Monthly Archives: February 2014

Learning to Pitch About Yourself

Good morning J445 Job Hunters. I hope you’re enjoying this nice RAINY morning in Chico, California. I had a wonderful time jogging in Bidwell Park with my dogs in the rain. It felt like such a novelty.

We have an action-packed class session lined up for Monday. We’ll be covering elevator pitches, cover letters and lining up your references. All incredibly important elements of your job-hunting tool kit.

Check out each assignment sheet in the homework tab before class. And, take a look at the following online resources:

Elevator Pitches: SHIFT Communications has a great piece about networking with professionals while you’re still in college. Take particular note of the entry about elevator pitches, which are useful in situations like this Friday’s site visit to Sacramento PR agencies, career fairs hosted on campus, in-class opportunities to network with alumni (we have five coming soon!), etc.

Cover Letters: I like to think of cover letters as mini-feature stories that connect you to a company. However, many students feel challenged to craft a cover letter that goes beyond the templates you can find online. The Daily Muse has an interesting piece which might help, The Mind Trick That Will Change the Way You Write Cover Letters Forever.

References: Sometimes references can make or break your ability to get a job offer. Oftentimes, students don’t think about the time and effort it takes to line up the right group of people to be your reference, the key questions you need to ask them BEFORE you put them on your list, and how to manage the relationship during the job-hunt process.

Check out this blog from The Ladders to help get your reference search off to a good start: Three Ways to Kiss a Job Offer Goodbye.

LinkedIn Profiles: I’m slowly making my way through these. I’ll be emailing your critique sheets once I’ve got them all done.



Forbes: Go Big or Go Home with LinkedIn

Happy Friday J445 Job Hunters. I hope you’re looking forward to the weekend.

Reminder that your LinkedIn profile is due 8 a.m. Monday. I must have your invite in my email before then to receive credit (if we’re already linked, then you’re good to go).

Before you finish your profile, check out Forbes, Your LinkedIn Profile: Go Big or Go Home. Some very nice insight here, in particular check out the comments regarding head shots. It also addresses several points from our previous class discussion: The issue of customizing your invitation to link with someone, and why you might not want to link with just anyone.

Monday’s Class Focus: Portfolios

We’re going to dive into your next job-hunting tool, which is your portfolio. We’ll cover formats, content, packaging and details of the assignment including deadlines. In preparation for Monday’s class be sure to read:

  • The Online Portfolio
  • PR Daily, “10 Things Every PR Portfolio Must Have.” Note that most HR staff I work with, tell me #8 is not needed (they’d rather TALK to references), but job candidates that have the rest of the items on the list typically get strong consideration.



Identifying Your Achievements

Greetings J445 Job Hunters.

Most of you have already retrieved your resumes. For those who have not, I’ll bring them to class Monday. I wanted to highlight some content from Amanda Locke’s resume, which I think can benefit many of you.

One of the challenges with describing your experience is to identify achievements that you’ve accomplished. In class I mentioned it’s fine to identify that you wrote and distributed news releases, but a sign of an achievement would actually be working with a reporter to secure news media coverage.

We’ve also discussed grabbing your baseline metrics in any social media work. This is where Locke’s resume comes into this discussion. Last semester she was doing PR for The Orion and helping to launch The Orion’s new smartphone app. One of her entries on her resume is this:

  • “Increased app downloads by 120 percent among Chico State students within four months.”

That statement clearly shows an impact of her PR efforts. And, it gives a potential employer a nice range of interview questions to toss her way:

  • Tell me how you made this happen?
  • What specific tactics did you employ?
  • How did you track the results?
  • When you spotted weaknesses in your efforts, how did you adjust your plan?

She can now practice the STAR approach to answering these types of questions: Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Achievements are not always easy to quantify, but it’s worth your time and effort to figure out how to identify accomplishments vs. just focusing on the tactical elements of your experience.

As always, I’m happy to brainstorm with you individually to uncover ways of identifying achievements in your work endeavors.


Socializing Your Job Hunt

Happy Friday J445 job hunters! Only 93 days to graduation.

You should be wrapping up the final edits to your print resume, which is due at 8 a.m. Monday. Now, we’re going to turn our attention to social recruiting and how to get your digital tools into job-hunting shape.

When you come to class Monday you must have a basic LinkedIn account ready for analysis. But, social recruiting is much, much larger than just LinkedIn. For some perspective, check out this Mashable article, How Social Media Could Land You Your Next Job.

While you start reworking your LinkedIn content, you should also evaluate the personal profiles you developed thus far across all of your social channels.  See my Tuesday post for great resource links on this front.

Last note regarding LinkedIn for today… STOP making this bone-headed mistake.



Start Crafting Your Professional Bio for Social Platforms

Hi J445 Job Hunters. I hope you got a lot out of yesterday’s whirlwind resume class. Just a reminder that I’m happy to go through resume drafts with you during office hours, which are:

  • Today: 11 a.m. – noon
  • Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Since we’re focused on resumes now and diving into LinkedIn Monday, I thought I’d share a few interesting sources with you. Yesterday, I recommended The Daily Muse. These two articles I originally found there:

The New Resume Tool You (and Recruiters) Will Love

How to Write a Professional Bio for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

One more gem about professional social bios is this one from CNN, Twitter Bios: Don’t Be A Rock Star Guru.

Regardless of your political beliefs, you have to admit that Hillary Clinton has a pretty sweet Twitter bio. I’m going to be reworking mine, which is accurate, but dull. Let’s see what you come up with in the coming weeks.

Best, @DebraJChico

Getting Your Resume into Shape

Happy Rainy Saturday Job Hunters!

What’s Happening in Monday’s Class?
-We’ll meet in the Mac Lab; remember this is our home for the remainder of the semester.
-Your job hunter’s profile is due at start of class. Remember that you are submitting it in both print and electronic formats (send to my email: by 8 a.m.).
-Our primary focus will be your traditional resume. Be sure to read the articles highlighted in the course schedule; in particular the one that focuses on content differences between LinkedIn and your print resume.

In-Class Exercises
You need to bring to class both a  printout of your resume and the Microsoft Word electronic file.

We’re going to use the electronic version to create a word cloud of your resume content. This is a great way to analyze what words or phrases may jump out to those scanning your resume.

We’re going to do a critique exercise with your print version to review format and overall content.

Then, you’ll have one week to make improvements to your resume before you submit it to me for grading. When it comes to me for grading, it must include the internship you’re doing for JOUR 445.

Have a great weekend.