Thursday, August 6, 2009


I've been very busy this past week filling out forms before I start working but I wanted to get this link out there. I started this blog as a way to keep sharp and use my knowledge and experience to help people with their job search. This article explains how a blog can be an important aspect of your job search and how you can market it to your potential employers. Use your own personal experiences and interests to create something that allows you to demonstrate a variety of skills (research and communication).

As always, send your resume to for a personalized review. Stay tuned for a big article coming this Monday.

Friday, July 31, 2009

It works!!

It's been a really busy and productive week for me but I've fallen a little bit behind on my updates. I'm not going to be able to write anything too useful today but I wanted to add some credibility to all of my previous posts. I can finally tell you that everything I've been writing about actually does WORK! I received an offer this past tuesday which I accepted at a major consulting firm. Through networking, research and good interviews, I was able to secure a position doing something that I want to do instead of being stuck working just to survive. It took almost exactly 2 months from when I moved to DC to this offer which more than justified my leap of faith move. More to come next week, I will be continuing writing about my experiences at an entry-level position and reviewing resumes and cover letters. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Consolidating Your "Personal Brand"

If you are using the internet as a resource in your job search (which I imagine is the case), the topic of your personal brand has probably come up at some point. While this may sound a bit cheesy (it definitely did to me at first), it doesn't mean you have to come up with your own NBA slogan to stick on your business cards ('This is where employment happens'). In reality, your personal brand is simply how you come across as a polished final product to potential employers.

In the days before the internet, this was a lot easier - nice clothing, good resume paper and a business card - however things have changed. In 2009, your personal brand is much more complex and you have to do quite a bit more to maintain your positive image.

Once you have realized the importance of maintaining your personal brand, you must also realize that this is neither an overnight process, nor something that can be done once and forgotten about. Maintaining your professional image is a big time commitment and needs to be attended to even after you start your job! Some of the steps I'm going to write about are Social Networking sites and require you to build up and maintain connections to make best use of the site.

Much of what I'm going to explain will be focused on your internet image. Start off by Google searching yourself, you might be surprised by what shows up. Make sure there are no compromising photos that someone put in a Webshots account 4 years ago that you didn't even know existed. You might have to e-mail someone you haven't spoken to in years but ASK THEM TO TAKE IT DOWN.

While having compromising content show up in your Google search is the worst thing for your personal brand, having NOTHING come up is the next worst possibility. Many of the following steps will help your "search engine profile".

That being said, here are 8 easy ways to start consolidating your personal brand:

1. Get a new e-mail address

While your college e-mail address is perfectly appropriate, you will only have access to it for a few more months if it hasn't been shut down already. Go to a free e-mail provider (like Gmail) and claim your name before some similarly named person gets to it first! The most simple, appropriate and easy to remember address would be First name.Last but don't despair if your name is already claimed. If this is the case, try adding your middle initial. While I am still guilty of using my college account for some older conversations, try and gradually switch over to your new account.

2. Get a set of business cards

There are plenty of cheap, online print companies that let you design your own business card. I used and was very happy with their service and price. A business card is great to have when you are going to networking events and working hard to get your name out. By having your information consolidated on one card, it makes it much easier for your busy contacts to stay in touch with you.

3. Create a Google profile

This is much easier if you have already created a Gmail account because you will be able to link your profile to your e-mail. If keeping things simple and organized is appealing to you (and why wouldn't it be?), Google is the way to go. The point of the Google profile, which can be found here,, is to control what information shows up when your name is typed into a search engine. You can fill out contact information, about me, where you've lived/worked etc. This is also the first place in my list where you can upload a picture. A picture is a good idea as long as you keep it professional. Try to keep the same picture through all of your profiles so that it is easier to connect them all together and to you!

4. Twitter

Three weeks ago I didn't know the first thing about Twitter and now I am absolutely convinced of its value in both social networking and the job search. If you are new to Twitter, check out this site first - In using Twitter for your personal brand, be sure to always update appropriately! This is something that everyone can see and you should approach the site accordingly. Again, in order to consolidate your personal brand, try to make your username as close as possible to your e-mail account. I will go into Twitter in more detail in the future, but for now, claim your name and mess around with the site. Try to be smart about who you follow, ie. don't follow a disproportionate amount of celebrities. Also, you can use Twitter in the job search -

5. Claim your name on Facebook

I'm not going to go into much detail on Facebook because it is so widely used already. In the interest of your personal brand, however, I will say to CLAIM YOUR NAME - I know that lots of people made fun of the username feature when it was first introduced but take advantage of it. Your account link will be In the interest of making things easier, how much more simple could your Facebook link be? Also, make sure your photos are blocked and appropriate, your updates are appropriate, and consider locking your wall so your friend doesn't 'compromise' your page at 3 AM.

6. Get LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a very powerful social networking tool focused on the professional world. If you haven't already, make an account (using your new e-mail) and fill out your profile. Make sure that you use the same picture you have been using for everything else and don't start friending people like you would on Facebook. If you are unfamiliar with LinkedIn, check this short video for some tips - When filling out this profile, make sure you include your twitter and facebook accounts. This is one place where making those easy to remember links comes in handy. REMEMBER...if you link to Facebook on your LinkedIn page, make sure it is 100% appropriate first.

7. Resume/Cover Letter

Your resume is basically a snapshot of your achievements over the past few years and should be absolutely perfect before you hand it to someone. Check your university's career services page for tips on how to start building a resume or e-mail me at I will provide editing/critique's on completed resumes and help getting started if you are feeling overwhelmed. More to come on Resumes later...

Cover Letters typically follow a very rigid structure in their organization. Check this website for help with cover letters -

With both of these documents, MAKE SURE THEY ARE PERFECT. Potential employers get stacks of these every day and one quick and easy way to get yours thrown in the trash is to have an error. On the flip side, if you can make yours unique, all the better for you.

8. Dress the part

While this last one may seem obvious, the biggest part of your personal brand is YOU. You can have the flashiest websites and a flawless resume but when it comes right down to it, how you come across in person is really what matters. That being said, invest in some nice clothing for interviews. Don't break the bank but one nice set is important (Guys, look at Jos. A Banks, they always have great deals). If there is any confusion at all as to the appropriate interview attire, check this site - While business casual is becoming more popular in the work place, interview attire is still conservative and formal. Also, don't be the one who forgets a button or has scuffed shoes. Take the extra time because if you can't even dress yourself, who is going to give you any more responsibility?

Following these 8 suggestions will get you started on the road to success with your personal brand. Remember, doing these thing IS your job right now, don't neglect your responsibilities. In a time where competition is skyrocketing, don't do anything that would submarine your job search! Also, realize that ignoring your personal brand is not an option either. Don't leave what shows up on your Google search to chance. Take the initiative and the payoff will be huge.

If you have any questions please comment or email me. Again, I am offering free resume critiques so send them to for help!

Job Article of the Day:

Song of the Day:

Knights of Cydonia - Muse

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Location, Location, Location!

Just an extremely quick update today from New Jersey. As I've mentioned previously, deciding where to live is a very important step in your job search. If you say you will live ANYWHERE, that's great but makes the job search much more difficult. If you focus on one or two places (and I advocate for actually picking up and going there), you will have much better results. Flying or driving around the country for random interviews and networking opportunities doesn't make much sense. Since I've been in DC, I've met with close to 20 people and had about 10 interviews...more than enough to justify focusing solely on one location.

If you are having trouble deciding on a place to focus, try using Sperling's Best Places to research and compare.

Again, packing up and going not only helps you focus your job search, it shows potential employers and networking contacts how committed you are to finding work. It's easy to sit at home and send your resume out's a whole other animal if you go set up shop in a new city. It's working for me, it will work for you.

Don't forget to send your resume to for a critique!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Resume Critique

It's been a very busy week interviewing, networking and researching, and so today I'm only going to introduce my newest idea. As a student advisor at the Colgate University Center for Career Services for three years, I have edited and assisted with hundreds of resumes. I will be offering free, personalized resume critiques. My only 'fee' is that you comment or provide positive feedback if you feel that my critique was valuable to you.

Please e-mail all resumes to and write a very brief description of what kind of opportunities that you are applying to at this point. Please make sure that your resumes are one page (unless you need help cutting it down - if this is the case, 2 pages max. please).

Also, remember to check in next Monday for my article on personal branding and using social networking in the job search!

Song of the Day:

Old Man - Neil Young

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quick Update

So I've gotten a little behind in my writing but now I'm back to work. I went home for a long weekend for my sister's graduation party and to spend time with family and friends. I'm actually closer to home now than I was in college so its easier to go for a long weekend. I had a lot of fun, as usual, and spent 0% of my time thinking about any of the subjects of my previous posts. Now I'm preparing for interviews tomorrow (hence the short update) and then I will be starting on a larger and more detailed article. At the suggestion of my friend and fellow job searcher, Ryan, I will most likely be focusing that article on personal branding and using social networking sites in the job search.

I also wanted to bring to your attention two successful examples of my last post. Although over this past weekend, I did not actively search for jobs (although it did come up at the party quite a few times), I left home with two high-level contacts who I will be speaking with this week or next. One contact came from my Uncle who was ran into an old friend on the street and mentioned my job search. The other contact is the cousin of a close family friend. This is what I mean by LETTING PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN DOING!!

Networking in action...this stuff works.

Anyhow, that's all for today...time to get back to interview prep and research for my article. Also, I will be starting a resume service soon so keep on the look out. I will be using my 3 years experience working for the Colgate University Career Services to edit and comment on your resumes! This will be a free and completely personalized critique! Check back in this week and please leave a comment!

Song of the Day:

Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Introduction to Research

I bet you thought that once you finished college, you wouldn't have to do sustained research ever again (unless you're going to grad school or into the research field). As much as I hate to be the one to break it to you, it's not least not yet. In order to be successful in your job search, research is going to have to become a focal point once again. There are a couple of different levels of research that I'm going to write about today. Remember, this is just an INTRO to research as there are hundreds of good sources that I don't have the space to list.

1. Research at the Industry Level

If you have narrowed your focus to a few specific industries, it is important to get a grasp on the nature of the industry as a whole before you pinpoint specific companies. This is important because once you do start looking at specific firms, you will be able to better see their role within the industry (one point for you in a potential interview!). Researching the industry will also help you to understand what people actually DO in that field. Here are a few good sources to begin this search:

The Internet Public Library -

This source is a comprehensive guide to trade associations and organizations. On the title page, it has industries broken down into 11 groupings. Once you see the field that fits your interests the best, click on it to see much more specific entries. The websites of these associations and organizations will help you to look into the big picture.

While Wet Feet can also be used to research specific companies (and other great career advice), its Career/Industry profile page is fairly unique and very powerful. Once you've chosen your industry, you will find an Overview, Trends, Job Descriptions and Tips, Major Players and More... **Highly Recommended**

Similar to Wet Feet but focusing more on specific careers. College Grad is also good for looking into specific employers.

2. Research at Employer Level

Once you have a grasp on the big picture, it's time to get more specific. After all, you are looking for a job and the Consulting industry itself is not going to hire you. The following sites will help you get started on researching companies that you are interested in or where you have interviews (and hopefully both). While the firm's own website should be your first stop, check these resources as well since they will give an outsider's perspective and show you the competitors so that you will have more potential options!

I use this site more for researching specific employers. This section of the site combines searching for entry-level employers with a company research function. It also ranks the top entry-level employers by how many entry-level hires they are projected to make.

E-mail your career services office to see if your school has an account at CareerSearch. This is an extremely powerful database that allows you to research over 4 million companies. It also helps you to compare and contrast with the competitors. **Highly Recommended**

Vault is a really great site for both industry and company research. I particularly like Vault for company research because of the lists it uses to break down companies within an industry. For example: Top Internships, Best Companies to Work For, Great for Green, etc.

Stay up to date on the financial news of your company. Recognizing and understanding recent moves by a company will help you from your cover letter to your final round interview. The right sidebar of Google Finance provides all kinds of great and current news articles.

3. Other methods of research

Career Services Office

Don't forget about your University Career Services office. I can only speak from experience, but at my school, the Career Services office is still happy, able and willing to help alumni (especially recent grads). Send an e-mail or make a phone call now while it is still the middle of summer and start a dialogue before all the students come back. These advisors are PAID to know about the career search...USE THIS RESOURCE!

Informational Interviews

This is essentially the same as networking in that you ask a contact for a meeting, purely to discuss questions you have about their company, industry, etc. This plays a huge role in research because you can ask any reasonable question and you will receive the opinion of someone actually working in the field. Ask your contact first if they mind, but don't forget to take notes!


Don't forget about the vast number of print resources that are most likely available at your local library. It may be easier to hop online but many companies, such as Vault, have an entire line of books to mirror the website (and the books came out first...).

That's all for today, don't forget to comment if any of this is helpful or you have your own methods that I haven't touched on! Tune in tomorrow to read about looking for actual job postings.

Song of the Day:

December - Collective Soul