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The Laid Off Chronicles — Chronicles End

This is not going to be a surprise for some,  but here it  goes: I am employed again!!

Who says you can’t go home again? I have gone back to where I enjoyed my greatest success- TracyLocke. I will be working with an independent Pepsi Bottler that is the largest in the U.S. From now on, my house will be fully stocked with Pepsi products: Shameless plug alert!

For example:

 

 

 

 

 

Since being laid off in November, I’ve had to adapt to a difficult way of life. Not only was my family’s well-being on my mind ,but I also struggled with my self-confidence. With that said, I want to thank all my family and friends for their support during my time being unemployed. I know it was only a short time, but your support got me through this difficult time. I made the realization that a positive outlook was the only way to get through this trying time. Yes ,I had my down days, but I never let that become my mind frame. I had too much at stake to let self-doubt consume me.

I would also like to share with everyone, the  keys to my finding a job so fast. For starters, I revamped my entire resume. I looked at my resume compared to other professionals in my field and noticed that my resume was an eyesore. In the end, I developed a “grown up” version of my resume that I believe got the attention of employers. I also credit my personal network, job boards, and social media for opening up doors that 10 years ago there wouldn’t be any.

Here are some of my top sites that helped me in my job search:

  • LinkedIn – This is where I would us my personal network to find job opportunities
  • Indeed.com – I used Indeed.com at least twice a day to help pull job listing from Charlotte and other cities.
  • TalentZoo – This site is great for people in marketing and advertising.
  • Monster and CareerBuilder –  Both sites are useful in searching for jobs. Just make sure you keep your resume fresh. Change it every 30 days to keep it current.
  • Elance.com – Elance is not a job board but an online freelance job site. Through Elance you can set yourself up as a freelancer and build a portfolio by contracting for jobs.

Social media also helped in my job searching. Sites like Twitter and Facebook helped me find opportunities through my personal network.

So it is with a heavy heart that I retire this segment of my blog……..

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The Laid Off Chronicles — The Interview

Week 5:

I’ve been on the job hunt over the last several weeks. I have had a couple of bites from employers in the Carolinas as well as outside the state, but nothing to report yet. However, I have been on numerous interviews both by phone and face to face. Which brings me to this weeks topic, “the interview”:

The interview process can be nerve-racking to say the least. Interviewing is like dating,  you get a few minutes to make an impression before opinions start to form about you. The way I have approached the interview process is to practice interviewing. It has been years since I’ve gone through this process and I needed to have someone help me practice. I received help from a couple of different people, my wife, father-in-law and my friend Matt Hames. Matt gave me what I consider the most important advice so far, “don’t be afraid to say a promotion or social media campaign wasn’t successful. Then follow-up and explain why the campaign wasn’t successful and what you would do differently.” This is good advice on being accountable. My wife and father-in-law gave me advice on what interviewers are looking for in terms of body language, appearance and tone of voice. They also said know the company before you interview with them. My wife has had several people interview with her company that had no idea what her company was all about. It made her feel like they didn’t even care about the position they were interviewing for.

Since I have received help with interviewing, I’d thought I would share some of the tactics I use before, during, and after the interview. These tactics work for me and hopefully if you are reading this, they can help you as well.

Interview Techniques:

Research the prospective company

Nothing will turn off an interviewer more than you not knowing about their company. Try to find out as much information as possible on the company you are speaking with.  Google them to see if there are any news articles about the company. Also, go to their website and see what they do and what their mission statement is. Another tactic to use is using social media to see what people are saying about the company.

Research: (if you can) the person interviewing you

LinkedIn is a great tool for this.

This may sound a little creepy but people put their profile on LinkedIn for a reason. If you know the person you will be speaking with, look them up on LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of their background and also let you know if you have anything in common with them. If you have  something in common with the interviewer, it  can help break the ice.

Confidence:

Phone interviews:
Be confident when you answer the phone. Make sure you are clear and up beat. This sets the stage for a more personable exchange.

Face to Face:
The first impression is key. Be confident and lead with a firm hand shake. Make sure you are energetic  and have a positive tone when greeting the interviewer.

Q&A:

During this part of the interview, try to go over your  history in a positive manner. Nothing bores an interviewer more than a monotone account of your past work life. When the interviewer asks questions regarding your work experience, try to interject examples of your own work experiences. Showing how you are able to work speaks volumes to the interviewer. This can lead to great follow-up questions from both sides.

A critical part of the interview is to be honest when answering questions. If you don’t know the answer it is better to own up to it then to make something up. The interviewer will probably see through this and ask a follow-up question to catch you. At this point the interview is over and you can kiss the position good-bye.

Wrapping Up:

During the last part of your interview try to leave on a positive note. Ask questions about the company and the position. This shows you are interested and wanting to know more about the company. If you feel the interview is going well ask about next steps. This will give you an opening to follow-up with the interviewer later that day.

Thank You:

After the interview is over wait a couple of hours before sending a thank you email to the interviewer. Let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to talk with them and let them know if they have any questions to contact you. Also, let them know you are looking forward to the next phase of the interview process.

Hopefully these  tips will help you out. If you have any suggestions about interviewing, please leave a comment. I am open to any ideas or suggestions. I have also included a link for DOs and DON’Ts at interviews.

If you want an example of DONTs during an interview check this video out:

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The Laid Off Chronicles – The Job Search

Week 2:
Looking for a new job is like staring at the open ocean. It’s vast and filled
with a ton of great possibilities. Ok, maybe that’s not the best analogy but it works for me.
 
It has been a while since my last real job search and I have been amazed at all
the online job searching sites on the web. You have to remember I was apart of
this new fangled website called Monster.com when I worked with TMP Worldwide (aka Stackig Advertising). At the time Monster was new and exciting. There had never been a site like Monster. Fast forward to 2010.

Now there is CareerBuilder, Indeed, TheLadders, TalentZoo, HotJobs, SimplyHired, LinkedIn, Hound and it goes on and on. This endless list of job sites was  intimidating to look through. I asked myself, what is the right job board?” It’s not like Google can just tell me, so I had to go and track them all down.  The answer lies in researching the sites first. I needed to make sure the sites delivered what I was looking for. It is a personal preference on the sites I use. Obviously, I use Monster since I have been using them from the beginning.

Looking for overall jobs at places like Monster or CareerBuilder can be broad at times. I’m a marketer, so I needed to drill down deeper into my field. So instead of having to look at multiple sites all the time, I use Indeed to pull jobs from job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder. Indeed is a good site to use but I also use niche sites like Talent Zoo and Mashable for marketing and social media job postings. One of the coolest sites I’ve found is Elance.com. Elance.com is a  website designed to partner freelancers with employers seeking help. There are listings for admin, finance, account service, creative copywriting and social media freelance work that are posted frequently. If you need a freelance gig this is the site to be apart of.

During my researching of job sites I ran across some helpful guides to reference.  I found two posts in particular:

The Top 20 Job Sites posted on pcmag.com.  This article give highlights from the top 20 job searching sites on the web.

The Top 100 Niche Job Sites posted on Internet Inc.com.  In 2009 Internet Inc.com posted a blog listing the top 100 niche job search websites of 2009. This blog helped me in finding those sites that I may have missed. I highly suggest you check it out.

As you can see searching for a job can be a daunting task. My piece of advise to someone looking for a new job. Start by putting together a plan of what job sites work best for your search. Make sure you have posted your resume to those sites and set up email alerts. I set aside time every morning to look through the job listing. I then revisit these sites throughout the day to see if there are new posting coming in. Putting this time to do research first will enable you to hit the ground running when looking for that perfect job.

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The Laid Off Chronicles.

Week 1:

It was a Monday morning just like any other Monday morning. I got up at 7. Walked the dogs, got the kids ready for school and got myself ready for work.

It was a balmy morning. I had condensation on my car windows. I backed out of the driveway without being able to see almost hitting the mailbox. That should have been a sign that the day was not going to go well.

Before I went to work I needed to stop by a clients shop to pick up a camera we were going to use for a shoot. I picked it up and went on my way to work. While driving to work I felt a bump on my lip. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the beginnings of a cold sore. That was sign number two that I should just turn around and go home.

I arrived at work and started my daily routine of checking email and some online sites for news and content. I received a call from my boss asking me to come by and chat. It did not go well…..

Laid Off!!

D’OH!

I left my boss’s office thinking about what a great opportunity this was going to be. You must be thinking that I am crazy but I really felt good about the lay off. Yes, money is going to be an issue but I now have freedom. Being laid off forces me to branch out of my comfort zone and look for opportunities around the country (just don’t tell my wife). I immediately started to network. I first posted my situation on Facebook and the outpouring of good thoughts and people wanting to help was phenomenal. I then went on to LinkedIn and made sure all my setting were up to date. I contacted old collegues and asked for recommendations. One thing to note: You should ask for recommendations way before something like this happens. Also, keep your resume fresh. It helps when you have to post it on a job board quickly.

So with that I am starting a series of blog posts dealing with my being laid off. I might even add some video content as well. I am a little camera shy though…..

Oh, and if you are reading this and need a communications professional send me a message. Click Communications Professional to view my resume. 🙂

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Diving into the social media pool.

To any marketer out there that is thinking of diving into the social media pool, below is a newbies guide to getting started.

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Part I:

I have read countless blog post and news articles by the so called “experts” of social media telling me what social media  is and how it should be use. I know, I know I am going to be a hypocrite right now but I swear you’ll appreciate it.

Ok, so a few months ago I was starting out in the new social media world. I was a kid in a candy shop, all these wonderful toys to play with and no one to tell me how to use them. I first started out using Facebook, connecting with friends and reconnecting with old friends. From there I stumbled upon LinkedIn and reconnected with old colleagues. Later, I moved onto the wonderful world of Twitter. I now write my own blog, albeit about nothing.

Starting out, I purposely didn’t read any articles  just so I could have an untainted experience in social media. It seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion about social media. This person says you have to do this. This person says you have to do that. How can you put rules and guidelines on something that is social? Isn’t that the point of all of this? We the user makes social media what we want it to be. I have all the control on what I want my social media experience to be. I have experienced different social media tools and decided what I wanted to get out of them. Some I like and some I don’t but the point is that it’s all up to me. Oh and I forgot one really big piece of advice. “Have fun” in social media. If you are not having fun it becomes work then you won’t get any enjoyment out of being part of this brand new medium. Also, remember it’s an experiment. You are out there trying new things and gaining new insights.

For more on getting started see my previous blog post about integrated marketing (I know shameless plug).

Part II:

Brands and Social Media:

So how do you take what you have learned and apply it to brands/clients/marketers? In gaining your own experiences in social media you can  help guide your clients in this brave new world. What I wrote above can be thrown out the window when it comes to brands and social media.  Brands do need to think about how to use the social media tools. What voice should the client have in interacting with people? What should they say? How should they say it? Does every company need to use social media? Let’s use the current Twitter debate as an example shall we:

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One interesting debate that is raging right now is whether or not Brands should use Twitter. I ask, why shouldn’t brands use Twitter? If a brand is truly engaging with their customers who’s to stop them, especially if the customers follow and engage them back. Using Twitter is still in it’s infancy stages, marketers are still trying to figure out how it can benefit their business. If a brand actually engages with their fan base as opposed to trying to sell them they will have a better experience with Twitter.

Personally, I follow a number of brands on Twitter. Some get it and some don’t. I see brands post price points and offers while others actually try and engage their followers. That’s the real key. People don’t want to be sold to. People like to feel like they have a voice and business’s that engage allow those people to have that voice.

The Twitter debate is really the key in all of this. How does a brand/client/marketer use social media? The answer? It is all an experiment. It’s trial and error. What works for one brand may not work for another.

I told you in the beginning that I was going to be a hypocrite didn’t I. That said, I think what I said has value. Don’t let others influence your experience (like me:). Go in and explore this new world, it’s not going away. This will help you in guiding  your clients in the social media world.

One more thing. I am not a social medai expert. I am a user of social media trying to help other newbies.

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