An Aspiring Employee's Blog

And then there was Employment

October 23, 2009
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got the jobToday I became employed and as you can image… it feels good.

Monday I start my new job as an Assistant Account Executive and I don’t think it will hit me until I am actually there. This whole process, from graduation to employment, can only be summed up with one word, Persistence.   

As I sit back with my aged glass of champagne that we were saving for a good excuse to open, I think about all the people who have supported and challenged me throughout this job hunt.

To you, I thank for the following:

  • The million times you had to edit my resume
  • Patience
  • For telling me that yes, I should wear panty hose on an interview
  • Guidance
  • All the good vibes, prays, spiritual luck you sent my way
  • Love
  • Always telling me that I could do better
  • Encouragement
  • Being awesome references
  • Support
  • And being there to share the good news 🙂

Now, many are wondering what an Aspiring Employee will write about now that she is employed?! Well, I think that as recent grads in the marketplace you should always be aspiring. We are the young generation that not only has a lot to prove but a lot to offer. Whether you are aspiring to achieve a goal, get a promotion, be assigned a big account, or just do well; one should always be an aspiring employee seeking to do better.

I will face many challenges and triumphs in my first job post college, as I am sure many recent grads do. So, as I discover them, I will blog about them.

This is just the beginning.


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Beware: Scam Jobs Exist!

October 20, 2009
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scam_alert_bigOne problem with putting yourself out there as a job seeker, especially online, is the possibility of being contacted by “scam jobs.” Yes, they exist!

As an aspiring employee, it is hard not to get excited when a potential employer contacts you insisting on scheduling an interview.  Your heart begins racing and you become anxious and proud that your resume has been noticed. However, it is important that we recent grads do not succumb to this vulnerability.

This means RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Before calling them back or scheduling an interview it is very important you research the company, and that means looking at more than just their website. See what other people who have interviewed with the company are saying. You should do this regardless, but especially when your gut is telling you there is something suspicious about the company.

  • Did you get a response within minutes of posting your resume?
  • Is their job posting a bit “unprofessional” with bold writing, begging you to apply?
  • Are they super persistent, calling and leaving voicemails every day?

After being contacted by a few “scam jobs” I have become a lot more aware of these companies. When your resume is posted on online job sites such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, it is easy to be found by these less-than-honest employers. I found an article which I thought may be helpful to the aspiring employees new to the job hunt. This article has a list of “scam jobs” you may recognize… Online Job Board Horror Stories

Spend your efforts landing an interview with a credible company, even if it is only an informational interview and an actual position isn’t available yet. Focus on positions with legit job descriptions and a formal application process. The job hunt can be exhausting, trust me I know, but be aware of these companies. We may be young to the job market, but let’s be wise.


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Stop looking HR, I am right here!

October 6, 2009
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I decided to take a new approach to this job hunt. We all know recruiters get thousands of resumes, cover letters, and applications bombarding their inbox every day, especially in this job market. Well, I read this article in Ad Age  that really got me thinking about ways build my personal ‘brand’ and get noticed. So, in addition to doing the standard apply/e-mail my resume, I am going to focus on being found.

So, how am I doing that you ask?

  • I uploaded my resume and a cover letter to several local communication agencies online databases. Regardless if they are hiring or not, my resume is in the pool of candidates. Ha!
  • I created a Google Profile, as suggested by Ad Age, which connects to my Twitter, LinkedIn, online resume, online business card, and Blog. Go ahead, Google me!
  • I am expanding my network, reaching out to the Boston locals for any contacts in the marketing communications industry.
  • I uploaded my resume to the job search agents on PRweek.com and AdAge.com, where the professionals go. 😉
  • I posted my Blog on the Facebook pages of Ch. 7 News, The Today Show, and Ellen DeGeneres. Hey, the people viewing those pages may be hiring…

And this is just the beginning. I don’t know if this is desperation or determination, but I am ready to be found and I am willing to make it super easy for recruiters to find me. I may even do what this guy did…

resume post

 

Thanks to Dr. P for pushing me to be ambitious.


Get back on your feet!

October 4, 2009
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In light of recent events, I am posting this video I found on my friends blog, Wanna See My Briefs?. I think he explains it perfectly when he says “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived”.

Here is to getting back on my feet and finding a job.


When you’re not chosen

October 2, 2009
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mouse-sorryI wonder if this is how Obama felt when he found out that Chicago was out of the running to host the 2016 Olympics. He worked so hard in developing Chicago and he even made a trip to Copenhagen to pitch why Chicago should be chosen. Then after the votes were in, another city won.

I feel his pain. Today I received a phone call with the same bad news. Another candidate had more experience. I am not sure how else I could have won that battle. I started questioning myself, trying to figure out where I went wrong. What else could I have done to prove I am qualified for this position?

Rejection sucks, it’s heartbreaking. I am assuming it is like being hit by a car, immediate shock followed by immense pain and exhaustion. If this was supposed to be a humbling experience, believe me I am humbled. I am so humbled I am starting to doubt myself.

So, how did Obama pick himself up after the big disappointment? Well, I am assuming that after he got over the defeat he starting thinking about all the other stuff left for him to fight for. Not to be cliché, but it wasn’t our time. I don’t think Chicago or the U.S. was ready to host the Olympics (and being a Chicago native that is not easy to say). America has bigger fish to fry in preparation for a better 2016. I also think that Rio de Janeiro may need the Olympics more than we do.

What if me not getting this position happened for a reason too. Maybe I am meant to be something more than an assistant. Or maybe something less. Maybe the person that did get the job needed it more than I did. I don’t know why I wasn’t chosen, but believing there is something else out there left for me to win and accomplish makes the healing process semi-easier.


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Unemployed Updates

September 28, 2009
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Between preparing for a phone interview on Wednesday and waiting to hear back about my interview last week, I came across the following “unemployed” updates.

 

  • In Rock Hill, SC a 54-year-old landlord goes back to work at Walgreens, for $8.50/hr, to let unemployed tenants stay rent-free. Both tenants were laid off several months ago. Talk about generosity! It’s nice to know people are still willing to help during times when people don’t have much to give. See article here.

 

  • Top 4 places to launch your career are in accounting, according to Business Week. Congrats accounting majors, you chose the right career. The article also states that 19.7% of 2009 grads who applied for a job actually landed one. Discouraging yes, but the article also highlights that once employed you must keep that ambition and a promotion may come sooner rather than later. However, don’t expect much of a pay increase – of course.

 

  • Twitter has a job search engine! Good-bye Craigslist, TwitterJobSearch has created a program that is super easy to use. You can land a job by tweeting “I can do that.” Try it and let me know if it works! 

 

  • Hallmark has a “sorry you are unemployed” card section. I know because my mom sent me one. (Hoping to get a “Congrats you’re employed!” card soon)

loss of job card


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“What’s in a Name?”

September 24, 2009
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Did our parents know that when they named us, it would influence how society views us? Our name may even affect the possibilities of us finding a job!

After reading several articles about name discrimination and meanings, I found that a lot is assumed through a name. In the article, “Can your name keep you from getting hired?” in CNNMoney.com, I found myself identifying with EVERY example!

Very few people know how to pronounce my first name (Lee-ah-nā) without me correcting them, so for majority of my life I have gone by Leah. My last name is very common in the Hispanic community, and is also the last name of the famous Cameron Diaz.

So I started wondering, what are people thinking after they read my name at the top of my résumé?

“How the heck do you pronounce that name? Lee-anne. Lee-annie.  La-nee. (I have heard them all.) If I can’t pronounce their name should I even read the rest of the résumé?”

“The last name is Diaz, she could be Hispanic. She probably knows how to speak Spanish, Great! Wait, does that mean we have to pay her more? Or is she even a legal citizen! Oh NO!”

“Her last name is Diaz, like Cameron Diaz! Let’s call her in and see if they are related!” (haha, this one may be far-fetched, but hey …it could happen.)

Granted there are laws to protect this type of discrimination and I don’t believe recruiters intentionally call people back because they might meet someone related to a movie star. That is a bit ridiculous. However, it still could be something an employer or anyone could assume unconsciously after reading a name. It is like a pre-pre- first impression, a sense of curiosity about what this person with this unique name could be like.

A positive thing about having a unique name is that if employers do some ‘Googling’, a not so common name is easier to find than the ‘John Smith’ names. As stated in the article “Does Your Name Spell Success?”, this could be a great advantage for job seekers, granted you don’t have anything sketch posted on the internet. (The article also states that after surveying 75,000 adults, ‘Leah’ is associated with intelligence, just saying. haha)

So, what do you think?


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An Aspiring Employee’s Benefits Package

September 23, 2009
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image from www.newhomeconnection.com/.../index.shtml

  If there is one thing I have learned while holding this strenuous aspiring employee position is that there actually are benefits to being unemployed. Despite the amount of time spent revising your résumé, the pantyhose and stiff jackets you have to wear for the interviews, or even the disappointing ‘you didn’t get the job’ phone calls, there is good to come of this. Below I have listed the benefits from my job as an aspiring employee.

Unemployment

…allows time for self-reflection. This is the one time in my life where I can do absolutely nothing. I don’t have a group meeting for a project, test to study for, or cultural event to go to; I can just sit back and focus on me. I have discovered new hobbies. I have read books that are not ‘required reading’. I am exploring a new city. And I have discovered several things about myself that will enable me to answer those ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ interview questions.

…reminds me why I fell in love with Advertising and the Communications Industry. As you apply to multiple jobs you learn about all these different companies and different positions. You get to see who is responsible for creating those awesome Dunkin Donuts commercials and how many different job descriptions there are for a “Marketing Assistant”. It brings a sense of excitement to think of yourself as potentially being a part of the (fill in blank) team.

…forces me to learn the industry. I find myself studying more now than I did in college! Well, maybe not more but definitely more than I thought I would post grad. I am learning about the companies and the employees I am interviewing with. I am learning about the millions of ways to be marketable to employers.  I research the marketing trends so I can be prepared and knowledgeable of what is going on. And I am learning more about the ‘real-world’ marketing than could ever be written in a college textbook.

  But the most rewarding thing about being an aspiring employee is that it can only go up from here. You can’t be demoted to a lower unemployment position. When you are an aspiring employee you are seeking to be the best version of you, and only great rewards could come of that.


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The Unemployment Blues

September 22, 2009
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Monday: Interview 1
This ‘second round interview’ lasted about 10 seconds, maybe less. Just enough time for the employer to ask me the “Why do you want to work here?” question for the second time and then to tell me, “Everything looks great but I forgot that you have to meet my boss before I can make you an offer and he is not here now. Could you come back tomorrow?”  grrr.

Tuesday: Interview 2
Never happened. After doing my research on the staffing agency, who contacted me after I applied for a Marketing Associate position on craigslist, I decided against it. This agency received a grade of “F” from the Better Business Bureau and the reviews for this staffing agency included the following:

“Don’t apply to their postings. Don’t come in for an interview. Don’t take those stupid tests. Don’t waste your time. Don’t fill out their stupid paperwork. Don’t! Just don’t. Go somewhere else people would actually care a bit.  They create imaginary postings for imaginary jobs that don’t exist. I do not know how they do business; I guess there are a lot of stupid people out there. Avoid this place like hell.”  (Staffing agencies may be a future blog post topic.)

Tomorrow: Interview 3/Round 2

Need jobHowever, I am in a funk and I feel completely discouraged. I have the Unemployment Blues; the exhausted, unmotivated, fear of being rejected blues. I have been in this ‘so close to employment’ position twice before. The position where you are super excited and receive great feedback but then the employer turns around and says “We love you but no, someone else had more experience,” or “We want you but sorry, the position is on hold due to budgeting.” Please don’t disappoint me Interview 3, I don’t know if I can handle another let down. 😦


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Downsizing the Degree

September 18, 2009
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graduation-capRecently, a former classmate of mine informed me that many people are downsizing their successes on their resumes to be more marketable. Doesn’t make sense, right?

Well, after doing some research on the issue I found that several people (aspiring employees) are leaving their degree and/or some experience off their resume for fear of being “over-qualified.” Some employers believe over-qualified employees will want higher pay or will get bored and not stay at the job very long.

Sometimes it feels like we just need that job, “whatever pays the bills.” But should we sacrifice omitting the degree we have worked so hard to receive?!

I can’t imagine spending four years of college and falling into student loan debt to not advertise what I have accomplished. It is almost like saying your degree has no value. I know times are tough but if an employer fails to see that 1. The market is bad for these recent grads and they may just need some help paying the bills or to get their foot in the door 2. Refuses to hire you because you are over-qualified, then I am not sure I would want to work for that employer.

Don’t get me wrong, I have applied to jobs that I feel I have been over-qualified for (see blog post “No Shame, No Game”) but I don’t think I could ever downsize my success on my resume. I understand tailoring my resume to fit the job requirements but I have worked way too hard and spent way too much money to leave out the last four years of my life. But that’s just me.


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