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Job Search Tip #11 | Bypass the online agency

people queueIf you use a lot of online jobsites, you’ll know that most of the jobs are being pushed by agencies. Agencies are ok, I don’t like them much - but they can be really helpful especially if you are looking for temping roles.

In the main it’s best to stick to agencies with a specialism if you are looking for anything professional.

If you want to avoid the agency - try this.

Copy and paste a phrase from the jobsite ad straight into your preferred search engine. Most companies advertise their roles on their websites as well as through the jobsites and 9 times out of 10 you will find them using this simple trick.

Now you can bypass the agency screening and tailor your CV and covering letter.

A quick call to the company switchboard to find the name of the recruiting manager and you can send your application direct.

Remember they don’t pay the fee if they find the candidate they eventually recruit themselves - so you’ll get a lookin - for sure!

Good luck.

Filed under job hunting job research job search job tips

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G’is a job! 10 steps to shaking hands at interview

I had an interview yesterday. I was a little nervous but that’s normal. I checked the time and I located the office on a google map. So I was all set, except for the waiting to catch the bus into town. While I waited I thought I’d jot down my top tips for preparing for interview. Play to my strengths … Time was if I got the interview, I got the job. In the current climate - well we all need an edge, here’s how I plan to get mine. I hope it helps you get yours … Good luck.

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Filed under job hunting preparing for interview job interview job research

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Forget your troubles c’mon get organised!

Right that’s it! I am officially swamped. I’ve got ideas coming out of my ears for online projects, short stories even iPhone aps. I’ve got a to-do list that spans interior decorating, shopping for birthday presents, blogging, exercising, setting up meetings, preparing for meetings, finding work, on and on. I also need to eat, sleep and watch Strictly.

My online footprint looks like Big Foot tramped through on his way to meet a cousin up North which just adds to my stress and increasing feelings of helplessness and exasperation. I need an efficiency drive.

I can’t find anything quickly, which means I start things but can’t finish them. I get distracted trying to find the file, picture, song I need to progress. It’s affecting my ability to think - I’ve just abandoned a perfectly serviceable metaphor because I couldnt find the similie quickly enough to make it flow.

I’m surrounded by half eaten stories, unfinished wordpress sites, undone to-do lists and an empty fridge. I’m also due to leave the house in 15 minutes and I’m damned if I can find the notes from my last meeting with my next appointment.

Strategically I lack direction, operationally I lack focus and organisation - emotionally I am ricocheting between angry with myself, frustrated by the unstoppable flow of stuff and whiningly defeated.

I’ve had a go at putting in some efficiency measures and for the most part they’ve worked for a few days. I practice inbox zero, alphabetical filing of all emails and on and offline files,  though I have stopped short of reorganising my kitchen cupboards alphabetically and I am using online tools to aggregate and organise my reading.(Which I still never actually do, but at least it’s all in one place now huh?).

I’ve read the excellent Getting Things Done by David Allen (I confess I got distracted and haven’t actually finished it) and the bemusingly entitled Pomodoro Technique (I just haven’t found a timer I like enough to enslave myself to) and I’ve even downloaded to-do lists and efficiency tools onto my iPhone - all of which I use happily for a day and then forget about.

All this has led me to this incontravertable realisation…

Before you start to get organised - you have to:

  • Articulate the big hairy plan.
  • Commit to getting organised - defining a daily, hourly chant works for me.
  • Stop kidding yourself that little bursts of organised will get the job done.
  • Know how to get organised. (duh!)
  • Get help. Read a book, adopt a tried and tested efficiency process attend a workshop or find a coach. It just is harder than you think.
  • Just DO IT!

And remember this - if you do sign up for a workshop, the chances are you’ll be networking like crazy with some great local businesses.

What could you do with an extra hour or two a week?

Check out Think Productive for some advice and workshops - their productivity ninja Lee Cottier has inspired me to get this far.

Filed under efficiency organisation David Allen Pomodoro

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It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Bop shoowop. Bop shoowop. Bop shoowop…
Irving Mills

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Allotment Soup!

onionsOur dear friend Kath has got an allotment. Most weekends I imagine our Kath can be found happily digging and pulling and planting and kerfuffling on her little veggie patch - helping mother nature make real food. Over the year we have pinned our expressions to ‘mildly interested’ while listening to tales of muck shippments, allotment politics and the correct way to lay out your onions.

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Filed under courgette lemon chilli soup allotment

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Social media and internal communications

I’ve just had a conversation about social media and it’s growth. We were specifically wondering about how companies can step into the space with confidence, now all the hype has died down - and colleagues have expectations and indeed expertise in these social communication channels.

Here’s my two bob’s worth…

For me social media offers the opportunity to engage in conversations with all sorts of people. I listen in, I ask questions, I offer opinions and I engage with friends, colleagues and clients all over the world.

Social media is a broad amplification of word of mouth communication. (I read that somewhere and I agree with it). As with all communication there’s some good and some damagingly bad and most of it in the middle is, well - ok really.

Back in the day we used wet straw and big old leaves to create smoke signals which our neighbours would need to interpret - I imagine often with hilarious results! These days we have more sophisticated ways to communicate and we are increasingly skilled at managing our communications and understanding the meanings. People are endlessly resourceful just look at the fast development of symbols to subvert the 140 character limitations of twitter for example. #tagging, bit.ly shortening of urls etc. and emoticons before that.

We create new words, gestures and symbols and new meanings spring from old symbols used differently - we are endlessly able to invent, create and share these.

Communication professionals need to keep up with the new channels, understand how their audiences are engaging with their brands, products and each other online and learn the new symbols and meanings ascribed to the conversations happening online.

One last thing - we do still tend to think about twitter when we talk about social media but there are hundreds and hundreds of social media applications out there including blogs, wikis, noticeboards, file sharing, bookmarking, niche microblogs and aggregating newsfeeds and on and on and on… many of which offer real benefit to our engagement strategies and our internal communication channels.

We need to take the opportunity to assess our communication and engagement strategies and policies, understand how our people want to engage with us and each other and provide the channels, training and governance to support them to do that in persuit of our business objectives.

Filed under internal communications, social media social media governance

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Wilma Tenderfoot and the case of the frozen hearts cookies

We made these cookies today - after finishing the book last night, we decided to give them a go. They are especially good with a cup of peppermint tea to aid any deducting you may find you have to undertake.  

As ususal we just went with what we had in the cupboard - so we put in some muscle building work with the pessle and mortar to make granulated sugar into caster sugar and we substituted bonkers lemony essential oil for the grated lemon rind.

They tasted jolly excellent. A word of warning - keep a close eye on these beauties, if they overcook - they are way way less delish.

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all the little birdies on jay bird street…

 … love to hear the birdie go tweet tweet tweet!

(Here’s a more business focused post from late last year, it still holds true - while a lot of my online pals are in-bound marketing like good’uns - many small business owners are still a bit flumoxed by Twitter and unconvinced of how it might help them. If you are a fence sitter this post might encourage you to take another look.

Since writing it I’ve run a couple of sessions about Twitter and other online networks for groups of people feeling a bit bemused by the hype. It isn’t difficult to get started and more and more success stories are adding to the good news about the advantages of social networking for small businesses). 

My gosh there is so much twaddle about twitter online, it’s a wonder any sane person signs up at all.

Get past all the celebrity nonsense or the silliness talked about the possibility of building millions of dollars worth of business in a week and what have you got? People talking to people about the stuff they like or don’t like. It all depends on whether they fancy themselves as ‘love puppy’ sharers or net savvy debunkers on a mission to give us all a dose of their personal reality.

There’s a growing number of businesses that are using twitter and other social networks to create genuine interest in what they have to offer, simply by engaging their customers where they like to hang out.

Whatever they’re up to - the trick is to get the twitterati to like you! If they like you, they’ll tell others about you by retweeting your tweets and then maybe they’ll follow you some more and after a while, if you keep them interested, they’ll want to know even more about you. That’s when they’ll leave tweetlandia and come and find your blog or your website.

People like free stuff. They like it even more if it’s the really good free stuff. So all you have to do - is figure out what you have that is good and useful and that people will really like and start twittering about it.

If people like your stuff, they’ll tell other people about it and before you know it - they’ll all be wanting more of your really good stuff!

Hang on a minute - that’s like the old days - when word of mouth was king - and brands like Ben and Jerrys created a buzz by doing what they did best - really well. People liked it and told other people about it and soon thet got to show loads more people their good gear.

Can’t be that hard then? Here’s three things to figure out today, to get you started.

1. First off before you start, ask yourself what it is that you are really good at? Think about what you are really passionate about? Is it something you could give advice and help about online? That’s great. Your in bound marketing campaign can begin!

2. Figure out a good way to share this good stuff with your social network buddies for free! Don’t forget to invite them to find out more about you and your other good stuff.

3. And now you need to keep up the momentum. Make sure that if they do love your advice, your funky little art sketches or your wonderfully useful widgets, you’re ready to offer them more. Once you start this ‘make ‘em like me by giving them freebies’ malarky - you’ll need to keep it up, don’t worry it will pay off.

Experiment with this in a small way for a few weeks and notice how many more followers you pick up - and who they are. Come back and tell me how you got on, and what cute things you came up with to get retweeted.

I’m betting that your new friends will all be people interested inyour products and services too. Now you need to turn that new twitter follower into a customer.

Communication and marketing types call that lead conversion!

Filed under twitter newbie twitter social media sme social networking

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An old post revisited … Prompted by artist fiona flynn

I thought today, to remind myself of past passions and posts - I would collect together a few scribbles from other places here. This little tumbler blog is my own sandpit, so I can do what I like. Today I’d like to remember stuff…

After two long stints living in Newcastle NSW where the artist community is as deep-dug into the rock as the old ockers who hollowed it out in the first place – I am convinced that unless ‘community’ art springs spontaneously and opportunistically from the artists’ personal motivation to connect – its just sanctioned municipal wallpaper – and usually mediocre twaddle.

Local artists do sometimes put their work into shop windows there – thriving, young businesses that welcome the excitement of their association with the artists. They also ‘flash art’ the streets, the walls, the beach and come together in clumps to start things.

Mostly they do it without interference from the local plodding counsellors and the dwindling retail streets, and a dingy shopping mall that is still a no-go area after 9pm are not much improved by these local artists’ efforts. Of course not, how silly to imagine they would be.

Now I live in Bristol and Banksy has a lot to answer for round these parts. Chuck a sparycan in any direction and you’ll hit a mural. Take a wander down Stokes Croft to see how unlikely ’shop window’ art is to inspire regeneration, or cheer up the locals. (Although there is a sense of fierce reverse pride in the homemadey, ramshackle, independence of the area).

The people who live here, in the SW need to make some cash to spend in the shops, and when they do – my guess is that they’ll be rushing past these art daubed derelict commercial units on their way to worship the art of Geiger, Baker and Moss in the frighteningly huge Cabots Circus.

Find Flynn’s work and writing here http://fionaflynn.wordpress.com/

Filed under street art art community art stokes croft fiona flynn