Business // December 30, 2013

We’ve all had those moments, chatting away at a dinner party, vino in hand ... you ask the smokin’ hot hipster sitting to your left what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a resort water slide tester,” he casually replies like that’s something you hear everyday. “Excuse me—a what?! Awesome ... I didn’t even know that was a job.”

In today’s world, countless unique careers exist that your parents and college counselor probably never mentioned (or even knew about for that matter.) At a young age, most of us are plopped onto a track heading straight to Normal Jobville. Few kids grow up wanting be to a roller coaster designer, hair stimulation supervisor, menu engineer, ice cream taster, fortune cookie writer, or conlinguist—but they are all very real vocations.

While some high schools and universities are attempting to better prepare future young adults for occupations that are unique or don’t yet exist, most haven’t found effective ways to make students more aware of the wide variety of positions that are available, beyond the basics. So, how does a modern girl discover unconventional career options? It’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by digging deeper into the world in which you want to work. Food, fashion, photography, medical, writing, hospitality, travel, entertainment, interior design—in each industry, there are a plethora of uncommon jobs. Talk to as many people as you can who work in fashion, if that’s your passion, and Google! The answers are there under simple searches like “unique jobs in fashion.” Another option that yields results—visit the “career opportunities” section on websites of companies you’d like to work for. Often you’ll see job listed that you never knew existed. Here’s an example on CondeNast.com.

Like what you're reading? Join Made Woman Mag's mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

There are also occupations that are highly unusual by nature and require unique individuals to fulfill the duties—i.e. sea urchin diver, coconut safety engineer, and snake milker—all examples of work that definitely qualify as unique, but also are not for everyone. Because most women I know (not all, but most), don’t want to learn how to extract venom from snakes and sell it to research labs for use in anti-venom medications, here is a list of unconventional jobs that might actually be of interest:

Fashion - beyond the buyer, model, and fashion designer

Textile Distributor

This person is the middleman/woman between textile manufacturers and designers. The job involves a fair amount of travel, as many fabrics are sourced in other countries. It also provides plenty of freedom from being stuck in a office cube. Textile distributors make an average of $105,000 a year.

Fashion Colorist

It’s the job of a colorist to make sure that fabrics are the right color and of the same dye lot. If you have an amazing eye for color differentiation and know how different light sources effect the way we see color, this might be your next job in fashion. Colorists make an average of $53,000 a year.

Other unusual jobs in fashion: Fashion Forecaster, Set Designer, Personal Shopper

Food - beyond the chef and restaurant

Recipe Developer and Tester

Today you don’t have to have a professional culinary degree to get sell your recipes if you’re an amazing cook, uber detail oriented and can write precise directions. Magazines, brands, and even celebrity food personalities are hiring home-chefs to help fill their plates, pages, websites and cookbooks with delicious recipes. This is typically freelance work and it helps to have a food blog to showcase your talents. Recipes are generally sold for between $275 and $1,000 each. If you’re skilled at food photography, you can charge more.

Gourmet Food Buyer

If you have a passion for food, this could be a dream job. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco all employ people to find and purchase the foods they sell and to decide which items to take off the shelves. To qualify for a position like this, it’s best to have a background in hospitality and gourmet food, but Trader Joe’s is known for promoting from within if you have the drive. Other skills needed: excellent palate, ability to negotiate with vendors, product sourcing, inventory management, marketing, and an understanding of trends in consumer taste. Travel is sometimes involved and salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000.

Other unusual jobs in food: Food Stylist, Culinary Trendologist, Test Kitchen Taste Tester, Restaurant Publicist, Chocolate Explorer

Hospitality - beyond the concierge, front desk, and hotel manager

Cruise Director

This is an amazing way to travel the world, entertain people, and avoid sitting behind a desk all day. Cruise directors are responsible for all on-board hospitality, entertainment and social events. They act as the public face of the company and are constantly interacting with the guests. For this job you’ll need a charismatic personality, tons of energy, the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time, and experience working in recreation, entertainment and/or hospitality. Here is an example of a job listing for Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean. Salaries can range from $45,000 to $150,000.

Vibe Manager

Hot hotels today are hiring “Vibe Managers” to create the overall “vibe” of the hotel—from the music in the lobby, spa and elevators to creating unforgettable corporate meeting experiences for hotel clients, e.g. setting up a DJ booth in the conference room so the CEO can be spinning pre and post meeting. Read more about the Vibe Manager for Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego here. Salaries range from $50,000 to $75,000. Here is a list of other unique jobs in the hospitality industry.

No matter where your passions lie, you can be sure there are unique jobs that exist in that field … you just have to do some digging to uncover your first or next unconventional career!

Published in Job Hunting

Business // June 17, 2013 

We’ve all had those moments, chatting away at a dinner party, vino in hand ... you ask the smokin’ hot hipster sitting to your left what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a resort water slide tester,” he casually replies like that’s something you hear everyday. “Excuse me—a what?! Awesome ... I didn’t even know that was a job.”

In today’s world, countless unique careers exist that your parents and college counselor probably never mentioned (or even knew about for that matter.) At a young age, most of us are plopped onto a track heading straight to Normal Jobville. Few kids grow up wanting be to a roller coaster designer, hair stimulation supervisor, menu engineer, ice cream taster, fortune cookie writer, or conlinguist—but they are all very real vocations.

While some high schools and universities are attempting to better prepare future young adults for occupations that are unique or don’t yet exist, most haven’t found effective ways to make students more aware of the wide variety of positions that are available, beyond the basics. So, how does a modern girl discover unconventional career options? It’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by digging deeper into the world in which you want to work. Food, fashion, photography, medical, writing, hospitality, travel, entertainment, interior design—in each industry, there are a plethora of uncommon jobs. Talk to as many people as you can who work in fashion, if that’s your passion, and Google! The answers are there under simple searches like “unique jobs in fashion.” Another option that yields results—visit the “career opportunities” section on websites of companies you’d like to work for. Often you’ll see job listed that you never knew existed. Here’s an example on CondeNast.com.

Like what you're reading? Join Made Woman Mag's mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

There are also occupations that are highly unusual by nature and require unique individuals to fulfill the duties—i.e. sea urchin diver, coconut safety engineer, and snake milker—all examples of work that definitely qualify as unique, but also are not for everyone. Because most women I know (not all, but most), don’t want to learn how to extract venom from snakes and sell it to research labs for use in anti-venom medications, here is a list of unconventional jobs that might actually be of interest:

Fashion - beyond the buyer, model, and fashion designer

Textile Distributor

This person is the middleman/woman between textile manufacturers and designers. The job involves a fair amount of travel, as many fabrics are sourced in other countries. It also provides plenty of freedom from being stuck in a office cube. Textile distributors make an average of $105,000 a year.

Fashion Colorist

It’s the job of a colorist to make sure that fabrics are the right color and of the same dye lot. If you have an amazing eye for color differentiation and know how different light sources effect the way we see color, this might be your next job in fashion. Colorists make an average of $53,000 a year.

Other unusual jobs in fashion: Fashion Forecaster, Set Designer, Personal Shopper

Food - beyond the chef and restaurant

Recipe Developer and Tester

Today you don’t have to have a professional culinary degree to get sell your recipes if you’re an amazing cook, uber detail oriented and can write precise directions. Magazines, brands, and even celebrity food personalities are hiring home-chefs to help fill their plates, pages, websites and cookbooks with delicious recipes. This is typically freelance work and it helps to have a food blog to showcase your talents. Recipes are generally sold for between $275 and $1,000 each. If you’re skilled at food photography, you can charge more.

Gourmet Food Buyer

If you have a passion for food, this could be a dream job. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco all employ people to find and purchase the foods they sell and to decide which items to take off the shelves. To qualify for a position like this, it’s best to have a background in hospitality and gourmet food, but Trader Joe’s is known for promoting from within if you have the drive. Other skills needed: excellent palate, ability to negotiate with vendors, product sourcing, inventory management, marketing, and an understanding of trends in consumer taste. Travel is sometimes involved and salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000.

Other unusual jobs in food: Food Stylist, Culinary Trendologist, Test Kitchen Taste Tester, Restaurant Publicist, Chocolate Explorer

Hospitality - beyond the concierge, front desk, and hotel manager

Cruise Director

This is an amazing way to travel the world, entertain people, and avoid sitting behind a desk all day. Cruise directors are responsible for all on-board hospitality, entertainment and social events. They act as the public face of the company and are constantly interacting with the guests. For this job you’ll need a charismatic personality, tons of energy, the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time, and experience working in recreation, entertainment and/or hospitality. Here is an example of a job listing for Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean. Salaries can range from $45,000 to $150,000.

Vibe Manager

Hot hotels today are hiring “Vibe Managers” to create the overall “vibe” of the hotel—from the music in the lobby, spa and elevators to creating unforgettable corporate meeting experiences for hotel clients, e.g. setting up a DJ booth in the conference room so the CEO can be spinning pre and post meeting. Read more about the Vibe Manager for Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego here. Salaries range from $50,000 to $75,000. Here is a list of other unique jobs in the hospitality industry.

No matter where your passions lie, you can be sure there are unique jobs that exist in that field … you just have to do some digging to uncover your first or next unconventional career!

Published in Job Hunting

Business // April 22, 2013 

The first day of work is like the first day of school. Both usually involve new clothes and lots of nerves. Take it from someone who just landed a new job a year after hardcore searching, first impressions mean everything. I worked my ass off to hunt for jobs, prepare a cover letter, research the company and complete a few interviews. After lots of intense waiting, one company made me an offer that was oh-so-sweet. I couldn’t refuse, and my first day was quickly upon me. Here are my tips for getting through the big first day with grace and a bit of style:

Early Bird Catches The Boss’ Eye

When my big day came, I woke up bright and early at 6:00 a.m, well-rested from my week-and-a-half break between jobs. On your first day it is more important than ever to get enough sleep and show up on time. Especially if you are driving somewhere new or through traffic, make sure you leave enough cushion to arrive a few minutes early and show up looking perky.

Dress for Success

On my first day I spent a little extra time on clothes and makeup. I even made sure I got a haircut. I skipped buying new business formal clothes as my new employer had a more casual dress code. Despite this, I wanted to look professional on my first day. I needed to prove to these people that they hired the right woman for the job.

Make sure you know the dress code of your new place of employment and plan ahead the day before. Once at work, take notice of what everyone else is wearing to get ideas of what is acceptable for future outfit planning and buying. Although my company does allow us to wear jeans every day if we so desire, I noticed that those higher up in the business dress formally. And you should always dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Like what you're reading? Join Made Woman Mag's mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

The first day is often filled with information, orientation and tours. I am glad I chose the basic heels to wear, as some of my 3-4 inch high wedges wouldn’t have cut it with all the walking. When selecting a bag, you might want to consider a large tote for carting around all your first day items.

Brown Bag or Box It

There are a few essentials you should arm yourself with on the first day. If you don’t have time or are too nervous for a first day breakfast, you can always bring a smoothie to drink on the road or pack a protein bar in your purse. I made sure to bring a Skinny Water with me because I didn’t eat breakfast, and didn’t want my stomach grumbling while meeting people.

Luckily, my boss not only graciously offered to take me to lunch on the first day, but she also showed me around town. I used this rare one-on-one time with her to try and get to know her better. When your boss asks you about your old job, remember to take the high road in answering those questions. As much as I would have loved to share all the horror stories about my previous boss and co-workers over rounds of chips and salsa, I didn’t want to give off the wrong impression. I’m not a complainer. I’m not a gossip. And lunch is only an hour long. Answer as diplomatically as you can and save those stories for later. Like maybe the Christmas party … in three years.

Setting Up Shop

It’s always a happy surprise to see your name already on your cubicle/desk area (bonus points if it’s spelled correctly, too.) If you don’t know the size of your desk area in advance, I would recommend leaving the box of decor and office supplies in your trunk. You don’t want to be lugging a large box around while looking for your cubicle and have it mess up that outfit you worked so hard to iron out.

Meeting People

I don’t think anyone remembers the names of everyone they meet on a first day. Especially in a big company. It is really important to try and nail down your teammates, supervisors, and cubicle mates names first. Try and look at the details of people’s outfits, hair, or offices when meeting them to help them stand out in your mind. And always remember your H.R. person’s name and location. They will be your biggest ally in getting settled in. Give a firm handshake and try to ask questions that will help you make a connection. A smile and eye contact go a long way. You needn’t bombard your boss with questions either. Asking your coworkers questions too will not only help you figure things out, but it will help you break the ice with them as well.

Enjoy Yourself

It is a brave endeavor to start the job cycle all over again. Giving up your place high on the totem pole and no longer having a list of trusty contacts who can help at a moment’s need can be scary. Back at my desk all that awaited me was a computer screen with no saved mail folder keeping all the good work related jokes; no familiar screen saver. For a second I missed the familiar comforts of my old office. But then I realized that this was the blank canvas I had been dreaming of for a year. Try not to dwell on the comforts you left behind at your former job. Look forward with enthusiasm at what is waiting for you.


Published in Career
Friday, 15 March 2013 21:33

Job Hunting | Revamping Your Job Search

Job Hunting // March 25, 2013 

If you’re searching for a job, here’s something you already know: it sucks.  There’s nothing fun about going through hundreds of job listings, tailoring your resume to each one and firing it off into the abyss, not knowing if it’s ever even going to be viewed by a recruiter.  Looking for employment is a job in itself, and it sucks up time, energy, patience, and probably a lot of your sanity.

I was just like you.  Applying to every job that even remotely related to my skillset and going months without so much as a “you’re useless” email in response.  I had basically the same framework for a resume my entire time job hunting, but I only started getting hits for interviews in the past few months.  So what changed?  After a lot of trial and error, and rewriting my resume every single time I sent it out, I finally got it to a good place…started getting calls for interviews — a victory in itself in the overcrowded job market — and just recently accepted a job offer (hurray!). I spent a year tirelessly searching for a new opportunity, and if there’s some sort of instant, miracle advice to land the perfect job, I certainly don’t know it.  But what I can tell you is that there definitely are some ways to get yourself noticed.  Here’s how I got there:

1. Fix that resume… over and over.

Do NOT just make up one standard resume and send it out for every job.  A generic resume  that can apply to all sorts of jobs is not going to convince anyone that you’re a good fit for the job in question.  You need to put in that time to read the job description and illustrate how your skills apply to it.  Be specific.  You should go so far as taking keywords in the description and literally putting them in your resume.  Recruiters get hundreds upon hundreds of applicants for each job listing.  Their eyes are going to skim over each application and look for the most critical skills.  Anything that doesn’t have them?  Trash!

2.  Think about changing the layout/format of your resume.

I added a line at the very top of my resume that specifically mentioned the job I was applying to, and then listed several sentences underneath it about how I am that person.  It doesn’t matter that my current job is something different; I can be that person you’re looking for and here are x, y, z reasons why.  Your first sentence should be compelling and confident.  For example, mine is: “Driven, efficient and customer service-oriented marketing professional with experience managing the social media presence of an online magazine.”  I was mostly applying for jobs in marketing or social media related fields.  This opening sentence flat out states exactly who I am and what I do.  When I changed this sentence from what it was before, suddenly I started getting calls.

3.  Network your face off.

There’s a reason networking gets mentioned all the time.  The more people that you talk to and let know that you’re looking for new opportunities, the more likely someone might actually refer you somewhere.  Bring it up to everyone you talk to.  Seriously!  If you work in a big company, take advantage of it and try to set up informational interviews with people in fields you are interested in.  Most execs are more than happy to talk about what they do and how they got there.  You’ll get valuable insight, and they might also keep you in mind should something open up in their department.  It’s good to have friends in high places, y’all.

4. Google yourself and change things that need changing.

Google is a beautiful thing: it makes finding things ridiculously easy. This can also come back to bite you in the arse.  I Googled myself not long ago and was shocked to see that an essay I wrote in 6TH GRADE is actually online somewhere.  When an employer Googles me, they get to read “What The American Flag Means To Me” by a 12 year old version of myself.  Lucky them.  My point is, you need to know what is out there about yourself.  If you have a public Facebook or Twitter page, you’d better believe that you’re going to be judged by it.  Either protect your accounts, or make sure that you don’t have anything up that might raise eyebrows.

5. Promote yourself!

You have talents and skills — show them off!  Buy your own website under your full name and think about starting a blog.  You don’t need to be considered an “expert” to do this.  You can write or tweet about your thoughts on things relevant to your field.  It will make you appear more credible and competent.  If writing really isn’t your thing, you can also just buy some webspace and post your bio/resume on it.  That way if people Google you (and they will), it will be one of the first things they see.  It’s worth the investment of your time, and it’s really not as hard as you may think.

And there you have it!  None of these are magic keys to a new job, but if you utilize all of them, you’re definitely going to increase your chances of meeting your goals.

Let me know if I missed any great tips that have helped you.  And happy hunting!


Published in Job Hunting

Job Hunting // October 22, 2012 

An interview is essential not just for the employer, but for you, the candidate. Just because you may be in need of a job doesn’t mean every open position is right for you. The interview process is your opportunity to find out if a position at a particular company makes sense for you and your career goals.  
The key to finding the right career fit is to ask intelligent questions that require the interviewer to provide you with more information than you can find in the job description or on their company website.

Just as Forbes.com cites that there are only three real questions that matter to recruiters and interviewers, I believe that there are only three real questions that matter to the person being interviewed. Here are three essential questions every Made Woman should ask when she’s in the hot seat:

  • Are there opportunities for advancement or growth within this position and the company overall? – Most Made Women have plans to climb the ladder, so you’ve got to find out immediately if that’s even a possibility. If the company is small with just a few permanent positions, odds are there isn’t a lot of room for upward mobility. Likewise, if you’re a specialist in your field (for example, I am the only public relations specialist at my company), find out where there might be room for you to continue to advance, ie: might you eventually become a manager or director?  
  • What type of person do you hope to see fill this position? – This is my favorite question to ask at an interview. Usually interviewers are impressed that a candidate is showing thought for the best interest of the company. It will also get them to tell you what they want before you reveal too much of yourself. If they are looking for an outgoing, outspoken candidate and you’re typically more introverted and don’t like to put yourself out there (or vice versa), that’s a good sign that the job isn’t for you.
  • What is the company culture like in terms of work/life balance? – No matter how ambitious or how dedicated you are, everyone needs time off for travel, family or R&R. The interview is a great opportunity to find out what a company or position is like after hours – if they have after hours. You can usually tell just in the way the interviewer reacts to the question if the work/life balance is there or not.

When preparing for an interview, plan on asking these three questions (or something similar, depending on what’s most important to you!) of the interviewer. The most surefire way to land your dream job is to interview the employer as they go through the process of interviewing you. So think up those need-to-knows, relax during the interview and dazzle the employer with thoughtful, savvy questions.

Published in Job Hunting
Saturday, 02 June 2012 16:45

Job Hunting | Post-Grad Job Search

June 4, 2012 

Congratulations Graduate! Your hard work over the past 4 (or 5 or 6!) years has paid off and you’ve graduated. You’ve probably been celebrating non-stop for weeks and you deserve it. But now that all of the graduation festivities are over, and you’re actually face to face with the real world reality sets in:  And that means it’s time to find a job. Oh, joy. Let’s look at the tough news first: although things are turning around, it’s still a hard job market and 1 out of 2 college graduates will either be unemployed or underemployed.   Now the good news: there are several ways for you to stand out from the crowd to make sure you’re able to snag the job of your dreams.

1.    Get Clear

I graduated from college with a glossy new degree in Communications… and no idea what I wanted to do with it. I ended up taking the first job that came my way and spent several years trying to figure out what I really enjoyed doing. It would have been much easier to get clear on what I loved doing first and then go out and look for jobs that fit the criteria after. Got to love hindsight, right?

Begin thinking about what you enjoy doing. Which courses did you particularly like and what organizations did you love being a part of.  While you’re at it, get a good sense of your deal breakers. For example, if you know you hate working with numbers, that accounting job may not be for you. Lastly, think about your strengths. What are some things you’re super awesome at and what types of jobs would allow you to showcase your awesomeness on a day-to-day basis.

2.    Get Social

I would venture to say that one of the most important aspects of the job search is networking – both online and offline. Hiring managers are people. And people are more keen on giving opportunities to people they know, like and trust. Begin by working your current network. Hey, what are friends for? Let everyone in your circle know that you’re looking for a job and more importantly what type of job you’re looking for. Reach out to your alumni group to get on their list of upcoming networking events. Research your desired industry so that you can attend industry specific events. Networking is nothing without proper follow-up. Make sure to follow-up with everyone you meet within 48 hours so you can continue to nurture that relationship. I see a lot of coffee dates in your future!

3.    Build A Personal Brand

We covered offline networking in the previous point, now let’s focus on building your online network. The best way to set yourself apart from a crowd in today’s job market is to create a killer personal brand.  Create a simple online portfolio to begin showcasing your strengths – create a website using wordpress.com or sign on to about.me. Think of this as an extended resume where you can include more information on why you would be an excellent candidate for a job in your industry.

Start using social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with individuals and companies in your desired industry.  With these tools, you can connect with the movers and shakers in your desired field as well as begin sharing pertinent information to further showcase your skills. Show future employers exactly why you’d be the perfect addition to their team.

4.    Do Your Research

Repeat after me: No More Generic Cover Letters. Do not even think about copying a cover letter template and simply changing the company name. Show potential employers that you truly understand their company and department by conducting thorough research before submitting your resume and cover letter. Use the cover letter to truly convey how much you would like to work for their company and why they would be foolish to not have you on board. You can also use the cover letter to showcase a little bit of your personality.

5.    Stay Positive

Searching for a job is hard work and it’s easy to become frustrated when things don’t seem to go your way. It’s important to stay positive and keep moving forward towards your goal. Create a structured plan of how you’re going to attack the job search and then work through your plan. Be sure to reward yourself as you hit milestones and keep your positive attitude. You never know when you’re going to meet your future employer and you want to be in a positive, upbeat mood when you do.

The most important part of your job search is being organized and persistent. With the right attitude and these tips you will be off to a great start! Good Luck!

Published in Job Hunting
Monday, 31 October 2011 23:13

Business | Brag Like The Boys

November 1, 2011

You may have heard words like "down economy," "high unemployment" and, oh, I don't know, "recession," thrown around these days. In lay (wo)men's terms: it's real out there. If you happen to be searching for a job right now, like 99.9% of my friends, you know just how real ish actually is. In times like these, getting an interview can seem like getting Wonka's golden ticket. So when you do get in front of that recruiter or hiring manager, it's imperative that you do something to set yourself apart. Enter: Brag Book.

Bragging. The very word conjures up a visual of that douchey guy who cornered you at a party last week, going on and on about his (daddy's) money and all the places he's been. Or maybe the weird dude at the networking function who tried to wow you by dropping the names of all his industry connections. Yuck and yuck. As a woman, bragging probably strikes you as something you just don't do. You'll just let your hard work do the talking. But while bragging may immediately have a negative connotation, I urge you to read on before you swear it off entirely. In this case, I think it's smart to take a cue from our (non-douche) male counterparts.

A brag book--or professional portfolio--is a helpful tool for showcasing your unique talents. Beyond a resume, on which we've all stretched the truth a bit, a brag book substantiates your accomplishments. So if bragging isn't second nature to you, now you'll have a sort of prop to help you convey your strengths. No matter what industry you're in, or the stage of your career, I'm confident that you can put a brag book to use in your job search. Not searching yet? Start putting one together now so it's not a mad dash to Kinko's the morning of the interview. Plus, it's great to have on hand at annual review time, or when you're shooting for that promotion or raise. In these cases, a little bragging goes a long way. You can thank me later.

A good way to start is by looking at your resume, which you've hopefully used to highlight your collegiate and professional achievements--not just your job duties. Note each accomplishment and find documentation to support it. Earned a special award at your university or on the job? Include a copy of it. Received a great thank you from your boss after you nailed that project? Now's the time to show it off. Here's a list of items you should definitely include:

  • Table of Contents - It's a good idea to include one to help keep everything organized. This way, the viewer can easily find what they're looking for.
  • Resume - Include multiple copies, especially if you plan to leave the book behind after the interview. You want to be able to get it in as many hands as possible, with minimal effort on their part.
  • Bio - Your one-page (or less) professional bio. Don't have one? This article has some great resources for putting one together.
  • Professional Organizations - This demonstrates your involvement in your industry/function as well as your leadership skills. 
  • Letters of Recommendation - Former bosses and higher-ups work best for these.
  • College Transcript - This is especially good for recent graduates, but if you skimmed by with a C-average I'd skip this one...for obvious reasons.
  • Awards or Honors - Pretty self-explanatory. Include proof of any awards you've earned at work or in college.
  • Endorsements - This is where you put any "good job" emails you've gotten from bosses or professors, and LinkedIn recommendations.
  • References - Include strong references who know your work well and can vouch for you, using specific examples.


This by no means is an exhaustive list of items, as it varies by industry and job description. With more creative jobs you can be a little more, well, creative, but its always good to err on the side of keeping it professional. Make sure to place items in reverse chronological order, so the hiring manager sees your most recent accomplishments first. Print everything on quality paper and place them inside a nice binder. Again, if you plan to leave the book behind after the interview, keep your budget in mind. If you're computer-savvy (or have a willing techy friend), an online version can be a great option too.

In today's job market, differentiating yourself from the next candidate can mean the difference between scoring the role and applying to another zillion jobs. Or getting paid a fraction of what you deserve, while Mr. Name Drop gets a raise. Use your brag book to show how hard-working and professional you are right off the bat. And leave the name-dropping to the weird networking dude.

Published in Career
Monday, 24 October 2011 02:33

Job Hunting Guide | Acing The Interview

October 24, 2011

You never know, this may be the year that you land that once-in-a-lifetime job you’ve been waiting on for far too long! So, are you prepared to get that call from a top company that wants to add you to their employment roster? Would you know how to dress-to-impress for the interview or how to best answer an interviewer's questions so that you stand out amongst the competition? As a Talent Acquisition Manager (a swanky title for Recruiter) at one of the leading entertainment companies in the world, I want you to do your best during an interview so that you can sign that coveted offer letter and secure the job of your dreams. Here are a few tips that are sure to increase your chances of sealing the deal:

Tip #1

Girlfriend, those stilettos, jeggings, noisy charm bracelets and dangling earrings might have looked fabulous at the Summer Soiree, but be sure to leave them in your closet for the next night out on the town. For an interview, you want to have a basic, conservative look--the less flagrant distractions, the better. An interviewer should be more attracted to your bright eyes, welcoming smile and confident persona than to your wardrobe.

Tip #2

Please avoid looking at your resume and reading from it during your interview. The first step to impressing the interviewer is to know on-demand all of your experience. You shouldn't have to glance at the paper in front of you to explain the depth of your professional fabulousness.

Tip #3

Never speak negatively about your current or previous employer. It's just like going on a blind date--the last thing that your date wants to hear is all about the disastrous last relationship that temporarily drove you insane.

Tip #4

We have all had that interview where you really vibe and connect with the interviewer. Remember, even if you establish a commonality to break the ice, he or she is not your friend and you are still in the hot seat. You want a job from this person, so always maintain a high level of respect and professionalism.

Tip #5

Be able to recognize the job that you are ready for today. Sure, your mama thinks that you are the smartest person in the world, but landing the right job has less to do with smarts and more to do with progressive experience. True, you may have what it takes to learn the VP level job, but the current skillset on your resume reflects that you are assistant level. While it is great that you are ambitious and trainable, an employer is looking to hire someone who requires the least amount of training and is experienced enough to walk onto the job and do it. Don't be discouraged; instead, get in on the level for which you currently qualify, put your best foot forward and rock it straight to the top, girl! A good boss will recognize your potential, and if you're patient and demonstrate a tremendous work ethic, growth opportunities are inevitable.

In this economy, getting a job is not an easy task. Still, when an opportunity does come knocking, if you abide by these tips, you will be better prepared to seize it.  Here's to a brand new outlook and to landing that brand new gig! 


Published in Job Hunting

October 24, 2011

As college came to a blurry close, I noticed that everyone around me seemed to be garnering employment like it was easy money.  People began mentioning their plans to work at Merrill, or Bain, or Delloitte or some other one-name company whose actual purpose I only pretended to understand--while I was still un-gainfully un-employed.  “Oh you’ll find something,” everyone would say, “you’re going to be a college graduate!” However, graduation day came and went and I was still scanning Monster.com daily for any job that paid over minimum wage; wondering if there was a way to sell one’s degree for food/shelter that wasn’t provided by my mother.  

After a few sad weeks of unemployed wallowing and intense Craigslist Job Hunting, I realized something. Many of my friends had jumped at jobs they didn’t necessarily want, simply because they feared no other opportunity would come their way.  My unemployed ass had the time and luxury to figure out what I really wanted to do.  I could be an entry-level-anything! A public relations assistant, a fashion-merchandising assistant, a healthcare consulting assistant. The world was my entry-level oyster!  This, however, did not change the fact that I couldn’t find a job, was living on mama’s dime and sleeping in the same room where I’d previously been visited by the Tooth Fairy. So I decided to do something. 

I filled my schedule with activities that would not only distract me, but would also make me a better candidate for whatever fabulous job I’d nab in the future. I got an internship and a part-time job, beginning what I liked to call my “post-grad two-step.” When my great-Aunt Ethel asked what I was doing with my life, I didn’t have to tell her I was sitting at my computer waiting for the Employment Fairy to sprinkle me with magic job dust. I was working! 2 jobs! In fact, I was busier than some of my friends with 9-to-5s! In the same way that the procurement of one man will make you more desirable to rest of the male species, the procurement of one job will make you infinitely more attractive to the rest of the job market. 

Six months into my post-grad hustle, I was offered a job at a company that I love. I wouldn’t have given up those months of soul-searching, career-obsessing and job-stalking for anything -  they allowed me to get my priorities in order. 

So my advice to you? Keep your head up. Keep busy. Do all of the things you said you would “when you had time.” What about that short story you’d been meaning to write or the oil painting you’d always wanted to make? Start on it.  Volunteer for a charity or organization that you’re passionate about.  Give back. The free time that you’re being afforded as you search for the perfect job shouldn’t be seen as lost time. It’s a time to find yourself.  Look at it as a blessing, because before you know it, you will have been working for 20 years, deep in a career you love, wishing you had a chance to rest, relax and regroup.


Published in Job Hunting
Monday, 10 October 2011 04:34

Job Hunting Guide | Beefing Up Your Resume

October 10, 2011

We’ve all heard the expression—a first impression is a lasting one.  Well, that phrase couldn’t ring more true when it comes to landing the right job at the right time.  Many believe that the key to getting a job begins with the interview. They’re right. Having a great interview is imperative to getting that coveted offer; but first and foremost, it is important to realize how you got into that interview chair in the first place.  The secret ingredient to getting your foot in the door – at least for those of us who don’t have a rich executive relative to pull some strings – is to wow a recruiter with your resume.  Your resume is the first glance that a recruiter has into your professional and, sometimes, personal life-story.  The format of and content on your resume is often the deal-breaker as to whether or not you secure an interview, so it is critical that you get it right the first time around.  As a recruiting professional in the entertainment industry, I’ve seen many people unknowingly miss out on an opportunity due to senseless resume mistakes.  Here are four tips to help you get your professional snapshot in tip-top shape: 

Tip#1  Create a Targeted Resume Full of Power Words and Action Verbs

Utilization of strong words (i.e. implemented, facilitated, etc.) and targeted content can significantly influence an employer’s interest in learning more about you.  It is also wise to review the job description for any keywords that can be referenced on your resume in your job responsibilities.  This technique can be advantageous for a job seeker because many recruiters do keyword searches via networking sites.  For example, sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to get your resume discovered and to attract recruiters to you before you even know there is a job available.  As a site user, it only takes a few easy steps to insert your resume into your profile, and it gives you the advantage of being able to connect with professionals who are already employed at the companies you are interested in joining.  If your resume highlights what an employer is searching for, your chances for being discovered become much greater.

Tip #2    Avoid Objectives

Objectives are not mandatory on a resume; in fact, they can be limiting and pigeonhole you into only one specific job category if you make it too specific.  Recruiters are constantly forwarding resumes to their colleagues, so if your objective states that you are only interested in Finance, you might limit your chances for consideration should your resume be forwarded to another department for review (i.e. Ad Sales).

Tip #3    Maximize the Space on Your Resume

If you have ten years or less of full-time work experience, your resume should be one page only.  Utilize your margins and the space between each professional experience wisely.  Avoid repetition and clutter, and free up space by eliminating certain qualifications that might not be relevant to the particular job of interest.  If you have a wide array of experience, it’s perfectly fine to have several resumes.  

Tip #4    Avoid Unprofessional Email Addresses and Outdated Contact Information

Rule 101 in resume etiquette is to be sure that your contact info is always current and your email address is business appropriate—first and last name email addresses are preferred.  Additionally, be mindful of the information you portray about yourself via sites like Facebook and Twitter.  It is very easy for prospective employers to access these sites and gather information about you before an interview. 

Bottom line: there is no magical formula to getting hired, but having a clean and well-rounded presentation shows an employer that you are serious about success and you want the best. Ultimately, that’s the impression they’ll remember.


Published in Job Hunting