Do the extra credit: Step 1. You look on a company's website or a job search site and find a job you love. Step 2. You apply directly from that site. Step 3. Avoid step two at all costs. If you apply in this manner your application will get lost in the "black hole" of job applications. You'll be applying against thousands of other job searchers. Instead, do a little extra work for a bigger pay off. Scour the internet and LinkedIn for the hiring manager's name and address. Not only will a real live human be on the other end of that email, but they'll be about to see you have great perseverance and investigative skills.
A few weeks ago I was asked to be on a panel at Fairfield University to discuss my experiences in the media business. My fellow panelists held a variety of careers within the media world. They included an accomplished journalist formerly from ABC News now working as the managing editor for TheShriverReport.org, a newspaper reporter with 30 years' experience, a book publishing editor, a video producer and a video designer.
Before the discussion began the event organizer and fellow panelist, Audra Martin (video producer for Group SJR), informed us to be as honest as possible and not sugarcoat the reality of the job market or our collective foray into the media business. Audra also pointed out that over half these students will graduate from college without ever having an internship. The panel was insightful and the students asked incredible questions. I've highlighted the three main takeaways.
Don't dismiss internships
Internships have been getting a bad rap the last few years due to some companies being sued and some deleting their programs all together – like the media magnate Hearst. You can take a class, read countless books, ace every exam on a topic but that doesn't at all compare to experiencing it firsthand. Internships are very valuable, every student no matter if you're hoping to work in sales, finance, tech or media should have at least one under their belt. It's a daunting process to narrow down an internship opportunity – especially if your college career department doesn't have the right contacts.
Don't be afraid to look up opportunities on your own by tapping into your network. Reach out to former professors, family and friends and previous employers. You never know whose cousin's college roommate might be able to score you a great experience. A great untapped asset is connecting with former alumni forinformational interviews. You can get a list of contacts from your career department or by doing a search on LinkedIn. If you also decide to apply for internships directly on an employer's website make sure you reach out directly with the hiring manager as well. Don't trust that sending your resumes to email@example.com will get you noticed. Instead, utilize your research skills and find out who the hiring manager and follow up with them directly.
Be persistent with a purpose
"How many emails and calls is too many," asked several student who were eager to get noticed but didn't want to become an annoyance to a potential employer. The panel was in agreement that in order to get noticed you need to be a squeaky wheel. On an average day we collectively agreed that we receive 100-200 emails. It's very easy for something to get lost which is why it's essential to follow up. When you are following up always respond with something that , "I read this article on TechCrunch and thought you would find it interesting" or "I attended this marketing lecture and it made me think about what we discussed in our meeting."
The other point to consider is that when you are reaching out to someone in hopes of a meeting, job, or information you need to have done your homework and create an "in". Study the person you are contacting. Read their LinkedIn Profile, study their company and career history. Use this information to your advantage over email, "I read your article on PR trends and learned a ton" or "I see you work on the Today Show – I'm such a huge fan. I especially love the Orange Room." This is your in. Chances are the people you are emailing know why you are contacting them but going the extra mile and doing your homework turns your "ask" into a relationship.
No one has their dream career at 21
When you graduate it's very easy to 'assume' that you'll be starting at the top (or close to it) – especially when you look at successful millennials like Mark Zuckerberg, Lena Dunham and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom. Except that is very rarely the case. Most people start at entry-level positions -– and that's OK. Learning the ropes, watching from the sidelines and getting in tune with office dynamics will help shape your professional persona. Chances are you'll be interviewing and submitting dozens of resumes after graduation. The job market is constantly growing, changing and adapting.
There are so many different types of jobs out there. I've seen countless people pass up great opportunities because it wasn't their 'dream job.' That dream gig might never find you. If you get a job offer that sounds great and interests you – take it. The time to experiment is in your 20s. Take risks, learn new things and be open to new experiences. You don't have a family to support or mortgage payments to worry about. Take that hourly-wage earning, 3-month production assistant job on the latest Scorsese film.
Admit it, you sent a work email from the bathroom this morning.
If you did you, aren't alone. About one in five professionals admit to doing work in the restroom. This newly released "Life at Home" report comes to us by Swedish furniture maker Ikea. The report says that between 16 and 17 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed in New York City admitted to working in the bathroom. Ikea surveyed roughly 8,000 people in eight cities globally on diverse morning habits including getting ready, time spent working, cuddling and reflecting.
The Today Show covered the study and several of the anchors admitted to sending emails from the loo. Natalie Morales and Carson Daly readily admitted to doing work from the toilet, and Matt Lauer confessed to possibly sending an email from the washroom. Daly also filled the audience in on his bathroom conference call tips.
Going to the work bathroom can be challenging enough. The next time you get an email from a client or your boss, you've got to wonder if that was typed out in the bathroom. You might also give people a second glance if they head to the restroom with smartphone in hand.
At least Manhattanites aren't the only professionals bringing their work to the loo. In Stockholm, 17 percent of those surveyed also admitted to working in the bathroom. In London, Moscow, Mumbai, Berlin and Shanghai, 10 percent did.
Ikea's report findings also included:
- New Yorkers spend 16 minutes per day grooming. That's nearly 2 additional minutes more compared to other cities surveyed. No one said being beautiful was an easy task.
- About 56 percent of people from NYC do not consider themselves "morning people." This explains the need for the venti-size coffee in the morning.
- 57 percent of New Yorker's think self-reflection is important. Remember that the next time someone steals your cab or steps on your toe on the subway.
Other interesting gems include the fact that people in the Big Apple tend not to eat breakfast at home, compared to the other cities surveyed. Yet when they do sit down to a meal, they are more likely to use their PDA than any other city (aside from Moscow).
Before you type out your morning agenda from your work stall, make sure to Purell before and after you hit send.
The other week I sat in on a Dell Think Tank moderated by Lauren Berger, the CEO of the InternQueen.com who recently released her second book, Welcome to the Real World. The purpose of the Think Tank is to connect students, employers, educators, recruiters and Gen Y job seekers. The mission was to create a dialogue around a broken system.
The Art of Email: If you're a fellow member of Gen Y, you grew up on the computer and used email, AOL Instant Messenger, and text as a way of correspondence to friends and family. The workplace also caught on to this technology and implemented it at great lengths. Except, transitioning to using email from personal to professional should really require a handbook. Learning to craft a perfect professional email is an art. Unfortunately too many graduates enter the working world not realizing how to write an effective formal email.
The Dell panel agreed that universities should create programs that help their graduates navigate communicating with their co-workers and clients via a computer. Rakia Reynolds from Skai Blue Media said a new hire sent her a message reading, "Hey, dude, it's finished!" This casual tone was not how Reynolds wanted her employee to interact with her. There are also times when we're too connected to emails. In such a socially connected world we're oddly isolated. Natalie Zfat the co-founder of Social Co., mentioned, "Technology can make us anti-social. Show that you have communication skills."
To Text or Not to Text: Do not text your boss if he or she has never reached out to you via that medium. However, what do you do if your boss texts you? Text them back but keep it formal. Your boss isn't "Your girl" as panelist Rakia Reynolds explained how she received a text like this from an employee. Mirror your boss's language and texting skills. If they are using a relaxed vocab – you can too, but don't over do it. Always proofread and avoid texting slang like, "OMG", "TTYL", and "IRT." Stay away from emoticons – especially if you are new on the job. These designs unfortunately only remind your boss that you are new to the workforce and might not be as professional as they would like.
The Busy Chronicles: One topic that Lauren Berger brought up was the, "I'm so busy" tagline used by professionals industry-wide. My fellow panelists agreed that we all need to stop one upping one another on our "busy" professional lifestyle. We don't need to compete with each other. We actually all need to relax. John Gottfried of Major League Hacking explained the discussion might be less about finding a work/life balance and more about finding a place where that blurred line doesn't matter. Although, how do you create a work/life balance when we live in a digital 24/7 world? There's no easy answer to this question, which is why it's been debated for years.
As a new hire, especially when you're holding your first job – you need to put in face time. Be the first one there and last one to leave for the first several months. Understand what is expected of you and learn what your hours are. Do you work with clients on the west coast and need to rake in three additional hours to coordinate schedules? Or worse, do you have clients in Asia and need to be on call when the rest of your office is in bed? The last thing any good boss wants is a burned out employee. No boss should expect you to burn the midnight oil, night after night after night. They'd end up with a sleep-deprived employee that could be a risk to their business.
If you are feeling over-extended, approach your boss. Ask for a work smartphone and laptop to answer emails, take calls or complete assignments at home. Most importantly, learn what their priorities are and what can truly wait until tomorrow. Ask to alter your hours several days a week if you need to work odd hours to meet deadlines, work late night events, or conference with clients overseas.
Fix the System: The Dell panel was in full agreement that the university system needs to make changes when it comes to preparing graduates for the real world. Opal Vadham, one of the student panelists, said "Universities need to have a strong social media presence so students can see how social media can be utilized professionally." If a university isn't readily using LinkedIn, Twitter or other platforms to their advantage, how would a student know they could use social media to enhance their job search?
People learn best through leading by example. Universities need to create classes, panels, events that arm students with the tools they need in the real world. While taking History of Central Europe is fascinating it might be equally advantageous to learn how to create a business plan, pitch a client, cold call, devise an elevator speech, lead a meeting or conduct a conference call.
Tackling an Internship: You need an internship to get a job but you need a job to afford your internship – what gives? How does a financially strapped student survive on an internships stipend of lunch and metro fare? Student panelist, Eva Shang from Harvard shared how she had to work a second job while she had an internship. As a student who can't rely on the bank of mom and dad – how do you make it work?
As the InternQueen, Lauren Berger can attest, there's no better place to learn hand on job experience than being in an office environment. Which is why internships are so valuable. Christina Onori from Dell explained that interns (and employees) at the Dell campus participate in several career development workshops throughout their internship, including one about, "Primping their LinkedIn Profile." Many internships can be offered for part time which can offer the student time to find a job and complete course work. In fact, there's a limit to how many hours an employer can have an intern work. If your boss asks you to work longer hours, have your college counselor step in and talk to your supervisor.
To listen to the entire Think Tank Livestream, click here.
While most American teens spend their summers working at summer camps or at McDonald's, Malia Obama went to Hollywood. According to TheWrap, Obama scored a summer gig working on Steven Spielberg's new TV series called Extant starring Halle Berry.
Malia, an aspiring filmmaker, loved her time on the set according to a source at the taping. The source also quoted Obama, 15, as commenting on the experience, "My first time. This is a big deal!"
Malia spent a day working as a production assistant on the summer sci-fi series premiering on CBS. Malia helped out with computer shop alignments and even slated a take for a scene. There's no word yet if the First Daughter will spend more time on the Los Angeles set the rest of the summer. The White House declined to comment on Malia's summer job in Hollywood.
So you (or your child) want to follow in the First Daughter's footsteps and apply for a gig as a PA? Here's what they really have in store:
Upside- You learn to be a Jack of all trades on a Movie/TV set by helping support the film crew. Chances are you'll be assisting sound, lighting, camera, director, actors, writers, producers or even craft services. Other pluses include getting two free meals a day, wearing what you want and seeing an all-star celebrity in action. More importantly, you figure out what department you want to specialize in. You also have the opportunity to make connections with film crew members in those areas.
Downside – Unfortunately the hours are long, don't expect health insurance and there's little job security since when the 3-month shoot is over you need to look for the next gig. You can also expect low wages, lots of travel and plan to work in all types of inclement weather. The show must go on.
What are some skills PA's need to succeed?– Flexible, punctual (time is money), adaptable, resourceful, professional (no selling actors' gossip or photos to TMZ).
Extant premiere's on CBS on July 9.
Be honest: if you are female and in the career world, you've uttered the phrase "I'm sorry" more times than you care to recall. You preface statements with "I'm sorry," utter the phrase after someone steps on your shoe or closes the elevator door on your foot, or say it to grab someone's attention.
Bearing that in mind, Pantene has just released a new ShineStrong ad campaign, I'm Sorry, that showcases how women belittle themselves by mentioning the phrase everywhere, from the boardroom to the bedroom. The next phase of the commercial showcases what happens when these women remove "sorry" from their vocabulary.
This advertisement is the second wave of Pantene's women empowerment ads. Last year's commercial (Labels Against Women) highlighted workplace labels; "I'm Sorry" is just the latest in a series of thought-provoking ad campaigns geared toward professional women.
You're not really sorry. What you are really trying to do is tell the other person that they must be busier or more important than you--which is why you're "sorry" to disturb them. Except this is almost never the case, especially when you are at the office. You are there to work, and oftentimes that means offering up your ideas. That's what your boss and coworkers are looking for. Saying you're sorry is holding you back.
Sorry is a five letter word. You need to banish the word "sorry" from your workplace vocabulary. Don't use it as a crutch. Don't hide behind its emptiness. Stand up for what you believe in. Do you want someone's attention? Ask for it. Don't apologize for it. Colleen Jay, president of P&G Global Hair Care and Color says, "We believe the message of the 'Not Sorry' video will resonate with women, encouraging them to be more aware of this diminishing behavior and, in turn, prevent any bias they may be unconsciously creating."
Bring Back Confidence. You are where you are professionally because you earned it. You didn't just get lucky. Your talents and skills were recognized, and that's what earned you the job and got you the position you deserve. You have nothing to feel sorry about. So if you feel an "I'm sorry" coming on, bite your tongue, pause, watch this ad and rephrase your next statement. "I think," maybe?
I recently had an all-too-familiar conversation with a woman, Brooke, who was unsure about her career. She loved the comfortable atmosphere, the boss who telecommutes from home daily, and, of course, the fact that her work load was slim to none.
Brooke was able to catch up on her shows, industry news and fashion blogs. She said she always asks her main boss how she can help or if there is anything she can take off her plate. Her boss's go-to sweet response is always, "I've got it covered. You do not want this work in front of you. Thanks so much for offering. Let me shield you from this type of work." She said it felt great that her boss was protecting her from the nitty-gritty work of the firm and loved the freedom she had. Except, from an outside observer's perspective, she was very much caged.
She was stuck in a box and unable to grow.
After she learned I was in the career space, Brooke 'fessed up that she was insanely bored and wanted more. She asked for my opinion on the matter. She wanted to know how she can approach her boss and start doing more real work. She said she often asked for reviews but her boss was always "busy."
From the sounds of it, her career development was not on her boss's agenda. Which is the case for some firms. If her boss truly wanted her to become an all-star at the firm, she would pass along more tasks her way and help her hone her skills. Yet, her boss was protecting the work she was doing incredibly close. Perhaps all she was looking for was an assistant, and if that's the case, then you can say sayonara to any real education and movement within.
Brooke took this all in and admitted she wasn't even so keen on learning the ins and outs of the linen industry.
Her real dream was to open an online accessories store a la #GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso. She enlightened me that her Brooklyn neighborhood had everything – minus a place to buy higher-end accessories. The idea was to set up shop online and then grow into a smaller storefront. She knew she could get the web traffic and the foot traffic. She went on for 15 minutes or so. Her face lit up as she talked about each plan, each step and every designer she wanted to include.
I told her it was time to start turning her dream into a reality.
Her current job was not challenging her and she was barely interested in the field. The two plusses were the salary and the low stress. She easily could work on her business after work and on weekends. All she needed to do to get started was create a website with an e-commerce component and start making relationships with designers.
"But what if I fail?" Brooke honestly asked. I told her, "Then you fail knowing you tried and aren't stuck working at the linen firm wondering what if."
The only thing that gets in the way of our dreams is ourselves and fear plays a huge part in stopping us from following our dreams. Starting your own business is extremely challenging. I also told Brooke that she should reach out to people in her industry and see if she might be able to add some part time work to 'test out' her passion. She might discover she would rather work for an e-commerce store than run all of it. Without doing a test drive -- you'll never know what you really want to do.
The worst thing any of us can do is stay at a job where we are bored.
Everyone has something to offer. Don't let yourself stay 'stuck' in a situation. Take charge, be innovative, look for a new project or partnership you can development. If you are truly at a dead end, spruce up your resume and take the bold risk to leave a comfortable situation.
You'll be happy that you did.
Accounting interns have a much better chance of scoring a full-time gig than interns in any other industry. So if you're looking for stability and security, an accounting major (and internship) may be the way to go.
That's according to a study from LinkedIn, which analyzed its 300 million+ member profile and discovered interns in the accounting space had the highest retention rate (or chance of scoring a full-time gig) at 59 percent.
Accounting firms treat their interns well, too. For instance, Big Four firm KPMG LLP hosts a workshop for its 1,200 summer interns presenting the Dos and Don'ts of office wear. They then give each summer intern $200 gift cards from Men's Warehouse, and Banana Republic. They also toss in a tie for men and jewelry for women,
"Today's interns are likely to become tomorrow's full-time staffers. More than 90 percent of U.S. interns receive full-time offers, and more than 90 percent of them accept the bids," says Kathy Schaum, a national campus recruiting director and a former KPMG LLP intern told the Wall Street Journal.
Of the 65 industries in LinkedIn's study, other industries with high retention rates for interns include computer networking at 47 percent and semiconductors at 40 percent.
Industries with the lowest intern retention rate are non-profit management and travel and leisure both clocking in at 19 percent.
What do these numbers really mean?
For starters, internships are two-fold. Sure the idea is that you work 40 hour weeks (or longer) for several months of your summer in hopes that come graduation time you'll hear, "You're Hired!" from that company you toiled away at the summer before.
However, internships are also a learning experience. What if you took an internship gig at a law office, production company or publishing house and hated it? Chances are you won't want to return there after graduation. Also, what if you interned near home or school but are planning to move to a bigger city when you get handed your degree.
Wherever you intern – you need to learn how to strategize and network starting from your first day on the job. Showcasing your work ethic, personality and willingness to learn and communicate are all traits that interns in every industry need to have.
Meet Nancy. She's a 28-year-old tour guide. She leads city tours in Florida. She went to a great college and majored in photography. She tried to make it in her profession, but taking a crying baby's photos or shooting a wedding wasn't her ideal career after all. She now works at a job that is seasonal, has no real growth or benefits and didn't necessarily require her diploma.
Meet Danielle. She's a 29-year-old manager of a popular seasonal bar in New York. She graduated from a prestigious fashion school and scored a job designing showrooms for stores. She hated it. She started bartending and saw she was able to triple her former salary. She only works four months out of the year and is able to travel for eight months. To her, college was pointless and not at all necessary. If she could do it again, she would have saved her tuition money and started bartending four years earlier.
Meet Dan. He's a 30-year-old bartender at a popular bar in Washington, D.C. Dan graduated from a local college there but wasn't interested in finding a job in his chosen career path of art history. He bartended through college and kept going after graduation. He isn't thinking about applying to a regular nine-to-five.
Meet Andy. He's a 25-year-old waiter, a former pre-med graduate. After attending classes, he saw that becoming a doctor was not the path for him. He's still thinking about what his next steps are, but at the moment he is very happy and comfortable with where he is financially. He's taking food and wine courses to help him move up in the industry.
All of these people are extremely intelligent and educated. They all expressed how much interpretation and analysis goes into each of their lines of work -- something the customer rarely thinks about.
The college system is broken. More and more graduates are entering industries that not only have nothing to do with their field of interest but might not even require a degree. Colleges need to provide real life, on-the-job training. Students should have a chance to fully test out what that job should be. They should understand the roles, responsibilities, salary and demand of that position.
With the exorbitant cost of college, it really might not be the best option for some people. Plenty of industries do not require a four-year degree and won't leave students in a job they don't like with high amounts of student debt. Those jobs include electrician, cosmetologist, hygienist, customer service representative, or paralegal.
Professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa from New York University andThe University of Virginia released a study and wrote a book, Aspiring Adults Adrift, on the demise of prepared college graduates. They told the Wall Street Journal,
"Colleges focus too much on students' social lives at the expense of a strong academic and career road map. Schools have given their charges an unrealistic sense of what it takes to achieve their life aims, resulting in overwhelming -- and possibly unrealistic --optimism among young people about their prospects."
Everyone's vision of success is different. The ROI of attending collegesattending colleges have faltered the millennial set. Schools need to take action now and reform their education process.
Heading into a job interview, presentation, raise negotiation or asking to speak on an industry panel?
All these career "asks" take some amount of nerve mixed with confidence. Not only do you need to believe you're worthy of the "ask" in question, you need to muster up the courage to make that initial request as well. Visualizing asking your boss for a bump in your salary of 5 percent seems a lot easier than when you are standing in front of her sweating, perplexed, playing with your watch band and feeling like a deer in headlights.
Here are six things you should do before any big ask.
Practice makes perfect: While it's true some people are born naturally confident, for the rest of us it takes practice. The more you work on your tennis game, yoga moves or Photoshop talents -- the better you become at it. Think of confidence as another skill you need to practice, learn, perfect and earn.
Get a power outfit. In medieval times knights had armor to protect them in battle. In 2014 women need to be dressed with a modern suit of armor. Get a go-to power outfit. It could be a dress, suit or even a blazer and dark jeans. Whatever you choose needs to make you look great while also feeling confident and influential. When we look our best we're often more up for a work challenge.
Pinpoint your fear. We often lose our confidence when we aren't prepared. Confidence is learned through experience. Do your homework before your next meeting. Do the research and know the tough numbers and facts off the top of your head as opposed to checking notes during a meeting or presentation. Don't give yourself the opportunity to fail. Focus on using your knowledge and expertise to win over your boss, co-worker or client.
Let's go to the videotape. It's very tough to picture ourselves in high-stress situations when we aren't at the office. Videotape yourself the night before a presentation, business trip or sales meeting. You'll see points where you stumble or use filler words (like, um, ya know). Why are you stumbling in these sections? You aren't as prepared as you should be. If you haven't convinced yourself of your words then you won't be able to convince anyone else. You'll also be aware of your body language. Do you flip your hair, tug your shirt, adjust your glasses, lean, tap a foot, and play with a pen while speaking? These are all dead giveaways to a listener that you are not confident.
Speak up. With confidence comes respect. You need to learn how to speak up and insert your expert opinion into the workplace conversation. On your next staff meeting, put on your go-to power outfit and make a point to add your two cents on the meeting's agenda. Prepare in advance. This is the time to change your company's perspective of you. Become a voice your boss and co-workers search for in a crowded room. Don't bite your tongue if you've got a great idea -- announce it.
Don't' stress over stress. Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. Instead of thinking of that stress as a confidence buster -- use it to your advantage. We often get stressed out when we're working on a challenging task. Stress occurs in the anticipation of working on an assignment outside of our comfort zone. Seek out these types of opportunities. If you are getting complacent or bored at the office that's when laziness and sloppy work ethic come into play.
Looking to jump-start your persona at the office in a short amount of time? Simple body language and nonverbal changes will often speak volumes about your character and your work ethic.
Maintain eye contact. It might seem obvious, but retaining eye contact showcases your natural ability to stay focused and present. Too often people lose presence by shifting their attention to their smartphone as opposed to listening at a daily meeting or even within a one-on-one conversation. You'll stand out by virtue of the fact that you are one of the few employees that can remain truly present and authentic in a conversation. When you look someone in the eye it expresses confidence and helps articulate your interest in the topic. When people glance away it tells the speaker they are boring or that you don't really care about the topic.
Wear a smile. Who isn't guilty of having a resting bitch-face from time to time? Become more aware of your attitude by smiling more often. Smiling subconsciously tells people in your surroundings that you have a positive, energetic atmosphere. People notice when you're generally in a good mood and when you aren't. Whether you are in a client-facing role or a receptionist, this is a huge part of your job. You are literally the face of the company. To a client, potential investor, the CEO – you want to express your want and need to stay at the firm as opposed to seeming unhappy and scowling.
Be accountable. Be the employee who comes in early and stays late. Create a go-getter persona to enhance your career. Being known as a problem solver will make you stand ahead of the class. There will always be employees who clock in and out – heading to yoga, happy hour, a date with the couch – and these are the same people who miss the boat when it comes to promotions, raises, and new opportunities. Staying an extra hour at the office won't kill your social life, but it will reflect your can-do attitude to the higher-ups who are also burning the midnight oil.
On the heels of announcing that they reached 300 Million members, LinkedIn introduced a brand newmobile feature today. Members are now able to share photographs on LinkedIn with their mobile device.
Why is this so important? We live in a visual world. Being able to express who we are and what we do through photos is essential. Sometimes we don't have the time or the right words to express what we do. The ability to quickly snap a photo while you are in the moment helps illustrate it for you.
We've seen how other social networks have been able to use this process on a personal level. However, having LinkedIn on board will help professionals worldwide tell a different story. While people might be busy snapping photos of art, food, sunsets or funny selfies, LinkedIn is taking photo sharing to the next professional level. They are inviting you to share a glimpse into what you do on a day to day at the office. We spend over 70% of our time at the office – we have a lot more to share with the world than art, food, sunsets and funny selfies.
According to LinkedIn's career expert Nicole Williams, "members who share images with their LinkedIn network are five times more likely to have other members engage with their update. Clicks and pics can be a recipe for professional success."
Not sure what to share? Why not start with a view of your workspace. "Bring the passion and energy that you have for your career to life. Use photographs to capture fun, inspiring or motivational moments throughout your day," says Williams. Snap a photo of your morning cup of Joe, a new product redesign, a powerful quote, a book you are reading or newly color coded files. Turn the cameras on your co-workers and a snap a photo of your Monday morning office meeting, your break room or your new conference space.
Upload Your Own Photo: Did you know that your LinkedIn Profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you include a photo? "Rather than using the typical headshot, try having someone take a shot of you in the midst of your work – during a presentation or practicing a big speech – or even in front of oven in your kitchen whites if you're a chef," says Williams.
When you're off site: Most professionals are on the move as opposed to sitting at their desks from 9-5. Exhibit your whereabouts by snapping a photo. You can share an update with your network that you are at the Ohio Marketing Convention, but by seeing photos of the booths, speakers and products in photos helps your network experience it in a much better light.
Act like an expert: The best way for a client or hiring manager to see you as a potential candidate is to see you in action. What better way to show off your expertise than a photo? If you're an architect, snap a photo of blueprints you're working on, if you work for a non-profit snap a photo of a walk-a-thon you managed, or if you're an event director take a photo of beautiful affair you created.
Spring has officially arrived. While you clean up your home and store your winter attire don't forget to tackle your LinkedIn profile. It's most likely been a while since you updated your profile, added new connections and touched base with your network. Grab a cup of coffee and get started.
Your profile picture is old.
Use a photo that's no more than five years old on your LinkedIn profile. If it's older than that you're misrepresenting yourself and most likely aging yourself. Perms, feathered hair and Jennifer Aniston cuts retired back in the 80's and 90's. Listen up - those do's, clothes and awkward photo backgrounds are making you seem older than you actually are. Embrace your experience and update your profile so it feels fresh, timely and energetic. Remember, the interviewer has to recognize you when you walk through that door. The best photo is a colorful headshot of you in professional attire. Tilt your chin up, pull your shoulders back and smile. LinkedIn professionals who upload a photo are 11 times more likely to have their profile viewed.
List all your experience.
Experience counts – list it all. A LinkedIn profile with more than one job listed is 12 times more likely to be viewed than one with a single job. And it doesn't matter if you've changed industries. One great example is a friend who said, "I used to work in PR when I first started and now I'm in marketing. How could that help?" It turns out that the agency she interviewed with was very impressed with her PR background. She had skills other marketers didn't. She knew how to sell a brand to the media which is a huge asset when promoting a product. Your volunteer work, freelance, and even internships can positively impact your professional profile. Remember to upload projects and presentations to your profile. This feature trulylets your work speak for itself. Your network can comment on or like your work, which can naturally start a conversation about future projects or jobs.
Create Water Cooler Conversation.
At a loss for what to chat about in the break room? Check out LinkedIn Pulse which allows you to customize your home page through subscriptions to channels for trending news coming from your industry. You can also follow inspirational Influencers like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. Check out what Diane Von Furstenberg has to say about the fashion industry or Workplace Happiness Tips via Gretchen Rubin. Adding these channels will keep the conversation growing and evolving on LinkedIn and at the office.
Make Time to Reconnect.
You've spent time growing your network but when was the last time you reconnected? Don't accept and forget. Your LinkedIn network is as valuable as the relationships you create and sustain. By all means, connect with someone you met at an event or even yoga class. Always give them a reference to remember who you are. You want to take these first-level connections and build them into more robust relationships where you can help them and they can help you. For example, "Hi, I'm Sarah we met at the Engineering Conference in Dayton. We chatted about our businesses and you gave me that great recommendation of a developer." Make a point to message everyone in your network once a year. It's a great way to catch up, keep the conversation going and stay on their minds throughout the year.
Get a Stamp of Approval.
We often trust our friends when they are setting us up on a date, our doctors on what vitamins to take and our local bartender on what new special drink to try. A recommendation always helps set you apart. Ask clients, co-workers and former bosses to pen one for your LinkedIn profile. Ask them to highlight a particular skill, such as event planning or your social media skills. Consider asking for a recommendation while you're in the midst of a project working your tail off. That's when your hard work is top of mind and they're more motivated to do it. That recommendation will live on your LinkedIn profile and act as evidence to your amazing work.
Check on the Competition.
We all know that job hunting can get discouraging. If you're not seeing results it might be time to give your profile a bit of makeover. Have you tried checking out your competition? It doesn't hurt to see how other people in your industry are presenting themselves. On LinkedIn, use the Advanced People Search feature to see "what other people in your industry are listing as skills and specialties." Research the buzzwords in your field and insert them into your profile. Many recruiters use software to sort for these types of words or phrases.
It's all about the Match.
How do you take initiative and actually find the job of your dreams? Take advantage of your own ability for some online reconnaissance. Follow companies that you're interested in, and identify groups that contain your industry's best and brightest. That way, not only do you get a sense of who you want to work for, but by the time you get to the interview stage, you're also able to bring all of your unique talents and experiences to the table and help them to see that not only are they the perfect fit for you, but also that you are the perfect fit.
You have a few months to go before you say Sayonara to school and officially become a working professional. You might have taken Psych 101 but chances are you never took a class on how to get a job or what to do when you scored your dream gig.
What if you're applying for your first job...ever: If you've recently graduated from a Masters, MBA or undergraduate program your first thought will most likely be...I have NOTHING to put on my resume. I have never worked! Except, that isn't exactly true. List your hobbies, clubs, conferences, volunteer experiences and activities you are a part of. Have you ever had a leadership role (class president, yearbook editor, captain of JV Field hockey) list it! You should also include what you learned from your school courses; business, teamwork, computer programs, marketing skills, public speaking, etc. All of these items should be a part of your resume. You'll see how quickly your resume fills up after some analysis.
Conquering a job interview: Be prepared. You would never show up to class without reading an assignment and same goes for a good interview. Come armed with information about the company, your boss, and your role. Sign onto LinkedIn and study the Company Page and the career trajectory of your hiring manager.
Be wary of pushy parents: Your parents will always want the best for you but there is a professional line they should never cross. Under no circumstance should your mom and dad be at the interview with you or apply for you. Think I'm kidding? A parent at my firm did just that. He didn't see anything odd about asking me to hire his daughter to be an intern and tell me how great she would be, how he'd be involved and how much he'd be "checking in."
Your parents would never take a test for you or sit in your Spanish class...I hope... same rules apply for the office. You should ask your parents to reach out to their network of co-workers, clients, and friends to see if someone might know of a job opening up. After that, YOU need to be the first point of contact -- not your mom. You could also ask your parents to review your resume or help you with a mock interview. After that, though, you are on your own.
When the new boss is always M.I.A.: If you only have a ask your questions the first few minutes of the day. Let them know you are interested in the business and want to be the best employee for them. Have an idea? Let them know that moving the straws next to the soda cups creates efficiency.
When the office is cliquey: High school cliques annoyingly also exist off campus. Often times these mean girls will at first see you as a threat. Be as friendly as you can to them and try to learn. Make them feel like they are the BMOC. However, if they are still icy – do your best to ignore them. Don't let it get to you and focus on the job at hand.
Ready for a promotion? Before you ask, make sure you deserve it. Here's a list of 4 questions you need to ask yourself:
- Are you helping the company's bottom line?
- Are you punctual and working overtime if you have last-minute client requests?
- Have you been there longer than six months?
- Have you felt that you've made your boss' life easier and are taking on more responsibilities?
If so -- go in for the ask. If not, be the best employee you can be and ask for a promotion 30 days down the line. If you are asking, make sure you come prepared with reasons why you have earned this. Have sales increased since you started? Are you able to get through your work much faster than other employers? Have you created a business website or helped with the social media strategy? Are you volunteering for projects outside your typical responsibilities?
Making a grand & graceful exit: Your employer knows that you won't be at their firm forever. Set up a meeting to chat privately. Start off the conversation by letting them know how amazing it has been to work there (even if it wasn't) and how much you have learned from them as a boss. Then let them know you'll be leaving and will give 2 weeks' notice so they have time to find someone to replace you.
Always end on good terms with a boss – you never know if you'll want the job again down the line or which business owners your boss is friends with in town. You'll also want to count on them for a reference.
After sending your resume out, you finally have a job interview. Here are 5 things you should never say or wear during an interview.
Not: What do you do here?
Fix: If you walk into an interview and you ask the interviewer what they do at the organization that is a fail. First off, you should have researched the company. Secondly, you should have looked up the person you are interviewing with on LinkedIn. Never go into an interview unprepared.
Not: I left because my boss hated me.
Fix: Never, under any circumstances say an unkind word about your boss, coworkers or company. You never want to insert the negative in a job interview.. Always keep things upbeat and positive. Loyalty and trust go a long way in terms of employment. Your new boss wants to ensure you'll use that same digression during your potential career with them.
Not: Over inflating your salary.
Fix: The jigs up. With platforms like Glassdoor and Salary.com as well as industry insight, hiring managers have a general idea of what you are making. If you over ask (and I'm talking more than the cursory 5-10% - you have a big chance of not getting the job. It shows you have unrealistic expectations and have not properly analyzed the market. It's encouraged to negotiate but know what is appropriate.
Not: Not wearing the right clothes.
Fix: Do your homework. Understand the company culture by studying the type of office environment they envision. Don't show up to a start up in a three-piece suit and don't show up to a PE firm in dark jeans and a blazer. You need to look the part. Look like you could easy blend into the team.
Not: You admit to being desperate.
Fix: No hiring manager wants to hire someone who has bounced around from interview to interview. They want to know that you are a strong candidate who is passionate about the position and the product. They want to know your strengths, ideas, and insights. Keep your interview track record under the table. Lead with confidence and understanding of the company.
You are set to graduate in May and already starting to interview. You've studied the company and have prepared your interview QA. But what do you wear? Your college career counseling office always adheres to the dark suit uniform, but you know the tech scene is much less formal. What do you do?
Working in the tech scene as a coder or programmer in Silicon Valley requires a very different wardrobe than the rest of the country. You want to look like you fit in for any job you apply for. Nix the suit but err on the side of business casual. Dark denim, blazers and a heel's for women and a closed toed shoe for men (no sneakers).
The tech scene can thank Steve Jobs for his informal approach to tech with jeans and a black turtleneck. It can also applaud Mark Zuckerberg for famously introducing the hoodie and flip-flops to tech company culture. We're sure Mark never thought he would be a fashion icon. Yet, his style has helped dictate what is appropriate for billion dollar businesses like Facebook. Yet, going into the actual interview, unless you are the founder of a billion dollar enterprise – stick with business casual and don't get too comfortable. Especially if you are only at the initial interviewing stage.
It's just clothes, does it really matter? Your attire tells the interviewer the type of environment you want to work in. If they see you dressed up very formally they'll make the assumption that you wouldn't want to actually work for their company. They don't see you as a natural fit. When they look at their sea of current employees and then at you – they want you to be able to be one of them. There is a difference from looking casual to looking like you rolled off the couch. Make sure you clothes are pressed and clean. Your hair, shoes, bag are all well-kept and organized. You might be wearing a button down short but if it's wrinkled, it'll only distract the interviewer from the words that are coming out of your mouth.
Still clueless, where should you turn? Look on LinkedIn and see if you can get a sense of style by current employee's photos. Scan Google for write-ups of the company or photos from events. If you are really unsure of what to wear, stalk the office. A few days before the interview, stand on the other side of the street from the entrance and see what people are wearing as they come in and out of the building. What you wear is a nonverbal expression of what you want to represent. . Statement pieces are encouraged but don't get too creative unless the position calls for it: Fashion, PR, Graphic, Art Director...Whatever you do, don't wear a shirt that makes a literal statement – no graphics.
What do health, wellness, philanthropy and professional and personal development have in common? They are all the foundation of Elevate Gen Y, a company that offers live events and programming to millennials. Elevate Gen Y is run by mother/daughter duo Sharon Ufberg and Alexis Sclamberg.
After graduating from college, Sclamberg (like many young women) was clueless about what she wanted and went to law school by default. She earned her law degree and found herself in the same unsure situation -- now with a ton of debt.
After reading self-help books, listening to personal development webinars and finding nothing relating to her quarter-life crisis, she talked to her mom about the generational issue of finding life direction at a particular phase of life.
"It was immediately obvious that this was our chance to work with one another to put our hearts and passions together to create something amazing," Sclamberg says. Her mom spent over 30 years as a health care practitioner guiding people to live more empowered and healthier lives.
"I wanted to learn how to make wise decisions (not just practical ones)," Sclamberg adds. "My generation needs community, inspiration, empowerment. We need to feel like we're not alone in this crazy time that is your 20's and 30's."
So Elevate Gen Y was born.
The company creates live events and online programming for women in their 20s and 30s to inspire and empower them to live happy, healthy, meaningful lives and back to their community and the world. They, in term, are inspired by the email they receive from women about connections they've made and how the program has changed their lives.
The mother and daughter seem to enjoy their work together and are ready to embark on "The Borrowed Wisdom World Summit, a 12-week interview series featuring self-help experts, world-renowned doctors, celebrities and more. "We've spent years searching and have found the very best experts to help listeners get a life they love," says Sclamberg
What's the biggest piece of wisdom they've borrowed so far?
"People are very generous and willing to help you if you are brave enough to ask for what you need," says her mom.
I had the good fortune to attend Cosmo's Fun Fearless Life weekend, the inaugural women's conference of Cosmopolitan magazine. Inspiring? Where do I begin? Here are 22 nuggets of wisdom I picked up from the awesome attendees.
"Our presence is our greatest source of power. Our presence is what makes people want to hire us." @GabbyBernstein
Motivational speaker, Gabby Bernstein explained how your projection to the world is what captures an employer's attention. You could say all the 'right' things but if you don't believe in what you're saying and present confidence – you won't score the job, promotion, raise or new client.
"Women are building this country! Creating 60% of new jobs and 100% of babies!"@ninagvaca
CEO and Founder of the Pinnacle Group, Nina Vaca inspired the crowd by reinforcing women's worth in the job market.
"Empower yourself. Don't sit in fear or be immobilized by the 'what if.'" @ItsGabrielleU
Actress and Activist, Gabrielle Union encouraged the crowd to stop playing the 'what if' game and start living.
"Do one nice thing for yourself every day." @KellyOsbourne
Fashion Police Host, Kelly Osbourne struggled to find her authentic self and got lost on a dark path. After a lot of self exploration (and therapy) she was able to find the good in herself, which motivated her to create her fabulous career on E!.
"Fashion acts as a conversation starter. Your #fashion speaks before you do. " @Vargas44
Katherine Vargas, Director of Hispanic Media for the White House shared that fashion in the White House is serious. She explained that not only is it a good networking tool but what you wear translates your professional brand before you have a chance to introduce yourself.
"Think about what you want to be noticed for before you get dressed." @Refinery29
Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29 Christine Barberich takes fashion seriously. The items you wear tell a story about who you are make sure that story aligns with your professional brand."
"Start changing our habits to start living our lives in a new way." @JasonSilva
Jason Silva, host of Brain Games on National Geographic , explored the need to interrupt your regular routine to find new opportunities.
"When we settle it's because we are living by someone else's rules."@JillianMichaels
Celebrity trainer and author Jillian Michaels told the crowd to stop settling. Don't let other people's negativity stop you from succeeding and living the life you want.
"You have to go beyond where you are comfortable otherwise you are not progressing." @dkny
Aliza Licht, SVP of global communication at Donna Karan and DKNY GIRL, the company's award winning Twitter account explained that being at a comfortable place is actually not a good thing. Shake it up. Go outside of your realm and keep growing in your field.
"You don't become successful alone. You have to rely on other people."@alicialquarles
E! News correspondent, Alicia Quarles explained success isn't a woman job. A team of people helps her do her best everyday.
"If you don't put yourself out there, you aren't going to get anywhere." @ChristinaTosi
Chef and founder of the delicious momfuku milk bar, Christina Tosi's advice resonated with the crowd. If you aren't willing to take the first step and showcase your wants to the world - no one will hear them and your career won't be able to soar.
"Presence increases power & power increases presence. Fake it until you become the best version of yourself." @amyjccuddy
We've all heard 'fake it til you make it.' Amy Cuddy, psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School has officially given the free pass to do just that.
"It's good to be good. There's a helpers high in helping someone." @drmegjay
"The strength of weak ties. The unique value of the people you don't know well."@drmegjay
Psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Meg Jay instructed the audience not to turn to our internal circle of co-workers, family and close friends but instead reach out to people we aren't so close to. These people are more apt to see you and your work with fresh eyes and will be able to invite you to tap into a brand new network. She also explained there is science beyond why it feels good to help someone -- whether it's to find a date, new job, client or even restaurant recommendation. It feels good to be helpful.
"Network, network, network. Who you know is what you know." @SallieKrawcheck@EllevateNtwk
Sallie Krawcheck is a pioneer in the finance industry. In a sea of men, she'd often be the only woman in the room. She acquired 85 Broads and turned it into theEllevate Network and truly felt her key to success was the people she met along the way.
"Attitude and drive are your key to success," says @spanx.
Many women owe a huge thank you to Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely. Through sheer tenacity, she transformed the hosiery industry, and became one of the youngest self-made female billionaires.
TwitterCosmo Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles
Since she was the emcee, Cosmo Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles had a ton of great advice for the crowd.
What are her interview do's and don'ts?
"Don't tell @JoannaColes (or any boss) you need to leave by 5pm."
"Never plop you purse on your interviewer's desk." @JoannaColes
"I want to be surrounded by high energy and upbeat people." @JoannaColes
"I like fast talkers." @JoannaColes
If you are in college (or have a child who is), it's time to start the search for a summer 2015 internship. While some people might think seven months is a bit too far in advance to start searching, they would be wrong. Competition to get an internship in your desired industry, much less company, is aggressive.
Internships act as a solid bridge between the academic and business worlds. Good internships connect you with great contacts, experience and a good working understanding of the industry. The best internships provide you with tangible training, relationship-building events, hands-on experience and career development seminars. Vault.com recently released their list of the Top 50 Internships for 2015.
Vault surveyed 5,800 interns at 100 different internship programs for theirInternship Experience survey. The survey was based on the following criteria: "quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development, and full-time employment prospects."
"Today, 40 percent of all entry-level full-time hires in the U.S. are sourced through internship programs," according to Derek Loosvelt, a senior editor at Vault.com. "This means that, for those looking to work for the most desired and admired employers in the country, internships are no longer a luxury but a necessity."
10 Best Overall Internships for 2015:
1. Bates White Summer Consultant Program
2. Elliot Davis ENVISION
3. Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP's Summer Internship
4. Bain & Company Associate Consultant Intern and Summer Associate programs
5. Northwestern Mutual Internship
6. Plante Moran's Internship Experiences
7. KPCB Fellows Program
8. Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Summer Associate Program
9. CapTech Summer Internship Program
10. Anadarko Corporation Summer Internship Program
Vault, in addition to ranking the Best Overall Internships, also ranked internship programs in seven industries: Accounting, Consulting, Energy, Financial Services,Investment Banking, Media & Telecom, and Retail & Consumer Products.
Best Accounting Internship: Elliot Davis ENVISION
Best Consulting Internship: Bates White Summer Consultant Program
Best Energy Internship: Anadarko Petroleum Summer Internship Program
Best Financial Services Internship: Northwestern Mutual Internship
Best Investment Banking Internship: Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Associate Program
Best Media & Telecommunications Internship: AT&T Finance Leadership Program
Best Retail & Consumer Products Internship: Kohl's Information Technology Internship
According to Loosvelt, the company has been studying, surveying and ranking employers for quite some time. Mainly focusing on consulting, law, banking and now expanding into consumer products, tech, energy, media and entertainment. Why study the internship programs of these industries?
"Internships have been growing in importance, as nearly half of all entry-level full-time jobs at the top employers in the country are now sourced through their internship programs. So we found it important to give readers a better sense of the best internship programs out there, and to give them information about what it's like to intern at top employers as well as how to get these internships," says Loosvelt.
Loosvelt says Millennials are looking for jobs and careers that have meaning.
"Of course, prestige and salary are still important to Millennials, but I don't think they're the most important factors by far (like I think they were to, say, Generation X). I think Millennials want to make an impact. They want to feel their work is meaningful (the definition of what's meaningful varies, of course, from person to person)," says Loosvelt. Some people might want to advance the tech field in Silicon Valley, others might find their meaning in charity, while others are spreading awareness via social media or through education.
"Millennials are very focused on career advancement and training," Loosvelt says. "They're attracted to positions in which they'll be able to make difference right away-that is, being able to contribute to their firm's success without much waiting/training period. And they want to know that they'll be able to advance quickly if they succeed. They shy away from strict advancement time periods. And I believe that Millennials are also less fearful when it comes to changing careers and entrepreneurship -- starting their own ventures. This might just be because it's easier to start businesses these days; for example, brick-and-mortar stores aren't necessary to begin because, in most cases, all you need is a web domain and an idea; it doesn't take that much money to get going."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will be the majority of the workforce in 2015. Loosvelt agrees that more companies (like the ones ranked in the study) are putting more time and resources into their programs in order to attract top talent and retain them.
There has been a major switch as companies have been putting a greater emphasis on training and development in internship programs. "This is partly, I assume because they realize it pays to do this. If you treat your internship program like one long training period (and now sometimes students will intern two and three summers with the same firm), once your interns start full time with you, they're ready to perform real work, not to mention they're apt to stay at your firm for a lot longer period of time that is, they'll be less apt to jump ship to another firm just for the money since they have a stronger connection (more loyalty) to you," says Loosvelt.
"Companies are increasingly offering better benefits and perks," he adds, "as they understand that Millennials are interested in flexible schedules (to raise families and/or engage in outside-of-work activities) and in having a community feeling at work, which wasn't so much the case with respect to past generations."
It takes about six seconds to make a first impression, and what you're wearing is a huge nonverbal and often subconscious way of ensuring the interviewer/client/coworker thinks you're a great fit. But before you reach for that bulky suit on the rack, think again.
These days, women can let go of the boxy power suits of the 1980s. Women wore these suits to blend into their environment, to subtly tell men that you were one of the guys and part of the team. Suits gave women power and confidence.
These days the modern suit is much different--it's all about fit. Stay away from blazers with shoulder pads and try on a style that cinches around your waist. What's paramount now is dressing for your industry. Every office, field and work environment is different.
If you're in finance or law, for instance, chances are you need to stick to a suit. However, stay on trend. While the pant suits you wore the 80s and 90s might still fit, that doesn't mean they are still the right fit and doing you any good at the office. In fact, they're most likely aging you. Take a look at what the senior women are wearing and take your cues from them. You can insert your style by adding a dash of color with your blouse or a statement necklace.
Corporate finance or law are also industries that tend to favor suits over other, more casual getups. Find one that complements your specific field. Remember, fit trumps quality. Visit a tailor to shorten a sleeve or (if they're a fit for your office) hem a skirt.
Before buying another shirt because it's on sale or accepting your older sister's hand-me-down blazer, think before you put it on. Does the fit, quality, and style truly compliment your professional brand? You'd never submit a report that was disorganized or create a PowerPoint that was all over the place. Extend this attention to detail to your work wardrobe.