torture or titillating?

Sending out a new cover letter for each position you apply for can be daunting- but I think we’ve all been at that point when it just feels like torture.  If you’re creating little rewards for yourself (if I do one more I get to eat that truffle that’s been sitting in my refrigerator) just to make it through, it’s time to step back and take a look at what you’re doing.

Sometimes the job is perfect for you, your dream position, but what your potential employer is asking for is the bare bones, plain and boring: “Please send resume and credentials in cover letter.”  Well, in that case, you’re just going to have to power through, because it will be worth it in the end.  Other times the prompt is great, but you find yourself really struggling to sound excited in your cover letter, to connect your true interests to those that might best qualify you for the position.  In that case you might want to pause and ask yourself, Is this really for me?  Unless you’re financially obligated to take any job that comes your way (in which case, DO!), it’s important to take time every so often to reevaluate what it is you’re really looking for.  As I’ve said before, finding a job is like getting into a relationship- it’s equally important to know what YOU want as it is to anticipate what your potential employer is looking for.

If the words are flying out from beneath your fingers and your foot is tapping in anxious excitement as your trying to reign in your cover letter from exceeding a page in length- by all means EDIT and EDIT again- this is the job for you!  If you can’t decide which example to use in your cover letter because you have too many relevant ones, or which interest to highlight because all of yours seem to align perfectly with those the position entails, follow up with a phone call, send another email, don’t let your dream job slip away!

In summation?  If even applying for the job is torture, do you really thinking doing it forty hours a week will be much better?  If you’re short of breath even while crafting your cover letter, do everything in your power to demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for that job!

Go get em, tigers.

let Rachel help you out

Rachel Bilson Style Expert for Piperlime – Style News – StyleWatch – People.com.

If you’ve started a new job and you’re struggling to decide how to dress appropriately without getting lost in a sea of grey, beige and blah, you could do worse than to look to the ever stylish Rachel Bilson for some fashion inspiration.

Rachel Zoe’s turn as a guest editor for Piper Lime has been publicized the world over- but it somehow slipped past me that Ms. Bilson has been working the same gig.  I tend to avoid Piper Lime if I’m really struggling to decide what look I want since their site is really full of pieces from all over the map, BUT, the guest editor picks really narrow it down for you!  Rachel Bilson pulls off sophisticated cool like no other, and what better look for a corporate casual work place than hers?

So ladies, head over to http://www.piperlime.com and check out Ms. Bilson’s picks for this season- you’re sure to leave with more than a few ideas of how to fill your Monday through Fridays!

Twitter to the rescue!

3 Simple Ways You Can Use Twitter To Find A Job – AllTwitter.

If you haven’t checked out mediabistro.com – do!  It cuts a lot of the “internships” listed on craigslist, and thus reduces the amount of time it takes you to scan the listings for viable employment options.  This article from them, “3 Simple Ways…” is a great resource on how to use Twitter to help in your job search.  Here’s where I get a little confused- I understand that Twitter can be a great resource, as can its system of hashtags and search engine- but how do you maintain a Twitter that is both employment appropriate AND interesting?

I’ve noticed that a lot of companies lately ask for a link to your personal Twitter account, often justifying this request by adding, “So we can get a sense of who you are.”  I’ve read plenty of interviews with recruiting firms and hiring partners that extoll the virtue of Twitter for really getting a sense of what someone is all about, in five minutes or less, before you even walk through the door.  Twitter, unlike Facebook, is delightfully unencumbered of your high school years and the photos that accompany those…interesting…times.  Most people have acquired a Twitter account in the last year or two, making the “cleaning up for prospective employers” process a lot more manageable.

Getting back to the original question- is it better to go through and censor your current Twitter account or create a new one with the sole directive of aiding your search for employment?  I always wonder what an employer will think of a “clean Twitter slate”, if you will.  It’s clear that you deemed your personal Twitter unacceptable for some reason- and doesn’t that leave everyone wondering what exactly it is your hiding?  The only conclusion I’ve come to is to keep your personal Twitter, but follow these three steps before you start listing it publicly in your employment search.

1. Go through your Tweets and delete any that fall outside the realm of “acceptable”- whatever you determine this to be.

2. Change your bio to reflect what your looking for in your job search.  Use key words.

3. Keep tweeting as usual, but try to tweet at least once every few days something relevant to your desired field of employment.

In a world so focused on social media it’s inevitable that the employment game will reflect that many of us lead very public internet lives that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking are private.  The only solution is to curb your internet persona- put the brakes on Facebook and Twitter as a personal web space, and come to terms with the fact that no matter how private you imagine your internet presence to be, the information you post is out there in cyberspace forever.  You draft and re-draft your cover letter and resume, choose the perfect outfit for the interview, rehearse potential questions and responses, so after all that effort don’t forget to groom the “internet-you” as well!

keep it together!

It’s getting harder and harder to pretend winter isn’t fast approaching- what with the noreaster this past Saturday and all.  Even though the sun is out in full force today, cold and flu season is upon us!  Any time you’re under additional stress, you’re more susceptible to catching a cold.  The last thing you want when you’re headed into an interview is to be pulling wadded tissue out of your nose or stifling a dry cough.  The best thing you can do to try to avoid getting run down and sick is to take a little time every day to take care of YOU! Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, take a hot shower, and try to RELAX!

Just a few suggestions to help ward off winter sickness (and tips for what to do if you do get sick):

Make a great soup!  It’s easy, requires very few ingredients, and can last for a few meals, especially if you freeze the remainder.  I just tried a great recipe I found on Whole Foods for Split Pea-Sweet Potato Soup.  Even though it tastes just like those horrible for you “cream-of-such-and-such” soups, it’s TOTALLY healthy, and packed with vegetables and protein!

Go for a walk! Head over to central park, down to the Hudson River, uptown to Riverside, take the ferry over to Williamsburg and stroll around.  Get OUT of the house and get some fresh air and sunshine.  Just make sure to bundle up!

Turn off all the lights when you go to bed!  The flicker of a muted TV, the glowing screen of a computer in the other room, the blinking of a cell phone charger- these are all small sources of light that really seem to add up to a fitful nights sleep.  Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, clean, and a comfortably cool temperature.  Avoid dragging your laptop into bed with you!  The bright screen and stimulation of the internet will add on to the time it takes you to fall asleep after you close the computer.  Don’t work against yourself, sleep is one of the best defenses against sickness!

So you lost the battle and you feel a cold coming on?  I always recommend herbal tea and zicam (or any generic zinc tablet) at the first sign of a cold.  It seems to cut down on my symptoms, and at the very least I feel proactive.  Juice some oranges, climb into bed at the earliest hour possible, and spend some energy trying to get better!

If all else fails, and your nose is STILL leaking like a fire hydrant on the day of that important interview, make SURE to use GOOD TISSUES!  I kid you not, people, use Puffs with Lotion, use whatever the most expensive box of paper for your mucus is your can find, and make sure it has LOTION in it.  With a little mucinex or afrin (to dry up your sinuses right before an interview so you’re not leaking), you can probably manage to look pretty presentable, but NOT if your nose is red and peeling from using rough tissues fifty times a day.

I hope some of my followers have ceased to read my blog (IE: are now EMPLOYED!). Good luck to everyone else as we head into the colder months- at least you won’t have to worry about being sweaty when you walk into an interview, right!?

C. Coolidge with a helping hand

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge

via Persistence Quotes – BrainyQuote

Listen, all you fellow unemployed, there is almost nothing as valuable in your quest for a career as sheer and undeterred persistence.  You must be relentless in your search, in networking, in finding and using resources, in perfecting your resume, crafting your cover letter, and finally in securing an interview.  Lest you feel your plate already too full, there’s more.  Once you’ve gotten the interview, and aced it, you MUST follow up, and keep in contact!  It’s hard to know how many candidates you’re competing against, so don’t let your great first impression be forgotten!  Whether it’s a simple question of scheduling or perhaps your curious about a company’s involvement in other areas of your interest, DO email your contact.  Your continued interest will be proven, in a much more interesting way than sending essentially a second thank-you note.  Any opportunity you have to remind a potential employer not only of your existence, but more importantly of your ability to succeed beyond any other candidate’s capacity, is one you should SEIZE! 

Getting a job is really a form of sales, if you think about it.  Your selling your skill set, your ambition, and you have to do so in much the same way that a sales associate might: be direct without being pushy, be confident without seeming overly aggressive, and above all, leave your potential employer with the impression that you are, of course, imminently capable of all the job requires.  DETERMINATION, as Calvin Coolidge so eloquently remarks, is OMNIPOTENT.  So get out there and carpe diem!

quick fix

Here’s a quick tip for the ladies:

Sometimes you’re called in for a last minute interview, and you look down to see your wearing dark polish, or your nails are chipped.  Pick up a few disposable ready-to-use nail polish remover wipes at your local pharmacy.  They’re perfect in a pinch, and in five minutes your nails are handshake-worthy.  Add these to your arsenal of last-minute products, and you can forget about worrying over whether you’ll look interview worthy.

do what you love

My mother once told me, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”  I’ve tried to abide by this rule, seeking out employment in fields that interest me primarily because of my passions rather than the monetary reward.  I think it’s important to keep in mind that money can buy you plenty of things, but happiness isn’t one of them.  You’re going to be spending at least eight, if not more, hours a day in your career, so don’t choose something that’s going to make you miserable.  Concurrently, if you’re doing what you love, success will come naturally.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln,

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

Sometimes you have to take a job to maintain an income, but always remember what really makes you tick, and strive to enter that field.  If you don’t know what that field or career might be, turn to informational interviews, friends, relatives, anyone who might be able to provide insight into the inner workings of a particular field.  Asking questions never hurt anyone, and it might even unearth a job lead!  Be aggressive, and good luck!