Viewing posts from the blog category

Five Ways to Land an Internship Through Creatively Networking

Who says you have to be the smartest person in the room if you are friendly with everyone in the room? In life, it’s not about what you know it’s about who you know. A trick to getting to know every person in the room is by being more creative then the next when meeting them. You might ask yourself, why do I want to know everyone in the room? You never know if someone you meet could be your next boss, coworker, or business partner. Below are some tips on how to never let another connection go to waste.

#1 – Make a POSITIVE lasting impression. I put emphasis on the positive because there is a difference between being remembered vs. not forgotten. You want this new potential coworker that you met on a night out to remember how outgoing and interesting you were. Ordering everyone a round of shots then spilling them on yourself is not the best way to be remembered. Engage in an interesting conversation and you will never be forgotten. He or she may even email her boss that night and say she found a potential intern, that’s how I got my internship at The Melanie Andersen Agency (thanks Jillian!).

#2 – Know your place, respect boundaries. Remember that you are the one looking for a job, and they are your connection! When talking potential business strategies keep in mind that they are the professional and you are looking to join their team. Therefore, never tell them what they are saying is a bad idea, help them build off of ideas they present to you, or give brief thoughts.

#3 – Once you have secured the internship, show a respectful amount of eagerness, drive and attitude. If you are as creative as you say you are, share some of your own ideas! However, it is important to share at the correct time. You can’t just shout out your ideas whenever you want, they’ll think you’re crazy. You have to find that conversational segway accordingly, share minor details about something similar and if it sparks another conversational topic keep going. It is ok to tell them at the end, “hey so that’s just a glimpse at how my creative mind works, I have many other ideas in numerous other fields. If you would like to speak more I would love to set up a meeting/interview”. It is a great skill if you can make them ask you for your opinion by posing a thought as a question.

#4 – Do NOT be afraid of rejection. If you ask me, most people are afraid of being told no, getting laughed at, or even standing out. Creativity is a way that one expresses themselves, if you stand in the crowd vs. standing out in the crowd, will you ever get noticed? If you don’t ask, how do you know what they will say! To give you an example, I was in the dry cleaners one afternoon where I commented to the owner of a very special car and laid down some knowledge I had about it. We had a brief conversation where he ended up giving me his business card and after I made a follow up appointment for lunch, he offered me a job. The point is, you can’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, you never know what will happen! There are opportunities everywhere we look! Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out there. We step up to the plate every morning when we wake up, but how many of us actually swing the bat. If you keep swinging you’re bound to make contact.

#5 – The key to success and happiness in life is balance. This is very important to remember when making a connection for a possible job. At the end of the day it is important to remember that you are making a professional connection, so therefore act like a professional. Show this connection that you are someone who is respectful and understanding. On the other hand don’t be afraid to let your hair down. The two of you will be working together so your professionalism is most important, in the same breath you will be seeing each other all the time. You need to show them that you have a personality. This is where balance is key, work hard and have fun. Balance in a creative workspace is the only way to have success. Do not force a friendship, anything forced simply becomes uncomfortable. Find that balance and play with it, for that will not only be the key to success with work but success in life as well.

Creativity – a word many toss around lightly. Be the creative person that you are, never be forgotten. Take some of these tips, find a new comfort zone, and go find your next career this afternoon but don’t wait, it could be waiting for you around the next corner.

Ace a Job Interview- How to Answer “Why Do You Want to work at This Company?”

2014-07-22 04.08.37
When preparing for a job interview, it is important to research the company, but it is also crucial to remember to answer the question “why do you want to work at our company?” Even if this is not explicitly asked during the interview process, employers want to know the answer to this question. There are a few ways to prepare how to answer this question and these tips will hopefully help you in moving forward in the interview process and landing you the job!

The most important thing to do is your research on the company, showing this knowledge in your answer is essential to demonstrating your interest in the role and company. Be specific and mention key points that are specific to that company, for example, it is important not to just give general statements like “I want to work with fantastic talent”. If you do start with a general statement like “I admire your work”, then follow it up with a specific example of a project or initiative or campaign that the company or individual has produced and explain why you found it inspiration or worth mentioning. If company culture is important to you, look into that and share specific examples and explain precisely why you like this aspect.

Another great way to show your enthusiasm about the company is to explain how you first heard of them or why you sought the company out out. This personal story is a great way to show that you were interested in the company even before you had the opportunity to apply, and allows the potential employer to see your point of view of the company and its evolution.

It is also important to think ahead and explain where you see the company going and how you can see yourself in that plan. Remember that it’s not just a one way street and all about you– it’s important to demonstrate to your future employer why they should hire you. Showcase some of your skills and give examples of how you can be of value in the role. This shows you’ve gone above and beyond just research, really displaying your ability to think about the future of the company and your role in that.

There is no perfect way to answer this question, but these tips can definitely prepare you and give you some unique ways to show your enthusiasm!

Win Over Anyone You Meet in Seconds

Being successful in the business world doesn’t necessarily come from what you were taught in college. Surprisingly enough it has been proven by extensive amounts of research that about 85% of it has to do with your capacity to connect with other people. The key factor in ANY relationship, whether it be personal or a professional is establishing some sort of mutual trust and respect.

Technology has played a very important role in shaping and molding how we interact and behave with one another, specifically in the creative industries. Although there are a considerable amount of pros to our rapid tech advances, there have also been many cons as well which have made us more impatient; therefore within seconds, everyone you meet forms a strong impression that is the deciding factor on whether someone will like, trust, and respect you.

Whether you’re simply job-hunting, dating or mingling at an opening of a new art gallery, making a good impression is absolutely essential in life and in the workforce as well. But not to worry, as the creative tips below will guide you in the right direction.

Tip #1: Respect Boundaries

Be aware and conscious of other people’s space. Try your best to notice any clues like if they lean in, then lean in some more and if they step back, then try to do the same. Remember that rules or norms about people’s personal space depends on culture so that is always something to keep in mind.

Tip#2: Body Language Awareness

Actions speak louder than words, so be mindful on your body language as it makes up for more than half of what other people respond to. Always carry yourself in a way that projects ‘openness’-meaning that you aren’t closed off since that shows a lack of interest and at the same time doesn’t want to make other people stay around you. Feel free to refer back to a blog post I’ve written in the past that dives deeper into the specifics on the importance of body language.

Tip#3: Dress the Part

Try and find a sense of style that sends the right message that you would like to portray. Think of yourself as a product, and your wardrobe as packaging. For tips on how to dress specifically for an interview, you can always check out my previous blog post which gives great tips and tricks about dressing for success.

Tip#4: Attitude Adjustment

People can sense the energy you give off instantaneously, it’s the 1st thing they respond to without even knowing it themselves. If you find yourself disengaged or bored, put that aside and try to portray a positive vibe even if that is not how you are feeling at the moment.

Tip#5: Introduce yourself with Pride

Share what is it that you do to others in a brief and fluid way. Be passionate and explain what it means to you and why you think it makes a difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pitching yourself as part of a new business initiative, but as a way to engage and creatively form a power point slide to which the subject is YOU.

What To Write In A Cover Letter : The Do’s and Don’t’s of Selling Yourself

2014-07-22 04.17.17
Writing a cover letter is something many employers will tell you is an essential part of the job process in order to get your resume read, and we have to agree. It’s something that shows you put the extra effort in, and sets you aside from the numerous resume’s that get sent through by themselves. A great cover letter complement’s your resume by highlighting your skills, and adds a personal touch by demonstrating your writing style in explaining why you make the best fit for a position. A cover letter is usually the first written contact you have with a potential employer, so naturally, you want to make a sure it has the best impact as possible.

Effective cover letters are no longer than a page (you don’t want to bore the reader) and no shorter than a paragraph. You want to get your points across, yet make it flow and enjoyable for the reader.

If emailing your resume to a potential employer, put your cover letter in the body of the email rather than an attachment. This way you are able to reach the employer with your words, and it will encourage them to open your resume.

Answer the question “Why should I see you?” This may be the most important thing to remember when shaping a cover letter. These employers are taking the time out to read your document, and make the executive decision whether or not to open their doors for you. Summarize your strengths, and include details about why you are writing: what exactly about the company excites and motivates you? Feel free to delve into details about what brought the role to your attention, how you became interested in the industry or company, and why your past experience makes you a perfect fit for a career within that realm. Make sure you use the right tone; you want to be professional yet carefully assertive.

Tailor your skills from the job description to fit into your explanation. You’ll want your experience, personality and capabilities to reflect what is asked for by the employer. Try and mirror what is in the job description.

Highlight details from your resume. Explain any gaps, mention additional accomplishments and correlate your experience that is relevant to the job or industry. You don’t want to explain your entire role at a company, that’s meant for the interview phase. Instead, touch upon a position briefly, and connect it to the current posting.

Stay positive throughout the note, after all you are selling yourself! Be enthusiastic, and never bad mouth your old company or boss, or explain why you quit your last job.

Thank the employer. Make sure you thank the reader for their time, and offer to provide any other information if needed. Sign off with an appropriate signature, such as sincerely or best regards, and say that you look forward to hearing from them soon!

Additionally, make sure you never lie about your experience, as this is a sure way to ruin any chance you had in the first place. And don’t sell yourself short – this letter is meant to boost your position, not lower you in the ranks! And always, always, remember to proof read! Spelling and grammatical errors are too easy to fix to get penalized for (and you will, if they’re that obvious).

You’ll want to make sure each cover letter is tailored for a specific job or company, so don’t get lazy once your start applying – each posting requires its own letter. Stay positive and remember, the more time and personalization you put into it, the more likely you’ll hear back!

The Importance Of Being Responsive When Searching For A New Job

my pick
The process of getting a job has a lot of moving parts. Consequently, most of these moving parts are extremely time sensitive. As a recruiter for The Melanie Andersen Agency’s fashion division, one obstacle I often face is response time from my creative candidates. As a creative, it goes without saying that you are on tight deadlines, busy and not necessarily at your desk all of the time. However, once you are engaged with a company regarding a potential job, you need to be on the ball or it may jeopardize your chances.

Clients can be pretty unpredictable in their response time, but they have the freedom to do so, they are the ones who are deciding whether or not to give an offer. I’ve had a search that I worked on for 6 months, where the client was moving at a snails pace, and then the final stages happened so fast my head was spinning. This is how it goes, and the most important thing is to be on top of making sure your recruiter or potential future employer has all the information they need from you in a timely manner.

In my experience, I have had to practically stalk some candidates on a daily basis to make sure they were giving me the information and documents I needed. It wasn’t because they felt lukewarm about the job, because they eventually accepted the offer, it’s just an issue of prioritization. At the end of the day, you are at a point where you want to change jobs so that should be a priority, and not on the backburner, since you could lose the opportunity because of a reason that was preventable.

My suggestion would be to answer emails as quickly as possible, even if you can’t do what is asked of you right that second. Acknowledge receipt and give a timeline of when you can have the information back to the recruiter or employer. Please bear in mind that absolutely no longer than 24 hours should pass from the moment something is asked of you to the moment you complete it. As recruiters, we abide by the same rule. When a client wants something from our candidate, we check in with the client after 24 hours, even if we have nothing to give them. In the age of smartphones where we all get our emails directly to our phones, this is something which shouldn’t be too hard to fix, but the payoff is significant in terms of giving you the best chances possible of landing your dream job!

Summer Style: How To Dress Appropriately In The Workplace While Keeping Your Cool

2014-07-22 04.17.17
Summer is upon us and you know what that means : less clothing! However, despite the scorching temperatures outside, it is important to find a way to incorporate minimal clothing will still maintaining professionalism, style and appropriateness in the workplace, or while interviewing for a new job. We’ve compiled a breakdown of what’s appropriate to wear during those hot summer months, and what you’re better off saving for the weekend.

What’s OK:

– Spaghetti straps (this one’s two fold; as long as this is covered up with a sweater, cardigan or jacket). 99% of offices will allow this if you are covered up appropriately.

– Open toe sandals or heels

– Shorts (as long as they are not too short!) and you smarten the look with a cute blazer

– Maxi dresses

– Wedges

– Ripped jeans (this one is tricky, but if you work in a casual environment, we say go ahead)

– Any dress below the knee, and a few inches above

– Skirts (no more than 3 inches above the knee)

– Espadrille shoes

What’s NOT acceptable, no matter what the season:

– Flip flops

– Spandex shorts

– Denim shorts

– Tube tops

– Forgoing undergarments

– Bathing suits (seems obvious but hey, when you’re in a rush to get to the beach after work…)

– Cover ups/sarongs/anything see through (if it’s meant for the poolside, leave it there)

– Crop tops

– Sunglasses inside

Trimming the fat- 6 tips for that 6 pack at work

As warmer weather approaches, everyone is quickly kick-starting their diets and getting back to their fitness regimes. As people make adjustments to their lives in preparation for the summer, there always seems to be a battle between treating yourself and looking good on the beach. Since we all spend so much time at work I’ve written some easy tips below to stay healthy and fit so everyone can feel confident and happy this season.

1) Start a support group- one of our teams here at our agency committed themselves to a 30 day challenge. They took turns preparing healthy lunches for each other every single day and engaged themselves in some sort of physical activity as well; this ranged from enrolling in a bootcamp or yoga class or even a run by the Hudson River. It not only made them all look great, but it strengthened their relationship and made them even stronger as a team.

2) Pack healthy snacks- this will definitely control your appetite throughout the day to make you stay away from the vending machine of death. Eat your nuts and ditch the chips!

3) Just say “NO”- it’s always hard to say no to food, especially if it’s free and you have to see it all day. Remember that taking one bite out of that cookie will lead to worse decisions later. Give yourself a cheat meal or day on the weekend depending on how much you exercise as it’s never good to deprive yourself, since that often leads to binge eating.

4) Drink more water- this will keep you full, and is great for your skin too.

5) Forget the elevator- take the stairs once in a while to give you a boost of energy while burning calories and working on your gluts.

6) Ditch your chair and sit on an exercise ball- I did this when I used to work at an advertising agency. Both our creative and account management teams participated. Surprisingly, it was actually fun and increased our posture, plus we got to bounce all day so it kept us alert.

You Are Your Own Brand

my pickThis week’s post will touch on the importance of being your own brand ambassador at all times. This means maintaining a standard of professionalism, and being thoughtful about how you would like to be perceived. Although your work is a critical part of hiring decisions, personality, communication and presentation can be make-or-break factors.

What to wear

Deciding what to wear for an interview can be telling of whether or not you understand the company culture of where you are interviewing. You need to gauge for yourself what kind of company this is: is it a suited up environment? Is it a relaxed environment? However, no matter the dress code, you need to present yourself in a way that is representative of your unique style and aligns with the brand you are interviewing for. You should be polished, since it is above all else a professional encounter.

What to say

The best types of interviews are ones that flow easily like a conversation, and are focused on your skillset and strengths as a candidate for this role, and why you want to work for that company. This is a sign that the interview is going well. HOWEVER, do not let it get too casual! It will be tempting to start going off on complete tangents, or making jokes or comments that may not be interview appropriate. Stay away from these kinds of comments, if you feel at ease with your interviewer that’s great, but don’t get too comfortable! And remember, keep it professional, which means no bad-mouthing your previous employers. It doesn’t matter how negative your experience might have been, highlight the positive aspects of your experience there, and give a reason for leaving which has more to do with personal and career growth, NOT a reason which has to do with why you dislike your current employer.

The follow up

I cannot stress enough the importance of following up. It is something that is so quick and easy to do, but if you don’t do it, it can hurt the hiring manager’s impression of you, even if the interview went really well. It is always a good policy to include at least one concrete thing that you talked about during your interview in your thank you note. This shows that the conversation you had was memorable and meaningful to you. For more tips on the follow up, check out my colleague Rachel’s post “The Ultimate Thank You – Why Following Up Is Important.” My advice: send out the follow up thank you email as soon as possible, you want to show the hiring manager that you really want this, and it keeps you top of mind.

So remember, dress the part, talk the talk, and always always ALWAYS follow up!

It’s All Relative – A Few Dating Truths That Apply to Job Searching

Very similar to dating, looking for a new job can be scary, taxing and sometimes pretty weird. It’s a two way street, involving more than one person’s personality, skills and presentation combined to potentially secure a long term relationship. In this blog I’ll discuss a few dating truths and tips that also apply to the job hunt – how to use them to your advantage and when to proceed with caution.

Look your best…
Just like you want to impress your date by showering, shaving and putting on some perfume, it’s important to look the part for the role you’re interviewing for. I’m not saying go to your meeting in a ball gown and stage makeup, but take extra time to wear a skirt and heels, or dig up that suit in the back of your closet. You want to look polished, well presented, and like someone that is pleasant to be around (this applies to general hygiene of course, but also in the way you dress yourself). Granted, all company cultures are different and if you’re aware of a super casual clothing environment, or your recruiter tells you ahead of time not to dress too formally, you should cloth yourself accordingly. Still, it’s never a bad idea to go the extra step and throw on those booties – looking cute never hurt anyone from landing the role!

When you listen to your date talk about their lifestyle, and the things they like to do, you wonder if you could see yourself joining them. This completely applies to job searching; you should go into every interview to not only hear, but really listen to what your interviewer is saying about the company, and ask yourself if you can see your personality and skills thriving there. It’s extremely important to listen just as much as you talk on a date, and this truth applies directly to interviewing.

In this digital age, it’s practically expected that you’ll look up your date beforehand. You want to see what they look like, what they do in their free time, and if you have any mutual friends. This truth applies to job searching quite possibly more than any of the others – doing research on a company beforehand is vital for a successful interview. You should thoroughly look up their clients, their company structure, and any recent business wins or press releases they’ve been involved in. Although sometimes frowned upon in the dating world, this truth in the job hunt is an absolute must! You should also mention this research during your meeting if it’s relevant to what you’re discussing, and feel free to flatter the company’s success or anything else you admire about them.

Be Honest
This truth is one that applies to dating in every aspect, as well as when you’re in an actual relationship. Being honest with your date about what you’re looking for in a relationship is super important, and being honest with your partner about your needs is essential for long lasting success. Similarly, being upfront with your potential employer about your experience, as well as what you’re looking for in your next role is a must. You should be clear about your goals, what you’d like to accomplish in your future and what kind of position you see yourself thriving in. It doesn’t help anyone when dating to lead the other person on to believe you want something you actually don’t (say you’re looking for a committed relationship, and they just want a casual fling), and this applies just the same when looking for a new job. There’s no point in lying about your capabilities if you’re not experienced in a certain realm, or saying you enjoy the type of work you actually hate. Eventually the truth will come out, and you’ll be much more embarrassed once you’ve been hired than if you were just honest in the first place. Be truthful about what you’re looking for from a job and company, as well as what kind of employee you are, and you’ll be sure to find the right match.

Sometimes No Means Maybe
Any smooth guy is familiar with this one – sometimes “no” really just means maybe. She won’t go out with you at first, but that doesn’t mean the chase is over: with a little finesse sprinkled with persistence, you know you can change her mind. This tactic completely applies to job searching, and should always be encouraged. Just because there are no open positions at your level, or the team is at capacity, does not mean things can’t or won’t change somewhere down the line. It’s always a good idea to follow up, and continue following up, until you get your foot in the door. Teams are always changing, budgets are shifting and recruitment needs change frequently. If you feel passionately about a role or even just a company in general, make it known that you remain interested (even if it becomes 6 months or a year later) and remain as tenacious as you can in your resolve.

Overall, it’s about finding that match that feels right, and more often than not it takes trial and error. Think about how many first dates you’ve had that never went anywhere – it’s still great experience (and sometimes a great story) and the same applies to interviews. Now go on and nab that dream job!

The Importance of Actually Answering the Interview Questions

my pickAnswer the question you were asked. Seems relatively straight forward, but in my experience, many candidates can’t seem to nail down this part of the interview. This skill is important to master, not doing so has the potential to hold back a perfectly qualified individual.

Very often I will ask a candidate a question, only to receive a long-winded, complicated, tangential answer which more often than not does not answer the original question. This presents an issue because a) it comes off as if you didn’t listen to the question or b) you are trying to obscure something else that might be the real answer. These are both pretty negative impressions to make on a hiring manager so you want to avoid both at all costs!

The best advice I can give you is:

Really listen to the question that is being asked of you, if you didn’t catch it the first time, it is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question, than to guess at what they asked you and end up not actually answering the question.
Speak with intention. Be as concise as possible, at the same time as using the most meaningful and impactful language and formulations for your answers.
Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you need to share EVERYTHING, only share what will work in your favor of positioning yourself as a desirable candidate.
The last point that I made above about honesty is important. Never lie about experience or salary, but there is such a thing as being too honest. A hiring manager doesn’t need to know too many details about your personal life, they want to know why you want to work for them, and you should only share the motivations that involve your interest in their company and your career growth ambitions.

To sum up, short, sweet and to the point is the golden rule for answering the question you have been asked! Take your time to figure out what information the hiring manager is asking for, and answer honestly and eloquently. Now you can go and rock that interview!