Smart Career Choices: Combining Passion with Social Good

Photo: lindseypollak.com

One of my all-time favorite blogs is Lindsey Pollak’s career advice blog, which was recently named by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Websites for Women. Lindsey is a Generation Y career expert and LinkedIn spokesperson.

Last week, Lindsey interviewed Emily Dubner, a social entrepreneur and the founder of Baking for Good. Baking for Good, an online bakery that gives 15 percent of every purchase to charity, works with more than 200 nonprofit and community organizations.

I’ve always thought that it’s especially important to keep a “social good” factor in mind when choosing a career or starting a business. Emily is a great example of a way to combine a passion — in this case, baking — with, well, good.

Check out the full Q&A here on Lindsey’s career blog.

What do you think about integrating charity work into a career choice?

5 Rules For Finding a Job on Twitter

Photo credit: socialmediaoutofthebox.com

I don’t know how the unemployed spent their time before social media.

After graduating from Syracuse University, while in my wait, I’m not in college anymore? slump, I spent a good portion (okay, a very good portion) of my time on Twitter. For the most part, my news feed was rife with articles about the spike in recent grads moving back home and the crushing unemployment numbers. Sigh.

Then, one morning, I noticed that a senior editor at The Huffington Post (whom I followed) had re-tweeted a tweet from HuffPost’s technology editor (whom I didn’t follow) about an opening in the department. Not only had I long dreamt of writing for The Huffington Post, but I was extremely passionate about technology. It was the ideal opportunity.

Ignoring the little voice that told me it was ridiculous to expect a reply email, much less an interview, I sent along my resume and cover letter to the email address listed in the tweet. Hours later, I had set up an interview – and a few weeks later, I had nailed the position.

But finding a job on Twitter isn’t just a matter of luck. Get the most out of your search by following these tips and suggestions.

1. Establish yourself as an expert and choose a niche for your tweets. It’s more important to have a specialty on Twitter rather than a stream of consciousness. In other words, if you’re looking for a job in health and nutrition, tweet about industry news and trends and re-tweet authorities in the field. That said, be sure to maintain a voice and personality. Tip: sites like Klout measure and help to build your online social influence.

2. Heard the phrase, It’s who you know, not what you know? Now, it’s about who you follow. Do a little digging on companies you’d like to work for; in addition to simply following their corporate Twitter account, find their top executives on Twitter — or editors and columnists. (Since I loved The Huffington Post and technology, I should have already been following the tech editor.) Some companies even have separate recruiting accounts, like @VerizonCareers and @WSJcareers, which solely post job news.

Photo credit: earthtravelunlimited.net

3. Participate in hashtag chats. These are organized conversations where users interested in a particular topic can join and contribute with a given hashtag, such as #careerchat. Hashtag chats make it easy for anyone watching along to identify the chat. They are excellent opportunities to network, increase your influence, and learn about a topic. Check out Mediabistro’s 15 hashtag chats to follow.

4. Tweet directly at people or companies you admire. But make each of those 140 characters count! Ask intelligent questions, or comment on company news; many companies use their Twitter accounts to boast corporate accomplishments and post links. This increases your likelihood of getting noticed by a job recruiter – and, more importantly, starting a conversation.

  • Don’t tweet: “Hey @MarieClaire, I’d love to work for you guys!! Love your magazine!” Sweet, but vacuous.
  • Instead, tweet: “Editors at @MarieClaire, loved your Aug issue, but was wondering XYZ about the article on bone marrow since I’m a donor.” Specific and a call to action. Ideally, you want to spark a discussion, not just move on after receiving a response.

5. Use Twitter’s list feature. If you’re like me and are following 1,000+ Twitter accounts, it’s easy to miss some important tweets throughout the day (potentially ones about job openings). Creating lists allows you to organize the people you’re following, and then easily scan through tweets later. In other words: exclude your annoying friends that tweet 50 times per hour about shopping and their cute dogs.

Any tips for finding a job on Twitter that I missed? Want to share your Twitter success story? Comment below! You can also find me at @mhess4.

Check out other tips & advice from No Joe Schmo, such as ways to create virtual business cards and maximize your resume.

Check in next week for Foodie Friday!

Next week's Foodie Friday: Mia Bauer, a co-owner of Crumbs. Photo credit: crumbs.com

Sorry to disappoint, but no Foodie Friday today! The series will continue next week, with the co-owner of Crumbs Bakery, Mia Bauer. Be sure to tune in next week to read about Mia’s first experience with the dessert and what she loves most about baking.

In the meantime: trying to decide on a well-paying career path? Science and tech are always a solid background. Check out this article on The Huffington Post about how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy.

Happy Friday!

Business Card Etiquette, Part 2: Virtual Cards

Smartphones and QR-code readers enable users to instantly exchange contact info. Photo credit: scrs.co

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about creating business cards that stand out from the crowd. But perhaps best way to do that is by having no card at all; an article in last week’s Sunday Styles section of The New York Times discussed the pitfalls of traditional business cards. The piece quoted Gina Trapani, founder of Lifehacker, as saying business cards are close to extinct among the tech-savvy. “I see people exchange Twitter handles, I see people scan each other’s badges,” she told the Times. “But I definitely don’t see people handing out cards anymore.”

So, want to save a tree and go virtual? Use one of these three websites to get started.

1. Hashable.com >> This social networking app allows users to “check in” with people to track meetings and calls; exchange business cards by typing in a person’s email address or Twitter handle; and make easy intros by using the hashtag #intro. Other features include sharing digital calendars, scanning in QR codes, and exchanging contacts by holding phones together (think osmosis).
Make it real: Hashable, Inc. is located at 6th Avenue and 36th Street in NYC. The website encourages users to “stop by and #sayhi” if they’re in the neighborhood.
Follow them: @hashable



2. Cardcloud.com >> Use this app from any phone with Internet connection to share business info with other Cardcloud users (or send via email to non-users). Add notes to a card to spur your memory, or tags to index a person and rate their importance. The “cloud” backs up each card, and integrates smoothly with Twitter and Facebook.
Make it real: Not sure where you met someone? Cardcloud stores and displays the geolocation of where you exchanged a business card.
Follow them: @getcardcloud

This About.me profile boasts just two sentences: one about a background in design, the other about an addiction to beet chips.

3. About.me >> Build a personal profile page that points users to your content from around the web, much like a central hub to build your online identity. Your personal splash page is heavy on visuals: limit your bio to a few sentences summarizing your current projects. Icons link to your content on various platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Formspring, and Instagram. To name a few.
Make it real: Sign up and get a free pack of About.me business cards. (Seems a bit ironic, no?)
Follow them: @aboutdotme

LAUNCHING SOON: Look out for Vizualize.me, which promises to “visualize your resume in one click.” Free premium accounts for the first 10,000 sign ups.

Voila! Goodbye, Rolodex. No more stacks of cards overflowing from your desk drawers, no more rushing to make reprints. However, in the same Times article, Trapani countered that “you’re real and you have a real job if you have a business card.” Do you think tactile cards still have a certain status attached?

Check out other tips & advice from No Joe Schmo, such as ways to maximize your resume and questions to ask at the end of interviews.

6 Ways to Maximize Your Resume For a Job

Photo credit: mflmigration.com

Using effective keywords and specific numbers can capture potential employers’ attention as soon as they open your resume. In fact, simply changing a verb or two can draw viewers. Here are six simple ways to make the most out of your skill sets:

1. Plant the right keywords. Certain buzzwords identify an industry or a profession, showing you know the lingo – and potentially separating your resume from the rest of the stack. Visit the websites of companies and associations related to your target industry, and check out the terminology used on their “about us” page. Also search for LinkedIn profiles of users who have similar jobs to the one you’re seeking, and take note of the keywords they’re using. Remember: Add these keywords and specialties to the “summary” section in your LinkedIn profile. Search engines add more weight to keywords in bold, italics, and in title/header tags.

2. Instead of listing your knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, tout social expertise in areas such as SEO, HTML, CSS, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Flash, and Dreamweaver. At this point, it’s pretty much universally assumed that you know how to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Photo credit: enforen.com

3. Highlight specific numbers. If you manage your company’s Twitter account, how many times do you tweet per day? Do you use applications like HootSuite and TweetDeck? Did you increase the number of followers?

4. Use descriptive, action-packed verbs. Verbs on your resume should be concise and firm — and, most importantly, action-first. Change have demonstrated to I demonstrate. Also delete static terms like completed and made. A resume is your opportunity to make a killer first impression on potential employers! To start, here are 10 resume power words: formulate, design, produce, manage, develop, present, master, execute, build, and collaborate.

5. Include impressive stats or analytics, such as total page views and absolute unique visitors to your website. Even if you simply wrote an article for another website or blog, note the number of visits or re-tweets your post received.

6. Social media links should dominate the visual hierarchy. If you’re active on Twitter (which you should be), list your Twitter handle at the top of your resume – near your address, email, and phone number – so it’s easily identifiable. Also include your personal website and/or blog, but ensure it has been recently updated. Including a blog URL on your resume can work against you if you haven’t posted in more than a month.

What other ways do you maximize the skills on your resume? Comment below!

Check out other tips & advice from No Joe Schmo, such as questions to ask at the end of interviews and ways to make your business card stand out.

5 Ways to Make Your Business Card Stand Out

Photo credit: themarketingguy.wordpress.com

A few years ago, I began collecting business cards everywhere I went — restaurants, boutiques, hair salons, coffee shops — and stored them in a 3×5 index card file. Today, I dumped them all out to take an inventory. Of the 132 cards in my box, I was most attracted to about 10 of them. I noticed a few commonalities among these 10 cards, and each trait can be translated into a tip to make yours just as noticeable.

1. Include a visual element. Choose a concept that connects to what you do. An image can help jog someone’s memory of who you are, and will reinforce your brand if used on your website and resume, too. Images should use color and take up at least one-fourth of the total surface area.

2. Utilize both sides of the card. Many of the most attractive cards in my box used one side for name and visual element, and the other side for contact information. On some, one side was a solid color, and the opposite side was a white background with that same color for text.

Photo credit: evancarmichael.com

3. Show, don’t tell. Add a creative twist that suggests your passion or field of expertise. For example, the “Google Me” business card to the right implies an interest in programming and technology.

4. Try non-traditional color schemes. Most of the cards in my box had a white background, so the light-text-on-darker-background cards really stood out. Also try going vertical with your layout.

5. Don’t include extraneous information. Pick and choose from these basics: name, email address, phone number, Twitter handle, LinkedIn URL, and personal website/blog address.

Want to really push the envelope? The following suggestions will definitely set you apart from the crowd, but make sure your alterations have purpose and adhere to your product or brand.

Play with shape. Some cards in my box were squares, circles, and ovals.




Add bite marks or holes.

Photo credit: allgraphicdesign.com





Non-cards. Several businesses have online catalogs for personalized chocolate cards. Other materials I’ve seen include leather and dog tags.

Photo credit: reencoded.com

Remember to keep a few business cards with you at all times – not just during networking events. You never know when you’ll meet someone at a bar or on a train ride!

What do you think is the most important element on business cards? What does yours look like?