Monday, July 28, 2008

If You Follow No Other Advice, Follow This

I'm stepping aside for the master – David Lubars. No one has ever said this better.

Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The ONE Thing That Matters Most on Your Resume

Big surprise – experience matters most.

But don't panic. Experience is not limited to professional work or internships. Experience also includes involvement in campus organizations RELEVANT to the career you are pursuing. Creative directors want to see you took advantage of every opportunity afforded to you. Involvement shows passion, drive and commitment. 

However, they also want to see that you were an active, long-term participant – preferably a leader. One semester of participation reeks of "I did it so I could put in on my resume."

Why should you care? Well, if I'm interviewing a person for an advertising position and see they were not part of their campus ad club or did not participate in campaigns class, I don't consider them. EVER.

Seem harsh? Maybe. But I'm looking for someone who is going to be "all in" when they join my team. If you half-assed your opportunities in college, I expect you'll do the same on the job. Plus, I have a load of people to choose from. I can afford to be picky about whom I choose to interview. Can you afford to be dropped from consideration?

A sad example: Last week I was talking to a student I work with all the time. She told me about a friend of hers (a journalism major) who is dropping off the university's All-American publication so she can pick up more hours at HyVee. Yes, HyVee.

That HyVee job won't get her the job she wants once she graduates (except with another grocery store). While a position as one of the editors of a nationally-recognized, award-winning publication will. She is choosing the short-term over the long-term. And even if she needs the money, she should stay involved. There's no place on resumes for lack-of-participation excuses.

So please, get involved with career-relevant organizations while in college. And go all out. Not only will it give you material for your resume, it will give you a chance to grow within the field – while also starting your network.

Otherwise, prepare for a very long and frustrating job search.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Networking: Who Knows You?

My good friend George Weyrauch is constantly preaching "It's not who you know, but who knows you."

Over 60% of jobs are obtained through networking – and that number is even higher in the creative field. When it comes down to it, most people want to work with a known quantity.

Whenever I need to hire someone, the first thing I do is put the word out to people I trust. The basic question I ask is "Do you know someone I should be talking to for this position?"

And I get those kinds of phone calls/e-mails all the time. I've referred people I interviewed but didn't hire (they were very good, just didn't fit what I was after), students whose portfolios I reviewed, former co-workers and people I met through the KC Ad Club.

Get yourself in front of people. Join organizations like the local ad club, AIGA or other creative organizations. Volunteer to be on a committee – or two – or three. Go to all the events you can. Introduce yourself to people.

Just don't push your resume on people (big turnoff). Make sure they know who you are and what you do. Be visible. Be known.

Ask for business cards and then follow up quickly. Send them an e-mail telling them it was nice to meet them. Ask if they know anyone you should be talking to. You're MUCH more like to get through to the hiring person if you can say "So-and-so gave me your name and said I should talk to you about your opening."

You can find good advice on networking here and here.

Remember, it's about who knows you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Say Thank You or Lose an Important Contact

"Thank you."

So simple. Yet so often overlooked.

And you'll be overlooked if you don't take the time to thank the people who help you.

I've had people whom I've never met (or don't know well) contact me for advice. I spend time reviewing their resume or portfolio samples, answering questions, whatever and then don't hear from them again. That is, until they need something else from me.

Needless to say, they get nothing else from me.

Please keep in mind that things as simple as reviewing resumes, looking over samples or answering your questions take time out of somebody's busy day. They don't owe you anything, so they're doing it to be helpful. At the very least, say thank you. Want to go a step further? Tell them when and where you land a job.

The benefit? I remember those who thank me. I especially remember those who keep me up-to-date on their progress and where they land. Those people receive my help in the future. I may even consider those people when I have a job opening.

How do you think my intern got his position with me?

Thanks for reading.