i found the light

I still can’t believe it.  I am an employee!  Not just an intern, not a part-time worker, I am officially (well, once the offer letter gets here!) a full-time employee with a salary and benefits.  I never imagined how good it would feel to be offered a job like this – especially when I feel that everything ended up falling into place, whether or not it was following my own personal timeline.

I started my job search in February, which ended up being too early (in my opinion).  I had a couple of phone interviews where I feel that things would have (or could have) turned out differently if I did not have to wait until graduation in May to take those positions.  A few months waiting for an employee to start is too long for some companies, although there are always certain places who do like to hire early (but those were not where I applied apparently).  I had my first in-person interview at the end of April for a Marketing Coordinator position, and even with following up with them multiple times never heard a word from them again… Of course this gave me the feeling that I was not good enough, because even though I knew I had all of the requirements and skills for the position there was something they did not like about me.  I can speculate all I want and say, well they were waiting until they hired the position directly above the one I applied for (which they were), but that does not explain the zero contact I received after my interview.  I do not care if you do not want to hire me, no matter the reason, but TELL me and don’t make me hang on with some measure of a doubt as to the outcome of this position – I think it is rude and inconsiderate and personally has soured me to never being interested in doing business with this company again…

I had come to accept that the aforementioned position was not going to be mine by the time graduation came around (3ish weeks after hearing nothing).  I had applied to a couple of other positions as they came up, but was interested more in finishing classes/projects/school that not too many resumes were sent out.  The morning of graduation however, I saw a position that really caught my eye.  It was for a bakery company, looking for a Marketing & Administrative Assistant.  I wasn’t too keen on having over half of the responsibilities for the position be Administrative Assistant duties (plus the pay was less than at my first internship), but I did like the product I would be marketing and it was within 20 minutes from my house and would be able to carpool with Kinley (saving gas money!).  The  marketing duties really appealed to me however, it would have been the first marketing position the company ever had so I would have been responsible for everything… which I now realize would have been a whole lot of work and much of it would probably have been draining.  Well, as I wrote about in my post, there must be light at the end of the tunnel, I found out after 6 weeks (and 3 interviews, a project, etc.) that the position was no longer being hired for and I was back to square one.

Well, the day I found out that the position was no longer there, I noticed on LinkedIn that a professor of mine from a MBA course posted an entry-level position at her company.  I emailed my professor to see if she would be okay with me using her name on the cover letter and applying for the position.  I received back an email that said “Absolutely”.  So I got my cover letter and resume together and faxed (yes, faxed, and no, I didn’t technically do it – Kinley did haha) my information to the HR person who the company was going through.  This was on a Tuesday.  On Thursday afternoon, I got a call from the HR person who was going through all of the applications as somewhat of a pre-screening process.  She told me she would call me back on Friday if she wanted to meet with me and the meeting would be with her the following Tuesday (July 5th).  I waited and waited on Friday but no call ever came.  I really did not know what happened and why I didn’t hear anything, but I figured it was just not meant to be.

The whole next week I applied to countless other positions while still wondering why I never heard back.  Well, the next week (on July 11th) I got a call from the HR person who wanted me to meet with her the following Wednesday.  Of course I did because I still really wanted the position.  I met with her for only 15 minutes at a local Starbucks – just general questions and she had me take her through my portfolio.  She worked on a consultant basis (I believe) with the company and was meeting with my professor on Friday and would be talking with her about me and the position.  She said not to expect a phone call until the next Monday or Tuesday if she wanted to proceed with an interview.

That’s when things picked up.  On Friday afternoon I received a call that she wanted me to come in for an interview on Monday – and I didn’t even think I would have a phone call by that point!  On Monday, I went to the interview and it took 2 hours, I thought it went well and was very excited and nervous about finding out whether or not I got it.  I was told I would find out their decision within 24 hours.  The next day, this past Tuesday, I received a call a little before noon.  It was from my former professor/president of this company asking me if I would like to accept the job offer.

How could I say no?  The position sounds incredible, there will be some travel involved and they are going to pay me the top amount of my requested salary range.  Within 2 months and 1 week, I am happy and fortunate to be employed.  I am one of a small number of my classmates who are employed at this point and I still can’t believe it.  And I start on Monday!  Lots to do before I start my 40hour work weeks… and I am still going to keep up with my blog as much as I can, so no worries!

you + social media

Social media’s a funny thing.  Ten years ago it didn’t exist, and now people make extremely decent livings off of it.  It’s great for socializing between friends as well as socializing between brands and their customers (or potential customers).  Social being the key word.

I was asked to help with a small marketing project (yay for more experience!) dealing heavily with social media.  Which got me to thinking… if I were not a marketing student would I know what I all know about social media?  In my previous internships and marketing classes, I have been mostly surrounded by people who can navigate their way through Tweets and Facebook status updates, as well as know that Foursquare is not just a playground game.  But does the population separated from the inner workings of the marketing industry realize all of the tactics their favorite brands are using to gain their attention?

Successful brands use a combination of the social media platforms that best suit their needs.  Some ill-advised companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon just a little too hard… and their message and presence on certain platforms is vague and confusing.  I just don’t quite understand sometimes… maybe I’m missing something.

The world of social media can be quite confusing for some people, take my grandparents for example.  They have a Facebook account.  My grandma didn’t realize posting on a wall was public domain, and almost (luckily did not) spilled the beans on my aunt’s surprise birthday party.  Brands can make similar mistakes if not fully prepared.  Brand presence on social media must be thoughtfully planned out in advance, and yet seem effortless.  Creating a dialogue with your fans or followers is what you want, building a relationship with them.  The message must be clear and concise, as well as be well suited and entertaining for the desired audience.

The world has been changed by social media… and in a big way.  Without Twitter, Charlie Sheen would not have been quite, hem, successful?  And the # symbol would just be a pound sign… not a hashtag.

Even with learning and growing up surrounded by social media, I get lost sometimes.  There are certain platforms that I do not use because I do not see the personal necessity in it.  However, I do see value in a majority of them for certain situations.  Finding the perfect mix between the platforms, having a congruent message throughout and maintaining their presence successfully is what each brand needs.

Although I believe brands should not enter into all social media at once just to be there, they also cannot show up too late in the game.  Choosing the perfect mix and earning their space there will keep their customers engaged and entertained.