This is a guest post by Josh Morgan.
It′s easy to say, but not always easy to do. I′ve tried to not burn any bridges as I′ve wound my way through my career. This has included working at agency that started small and grew until it was acquired, then leaving to go to a startup agency that cratered, going in-house to a networking start-up founded and run by one of my best friends (and getting laid-off on my honeymoon as the company shut down), going to Apple, leaving Apple and working for Apple′s former PR firm and leaving there to start my own firm.
It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn′t. The thing is, along the way, I was hired everywhere by people I had worked for or with in the past. When I started my career at Alexander Communications (which became Alexander/Ogilvy and now just Ogilvy PR) I was an intern. About two years after completing the intern program and becoming an employee, I became the intern program coordinator. One of the first interns I managed in that role was Nicole Jordan (kickingsand.com).
A few years later, I was hired by a former colleague from Alexander at Apple, where one of the staffers on our agency team was"¦..Nicole Jordan who was now working at Edelman. Eventually, Apple brought all of their US PR work in house and let Edelman go.
After a few years at Apple, our family made the decision to leave Silicon Valley and the Bay Area (believe me, not an easy decision with my wife having grown up in Saratoga and me in Marin) and move to El Dorado Hills, outside Sacramento. I began interviewing for positions in Sacramento, and made the decision to tell my supervisor at Apple what I was doing and why and give my notice, before I found a new job. Maybe not the best financial decision, but I didn′t want to be sneaking around and leave on a bad note.
After contracting for a little VoIP company that was launching (Skype) I was hired by Edelman in Sacramento, partly on the recommendation of former colleagues from both inhouse and Edelman. Since this was a public affairs focused office and I was at the time mostly a technology kind of guy, my being hired was greatly influenced by the input of people with whom I had worked before.
This is a bit of long, rambling way to say that no matter what your industry, it′s an incredibly small world, and getting smaller. Do all you can to not burn bridges. The impetus for this thought right now was a great post, by"¦yes, Nicole Jordan. She now runs communications for the Rubicon Project down in Los Angeles.
One last note, it′s somewhat easy to say don′t burn bridges with people you work with, but also remember to not burn bridges with recruiters you work with along the way. Be honest with recruiters, and please talk with them before you are looking for a job and stay in touch with them after you find a job. How do I know all this about recruiters? I married one.
Josh runs Morgan/Dorado PR and writes at DontEatTheShrimp.com. You can find him on Twitter @joshdmorg. He's worked in PR at big companies like Apple, Edelman and with little companies that have become big.
Photo credit: Paraflyer
This month I posted a position for a Research and Communications Specialist. It's an entry-level position for a recent college graduate. I'm not an advocate of using job boards to recruit top talent, but this wasn't a position that warranted a full-scale search effort, so I posted it (disclosure: It was for Paradigm Staffing, not our clients).
I'm worried about the generation of young professionals entering the workforce if the responses I received reflect the lack of professional presentation skills upon departing these expensive university educations. My email filled with over 100 resumes for this position and only two of them were candidates I would consider based on their resumes and introductions.
Embarking on the first job search for a recent graduate is confusing, stressful and a learning experience every step of the way. But there is no excuse for not knowing the basics.
A job candidate should at least be able to write an introductory letter, especially when the job ad specifies the required materials. Of course, it should always be free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Here are some of the most interesting excerpts from this recent job post:
There I gained valuable experience in photocopying and other secretarial skills.
Lesson: Photocopying is a responsibility, but not valuable experience. Demonstrate value to an organization through your accomplishments. Find a way to stand out. This person's other secretarial skills should be much more noteworthy than photocopying. Think about the importance of the job and what problem the position solves for the company. Those are the skills you should play up to your prospective employer. In this particular case, the candidate could talk about efficiency and streamlining certain business practices through his or her efforts.
i living here during one year and my planes are stay until july, I am in interesting the possition.
- from a Marketing major
Lesson: Spell check. End of discussion.
As a result of my varied experiences, I have learned how to work in various situations with varied goals.
- from a recent Communications graduate
Lesson: Diversify the language. Never use the same word more than once in a sentence. Ever.
I can offer to you is seven years of education and work experience where I learned how to communicate with customers, how of working as a team with co-workers, time management skills are necessary
- from a Business Management graduate
Lesson: I get what the candidate wants to say, but unfortunately, it is very obvious he didn't bother to look at what he wrote before he sent it.
This is a from a candidate I would have interviewed until I received an email five minutes later.
I'm sorry, my Outlook sometimes has problems forwarding emails with attachments.
- Organizational Communications graduate
Lesson: If you forget the attachment, it's excusable. Just don't lie and blame it on your Outlook program. It's insulting. It's a sure sign of someone who can not take responsibility for a simple mistake. Don't worry, you're not perfect and I expect you to make a ton of mistakes in the beginning. It's okay as long as you can admit them AND learn from them.
And my personal favorite:
I am a student from California Living in ____ currently just playing baseball and going to school with free time on my hands. I am studying Communication Studies and Interntional Business at (Ivy League University) and transportation would not be problem. I think this would be great i have time on my hands and would like to be productive. Chau!
- not sure who he is because he didn't bother attaching a resume
Lesson: Some things are better left untouched.