Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

Searching the Hidden Job Market May 27, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Interviewing,Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

In a climate like the one we are in, it’s easy to feel like we will never find the job we want, or that ‘no one is hiring‘. However, you can increase your chances of landing multiple interviews if you can tap into the “hidden” job market, or, the one that hasn’t been advertising. Contacting the companies/contacts directly makes a much more powerful impact then random online resume posting to (some useless) job sites.

How do you do this? Have a plan! This may take a little longer, but it’s the best way to control your job search, land quality interviews and increase your pay scale.

1)  Get your online presence together. Chances are, if you are going to be Google-ing companies, they will Google you. Create a Google profile or a LinkedIn profile and put your brand out there for the employer to see. Show your stuff.

2)  Make a list of your target information– industry choice, job position, company listings, etc.

3) Do a Google search on your industry and job titles. There may be quite a few, but you can weed through what you like and don’t like. You can also do a local business search with the same requirements and see what you come up with.

4) Send your resume directly to the hiring person. This is usually the person who is 2-4 levels above where you see yourself within the company. Make sure your cover letter is short and concise.

If this method makes you squirm a little, remember that you will see significantly higher results than you would normally. It’s also good to move beyond your comfort zone. Clients who’ve used it report more interviews, quicker interview cycles and less competition. It is more effective than blindly submitting your resume to lots of job search engines AND it reduces your anxiety of not knowing if the person who you want to see it really saw it or not.

In the end, it will give you greater job search confidence and renewed excitement about the process. Try it and see. Then let me know how it went.


Ode to Coffee April 1, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 9:09 pm
Tags: ,

As I was sipping my piping hot, freshly ground Starbucks House Blend, I thought, “ahhhh”. I’m not sure what it is about coffee, but I love it. Caffeinated or not, I love coffee (hence the blog name). The smell, the taste, the culture. I need it, have to have it, would hate to live without it.

I am from a family of huge coffee drinkers. My parents always had a pot of it going. I loved the smell, but hated the taste of it (they drank it black). When I was 19, my boyfriend at the time drank it and, wanting to impress him of course, I started as well. My love affair with coffee continued long after college and long after the boyfriend. What a wonderful courtship it has been. I’ve always been happy to drive out of the way to hit a new coffee shop or try out a ‘flavor of the week’. When a Starbucks moved into my sleepy little farming town, WHOA!. You would have thought they put a mega mall in town the way everyone was talking about it.

Besides the wonderful smell and strongly bitter taste, it DOES have some good health benefits. Did you know that some health experts say that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease? WebMD also goes on to say that it “lowers your risk of diabetes, cavities and colon cancer. It can uplift you and treat headaches.  There’s also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable. Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful,” says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University‘s Institute for Coffee Studies.

So there’s that.

The reason why I named this blog, “Career and Coffee” is because it seems my career has revolved around coffee. I can always rely on my faithful cup of joe to get me though the next resume, next article, next blog post, and so on. Every job interview I’ve been on, there was a stop to pick up a coffee beforehand. Every workshop I’ve done was with coffee in hand (or somewhere in the room).

Career and Coffee seem to go hand in hand in my life. So, here’s to you coffee!


Your Brand February 20, 2009

Filed under: Resume Writing — erinkennedy @ 3:53 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you have a brand? Do you solicit it? Do you use it to promote your goods/services? Or are you not really sure what your brand is at all? Don’t worry, if the latter is your answer, you are not alone.

Creating a brand for yourself is a fantastic way to ensure you always leave a lasting impression to whomever you are communicating with. It points out very quickly what you specialize in, what your niche is, and what you are “known” for.

Take “Campbell’s” brand soup for example. “Mmm Mmm Good!” Does it bring back childhood warm and fuzzies? Daydreaming of tomato soup and grill cheese sandwiches? Well, then. The marketing team’s job is done. You know the brand, can hear the jingle, and it elicits an emotional response from you.

Don’t worry that your brand has to elicit an emotional response from your reader, but consider having a tagline in your resume that will help you stand out and keep you fresh in the reader’s mind. For example, if you are a Senior Executive of an IT company and want to keep your focus on what you know best– Business Development– than THAT could be your brand and what you could add to your tagline. Something like: John Smith::: Business Development & Channel Management Executive, IT INDUSTRY… that could be a possible tagline to showcase your brand.

Think about what you are known for at work, what you excel at, what people depend on you for and make that your brand.


Does the Sun Effect Your Productivity? February 11, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 4:59 am
Tags: , , ,

As I was loudly singing in my car to the Sheryl Crow song, “Soak up the Sun”– much to the dismay of my 5 1/2 year old who was rolling his eyes in the back seat (what is THAT all about??), I was thinking what a beautiful, sunny day it was here today in Michigan. Everyone seemed happier, nicer. I’ve read that there is a direct link between lack of sun and depression. A disorder that affects more than 35 million Americans is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can affect moods, eating and sleeping patterns, and no doubt, job search enthusiasm.

I know that I am much more productive on sunny days. And on the days when the clouds cover up the sun, I blast on every light I can find in my office to keep myself productive. Otherwise, I tend to feel… sleepy.

If you are feeling the effects of too little sun and too much winter, you might want to turn on a few more lights in your house or office, and listen to Sheryl Crow. I guarantee you will feel more productive and will get the zip back in your job search.

What do you do when suffering from too little sun? Talk to me…


Job Fairs 2009 January 3, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Job Search — erinkennedy @ 4:52 am
Tags: , ,
Job Fair News for 2009!

Get ready to get hired because National Career Fairs and have joined forces to put together over 350 job fairs in 77 cities. Now is the time to dust off your nicest outfit and update your resume. Head on over to the nearest job fair and talk with an employer who is looking for YOU! Don’t let another job pass you by. Click here, or copy and paste the link into your browser:


Olympics & the Job Search August 11, 2008

Filed under: Job Search — erinkennedy @ 12:58 pm
Tags: , ,


I was reading this morning through the blog of Adam Kreek, a member of the Canadian Olympic Row team (I’ve been into rowing this year because of my niece who was on Michigan State’s Crew Team last year), when I read about the training that he puts in to get to where he is today.
Here is an excerpt:
“The pain experienced while rowing is similar to middle distance running, biking really hard or speed skating. Your legs burn and scream for oxygen, while your lungs wheeze with your heart struggling to transport renewed blood to the complaining body parts. Suffering is the best word to describe how I feel in a race. The after-effects of competition are exhausting. My body aches and I have depressed energy and drive for weeks after the event.”

Or, the US Boxing Team who leave the comforts of home for 10 months to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in intense preparation for China.

What does this have to do with job search? It is a job. Job search is a full time job. Similar to Olympic training, it has to be your number one focus. A person can’t expect to land a dream job after posting his/her resume on 5 job sites. It has to be worked on daily. The good thing is, there are lots of job search activities you can do without leaving your house, and will keep you busy for hours.

When you get up in the morning, what do you do? Consider putting on nice clothes, not just your sweats. This makes you feel productive and gets you into the job search groove. Check your emails and respond to offers (with you will get hundreds of those that should end up your junk mail). Let all old acquaintances, family and friends know that you are job searching.

Go to companies you’ve thought you’d like to work for and research them online. Most companies offer hoards of company information, press releases, employment opportunities, etc. Get to know the companies well. Create a folder with information on the companies you like and organize it alphabetically, by industry, or however you like. When the time comes that you get invited for an interview, you will be armed with an arsenal of information that will impress even the most straight-faced hiring person. Know your stuff.

Join online networking groups like LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, etc. It is a great opportunity to network with old co-workers, friends and strike up conversations with people from companies you would like to work for. The possibilities on these sites are endless.

And, as always, getting out and going to local business mixers and job fairs are excellent ways of getting your name out there. Be prepared and have your resume, references and any other documentation ready to hand out.

Job search isn’t something you do once a day for a half hour or hour. It’s a full time job. Not only will it keep away the anxiety of not having a job, it will keep you feeling productive while getting your name out there for potential employers to see.

Keep at it, stay the course, be positive, and watch great opportunities come your way!

Until next time,

Erin Kennedy, CPRW


Using Fung Shui to Create more Wealth in your Life June 12, 2008

Filed under: Career & Workplace — erinkennedy @ 11:54 am
Tags: ,

Using simple Feng Shui tips to create more Wealth and Career success in your life

Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) is the Chinese Art of Placement that has been practiced for over three thousand years in China with the belief that positioning one’s things released vital energy, or Ch’i, that would create a harmonious flow in human life.

I’ve had an interest in Feng Shui for about 15 years. I try to use some of the tips when I remember to (which isn’t all the time, I admit). I know that some things really have worked. A few little changes here, a major one there, and I could truly tell a difference in the energy around that area. Here are a few things to remember:

The water element is a strong force in activating career luck. However, do not worry if you cannot act upon every tip. More is not always better. Balance if vital. Sometimes just energizing one method or activating one direction can be sufficient. When you find yourself becoming very busy, it is a good indicator that your Feng Shui is working.

The direction Southeast is considered the corner of the home or office that represents wealth. If this corner has good Feng Shui, then the wealth aspirations have been actively energized. If it the corner is bad, it may lead to loss and failure in business. It is vital to remove any negative energy from the southeast corner of your home or office. Only keep healthy thriving things there. If there is something old, stale, or give you bad memories/vibes, GET RID OF IT. To create good energy, you need to apply the theory of the 5 elements: fire, wood, water, metal and earth. Here are some simple tips you can try:

– Placing a plant in the southeast would be excellent wealth Feng Shui, symbolizing wood (avoid pants with thorns or spines, like cacti or bonsai, as they are thought to be inauspicious).

– Wealth and prosperity colors include blues, reds and purples.

– The number “9” is said to be enormously auspicious because it represents heaven and earth.

– Place a mock money bag containing a $10.00 bill in a rice urn. It is supposed to enhance family wealth.

– Keep an aquarium with goldfish, or a small artificial waterfall in the garden to activate the water element.

– Add any valuable possessions to your wealth area including collections, antiques, art, coins, crystal, etc.

– Chinese coins are believed to be an auspicious tool in attracting wealth and luck. Place three Chinese coins (or any type of coin will do) tied together with a red ribbon in your wallet or change purse and you will see your wealth luck changing. The coins can also be hung on the doorknob, facing the room.

Brighten southeastern walls and corners to attract wealth. To ensure productivity and activation of your wealth area, get rid of dark rooms. Dim lighting increases uneasiness.

It doesn’t have to be a gaudy display of everything at once. You can place these things on either floor of your home—1st floor, 2nd floor or basement will work, too. For example, on my first floor, I have a small shelf in the corner with three coins tied with a red ribbon and two thriving plants. On my 2nd floor which also happens to be my bedroom, I have a plant and a couple of red candles with holders, representing the color of prosperity. You can really have fun and be creative with it.

According to Chinese traditions, these are some simple and fun ways to increase your wealth and prosperity. However, I’ve only listed a few. To get more ideas and Feng Shui tips, I would suggest doing an online search and buying a few books. Feng Shui also works for every other area in your life to create balance, harmony, love, and prosperity in your environment.

Erin Kennedy, CPRW