Career & Coffee

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

Social Marketing… What are you waiting for? June 15, 2009

There are die hards out there who still insist the best way to get a job is the old fashion way– newspaper ads and word-of-mouth. While I agree on the word-of-mouth (a.k.a. networking) point, let’s face it, the reality of finding a “career” through a newspaper ad is slim.

So, if you are still unfamiliar with social marketing/networking and online branding/profiles, I will give you the 101 basics on how to get started online with fast results.

1. I know I sound like a broken record here, but join LinkedIn. LinkedIn will open doors for you that you never thought possible. Originally started as a professional networking tool, LinkedIn is now being used by employers to seek out job seekers! How do they do this? They type in the keywords of candidate characteristics in the search box. If their words match up with the keywords on your profile, guess what?  You have officially become a contender. You can also research companies online, network with employees that WORK at that company and look for current job openings. Utilize LinkedIn as much as you can. You will be amazed at the results you get.

2. Join Twitter. If you are an entrepreneur, have a small business of some sort or are a job seeker, Twitter is a wonderful way to connect fast with all sorts of people. You build your network by following others who in return, follow you. It sounds strange at first until you get going. I created my profile in November, but didn’t see the value of Twitter until the following January when I started really connecting with colleagues and jobseekers, plus all sorts of other interesting folks. You can spread the word that you are job searching. The bigger your “follower” list is, the more people will know this and keep their eyes and ears open for you. I just read a great post about a college grad who got a job within just a couple of weeks of joining Twitter. Read it. Then join Twitter.

3. Facebook is a great way to connect with lots of people and get a little more personal with them. With the option of adding pictures, videos, quizzes and applications, you let the other person see more into your personal life–if you want them to. Many companies have their own Facebook pages that you can research.  Again, another great networking tool.

4. Another one I think everyone should do is to set up a Google profile. It is a basic profile with facts about you on Google. You will be able to control, or at least add to, what people see when the ‘Google’ you. Put up a professional picture and add a little bio. It adds to your online presence.

There are also Naymz, Plaxo, Ning, Ecademy, and many, many more.

As with anything, there are a few rules to keep in mind when doing your online networking. NEVER ever say anything you wouldn’t want a perspective employer to know. Remember that hiring managers ARE GOOGLING YOU and an unsavory post on any of your networking sites may come back to haunt you. And PLEASE do not post any pictures that you wouldn’t want your Grandmother (or an employer) to see. Be smart. Keep it professional.


Tips for Scoring at a Job Fair May 21, 2009

Many of you know that I was at the Detroit “Good Morning America / Women for Hire” job fair the other day. There were about 25 résumé evaluators and approximately 5000 job seekers. They literally were lined up outside the doors at 3:30am. Talk about motivated people. Wow. What a busy, productive and fulfilling day.

It was televised (GMA and local ABC news crew) and there were camera people everywhere. Sort made us feel like movie stars except the cameras really weren’t on us, and we didn’t get paid. But still.

All of us

(This is a group photo of the other resume writers/critiquers who donated their time at the job fair. From L to R:

Deb James, ME (in black), Dee Duff, Karen D’Anna, Kris Plantrich and Lisa Chapman. A smart, generous and fabulous group of women. We had a great time!)

I was really impressed by the amount of professionalism, ambition and previous success that most of the folks had. There were just a few people that could have used a few pointers. So here they are:

1-      DRESS AS IF YOU ARE AT AN INTERVIEW. Appropriate dress is really a MUST at a job fair. I know you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it again. You know the saying, “First Impressions are a Must”, well they really are.  I saw some people that looked gorgeous and really ‘wow’ed’ me. THAT is how you have to look. Not saying you have to go spend a fortune on new clothes. You can put together a new outfit from what you have. Wash your hair, do your nails, trim your nose/ear hair, you know… the usual. And if you have dread-locks, tuck them into your suit.

2-      HAVE A RÉSUMÉ PREPARED. (and if at all possible, have it professionally done). Yes, I saw many, many résumés and only about 5% of them were impressive. Remember, lead with your accomplishments, not your job description duties. The Microsoft Word résumé template was used in about 80% of the cases (yuck) I saw at the job fair. Remember, that is a template that doesn’t allow much give, so you may be cutting some significant info out because it won’t fit into the “template”. DON’T USE IT.

3-      BRING A SMALL BAG, TOTE OR BRIEFCASE. You will be bombarded with giveaways (pens, company trinkets, business cards, candy, brochures, etc.). It will be easier to carry everything and your résumé portfolio.

4-      GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERYONE YOU SPOKE WITH. You might want to follow up with something you talked about. Even better, after you’ve talked with them, write down some key things you spoke about on the back of the card so you will have it to reference when you call, or if they call you!

5-      KNOW THE COMPANIES. Find out what companies will be there and get to know a little about them. Nothing impresses companies more then when you display the knowledge you have about them. Show off a little bit. Impress them!

6-      GET INTO A GOOD MOOD. I had a few folks come sit down with me who were shaking and I wasn’t even the hiring person! People can tell if you are nervous, distracted, moody, having a bad day, etc. That isn’t the best first impression to offer. Instead relax, smile, speak slowly and clearly (vs. rushing through what you want to say), and remember, the HR person knows you are nervous and understands. So try to relax and enjoy yourself. Fake it if you have to.

Job Fairs don’t have to be a bad/scary/nerve wracking thing. Remember, it’s just another avenue to try out in the midst of your job search. You get to meet new people, learn a few things about different companies, and have free coffee.


Networking when Shy March 13, 2009

Filed under: Networking — erinkennedy @ 6:55 pm
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How to Network if You are on the Shy side

I am the first to admit that networking with a bunch of strangers is not easy when you are shy. Early in my career, I was in sales (seriously) and would literally have to force myself to cold call. It was daily torture. I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was in the wrong field, and no, it was not hereditary (many family members were in sales). I was never that suave, chatty, BS’er-type that seemed to dominate my lineage.

Networking when you are shy is worse than a root canal.

I understand this first hand. So, when you would rather scrub your toilet then walk into a company that has never heard of you, here are a few different things you can do to help you cope with and overcome this predicament.

1) Join LinkedIn. The fabulous benefit of LinkedIn is that you can literally cold call without ever having to be face-to-face with a living being. Simply look up a company in the directory and send your resume to whoever is in charge. How easy was that?? Now, what I would really advise would be to find someone in your network, or one of your connection’s network, and ask them for the name of someone first. Then send that person an email and begin a dialogue. I can go on and on about LinkedIn. Most of you know I am obsessed with it. If you would like to know more, send me an email go here.

2) Join a Local Business Organization. The beauty of a joining a local organization (either business or volunteer) is two-fold. Or maybe tri-fold. Is that a word? Yes, but for a closet door. Anyway, I will make it work in this situation.

A- You can go and sit at a table and have a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner where minimal attention will be paid to you (unless you stand up and introduce yourself, and c’mon you can do that) and still get to know the organization, feel productive, and get excited because you got out of your comfort zone.
Once you are in that comfy place, you will start talking with people and slowly begin making new contacts/acquaintances/friends that you wouldn’t have made sitting at home in front of your computer posting your resume on the useless
C- Now that you are talking with people, you can tell them what you do for a living, find out what they do and see if you connect anywhere.

On a personal note: I joined my local Optimists organization when I got out of college and worked for the career center as a Career Counselor. Within a year of initiation, they recruited me to be President of our Chapter, which encompassed two cities. Talk about being nervous… (but that was with public speaking, and I had to get over it quick… that is a whole different story).
Let me tell you though, the contacts I made during that time were with professionals I still talk with to this day.

3) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. Even if you are embarrassed about it or don’t want anyone to know that either you lost your job or your job is in jeopardy, or whatever the case may be, tell them. People like to help and you really never know who may know someone that you need to know. The stories my clients tell me about who helped them get their jobs are always priceless. Your dry cleaner? Your mail person? Your colleague? Yes, I’ve heard of all these great stories and more.

Networking is the #1 way to get a job, so even if it hurts a little, get out there and tell them who you are.



2-Minute Commercial July 21, 2008

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 12:32 pm
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At some point in your job search you will be asked to tell something about yourself.

Focus on what you have to offer. This is like a television commercial about you. A commercial sells products. Therefore, you should emphasize those strengths and qualifications most suited to the position you are pursuing.

Watch your language and presentation style. Use the formula: language + motivation = outcome. In other words, positive language + positive body language and behaviors = a positive and favorable outcome. This means there is absolutely no room for negativity. When you see advertisements, you will notice that they emphasize the positive outcome you will gain from the product, not the downside.

A sample two minute commercial may include information such as: personal qualifications, technical skills, relevant education, training, certifications and achievements.

Look at this sample two minute commercial from a corporate accountant:

“I am a CPA with over nine years of corporate accounting and financial reporting experience. In my most recent position, I was selected to lead several special projects which included strategic planning, forecasting and corporate treasury functions.

I was recognized last year as Manager of the Year for my ability to develop my accounting staff and provide training in many facets of customer service, auditing, time management, problem solving and other key functions. I have an MBA and am active in both the National Management Association and the Space Coast Chapter of the Florida CPA’s Association.”

Developing a fluid, confident and natural sounding commercial takes time and practice.

Good Luck!

Erin Kennedy, CPRW


Networking… the #1 way to get a job! February 28, 2007

Filed under: Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 9:07 pm
Tags: , ,


A friend of mine recently asked me what was the hardest part of job search for most people. The answer? NETWORKING.

Networking can be as unnerving as standing up in front of an audience for some people. Of course you have others, like most of my sales cleints, who can get up in front of anyone and speak for any amount of time. But for most, just the thought of having to meet new people makes them wince.

Here are a few pointers to help ease your way into the networking circuit:

1) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. You never know what doors may open for you. While in college, I told a client of mine (I was a Nail Technician!) that I was looking for an intership that would be accepted by my university AND be relevant to my degree. Guess what? As the Director of Human Resources at the time (now she is President/CEO) of an international non-profit organization, she had the federal funds to open a new career cneter and guess who was going to be interning there? All of my worrying about finding the right PAID internship, and it (she) was in front of me the whole time.

2) Get together with other professionals you know. Start your own networking “club” with friends/family/colleagues. Keep as current as possible on your own company’s job openings, too. It never fails, there is always someone who will let you know of a job opening a their place of employment.

3) Hit the job fairs. It may sound scary, meeting ACTUAL human resources people from the companies you admire, but remember, they are there to meet YOU. Their job is to take resumes and potential candidates back to the company for review becuase they NEED employees! So, dust off your best outfit, take clean copies of your resume, and head out the door to the nearest job fair.

4) Remember, you are qualified! If you are second guessing yourself as you are about the introduce yourself to a possible contact, remember that you ARE qualified for the position. Take a quick moment to remind yourself of all the RIGHT reasons that you shold be hired.

5) Visualize. This is one of my favorite tools for every area of my life. I’ve used it in job search, interviews, and presentations. Picture yourself having an interesting conversation with a contact. Picture them responsding to you in a favorable way, seemingly taken with whatever you are saying. Play our the scene in your head. What are you saying? What are they saying? How are you describing yourself, your abilities, your training/education, etc? Visualize them writing down your number or taking your card, later calling you in fo ran interview. Not only does thsi make you feel relaxed, but it helps you when you actually begin speaking with the person because you feel more prepared and not as tense when they ask you about yourself.

These simple steps will help reduce the panic and stress of meeting new people and networking. Good luck!– Erin Kennedy