Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Notes from 12/3/2010 - volunteering and alumni connections

At our 12/3 OCA meeting, we talked about volunteer opportunities that job seekers can take advantage of - to give back, to widen and sometimes deepen your experience, to network, and to pursue a particular passion - all while you have the time. Every city has a multitude of opportunities where you can provide time or expertise to help others. The city of Seattle's web site provides ideas for ways to contribute around town or in your community, and it also has a calendar of events which can be viewed to show only volunteer opportunities.(Under event types, click 'None', then click 'Volunteer'.)

At our meeting, we also talked about the importance of tapping into your alumni network(s). It's an easy connection to make with someone while networking if they went to the same college and rooted for the same team. As different as they may actually be from you, there's almost an instant connection where they can relate to you from the simple fact that you both chose to attend the same university.

In addition, schools brand themselves by the quality of the alumni they produce. Many companies tout the education of their management team, so why wouldn't a university want to help promote its "leaders of industry" who once walked their halls and campuses? Reach out to the career center of your school to see if they can offer any job search assistance or advice.

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Connection Away is taking a break

The School of Visual Concepts will be closed each Friday until mid-January, giving everyone the opportunity to spend time with their friends and family and maybe have a one-on-one coffee or two.

We'll be back on our regular schedule January 14th. See you then!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November Events

November doesn't just mean stuffing.

Prolango's last mixer of the year. (Tonight)

SMC Seattle (Social Media Club)

Linked:Seattle (A Linkedin Group)

the PSAMA (Puget Sound Chapter of American Marketing Association)

Eastside Networking Group

(Plus more events as I learn of them)

Check out the Calendar at the bottom of the page for area networking events. (you can subscribe to the calendar by clicking on the lower right corner)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Art and Copy hits PBS

I saw this documentary last summer when it played here in Seattle. That night I walked out of the theatre wishing anyone who wasn't sure why I love advertising and the power of brand and messaging could see this film.

Last night the movie showed on PBS' Independent Lens, and I got to enjoy it all over again. For anyone who hadn't caught it before, it's a well-crafted view into the world of advertising, as told by many of the greats who have worked in the field.

Below is a 2 minute trailer. Or
watch the full version on the PBS video feed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lemonade Detroit

He's at it again. Erik Proulx, creator of Lemonade, has turned his documentary cameras and thoughts to Detroit - looking to see how a city can pull itself up by the bootstraps and reinvent itself.

Lemonade: Detroit Trailer from Erik Proulx on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How about that, a book.

We had a brief discussion Friday about a number of things, this book among them. Marty Neumeier (Formerly of Neutron in San Francisco. Currently "Director of Transformation" at Liquid, Portland) has always had interesting things to say. His first book "the Brand Gap" (presentation is below) was a bit of a revolution for non-designers. He's subsequently written two more books: "Zag", and "The Designful Company". Both of which are well worth your time. (Do I sound like a fanboy?)

The Brand Gap
View more presentations from coolstuff.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Take a peek at the calendar

(At the bottom of the page)

I've added more events that might be of interest. If you hear of anything you want to share with the group – email Duane or Kelly.

(The Prolango Mixer is filling up fast and has a capped attendance level this time, so you'll want to sign up quick.)

"It's all about the content."

Since there was some interest expressed at today's meeting I'm posting this here.

[Serial comma warning.] Words, pictures, video, illustrations, data, podcasts, white papers, slideshows, etc. Defining, structuring, managing, and relating it all to the users needs and the organizations goals. Oh, and of course, the organizations capacity for management.

"Content strategy is an emerging field of practice encompassing every aspect of content, including its design, development, analysis, presentation, measurement, evaluation, production, management, and governance."

Everything you'll want to know about Content Strategy unless you are a Content Strategist.

I attended a Meetup of Content Strategy Seattle this last Wednesday and encourage you to check it out for yourself. Since I'm lazy, I'll just drop in the Livestream cast below. (see previous event Livestreams here)

Watch live streaming video from contentseattle at livestream.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend

Assuming many people may be headed out on their final summer vacations, we'll cancel our weekly 10:30 on the 3rd and reconvene the following week, Sept 10th.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Calendar additions

Check out next weeks Linkedin networking events just installed on the calendar below.

(BTW– When you learn of a event others should know about, or you're just wanting company at an event, shoot a link over to me and I'll add it to the calendar. DFHobbs {shift '2'} gmail.com)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Calendar addition for tonight

The August Prolango Career Mixer is happening tonight at Bellevue's Maggiano's.

Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: Maggiano’s Little Italy, Lincoln Center, 10455 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA 98004

Cost: Free

To Register: http://prolango-career-mixer-aug-2010.eventbrite.com/

Speaker: Heather (Abramson) Krasna - Author, Director of Career Services, Evans School of Public Affairs at University of Washington

Work the room: Career mixers offer an informal way to mingle -- no resumé required


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Friday's topic: Career Obstacles

This Friday, 8/13, at 10:30, OCA will welcome Rita Ashley, Career Coach.

Our topic of discussion: Career obstacles - the over qualified label, scaling the ageism issue and improved interview skills will be covered. We will discuss social networking for job search and answer your most troubling questions. "Examples, not theory."

Formerly a Silicon Valley executive and then a Seattle high tech recruiter, Rita now coaches clients towards career planning and "an expeditious and efficient job search."

Ms. Ashley refined her coaching skills based on her experience working directly with investors, hiring authorities and those who refer candidates to them. Her advice is field tested over 10 years and in the toughest of job markets. In the last three years, 98% of her clients received the promotions they were after or landed the jobs they wanted within six months. She's taught executives how to hire, read a resume and vet candidates. Ms. Ashley has been a board member to start up companies and was an active Executive Board Member of the MITEF for nine years. Her education includes degrees and/or certificates in Technology, Counseling, Psychology and Education.

Her book, “Job Search Debugged,” includes advice from hiring authorities, examples, scripts and step by step guidelines to avoid the rocks and refine your search. Her other book, “Networking Debugged,” guides job seekers towards simplified networking that gets candidates to hiring authorities before the competition.
PDFs are downloadable from her website.

Website: Jobsearch4execs
Twitter: Jobsearch4execs

The Cycle Continues - Job News and New Members

Several OCA members, over the past couple months, have landed jobs:

- Marci Kearney landed a full-time job at Microsoft, after contracting there for a while through Kelly Resources. She's now Marketing/Visual Merchandising Manager for Microsoft's worldwide Retail Services group.

- Jacque Coe, after 6 and a half years as Communications Director with Washington's Lottery, is now Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Bellevue School District.

- Deanne Krauter followed her passion for wanting to work with a well-established outdoor brand, is now working in Denver, Colorado as an Art Director for Cabela's.

- Asako Yoshimura, who had worked for Adobe Systems for 13 years, is now a Sr. Product Manager with T-Mobile.

- Lastly, I, Kelly Evans, just started a contract job with Venture Arts, an interactive design and communications company. I'm helping them with project and account management, managing several web design projects for a handful of clients, including Microsoft and WorldVision.

While OCA has seen some members become alumni, we also welcome several new members:

Jinhyung Pak, has just gotten out of the Navy, after a career that included managing nuclear reactors. He's exploring his options and is highly interested in the complexities of Marketing.

Kerry Alexander, an experienced marketing communications and PR professional, was most recently with Colliers International.

Donna Duncanson was VP of Marketing at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, where she was employed for 20+ years. After taking some time off from the business world, she's back and is now a marketing consultant.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Notes from 7/30/2010 - Applying Brand Techniques to the Job Search

The words "Brand" and "Branding" are tossed around quite a bit in the advertising and marketing arenas. But how many people truly understand their essence, and more importantly, how many know how to help their clients create strategies for managing them? And how can we apply what we do know to the job search?

At our 7/30 OCA meeting, our guest speaker,
Jessie Lernmark - Sr Strategist with MODO Group, does know 'brand' - and gave a fantastic presentation on the topic. Jessie, whose background includes sales, marketing, advertising and an MBA, has been working within the branding realm for over 4 years, the last two of which have been with MODO. Her group, which is small but has folks working in Asia and Europe, consults such companies as Grupo Modelo (Corona, Pacifico), Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, and Starbucks - helping them with a wide variety of brand services.

MODO's client services include everything from researching Insights and Trends, creating Brand and Marketing strategies, to developing Tools (such as brand books and guidelines) and analyzing Metrics. They are brought in to help a company wade through the complexities of managing product brands, and in many cases, to help the company figure out their own brand.

"Fundamental to any business is understanding the customer and their evolving needs." Starting with qualitative and quantitative research, MODO looks to uncover the needs and motivations of its clients' customers - both the emotional (heart-based) side and the rational (head-based) side. They look to understand the motivation that a consumer has that leads them from awareness and trial through purchase to advocacy of a particular product or company.

"Brand Strategy is more than a logo."
Brand = our identity (how we view ourselves) + our reputation (how others view us).
Brand Strategy = managing any variance between the two, looking to match our reputation in the eyes of the consumer with our own view of ourselves.

To position a brand then, you need to understand your target, your category, your consumers' needs, and most importantly, your point of difference. What is it that makes your product or service different in the marketplace that will satisfy your consumer's need.

It's no different when searching for a job. Jessie suggested that anyone looking for work needs to do the same thing. We all know that if you are pursuing a position with a particular company, you need to understand as much about that company as you possibly can. Use informational interviews and resources, such as LinkedIn, to research 'the target.' Secondly, study the category. If it's a marketing position you're going after, know about the latest trends and happenings. What brands are making an impact?

Third, understand what a company needs. Here, again, utilize research to see what issues a company may be looking to solve, what their competitors are doing, and any pain points the hiring manager may be experiencing. Develop a point of view with regard to how you'd tackle those needs.

Lastly, what is your point of difference? What are your key strengths and benefits that you can provide a hiring company? What makes you distinct and unique? As fellow OCA member, Duane Hobbs, has stated: "Each of us is the unique answer to one exacting question. What's your question?"

Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 Wayzgoose - Aug 28th

Went to this last year, and it was a ton (no pun intended) of fun. Family-friendly, and a great way to see local creatives showing off their printing skills, it's a good time all around.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Notes from 6/18-7/16 - Catching Up

In the past 5 weeks, we've had four OCA meetings, only taking time out for the 4th of July holiday weekend. At most of these recent meetings, we've focused on helping each other, working on our own "personal brands." We've reviewed and critiqued resumes and portfolios and delved further into how to position ourselves with perspective hiring companies.

We've discussed the conundrum of "finding a job to get buy" vs. "finding a job that is right for me AND the hiring company. A recent conversation also brought about the notion of being "Overqualified" - and you could see the exasperation on the faces of those who had heard that word before, a word that can, unfortunately, sometimes keep you from making your case with a hiring manager. It's a label tossed around by recruiters that can mean one of several notions:

- "You're a flight risk." As soon as the economy starts to really turn around, you'll leave for a better job.
- "You'll be bored." Someone with your experience and expertise would not be happy operating at this position's level. See notion #1.
- "We can't afford you." We can't pay what you're worth or expecting to make. See notion #1.

Ask anyone who's been looking for a job for a while if they'd be OK taking a lower salary than they'd previously made. While you're at it, ask them if they'd be bored working for a new company, learning the culture, and absorbing information about new products and services. Regarding flight risk, someone yesterday said, "Are you kidding me? After looking for this long, a company would have to push me out the door before I'd consider leaving."

Welcome to new OCA member:
Cary Seely, previous Sustainability Account Exec/Business Development at Grays Harbor Paper.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Due to the holiday weekend (and the SVC is officially closed), we won't meet this Friday, July 2nd.
We'll reconvene next Friday, the 9th. 10:30am @ the SVC. See you then!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hiring Expectations Up - and What CMOs Are Looking For Specifically

A friend of mine, in doing some research for a large software company located in Redmond, WA, found a great article indicating CMOs are looking to ramp up hiring. Originally posted in March, the numbers from the article back up the recent surge in hirings we've witnessed through OCA.

The article, from
MarketingProfs.com, pulls its information from a CMO Survey conducted by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the AMA. It touches on hiring plans, the expected upswing in Social Marketing, and what hiring managers in the industry are looking for in candidates.

HERE for the full article, or HERE for the survey results. Below is just a snippet.

Hiring Plans
Nearly one-half (46.7%) of companies say they expect to hire new marketers during the next six months, while 61.4% plan to hire in the next year and 77.5% plan to hire over the next two years.
On average, companies plan to increase hiring levels 8.2% in the next six months, 12.9% in the next year, and 24.1% over the next two years.

Work experience will be emphasized: Only 27.1% of hires are expected to come from universities.

Among skill sets, Internet marketing, innovation and growth, CRM, and brand management will be the most sought after by senior marketers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

OCA: The Reunion Show - The Recap

Last week's OCA event, The Reunion Show, was a big hit.
We had a panel of speakers, all of whom have navigated the "Great Recession" and landed jobs in which they are extremely happy. New titles for this group of OCA alums range from Web Marketing Manager to Marketing Director, Advertising Strategist to Sr Marketing Coordinator, and even a Lean 6-Sigma Facilitator. Over the course of a 1-hour plus Q&A session, the panel of speakers did a great job providing current OCA members with a wealth of advice, lessons learned, and anecdotes from their own personal, successful job searches.

The event was also a great chance to catch up with friends, practice our networking skills, and I'm sure a lot of new connections were made.

"Lessons Learned" from the panel:
- When interviewing, establish parity - why you fit the qualifications and experience required for the job - but get past that, and provide the hiring company with a reason you stand out above the others. What is your difference?
- All interviews are informational. You're interviewing them as much as they're evaluating you.
- All informational meetings are interviews. Treat every 'casual' coffee session as you would a real interview. Someone doing you a favor by providing information in a more casual situation is still, at the end of the day, checking you out. Could I work with this person? What would they have to offer, if a position opened up? Make sure you don't provide a reason for them to not hire you later.
- There's a danger to being too wide or too narrow in your job search focus. If you're trying to be all things to all people, companies don't get the sense that you know what you want to do. At the same time, if you're too focused on exactly what it is you're pursuing, you may miss out on many other opportunities. At the end of the day, it's about finding a balance and knowing what you want.
- Network, network, network. And then network some more.
- When writing cover letters, drop names of people you know (due to all your networking. See above.)
- Fit your resume to the job description. Make it easy for anyone screening your resume to see how you fit the requirements for the job.
- Be prepared. It's not just the Boy Scout motto; it applies to interviewing, too. Do your homework and go in knowing yourself, the position, the company and with whom you're interviewing.
- "Don't be a 'fanboy,' be a peer." Enthusiasm is key, but don't go in so over-the-top that your excitement could be a turn-off. Remember, if you fit the requirements, after that it's a cultural fit.
- Take contract jobs, if you can get them. They keep your skills and your resume up to date, they provide another source for networking, and they pay better than unemployment.
- When you are hired (and you will be), try to get some time between the offer and your start date. While many of us have had several months off work, job searching is non-stop and not relaxing. Having just a bit of time that you can spend as you want, knowing that a paycheck is coming, is time that you can truly enjoy.
- When you do start work, keep track of all that you're doing and document your accomplishments. You never know when you might need to update your resume again.

During the panel discussion, it was quite clear that many of our alums had similar experiences during their job search. In most cases, they each:

  • Built up visibility within a small community of some sort (engineering, operations, advertising). This is key.

  • Volunteered for industry activities that helped them gain visibility.

  • Had timely and specific skills that an employer needed.

  • Were focused and crisp about what they wanted to do.

  • Targeted smaller firms, not necessarily going after companies that are on everyone else's wish list.

  • Encountered some good fortune. All were ready and in the right place to take advantage of an opportunity.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make this event a huge success!

Road Trip Nation

Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 20?

How about now?

Road Trip Nation is a number of things. It is a social media project of State Farm, it provides creative content for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Public Television, and it's program for a number of other organizations. Solid strategic partnerships and a model for leveraging network effects for all involved.

It is also an interesting exploration of career paths. How successful people got to where they are: Doing what they love. And making a living at it.

Check out the
interviews on you tube and visit the site for inspiration.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Notes from 6/11/2010 - Networking Tips from a Networking Guru

Welcome to two new OCA members:
- Louise Matthews has an extensive marketing background, most recently in the banking and insurance industries (JP Morgan Chase/WaMu, Safeco). She's pursuing marketing positions that would utilize her branding, direct marketing, and marcomm experience.
- Scott Stracener is a process improvement & Supply Chain Management expert, with purchasing and production experience. He was most recently with Group Health and is looking to continue his career in the health care arena.

Our June 11th OCA meeting welcomed guest speaker, Sandy Jones-Kaminksi, business development consultant and networking guru. Though she's a bit reluctant to claim the title, "Guru," Sandy is increasingly being recognized for her networking talents and is the author of
I'm at a Networking Event -- Now What??"

Sandy has a background in market research and broadcast media, but it's been her extensive work in business development that has honed her networking skills. After attending countless events, where she watched people flounder at making connections, she put a white paper together that led to her writing the book. Sandy genuinely wants to help others make the most of any encounter, and with networking being so important with a job search, it made perfect sense to have her in to talk with our group.

Crafting your Intro. Sandy recommends developing (and practicing) something between what she calls the "bumper sticker" (a personal tagline) and an elevator speech (your pitch). Make it memorable, and make sure you say what you're looking for. "A closed mouth does not get fed. You have to ask.") People remember company names, and as we've witnessed over and over again with OCA, it's easy to then make the connection between a company you're targeting and someone they may know at that company. Sandy put this into practice with our own group by asking everyone in attendance to name one company on which they're focusing. The conversations that followed were chock full of the phrase, "Oh, I know someone at..."

When you're at the event. Be the one to initiate the conversation. Sandy suggests the following lines as a way to get a dialogue started:
"What brought you to this event?" "What are you working on these days?" If the person you're talking to is somewhat adept at networking as well and tells you what they're looking for specifically, you can then easily jump in with, "What kind of help do you need with that?" This then leads to her next point.

"Start looking at networking as community service." People have a natural tendency to want to help each other, so why not use that notion while networking? Sandy suggests going to an event with the intention to help. In her book, she references this as the "give to get" philosophy. It also falls in line with what she calls "The Pay it Forward Approach." "... by helping [others], you can quite possibly change people's attitudes about at least a little part of their world through your unobtrusive acts of kindness."

Finally, "Never stop networking." Meetings, volunteer work, classes, etc. They are all opportunities to meet others and to help make connections. Plus, practice your networking skills by talking to people you encounter each and every day. You never know where it might lead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

OCA: The Reunion Show - Wed 6/16, 6pm

More than 50 people have come through the OCA doors and have gone on to land full-time or contract jobs. And some have even started their own companies.
Ever wonder what they did to get their current position? Or, if you're newer to OCA, do you wish you could have met them before they moved on?

On June 16th, we'll host "OCA: The Reunion Show"
(To view the evite, click
Meet with alums and ask them the tough questions: "What worked?" "What didn't work?" "What would you do differently or over again, if given the chance?" "Are you hiring??" ...

This will be a social event*, and breaking from the norm, we'll meet in the evening. These people have jobs, remember??

6:00-6:15 - Gather, grab a drink, mingle, and get settled
6:15-6:30 - Greetings from Larry Asher (SVC)
6:30-7:30 - Q/A panel session
7:30-8:30 - networking, complete with beer/wine

*Anyone interested in beer/wine at the event, I'd ask for a $5 donation to cover costs.

Location: SVC Seattle - 500 Aurora Ave N., Seattle, WA
When: Wednesday, June 16, 6:00PM
Phone: 206.304.1455

Monday, June 14, 2010

A bit of good news

Nice press release by our friends over at The Creative Group last week that bodes well for hiring going into the fall.

"Eighteen percent of marketing and advertising executives interviewed said they plan to increase staff levels in the third quarter of 2010, while 12 percent anticipate declines. The net 6 percent increase in projected hiring activity is up five percentage points from the previous quarter's projection."

Press release here 3rd Qrtr Hiring Projections

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not having a job may disqualify you..

I don't like presenting a downer, but such is life.

Interesting bit floating around the net. There are some companies that are up-front about a concept that many suspect is out there – just no one would ever admit to. What interests me is the number of companies that have this requirement but don't advertise it.

"The unemployed will not be considered"

Do you think this is real?

Notes from 6/4/2010 - Crowdsourcing, Social Media, and More

From Mark Farmer and Duane Hobbs, who stepped in last week and led the OCA meeting...
The combination of rainy weather and a lack of parking (SVC had both a seminar AND a tree blown down in the parking lot) kept the meeting smaller-than-average level of attendance, but the attendees were top of their field and compelling!

Of discussion was:

Crowdsourcing: What it means to Creatives
Discussed that crowdsourcing DOES radically affect creatives. It is hard when you've spent years developing and honing a craft that was once highly valued, but is now becoming commoditized. Never the less, arguing against evolution leaves you with the dinosaurs.

Evolvers may find themselves:
- Becoming the in-house creative that -- rather then produces from start to end -- now manages crowdsourced resources, educating the company on what quality is, what is needed and managing the crowdsourcers.
- There will ALWAYS be a place for specializing: that is, becoming one of the top 5% at doing ____X____
- Joining in the crowdsourcing

Social Media Metrics: Quantity vs. Quality
With Social Media becoming more and more evolved and valued, the question remains: How do you MEASURE its efficacy!? There are ways to measure ROI, but all of these ways NEED to differentiate between *quantity* (how many connections, subscribers or followers, how many page visits, how many re-broadcasts) and *quality* (was the re-broadcast in a positive light -- "you have to see this, it's so cool!" -- or negative "Watch this: BP STILL doesn't get it!").

Quality often requires a different, subjective standard of measure, but frankly, is more important in social media, than quantity.

In discussing social marketing's strategy of strengthening relationships, Duane added in a profound observation that "Asking people for something often strengthens the relationship," and companies AND people can use that, by judiciously asking others for something they are easily able to supply (opinions?) and willing to supply.

Resume Review and the Job Search
Members spent time critiquing others resumes. Duane observed he felt he would be FAR ahead if "If I spent as much time improving my resume and asking people out to coffee to learn about them as I do in applying [for jobs]", a point well made: Your resume is ONLY "marketing" for YOU. A/B test it and actively solicit consumer (erm... prospective employer) market research on it's efficacy in marketing YOU.

Duane offered to be a guinea pig on this one, committing to reporting to the group in 3 weeks HIS results in asking at least 3 prospective employers to critique his resume.

What Help Do You Need!?
We ended with a recommendation Gayle Rose had made some time ago: By going around the room, each person announcing what help or connection they needed assistance with this week; the entire room brainstorming connections and tangible help.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The OCA Survey

“I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.”
- Thomas Alva Edison

If you haven't already, please take about 5 minutes to complete the OCA "what works and what doesn't" or "What I tried that worked for me" survey. (Tabulated results to be shared here)

If you've already been HIRED:

If you're still looking:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hiring Frenzy

Maybe it's a sign that the economy is on an upswing (and hopefully continuing along that trajectory), or it's the power of networking. Maybe it's both. But we've had several OCA members recently become new OCA alums.

Congrats to the following people as they embark on new ventures:
  • Melissa Baldwin - marketing manager for the Food Service group of Starbucks
  • Carl Larson - site conversion manager for Global Market Insite (GMI)
  • Cindy McKinley - sr. project manager for the Seattle Art Museum's internal design / communications group
  • Michele Powell - sr. marketing coordinator for HDR/PHAROS
  • Meghan Ragsdale - account executive for Cole & Weber advertising
  • Mhairi Voelsgen - account director for Rally Marketing

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Notes from 5/21/2010 - with Dan Ratliff, Sr Recruiter

At last week's OCA meeting, we got two treats in one. Dan Ratliff, a senior recruiter from Allyis, visited the group and talked up the company he's recently joined AND was able to provide a wealth of recruiting knowledge after having been at staffing agency, VOLT, for 7 years.

Dan's new position at
Allyis has him working on staffing assignments for the consulting company, which does roughly 90% of their business with Microsoft. Out of Allyis' 200 employees, three quarters of them are V-dash consultants working on project-based roles for the software giant, with the other 50 employees working in-house.

From their web site: "Allyis offers solutions that help organizations excel in the next generation business environment where knowledge is king, agility wins, a new generation powers the workforce, and social technologies are part of normal business operations." The company has been
recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the fastest growing private companies over the past six years and has been honored as one of the "100 Best Companies To Work For" by Washington CEO Magazine, earning 1st place in 2008. Needless to say, these were some of the reasons Dan took the new position.

So, with all the consulting talk, what's this have to do with OCA?? Glad you asked. Dan's goal with Allyis is to leverage his extensive experience in the creative staffing arena to build out the firm's capabilities in that particular area. And,
they have several marketing roles currently open.

Part two of our meeting had Dan answering a ton of questions from those in attendance about recruiting and HR tactics.
- The best way to work with a staffing agency or recruiter? "Transparency and open/honest communication." They want surprises as much as you do during the process.
- Dan's thoughts on where hiring is currently? Things are starting to pick up. However... hiring managers, unfortunately, still think they can drag out the recruiting process, waiting for the (unrealistically) perfect candidate, only to lose out to another company.
- Advice on how to break into some of the hotter job areas (social media, UX design, etc.)? "Networking." Take classes, get some experience, but more importantly, start talking to people in those areas.
- Resume tips? Spend much less time on a cover letter, and more time customizing your resume to the job you're seeking.
- His take on following up with recruiters: "Walk the fine line of being persistent, without being a stalker." Someone once waited at Dan's car to speak with him. It wasn't viewed as a positive thing.

Dan's contact info: dan@allyis.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crowdsourcing - Where Art Meets Community

Creative forms of crowdsourcing have shown up in a multitude of venues recently. In just the past couple weeks, examples include everything from developing "the ULTIMATE compost-related product" through Quirky's current Compostalooza Competition -- to an experiment by WIRED Magazine to have its dot-com readers crowdsource a song using Indaba Music, "whose collaborative digital-audio-workstation platform, Mantis, allows musicians and amateurs all over the world to collaborate on the same piece of music for free."

The goal: Get a community together, centered around one purpose, and you can witness amazing results.

Such is the case with the crowdsourced video for Johnny Cash's final recording, "Ain't No Grave." In a recent 'Boards Magazine article, Kevin Ritchie talks with director Chris Milk about The Johnny Cash Project, where fans have contributed over 4,500 pieces of artwork to create a "living portrait of the Man in Black". Archival footage of the singer was collected by Milk and legendary producer, Rick Rubin, and then edited into a video, where contributors can illustrate over single frames. The result: a beautiful living piece, that can take new shape every time it's viewed.

Seattle-based and global crowdsourcing company, Zooppa, can admire such handiwork and knows all too well the creative power of a large crowd. Its own community of over 60,000-strong has produced TV, print, and online ads for such brands as Pillsbury, GoDaddy, Microsoft, and Nike, and the company is currently managing competitions for Universal Studios and the country of South Africa.

So, what exactly is "crowdsourcing?" By definition, it's ... well, it's new enough that Dictionary.com doesn't have an explanation. But it has been around for several years, as the term was coined by author, Jeff Howe, in his 2006 WIRED magazine article,
The Rise of Crowdsourcing. According to Wikipedia, "Crowdsourcing is a neologistic compound of "crowd" and "outsourcing" for the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call."

In the marketing world, it's asking a community of passionate consumers and/or aspiring artists to develop creative concepts to help advertise a company's brand or its product. For a group like Zooppa, they broker the creative development process between this community and the brand by providing "a platform for user-generated advertising" where "talented people from all over the world can meet, exchange ideas and share their creative work." Earlier this year, I wrote about two companies, Doritos and CareerBuilder, which each employed crowdsourcing to develop content for their Super Bowl ads.

Does this mean the beginning of the end of design and creativity as we know it? Not likely, but there is skepticism among professionals, who have studied and worked at a craft in which they are highly specialized, and turning over the reigns in part to the masses. What's the takeaway then for the marketing and advertising industry? Know what crowdsourcing is. And realize it could be an interesting, and inexpensive, way to generate new ideas when working with clients.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Notes from 5/14/2010 - with The Creative Group

Welcome to new OCA member, Laura Broyhill. Laura is a sales / marketing / product design professional and has more than 15 years of experience building unique brands and sales channels in the consumer market.
She also owns her own wholesale company which manufactures high-end, green garden accessories. Be sure to check out her site,

Last week's featured guest speaker was Terah Brossart, an Account Manager from The Creative Group. Terah and one of her colleagues, Maria Scheleen,
visited us last year, and we were very glad to have Terah back for a return engagement.

Terah introduced her TCG, which is part of Robert Half, the world's largest staffing company. Because they're connected to such a large entity, they can offer things like health care and free online training. On the flip side, however, TCG also provides personalized service, as their Seattle branch (one of 30 locations) has 4 people looking to staff creatives.

TCG has over 600 active companies that they work with to staff with contract help. This ranges from 2-person operations to companies such as REI to the likes of Microsoft (though Terah was quick to point out that only 11% of their business stems from the latter.)

As for current trends, Terah has seen more work materialize recently. "In the past 3 months, we're actually seeing multiple offers." Of course, a lot of these are in areas that are in demand, like motion graphics, UI, and information architecture. Another trend is that companies looking to hire are moving away from marketing generalists and are rather searching for people who have specialized skills, such as CRM, SEO, and Social Media.

Social Media has been one specific area of growth, in terms of employment. TCG has placed "marketing coordinator-level" employees, who can help, while companies look to sort out how to exactly play in this new space. Also hot in this area are research and analytics.

Terah also made a point to the group that, if we see a full-time position at a company they work with, she is more than happy to help, by looking to get in touch with a hiring manager to make a recommendation. It's all about relationships, and she sees this as an easy way to "pay it forward."

Contact Information:
Terah Brossart: terah.brossart@creativegroup.com
601 Union Street, Suite 4300
Seattle, WA 98101

Former OCA members, Wes Youngquist and Lane Bueche, were also on hand to introduce their new creative marketing agency, Motherlode. They've teamed up with Jim Zimmerman, also an OCA alum, and the three are doing well enough that they're looking to hire some freelance help in the digital space. Specifically, they're searching for an online producer and flash and web developers. The agency has, what they call, an "inside out approach" to marketing, as two of the three have been successful in executive positions on the client-side.
If you think you might fit the bill, feel free to get in touch with any of the three.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HR - From the Inside Out

This is a copy of a presentation Richard Law, the CEO of Allyis - a technology consulting, development and staffing firm, is presenting tomorrow (5/19) at the Portland Human Resource Management Association's Strategic HR Conference.

The tie-in with OCA?
1) We're always wondering how HR and recruiting works (and should work) within hiring companies. This company has a definitive point of view on how employees should be engaged in the workplace.
2) Dan Ratliff is our guest speaker at this Friday's OCA meeting. Recently with VOLT Staffing, Dan has just taken a recruiting position with Allyis.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Using Google Adwords as a job search tool

It's a fact of life, the number one thing people are curious about is themselves (and what other people think of them). Here's how one creative put that bit of human insight to work... in his search for work.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Notes from 5/7/2010 - "Managing Social Media"

Last week's meeting started off with a bang, literally, as we somehow got sidetracked into a lively discussion about gun control and the 2nd Amendment. (We might all be marketers, but some of us are clearly on opposite sides of the table when it comes to the subject.)

We quickly, however, got back to business and talked about more pertinent topics, such as how to effectively manage multiple forms of Social Media. One recommended application that several of us are employing is
HootSuite, which lets you manage multiple Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts in "one easy to use interface." The free software application lets you schedule tweets, track statistics, and personalize how you view what's going on in the social realm.

Friday's guest speaker will be Terah Brossart from The Creative Group, a national creative staffing agency. Terah will tackle all our questions about the Seattle market and will bring along some Salary Guides TCG has produced. Upon request, Terah will also discuss the rise of Social Media and how folks are landing jobs in this area.

Congrats to Meghan Ragsdale, who was elected Chair of Ad 2 Seattle, the AdClub's sub-group for those 32 years of age and under. They just had their 1st event last night, as they are looking to 'relaunch' the group back into prominence within the creative community.

Jen Pearce has recently started in a contract role as Media Author II with Xbox. She said the connection was made when she met reps from Creative Circle at our April 2nd meeting. Congrats, Jen!

And I've heard of two other offers, but I'm waiting (as are they) for final confirmation, before broadcasting to the world.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Account Management - Just Like Coaching T-Ball

So, I'm coaching my sons' t-ball team the other day, and I'm getting the sense that something feels eerily familiar. Then it dawns on me... that coaching 4, 5, and 6-year-olds in a sport they haven't played before is very similar to Account Management at an advertising agency.

I've worked at three agencies in the Seattle area, and when explaining to others what Account Management is, I tend to end with, "It's a bit like herding cats." Which, if you've ever seen a t-ball game, you get the analogy. Add a mouse [the ball] to chase, and it's managing victory out of chaos.

First, in the new age of raising children, there are no losers - just games in which everyone gets to have fun by participating. In managing a client account, an agency is also looking for a win/win situation: a campaign that not only drives business for the client, but one in which the creative team can be proud to add to their portfolio.

Coaching t-ball is about keeping players focused and making sure everyone knows what's going on. "Hey Johnny, you paying attention?" "Great hit, Paul! Do you know which base you go to next? Right, 2nd." "Liam, if the ball comes toward you, field it (with your glove), and throw it to William at 1st."

As an account manager, it's not much different. Constant communication. You're the primary liaison between the client and all moving parts of the agency. (See below.) You're working with Media to help put together a media plan and get it approved by the client. You're briefing art directors and copy writers, so they can develop creative concepts that will communicate the company's product or service - to generate awareness, initiate trial, or to reiterate the client's brand. You're keeping track of schedules and working with Project Management and Production to ensure campaigns are being executed on time and under budget. All the while, putting on your 'client hat,' knowing what makes them (and their customers) tick (and not tick), and pushing to get the best creative that you can out of your team. And very often, it's a lot of: "Hey, Rob... you and Steve are going to be ready for the internal check-in meeting at 3 today, right?"

Sometimes, because of the sheer number of folks involved at each point, you're also orchestrating more people than are truly needed. At an agency, you can't have everyone who is working on a campaign there to present to the client (not that they'd all want to) - so some folks are left back at the office. With t-ball, however, I look around, and we've got 13 players on the field. The whole team. One playing each position in the infield, and seven in the outfield. Nothing's gonna get by us. Oh, wait, see my point about learning "the basics" a couple paragraphs down.

As a coach or a supervisor, it's about managing expectations. In t-ball, that means talking to the other coaches and determining that a kid is still going to be able to run the bases, despite the fact that he was out at 2nd by a mile. Or that a kid can take an extra base (and just one) if she hits the ball into the outfield. This isn't that hard in t-ball, but it's one of the most challenging notions of the role of Account Manager. Again, it comes down to communication - keeping the client apprised of all moving parts. What's the status? Where are we with things, and if anything is behind, what are we doing to mitigate risk?

Everybody has an opinion. Thankfully, at this age, parents of t-ball players don't get involved in coaching from the sidelines. [I don't expect that to continue as we get to a level where we count runs and some teams actually lose.] If they did, we'd gladly hand them a team shirt, and they could have at it. At an agency, however, Account Managers are constantly working with two often-differing opinions: those of the client and those of the creatives. It's a true skill to be able to balance these while achieving both goals for a campaign as mentioned above.

From a pure management sense, a large challenge in each area is that of teaching basic skills. In t-ball, that means instructing the kids on the basics of throwing and hitting (the ball). For some kids, this comes naturally. For others, it's a bit of a challenge at first. At an ad agency, it's also the duty of a seasoned Account Manager to instill a sense of client service with newly recruited Ad Execs. Anticipation, accountability, managing budgets and people, etc. - all those things which make the account team an integral part of the agency.

More often than not, however, you find yourself in a situation where you can't train the newbies as well as you'd like, and you're forced to put them in 'live' situations. Initial instruction and some general guidance, and this is where the real coaching begins. In both cases, if you're lucky, you collect a team of players who pick things up quickly, can adapt, and even lead by example.

Our #1 rule in t-ball: "Have fun." Working at an agency can be a lot of fun, too. At meetings, we don't usually put our hands in and, on 3, scream, "HAVE FUN!!!" at the top of our lungs - but the ping pong table, the occasional free lunch, and general lightheartedness at an agency make it an implied rule nonetheless.

Rule #2? "Don't swing the bat, unless an adult says It's OK." I'm glad that's something we've never had to instill at an agency.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Notes from 4/30/2010 - Interview Etiquette

Welcome to two new OCA members:
- Michael Heavener has more than 10 years of experience managing external and internal communications programs or projects, and has recently done so with Microsoft in several contract positions.
- Jennifer Wilson, Meeting and Event Specialist, was most recently with the The Red Lion Hotel at 5th Avenue. Prior to that position, Jennifer worked with Seattle's World Trade Center for 4 years.

At last week's OCA meeting, we talked about, what I'd refer to as "Interviewing Etiquette." Not from the job seeker's side, but rather from that of the hiring company. Specifically, those at Friday's meeting aired their thoughts and opinions on the difficulty, at times, of trying to find out exactly where you stand in the interview process - especially with a final decision. Call it the "Seattle passive/aggressive approach," but many interviewers simply won't tell a candidate, "No" - even if there truly isn't a fit or they've "decided to move on with other candidates." And rather than being up front, companies sometimes simply don't get back to the job seeker at all. Are they waiting it out, hoping the candidate decides to move on as well?

As a friend of mine once said, Sometimes a 'No' is just as good as a 'Yes.' If you know exactly where you stand, you can close the loop and focus your efforts elsewhere. You can also sometimes gather valuable feedback that could help you down the road in your job search. One of the most difficult things to decipher is why you may have been passed up for a position, but if you can get someone to divulge that crucial piece of information, you're that much better off for knowing.

Some of the best conversations I've had have been with hiring managers or recruiters who have specifically called to let me know I didn't get the job. Rather than a form letter, it's personal, and while rejection isn't fun, you leave the process feeling good about the company and it's representatives. It also opens the door to be able to connect with them for future openings.

All that being said, we completely realize recruiters and HR departments are slammed right now. During a recession, when employment is down, those areas are one of the first to go. And as hiring starts to pick back up as it has, recruiters (or, in many cases currently, contract recruiters) are often doing double-duty and wading through hundreds of applications for every job opening they're responsible to fill.

Still, in a world where relationships are proving to be the best thing a company can develop, wouldn't you want to have everyone who has interacted with your company feel good about their overall experience?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Notes from 4/23/2010 OCA Meeting, Job News!

Last week Bill Munroe, veteran high-tech marketing strategist (and active OCA member), gave a presentation to the group that was informative, insightful, entertaining, and inspiring. He talked about himself, his experience with the job search, and what he has learned along the way.

We all know Bill - he's the one who, with a sense of humility and a touch of humor, asks the pointed questions, looking for straightforward answers to get to the bottom of things. Sure, we know him, but we didn't really know him, so he started out with his credentials: more than 20 years experience in senior leadership positions, specializing in the development of innovative technology-based product solutions. Chances are you've interacted, at some point, with a product he's marketed.

I've read your resume. So, what is it that you do?
During an interview, where someone actually looked up from his resume and asked this of him, Bill realized that he needed a way to sum up his experience and easily explain what unique qualities he had to offer. He needed his own Value Proposition Statement. So he worked on one.

Then he was told he needed a portfolio and a web site. Check. And check. When he stepped back to assess his progress, he realized he was focused solely on B2B. The problem? The market in the Puget Sound area had clearly shifted to B2C.

All of this lead to a reexamination of how he was approaching the job search and a realization that he must show companies how he could Add Value. He needed to be able to answer the following questions for any organization in which he was interested:
- Can you make us money?
- Can you save us money?
- Can you solve our problems?

Getting to the Questions
To even get to that point where he'd have a chance to answer questions, Bill would first need to be invited to interview. And that means 1st, making sure his resume could legibly navigate the various automated scanners employed by today's HR. [Bill's advice: Pay special attention to how your resume is formatted, making sure it's not garbled by the time it makes it to a hiring manager's desk.] And 2nd, simply "getting noticed" - rising above the hundreds of resumes that are submitted for each job opening.

Bill says, "Hireability = Experience + Affordability + Enthusiasm + Pedigree"
Experience is obvious. You need to have the qualifications to do the job, and companies these days can be quite picky. Affordability. If a company deems you as 'too expensive,' you're a flight risk for when the economy picks up. Again, they can look for candidates that meet their criteria and aren't quite so seasoned. Enthusiasm. Because companies are skeptical and a bit wary of bringing full-time employees on board, hiring managers need to know (or feel) that you're excited about the company and it's mission / values and what it's selling. Lastly, pedigree doesn't just mean where you went to school, but where you've gathered your experience.

Bill's take on Coaches.
Along the way, Bill has worked with several of the top career coaches in the Seattle area. All of them he'd recommend, but all of them also come with different perspectives and, therefore, different opinions on how to approach the search.

I'm In Control

Lastly, Bill suggests that job seekers need to ditch the thought of, "It's not me, it's the economy." This passive view makes us victims and needs to be replaced with the attitude that, "I'm in control." Get back to that list of questions, define those answers which show how you can add value. Get noticed, and get hired.

Job News!
Last year, my uncle introduced me to Carl Dahl. Carl had lost his job with a boat manufacturing company that closed its doors. He decided on the career path he wanted to take, and while networking and interviewing, signed up for an extensive Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification course. I'm very pleased to announce that Carl just accepted an offer to start May 10th as a full-time Lean Six Sigma Facilitator with Aviation Technical Services in Everett.
Congrats, Carl!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Advertising is Dead"

So began the talk tonight by Seattle's own Larry Asher (Workerbees, School of Visual Concepts, and a supporter of OCA) about "20 things you need to know to get a job in advertising".

My abbreviated take:

The traditional model of advertising is fast on its way out, so it's important to immerse oneself in understanding and participating in the change that is occurring. What's coming? Digital, mobile, social. And who knows what else. What do you need to succeed? Ideas, strategies, and the soft and hard skills necessary to present and implement them. And to get a job? Figure out your value (everyone has value). Get to know people. And be prepared to be useful.

Here's the deck:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Notes from 4/16/2010 OCA Meeting

In-depth and very engaging discussion at last week's OCA meeting.
Below are three different subjects that we covered:

All-in-One Job Descriptions
- We've all seen them... job descriptions that encompass everything plus the kitchen sink. Below is a shortened list of duties from
an actual job posting on Craigslist:
  • Write, design, and produce materials, including proposals, presentations, corporate collateral materials, and more.

  • Write press releases, seek opportunities for press coverage, track press activity/presence.

  • Advertising concept/writing/design for newspapers, sponsorships, and other publications.

  • Website design and maintenance for corporate site, intranet, extranet, and property sites.

  • Develop and maintain corporate mailing list/company database for use by sales force.

  • Research new technology, resources, and marketing tools.
And this is for a Marketing ASSISTANT position, looking for 5 years of related experience.

Someone in the group had an interesting point and analogy. Would an engineering firm post a job position that required a candidate to have mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineering experience? We understand the need for marketing generalists. And, of course, smaller companies can't afford to hire specialists, but rather need employees who can wear several hats.

Regardless, there's an overwhelming sense that recruiters and hiring managers are expecting the recession's talent pool to produce all-in-one candidates - at bargain prices. In addition, all too often job seekers are interviewing for positions that are mislabeled. PR/Communications roles, for instance, that are titled "Marketing Director," etc. and the kitchen sink mentality could indicate a lack of real knowledge of how the many functional areas of marketing actually work within a business.

Social Media
Another interesting position requirement we're starting to see everywhere is a need for "Social Media experience." Not only are companies looking for this, they're searching for job candidates who can lead them in this area. Postings for Director of Social Media and Social Media Strategist are popping up across the job boards.

Is it a fad or a viable marketing tool companies can utilize? Our group definitely skews toward the latter view. SM is a way to build relationships with customers, opening a two-way conversation. This added avenue of communication can then lead to product improvements, address customer satisfaction complaints, and help launch new products or services.

While Social Media may not result in a direct correlation to bottom-line sales,
monitoring tools, such as Brandwatch and Radian6, are helping marketing organizations realize their return on investment.

While most of us are exceptional at dissecting positional statements and recommending communications strategies, it's an interesting conundrum when we need to look inward and market ourselves.

One obvious way to do so is by networking.
Two weeks ago, we touched on the need to build tactical relationships with companies and hiring managers. What's often lost, however, is the crucial aspect of casting a wider net.
- Let everyone in your professional and personal network know that you're looking for work. You never know who may hear of an opening.
- Stay top-of-mind by doing so more than once. If time has passed, people may assume you've already landed something and not think to pass you the lead.
- Be specific, and ask for help. Let people know what you're looking for and ask if they know of anyone with whom you should connect.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inspiration to Get Out and Play

The following promotional video was put together by TBWA Vancouver and is one of the best :30 ads I've seen in a while. It hit home for me, because it's a topic I feel passionate about. Thought-provoking and well-executed, the video provides statistics that argue that we need to get outside and play more (and eat less) - and asks the question, "What happened to community?"

Do you remember when kids used to disappear after school? No,
Nancy Grace, not because they'd been kidnapped. Because they used to play outside. They'd jump on their bikes and head to the local parks to play with friends. Getting together with classmates back then didn't mean coordinating parent's schedules to arrange structured, supervised playdates. "I'm heading to Billy's house." "OK..." our parents would reply. "Just be back in time for dinner."

According to Nielson, last year
kids aged 2-11 spent an average of more than 30 hours per week in front of a TV, the most in close to a decade. Add time spent on computers and now cell phones, and the fact that only 8% of elementary schools provide daily physical education, and it's no wonder kids' waistlines are expanding as fast as the pace of technology.

In his new show, Food Revolution, chef Jamie Oliver, says "The children in America of today, of 2010, are going to live a shorter life than their parents." Scary thought. Jamie's not just looking to promote his latest endeavor, this is something he's been doing for seven years, promoting a sustainable movement that "will inspire people to change the way they eat." Earlier this year, Jamie was a recipient of the prestigious TED Prize, given annually to a "world-changer" in Technology, Entertainment or Design. (Previous recipients include President Bill Clinton and Bono.)

Luckily, folks like Jamie and organizations like the
NFL's PLAY 60 Movement are not just recognizing what's happening - they're doing something about it.

And yes, as I sit here, in front of my computer, typing away and sharing my thoughts and YouTube clips, I realize the irony. Time to take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notes from 4/9/2010 OCA Meeting, Job News

ONE NEW MEMBER joined us Friday:
Dianne Stiefel has more than 20 years of sales experience, most recently in the mortgage banking industry.

THIS PAST WEEK, we broke into smaller groups to further network on a more intimate basis. We also discussed issues that we're encountering during our job searches with the idea of looking to address them through OCA and possible guest speakers.

Items we talked about:
Social Media - The advent of this area has been exponential, and there are many jobs in the market looking for experience at various levels. Razorfish, for example, currently has an opening for a
Director of Social Media. Curator PR is interviewing candidates for a Social Media Strategist. A quick survey of Craigslist shows 64 positions posted in the past 30 days looking for some form of Social Media experience.

Action Item:
- Identify and contact a Social Media expert (or group) to come in and provide a primer and to discuss where this area is going with relation to marketing. Last July,
Spring Creek Group did a guest appearance with OCA. I'll see if we can get them back in. Another resource might be Ben Straley, CEO of Meteor Solutions.

Building Tactical Relationships - It's one thing to work a room at a networking event, gathering cards and asking how you can help other people. But it's another with taking those 5 to 10-minute relationships to the next level, and really getting to know people. How can we build tactical relationships that we can leverage during the job search?

Action Item:
- Reach out to
Sandy Jones-Kaminski, networking guru, to see if she can visit us and impart her wisdom.

Age Discrimination / Being Overqualified - Call it what you will, it's something many of us have encountered. We've got years of experience, but maybe more experience than the job description calls for. Or, we're pursuing a new area of interest, something we do not have as much actual experience with. And despite being very willing to take a lower- or entry-level job, we're still deemed as 'too expensive' or labeled a 'flight risk.'

Changing Directions - For several OCA members, the job search has taken us down a new career path. Graphic Designers are pursuing the web. Marketing professionals are exploring Social Media. How can we best position ourselves to employers (and to those with whom we are networking) to demonstrate the new direction we're taking?

Action Item:
- Contact trusted recruiters and HR reps at the companies we're targeting, to see if we can get a panel discussion lined up to tackle the two points above.

Job Search Tips - What has worked for others, for those who have been successful at landing full-time or contract positions? What did they learn from the career coaches, the job consultants? Did they spend time concentrating on networking or honing multiple copies of their resume to fit the job description?

Action Item:
- Contact OCA alums to see about setting up a "Reunion Show" to discuss what they've done to land their current positions.

Donna Sellers is now Director, Brand Marketing at Parallels.
Congrats, Donna!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Social Media Inspiration

AgencyTwoFifteen has just launched a campaign for Microsoft's KIN, a new Windows phone "designed to handle busy social lives - online and off."

The campaign, initially consisting of videos posted on
Facebook.com/KIN, is already being talked about and shared on AgencySpy, YouTube, Creativity, etc. The fact that the launch of the ads coincides with the launch of a rebranded agency doesn't hurt. (AgencyTwoFifteen has just parted ways from McCann, where they were known as T.A.G., and now operates under the bigger umbrella of holding company Interpublic.)

Given the product, it's a smart (and interesting) way to create buzz and to generate a following of targeted consumers who will want to keep track of Rosa, the campaign's hero and anointed "socialogist." Rosa will use the phone to validate her friends, making visits in a documented journey around the country.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Notes from 4/2/2010 OCA Meeting; Job News!

Four new people joined us at the 4/2 OCA meeting:
- Karen Holum, most recently the creative director for One World 2011, has over 20 years of creative services and design experience.
- Jill Schultz, a graphic design and marketing specialist, actually just took a role as Proposal Coordinator in the Energy, Environment, and Transportation group of ICF International, a global consulting firm.
- Zrinka Sliskovic was most recently a print/web designer with United Reprographics and has done freelance work for the Linden Tree Retreat Center.
- Doug Sutherland, a graphic designer, was most recently with the Hacker Group.

Kirsten Thompson and Sara Westerlund, recruiters from Creative Circle, were our guest speakers this past Friday. They introduced the staffing agency and provided tips on how to best work with them.

With 7 offices around the country, Creative Circle focuses on (obviously) the creative side of things. They primarily work with agencies and marketing groups, staffing candidates into 1 of 3 types of placements: 1) freelance, 2) freelance to full-time, or 3) full-time. Typical roles include: account management, art/design/creative, marketing, and media buying / planning.

Recent trends. They've had a significant uptick in placements, which they refer to as "starts." The number of starts per month has nearly doubled since last summer. And they are also seeing more full-time placements, as clients are beginning to feel a bit more secure in their hiring.

What is the best way to work with them? Make it easy. When applying for a particular job opportunity, highlight in your cover letter the skills that are applicable, so the recruiter can more easily match your experience with the job requirements. This will also let them respond quicker to their client. "Speed counts." They are paid for quickly gathering and positioning the best candidates for a position, and for a recent posting, they had over 400 responses within 2 hours. And speaking of cover letters, don't attach a separate Word doc. Bullet list out your key qualifications in the body of your e-mail.

Keep in touch. Creative Circle makes a point to meet with every candidate, to get the best sense for what candidates are looking for and what they have to offer. Considering you're part of a large talent pool, make sure you touch base with them on a regular basis, so that you're top of mind. They recommend at least once a month. Another rule of thumb could also be to reach out every time you update your resume, letting them know of the change and that you're still available.

Be mindful that recruiters are an extension of the hiring company. How you work with a recruiter is also a good indication of how you may work at a client site. Seems obvious, but key components to consider: "preparation, reliability, and flexibility."

Another interesting point that Sara and Kirsten made was to "Have a visual component that you can use to help sell yourself," regardless of position. Have a portfolio that you can point to and show off your work. If you're just starting out or changing directions, as many people are in the digital spectrum, put together comp work to demonstrate what you can do.

Contact info:
Kirsten Thompson - kthompson@creativecircle.com
Sara Westerlund - swesterlund@creativecircle.com

Job News!
Jenna Swalin has accepted a contract position as a Communications Assistant with the
Initiative for Global Development.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Notes from 3/26/2010 OCA Meeting

Three new members joined us as we had another big meeting.
- Melissa Baldwin, who was at WaMu in their Experiential Marketing group for 12 years, most recently finished a project with Starbucks and is also a volunteer marketing manager with Taproot.
- Caylee Betts, who recently completed her BA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Phoenix, is currently an Art Director intern at
Square Tomato.
- Michele Powell, who was most recently with AMEC Earth & Environmental, has 15 years of marketing experience, primarily in the industrial and technology sectors.

Fantastic speakers last week as OCA welcomed Kristina Muller-Eberhard and Thomas Lamprecht of Plume21. The two of them have recently started a new creative agency and visited us to talk about launching a business in today's economy and to share their thoughts regarding work, clients, and the future.

Their background. The two of them each have more than 20 years of ad agency experience, having worked with some of the top brands in the world (Oracle, T-Mobile, Sun, Adobe, Wells Fargo, Nestle) while at some of the top creative shops (Grey, Publicis, DraftFCB/Hacker). Thomas started Grey San Francisco and built the office into the agency's fastest growing division, starting with 1 employee (himself) and eventually managing more than 200 people before moving to Seattle.

Why start a business in today's economy? This is a question they've heard, many times, before. Easy answer: "It's better to start at the bottom, than it is at the top. There's nowhere to go but up." Competitive rates in a down economy mean everyone is looking for a deal. Because they are small, and therefore more nimble and more efficient, Plume21 can approach companies that are "fed up with large agencies."

Who are they targeting? What industries? Kristina and Thomas are looking at growth areas, as well as ones in which they have experience, such as technology, services (intellectual properties), hospitality, health care, communications, and foundations. As one would imagine, they would love to add a couple Fortune 100 companies to their client roster, but are currently focused on small businesses which have potential for growth. "We believe small businesses are the future of this economy."

How are they prospecting potential clients? "We're plugging into our network as we socialize the idea of the business." As with searching for jobs, Plume21 knows the importance of networking. Before they were even able to hang an OPEN sign in the window, they were starting to receive referrals. They are also tapping into the venture capital market, as there is a mutual need that can be satisfied. They need clients, and start-ups need help developing their brands.

Their philosophy. "We approach things from the point of sales. As much as advertising would like to think it's about Art & Poetry, it's not. It's about sales."

Today's audience. According to Thomas, in 1998, people were exposed to 1,800 messages a day. Today, that number has climbed to 6,000, and it's extremely easy to filter out what we don't want to hear. "We scan, we go to what we need. Relevance Rules."

Their approach. Thomas used the analogy of designing and building a house when describing their approach to architecting a brand. "Too often a brand is developed in a vacuum. The brand has to be constructed to function in all spaces." He and Kristina think about all aspects of a client's marketing when developing a brand platform. "We build houses that are pre-wired, with all the plumbing installed. You'll get outlets where you (will) need outlets."

Project specific. Talking about a current project with a company based in Portland, you can hear the excitement in their voices as they describe selling a logo as part of developing the company's overarching brand. "We would normally show 3 or 4 designs, but we gave them more options - because it forced the client to focus on the idea behind the work."

Finally... What's the meaning behind the name? Another question they've answered before. Project Lamprecht und Muller-Eberhard, 2 people, 1 company. (The "und" - which means "and" in German - is a nod to the pair's European background).