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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Networking - Pt. 2

While yesterday was a short intro on networking in general, today I'm going to focus a little more on how to start. It's important to realize that as cliché as it sounds, networking is an art not a science -- and no, that is not a cop out. As I said earlier, networking is different for everyone so I'm going to go through my own process in hopes that it will help:


1. Create a contact information spreadsheet

In this document I have the person's name, phone number/email, how I came in contact (alumni, friend, etc.), their organization, dates contacted and a small summary of conversations. As your network grows, this spreadsheet will be your 'rolodex' so keep it updated and keep it organized.

2. Consolidate your e-mail

I personally use Gmail ( if you have any questions or suggestions...or just comment below) which has the label tool. I'm not familiar with the other services but I'm sure they have a similar label or folders tool. It's important to keep your inbox organized to make sure that you don't miss anything and as another way to track your communications as you network. My labels in Gmail are simple -- Networking, Job Search and Personal. 'Job Search' is anything directly related to a job, such as correspondence about interviews etc. and 'Networking' is any correspondence not directly related to a job.
Once you have your e-mail consolidated it's time to start making contacts.

3. Tap into your University Alumni resources

As a graduate of a school with a tight-knit alumni community, I can't say enough about the value of alumni resources. These are the people that went through the same college experience as you (you can reminisce about your favorite local pizza place) and know what kind of people come out of your school. Contact your career services office (or similar organization) and get some alumni contacts!! Ask for contacts that are in a directly related field first but don't stop there if you don't have huge success. Think about what you want to do and ask for contacts in somewhat similar industries. Once this conversation starts, in my experience, your contact will start trying to think of people they know who would be directly relevant to you. Just because a contact may not seem relevant at first, DO NOT BLOW THAT CONTACT OFF. Alums want to help you and if they live where you are looking to work, they WILL know people outside of their own industry to hook you up with!

4. Try to narrow down your location

While it is possible to network by e-mail or phone, nothing beats a face to face meeting. It really helps you to make that personal connection which will be a huge force in making your contact want to help you. The best advice that I received (and received from multiple sources) was to "go where you want to work". By living in the area where you hope to find a career, you are able to "meet for coffee tomorrow" and when that contact has to change plans, you can change right with them...after all, you aren't driving 5 hours for this meeting, you already live in the city. It can be tough to pick where you want to live, especially if you have it narrowed down to a few places and they happen to be Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco but nothing shows commitment like hauling your stuff down without a solid opportunity. From my experience, this is a respected move and your contacts are even more willing to help once they see the level of commitment you have to a career in that city. This may seem scary at first, but you will be able to survive for a few months at a not-so-ideal job while you focus on building your network.

5. Let your friends and family know what you are interested in doing

If you think about how many friends and family members you have, there is a pretty good chance that more than one of them knows someone who could be a valuable contact for you. It is your job to reach out to everyone you can think of and tell them what you are interested in doing. You'll be surprised how often you'll hear - "Oh you want to be a management consultant? I had no brother works for Booz Allen, let me get you his number". This goes back to the fact -- if you don't make your goals clear and don't ask for what you want, it is not going to fall into your lap.


I can't stress enough that networking is about VOLUME. You have to throw as much out there and hope that a good percentage sticks (do NOT let quality suffer for volume, however. You need to come across as professional, positive and eager to EACH and EVERY contact you make). If you are naturally an introvert, you will have to make a concerted effort to reach out to people because successful networking is 100% on you. Just a quick final example of what I mean - This past 4th of July, my first in the Nation's Capital, I went to watch the fireworks with the rest of the city. While sitting on our blanket (5 hours early), I happened to overhear someone talking about my industry of choice. Not being one to pass up any opportunities, I turned around and politely asked the man if I could ask him a few questions as I am new to the area and interested in his field. He was more than willing to talk with me and it turns out he was an executive at a large company I had been researching. Now THAT is networking!

Tune in tomorrow for information on research and maybe a start into resumes. If anyone has ANY questions, suggestions or general comments, PLEASE comment below.

Song of the Day:

Layla - Derek and the Dominos

Monday, July 13, 2009

Networking - Pt. 1

As I mentioned on Saturday, today’s post will be a small introduction to an invaluable tool for job seekers – Networking. We’ve been over the definition so I’m going to start right in on some basics.

1. What Networking means to me...

In my opinion, networking is an enjoyable chance to market yourself to alumni, friends, friends of friends, and the guy that worked for your roommate’s 3rd cousin…three years ago. This is one of your best opportunities to "get yourself out there" and to get smart people invested in your future. To me, this is what networking is all about -- getting yourself on the radar of people who matter in your focus industry and who are willing to take time out of their day to give you advice and guidance (and maybe even job leads).

2. What Networking has done for me so far...

If you read my first post (or even the title caption of this blog) you will know that I don’t have a job. So what, you might ask, has networking done for me? In short, a whole lot. I moved to the DC metro area at the end of May, just two weeks after graduating, jobless, and with enough money survive the next few months. Now, it is Mid-July…and I’m in the same situation…with one noticeable improvement.

In my few short months in DC, I have met with MANY extremely talented, extremely interesting people in my industry of choice. Now, these people are looking out for me and using THEIR networks to circulate MY resume. The BIGGEST mistake people make in networking is going into a meeting with a sense of entitlement. Here is a quick do’s and don’ts list for networking (from my experience)


- Go to a meeting expecting this person to create you a job

- Go to a meeting without a few strong and direct questions or expecting your contact to just lay out all the answers for you

- Expect them to know what you are looking for without explaining your goals and aspirations

- Be afraid to ask


- Ask questions about your contact, their career path and how they got to where they are

- Politely and graciously, ASK for what you want (Once you’ve developed a good conversation or relationship)…if you are hoping they have a connection in some organization, you have to ASK

- Follow-Up quickly, professionally and include a small recap of what you talked about

- Keep in touch!! Networking is relationship-BUILDING…Build your network to last, once you have a job these people will still be invaluable contacts

That’s all for today, more on networking in my next post. Tomorrow I will include information on how to START networking. Finding those first few contacts may seem intimidating and I hope to alleviate some of these fears. Don’t forget – Networking is a process, not a one-time event. By building these skills now, you will be able to develop a strong and lasting network for your entire career. With people changing jobs more and more frequently, you never know when you will need to call upon your network for help (or to return the favor).

Job Article of the Day:

Song of the Day:

Promontory - The Last of the Mohicans Soundtrack

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 1

As the first entry into Write Me Two Times, I will keep this short untill I really figure out what I'm looking to do here. I've got some ideas about what I want to write about, I guess somewhat obviously, things that interest me and things that are affecting me right now. I think I'm going to try and combine personal topics with informative ones - for example, my taste in music one day and advice on how to stay sane in a job search the next (and I'm always receptive to suggestions).

As a [former] employee of the Colgate University Career Services office for the past three years, I have had exposure to career search methodologies on a much more regular basis than your typical recent graduate. Of course that brings the inevitable question -- why don't you have a job yet? I know, Right? Without making TOO many excuses...what I am interested in doing is very difficult to break into and so I've moved to Washington DC to NETWORK.

Yes I said it. Networking. That term everyone seems to throw around but no one really knows what it actually means - Or what it can do for you.

net - work [net - wurk] association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like: a network of recent college graduates.

It's not untill the SEVENTH definition on that we find the relevant meaning of this term. From my experience, the word is going to mean different things for different people...and this will be my topic for Monday -- What networking means to me, how it has helped me, how invaluable it is in this job market, and how it will benefit you for your entire life (all this and more from a College Grad with no first job...yet).

Song of the Day:

Love Me Two Times - The Doors ... (Yes it was my title inspiration)