Tag: Job hunting
A month and a half ago I was laid-off from my job. Unemployment is scary for a 23-year-old who is fresh out of college, and laid-off from my first “real” job. I’m not going to lie; it has been the most confusing time in my life. Every other day my plan changes on what I’m going to do next. Should I stay in Seattle, should I move home and save money, should I go to grad school? So many decisions, I wish someone would choose the right one for me, and I’d put all my faith in them and do it. Making these choices is such a great life lesson, but man it is stressful.
I am in a decent position, unlike many others who have families to support, mortgages to pay, I was able to take a position working at my family business, although, I’ve been forced to temporarily move out of Seattle to the Podunk town of Medford, Oregon (don’t get me wrong I do hold a place in my heart for Medford) where I have zero-friends and my dad seems like a ghost that shows up every 3rd Tuesday of the months that end in “Y”. I’m getting by with the overwhelming support of my friends and family and I know things will be okay; I just have to trust this. And I’m also doing work that is keeping my skills fresh and helping me advance our company.
I think about the week leading up to when I was laid-off every day, and I think of the moment I was let go, and feels like a vivid nightmare that replays every night. I loved my job, I loved the agency I worked at, and I loved the people. I looked up to my supervisor and hope we can keep in touch, because she is an amazing woman.
But, I was naïve about the situation. I didn’t think it was going to happen to me. And there are things I wish I would have done before I lost my job, that may or may not have made a difference, but If I would have done these things, maybe I wouldn’t have to place part of the blame on myself.
I wish I would have asked for extra work. I was working at a communications agency that did everything from public relations to advocacy relations to advertising. It was very well rounded. I was working in advocacy relations, which was new to me, but soon became my passion. But the week before I was laid-off thing definitely slowed down, even weeks before that my work had slowed. Now this may not have been a direct effect of me being laid-off. But I could have assisted in different areas of the company to let executives know that I can be used in other areas of the agency. I received my degree in public relations, and also have knowledge of Social Media, which was being utilized at the agency. If I had offered to help out in these other areas while I was caught up on my work, the executive team may have noticed that I could have been utilized in multiple areas.
I wish I would have networked with more people. I worked on a very small team that was tucked in a far off corner of the agency. I didn’t meet many people in my four-month stint there. I never took the time to socialize, or even take advantage of meeting people through the extracurricular activities that were set up for us, Which means I wasn’t networking with my coworkers. They didn’t fully understand my capabilities and the value I could have brought to other areas of the agency. I’m kicking myself now for not making those connections and relationships, which could be assisting in my job search.
I wish I would have kept track with my network. Finding a job is about networking. I didn’t take the time to the day I was let go to take a look at the relationships I had made and write down their contact information. I was in shock mode when I got back to my desk to pack my things, I didn’t fully think of what I needed to take with me besides my personal belongings.
I wish I had an emergency fund. As a recent graduate I was just starting to become financially independent from my parents. Like most recent grads, I had to borrow money from my parents and was just going to be able to start paying them back when this happened. I’m still learning about saving and budgeting, but I wish I would have made a large effort to put aside a large portion of my money each month, so that I would have a safety net now that I am suffering.
I wish I wouldn’t have been so naïve. Nothing is certain in this life or your career. This economy is going to be out-of-wack for at least the next five years. In history it has taken at least five years for our nation to pick itself up and dust off its shoulders from the moment we’ve hit rock bottom, I still don’t believe we’re at rock bottom yet. It is scary for everyone. And I think everyone needs to know you aren’t safe. You need to be working extra hard and taking as many precautions as you can in case something happens to you.
I wish I wouldn’t have taken my job for granted. I remember the day I had to sit down and talk finances with my roommates. As soon as we wrapped up the conversation on a Sunday evening at 10:30 pm they all said in unison, “Man I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow!” I looked at them all and said, “Please just be thankful you have a job.” I think about all of the mornings I got up and complained about getting ready and riding the bus. If only you know what I’d give to be at a job and know what I was doing with my future.
These are things I wish I would have done before I lost my job. Your life can change in an instant, and I cannot change these things I wish I had done, but I can pass along the wisdom to others. Not many people are laid-off from their first job in their twenties, although unfortunately I think it will begin to be more common than not, these are things to think about if you are at your job, whether it’s your first or your tenth position. Nothing is certain.
On a Final note, Today while reading Vanity Fair there was a pullout quote that said, “your dream Job is finding something with a salary and health benefits.” and it’s so true. Currently, yes I have future goals for my life, but I am NOT thinking about them right now. I’m focusing on today and finding a job for right now that has benefits and a salary I can live off of. Not 5 years from now. But I thought this was an interesting point that a dream job now solely involves a salary, benefits and a 401k.
On a final final note, no matter how you cut back, my biggest advice is to keep your health insurance. One accident or major illness can land you thousands of dollars in debt. If COBRA, the coverage you can get from a former job, is too pricey, find deals on ehealthinsurance.com. or look into high-deductible coverage; it has cheaper premium (you’ll just pay more out of pocket if an emergency strikes) but health insurance is so important, make sure that isn’t something you sacrifice in these hard economic times.
Update: Thank you for everyones support I accepted a job offer last week! And will be sure to take my own advice!
I’ve been at it again, updating my resume. And it is just around the corner for the senior PR students at UO, who are wrapping up their campaigns and focusing on their portfolio reviews. I remember one thing I struggled with the most was my resume. Thanks to the career building class taught by Bill Morill and the Career Center at UO, they taught me a lot about writing my resume. But I’ve learned more from playing around with it, looking at others, and having people look over mine as well.
Although this class was great in introducing me to the descriptive verbs to describe the tasks I’d accomplished, it also closed my mind about the format of my resume. There are so many different ways you can format your resume there is no wrong way.
So here is some advice I wish someone told me:
1. Keep your Resume to one page, and one page only: After 10 years of experience you are allowed a second page! But no one is going to read your resume if it is longer than one page. This helps you to be concise and use descriptive words to describe what you’ve accomplished.
2. Your visual presentation of your resume says a lot about you. Spice up your resume. Add some fun fonts and colors (just make sure it’s legible) and even print it on a nice thick resume paper. It will set your resume out from all the others, and the employer will know you put in extra effort to make it enjoyable to look at. Note: Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT use a Word Template. SO boring. If I were looking at your resume and you used a plain word template it just lost about ten points!
3. If you got the skills, flaunt them. Highlight an unusual skill you poses. It doesn’t have to be that unusual, but for instance Social Media is a great skill to highlight as much as possible in your resume. So many employers these days are looking for new talent that hold that skill set. So don’t be shy.
4. Be Adventurous. Re-format your resume multiple times. I was so stuck in my way of having my resume cut and clear and to the point. But, recently decided to take a chance and write a short profile section explaining some of my skills, and I think it will help the employer know me that much more. By writing my skills out in sentences this freed up more space for bullets under my experience section.
5. Put another set of Eye balls on it. I’ve already had 3 different people look at my resume this past week, and have another person tomorrow. Be open to suggestions, fresh eyes come with fresh ideas.
If you have any other tips for writing resume please comment! I know there are plenty more
The University of Oregon’s Career Center provides this PDF packet on how to write good cover letters and Resume’s, it is a great resource and you can download it here. Page 3 has a great list of verbs to use when describing your skills!
Happy Resume writing and I’m more than happy to be another set of eyes! Good luck!
I am a very lucky person to still be employed. But in the past two days I’ve receive word that 4 acquaintances have lost their jobs. One of which is a very respected peer and friend from the social media sphere. Today he repeated a comment someone made to him about his current state of unemployment, and my mom said this to me when I got home from my graduation trip in Europe: Your new job is Getting a Job! and it’s so true. Looking for a job can be full time unpaid work, but I guess it does pay off in the end.
The Chicago Tribune wrote a great article titled, The Job of Finding a Job and provide 5 tips for the job search:
5 tips for the hunt:
1. Make finding a job your new job.
2. Tell everybody you’re job hunting.
3. Search online but also press the flesh.
4. Consider jobs outside your field.
5. During phone interviews, stand up to project more energy.
I really think #4 is an interesting tip. Because I ended up taking a job that wasn’t necessarily what I received my degree in. You can look for a job that is outside of your field but maybe dips more into your passion, such as social media, or advertising. Having your job be challenging will make you work harder.
Be patient. losing a job can be tramatizing. But be confident in your self and your skills because the minute you lose that confidence you take a step backwards. Keep your head up and good luck.
Just last week I officially accepted a position as an Assistant Account Executive at Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB) in the Issues & Advocacy department. I couldn’t be more excited to start!
Finding this position took a lot of hard work. I called on my UO instructor and friend , Kelli Matthews quite a lot in the past month for advice, multiple pep talks, and networking. If it were not for Kelli, I would not have received the opportunity to interview with DDB. Kelli reached out to a colleague of hers who was able to strategically place my resume in the right hands.
This resource helped to notify me of organizations that I may not have found by doing a typical Internet search. She was able to help me land a few interviews, which was great practice and experience. Although, this was not the way I received my position at DDB.
When I first started searching Kelli was nice enough to send out a tweet to see if anyone had any leads on jobs in Seattle.In less than ten minutes Kelli had a response from Nedra Weinreich who gave me my first lead with Alison Byrne Fields the SVP/managing director of the Issues & Advocacy Department at DDB. I pitched myself to her on twitter, which turned out to be the lead that got my resume in the door at DDB. Although the position I had originally interviewed for didn’t work out, my resume was still on the table.
About a month later I was contacted again by DDB for the position I accepted just last week. From the beginning I was told to be patient, that the job will come in time-and it did. It was all about reaching out to all of the resources I had at my fingertips and stepping outside of my comfort zone to make a relationship that lead to a job.
When job hunting, make sure you tap into all the resources you have at your finger tips- instructors, facebook, twitter, linkedin, indeed, family friends and relatives. But, also remember to thank them in the end. They are sticking their neck out for you, and deserve to be thanked for taking the time and effort to help you off into the working world.
So may I also take this time to sincerely thank Kelli Matthews for all the help and support in my job search, (especially for the tweet). And also to Nedra Weinreich for connecting me with Alison!
I cannot wait to see what this position has in store for me as I start in a new city as a fresh PR PRO!
“Talk to us. We want to learn more about your organization. What makes it tick. Where it’s trying to go. Who it’s trying to reach. What it’s trying to sell. How it fits into the community. We’ll be your biggest advocate, your strongest voice, your most tenacious supporter. Call us a liaison, an ambassador, a reality check. Call us. We’re ready to get to work.”
This is the commitment Portland Oregon based boutique firm, Maxwell PR makes to its clients. Maxwell’s team works hard to find creative ways to humanize it’s clients stories and connect with its audiences.
A creative work environment, friendly, determined employees and the right tools creates a recipe for success at Maxwell. With clients ranging from the food and beverage industry to an all-natural cosmetic organization, the staff of eleven has challenging, yet fun projects to tackle on a daily basis.
As a soon-to-be college graduate looking to dive into the PR industry I’ve only really heard of large name agencies. It wasn’t until my PRSSA chapter held a regional activity on Tuesday and we took a “tour” (I say “tour” because we were able to stand in one place and see the entire beautiful modern office!) of Maxwell.
I instantly fell in love with the environment and people I met. The laid-back, creative and very motivated staff gave a great overview of their services, clients and even some job hunting advice for us seniors.
Vicky Hastings, an “all-around go-to gal”, as their Web site likes to call her, describes the number one thing Maxwell looks for in a new employee is: creativity. Hastings says if you can’t send a creative work sample, “simply write us a poem.”
From someone one who would rather work on the layout of her class assigned letter to the shareholder in InDesign (which the layout was NOT assigned), than go out on a Friday night, I thought this was a very unique and intriguing request.
Many times students don’t take the time to research boutique agencies, well frankly, because the smaller agencies names are not out there in our faces as some of the larger ones. Due to small staffs, these smaller agencies do not have the ability to allow staff members to attend career fairs and conferences to utilize recruiting opportunities. Also, they do not always have availability in their staff to take on new interns. But this doesn’t mean a boutique agency isn’t right for you! If it is the right place, the right people and the right environment all you have to do it apply!
Note to Students: Open your eyes. There is a whole world of agencies you haven’t seen yet!
This past weekend I dove into the task I’ve been avoiding for months. Searching for a job. With graduation looming around the corner I’ve put off this task. I went to my brothers college graduation my freshman year. Sitting in the crowd I never thought that day would come for me. Boy was I wrong. Only three months away. Scary. As I search for job openings in the PR and Event Management fields I keep finding a skill or experience level that turns me away because I feel I’m not qualified for.
When reading Penelope Trunk’s blog on “How to get a job you’re not qualified for” it helped give me that nudge I needed to go for it. She offers 3 simple tips:
1. Create a project from a different arena that interests you.
2. Take responsibility for your own education
3. Just Apply!
One of the things that struck me was, “if you are always taking jobs you’re qualified for, then your learning curve is really flat, and your work life is really boring.” This is incredibly true. Last year I took on the job as Panhellenic Vice President of Recruitment for Greek Life at the University of Oregon. I was NOT qualified for this position and I was not transitioned into this position. But it was the challenge. I loved the challenged of figuring out what the job required and how to manage a staff of my peers. If there is no challenge you won’t take the time to educate yourself.
I took advantage of Penelope’s advice to Just Apply! I applied for three jobs this weekend that I don’t believe I am qualified for any of them. But with a great cover letter, some confidence, and a great interview I know I can land any job I may not feel I’m “qualified for”. Thanks Penelope!