Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Face for Facebook – More Opportunities for Effective Networking

Thanks to MaryPat Kavanagh – social networking and joint venture expert for entrepreneurs (, I’ve had an early peek at the new Facebook. (If you have an account, you can change your old page to the new one by going to And according to MaryPat, everyone’s page will soon be changed over to the new look).

My comments: First, I’ve barely learned the ins and outs of the old Facebook. Still, there are already things I like better, such as an actual visible home button instead of having to mouse over to find the invisible home button.

From a professional point of view, the best new feature may be the opportunity to put a very short bio (only a little longer than the one allowed on Twitter) right under your profile picture. So when, for example, someone is on your Wall page, the person can see something about you without going to your Info page and scrolling down under Personal Information to About Me.

Below is what I wrote for the little bio under my profile picture. Full disclosure: it took me some time to fit what I wanted to say into the space allowed:

I'm a marketer and an author with a recently released novel and three blogs. I'm launching a FAMILY of info product websites with
I just connected through Facebook with Zimblers in
England -- possible distant cousins.

(The photo of a dulcimer at the beginning of this post is representing the tsimbl, an Eastern European stringed klezmer instrument that originated the Jewish surnames Zimbler and Zimbalist. I’m working with a new possible cousin in England found through Facebook on a theory involving the supposedly most famous klezmer musician Mikhail Guzikov (1806-1837), who toured “the great opera houses of Europe from Odessa to Paris” according to an article by Pete Rushefsky. In our Zimbler cousin case the opera house in Odessa is a possible key to a mystery we’re trying to solve.)

If you’re not already on Facebook, this is a great time to start. You’ll be learning the new look while the old-timers will be learning it too, so you won’t be that far behind.

Just remember my constant warning – choose a profile picture that has a professional look to it. No funny faces, funny hats or funny anything.

And if you read this column come friend me on Facebook – just be sure to mention my FLIPPING BURGERS blog in the friend request message you send me.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: Another Facebook No-No – Sending a Friend Request to a Job Interviewer

The July 29th Wall Street Journal article by Sarah E. Needleman entitled “Thx for the IView! I Wud (heart) to Work 4U!!;) Young Job Candidates Find Too-Casual Tone of Textspeak Turns Off Hiring Managers” surprised me.

I wasn’t surprised that young job candidates didn’t know better than to use texting abbreviations in their thank-you notes to interviewers. I’ve written before about the need to use proper English (spelling and grammar) for such communication.

But I admit I was surprised that young people on Facebook send friend requests to interviewers with personal pages on Facebook. This assumes a peer relationship that doesn’t exist. And this action can be fraught with peril if the job applicant has been indiscreet on his or her Facebook profile page.

Although Facebook is now being used more and more for business, there’s still a major difference between Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook is a social media site first, a business site second. LinkedIn is a business site first, a social media site second.

Therefore I do believe it would be appropriate to send an add to network request to an interviewer on LinkedIn because presumably the interviewer is on the site for business purposes.

But to send a friend request to an interviewer who is on Facebook in her or his personal capacity and not on a company page is presumptuous. Regardless of what you may think, the interviewer does not want to share her or his likes in music and movies with you.

As in everything else on the internet, you have to use good judgment. Every time I want to send a message to someone through Facebook, I stop and consider whether this is something that could be put on the person’s wall or whether this is something that should only be seen by the recipient. These messages can’t be dashed off without any thought.

Just because you can send a message around the world in a flash does NOT mean that you should disengage your brain from your activities.

And, according to the Journal article, interviewers are worried about hiring someone who text messages a thank you using abbreviated language. What kind of business correspondence can this young person be trusted to do? After all, every communication that person sends if working at a company reflects back on the company.

Next time you’re tempted to dash off a thank you from your BlackBerry five minutes after you’ve left an interview, consider whether that is the best positioning of your image. While you don’t have to produce a hand-written thank-you note, a well-formulated email could go a long way towards demonstrating that you know professional communication standards.

Remember, as always, the job opportunity that you impact positively or negatively by your actions may be the one that you really want. Don’t jeopardize it by two-thumbing a sloppy, jargon-laced thank you.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , ,

Yet Another Facebook Profile Photo Warning – Take This Advice Seriously!

Yesterday Peter Shankman’s email alert had this query:

Doing market research for an article:

What, if anything, are kinds/young adults taught in grade school/high school and/or college re: online profiles and social media such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.?

What if you found out that your college-age nephew, who is slated to take over the family business after college, looks like a total idiot online? How do we teach our upcoming “young professionals” that posting pics of themselves in nothing but a diaper at Halloween is just not appropriate?

Of course I immediately responded to this query because I often blog about this problem of inappropriate photos and personal info on social media. I even forwarded to the reporter my post of June 6th (see

And then I went on Facebook because I’m working with a young woman and her mother to more effectively use Facebook and LinkedIn (and start on Twitter) to help establish their professional brands. And what do you think I found on the young woman’s profile page?

A profile photo of her making a face (she’ll be 27 in September), and for “interested in” on her profile she had put Men.

I immediately emailed her that she must:

a) replace that goofy photo with an appropriate profile photo

b) eliminate the “interested in” entry and instead use the “looking for” entry of Friendship and Networking

Was I annoyed that I had to tell her this? Yes and no. Yes, because she should have known better. No, because obviously from the reporter’s query there are lots of young adults who don’t know better.

If you’re a reader of this blog, I sincerely hope you’ve taken my warnings to heart. Be sure your profile photos on all social media sites of which you’re a member are appropriate as well as having appropriate comments on your profile pages.

The career that you do NOT sabotage if you follow this advice is your own.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: Starbucks Asia Pacific President Stresses Passion and Building Personal Relationships

John Culver, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, could be a spokesperson for my FLIPPING BURGERS AND BEYOND philosophy:

The July 21st article by Tor Ching Li in The Wall Street Journal was titled “Culver of Starbucks Asia on Getting Started: ‘Be Passionate.’”

Music to my ears.

And the blog post I did just before this one (see ties in nicely with this quote from Culver in response to what was the biggest lesson he learned on his first job:

“I washed dishes and waited on tables when I was still in high school. The biggest lesson I learned is to treat people the way you want to be treated. As humans we all share a desire to be acknowledged and recognized, whether it is a warm greeting or a sincere thank you. It is the little things that build personal relationships.”

And in response to what’s the one thing he wished every new hire knew, Culver said:

“It is important to have the basic knowledge and skills, but it is more important that you choose a career path or company that you are passionate about and aligns with your values as a person.”

These are topics that I talk about again and again as part of the FLIPPING BURGERS AND BEYOND philosophy. And I strongly believe in the earlier the better for you to start following your passion to see where that leads.

It’s your own life in which you’re investing energy. And it’s much easier to invest that energy if you’re enthusiastic about what you’re doing.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , ,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: There Is No Such Thing as an Unimportant Job

Today my younger daughter and I had lunch at a nice restaurant in West LA where we have eaten before and had excellent service. But, today, with the restaurant half empty (a summer Friday in Los Angeles), the service was lousy.

The waitress, who was off-putting, missed every opportunity to provide a pleasant dining experience. One small example pointed out by my daughter:

She and I shared a platter of miniature samples of the dessert. Then my daughter ordered a whole piece of cheesecake. The waitress asked hadn’t the cheesecake been on the sample plate? Yes, and now my daughter wanted the whole piece.

As soon as the waitress left, my daughter told me the waitress should have said: “I’m so glad you found a dessert you especially like. I’ll bring it right out.”

As a coach of teens and young people, I find it hard to believe that this waitress can easily change her mindset when she has a more “serious” position. I can picture her in a meeting with her future employer’s important client. Instead of graciously responding to the client’s interest in a new company offering, she replies: “Don’t you have enough of a similar product already?”

The point of this story? Even in jobs that are “unimportant” to you (except for the paycheck and tips, obviously), you must work on cultivating the correct mindset. Then when you have a job that you really want, you’ll be ready to be an excellent addition to your employer’s team.

Tip for those of you who want to really get the concept of fabulous customer service: Read “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles with a foreword by my favorite business guru Harvey Mackay.

This is a book of few words and monumental ideas. Years ago, when I was communications officer at the Visiting Nurse Association of Los Angeles, I organized a one-day workshop for top management based on this “simple” book.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: Tell the Truth – It Can Save a Great Deal of Time

In an internship/job situation, telling the truth often makes things go much easier. And here’s the example of this that I want to share with you:

For the last two days I’ve been trying to launch an online information product website. There are some problems between the html coding of my website designer in Canada and the html coding of the company providing the shopping cart function of the website.

From the emails of my website designer – who I think is very talented – I knew English is probably not his first language (I’ve never spoken to him on the phone). So when I emailed him that my shopping cart company wanted to talk directly to him, he balked at doing this. Instead he tried to figure out what to do and then sent an email to the company.

After 24 hours of not getting anywhere, I realized that he probably didn’t want to speak to the shopping cart company because of his unsure command of English. But he didn’t want to tell me this because of potential embarrassment. (There’s nothing to be embarrassed about – I’m lousy at every foreign language I’ve ever tried to learn.)

With this realization, I called support of the company myself, and the support person with whom I spoke was incredibly helpful (thanks Rachel at Even though I don’t know how to do html coding, by asking the right questions and getting the right answers, I was able to get the needed information to give to my website designer.

The moral of this story? If your boss gives you an assignment and you don’t understand it or have a problem with it, do NOT spend hours trying to figure out what to do. Ask for help. In most cases your boss will be thrilled you let her/him know right away, thus saving a great deal of potentially wasted time.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: Do You Have a 30-Second “Elevator” Pitch?

Imagine you’re in an elevator with a well-dressed person in his/her 40s. The person asks you: “What do you do?” And you reply ….

When you're looking for internships, jobs and careers, opportunity can strike at any moment. Maybe the person in the elevator with you is looking for an assistant. Or maybe he or she knows of an opening with a friend’s business.

Be ready with a well-prepared but unstilted elevator speech: I just finished my junior year at UCLA and I’m looking for an unpaid summer internship in the field of interior design.

Or: I just graduated from UC Santa Barbara and I’m applying to advertising agencies with the goal of becoming a media buyer.

You never know who somebody knows. And it would be a shame to waste your 30-second window of opportunity with the answer: I just finished college and I’m looking for a job.

Because just as the person is about to ask you what kind of job or which college, the elevator doors can clang open and you’ll have lost your opportunity.

At each stage of your life be prepared with a 30-second “elevator” pitch that you can use at cocktail parties, in line at movie theaters, in line at Starbucks, and even in elevators. Remember, the person to whom you give your elevator speech may end up being your next boss.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Internships: Offers Entertainment Industry Advice That’s Also Helpful for Other Internships

To find an internship and then be successful in that internship most people need as much advice as they can get. My older daughter Rachel Miller – co-partner of – has just had two new articles accepted at

  • one on finding an internship in the entertainment industry
  • the other on being successful in an entertainment industry internship

Both these articles give good advice that is also useful for other internships.

Here is sample advice from Rachel’s first and second articles:

When do you need to start interning?

To get the maximum benefit, you should intern at a company for at least 3-4 months for at least three days a week so that you really become part of the team and so that your colleagues will remember who you are.

Do NOT waste your time interning over your short college spring break - no one will remember you for only a week or two. Instead go somewhere fun over short breaks and focus on finding an internship for the summer or during the semester.

How do you turn your internship into a job?

The easy answer is: do a GREAT job as an intern - not just an okay job but an outstanding job. Always be there on time, do the work, come in with a smile and be enthusiastic! is one of several article aggregators on the internet. After submitted articles are accepted, they can be used for free by anyone as long as the author’s resource box (last paragraph in the article) is included. Many ezines, blogs and websites utilize these free articles.

To read these two internship articles at, go to:

(A tiny url is a free system for shortening long URLs. You simply go to and paste a long URL into the box and voila! out pops a short URL.)

FYI – is a new online entertainment community where writers, directors, production designers, hair and make-up artists, composers and many other entertainment industry professionals can showcase their work. If you have a passion in one of these fields, you can consider showcasing your work here.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

For Internships, Jobs and Careers: Network by Joining Groups on Facebook

I’ve talked about Facebook in several posts – mostly what NOT to do to protect your professional image. Yet there are many things you CAN do on Facebook to help your networking efforts.

I have to admit that at first I didn’t really understand how to effectively use Facebook. But as I l earn more, I understand that the opportunities for networking on

Facebook can be quite numerous. (Yet as with most things in life, you have to be willing to give in order to get.)

Examples of two Facebook groups to which I belong

This month I’ve been part of a four-session teleseminar called “The Law of Action 2.0” put on by the BlogSquad (Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff) and Kathleen Gage with an accompanying secret Facebook group that does not show up in profiles.

On this secret Facebook group page are discussion topics connected to the teleseminar course. Here we can ask questions and get answers from each other. And in this spirit of helping, we get and give friend requests from and to others in the group.

I also now belong to the Facebook group Virtual Coffee Dates – which is an open group that anyone can join – started by MaryPat Kavanagh (

This group had a virtual coffee date on Friday -- and it was my first time on a Skype IM chat. For me this was an amazing opportunity to “chat” with some very successful women in the internet world. One woman even recognized my name as being in “The Law of Action” Facebook group with her. And another woman on the chat was Mari Smith, whose area of expertise is using Facebook “for fun and profits” (

Find groups on Facebook that are of interest to you

If you click on GROUPS under “Applications” on your Facebook account home page, a search engine for groups will pop up. Put in a description of your interest (I just tried bird watching to see how many groups would come up – lots) and you’ll get a list of groups connected to that subject.

Click on each group’s pages to read about the group and then choose a couple of groups to join. Be an active participant in discussion topics (that’s the giving part) and begin to get and make friend invites in the group (the getting part). And you can always drop out of a group if you later decide it’s not right for you.

This is an organic way to start making friends with people of similar interests – and a first step towards utilizing Facebook connections “for fun and profits” as Mari Smith would say.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interview Etiquette: When Does the Interview Actually Begin?

When interviewing for internships or jobs, it’s important to remember that everything you do from the moment you arrive at an interview location may be observed and noted.

This could be something as unexpected as the parking attendant noticing how dirty your car is to the receptionist noticing whether you read the company annual report or sit staring at the wall while waiting in the reception area.

Three quick to-dos before entering the interview location:

· Discard your chewing gum or Starbucks coffee container

· Pop a breath freshener in your mouth and then discard before speaking to anyone

· Turn off your cell phone (and that means completely off – do NOT leave it on vibrator to distract you while you are being interviewed)

When you enter the location, treat everyone from receptionist to CEO with the same courtesy and respect. (Please and thank you go a long way.)

This is both the correct way to act towards others and you may be saving yourself. Who knows if the temporary receptionist is actually the daughter of the CEO? And guess into whose ear she pours the information on how rudely you acted?

Without becoming paranoid, picture Big Brother watching you from the moment you arrive at the interview location. This will guide you NOT to say silly things to the other people waiting in the reception area or to pester the receptionist as to when you will be called into the interview.

And remember to smile – people like to see a pleasant face!

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Finding an Internship or a Job: Using Twitter Revisited

On Monday I posted about using to research internship possibilities and described the Twitter client application Summize. Such is the speed of the internet that this info was out of date just as I posted. Because, also on Monday, Twitter announced it had just acquired Summize and that the URL for this feature is now

You can access this function without a free Twitter account. So if you want to see what people are saying on Twitter about a certain subject, go ahead and type in the subject and see what tweets pop up. (I just put in the word internships and got some interesting tweets.)

And for the last two days I’ve been trying out after MaryPat Kavanagh ( advised me that she uses Twhirl to access Twitter. (Twhirl is a desktop client for Twitter based on the Adobe AIR platform, which I downloaded for free.)

At the moment I’m of two opinions about Twhirl: On the one hand I like the pop-up tweets that appear in the bottom right-hand corner of my computer screen whenever anyone I’m following posts a tweet. On the other hand I get distracted from what I’m doing by reading those pop-up tweets. So for now the jury is still out on what I think of this client application.

And here’s a Twitter feature I’ve just started using – It’s when you want to tweet someone on Twitter but you don’t want everyone following you and following the tweet receiver to be able to read the tweet. I’m using the direct messages feature to send my primary email address to someone with whom I’ve been exchanging tweets on a specific topic.

Okay, I’ve now given you more research tools for finding contacts for internships and jobs. Let me know if you use these tools and if they help lead you to what you want to find.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Internships: Using Twitter to Research Internship Possibilities

Internships to follow a passion or to check out possible career paths are a big part of the FLIPPING BURGERS philosophy. I’ve always advised researching possibilities by brainstorming with friends, family and mentors and by talking to people you know and people who know people you know.

Now I’ve been giving some thought as to how to utilize social media networks to research possible internships. Below is an example using the free microblogging site

Let’s suppose someone who we’ll call Laura wants an internship with an internet marketing company. And she knows the name of one company in her hometown that offer internet marketing services. (She knows this because she’s been keeping notes on companies she runs across that might be of interest to her.)

Laura is already registered on Twitter. First she goes to (an application for Twitter) and puts in the words internet marketing. Up pop tweets (the 140 character messages on Twitter) that mention these two words.

Laura reads the tweets and clicks through to the blog posts whose URLs are in the tweets. This is background information to help her learn more about internet marketing.

Then she goes directly to Twitter and searches on the words internet marketing. Up pop profiles of people on Twitter whose bio or other profile info mentions internet marketing. Laura reads these profiles and chooses some to follow on Twitter.

And then she searches on the name of the president of the internet marketing company in her hometown and comes up with nothing. Next she searches on the company name. And, hooray, she has struck gold! A profile pops up identifying the profiled person as a vice president at the local internet marketing company. Laura hasn’t run across his name before on the company’s website or in a Google search. Maybe he’s new?

Now she can send him a tweet directly through Twitter. And because Twitter is direct communication of only 140 characters (no emails to click open), it’s very likely that the VP will see the tweet and respond to her.

Of course Laura will have to figure out how to write a compelling message in only 140 characters. Yet given the conversational tone of tweets, she can say something along the lines of: Love to meet with you about possible internship. I’m 3 miles away from your office.

The VP getting this tweet can click on Laura’s Twitter profile, and if she’s used her brief profile effectively, there should be enough info for the VP to consider meeting with her.

Thanks to Laura using Twitter, this approach has a much better chance of success than submitting a cover letter with a regular resume and hoping that the assistant to the VP will even show the query to the VP. (And in addition, at this moment in Twitter’s existence, there’s a certain “club” atmosphere with the other people on Twitter. So Laura is already put in a more favorable light by having used Twitter to approach the VP.)

Do you have other examples of how you can use social media networks to pursue internships or jobs?

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Friday, July 11, 2008

Asking for Something: What’s in It for the Other Person?

I’ve been listening to several teleseminars about using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter for business purposes. The basic premise is that people do business with people they know, like and trust.

According to several of these teleseminars, there’s another premise that should be considered when you are trying to get someone to do something you want or to buy from you. What’s in it for the other person?

Okay, you may be saying. But what does this have to do with college applications, internships, jobs and careers? Let’s look at these topics:

College applications: When you are preparing to write college-application essays you should be thinking: What do I have to offer the colleges to which I’m applying? Sure, you’ve already thought about what the colleges have to offer you as you made a tentative list. But now you have to switch your mindset:

Have I followed my passion during high school so that I have something interesting to add to the freshman class? Something that will contribute to the range of college life? Or am I one of thousands of high school students whose main resume items are class president, high school soccer team, worked as a camp counselor during the summer, got good grades and good SATs?

Internships: When you’re ready to apply for internships you should be thinking: What do I have to offer these companies to which I’m applying? Again, you’ve already thought about what the companies have to offer you. Now switch your mindset:

Have I demonstrated any interest before in the kind of work the company does? Can I get a letter of recommendation from someone that I have demonstrated such an interest before? Have I presented myself to the company in emails and phone calls in such a way that the company will understand that I could be an asset as an intern instead of a drag on training time because I don’t even know how to write a professional email or speak on the phone in a business-like manner?

Got the idea? And the same concept is applicable to looking for a job and for looking for a position in a career path.

When you want college admission offices or internship, job or career possibilities to seriously consider you, take the time to prepare yourself so that you can present yourself in a way that demonstrates convincingly that there’s something in it for them.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Monday, July 7, 2008

Internship: A Golden Opportunity If You Know How to Spin Gold Out of Straw

The playbill for the 2008 “Free Shakespeare in Barnsdall Park” (Los Angeles) by the Independent Shakespeare Company ( listed the company members for the production of HENRY IV (parts 1 and 2). I noted the last item on the company list – intern – and a male name. Yes, I said to myself, someone is getting a chance to follow his passion.

Now I don’t know whether this particular passion is acting or directing or stage management or theater company management. But I do know that someone is getting to see a theater production up close and personal. And whether this bird’s eye view encourages the intern to continue pursuing his passion – or turns him off forever to anything connected with the theater – the intern should be able to avoid regrets of never trying to follow his passion.

And while I also can’t know what the HENRY IVth intern is doing for the production, I read with interest Erin Chambers’ Wall Street Journal July 1st article “Tips to Make the Most of Summer Internships.” In general I agreed with many of the tips, which are as true for paying jobs as they are for unpaid internships.

I disagreed with the information under the heading “Don’t get discouraged.” Here’s what Chambers wrote: “If it’s been a few weeks, and you’re still just making photocopies, don’t fret – or complain. Request a meeting with your supervisor to ask about new projects.”

In many industries an internship is exactly that – making photocopies. But what goes along with making photocopies is usually the ability to read anything you’re handed to photocopy:

  • If you’re handed an office memo to photocopy, read it to learn how office memos are written. (Obviously you don’t repeat what you’re read.)

  • If you’re handed movie scripts to photocopy (entertainment industry), ask if it is okay to make a copy for yourself to read. (Again, obviously you don’t show this to anyone else outside the office.)

A summer spent photocopying may seem dull. Yet if you’ve made the best use of your time – such as carefully paying attention to what goes on around you concerning office politics – you will have learned a great deal of valuable information for your future path. Plus you may get enough insight to know whether you want to consider pursuing a career path in this field.

Good interns take lemons if that’s what they’re handed and make lemonade for their own learning experience. And those same good interns often get great letters of recommendation because they were team players and didn’t expect entitlements. (A relative of mine works with interns at a large company and told me he’s constantly surprised by the sense of entitlement the interns have.)

If there were an intern bill of rights, it would state:

  • You are not promised to get to do fascinating and challenging tasks at the workplace.

  • You are promised to learn a great deal if you keep your eyes and ears open.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Public-Service Agencies Offer Unique Opportunities for College Graduates

Volunteering as a way to check out possible career paths is something I often discuss. Yet, after reading The Wall Street Journal’s July 3rd Careers article “Altruism Meets a Weak Job Market” by Anne Marie Chaker, I wanted to talk about a different kind of “volunteering” as a way to do good and, at the same time, increase one’s transportable skills.

First, what do I mean by transportable skills? If you have learned how to help get consensus in a sub-Sahara African village between members of different tribes, you probably can help get consensus between two different factions of a corporate argument.

The Journal article cites rising college graduate interest in such public-service agencies as:

· Teach for America (

· Peace Corps (

· WorldTeach (

· AmeriCorps (

While young people volunteer (apply) for positions with these agencies, this isn’t, strictly speaking, volunteering because there is some form of payment, depending on the agency. And there are often other benefits, such as education awards, access to alum of these programs, and career advice. (These positions are for a definite period of time – usually between one to two years.)

Yet, for the most part, young people who sign up for these public-service stints “volunteer” to teach in low-income public schools or in African villages without plumbing or in impoverished rural areas in the U.S.

If you want to share your expertise with people less fortunate than yourself, consider applying for a position through a public-service agency. Who knows? This new path may lead you to a future you otherwise never would have considered.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Creating Workplace Opportunities: Going for the Gold

Creating your own opportunities for internships and jobs is a topic about which I frequently blog. And the following story is a great example of creating your own opportunity.

Jane (not the person’s real name) spotted a job opening at a major computer software company. She didn’t have any of the requirements listed for the job except she knew she had the contacts and skills to achieve the desired end result. And she really wanted that job.

Knowing she wouldn’t get an interview based on her resume, she used her contacts to convince the company to fly her out for an interview for the position, for which the company had been looking for eight months for the right person to hire.

At the interview she said that the reason the company hadn’t been able to hire anyone was that the company sought the wrong requirements. In fact, it was her skill set that was needed to get the job done. And after a few more interviews (flying back and forth between the coasts), she got the job.

Of course, the contacts she used to get the first interview had been nurtured for a long time. And when she went in for the several interviews, I’m sure she was dressed appropriately, had the correct body posture, handshake, etc. I also know she is very careful about what she puts on her Facebook profile and other social media networking sites.

The moral of this story? If there’s a job you really want and you believe you can achieve the desired end result, do not be put off by a list of job requirements that you do not have. If you know that those requirements are not truly needed to do the job and that you have other skills that are needed, go for it. The job you win may be the one you’ve always wanted.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Volunteering for College Applications – and for Life

Most high school students applying to college know that volunteering activities are important to have on their resumes. Yet, as with everything else on a good resume, there’s volunteering and there’s volunteering.

It’s easy, for example, to volunteer to help with a food collection drive sponsored by your high school. Any student can do that simply by signing up and following through.

Yet, for the other kind of volunteering, what about coming up with a volunteer project yourself that demonstrates initiative, creativity and results?

As described in my post today at, I’ve just returned from the Philadelphia wedding of my nephew. It was a lovely, lovely wedding, and I cried as the bride and groom stood under the chupah. Yet I also cried much later in the evening – while a fantastic band played – when I opened the wedding guest gift:

Each guest received a gift certificate for $18 (in Hebrew 18 represents chai – life) to – a nonprofit website where “public school teachers submit proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn.” And then donations bring these dreams to life.

At the wedding I talked to my nephew about the gift certificates. He said he and his bride-to-be had been thinking of giving each guest a $10 gift when they realized what they could do with a different kind of wedding guest gift.

This morning I went to to redeem my gift certificate. There were so many good projects from which to choose. And any of these projects could be the basis of initiating your own volunteer project.

Example of creating your own volunteer project

Let’s suppose you read the following project listed at

Pushing Our Way into Literacy: Book Carts For the Classroom

Last week was Teen Read Week. The media specialist and I created a book cart around the theme Get Active and visited 28 classrooms during the week. With each class, we did a book pass of books we thought would be high interest reads for the students and then allowed them to check out books. During the week, there was a 280% increase in the number of books checked out. We received an overwhelmingly positive response from the staff as well, who reported that for the first time their students were reading.

We would now like to purchase a number of carts to create themed book mobiles for teachers to check out. We know that reading comprehension is the most critical component of student education, and placing high interest reads into the hands of our kids is the key to developing that comprehension.

I need two book carts to enable me to provide high interest young adult reading materials to the students in my school. The cost of this proposal is $833, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment.

You could take this idea and brainstorm with friends, family, teachers or mentors how to adapt to your own community. Maybe you and three friends could make presentations in classrooms of your favorite books, and your enthusiasm could ignite the interest of students who normally don’t read books.

Or you and three friends could raise money to send to to support this project. And you could offer to send a letter about books you enjoy to the project creator to share with the school’s students.

If you’re going to spend time volunteering – make that volunteer time truly count. Start a new volunteer project that shows your initiative, creativity and commitment.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,