own insight on a subject, and don’t be afraid to weigh in on topics that matter to a professional in your field.
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What Makes a Great Flexible Worker?

 What Makes a Great Flexible Worker? Wondering if you’re a good fit for a flexible work situation? It’s not for everyone. Being able to work from home requires independence and focus. If those dirty dishes easily lure you away from a morning of slogging away on your laptop, you might not make the best flexible worker, at least in your boss’ eyes.

According to business and workplace expert Alexandra Levit, who has partnered with Flexjobs to talk about flexible work, there are several traits that make for a more successful flexible employee:

  1. Self discipline: Going back to that dirty dishes example; it’s imperative that you be able to ignore all distractions while working from home. And without a micromanaging boss peering over your shoulder, you’ll have to motivate yourself to get the job done.

  2. Confidence: You can’t get the buy-in of your supervisor for every decision you make if you’re working out of your home. You’ll need to be confident in your decisions and not second guess each one.

  3. Resourcefulness: There’s a reason why recent grads don’t often find flexible work situations: it takes experience to be able to run with a task after receiving only minimal direction on it. The longer you’ve been in the workforce, the more able you will be to act resourcefully and find answers yourself.

  4. Comfortable with Self-Imposed Deadlines: If you thrive under the pressure of your boss cracking the whip over your head just before a deadline, you might not succeed if you’re working alone at home. You’ll be responsible for meeting deadlines, and there won’t be anyone yelling in your ear to get it done.

  5. Extroversion: Just because you’re out of sight in the office shouldn’t mean you become out of mind. It’s even more important, says Levit, to stay visible when you’re not in the office every day. This means you’ll have to spend time developing professional relationships and staying in contact with your team, even if it’s just for a little office news.

Can These Skills Be Learned?

If you didn’t identify with any of the traits listed above, don’t despair. You may be able to learn to create laser focus on your work, and to flourish without the watchful eye of your manager. Above all, you can develop solid communication skills that will help you succeed as a flexible worker.

“I think that the most critical trait to be a great flexible worker is to be a proactive communicator,” Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of Flexjobs, surmises, “Although I probably think it’s the most critical trait in almost any job, it’s even more so with telecommuting, freelance, or flexible schedule arrangements, because you can’t fall back on some of the traditional ways to check in with your colleagues.”

Strong communication will also be what sells your boss on the idea of you working remotely. If you want to pitch yourself as a good candidate for telecommuting, start by showing him what a fantastic communicator you can be. Every goal, process, and project you work on should be a part of a conversation. Once you show that you’re on top of it (and he can spend more time worrying about other employees), he may loosen up and let you test out a flexible work situation.

What if It’s Not Right for You?

You may prefer the structure and connection that come with working in an office, and that’s okay. Be honest about your ideal work environment, and if it doesn’t consist of working from your home or elsewhere, hang on to your cubicle!

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Do PR Pros Need to be Moneyballers?

Merge Do PR Pros Need to be Moneyballers?

This is a post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

The mega merger announced by Publicis and Omnicom last month is a big deal for a number of reasons.

One of the key messages that arose from the merger chatter is that Big Data itself is a Big Deal.

Entrepreneur saw the move as a way for the two firms to “be better equipped to participate in an industry that’s quickly become dominated by data analysis and automated ad buying.”

While others might argue that this mega merger isn’t the best or only way to equip oneself, no one would disagree that

“Advertisers now have the ability to deliver highly targeted ads to individuals over the Internet, using a trove of data collected about that person’s location, likes, age, gender and shopping preferences.”

And, that, therefore, has established a new paradigm of players in marketing: “All of that means the new giants in the field – and a competitive threat to Omnicom and Publicis – are those with plenty of user data: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and even Salesforce.com and Adobe Systems.”

Patrick Morrissey at DataSift, a big data platform for social businesses, sees the Publicis/Omnicom deal as recognition of Big Data’s importance and a harbinger of changes to come in the advertising world. He predicts that agencies will double down on social data, they will get into the software game and the analyst/engineer will become the new AE.

It seems everyone from the largest advertising firms in the world to niche independent players is trying to convince clients and shareholders that they can establish a winning business model around data and social platforms.

As Phil Johnson, CEO of PJA Advertising+Marketing said to AdAge:

“Clients want agile agencies with an entrepreneurial spirit that can move fast and respond to change in real time. Small agencies have been selling this point hard for years. On the other hand, large brands also want global agencies that can reach every corner of the world, harness the power of new digital technologies, create every imaginable form of content, ride the wave of mobile advertising and tame the black box of media-buying algorithms… To be effective, we all need to make peace with that contradiction between agility and global scale.”

What does this mean for PR firms? Do PR pros need to be moneyballers skilled in the use of sabermetrics?

Not so fast, says Todd Defren who wrote on SHIFT’s blog:

Make no mistake, this merger was about Advertising, Technology and Media Buying more so than Public Relations. Even though the workaday practice of being successful in Social Media (e.g., community management, social customer service) belongs squarely in the PR camp, the Big Money is still to be made in the Paid Media arena.  There are a great many superb PR pros in those conglomerates, but they will always play second fiddle to the paid media masters of the universe.

And, Marketo’s Jon Miller is adamant that Data needs Creative just as Creative needs Data.

What impact do you think this merger will have on the PR industry? Will Big Data play a role in PR? What would it look like if you merged a traditional PR program with data analytics?

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.

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Top 7 PR Grad Programs in the U.S.

masters program admissions Top 7 PR Grad Programs in the U.S.

This is a guest post by Sam Peters, a blogger who enjoys writing about career development and education.

Public Relations has seen a recent explosion of new jobs within both the private and public sector. Whether you’ve trained to be a publicist, investor relations professional or public affairs officer, more companies are now seeing the importance of PR within their company, and have thus, opened positions to thousands of communications professionals in the workforce.

Although opportunities in this field are rapidly increasing, many employers still require its potential employees to have some form of specialized training through post-graduate studies.

If you’ve often thought about going back to school to earn your Master’s in order to move up on the corporate ladder or even to qualify for a coveted position, you should definitely only consider attending one of the best programs in the nation. To better help you research graduate programs, here’s a list of the top 7 nationally-ranked programs in PR.

Ball State University

Located in Munice, Indiana, Ball State University’s undergraduate PR program is one of the most popular PR programs in the country. The past few years, the graduate program at BSU has received an increasing number of applicants that wish to further their understanding of PR through a PRSA-certified program. BSU offers both campus and online classes, making it easy to attend classes remotely.

Columbia University

Looking to expand your understanding in strategic communications? Columbia University offers a program made specifically for potential-PR executives. Located in New York, the hub for all PR in the east coast, this Master’s of Science degree program takes about 40 students per year, which makes it one of the most competitive, and highly-sought after programs in the nation. Because Columbia University is one of the most expensive private universities in the U.S., you may need to consider a combination of loans, financial aid and college credit cards from NerdWallet to pay for tuition. It’s definitely worth having a name like Columbia University on your degree.

Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the strategic communications program in Emerson College is considered one of the best PR colleges because of its award-winning, professional faculty. Instead of learning from PR researchers and college professors, the classes at Emerson College are taught by actual, PR executives, making one of the PR practice-oriented colleges in the U.S.

Georgetown University

One of the oldest universities in the country, Georgetown University has been known to produce industry leaders, including pioneers in the PR field. The college offers a Master’s degree in public relations and corporate relations, ideal for those who want to advance within their current position. The program emphasizes strategic thinking, leadership and the use of ethics in the profession.

John Hopkins University

If research and theory in communications is your forte, then the Master’s of Arts in Communications could be ideal for you. Located in Washington D.C., the PR program at John Hopkin’s uses research-based tools to make strategic decisions in PR in order to certify desired results, skills that could be put to great use in consumer relations and public affairs. This amazing program is accessible online and on-campus, making it easily accessible to anyone who’s admitted.

New York University

Like Emerson College, the Master’s of Science in PR and Corporate Communications program revolves around executive PR-practices. In fact, the faculty at NYU’s PR program is also made up of industry professionals. This program combines theory and practice, which makes it unique among other PR programs in the nation.

University of Southern California

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC offers professionals a Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations, ideal for those who want to gain intimate knowledge in specific fields of PR. The program is centered around PR trends and practices. The school also offers an international degree, where grad students can apply what they’ve learned in PR in countries like the UK, China or South Africa. Did I mention they have amazing financial aid coverage for tuition?

There’s no better investment than education. Education will never decrease in value, especially if they have the teachings of one of these amazing schools behind them. By continuing your education in public relations, you’ll learn what it means to be an industry professional.

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5 Reasons You Should Volunteer to Find a Job

volunteering 5 Reasons You Should Volunteer to Find a Job

If you’re new to the workforce or changing fields, you find it hard to get hired. It seems like there are always people out there more qualified and with more experience than you. And while you could take a job out of your area of interest, you’d rather find another way to get the experience you need so that you’re more hireable to employers.

Consider volunteering.

By giving your time to a company or nonprofit that needs your skills, you reap multiple benefits.

1. You Ramp Up Your Skills

If your resume is still a little thin, volunteering is a great way to enhance your current skills to position yourself as an appealing job candidate. Let’s say you have a degree in public relations. Agencies feel you don’t yet have enough experience to interact with clients, but if you volunteer to do PR for a nonprofit, you get the opportunity to write more, interact with the media, plan events, and represent a brand on social media. That already makes your resume look better.

2. You Get to Meet (the Right) People

While your goal in volunteering shouldn’t be to directly get a job with the company you work for pro bono, it can happen. And even if that company doesn’t need you, the people you impress there might be able to refer you to contacts who are looking to hire.

3. You Learn New Skills

In addition to boosting what you already know, volunteering can introduce you to new tools and skills you didn’t already have. Consider it on-the-job training, without the pay. Maybe you’ve been curious about an email marketing platform, but didn’t want to invest in paying for it just to gain the skill. If you volunteer for a company that uses it, you get the opportunity to learn how to use it and add that skill to your resume.

4. You Can Fill in the Resume Gaps

Hiring managers often raise an eyebrow when there’s a noticeable time gap between jobs. If you’re simply trying to find a job during that gap, volunteering can make it look better. It shows that you’ve been proactive in trying to find a job and better yourself professionally.

5. You Can Feel Good

The altruistic purpose of volunteering shouldn’t be overlooked here. By giving your time, you can help organizations or groups that you feel an affinity for. Volunteering about a cause you are passionate about can help you feel like you’re making a difference.

How to Start Volunteering

Convinced that volunteering will help you find a job? Start by being realistic about the amount of time you can commit. It’s better to under commit to, say, once a week, than to promise you’ll help every day and not be able to do so. And keep room in your schedule to continue the job search, and to go on interviews, as that is still your number one focus.

Some places to get started to find volunteer opportunities in your local region.

 

Idealist.org

Volunteer Match

All for Good

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11 Habits of Highly Effective PR Relationships

puzzle 11 Habits of Highly Effective PR Relationships

This is a post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

It takes more than tactics and knowledge to succeed in public relations. Your career needs more than the ability to land clients in feature coverage in top media outlets. You also have to be a skilled salesperson, able to convince others that your communication strategy is the right way to go.

Think about it:

What good are your pitches if client doesn’t sign off on them so you can send them?

Your brilliant strategies won’t be worth anything if you don’t have “a seat at the table” and the ability to pitch your ideas to management and get them on board.

In other words, your role as a trusted strategic partner will be a bust if you can’t get your client or boss interested in what you have to say.

How do you do that?

Communicate regularly – As Jenny Schmitt tweeted in a recent chat about bringing team members together, “calendars…so simple, so often overlooked.” Do you have a regular, standing meeting to discuss PR updates and ideas? If not, get one on the calendar stat!

Don’t be afraid to mix it up – Call, email, text to get through to your contacts when you need to. Most of us find a preferred method for communicating and stick with that…unless you’re not getting the response you need. Tailor the communication method to the message – really important ideas that are more complex may be best explained in person or over the phone, while straight-forward status updates can be left to email.

Think before you speak – Before you jump into that great idea, think for a minute about what your counsel will sound like on the other end. Put yourself in the recipient’s position and consider how they’re likely to react to what you plan to say.

Ask questions – Open the door whenever possible to discussions that can reveal interesting background stories and help you learn more about the company, your client, their co-workers, their hobbies and interests outside of work. You never know when this information can inform a PR strategy!

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes – You know what it’s like to do your job, but how does your boss perceive your work? What does your manager or client need most from you? What do they do with the updates and status reports you send? If you don’t know the answers to these questions – ask!

Make sure you’re starting on the same page – Do your contacts understand PR? if so, what does PR mean for them? Who did they work with in the past and how has that shaped their understanding of what PR is and what it can do? What type of return do they expect from their PR investment?

Build a relationship – Take the time to get to know your client or boss and make an effort to develop a relationship that goes beyond that of a client and vendor.  This could mean sharing personal information (but not too personal) or it could simply mean getting to know their schedules and their assistants better so that you can get in touch faster and easier when you need to.

Set expectations – Everyone knows that getting buy-in on goals, measurement and timeframes is a PR “must,” but sometimes we get busy, people come and go, and priorities shift. Re-setting can be as easy as checking in again.

Offer counsel – You were hired for your experience and with the expectation that you’d apply that experience to your current job. Offer your perspective and illustrate it with examples of situations (your own or famous case studies) to make your point or underscore your recommendations.

Listen – Chances are you’ll work with non-communications professionals at some point in your career. If they’re not good at communicating their needs, you’ll have to listen for cues. Repeat what you hear, draw out deliverables and discuss them.

Be clear when budgets are concerned – It may feel awkward to bring up the question of budget, but it’s much worse to have to talk about surprises when dollars are concerned.

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.

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10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your Resume

Resume Mistakes 583x332 10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your ResumeWhen it comes to creating your resume, there are some obvious no-nos you should avoid, like naming your resume, well, “resume.” Here are more things that will turn off an employer, and that you should avoid doing at all costs.

1. Your 1-Month Stint at an Ice Cream Shop

When you’re a new grad, it’s hard to know what to put on your resume, simply because you don’t have a long work history. But as you gain experience, start moving those unrelated summer jobs off of your resume, especially if they were extremely short. Also: if you worked in a professional job for a month or two, it’s probably better to leave it off, or hiring managers will question why you couldn’t stay at the job longer.

2. Annoying Buzzwords

Let me guess: you’re highly organized, a people person, and a multi-tasker. These are filler words on a resume, and employers are sick of seeing them. Really consider the best words to describe what you do. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.

3. All Your Extra-Curricular Activities

When you’re first taught to create a resume in high school or college, you’re encouraged to put all your extracurricular activities down, like cheerleading or rock climbing. While I don’t think hobbies necessarily kill a resume and can paint a better overall picture of the candidate, I do think they can take up valuable real estate if it doesn’t tie in somehow to your career or demonstrate characteristics important for the position.

4. Over-Personal Information

Proud as you may be to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, or of your church or political party, your resume isn’t the place for it.

5. Your Date of Birth

In the United States, employers are skittish about topics they can’t broach with you (age, race, marital status, etc.), so keep your date to yourself. Let your experience speak for itself, not the age.

6. Why You Were Fired

If you were let go in a previous role, your resume isn’t the place to discuss it. Actually, you should probably not bring it up at all in an introduction if you were fired. Let the employer guide that discussion if you’re invited in for an interview.

7. A Headshot

You don’t really want to be judged based on how you look if you’re trying to get a job based on merit, so nix on the photo. Even though these days it is pretty easy to see a photo on any professional or personal social network, it’s not a widely accepted practice to include a headshot on your traditional resume in the United States.

8. Every Responsibility You Had at Every Job

Your resume is supposed to show a few of the key responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Choose three to five that you think are the most noteworthy and relevant to the job, tying them into your major achievements.

9. The Cute Font

As cute as Comic Sans is as a font, it doesn’t belong on your resume. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to a font type that’s easy to read. It doesn’t need to be Times New Roman or Arial. Play with Calibri, Book Antiqua, Century, Garamond, or Georgia.

10. Unprofessional Email Address

Email addresses are free. Get an email with your name. Luvbunny_22@hotmail.com isn’t going to cut it. Obvious, right? I still get emails like this from applicants. The same goes for shared couple/family email addresses. Get your own email address for the job search. It’s a small investment of your time and you can always auto-forward responses to your most frequently used email if necessary.

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Why Handwritten Thank You Notes Beat Email

thank you Why Handwritten Thank You Notes Beat Email

The art of writing a thoughtful thank you note is nearly extinct, but that’s not how it should be. Call me old school. And for the record, I feel the same about the “resumes are dead” argument, because guess what? Every single company I have recruited for always asks for one. The only exception has been when the candidate and the hiring manager already know each other. It’s a fun discussion, but in reality, most companies expect you to have one.

Okay, back to thank you notes.

While it’s certainly easier to send a quick email to thank an employer for inviting you for an interview, there are a myriad of reasons why it’s better to send a handwritten note.

1. Not Everyone Sends One

Many other job candidates won’t go to the trouble to send a handwritten thank you card, and that’s reason enough to send one. You want to stand out as the best candidate, and doing something unique like this goes in your favor.

2. It Puts You on the Hiring Manager’s Desk

More than likely, the person who interviewed you won’t throw away your card, at least not right away. Instead, it will sit on her desk, serving as a reminder of the thoughtful sender and potential hire. She’ll forget about the other candidates she was considering!

3. It Shows You’re Serious

Not everyone who comes in for an interview gives off the vibe that they’re completely dedicated to working for the company that interviews them. By taking the time to write a thoughtful note, you’re showing your interest in the position and proving that you’re serious about getting the job.

4. It Gives You the Chance to Connect on a Personal Level

If you can tie your note to something you learned in an interview, it’s even better. Here is a quick story: My candidate goes to the interview and notices in the HR managers office a few references to Paris. Come to find out, she loves Paris. Candidate goes out and finds a postcard of something in Paris to add to her mini-collection. What do you think the first thing I heard when I got the feedback on the interview? Yep, the postcard.

5. Everyone Likes Mail

Because we do so much of our communicating via email, getting a nice card in the mail is an unexpected delight. The recipient will be happy to get it, and it will stand out against the pile of junk mail she’s used to receiving.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Email

While there’s nothing specifically wrong with sending an email thank you and certainly a vast majority of people send an email, it lacks the thoughtfulness and the personal aspect of a handwritten note. Add to that the fact that HR managers and hiring managers are often swamped with email, and your email might not even get read or make it to her inbox.

While 62% of hiring managers get email thank you notes the most, that’s no reason to rely on what’s expected. Email feels too easy to some, and people like to feel like you put forth some effort. Above all, stay classy. In an Accountemps survey, text messaging has started to show up on the list of methods that hiring managers are getting thank yous, as has social media. But only 10% of hiring managers and 27% respectively think these are acceptable channels to use.

Sending a Thank You Note

Always use quality stationery or notecards when sending your thank you note. You can buy “thank you” cards or ones with an appealing image on them. Invest in a nice pen, and use your best handwriting.

The note doesn’t have to be long. Just thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to speak with her, and reiterate your interest in the role and look for any opportunity to inject a bit of personality or personal connection. You may say something similar for each note you write, but make sure you’re not overly generic, as you want the recipient to feel that you thought out what you wrote to her.

Send your card the same day as the interview if you can. You want to be fresh on the hiring manager’s mind when she makes her final decision. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss out in case she makes her decision quickly.

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