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Posts Tagged ‘advice for starting my internship’

What You Can Learn From Working In Retail

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 13, 2009

At the pay desk

Retail – It’s a thankless industry. Between the elitist customers who look down on you for being a lowly salesperson and the family that does the same, you can begin to feel like you’re wasting your time in a position that has no potential to help you in your professional life. Well, you’re wrong. If you’ve been trying your best to get a so-called real job but feel that all you can get is retail, consider yourself lucky because you are now privy to the best on-the-job training for which you will not have to pay.

Your time spent on the floor of your retail store will give you countless hours of access to sensitivity, anger management, and customer service training while, also, developing your social skills, exposing you to deductive reasoning, working with a team, and developing your confidence. If you think these attributes are not important to your professional life, then re-read the skills and requirements that employers are looking for in their job ads.

You will begin to notice that people have a tendency to repeat certain actions. Take notice of these patterns because they can offer much insight. What follows is a list of some behaviors that you should take with you into your professional and personal life.

Read the fine print
When something is on sale, most companies list all of the exclusions in their marketing. This is the same for companies outside of the retail industry. Read through paperwork. Ensure you have full knowledge of what you are entering into. Don’t sign something without this knowledge.

Ask proper questions
Sometimes you can’t answer something for yourself, and you need help. It is perfectly acceptable to ask someone who is more knowledgeable about the subject for assistance. However, they cannot read your mind. “You know what I mean” will not always work. It is best to be clear on what you need so that the other person can adequately and efficiently serve your needs. Give the person clues to help them understand what you need.

Help yourself first
When was the last time you walked into a store that had no marketing, no price labels, and no item descriptions? Not recently, I would bet. How often do you bypass the marketing, price labels, and item descriptions to ask someone what’s on sale, how much something is, or what something is, though? In retail as in life, signs and labels are around to help you help yourself. People are much more willing to help you find a solution to your problem when it appears as though you have taken the initiative to educate yourself on the matter from the outset without expecting that you are entitled to receive the answers from someone else.

Double Check
You were taught this lesson in school. People make mistakes, but agreeing to their mistake will cost you in the end. After you have helped yourself, asked the proper questions, and read the fine print, ensure that all of the facts and figures are correct before signing your name.

Just because it’s on the front table doesn’t mean it’s for you
The first thing that you see is not always the solution to your problem. If you’re allergic to wool, would you buy a sweater without checking the fabric label? In the professional world it is necessary to dig deeper. Guarantee that you have fulfilled your needs before walking away.

Posted in Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Doing Everything Right But Still Not Getting Hired?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on September 1, 2009

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

I find so much information about what GenY is not doing right in regards to the interview process, but I know plenty of people who don’t show up to interviews in a bath robe; they have their resumes reviewed by experts; and, they ask what they are told are really great questions; but, they still don’t get hired. I wondered if there is still something that we’re doing wrong.

On August 17, 2009 I was participating in a hashchat called #journchat on Twitter. Towards the end of the discussion the professionals on the chat responded to this question from the host, @journchat: “Q8 What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm? Doesn’t have to be social media specific. #journchat” I re-tweeted what @katcalbes said, and, after speaking a few more times, I asked if she would mind offering more advice.

Kat Calbes is a PR strategist and branding counselor based in Los Angeles. What follows is her advice for interviewees on other statements or behaviors that can result in a poor interview.

In general, telling an interviewer that you are a “people person” because you’re an outgoing social butterfly doesn’t mean you should be in PR.  Here are other “no-no” behaviors and statements that can jeopardize one’s potential for landing a job:

Dropping the L-word too many times. This is a personal favorite of mine because I learned this lesson through one of my mentors early in my career. Plenty of young (and not-so-young) professionals wander through life using the “L-word” a bit too much.  It’s distracting. It’s unprofessional. And frankly, I want my company to be represented by someone who can clearly articulate their thoughts.  For example, We represented this “like” one company that “like” offered this “like” product that “like” does X, Y and “like” Z.  It was “like” the best campaign that I “like” ever got to work on and “like” I would work there in “like” a heartbeat.

Showing up to an interview without a portfolio or writing samples. We want to know if you can actually write (not just talk talk talk!). In PR and marketing, writing is one of the most basic, yet most important, tools for success. Writing means both internal and external documents – from press releases and byline articles to internal newsletters and basic memos to your bosses or clients.

Telling the interviewer you don’t really read the news. As PR pros, we need to be alert and on top of current events and trends in order to leverage our company/clients for timely media coverage or promotional opportunities. Make sure to follow the news, read industry-related blogs and pay attention to what is being covered in the media landscape. Hearing an entry-level candidate say, “Oh, I get my news from reading People, InStyle, etc.” is not what you want to hear (unless the position is for entertainment PR, which would then of course be relevant).

Don’t say “Oh, I don’t have any questions, you answered them all already.” It’s important to ask intelligent questions that show your genuine interest in the company. Even if the interviewer has covered every nook and cranny, always have questions handy. Write them down on a notebook (I’ve seen this and totally support it!). If the conversation truly covered every topic under the sun about the job or company, ask questions about the interviewer.  It’s just as important to know more about your future supervisor as it is for them to get to know you. “How did you get started in this company? What have you learned so far in your position?  What do you enjoy the most about your job?  What is your management style? Can you tell me a little about the department or team that I’d be working with?”

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Posted in Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fear of Success

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 8, 2009

Fear of flying

For as long as I’ve been aware of myself, metaphysically speaking, I’ve been conscious of the existence a fear-influenced duality of thought in my mind, which is responsible for my paralysis when attempting to move forward with goals. It causes me to think so much about my next steps that I develop a mild headache and desire nothing more than to lie down, go to sleep, and wake up hoping that the fear has moved on. It is so paralyzing that I devolve from the determined, confident person that I have become back into the apprehensive, insecure person that I was. This is more than fear of failure, though.

I could move forward if I were simply afraid that I might fail. I am no longer worried about fulfilling the dreams of others, or disappointing the people who had so much hope for me. Now, the realization that my life is based on my successes is my motivation to persevere. If I do not pursue my dreams with the ferocity of a predator on its prey, I will not succeed. My happiness is directly linked to my success. It is a causal loop that has been set to iterate ad infinitum. I have to succeed, and, yet, I’m scared. What happens if I do get the job? I’m going to be partly, if even on the smallest of scales, responsible for the success of an entire brand. If I do well, I’ll get even more responsibility. Can I keep producing good work? I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder in my own life.

When there is nothing to inspire you to get motivated, where do you look? Some people say “haters” inspire them to succeed. These are the people whose life goal it is to bring you down to their level or lower because they don’t think you deserve your success. Still others are motivated by the prospect of succeeding. I want to meet these people and ask them, “Why aren’t you afraid that once you do well, you’ll have to keep doing well?” No one can predict the future. They cannot know that they will continue to thrive in their chosen profession. When you do things well, people rarely notice. Break that pattern, though, and it’s all they can talk about. The only way to prevent negative attention is to keep succeeding, but that develops into perfectionism. If perfection and success cannot be guaranteed from every attempt, why try? Avoiding success equals less expectation. Less expectation equals less pressure to do well. The decrease in pressure results in less tension and headache, which leads to happiness, right? Wrong. It leads to mediocrity.

The pursuit of happiness cannot occur on the road of mediocrity. The road may be paved with a zero incline but reaching happiness more quickly will not give you greater satisfaction. Further, the happiness you reach is likely an illusion because mediocrity seeks just enough of everything. If you desire all the happiness you want from life, you must run around potholes, climb steeply-inclining paths, and beat back a few branches.

How are you going to find the happiness you seek if you don’t get on the right road?

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Posted in Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Starting An Internship? Offer Some Advice To Your Fellow Gen-Y’ers

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on June 1, 2009

Many Generation Y folks are starting internships on June 1. Conduct a search on Twitter for the keyword “internship”, and you will see just how many people are stating just that. Have any advice for what to do on the first day? Please leave a comment below.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

My advice:
1. Arrive at least 10 minutes early. Arriving on time means you are late.
2. Eat breakfast…seriously. You don’t know when you’re going to get your first break (if at all). You don’t want to end up like Stephanie Pratt from The Hills.
3. Be humble. If you offer help or ideas to someone more established in the company, do so with humility.
4. **MOST IMPORTANT** Do not…I repeat…Do not invite everyone from your internship to follow you on Twitter/Friend you on Facebook and then say any of the following: “My internship is sooooo boring”; “I’m sooo ready to leave my internship”; or, “I need (some form of alcohol, drug, illegal susbstance) right now.” Also, don’t assume they won’t try to search for you.

Did I leave anything out? Offer your advice here.

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Posted in Advice, Under-qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »