Tagged: Networking

“Call Me Maybe”, “Harlem Shake”, and A Business Take Away

Self-made dancers and videographers are swarming the Internet. What’s the next big movement? Well, we won’t know what the next “big thing” in YouTube dance sensations will be until another artist unleashes their genius on the world again. But, whether it’s a teen looking to break into the market diluted with young stars already or a DJ spinning a beat – the world has gone crazy for dance.

Exhibit 1: “Call Me Maybe

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Because I have a personal bias toward “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, I turned to social media to gather some data regarding how people currently feel about the song when it comes on the radio, do you leave it on or change the station?

  • 41% said change the station
  • 59% said leave it on

While it wasn’t an overwhelming majority, the majority agreed with me – leave it on. And if you’re me, you turn it up and create your own music video while driving home from the office. It’s catchy and had the whole world hooked on Carly Rae for the summer of 2012.

Abercrombie & Fitch featured the song to promote their global stores and WOW their target audience. Even the London Olympics caught Carly Rae Fever with the US swim team and many others putting their own dance remix to the track.

What is the business impact you ask? “Call Me Maybe” opened the door and offered an inside look, even if just for 3 minutes, into the personalities and “off the clock” antics of some of the most focused, decorated athletes and mega corporations in the world. Their “Call Me Maybe” videos made them real people. People you could identify with.

Social Media allows you and your corporation to be real. Someone and something you can touch. Or at least believe that you can.

Exhibit 2: “Harlem Shake

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As I have previously written blogs about my distaste for LeBron James, the Miami Heat had me thinking after I viewed their Harlem Shake video. These athletes are put on a pedestal of greatness and fame. Through this short video clip, they let the world see they are regular guys who like to have fun just like you and can get caught up in a social craze just the same.

In my opinion, this was the first time LeBron was “real” to me. It made him human and is a pure example of how social media has increased the visibility of those once thought of as unreachable.

Business Take Away:

First things first, you don’t have to go create a YouTube video and please don’t think that is the point of this blog. We are not all equipped with the time and budget to create impressive, creative music videos. However, I do think it is common practice to be present on social media outlets for companies and executives.

Being present on social media is one thing but being real and relatable is another. You want to identify with your peers, customers, colleagues, and overall network. Be yourself and be personal.

Products and services are a dime a dozen.

Social Media is a tool to help build your identity and make your company accessible.  People want to surround themselves with not only intelligent business associates but, business associates they like. Keep that in mind.

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Case Study: “True Life: I’m a Millennial Looking for a Job”

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There has been a common theme since April 2012 when I started my blog; if you work hard and don’t take “no” for an answer you’ll find a job. I still do truly believe this but let’s now discuss putting “working hard” and being “persistent” into practice. What does this really mean? It’s definitely not wishful thinking.

Job Seeker Profile:

  • 23 year-old female
  • 4-year college degree from a private liberal arts school
  • Major: Business Administration
  • Student-Athlete and Team Captain her senior year
  • Work experience: 1.5 years

Job Search Statistics:

  • Moved to another city December 1st 2012 after amicably leaving her first role
  • Started her job search prior to this date in October 2012
  • Applied to 29 jobs with 2 call backs
  • Sent resume to 4 people in her network with 2 call backs
  • 9 companies contacted her directly
  • 4 phone interviews
  • 3 first round face-to-face interviews
  • 1 second round interview – led to job offer
  • Hired on January 15th, 2013 and start date is January 22nd, 2013

The scenario above is important to illustrate because it’s a blue print for any Millennial (I would argue Xer’s and Boomer’s can also take some notes on this) for their job search. It’s not impossible.

Here in Ohio there are 4 million individuals who are unemployed. This morning I checked Ohio means Jobs and there are just under 100,000 jobs open. Being a former recruiter, there is the mantra of “it’s a numbers game.” The more you have the better the chances you’ll find the right person. Well ladies and gentlemen can someone please tell me why there are 100,000 job openings, key word OPENings, with 4 million people out of work?

I’ll concede the “it’s becoming a more skill focused job market” argument, sure, that’s fine. Let’s just cut the unemployment number in half then – 2 million are “unskilled.” They don’t qualify. Well my friends we still have 2 million left, to go after 100,000 jobs. That still means there are 20 times as many unemployed individuals as there are open jobs.

Maybe the above job seeker had the x-factor, maybe she is just better at looking for a job than others, maybe she got “lucky”, maybe it’s because it’s January and staffing departments are excited to hire and use their allocated funds. All of these could be true for those of you trying to find reasons other than hard work to rationalize how she found a job.

I challenge you to say, “I can do that too.” Sure, this may be a former teammate of mine and sure, she has an arsenal of “hard work” in her being solely for the fact she played for Coach Venet. I do have a clear bias toward this experience obviously – but take a look at the bullet points above. They speak for themselves. It is possible.

Be educated about job searching, be persistent, and at the end of the day – put in the work.

How to Defend Against Helicopter Parents

Inspector Gadget - Helicopter I am thoroughly grateful for my helicopter parents. Due to their hovering they have successfully put me through college and are ¾ of the way there with my sister. They’ve given me the opportunity to excel in sports and the classroom along with my younger sister. With two college athletes for children I can confidently say I would not be where I am today without the opportunity my parents afforded me.

With that said, when I read the SHRM We Know Next blog Helicopter Parents Descend Upon the Workplace I had to take a step back and think about what was missing. The cited report by Michigan State University and their Collegiate Employment Research Institute startled me even more than the blog itself.

Why are parents directly involved in the employment of their children? Unless it’s a family business this shouldn’t even be a conversation. I’ve been going back and forth whether or not to make a category specifically devoted to what I learned playing for Suzy Venet in college. But, this was the tipping point. This is the debut blog for “Lessons From Coach.”

In the fall of my freshman year, on the first day of class – I had a team meeting with all of the women’s basketball “hopefuls” aka freshman and the rest of the team. We started out with almost 30 freshmen and on senior day there were 4 of us – so yes, I’d call them hopefuls. Our coach was going through rules and protocols and you guessed it – she specifically addressed parents

Fresh from high school, where most of us were the best on our team and an athletic system that is quite political, biased, and can be bought with some cash – our COLLEGE coach wanted to make sure our parents knew where they stood. Also, you realize she didn’t address the parents – she told us, to tell them. Already drawing a clear line of communication between player and coach – no triangle with mom and/or dad.

“If you have a problem with me, playing time, another teammate, get in trouble, have difficulty with grades – I want you to talk to me. I want you to come to my office and tell me. I don’t have time to answer parent’s e-mails and phone calls. I have one job and that is to coach you to a championship,” Coach said. Wide-eyed and nervous, we were getting a dose of what it was like to be an adult. First day of college – welcome.

No more buffer ladies. Solve your own issues. Our coach cared and still does care about our families – but she also understands that in order to grow as an individual we were all 18, legally adults, and needed to start having our own difficult conversations.

Gen Y: We’re the real problem

As much as I’d like to blame helicopter parents who are just too involved in their children’s lives, by the time you’re in college it is up to the student, and now adult, to ask their parent(s) to politely back off.

If you’re a helicopter parent reading this – know your kids love you but, they also need to play the game of life on their own. And if you don’t believe me, you’ll probably continue to hinder their opportunities.

Helicopter Kid: Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • If you value your parents opinions that is most certainly acceptable, ask them for thoughts and advice on companies, career path, and job search
  • Discuss their network – they might be able to make an introduction and get your foot in the door

Don’t:

  • Let your parents attend the interview
  • Let your parents advocate for promotion / salary increases
  • Let your parents negotiate salary and benefits
  • Let your parents call and complain if the company does not hire you
  • Let your parents attend a career fair for you
  • Let your parents discuss promotions with the hiring manager
  • Ask your parents to submit resumes on your behalf

It’s important to note that all of the “don’t” points were questions in the survey concerning parent involvement by Michigan State. Except for submitting resumes, all other actions are ones that students can prevent. And as for submitting resumes, if you’re not willing to fill out your own job application how in the world do you think you’re going to do the actual job?

If you have a chronic helicopter parent, sit down with them. Explain that it’s time for you to take responsibility for your career. Their interference will hurt you in the long run. Helping you and doing it for you – are two different things. Some Millennials may be saying – if they want to be involved then why not? According to the “grown-up” manual and the study completed by Michigan State – companies do not look favorably upon Millennial candidates who allow their parents to take part in the recruiting process.

Direct communication should always be between you and your employer. Just like player and coach. It’s an A – B conversation, no C.

The OTHER 3 Things to Remember During Finals Week

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I remember being a college senior winding down my last first semester and ready for finals to be over and go on winter break, sound familiar? Senioritis kicked in early and I just wanted to sprint to the finish line. My brain could not tolerate any more information; even the lyrics to the new Katy Perry song were postponed until after finals. I’m not sure why I was excited for finals to be over though, because that meant I had 3 weeks ONLY focused on basketball. I can’t even call it basketball; it really was more of a track meet twice a day, everyday. I’m getting nauseous just writing about that time in my life it was so nerve-wracking.

Anyhow, it was about that time when I truly started thinking about what I wanted to do with my career. It was the first time when I thought my mom was brilliant for telling me, “Nicole, you should be a doctor.” Which was about 3.5 years too late to know she was brilliant.

I said to my mom when I was in high school, “That’s way too much school mom.”

She replied with, “You should be a nurse then Nicole, the medical field is a great area.”

I finally contended, “Mom, science just isn’t for me. I never liked it in grade school and I skated by on extra credit and charm when it came to biology, chemistry, and physics. The answer is no.”

Decision-making is inevitable

My initial reasoning for becoming a business major was to “keep my options open” aka a phrase that really meant I was too scared to close any doors and truly commit to a career path (which is entirely acceptable). But, after 3.5 years of business courses under my belt, I was still at a loss. I didn’t want to make a decision at 18 and little did I know it just meant I had to then make a decision at 22.

I do understand that even in the classic professions such as law and medicine it is still a requirement to pick a specialty or specific type of practice, however, the track is fairly straightforward. Winter break arrived and I now had this degree that, “I could do almost anything with” and it was a terrible feeling. I could do anything but what in the world was the actual something?

It’s that time of year when college seniors and those in grad school can’t wait to write that last essay or answer that last question. It’s stressful and exhausting. We’ve all been there. And the “fun” part is that once you finish those meaningless tests? There are bigger decisions waiting for you on the horizon, which also causes stress and exhaustion. Yikes.

Don’t confine your career to your degree

Starting my career as a recruiter the over-used phrase, “no one ever sets out to be a recruiter” resonates clearly. When I was 10 years old did I dream of recruiting? No, I dreamed of being recruited to play professional softball or something close to that.

But, as a recruiter I’ve learned that even with how specialized degrees are presently it’s not the end of your story. As a naïve, green recruiter I was surprised that an Art History major was a Senior Director of Marketing at a Top 25 Pharmaceutical company or that a Business Administration major would go on to get their doctorate in Physical Therapy right after undergrad.

Your degree doesn’t define you.

Constantly build your resume

In high school you built your resume to get accepted into college. In college you built your resume to get into grad school or snag that first job. Hate to break it to the young folks but resume building never ends. You’re always adding and subtracting.

There’s always a next, especially in this job market. I’m not saying that you’re always building your resume to leave your company. But, you are constantly building your resume because it puts you in control of your career path. With that control comes decision-making but, knowing you’re accountable for building your skills and knowledge base is a competitive edge needed in today’s job market.

Lifelong learners are not only the individuals who decide to add every acronym known to human kind at the end of their name with a degree or certification from A-Z. But, also those individuals who find it important to consistently build on their accomplishments. If you ever feel like you’ve arrived that’s where you’ll stay.

Millennials: Get Out and Vote but Also Don’t Forget to Impact Your Own Career

Innocently thumbing through my Twitter feed after lunch, I came across a Tweet with a link to the HuffPost Live webcast on the topic of “The Millennial Vote.” As a Millennial (and self-endorsed politically educated young person) I was intrigued. Each person in attendance was given the opportunity to discuss the candidates and issues up for debate in the 2012 election and there was one resonating topic – JOBS.

As stated by Pete Dominick, Sirius XM Talk Show Host and CNN contributor, “Millennials do not use the word economy but, rather jobs.” While I do think Millennials should learn more about the economy and how it affects job opportunity – let’s focus on jobs specifically.

On Tuesday, November 6th 2012 Millennials who are registered to vote, which is down 11% from 2008 as noted in the webcast, will enter the voting booth and elect the individual they believe
to be in their best interest to find them a job. I thoroughly support voting and do believe it to be our civil duty to do so, however, simply voting for the candidate who can make the strongest promises about employment is an inherently flawed idea. Again, please vote but that is only a battle in the unemployment and underemployment war. Millennials need not only show up at the polls but also need to educate themselves on how to find the right job and take control of their job search. It’s the “how” I’m concerned about.

The wrong answer is to the “how” is settle for statistics like “11.8 percent of young Americans are now unemployed through no fault of their own and more still are falling out of the workforce due to a historic lack of opportunity” and statements like, “Young Americans know this is not fair, and they are asking why the White House continues to push policies that are moving them backward.” Now I know HR, Gen X, and Baby Boomers will rejoice at the next statement I make as they try to work with these “entitled young kids.”

This election year rather than depending on Washington to come through and being satisfied with answers such as “it’s not our fault” and “it’s not fair,” become an educated job seeker. Impact your own career.

If you’re a 20 something here are 5 ways to impact your own career:

Leverage your current network

You’re a marketing major. Are you sure your Mom’s best friend isn’t a Brand Manager at P&G? Are you sure your Dad doesn’t work for a bank with an open entry-level marketing role? Are you sure the professor you loathed, didn’t used to work at one of the largest steel manufactures? Are you sure your sister’s childhood friend’s dad isn’t the CEO of a small business? Ask the question of anyone you know. Why not?

Your first job may not be your dream job

No job description calls for 0 years of experience. Understanding you need experience to get experience – 2-5 years experience spent not working at Google or Nike? Is ok. Working for a local tech firm or retail sneaker store will give you a real resume to talk about with Larry Page or Tinker Hatfield.

Be a honey badger

Make job searching your job. Be active on Indeed and other job posting sites. Are you sure you’ve applied to EVERY single job there is? I doubt it. Oh, you’re caught in a black whole resume vacuum? Call the recruiter, over and over. Call the Vice President, over and over. Call the CEO, over and over.

Be intelligent

Is your LinkedIn profile attractive to recruiters? Know the title of jobs you’re looking for. All of them. Don’t know? Send a LinkedIn message to someone who does what you want to do. You’ d be surprised how many people will reach out. Research the top companies who do what you want to do. If it’s HR? Surprise, every company in every industry needs HR. Take your pick.

Utilize technology

Follow, Like, Mention, Retweet, Blog, Comment, E-Mail, Regram – find where your companies are talking and engage them. Companies are spending time and money figuring out this digital age and engaging candidates just like you. Locate them and they’ll most certainly oblige to respond. Millennials – I look forward to seeing you out at the polls and I also look forward to a re-energized group of young people who are educated, relentless job seekers.

Please comment with any thoughts or Tweet feedback @nicole_tsp

Anything you can do, I can do better

As a woman in the workforce it seems as though we’re still fighting the good fight. At least that’s what we’re told. It’s as if we’re sitting in the “T” of the classroom and just to one-up the smirking, wavy-haired, pencil tapping boy next to us, we sit in the middle AND front. Boom. But, hold on – not only are we sitting in the prime spot, we are waving our right hand back and forth profusely to get called on and at some points supporting this arm with the left, saying, “Ooooo me, me – pick me,” while also removing the support hand to point at ourselves from time to time. I’m sure that you’ve done this and if not, you know the name of the kid who did.

This might be a little over the top but, on the flip side, if we aren’t exhausted from raising our hand, then we sit back and ride the ride, turn 70 and wonder why the world continues to shut women out. This morning I attended a meeting on “Creating a Purposeful Career” put on by the Ohio Chapter of the Healthcare Business Women’s Association and Cardinal Health. The 2012 HBA Woman of the Year, Carolyn Buck Luce, spoke on the topic and provided some great insight into the state of women in the workplace today.

While I was listening to her speak I was thinking about my reference point for women’s rights and came to the conclusion that it’s non-existent. As a Millennial, we’ve always had them, right? Well, at least legally. Since I was 6 years old, playing T-Ball on the boy’s cub baseball team and being selected for the All-Star team, I really didn’t think it mattered if I was the only girl. If I could throw better than your son, catch better than your son, and hit better than your son – I was probably going to get picked for the All-Star team… over your son. Sorry I’m not sorry, as a famous Twitter account would say. Also, Gatorade has it’s own version of that story I just told, if you click on the image above – great advertising.

As Carolyn pointed out – the movement for equality was really about opening doors. Having the ability to be considered equal and given the same opportunities. Voting, athletics, the corporate world – whatever we didn’t have before, we have it now; however, just because the elevator door opens and we step in – doesn’t mean it’s going up. It’s up to the women of the world to press the button. When you get to the floor, will you like what you see, will they let you off? Who knows? But, you have to be the one to take the first step and press the button.

The issue facing women in the workplace today isn’t finding a job or so very graciously being allowed the opportunity to have a job. The true challenge is career advancement. My view on this is if a woman can sell better than your son, interact with clients better than your son, and motivate better than your son – she should probably get picked for the senior leadership team over your son. Sound familiar?

But, sometimes that just isn’t enough. Carolyn also mentioned the active roles mentors and sponsors play in moving women up the corporate ladder. The key here is target audience. Yes, it is never too late to start, better late than never right? But, I think a real focus should be on Millennial Women. It’s great to have a discussion on mentoring and sponsorship – but where are the young people? Whether it’s because we don’t think it’s an issue and the world is our oyster or we just aren’t in leadership roles to make those decisions, I am unsure.

Nonetheless, note to 20 something year old women – don’t wait until you’re not a 20 something to be a part of the discussion about career advancement. If we’re proactive, we won’t have to wait 50 years for the next movement. Where will the state of women in the workplace be in another 50 years? Again, I am unsure – but just by pure mathematics my guess is the Millennial Women of today will know. Just be better than the boys and get picked for the All-Star team.

Please comment with any thoughts. If you’re a Millennial and want to know how to get started tweet me @nicole_tsp. 

Where in the World is Gen X?

My favorite game when I was a kid was “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” Mainly because I was a geography nerd and more than likely still am. Carmen is akin to Gen X. Where are they? Contrary to all things Millennial, Gen X still exists. They do exist? Yes, yes they do. The Millennial epidemic has caused us to look at both extremes. On one end of the spectrum you have the 20 something’s and on the other end you have the 60 something’s. All of the talk and literature is about Gen Y and Baby Boomers. Which makes sense right? Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce and Millennials are just getting their foothold.

I sat with one of the partners at our firm, a Baby Boomer himself, discussing this topic. As we began to list the names of whom we work with (when you’re a small business you can do this, if you work at a larger company start with your team or department) and what generation they belong to, we came to find out our focus was all wrong. Do this exercise with your own company, team, or department and I think you’ll be surprised. It wasn’t about me, this free thinking, naïve, taker of all things good, entitled Millennial. But, it also wasn’t about this salt and pepper haired, tenured sweet talker, more experience than I could dream of Baby Boomer either. The Gen X list was not only longer than we thought but, also included primary decision makers. But, wait Nicole – you’re telling me we need to focus on the neglected middle child?

Focus? Not necessarily but, I do think it’s important to know that Gen X didn’t just disappear or ALL take sabbaticals to the beaches of Spain and never return. The reason I finally bring up Gen X is not because they’re the most tech savvy, obviously we are as Millennials, nor are they packing the most years of success under their belt but, rather they’re imperative when it comes to Knowledge Transfer.

Knowledge Transfer involves sharing the brain trust of those Baby Boomers about to exit the workforce. Experts and those claiming to be experts have been asking the question, how do we get our 60 something’s to talk with our 20 something’s? That question is where the failure begins. Your Baby Boomers don’t necessarily need to be transferring knowledge directly to Millennials. Eureka – I give you Gen X, more often than not in middle management or senior leadership, to whom Millennials are reporting.

The idea of Knowledge Transfer makes sense – especially in an age where the capacity of the mind is worth more than any “product” out there, if it weren’t there would be no such thing as a “service industry.” Baby Boomer knowledge transfer is filtered to Gen X who then utilizes those tools to ensure Millennials are prepared with the appropriate brain trust.

Where in the world is Gen X? Be a Gum Shoe and find them. They’re right there under your nose completing performance reviews, winning business, and directing corporate strategy. Don’t forget Gen X, make sure they’re prepared with Baby Boomer expertise and Millennials will be better for it.