The business world is a tough place. And if you think it’s going to get better in the near future, let me introduce you to this novel concept called reality. It’s something that the governments of the world are currently being introduced to (If you are unfamiliar with Marx’s Das Kapital; it’s a long, often difficult to understand set of works discussing the functions of capitalism, the history of capitalism, and most importantly, Marx’s famed view on capitalism’s diminishing rate of profit. Like I said, it’s not an easy read. Nor is it what I call uplifting).
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. I wanted to talk about the value of being rejected by a potential employer.
Like I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m currently in a purgatory like state of employment/unemployment. I’m in that fickle and highly stressful stage of life between my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree. Yes I graduated from a top tier university with a true liberal arts degree (I could of graduated in 2.5 years… I studied 4) and a work ethic that most employers would kill for, but the fact remains that I’m also competing in a world that is in all honesty a wash of “cheap” undergraduate degrees. (Notice how I did not describe the undergraduate as inexpensive. They are anything but inexpensive).
But I do not let that detour me. Doing so seems in my eyes unproductive as worrying about things that you can’t do anything about is simular to travelling via rocking chair: you expend a lot of energy, but you don’t move anywhere.
What I can do (and I encourage others to do) is continue forward progress. It may seem like you are constantly being pushed back 4 steps, but if you make 5 forward steps, that’s still a net gain of 1 step. It’s not a huge gain, but with the college football season coming up (and my string of productive Saturdays about to start disappearing), a gain is a gain. It’s not a touchdown, but neither are most plays in a game.
And that brings me to my point. When you get rejected by a potential employer, take it for all it’s worth. Make a connection with the people at the company, make a solid impression, and initiate a relationship. It’s not a job, but it’s forward progress.
That being said, I want to leave this post by re-visiting an old idea (the SaySomethingNice initiative) that I was reminded of by a recent (and non related) Improve Everywhere Campaign. On a side note, Charlie Todd, the founder of Improve Everywhere is also a UNC alum and one smart guy.
If you think the job market is tough right now you are absolutely right. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Just ask Harrison Anastasio, a Tanning Concierge at NYC’s James Hotel. Although this type of job is probably pretty rare to come by, there are people being hired in more traditional fields. Yes the competition is brutal, but there are a few small things you can actively do to make yourself more viable. And from my experience in the already brutal NYC market, it’s basically a bloodsport where even the tiniest of differences have tremendous effects.
That being said, there is one area that has consistently helped me get some pretty awesome interviews: my website and active web presence.
How so? Well let me make a quick list!
A Positive Web Presence is a Major Resume Asset
In today’s world of social media, having a positive web presence is essential. Companies look for people with knowledge and presence on the web. If you are not taking advantage of that, you are basically throwing away a free-bee.
Becoming an Active Blogger can lead to Opportunities
I write for Talent Zoo Media’s Beyond Madison Avenue. I can’t say it pays or has opened any major doors to me, but at the very least, it keeps me on my toes and pushes me to keep up with trends and events. Plus it gives me a place to expand my web presence. And it’s a great conversation piece at interviews.
Knowing Content Management Systems and Social Media Platforms is a Plus on any Resume
If you question the value of running your own blog and being active on the web, let me explain something to you: stop questioning the Internet. It’s big, it’s bad (in a good way!), and it’s here to stay. Embrace it because your employer does. And employers like people who embrace and understand major world trends. They tend to pick up new skills quickly and in today’s technological world, that’s a major asset.
Building a website is Easy
Ok, so I’m pushing the definition of “easy.” It’s not hard (your need only basic web development skills), but it takes time and the real issue with a site is not the architecture, it’s the content. That is unless you want a really custom site. In that case, you’re on your own. This site for example has been my pet project since September 2009 and my first trip to New York. I vividly remember fumbling around and struggling with Word Press in my lovely 10th floor, 63rd and Lex balcony apartment (of which I have zero photos… long story), but soon enough, I had it down. Now it’s all about maintenance and content.
Your Web Presence can be the Ultimate Portfolio
How many times have you lost a piece of work you wanted to show off? A solid web presence can prevent that and even help you show it off. Want an example? Take a look at the Veloshine commercial I worked on. It’s on Youtube and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Or for another example, once again my work with Talent Zoo.
Use the Tequila Principle when Building your Site
I have a close friend who has a wonderful theory about tequila: cheap, clear, and to the point. Like at lot of things in life (like pitching to bloggers), you can learn a lot from bar etiquette. Don’t go overboard on the design: keep it clean and clear. And don’t spend a fortune on it. You don’t need to.
While I was doing a little re-organizing of my massive collection of digital photos (A gigabyte is chunk change for me) I pleasantly found an old lost set of photos from my time in Europe. So I decided to do a little revisit of my time in Europe. All of these are circa 2008… I think. Click on the image below for a gallery!
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