Author Archive: Sima Dahl
The Importance Of The Thank You Letter
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
For this week’s post, I invited Pattie Lee, (Web Developer/Community Manager) to share her thoughts on how best to say thank you. Pattie recently landed a brand new job after an extended search – read on to get some real world counsel from a successful job seeker.
In the age of technology, going “old school” may be the best way to stand out from the crowd.
I’m a huge advocate for the US postal service. I have always gotten giddy over receiving mail. When I got my own apartment, the highlight of my day was getting mail, it didn’t matter if it was mostly bills and junk. I was getting MAIL. Christmas season is my favorite, I love all the cards I receive. I still have them taped to my door. I just can’t bring myself to take them down. The last hand written thing I received in the mail was a lovely thank you note from Sima Dahl. She’s an expert at writing thank you notes. The mystery and joy I feel when I see a hand written envelope mixed in with all those windowed envelopes. Who could have written to me? It’s not my birthday. Someone must think I’m special. Imagine if you could elicit that reaction when you send something to a potential employer.
After an interview you should always send a thank you note. Whether you send an email or a hand written note is up to you. It’s the best way for you to remind the interviewer who you are and why they should hire you and no one else. You want to stand out from the crowd. I feel that the best way to do that, is to send via USPS a hand written note. Everyone I know has an overflowing inbox. Just look at your personal email inbox, when was the last time you reached “inbox zero“? I guarantee the people who interviewed you will have a full inbox, not just with thank you notes from other candidates, but with work related things. The chance you will get lost in the deluge is immense.
During my most recent job search, I sent hand written thank you notes. At one company, I met with 8 separate people. I hand wrote 8 different thank you letters just in case they compared notes. I took that chance to include important points I had mentioned during the interview, and I reminded them of my answer to their “crazy” question that got them all to laugh. 8 months later, when they returned to their pool of candidates to fill a new opening, they remembered me and I got a call. During that call, offering me a position, my new supervisor told me how impressed everyone was with my hand written cards. Since this company is in the tech field I had also sent a mass email to everyone lest they think I didn’t care enough to thank them for the interview. Knowing that the US mail takes a couple of days, I felt the hand written cards would be a good follow up to the email, even though I wrote and mailed the cards before I drafted the email.
Anyone not impressed with receiving a hand written thank you note in the mail, is someone you probably don’t want to work for anyway.
FYI – my handwriting is not the best, but as my mother used to say, it’s the thought that counts.
Pattie Lee is the Marketing Job Wire community manager and a web developer. After a five year search for just the right job, she is now an Associate Campaign Specialist. Pattie also likes Pina Coladas, the taste of champagne, and getting caught in the rain. You can find her on Twitter as Piratealice, She is always happy to connect with others on LinkedIn. And she occasionally posts ramblings on her website DreadPirateAlice.com
New Year, New Job: Possibility In Every Direction
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
As a forty-something myself, I know plenty of people who have led successful careers only to find themselves yearning to try something new, to do something completely different than anything they have ever endeavored before. Be it a new industry or line of business, or even starting a business, there’s no time like the present to pursue your passion.
This is a very personal topic for me as I am living proof that it’s possible. In 2008, after a successful 20-year career in corporate marketing, I stepped out of my comfort zone to start my own business. And it seems that my husband has been bitten by a similar bug. He’s decided to hit the pause button his his technology career and open a commercial brewery.
David and I were both casualties of corporate reorganizations, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to wait for a pink slip to pursue your passion! What better time than the start of a shiny New Year to chase down your dreams? For more inspiration, check out this article on Oprah.com entitled, “The Art of the Detour: See Possibility Around Every Bend.” In it you’ll find practical tips on how to keep setbacks in perspective and remain open to possibility.
PS. If you were downsized or rightsized or otherwise ousted, you might want to read “6 Things To Do When The Axe Falls” in the MarketMyCareer.com library.
NEW DATE: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Your Job Search
Monday, November 19th, 2012
I’m beyond excited to announce our next live event – a 90-minute webinar on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters and hiring managers can find you on Thursday, December 20th at 1:30pm Central. In this action-packed webinar jammed with tips and to-do’s, you’ll learn how to:
- Boost your odds of employers finding you, even if you’re not actively looking
- Write a profile headline that reinforces your top talents
- Use your LinkedIn summary to sell yourself into your next job
- How to practice personal SEO (Skills & Experience Optimization)
- Why status updates matter, and how to write one that attracts opportunities
- What to really say under experience (it’s not what you think!)
- How to organize your profile for maximum impact
- So much more!
Plus there will be a live Q&A and since we love FREE STUFF, you’ll also get a copy of “Do This, Not That: The Top Resume Mistakes And How To Fix Them!” If you can’t make the live event don’t worry, we’ll send you the slides, recording, and bonus gifts by email the same day.
Whether you’re in an active search now, thinking about starting one in the New Year, or just passively open to opportunity, at just $27 this is one webinar you can’t afford to miss! Registration for this event is now closed – this item will be available in our store once the recording becomes available. Please check back later.
Informational Interviewing: The Ace Up Your Sleeve
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Not a week goes by that I don’t talk to someone at a crossroads of one sort or another. This week it was a young man who just graduated and was looking to find his very first full-time job; with little experience and a nascent network, he was struggling to get a game plan together. Last week it was a seasoned professional who had grown tired of her marketing career and was considering a change of scenery – a different industry perhaps, or a new line of business altogether.
Whenever I am at a crossroads, I have to fight the tendency to spin my wheels… it’s too easy to get stuck in one place that way. The trick to getting traction is often Informational Interviewing. When done well, a good informational interview can help open doors, build a network and sometimes even help you find your dream job.
Whether you’re brand new to the concept or just feeling rusty, you can get up to speed this Thursday at 12:00p.m. Central when Charlotte and I host Informational Interviewing From A to Z. And as with all our live event, we’ll be recording it from start to finish and sending everyone who registers the MP3 for unlimited playback. Register now to learn now to find people to interview (prospects), how to ask, what to ask, the one question to never ever ask, and so much more!
And because we love presents – who doesn’t? – we’re giving away three free bonus gifts including my audio on the secrets to networking success. I hope you don’t miss out on this value-packed teleseminar bundle – register for just $47 to receive the recording and three free bonus gifts today.
Career Explorers Ask Anything On Jobstr.com
Monday, September 24th, 2012
For this week’s post I interviewed Frank Hajdu, cofounder of a new career resource, Jobstr.com, an online destination where you can ask people anything you want about their job. The minute I stumbled upon the site I thought it would be a great resource for anyone looking for their dream job so without further ado, let’s see what Frank has to say:
1. Where did the idea for Jobstr.com originate? What market gap are you trying to fill?
We were two old college pals who’d grown deeply dissatisfied with our “good” jobs as a digital media executive and corporate lawyer. While we enjoyed the stability, we felt very little passion or purpose. So — against the advisement of most — we quit, with hopes of finding more meaningful work.
Soon after our departures, we began chatting frequently about what “work” meant to us, our friends, families, and former colleagues. We asked: do most people love, hate, or simply tolerate their jobs? Are jobs just a means of income? How fulfilling should they be? Are people with certain jobs more likely to be happy than others?
We realized that we didn’t have answers to any of the above, because in face-to-face settings, people aren’t terribly candid about what their jobs mean to them. Ask a friend “How’s work?”, and you’ll hear “same old”, “good”, or something equally vague. We created Jobstr.com as an outlet for candid, unfiltered discussion of what it’s really like to work in a variety of professions.
2. Do you moderate the Q&A’s?
We’re fortunate to have a smart, respectful, and intellectually curious audience. So while we have safeguards to weed out bad elements, we rarely have to use them. We also empower Q&A hosts to delete questions they deem off-topic (again, rarely used).
Where we’re most vigilant is in screening new hosts. We know that our site’s reputation relies on the integrity of our content, and we go to great lengths to ensure that our hosts are who they say they are. Since our January 2012 launch, we’ve been thrilled with how transparent and forthcoming our hosts have been, making themselves easily verifiable. And in the few cases where a host’s authenticity is at first uncertain, we request additional information.
3. Who do you hope will utilize the site? Who is your target market?
While we’d love to give a tight, marketing-friendly age range and demographic, the truth is that anyone who’s held a job — whether you’re a 16-year-old drugstore cashier or a retired cardiologist — can relate to the work-related stories on Jobstr. That said, we believe Jobstr is a haven for…
- inquisitive people who want to better understand the livelihoods of others
- career explorers, especially those looking to make a switch, and
- professionals who enjoy voicing strong feelings (good or bad) about their jobs.
4. Finally, any words of advice for readers on the hunt for their dream job?
We were recently described by a blogger as, “A no-b.s. guidance counselor for jobs.” While that’s not necessarily how we’d describe Jobstr, it makes a good point: there are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that describe the basics of what certain jobs entail (salaries, hours, responsibilities, and so forth). But very, very few offer a “human side” of what it’s really like to work those jobs — the unfiltered stories that comprise people’s day-to-day. Sure, one can enjoy wealth and prestige as a doctor, but what’s it like to have a patient die in your hands? Or what about the diner waitress who grinds out double-shifts for meager pay? Does she loathe her job, or does she love the relationships she has with her customers of 30 years?
While Jobstr isn’t a classifieds site, it can be a useful tool for job hunters and career switchers to get their questions answered, no matter how tough or personal.
You can follow Frank on Twitter, Jobstr on Twitter and of course you’ll find Jobstr on Facebook too.
Encouraging Recruiter Call-Backs
Monday, September 10th, 2012
As some of you already know, I am an AMAConnect brand ambassador – it’s a private social network hosted by the American Marketing Association and I help manage the Career channel. Recently a fellow member posted this question:
“I am truly curious about how often recruiters will reach out to a past candidate that impressed them for an altogether different position. I really like the idea that every interview is an opportunity to connect with someone, for some undefined possible reason down the road. My question is: how common is this? Do recruiters make a habit of this?”
To get to scoop, I posed the question to several of my recruiter contacts and here’s what I learned:
Susan Rosenstein, President, Susan Rosenstein Executive Search Ltd.
For candidates, it is important to build and maintain relationships with recruiters. To stay “top of mind” with recruiters, candidates should:
- Notify recruiters of job changes, promotions, changes in assignments, change in contact information
- If in transition, periodically let recruiters know what you are doing; when you land a new job, let them know where you are going
- Offer to be a resource for recruiters’ searches
Jessica Morgan, Senor Recruiter, WheelHouse Resource Partners
In my experience previous candidates are the best resource that I can tap into. Often times when I follow up with them they have become passive candidates which clients are excited about because it means we are sending them a candidate they can’t go and find on a job board. Even if the previous candidates aren’t interested in an opportunity I have, they may have a referral. I have had previous candidates send me referrals unsolicited, provide insight into a position I am working on and even help when I had a technical issue simply because we established a great rapport. It’s a network within my network and it’s invaluable to me. I believe this type of networking is becoming more and more important as candidates are moving away from job boards.
Nicki Perchik, Executive Recruiter, The NLP Group
I love being able to reach out to people I’ve talked to in the past. I often find that many of the candidates I work with today were people I met long ago but stay connected to over the years. If someone impresses me, it is not uncommon for me to call or email them about other opportunities in the future. That is why it is so important for both parties (recruiters included) to make each interaction a positive one. The best ways to stay top of mind are:
#1. When contacting a recruiter, always remind them who you are, when you last connected, and what position you are looking for. In addition, ask if you can help (see point #2.)
#2. Offer to help the recruiter with their open searches. Say something like, “If I can point any great professionals your way, I’m happy to help.” People like to help people who help them. Candidates who help me by referring me to other candidates stand out, and that makes me want to help them in return.
Scott Esposito, Managing Director, Horton International
We frequently run across talented executives who are not interested at the time we contact them or simply do not line up well with the position requirements resulting in “great candidates without the right clients”. Since our business is built on networking, contacts and relationships we naturally stay connected with those who excel at what they do and compete at a high level. I personally maintain an on-going dialogue with them, not only sharing searches I have that might be of interests, but referring them to other recruiters who have searches matching their career goals. These candidates serve as great resources for us as they will often identify and refer colleagues for positions and also share their personal knowledge about customers, products and markets. This quid pro quo forms the basis for a rewarding symbiotic relationship.
Lynn Hazan, President, Lynn Hazan & Associates
Since I work with thousands of candidates, I may not have the time, especially when I am on deadline, to contact each candidate individually. We encourage candidates to call to follow up and sadly very few candidates follow that directive. The ones who do get preferential treatment. We don’t place resumes; we place exceptional talent. We evaluate each candidate according to client specs, talent, culture and overall fit. Candidates who take charge of their own destiny tend to fare better than candidates who expect recruiters to call them about each job. Recruiters are paid by clients who tend to have very exact needs. The better the candidate match, the more successful the placement.
Pinning Your Career Hopes On Pinterest
Monday, August 27th, 2012
The idea for today’s blog comes from an article I recently penned for Marketing News Magazine on Pinterest, arguably the hottest dish on the smorgasbord of emerging social media platforms. Billed as a virtual pinboard, users “pin” images that they find inspiring, interesting or just plain useful. From decorating tips and tasty recipes to clever ad slogans and quirky font styles, you can create a pinboard of almost anything. Not unlike Facebook, fans of the site fondly describe Pinterest as a “time suck” and statistics concur. Pinterest garners more than 17 million monthly unique visitors, and users in the U.S. spend, on average, more than an hour on the site per visit compared with the 15 minutes or so that the average user spends on LinkedIn. While I believe that LinkedIn remains the top social platform for job seekers and career climbers alike, I can’t readily dismiss Pinterest entirely.
I started tinkering on Pinterest just a few months ago. I created pinboards on topics that underscore my personal brand including one called “Sima in the Media” and another named “Marketing Career Resources.” See for yourself at Pinterest.com/simasays. After reading my column, a member of my LinkedIn network sent me this note:
Sima, I just wanted to say that I loved your advice in the 05/15/12 issue of Marketing News about creating a Pinterest board to underscore your personal brand. I especially like your idea of pinning photos from an event you have managed as a new form of portfolio. I am going to encourage all the designers who work for me to create design boards to feature their work. We are already featuring the covers (with links) of the publications they are designing here on campus. Check it out at Pinterest.com/imahokie/virginia-tech-publications.
What do you think – willing to give it a shot? You can read my top three tips to amplify your personal brand on Pinterest here.