Every industry does things a little bit differently when it comes to the job market, so it’s always great to get some insight from someone who’s been there. Ellen Gordon Reeves, author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?, has an amazing blog on Change.org focused on getting a career in the non-profit sector, but a lot of the tips are relevant to job-hunters of any age or industry. I’ve read her book cover-to-cover (and e-mailed many job-hunting relatives and friends with her tips) and I’ve learned even more from her blog posts, especially about the right (and wrong) ways to use the internet in your search. Here are some links to a couple of my favorite posts.
This spring we published Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?, an essential guide for young job-seekers by Ellen Gordon Reeves, and what an adventure it has been. One could never have guessed from Ellen’s stellar performance on the Early Show this morning that just a few short months ago she had never been on television before.
An author’s readiness for the national spotlight is the source of anxiety for every publicist. Many new authors come in with a belief they could face anyone from Oprah to Charlie Rose at a moment’s notice, but very few manage to project the confident smooth-talking expert you’re used to seeing on your screen without many hours of lengthy (and expensive) media training and multiple Advils ingested by yours truly.
Thankfully Ellen Reeves’s training was capped off with a few easy-going conference calls and a small iced coffee at the Time Warner Center. Ever since Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? launched in May, Ellen has taken her new-grad advice to such venues as CNN, NPR, ABC News Now, Fox News, EXTRA, and just this morning, the Early Show. Her natural eloquence and bullet-proof expertise have impressed producers around the country and she received the highest compliment an author can get from quite a few of them—an invitation to come back.
With all of this media success, one wonders if maybe Ellen’s new book should be “How to Ace an Interview.” But that might be a chapter in Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? already.
The author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? dishes out 10 great tips to jump-start your job hunt.
1. Stop looking for a job and start looking for a person. The right person will lead you to the right job. 2. Stop sending your résumés into cyberspace. It’s a black hole. 3. Get your parents and relatives off your back and on your side—they’re in your network, too. 4. Get a business card—looking for a job is your job now. 5. Don’t waste valuable résumé real estate on useless conventions like an objective, a GPA, a summary of qualifications, or lines like “References Available Upon Request.” 6. Always dress for a phone interview. If you feel more professional, you’ll sound it. 7. Never say yes to a job offer right off the bat; accept the offer of employment, then negotiate the terms. 8. Create more than one résumé. Tailor each one to the job at hand, with specific categories correlated to the stated requirements. 9. If you want help, be specific. Don’t say “I’ll do anything”—people won’t know where to start. 10. Being young and inexperienced doesn’t have to be a liability: You’re flexible, relatively cheap, and willing to work hard to get ahead.
For more job-hunting tips, click here to listen to Ellen on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
Ellen Gordon Reeves started helping her friends with their résumés in high school and now consults to individuals and institutions in the U.S. and abroad. She currently serves as the résumé and job-hunting expert at the Columbia Publishing Course. More about Ellen Gordon Reeves
Back in April I interviewed for a summer internship at Workman. My anxieties about the process were slightly quelled by the fact that I’d already been on a couple of interviews—and I was thrilled to hear that I had gotten the job. But on my first day I realized that though this wasn’t my first internship, the office experience was brand-new to me—and overwhelming. I have interned at an organic farm and creamery in upstate New York and at an art gallery in downtown Manhattan, and I’ve worked in almost every type of food service imaginable. But dealing with a boss (or stubborn cows and art collectors) is one thing; a whole office of supervisors is entirely another.
One of my first tasks involved some research for the promotion of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? by Ellen Gordon Reeves. Seeing as the interview was behind me, I hadn’t thought of Ellen’s book as being applicable to me until I noticed the subtitle: “Finding, Landing and Keeping Your First Real Job.” Keeping was the key. The last chapter, “You’ve Got the Job,” has all the office etiquette your mother would nag you about—but when it comes from a professional, you actually listen! On every topic—from what to do for lunch to communicating with your boss—she tells you the stuff you need to know but that other people won’t necessarily tell you straight out. (My colleagues were nice enough to look out for me my first day and show me the ropes for lunchtime, but not everyone is so lucky.)
I think the most valuable thing Ellen tries to convey to us office newbies is wrapped up in the following piece of advice: “Don’t forget that you are a beginner.” No matter what, every job you start is new and different. Part of being prepared for the job is realizing that there will probably be some things you won’t be prepared for—copier jams, meetings you didn’t know about, trying to check your messages without a code. (I figured that last one out, but I’m told it takes years of practice to truly become one with the copier.)