Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's a whole new day

I apologize for being remiss in posting these past few weeks. Here's the shortened version of what's been going on in my life since the last post (back in mid-January):

  • A friend and church member told me that she was leaving her job for another opportunity and that her position would soon be available. (Yay networking!)
  • I had an informational session with my friend to figure out what her job entailed to figure out if I was interested...I was.
  • I contacted my friend's supervisor and we started emailing back and forth about the position.
  • I went on a cruise to the Caribbean with my mom. It was a vacation in my father's memory (he went on the same cruise last year a couple of weeks before he died). His older sister, younger brother, and cousins were on the cruise as well and it was the perfect tribute to good 'ol Papa Joe. We went to his favorite beach and scattered some of his ashes, my uncle and I played 3 card poker (one of my Dad's favorite games) and won, and we ate very well.
  • Upon returning home, I had an interview for a job as a consultant with Tobacco Free Michigan. About an hour and a half into the interview, I was offered the position.
  • Today was my first day.
  • Moral of the story: Yes it's true, jobs do come from talking to people. This job wasn't even posted.

So now I'm officially a policy consultant for Tobacco Free Michigan, a grassroots organization that is dedicated to promoting tobacco-free environments and to improving health and quality of life through education and advocacy. I'll be meeting with local coalitions and community groups statewide, sending out action alerts to the agency and individual members whenever important tobacco related legislation or news pops up, and the basic care and feeding of the organization (paying bills, staffing the board, setting up meetings, etc). My coworkers seem like a lot of fun (I discovered that pranks are popular, but that I'll be left alone initially) and I'm happy to have a window to look out of.

My first day was spent meeting coworkers, going through orientation and generally acclimating myself to the tobacco control world. Tomorrow I'll be meeting WITH coworkers, going through orientation, and continuing to acclimate myself to the tobacco control world. I'm looking forward to it. :)

So, now that I've got the work that I've so desperately needed, what is to become of this blog? Well I'm going to try to continue it but I'll be taking a less personal route. I'll be updating periodically with information about career searches and networking and general office etiquette. For now, however, I'm going to log off and read some more about tobacco control. For those of you looking for entertainment with a tobacco-free spin, check out The Truth Campaign.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who do you know?

In my seemingly never ending search for a job, I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s who you know, not what you know” myriad times. Now, I just moved to the Lansing-area a few months ago, so I don’t know too many people here per se, but I do know some and a handful is all you need. These days it’s not so much “who you know” but how you use “who you know.” Lately there haven’t been a lot of job postings that I’m qualified for or interested in so on days like that, I network and use my connections.

How have I used my connections? I’ve distributed my resume to a few people in the community and have a few informational interviews coming up with some area lawyers. The informational interview is key, particularly in this economy. Job seekers can use informational interviews to find out about a particular industry or employer. Although you can find much of the same information with some careful research on the web or a brief perusal of the company brochure, the informational interview allows the job seeker to make a personal connection with someone in the industry. Because it’s a less formal setting than a job interview, the informational interview lets the job seeker ask questions about everything from day-to-day business to questions about salary and benefits (which may be awkward to ask during a first formal job interview).

Although the purpose of the interview is to gather information, make sure you know some of the basics, like who you’ll be talking to, how to pronounce his or her name, and what title s/he holds. You should still regard the informational interviews as business opportunities and dress accordingly. Conduct yourself in a professional manner. After all, this could lead to a job interview with the same employer or with another employer in the same industry.

In addition to the informational interview, I’ve also begun using any and all new media connections I can make. Use the internet to your advantage. Sure, I’ve just moved to the area, but I’m still in touch with my friends back in Chicago, NY, NJ, Boston, etc. Although they don’t live in Michigan, they may know people who do, or they know people who know people who live in Michigan. So, I cyber network and try to keep my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages updated. Because I have this blog, I scour the net daily for jobs to apply for and write about and look for articles on other sites that point to jobs that I can apply to and write about.

That said, check out the following articles on cyber networking and using the internet to your advantage in your job search:

Here's an article about the five web resources to use in your job search.

Sure you've got a LinkedIn account, but are you using it the right way? Check out this article to make sure you're not making any of the seven mistakes Louise Fletcher writes about.

Another article singing the praises of using Twitter in the job search.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Twitter and the Job Search Part Deux

Yet another article singing the praises of using Twitter for the job search can be found here.

Change I Can Believe In

Obama released more information about his stimulus package recently and advisors estimate that the plan should create more 450,000 jobs with infrastructure plans creating an additional 377,000. This will not be an overnight change and the jobs aren't as "shovel-ready" as Obama would like them to be, but anything is an improvement over the current economic climate. In addition, the stimulus package would prevent layoffs of already employed workers thus creating or saving nearly 4 million jobs. Read more about Obama's plans in the Washington Post Article.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Staffing agencies, recruiters, and temp jobs, oh my!

No one's going to be employed...ever...right? Wrong. According to MSN Careers, there's quite a few options out there, particularly if you go through a staffing agency or professional recruiter. There are different recruiters for different industries. If you're looking for a legal job, you'll want to go with Hudson. If you're looking for a job in skilled trades, try Manpower.

For a more in-depth description of why staffing agencies are so incredible, check out the full article here. As for me, I'm off to check out all these different agencies for myself.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Legal Assistant - East Lansing

After scouring the job boards all day, I finally found a position that I can apply for. There were over 140 new jobs posted on Indeed today and several new jobs posted on the State of Michigan website, but ultimately the position I applied for today came from Career Builder.

It's another legal assistant position, this time with an estate planning firm. I'd go into more detail, but that's all there is. No email, no website, no phone number, just a PO Box number in East Lansing. I'm always sort of nervous about job postings without any information other than an address. Where am I sending my resume? I guess I just have this weird fear that there's some wacko out there collecting resumes and then stalking people, scaring the crap out of them because s/he knows what their major was in college and where they worked five years ago. Could be a creepy horror movie, a Dateline special, or it could be my life thanks to the Michigan economy. I'll try to keep you posted as to whether or not this last job application gets me killed.

On a note more relevant to the job, I would make a great legal assistant for this firm. I loved my Estates & Trusts class and kicked butt on a will drafting assignment. It will also help to start learning about the Michigan probate system, since that's usually what people ask about once I tell them I'm in law. Having gone through the disposition of my father's will and trust, I also got a sense of what to do when a grieving family comes in to see you. Rather, I got a good idea of what not to do. That's another post for another day, but I will tell you that the bottom line is: Don't act like a hotshot know-it-all attorney.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I haven't decided if I'm going to give the online job search a break or not. I'm thinking I may take tomorrow to email all of my contacts and see if they have any connections to any of the jobs I've applied for this past week.