Unemployment Style

The Lighter Side of Unemployment

Social Media September 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 2:31 pm

Well it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written but I’ve been extremely busy.  First I went to Denver for a week – fun times!  Second I’ve been taking seminars and webinars learning all about the social media channels.  And last, but certainly not least, still in job search mode.

Let me just say that I’m captivated by Social Media.   I initially wanted to learn about it in order to help me land a job.  But now I realize it’s the way the business world is going and there’s no turning back (and who would want to).  I guess you can tell that I’m just amazed by it all.  And I know that it will only get better. 

My social media journey began about six/seven months ago.  I started on Facebook and LinkedIn.  I use Facebook as my friend’s platform.  It’s a place I connect with friends and stay current on what’s going on in their lives (I’ve had so much fun reconnecting with high school friends over the last few weeks).  And yes I play the games and take the quizzes!  If you do intend to use it for business, be very careful – join a group that targets your customers; form a group of like-minded fans; and then ask fans of the first group to join your group.  My understanding is that Facebook has a strict policy about using their site as a business engagement.

LinkedIn is a good place for business contacts – that’s all I use it for.  It’s a great place to house your resume, recommendations, join groups, search for jobs, etc.  I’ve taken several seminars on LinkedIn and have learned something new every time.  It’s such a multi-faceted tool.

Twitter was my next stop.   I initially joined Twitter to see what all the buzz was about and instantly I was sucked in (not in a bad way.)  I use Twitter as a business platform.  I tweet about the marketing/advertising industry (http://twitter.com/AdvertisingLady).  This helps me stay current on issues and share with other like-minded individuals.  I tweet about 10 times a day. But I wanted to learn more about this medium so I started taking webinars and reading books on Twitter.  I wanted to learn how to use it more effectively, how to build a customized page (haven’t done that yet), how to measure, and how to just have some fun.   I follow some really interesting people and learn something new every day.  “As Facebook is a requirement to say that you understand the internet, Twitter says you are cutting edge (source – John Paul Souza).

I also found some other interesting sites and I’m just getting started with them – biznik, Fastpitch Networking, Plaxo, Merchant Circle and Q Alias.

What I’ve learned is Social Media is here to stay.  It’s only going to grow and morph into something that will enhance the way we interact with friends, potential friends, customers, potential customers!   It’s a place where business, both B2B and B2C, must be to stay relevant with their consumers; building relationships and maintaining a consistent presence with them.  Social Media is here and it’s not going anywhere!  So learn it, use it and don’t abuse it.

 

Stay positive.

Cheryl

cjohnson0114@verizon.net

www.linkedin.com/in/csmithjohnson

http://cherylsjohnson.wordpress.com

http://www.visualcv.com/csjohnson

 

Cover Letter – Do you really need one? August 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 4:07 pm

That’s a good question.  At first I thought, I don’t need a cover letter.  They’re a waste of time.  Employers never read them.  I wanted to put all my energy into a well-crafted, organized resume.  But what I failed to realize is that a good cover letter is meant to introduce you to the employer.  It’s their first impression of you. A good cover letter puts a human voice to your name. 

A cover letter is a marketing piece used to get you the interview.  So make sure you craft it to reflect your skill sets and capabilities for that specific job.  I’ve listed a few tips below: 

  • Custom tailor each cover letter
  • Be strong, confident and professional – the cover letter is a sample of your writing skills and how you communicate in a written format
  • Make it personal – if you know the hiring manager’s name use it, if not skip the greeting introduction all together.   I don’t recommend using generic terms like “To Whom it may Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.
  • Get to the point – Which position you are applying for, How did you learn about the job (this avoids the appearance of a mass produced cover letter)
  • Research the organization and highlight specific ways your expertise can benefit the organization
  • Match your skills sets to the job requirements
  • Peak their interest so they want to learn more about you
  • In closing, express your gratitude for their time and interest.  Make sure to outline your next steps by stating when you will contact them to follow-up on your resume and the status of the job.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Resume, Resume, Resume, competition is fierce so you need to set yourself a part from the masses, and a good cover letter can do that very thing.  It can get you one step closer to an interview. 

So remember – a cover letter and resume go hand-in-hand.  You don’t want to have one without the other.

Stay positive.

Cheryl

cjohnson0114@verizon.net

www.linkedin.com/in/csmithjohnson

http://cherylsjohnson.wordpress.com

http://www.visualcv.com/csjohnson

 

Resume, Resume, Resume August 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 7:48 pm

This is what I’ve discovered since becoming unemployed – drum roll please – there are millions of resume experts in the world!  Everywhere you go, every site you visit, every other e-mail is someone telling you how to craft a resume.  I know, I do appreciate all the help but it does create confusion in several areas: functional vs. chronological, years of employment history, year on your college degree, etc.  I’ve actually revised my resume four times in six months.  I do believe my resume is much better than the original.

Resume #1, way too much information making it four pages long!  I thought I had to cram everything I did in my lifetime into my resume.  But with the help of an expert, I got it down to two pages.  Resume #2, now it was too generic.  I had removed too much, sacrificing my most important accomplishments and their results.  Not good!  So onto resume #3, added back in my biggest accomplishments and their results, included only 15 years of work experience, made the font smaller and rearrange my header.  Much better so I thought. 

I was on monster.com one evening and noticed a “Free” comprehensive resume evaluation button.  I thought it couldn’t hurt.  It’s free.  So off went my resume to another expert.  I received a phone call three days later from a gentleman, who represented a company called Bakos Group.  We chatted for about 20 minutes and  he actually gave me some valuable tips for free.  Of course, he wanted me to go one step further and paid for a professional writer to revise my resume for around $200.  I politely declined and we completed our call.  He also followed up with an e-mail.  All FREE.  What a pleasant surprise.

All this to say there is no right or wrong way to write a resume.  Competition is fierce so your resume needs to set you apart from the masses. It needs to be a passionate representation of who you are and why you are the best person for the job.  Below are the must haves that are in my resume.  So revise away and take on the competition!

  • Select the right resume type that works for you – chronological, functional and combination – This depends on the industry you are in and years of experience
  • Keep layout clean and easy to read
  • Make sure you have NO spelling errors
  • Profile – describe yourself in a brief paragraph
  • Professional Experience – most say 15 years of work experience
  • Education – I have my graduation year listed
  • Awards/Honors
  • Professional Memberships or Certifications

Stay positive.

Cheryl

cjohnson0114@verizon.net

www.linkedin.com/in/csmithjohnson

http://cherylsjohnson.wordpress.com

http://www.visualcv.com/csjohnson

 

Top 10 List of Unemployment Benefits August 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 3:11 pm

10)   40 more hours to spend with family & friends

 9)    Saves wear and tear on the Snooze button

 8)    No Suits, No Shoes, No PROBLEM

 7)    No waiting in line at the gym

 6)    8+ hours of sleep each night

 5)    75% reduction in commuter road rage

 4)    Unlimited Blogging & Face Booking

 3)    Zero-based budgeting has a whole new meaning

 2)    Time to make an audition tape for Survivor (reality TV show)

And the #1 unemployment benefit

1)     Endless vacation days

 

Disclaimer:  This is a satire piece.  I truly would like to be employed!

 

Priceless August 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 6:35 pm

Suit – $300

Shoes – $150

Styling Salon – $200

Going back to Work – Priceless

 

If I Had a Dollar… July 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 4:43 pm

If I had a dollar for every time a family member, well really just my mom, asked me if I’ve found a job yet — I wouldn’t have to work – I’d be a Millionaire!  Seriously, I talk to my mom every week and she always finds a way to work it into the conversation.  Now I know she is only asking because she’s concerned and cares about me but it makes me feel a little embarrassed – like I’m disappointing her.  Not sure why I feel this way because when others inquire about my job status I feel fine answering the question.  I guess I feel like they understand what’s happening in the marketplace – they live and breathe it every day.  But not my mom.  She’s never had to work outside the home.  She’s from the generation where most moms didn’t work outside the home; they raised the children and kept the home clean.  She truly never experienced the lack of work – she raised five kids all by herself.  She cooked three meals a day, attended sporting events, chauffeured kids to and from activities – never a moment to herself.  And I truly appreciate her for that! 

I know, I know I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about telling my mom that I don’t have a job yet but I still believe that the majority of us never want to disappoint our moms.

Stay positive.

Cheryl

cjohnson0114@verizon.net

www.linkedin.com/in/csmithjohnson

http://cherylsjohnson.wordpress.com

http://www.visualcv.com/csjohnson

 

But I thought the interview went so well… July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — cherylsjohnson @ 4:19 pm

How do you know when you’ve nailed an interview?  You hit it off with the HR person, had good chemistry with the hiring manager, had a 95% match to the job qualifications and skills.  But didn’t make it to the next round.  Do you ever really know how well the interview went?  Nope.  Not until you’ve actually landed the job!  Then, and only then, will you know the interview went well!

This has happened to me on a few occasions where I just knew the interview would get me to the next round.  I left feeling proud of myself and confident that I would get the job.  But didn’t.  So what happened?  I’ll probably never know why I didn’t get the job but I can assure you of one thing – I was prepared! 

Be prepared

  1. Research the company – review their website, their annual report/10K,  review them on www.hoovers.com and/or Dun & Bradstreet www.dnb.com, read current news stories, talk to your connections that either work at the company or do business with the company
  2. Research hiring manager – organizational affiliations, common interest
  3. Be prepared to demonstrate successes you’ve had in the at past – Have 5 to 10 accomplishment stories that are relevant for the position (I’ll expand on this in more detail in a later posting)
  4. Anticipate questions and prepare answers
  5. Have your own list of questions about the company and position
  6. Know the industry salary range for the position (www.salary.com)
  7. After the interview, follow up with a hand-written thank you note to the hiring manager and HR person
  8. Was I over prepared?  Can you be over prepared?  I don’t think you can ever be over prepared so I’ll call it fate.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason and it just wasn’t my time to work for this company.

Stay positive!

Cheryl

cjohnson0114@verizon.net

www.linkedin.com/in/csmithjohnson

http://cherylsjohnson.wordpress.com

http://www.visualcv.com/csjohnson

 

 
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