Another type of inexperience.

Even though one of my dogs is a trained guide dog for the blind, I find I am struggling to see where I am going from time to time… Not that I am blind but the road ahead does seem a bit obscure sometimes. As I put one foot ahead of the other on the road of job seeking my dear Charlie mostly acts as personal coach and reminder to stay in the moment and focus on each day as it comes. Seeing the road is not easy as it twists and turns quite unpredictably.

“Dear Mrs F. We regret to inform you the position you applied for has been filled by another applicant”

“Oh, Thank you for letting me know. Could I ask for some feedback so that I can improve my applications in the future. I understand you are really busy, but as the answer came from an actual person this time, rather than a system, I thought I would at least ask. All the best / Mrs F”

  1. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with less experience.
  2. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone junior that has experience in all the criteria we have set for this post and anyway we judge you to be overqualified.
  3. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with more experience.
  4. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with at least five years of experience for this junior role.
  5. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but there were other applicants with more relevant experience than you have.

Same kind of jobs, same level, same criteria asked for in the ads and the only answer that seems reasonable to me is number five. It truly is a jungle out there and perhaps I need a sharper machete to cut my own path instead of trying to find an existing one.

Of course every employer has a wish list, just like I do when it comes to the dream job but being told I am inexperienced in the wrong way, or too experienced, makes me feel half the applications are a waste of time as the true profile for the job is much narrower than the ad. Not in a sour grapes kind of way. More like ”gosh this must create an awful lot of extra work for everybody involved that slows down the whole system”…

I just can’t wait for the day when I can turn my back on my Sisyphus stone of application writing and start to make a difference. Preferably in a workplace where my work also helps improve quality of life for individuals or society as a whole. In the meantime I shall go and pet my retrievers to ground myself and try to remember that the true value of a person is based on internal quality, not external attributes.

Merry Christmas to all.

// J

Annonser

Social Media is about today – aiming for tomorrow!

I read a huge amount of articles, reports and books about Social Media and how consumers behave in the seemingly transparent world of constant updates. Mostly it feels like the industry is filled with cheerful quick fix articles about how to “increase sales” or other fairly loosely specified targets in three, five or ten easy steps.

After having studied to become a social media manager, I want to ask businesses and SoMe gurus alike to take it seriously. Social media is not about quick fixes if we’re talking B2C or B2B. It is not even to be taken lightly in the context of maintaining personal relationships.

Your friends can see through glossy updates with pictures of strawberries and smiles and customers sense if your reasons for posting are not genuine or not in line with how they perceive your brand.

Well, duh! Obvious statement alert! But if it is obvious, why do so many not take it seriously? Why do I see job ads where they are looking for “a student” to manage a company’s social media? Why do so many still view social media as something “on the side”. If I ran a business I would like to have an expert on Social Media and branding at the helm of what for many people is the point of contact with my brand. Not someone who’s loyalty may not be fully focused on my brand.
happy_cow_by_balivandi-d61jwo0

Stop and think about what you do that makes life better for other people, two or three layers down, not just that you have a “great product”. For example, let’s say you sell spray on eco-friendly plastic insulation. First layer down you have the financial savings of your product, lower energy bills. Second down the global environmental benefits using less energy has for all of us. Third down you would talk about animal welfare describing the benefits to the livestock in stables insulated with your product. A picture of a happy cow will invoke much more sympathy than a picture of plastic spray.

So, please, take Social Media seriously and investigate who you are, how you can bring value to your audience and how you can do that consistently over time. Not only will you move faster towards your vision and get a better reputation, you will also help cleanse social media streams from mindless, useless posting that nobody finds valuable.

// Jefa

Passion, Pine Apples and Purple Squirrels

The three may not seem to be connected but they are. As a student of social media with a strong interest in content marketing and behaviourism/social labels I think a lot about what we assume, how we react to things and how we portray ourselves in a world filled with expectations. (I also have a fondness for long sentences.) Let me explain.

The pineapple theory.
Years ago I was for some reason home from work and watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. She was interviewing a senior woman about dating and asked the question, don´t you get hurt when you are not chosen; to which the woman answered “No, because I look at myself as a pineapple.” The reasoning was that she knows that even if she is the very best pineapple she could ever be, there will still be people that prefer apples, or mango; but that does not make her a lesser pineapple.

The purple squirrel
is a rare mythical creature also known as ”the perfect recruit”. Do google the term for a more substantial explanation. This person is hard to find of course as specialized and talented people who are able to just blend in and give the organisation what it craves often are.

How does a recruiter really think?
The more I read about recruitment the more confused, and sometimes annoyed I get. I am a mature student, soon to be a fully trained Social Media manager. Reading job ads, as one does when one is soon to start applying for jobs, the listed expectations and qualifications seem more like an exclusion list, a wall, than an invitation to “come join the company and bring your wealth of experience with you”.  Not many people could tick all the boxes. Fair enough they also list things like “social team player” whatever that mean, I suppose that could mean a lot of things to different people. I would like to read about how the new recruit is expected to help the company move towards achieving its vision. Like they have really thought about who they need and why, beyond expansion or workload.

Same, supersame or different?
The older I get, the more I start to resemble a pineapple. Or an orange or a pear if you want to get physical about it. When I was younger I was a bit more like a fruit salad, like Mika sings “I can be anything you like”. Now a days I am still flexible, but I know exactly what kind of fruit I am and also how to use my own “flavour” to enhance others. Recruiting someone who is not already homogenous will force the workplace to look at itself with new eyes every so often and either move with the times or have their existing culture reinforced. If you never scrutinize yourself, progress will be much slower. Of course you should be qualified to do the work but experience from other markets/jobs should be seen as positive. I have a dream that companies would anonymize applications, letting me and everybody else offer up what we know and where we want to go.  My name, my gender, my age should not be relevant only my experience, my competence and how compatible my future plans are to those of the recruiting company. Maybe I should start a competence agency and call it Pineapple!

What about the passion?
Everybody can get, and is, passionate about something. How do we harness this? How can I as a private person use my passion for creative writing or training my dogs, into a transferable skill that I can use to bring value to my workplace? And will it ever make a difference? Well, I do blog, as myself and as my dog Buddha. A way of showing a future employer that I have a genuine interest in writing. I make little videos of how I train Buddha and post on his Instagram, because I like watching such videos myself and to show that I know how to use the media. Hopefully, I will also show that I embrace social media, that I am a patient person, that I am not afraid to try new things and that I enjoy connecting with other people.  Problem is, I don’t know if a recruiter would look at it that way. Anyone? Suggestions and insights are more than welcome

Do you want a squirrel in your fruit salad?
I think transferable skills are like gold dust because they transfer also to colleagues and sometimes the whole business culture. But then again, being a melting pot of experience and competence with people contributing with more than eight hours a day doing what they are told may not be everybody’s cup of tea. If you do work in such a company and happen to be placed in Gothenburg, feel free to contact me.

Maybe it’s because we have studied content marketing for weeks on end now, but if everybody is a publisher, and the whole company is expected to contribute to and live by a content strategy, it kind of follows that companies also need to look for co-workers that connect with their employer on a deeper level or else they cant “live the brand”. Maybe creating your own hybrid fruit/squirrels would be better, instead of waiting for the rainbow so you can dig you could just turn on the water…

From the point of view of a mature pineapple which is still way of its expiry date.

// Jeanette