Tag Archives: senior chronicles

The Senior Chronicles, Part V: Phone Interview Realness

Before you say it, I know I know…where the h*ll have I been? Well, I don’t know; getting ready to graduate (6 more weeks), gearing up for this move to New York City (queue Empire State of Mind) and just trying to stay sane.

Today, I have a short but sweet post continuing the “Senior Chronicles” series: this one is about phone interviews. Lots of agencies and companies are doing phone interviews these days and I think it’s important to have a few tips in your back pocket.

In fact, I am so committed to phone interviews that I already did a post on it (view here), but I decided to go ahead and do another post with 10 more tips from expert resources (like, that aren’t me…)

  1. Remember, this is much like an in-person interview: get dressed and research before-hand (including the agency and your interviewer, if possible)
  2. Pick a quiet place, with good reception
  3. Answer the phone with your name, this way you can straight to it
  4. Prepare a “script” with answers to commonly-asked questions (which I’ll write in another post)
  5. DON’T OVER-TALK, be the listener
  6. Stand up and smile-they can totes hear it in your voice
  7. Have your resume and cover letter in front of you
  8. Make sure you have questions to ask the interviewer (got a post on that for ya ;))
  9. Make sure to ask for a timeframe of when you should be hearing back, and when you can contact the interviewer again
  10. FOLLOW-UP! There are thousands of other hungry entry-level PR pros who are vying for that job, make yourself stand out by writing a follow-up email and maybe even a thank you note via snail mail.

Here are a few links to where I got this expert advice:
Ace Your Phone Interview: 21 Quick & Simple Tips
17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview
The New Trouble on the Line

And that’s all I’ve got people…until next time

XOXO, Jess_AsPRing

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The Senior Chronicles, Part IV: Cover letter help via #Resuchat

Hey peeps! I’m sorry we had to move The Senior Chronicles back a day, but with everything going on in my life and then the Boston tragedy, I didn’t want to post. But today, I’ve got a treat for you: a little over a week ago, I participated in a TwitterChat hosted by Jackalope Jobs, a social-charged job hunting site (go check it out!!!). The chat was all about nailing your cover letter and asked a very important question: Should entry-level cover letters look different from their more experienced counterparts?

The short answer? No. Well, not really…I can’t explain, so let’s get down to what I learned and what hopefully you can learn to!

  1. Question 1: Should entry-level cover letters differ from other professional cover letters?
    1. @CreativeCLs: Yes and no. You don’t have much work experience, so focus on yr potential. But should still be professional yet conversational #resuchat
    2. @TomBolt : Probably not. I’ll be in a minority on that opinion, but the cover letter won’t fix qualifications that aren’t there. #ResuChat
  2. Question 2: What are some elements that must be included? What can be left out?
    1. @Hourly: Include how you can benefit a company. Exclude any repetitions of your resume. #resuchat
    2. @AllThingsBiz: Your value proposition–what makes you different from the other candidates and how can you make a difference at the company? #resuchat
    3. @MikePetras: Cover letters can smooth over gaps in employment or 2 many job changes. Here is a list of probs: bit.ly/brFZK0 #ResuChat
  3. Question 3: What’s the optimum length of an entry-level cover letter?
    1. @TomBolt: Three paragraphs. Not pages and pages. Middle paragraph can be bulleted to show key matches to specs. #ResuChat
    2. @sparkhire: A paragraph or two short paragraphs. Short and sweet, but make it count. #HR has to read a lot these things. #Resuchat
  4. What are some differences between cover letter and resume content?
    1. @ComeRecommended: Resumes showcase your experience. Cover letters illustrate your accomplishments and why you would be an asset. #ResuChat
    2. @MikePetras: Resume = skills, education, accomplishments. Cover letter = why u r a fit & what makes u diff than any other candidate #ResuChat
  5. What are some creative entry-level cover letters you’ve seen?
    1. @kavita1010: #Vine cover letter (link here!)She just got a job! #ResuChat
    2. @ComeRecommended: Writing the cover letter to fit the lyrics of a popular song. #resuchat

That was pretty much it (okay, there was ALOT more, but these were my favorite) and I learned a lot, such as: my cover letter should be short, it needs to bring the emotion where my resume cannot and it’s a chance for me to qualify my experience and tell them WHY they should hire me. Finally, these were 3 pieces of info I really liked and wanted to leave you with:
@TomBolt : Cover ltrs should be in the “T-Cover” format 1) Intro: Tell em why you are writing 2) tell em how you are qualified 3) closing
@Hourly: Include your personality. Don’t be a robot! #resuchat
@bob_firestone: Unlike resumes, Cover Letters let you build EMOTION then backfill with logic/metrics of success/social proof. #resuchat

#ResuChat runs every other Tuesday at 9 PM, EST…so check it out! It was very informative and I learned a lot from all the participants!

That’s it for me, until next time!

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles, Pt. II: When Should I Start Looking for a Job?

Happy Monday mi amigos/amigas! With Spring winding down very quickly, so I wanted to make sure we got the “Senior Chronicles” going in full force, so you (and by “you” I mean “WE”) can get ready for graduation!

I hope you remember part I of the Senior Chronicles, in case you didn’t, here it is! Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified. It was basically my fear of the unknown (AKA life after graduation, employment, in particular); so I started thinking: why fear it, when I can conquer it? I can’t sit around and wait for  job to land in my lap, I need to get out there and TAKE IT! So, the Senior Chronicles is all about the job hunt, kiddies, and the 2nd post in this series is a great starting point:

WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR A JOB?!?!?!?!?

PR is a unique field for many reasons, one reason is the industry hiring practices: while a bank or a hospital may have regular hiring intervals, PR agencies, organizations, etc. only hire on an as-needed basis. Meaning, if they have a new account, or somebody leaves, then they need people. This puts us graduating seniors in a sticky situation because traditionally, in the summer, things slow down a bit in the PR world, so chances are, not much hiring is going on. Which is a bummer, because who wants to spend the Summer on your parent’s couch?

Another thing to think about is how quickly a PR agency hires its folks: from posting the job announcement to getting that warm body in the seat, it is only about a 3-5 week process, so if you don’t graduate until May, applying for a great job in February probably isn’t a good idea. I know, at this point, you’re probably saying:

SO WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING FOR A FREAKIN’ JOB JESS?!?!?!

My answer? Yesterday! You should be always keeping your eyes open for announcements and openings; but not JUST announcements, look out for when an agency gets a new client, loses a client, merges or get’s bought. These are all indicators of jobs lost or created. BUT the catch is, don’t start applying just yet. Hiring managers are looking to fill these openings ASAP, and if you can’t start, it will mostly likely just frustrate them.

So what have I been doing? I’m glad you asked.

Starting back in NOVEMBER, I started connecting with agencies, recruiter, HR people and hiring managers on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, on email, via telephone, carrier pigeon…you name it (except the carrier pigeon…they freak me out!) and let them know while I am not graduating for quite some time, that I would like the opportunity to forward my resume and stay in touch. I got a lot of great feedback and it served a few purposes:

  1. It got my resume in front of them; which means they know my name and were able to go over the experience I had thusfar
  2. I was able to give them my blog and social media information; so they could see my work, links, influence level, etc.
  3. It gave me a reason to call them again in a few months, with an updated copy of my resume.

Believe it or not, I got some really great feedback, a few “call us when you graduate!” emails and I even had to turn down TWO interview requests, because I hadn’t yet graduated (which sucked!). The point is, I got my name in their box and let them know that I will be open for business soon.

I am going to follow up with all of them very soon, letting my contacts know that I graduated. BUT first, I am going to spend two months doing a full-time post-graduate internship in NEW YORK CITY!!!! That’s right, I got the job and I am ready to rock it out (more on that later)!!!

Well that’s it for this installment of “The Senior Chronicles” check back next Monday for my take on the “perfect entry-level resume” with a very special guest (oooh…mystery, suspense…) until then…

XOXOXO,

Jess_AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified.

I have no idea what I’m doing…

Hey there people and happy Monday! As I get closer and closer to graduation, I am noticing a few things:

  • ALOT of you are also getting close to graduation (congratulations!!!)
  • We all have the same questions: how do I get a job? When should I start looking? What will my first paycheck look like? Is it OK to do a post-grad internship?

I  want to help!!! Now, I’m no expert (far from it); in fact, I am a young woman who is on the same journey as you, but I am going to chronicle my experiences and let you know what did and what didn’t work for me and offer as much insight and advice as possible. So let’s get started:

I. Am. Terrified.

There, I said it, I said the sentence on many of our minds that we are afraid to say out loud. Like most of you, I have been trying to get good grades, interning to gain experience, networking and constantly updating my resume. But I’m still scared about my life post-grad and my career options; the competition is fierce and many entry-level positions either come from an agency’s internship pool or it’s hired out before it’s even listed! Thousands of people are all vying for the same 10 positions, so where do I fit in?

The truth is, I really don’t know where I will be in a few months, or how this job search will work out for me. What I do know is, I can’t give up. You don’t know this, but PR is not my first career: before PR found me, I was a paralegal, a recreation administrator, a teaching assistant, a tour guide…pretty much every job you can think of. When I (literally) landed in PR it was like a breath of fresh air: I love it, I love what I do and I can’t let fear stop me. And you shouldn’t let it stop you either.

The next few months will be a busy time for us, we need to graduate, finish our Spring internships, AND look for a post-graduate position. Now’s not the time to let fear or exhaustion slow you down. I’ll be chronicling my experiences and hopefully you will all chime in, let’s do this together!

Until next time…

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing