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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Art of ACTIVE Job Seeking

During a Take Charge workshop at Walsh College today, I talked to the Social Media for Job Seekers class about the concept of "active" job seeking. The example I like to use is to ask the class to put their hands on front of the desk in front of them. This can be compared to the traditional job seeker.

In comparison, I ask them to place their hands in an "active hands" position (which I borrowed from Yoga). The "active hands" position engages each finger in the placement of the hand on the desk. It's similar to how a cat lands, or how a runner places his/her hands before a race begins.

The hands are engaged.

I think this is a great example to illustrate the concept of traditional versus active job seeking. The traditional job seeker reviews job boards, sends out resumes, maybe makes a phone call or two to fomer managers, and waits. And in this economy, they wait... and wait... and wait. And applies for more jobs, and waits. Lather, rinse, repeat. (sigh)

The "active" job seeker is fully engaged in his/her job search. They use social media to make connections to former coworkers, managers, vendors, clients, college classmates, professors, mentors, etc. They blog. They are active on LinkedIn, and/or Facebook, and/or Twitter, and they are professional on each of these sites. They attend networking events. They attend workshops to learn new skills or brush up on old skills. They have informational interviews to inquire about a possible change in careers. They update their resume periodically with job search activities (seminars, workshops) and they include their LinkedIn address on their resume. They are helpful to their network of connections, sharing information and resources, and they are respectful of the new roles of social media etiquette. They are optimistic and enthusiastic about their search. It's as if they are using all their senses and all available resources in their job search. And they amaze me. These are the kind of people I want to connect to now, because they are spectacular.

(See, you really need all those fingers ACTIVE to keep all these activities going!)

By being an "active" job seeker, they are poised for that next opportunity, just like the active hands in yoga forces you to become fully engaged and focused on the exercise, and just like the runner is poised to begin his/her race.

And from what I see, the "active" job seekers are the ones finding jobs. It does not happen overnight in most cases (although I learned of someone in the last month who joined LinkedIn, connected with a former professor, interviewed and was hired for a new position BEFORE it was even posted... and this all happened within a week), but it does happen at a faster rate than the traditional job seeker.

I hope this inspires you to become more active in your job search, and that you find your inner peace in the process.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Your Advertising is Annoying

Is it just me, or does anyone else out there get really annoyed by the stereotypes of women in commercials? If I see one more swiffer commercial where the sad mop is playing cheesy 80's love songs while the woman-of-the-house is cheerfully swiffering away, I may have to turn off the TV for good.

I remember in one of my first marketing courses in college, our professor stated at the beginning of class that advertising by nature was stereotypical. He said this as a disclaimer of sorts so that we would not be offended by any of the generalizations offered throughout class. I remember thinking the comment was odd, but agreeing with him at the time.

So many years have now gone by since that marketing class. I've been working in marketing since I graduated. I would agree that you sell by speaking to your audience's needs. But personally (and I'm going to speak for all the ladies out there) - I have never had a blissful moment about housecleaning. I dread cleaning my bathroom. I bribe my husband to do dishes (no, it doesn't work), and I refuse to dust because it is pointless. So if you think I have ever been affectionate about any cleaning products - you are sadly off the mark.

Any commercial which shows women happy about their housework or domestic duties is a bit offensive to me. Contrary to what some of these companies think, I don't sit around the kitchen all day long waiting to realize that I've forgotten my kid's lunchables and I don't think that the all-in-one detergent and fabric softener sheet is the best thing since sliced bread.

And don't get me started on minivans. They are not cool, in my opinion. Yes, we own one but my husband drives it. The first time I got in it I looked around and asked him, "well, where is it?" to which he replied, "What?" and I said, "The white flag."

And in case you're wondering, I do not own any mom jeans. (but thank you SNL - you get it.)

Sometimes when I don't understand an ad, I know why - it was not intended for me. Any beer commercial with monkeys is a perfect example. My husband thinks they are hilarious. I look at him and shake my head...

But other times, I know I'm their target. I'm in my 30's. I'm a working parent. And frankly it's irritating that they haven't figured out a better way to market to us. Maybe in the 50's it would've worked (any other Mad Men fans out there?). But not in circa 2009. C'mon people....

What do you think? What's the most annoying commercial that comes to mind for you - where you are the intended audience?