Tom McAlister started looking for a job in marketing and communications at the end of 2008, about the same time the economy really started falling apart.
He sent out resumes, just like everyone else. He monitored the jobs boards, just like everyone else. And he always tried to write snappy cover letters, just like everyone else.
That’s when he decided he had to do something to set himself apart. He came up with the idea to create a comic book strip with himself as the superhero, Brandman.
The strip was funny, innovative, but it wasn’t necessarily for hiring managers. It’s main use was to reenergize the key people that could help him land a job — his network of friends and former colleagues. (more…)
I keep talking about how important it is to network in order to land a job, but are you really listening?
I see you glaze over when I mention how you have to go out there and meet people. You think I’m nuts when I suggest that a possible job lead can come from some guy or gal you meet at a boring cocktail party you really don’t want to go to. And you really roll your eyes when I suggest you tell the old friend you meet by chance on a line in the supermarket that you’re looking for a new gig.
“Networking doesn’t really work,” I sense you thinking.
Or maybe you’re just afraid to go out on a limb like that. Meeting new people, or asking for help might make your palms sweat just thinking about it.
Such networking fears and misconceptions can doom your job prospects (more…)
Before the Internet and social networking sites, a drunken night at home was not dangerous to your career.
You had the telephone to dial up family and friends and say stupid things because you were tipsy, and maybe you’d bug a neighbor or two. It was unlikely you’d call your manager or the head of your company, because most underlings didn’t have their home phone numbers. And even if you wrote a letter trashing everyone at work, the morning would bring with it sobriety and clarity and most people would have dumped the note in the garbage.
Oh how tame the world was back then. Now, having that third glass of wine, or bottle of beer could turn into career suicide.
I was having dinner with some savvy professional women recently, and they told me about a women who had been laid off from their company. Both the women I was dining with were managers, and had worked closely with this unemployed individual. That’s why both women accepted a friend request from her on Facebook, and were happy to do so. (more…)
When I was doing the research for my speech, I figured I’d use comments made by the PA Governor himself on Twitter as an example of how to use the site.
Turns out, Ed Rendell, isn’t on Twitter. (And his state is the only state without a budget. At least he was just named one of the “75 Best People” by Esquire Magazine.)
I was a bit surprised by Rendell’s Twitter aversion and checked out some other governors to see if any of them were. New York Gov. Paterson was one of only a handful on Twitter, and he’s legally blind.
I figured I should poke fun at Rendell about his aversion to cyberspace, so I tweeted about it:
are gov. rendell’s people monitoring twitter?/i hope so, cause at #pennwomen conf. i want to find out why tweets make him quiver.
The next day I got this email from Rendell’s People:
“First of all, thank you for joining us at the Governor’s Conference for Women! I’m sure the participants are looking forward to your insight and expertise. Just wanted to let you know that we caught your tweets, re: Governor Rendell on Twitter. The governor’s press office is hopeful that we might launch a Twitter site for Governor Rendell in the future.”
And, his people added:
“As you may know, First Lady Judge Marjorie O. Rendell recently launched a Twitter site (@CivicsFirst) to promote her civics education initiative.”
It was nice to see that at least the women in the governor’s office were getting Twitter. Or so I thought.
I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Rendell at a reception the night before the conference, and I told her I was disappointed that her husband hadn’t gotten in on the social media act. But I was happy that she had.
As we chatted about the site, she didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. So I blurted out, “do you even get Twitter?”
She honestly admitted, “I don’t.”
Her press person said the First Lady doesn’t actually write the tweets.
Hmm, I thought. That’s the whole point of Twitter. The person you’re following is supposed to be the person writing the tweets.
The next day, during my social media session, I talked about all the different sites but all the questions seemed to be about Twitter. Finally a woman stood up and said, “I just don’t understand Twitter. What is it?”
At that point I realized I needed to rush through my Power Point presentation and get online so I could show everyone how it actually worked. When I suggested this to the audience everyone cheered and applauded.
They all had heard about Twitter, some audience members had even been on it, but few really understood what the heck it was.
I logged on to Twitter, showed everyone my profile page, and there was a hush in the crowd. “So that’s Twitter,” I could sense people thinking in the room.
OK, my first suggestion to people who don’t get Twitter is to go check it out for yourself. That’s what I did.
Before you actually sign up, decide on what name you want to user name you want to use. I decided on CareerDiva because it’s easier to remember than Eve Tahmincioglu. Give this some thought though, you may be stuck with this name for a while.
If you want to use Twitter to help build your personal brand, then I would choose a name that reflects what you do. A friend of mine as a blog called Fridge Demons, so she chose fridgedemons as her user name.
After choosing a name I’d spend a lot of time following people that seem interesting. You can also follow news websites, or government sites. Just get a feel for Twitter by reading all the tweets you can.
A few women in the audience at the conference asked me it there were books about Twitter that might help them navigate the site. One writer, Sarah Milstein, has written a lot on the topic, including a great blog post on Twitter and she coauthored The Twitter Book. But I really think the best way to figure it out is reading it and seeing for yourself how it works.
Also, check out this funny “Twitter in Plain English” YouTube video:
I offered to give Gov. Rendell a private tutorial on Twitter when he was ready to take the tweeting plunge, and his people said:
“The governor’s press office would love any advice you can provide!”
(UPDATE BELOW)Those pesky work-at-home job offer scammers are breeding like cyber rabbits. They are not only in your email box, but can also be found on the latest social networking craze Twitter.
Please don’t let this post scare you from checking Twitter out because it’s lots of fun and can be a useful networking tool. (Here’s a link to a past post explaining the site.) But just beware of the jerks out there trying to milk you for money.
I’ve been noticing a lot of tweets lately that are promising people on Twitter riches and tons of followers if they sign up for this or that scam product or service. And now the Better Business Bureau says work-at-home scammers are also joining in.
“Twitter is the newest bright shiny object online and a perfect hook for yet another work-at-home scheme,” says Steve Cox, a spokesman for the BBB.
One e-mail picked up by BBB stated: “Twitter Workers Needed ASAP, You’re Hired! Make Extra Cash with Twitter; As seen on USA Today, CNN, and ABC… Apply Now!”
The e-mail links to EasyTweetProfits.com, a company out of Surrey, England. EasyTweetProfits.com claims you can make $250-$873 a day working at home with Twitter. The Web site offers a seven-day free trial of their instructional CD-ROM for $1.95 to cover shipping. Buried in the lengthy terms and conditions are the details that the trial begins on the day the CD is ordered—not when it is received—and if the consumer doesn’t cancel within seven days of signing up, they’ll be charged $47 every month.
Similar to other work-from-home schemes, phony blogs by made-up individuals have been created as testimonials to the success of Twitter-money-making programs. Make-money-on-twitter.com is one such phony blog—supposedly by a Derrick Clark of Virginia—where the author brags about making up to $5,000 a month posting links to Twitter. The blog also includes an image of the supposed check Derrick received for posting links on Twitter, but the exact same photo of the check has been used countless times on other phony blogs for various suspect work-at-home jobs.
The blog links to TwitterProfitHouse.com which, similar to EasyTweetProfits.com, claims you can make $250-$873 a day working at home and offers a seven-day free trial of their instructional CD-ROM, for $1.99 shipping. Again, however, reading the fine print shows that the trial period starts once the CD has been ordered and the consumer will be billed $99.99 every month if they don’t call the company to cancel.
The BBB offers these warning signs to look out for:
* The “job” is actually a money-making scheme and doesn’t provide actual employment.
* The work-at-home scheme claims that you can make lots of money with little effort and no experience.
* You have to pay money upfront in order to be considered for the job or receive more information.
* The exact same tweet touting the program is posted by many different Twitterers. The links in such tweets could lead you to scam sites or install malware onto your computer.
Now I don’t want to be all about doom and gloom when it comes to work-at-home opportunities.
I got this list of jobs from RetirementJobs.com yesterday that I wanted to share. Keep in mind, you should still do your homework to figure out if any of these are right for you.
(Take note: I DO NOT ENDORSE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES.)
(UPDATE: I have gotten several emails from former employees of one of the companies on this list, TeleReach. The former workers claim the company is a scam. The owner says they are disgruntled employees. Go to this update on the firm to find out more.) Caregiving:
VisitingAngels.com Customer Service:
WorkingSolutions.com Tutoring & Training:
TutorVista.com Professional Services:
VoiceLog.com Sales Support:
WorkingSolutions.com Writing & Transcription:
WriterFind.com Home Decor:
SouthernLivingAtHome.com Kitchens / Cooking / Food:
WorthNY.com Personal Care:
Senegence.com Health & Wellness:
Silpada.com Pet Products:
ShurePets.com Hobbies / Arts & Crafts:
Since early June, Kwaku Twumasi, 34, has been driving all around the posh neighborhoods of Dallas selling himself on the windows of his Chevy Tahoe.
Twumasi was laid off from his analyst job at management consulting firm Accenture in November and has been looking for a job to no avail ever since.
I first saw the photo of his vehicular billboard thanks to a Twitter tweet from @abalderrama: “Clever job seekers. Aka honk if you want to hire me.” I retweeted the story he referenced and then decided I needed to talk to the person behind the ad.
I figured I’d find a desperate job seeker grasping at what ever he or she could to find a gig.
But I didn’t find some crazed, unemployed daredevil. I found calm, engaging Kwaku Twumasi.
“Are you desperate?” I asked him on the phone.
“No,” he said. “Not at all.”
“I went through the process of job searching, networking, career fairs, cold phone calls, and ran through it over and over again,” he explained. “I got to the point where I just said, ‘let me use what they taught me in business school and solve this problem.’”
The “problem” of his unemployment needed to be solved so he decided to “get out of that circle.”
He looked at his big truck and all its window space and the “Me” mobile billboard was born. He used glass chalk, he said, because it stays on in the rain.
Twumasi got his MBA from Southern Methodist University, the future home of the George W. Bush library, he pointed out. Before going for his MBA, he was a support specialist for a call center in Dallas but realized he needed a business degree if he was going to attain his goal of working for a big banking company someday. After school he got the offer from Accenture, but just like so many other people in finance he ended up on the chopping block as the economy turned sour.
So, he’s been driving slowly around like a police officer in three towns he says are were the high-powered Dallas residents live: University Park, Highland Park and Preston Hollow. He’s gotten a few nibbles already, but no job offer quite yet. “I’m open to anything,” he said. “A lawyer called me last Friday interested in getting some help from me. I sent her an email Monday but I haven’t heard back yet. I hope it happens because I need to generate cash.”
He’s been living on his savings and unemployment benefits, but he admitted his money is starting to run out. And the cost of driving his gas guzzler around town promoting himself has already cost him $600 in gas. “The AC is going out and my ball joints are bad,” he said.
To save some money he’s tried to find prime parking spots where his billboard can get a lot of play without him driving around too much.
“My goal is to get something permanent in finance, banking,” he said, adding that he’d love to work for any of the Big Four accounting firms.
Even though the offers haven’t flooding in yet, he’s taking a Zen-like approach to joblessness.
“I believe there is a blessing in misfortune,” he notes. “You don’t know what’s around the corner.”
I’m all about empowering young girls so that some day they can be the leaders of Corporate America. But the Girl Scouts of the USA are taking things a bit too far.
Summer camp is supposed to be a time for fun and total wackiness for kids. I just sent my kids off this morning for their first day of camp and you better believe they’ll be endless stories when they get home about the silly things they did and the old buddies they got to play with.
Imagine for a moment if during a day of swimming, rock climbing and digging up bugs, your poor kids were forced to sit down with executives from corporations to talk about team building.
This is exactly what’s going to happen at some Girl Scout Camps around the country this summer.
I got this press release from the Girl Scouts about a program they’re launching this year called Camp CEO, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading:
At the Girl Scouts’ Camp CEO, being held in several regions across the country, girls still take part in traditional camping activities like swimming, hiking and crafts, but this familiar summer pastime comes with a twist – girls will also be meeting with the nation’s top female executives to learn about issues like career planning, personal finance and team-building.
I don’t know about you guys, but the last thing I want my daughter doing during camp is thinking about being a professional.
We’re so wrapped up today in wanting kids to grow up fast that even camp time is not immune.
I know the Girl Scouts’ intentions are good. I love that they’re thinking about giving our daughters ammunition for their future professional lives. But people, this is summer camp.
We need to give kids a break already and let them laugh out loud and scream at the top of their lungs.
We also need to stop constantly telling them how tough the world is going to be and how they should be ready for it now. Kids don’t ride their bikes around the block because we’re worried they might be abducted. They wear protective gear on every limb because they may fall. And this summer there will be some Girl Scouts networking with executive women instead of networking with nature.
Is this the only way to finally shatter the glass ceiling? I guess it cuts down on their risk of getting poison ivy.