Monday, August 31, 2009

Job News, Notes from 8/28 OCA Meeting

Job News... Sue Dietrich has accepted a job with Clearwire, as their new Advertising Manager, and will start next Tuesday. CONGRATS, SUE!

Welcome new members:
- Greg Roberts, communications / reporter - previously with the Seattle PI.
- Sean Linton, CPG sales professional / account manager - most recently with Cintas.

Last week Marc Tolan of Kelly Resources met with the group to talk about Microsoft and marketing contract positions. He reviewed the differences between V- and A-dash resources, and we discussed a multitude of things, including:
- There are several 'types' of employees at Microsoft, the most common being A-dash, meaning "agency," and V-dash, meaning "vendor."
- Agency jobs can last a max of 12 months, then a contractor must take a 100-day break. They can be hired full-time by Microsoft at any point, and any time over 40 hours is paid time and a half. Marketing positions are usually paid between $25 and $45/hr, depending on experience and title.
- Vendor jobs are overseen by the contracting company, have more flexibility with pay structures (as often the work is just billed through the company), and there are no time constraints that need to be met.
- There used to be 9 agencies that Microsoft worked through, but the 'approved list' was just recently increased to over 25 companies that place staff. These include Kelly, Corestaff, Act-1, MAQ, Excell Data, Aquent, Filter, Creative Circle, Creative Group, and others. (A list of those that we have connections with is forthcoming.)
- Marc recommends working with multiple agencies, but to make sure that if you're applying for a particular job, you apply through only one.
- For each position that he is working to staff, Marc can submit up to a total of 4 resumes.
- Typical timeframe to place someone is 3 weeks, but it can happen as quick as a week and as long as several months - depending on how quickly the hiring manager within Microsoft is moving.
- With regard to the idea of looking for full-time work while contracting: If you are working as a contractor, there is no legal obligation to continue with that contract. (Washington is an at-will state.) Obviously, it's up to you how you handle giving notice, etc.
- When presented with an opportunity by an agency, ask them what rate they are targeting for you in the position.
- Marc recommends to stay in touch with him (every couple weeks or so), but that he is actively looking to place people. "We both benefit if you're working."

Resume Tips
- "Position your resume to the job that you want, not the jobs that you've done." Tailor so that your relevant experience speaks to the qualifications and responsibilities of the position.
- Make sure the experience on your resume, if it's the same, matches the job description syntax. If they don't match, screeners (human or machine) could knock your resume out of the pile.

Interview Tips
- Marc mentioned a few useful questions to ask during an interview. About 20 minutes in, ask "If I were to join your team, what would be my biggest challenge?" This can bring up any perceived weaknesses, which you can then address during the rest of the interview.
If you feel you may run into the "... but you haven't worked with Microsoft before" objection, a question to ask could be, "What did you do to be successful here at Microsoft when you joined?"
Another question to ask at the end of the interview is, "If I were to join your team, what strengths do you feel I would bring?" This makes them reiterate the positive attributes you possess and will be the first thing they remember from the interview.
- One of the OCA members mentioned that you should literally state your excitement during the interview. "Before we get started, let me just mention how excited I am about this opportunity." You can also end with, "Have I conveyed how much I want this job?"

Marc's contact info:
Marc Tolan
Staffing Manager
Kelly Financial Resources Microsoft Team

Friday, August 28, 2009

Smackdown at the SVC

8th Annual Waysgoose & Steamroller Smackdown
Saturday, 8/29, at the SVC (1pm - 6pm)

For those who aren’t familiar with a Wayzgoose, it’s a tradition in the letterpress printing world that dates back to the 17th century, when master printers would serve a feast to their apprentices in recognition of the impending shorter days of fall and winter which would require the difficult work of handsetting type by candlelight.
At the SVC Wayzgoose, there will be neither geese nor candles, but it promises to be a smashing event:
Steamroller Letterpress Smackdown (Local artists and design firms will be challenged to produce a poster to be printed in the SVC parking lot with a two-ton steamroller used in place of the traditional printing press.)
Also on hand: a marketplace, equipment swap, shop tours and printing demonstrations.

FREE, but pre-registration is requested.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Job News, Upcoming OCA Guest Speakers

1st, on the job front:
CONGRATS to Joseph Hunziker, who starts this week with Wunderman as a Facilities Assistant. More credit to the power of networking... a mutual friend and Publicis alum helped Joseph get his foot in the door.

Upcoming guest speakers:
8/28 - Marc Tolan, staffing manager for Kelly Services, who is on-site with Microsoft as a v-dash consultant, will be on hand to introduce his company and provide insight into the staffing world of a "large software company located in Redmond, WA."

9/11 - Erin Lastala, Senior Technical Recruiter with Volt's Technical & Creative Communication group, will join OCA to introduce their staffing agency.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art & Copy Trailer

Below is the trailer for a new documentary, Art & Copy, about advertising and specifically, the creative minds behind some memorable campaigns. The movie is playing in Capitol Hill (Seattle), 8/21-8/27, as part of the Northwest Film Forum.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lovin' It

Fantastic (and fun) outdoor ad work I just ran across by Leo Burnett for McDonald's in London, and thought I'd pass along. What a way to get people to interact with your brand and perpetuate the good vibes by sharing with friends and family.

I found this on a site called "Brilliant Useful," which I'll add to the Creative section on this blog. Great way to see a lot of amazing work and break-thru media from around the world.

Another example, from Korea for Nikon:

Nikon put this in a shopping mall, with the red carpet leading to their store. Motion sensors and flashes embedded in the ad made everyone feel a little special.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Notes from 8/14 OCA Meeting - PART 1

Great discussion last Friday on a variety of topics. For the second straight week, it got a little philosophical. We talked and debated on the "psychology" of interviewing, we toyed with the idea of pursuing something “different,” and we discussed the “over/under-qualified” conundrum.

Do we try to modify our behavior and personalities at all to give us any sort of advantage while moving through the interview process?
Or, do we stay 'true' to ourselves? Knowing that if you've been asked to come in for an interview, most likely the hiring company / manager believes you can do the job, and at that point, it becomes more of a test of fit. So, why would you want to portray yourself as anything other than your true self?

My personal take... The interview process is already a somewhat unnatural occurrence. (When was the last time a client or manager has asked you to tell them about a scenario where you had to deal with adversity and to provide a specific example of how you overcame that dilemma??) Given that, I don't believe it's wrong to use what you know or have been told can help add to your competitive advantage over other candidates or to help mask a particular, perceived weakness.

Now, I'm not saying to be someone you're not - because, in the end, it is about fit and culture. It's subjective. There's no way around that, and any little nuance can be analyzed, misinterpreted, or used to compare you to the next person about to walk in through the door.

The group's take? Be yourself, but be aware of what the company is looking for and how you can fit within their culture.

Nobody wants to be surprised.

Notes from 8/14 OCA Meeting - PART 2

Making lemonade.
As part of our most recent meeting, we watched the trailer for the documentary, "Lemonade." (See last week's post below.) It led to a healthy discussion about pursuing other interests or dreams while we've been given the time and opportunity to possibly do so.

The debate: What if we use this time to focus on a new career path, exploring areas we feel we will truly love? What if we later discover that it wasn't the right move? Can we get back into the area we've left?

On the flip side... What if we choose to continue our current path, plodding through the job search as expected, looking to land something with which we feel comfortable? Will we always look back and wonder, "What if?"

This is a topic that I know a lot of us have pondered recently. And there are a lot of factors which weigh in on the decision. How much time and effort (and money) can I expend in pursuing something new? Will my spouse or my family be supportive?

Advice from the group:
- If there’s a passion, pursue the dream. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back to what you’ve done before, and you’ll have a great story to tell.
- Use the connections you’ve made in this group to find those who may be able to help you with advice and contacts within your area of interest.

Notes from 8/14 OCA Meeting - PART 3

The Over/Under-Qualified Conundrum
Two members of our group, with roughly 15 years difference in marketing experience, recently applied for and were both selected to interview for the same position at the same company. Neither got the job.

The more experienced applicant assumed that she was over-qualified, receiving word from the hiring company that they worried she’d leave once the economy turned around. You’d be “bored.” This, despite the fact that she would sincerely be content in a position where she could easily perform the expected tasks. In addition, it would lead to more work/life balance in a company she truly targeted.

The less-experienced applicant assumed he was under-qualified and that the job went to someone with far more marketing acumen. Why not, with today’s extreme supply and little demand (several hundred people had applied for this one position), would a company not want to grab someone with more experience?

This leads us back to the psychology of interviewing. Does the over-qualified candidate lay their cards on the table and explain how the additional years of experience can greatly benefit the company, regardless of whether or not it’s long- or short-term? And that despite the years behind the ‘perfect’ candidate, there is no guarantee that this specific person would stay any longer than anyone else once the job market starts to recover.

How does the under-qualified person express their eagerness and the “low cost value” that they can bring? “No boredom here! I’m just excited at the opportunity to get my foot in the door!”

So…who got the job?? Maybe the company, with all the applicants, happened upon someone with just the right amount of experience – and was just the right fit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

LEMONADE - The Movie

Below is the trailer to a movie that's in production about several people who have taken their sudden unemployment and have made the most of it.

It's the brainchild of Erik Proulx, former copywriter for Arnold out of Boston. I've talked about him before at previous meetings. He has done more with his time since being laid off than anyone I know. His blog, Please Feed The Animals, is featured in the Blog links [see to the right]. If you do just one thing a week, visit that site for inspiration.

Notes from 8/7 OCA Meeting

WELCOME to new member, Lavonne Williams - business developer / sales, most recently with Swedish.

INTERVIEW PREPARATION TIPS - brought to us by Ed Ferguson (courtesy of his time spent with Career Horizon's Matt Youngquist):

View yourself not as a job 'hunter,' but as a 'consultant.' Through research, find out what the pain points are and position yourself as someone who can come in and solve problems.

Useful sources for published and inside information are:
- Proquest (library resource)
- LinkedIn

Use a systematic approach to prepare for the interview by using the job description (and information from screening calls) to document what is important for the company and the role - and how you can map your skills and experience directly.

List out the following:
- Requirement
- What it is / what it means
- An example
- Wisdom (or insight) - your thoughts on the requirement
- Question that you can then ask back to the interviewer

Master the answers to the following five questions:
- Tell me about yourself. (Remember to tailor your answer to address the key points discussed earlier.)
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What are your salary requirements?
- What interests you about this job?
- What interests you about this company?

Editor's Note: This is not the 1st time I've heard of Matt. I haven't met him, but a few folks I've talked to have and all have said positive things. Click on the Career Horizons link above to access their blog, which I'll also add to the Blog roll for OCA.

AGENCY TOUR info - Duane Hobbs gave a rundown and his take on the 5 agencies included in the SVC's agency tour: DNA, Creature, Wexley, Copacino, and WongDoody. All had things going for them. All of them have felt the crunch of the economy, but are surviving.

PROLANGO - Geoff Tucker provided us with information about ProLango, a career consulting agency with a twist - using "communication and business psychology" to get an edge in today's job search environment. They offer FREE seminars on resume writing, career search '2.0', and the Psychology of Interviewing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Your 1st 100 Days

Things are picking up. Several people have received job offers, which is fantastic.
But, then what? The 1st couple months on a new job can be exciting, but also a bit anxiety-ridden. I ran across the following article on The Ladders, which addresses this and has a few tips for making your transition back into the work force successful.