Sunday, September 12, 2010
Your Career and You: "Speak Your Thoughts... Others Will Hear You"
Today has been one of those really cool days when I've come to realize that the things that I've been writing about in this blog are valid and meaningful.
First, the Boston Globe had an article in the "Money and Careers" section entitled "For the ambitious, entry-level jobs are far from a dead end." The advice, as provided by Globe staffer Katie Johnston Chase, was dead-center what I wrote about back in June.
Then, I received a tweet from Valerie Simon at BurrellesLuce about a blog ("Culpwrit") written by Ron Culp, a Ketchum PR exec who has some very keen insights into the quagmire known as "careers and job searching." Ron has provided some great observations on the importance of "passion," a topic I examined in August.
I can hear you asking: "So what? What does this have to do with my situation?"
Well, for one thing, it should reassure you that you're not in this all by yourself. If people are offering advice in national publications and on global social media platforms, there's a reason...and that reason is that others, just like you, are asking for advice and guidance.
Another more to-the-point reason is that Ron and I, and countless others, are writing blogs, articles, memos...you name it...putting in words our experiences and our opinions in the hope that we will offer some tidbit of advice that will help you.
I can't tell you how many times one of my students at Curry College or at Regis College has come to me asking for advice on how to better position him- or herself to stand out among the hordes of similar job seekers trying to get a toe in the door of a PR firm or in the PR department of a company or nonprofit organization.
Guess what? You've all taken the same courses....often studying the same texts! You've all done two or three (or more) internships. You've all excelled in your studies. And you've all been involved in a gazillion on- and off-campus activities to help flesh out your knowledge and experience.
So what's left? Well, here's a suggestion. Put your thoughts...your experiences...your observations...down in written form.
Blogging is one obvious way. Writing for your college newspaper or some other publication is another. Even updates on Facebook or Twitter...something besides the fact that you partied way too well last night and are paying the price today...can be valid. If you read (you do read, don't you?!?) something that catches your attention, post a link and a comment on Facebook. Or fire off a Tweet.
Why? Because professionals like Ron, Valerie, me and countless hundreds of others pay attention. You apply for a job; I'm going to pop your name into Google to see what bubbles up.
What would you rather have me see? Your most recent blog about your very cool trip, describing the scenery, the ambience, the excitement of visiting and learning about a new location/culture? Or a photo on Facebook of you getting up-close-and-personal with a trashcan after a party???
Read other people's blogs, and get a sense of how they're expressing themselves. Then think about it and decide what topic you might like to write about. Sports? Cooking? Travel? Art? It doesn't matter. Just put your thoughts down...demonstrate interest.
Set yourself a schedule. I do this blog weekly simply because I seem to encounter enough people and situations to always have at least one topic to sound off on weekly. Just try to be regular about it... demonstrate consistency.
And, finally, keep at it. Don't do one or two and stop, telling yourself, "Ok, I did what Kirk told me to do." Demonstrate dependability.
See what you've accomplished? In addition to having now established a written "picture" of you, the individual, you now have answered three of my top questions as a hiring manager!
So now you're a couple of notches up on the job search chain. Your resume looks good because of all the cool things you've accomplished. And now you and I have had a virtual mini-interview thanks to your having written your blog or whatever published form you choose. I've "heard" you!!
"'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there."
Ernest Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast"