Help Wanted: From graduation to gainful employment


OneCubicle.com tries to bridge Facebook, LinkedIn by ahoffstrom
July 13, 2009, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

In the interest of testing as many job-related social networking sites as possible, I recently joined one of the newest sites, OneCubicle.com, which launched in May.

During an interview with Fox News, OneCubicle CEO Gregg Champion said the site is for “social business networking” for 20-somethings and is meant to be a bridge between Facebook and LinkedIn. He said it was both “employee friendly and employer friendly.”

Although I think the site may be useful, it doesn’t seem like many people are on it or have even heard of it. I tried to ask my Twitter followers and Facebook friends to share their thoughts of OneCubicle.com, but no one got back to me.

I started following @OneCubicle on Twitter to see how many people other than people I know have heard about it. At the time of this post, they had 217 followers on Twitter—not many considering Facebook has more than 90,000, and LinkedIn has about 13,000. My only connection so far is with the company’s CEO, so if you happen to join OneCubicle after reading this post, find me and let’s connect!

The site lets you build a professional profile that lists employment and education history, as well as interests. You can also write messages on your “whiteboard,” put widgets on a public and private “corkboard,” and update your status. Once your profile is made, you can make connections to store in your “rolodex” and search for jobs. You can search for jobs without an account but having one lets you link to company postings.

While building my profile, I found “Marketing, PR & Advertising” and “Media, Sports & Entertainment” but no industry that explicitly includes print journalists. So, I had to create my own “Media, Writing & Editing” industry to tag to my profile. I am concerned a bit that I am now a hidden member since I’m not in the site’s preprogrammed industries, but I don’t think I fit exactly into the others. Maybe it would be better if people could join more than one industry.

The site itself is visually appealing with file folder tabs and a layout that reminds me of something I hung outside the door of my dorm room freshman year. The site also features a “water cooler” with videos like “Extreme Makeover Cubicle Edition” and “Cubicle Cribs.” Something that I think really separates this site from other job-related sites is that it has a 48-hour resume refining service for $9.95 that lets you send two drafts to be revised by professionals. There is also a list of interview dos and don’ts, a list of 10 rules to getting a job and keeping a job, and coming soon, advice from celebrity mentors.

I haven’t applied to any of the jobs listed on the site yet, but I think I will continue to check it out over the next few days. From a quick glance, it seems there are both internships and full-time jobs at companies like Twitter, Apple, Universal Music Group and with the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, almost all of the jobs posted currently are in California, so unless you want to relocate, you might want to look elsewhere. My guess is that as this site grows, more and more companies will place job openings.

I’m not sure how often I will use the site, but I do think it has a lot more job resources than Facebook and feels younger than LinkedIn. It’s a definite plus to have more job resources because I joined Facebook four years ago purely for social networking, not professional networking. I’m not sure being a young professional site is necessarily a positive. I like being able to connect with older mentors, neighbors and co-workers on LinkedIn because those are the people who will either hire me directly or give me the references I need to successfully network offline. Networking offline, which is something I think I need to work on, is a vital component to job hunting. It’s nice to have another online option, but these sites alone just aren’t enough.

To find out more about OneCubicle, check out the site, find the company on Facebook or follow the blog.

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Hire a new grad by ahoffstrom
May 22, 2009, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

I forced myself to take a mental break from the job search the past week to focus on finishing my undergraduate career strong. Now that my classes, finals and commencement have ended, however, I need to take some time to reflect before I return to life goal No. 1: finding my first job.

Lately, I can’t stop watching “Gilmore Girls,” a seven-season WB/CW series. I think it’s because In some ways I see myself living the life of Rory Gilmore, a wannabe journalist, and one of the show’s main characters. With Christiane Amanpour as her inspiration, Rory talks of becoming an international reporter. Though she majors in English, Rory becomes editor of the Yale Daily News, gets an unpaid internship and watches as her dreams of working at a major daily newspaper crumble. Of course the show couldn’t end without Rory getting an amazing job – she is hired by an online magazine to be a reporter on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Rory Gilmore is a fictional character, but she experiences so much of what I’ve gone through as a wannabe reporter that I can’t help but watch the show over and over again. I was an editor at my college newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, had an internship (though mine was a paid one at a magazine publishing company) and have watched the shift from print to online potentially ruin my dreams of working for a major daily newspaper. While I am not expecting to magically get a job as Rory did in the show, I am still reporting, writing and blogging in the hopes that I will stand out to one company as a creative, critical-thinking, eager Gen Y journalist.

Generation Y, the group of individuals born between 1980 and 2000 and also known as Millennials, often is seen as lazy, ungrateful and entitled among older co-workers. In my opinion, these stereotypes are completely wrong. In the changing field of journalism, employers would be at a loss if they didn’t hire young workers. To illustrate my point, I present four reasons to hire a journalist from the next generation:

‘Geyser of energy’: According to an Experience, Inc. study, 18- to 30-year-olds “are characterized by the desire to receive training, take on new challenges [and] expand their capabilities.” Each week I’m learning multimedia skills that will complement my writing skills while some of the owners, hiring managers and editors at media companies around the country are trying to reconstruct their business models. What they need are Gen Y employees—lots of them and soon. Gen Y individuals are “a geyser of energy, creativity, and leadership potential,” according to Tamara Erickson, author of Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work.

Productivity: Personal laptops and other digital tools (cameras, flip cams, voice recorders, etc.) are changing the way traditional journalists live and work. We are no longer tied to a desk with a computer and phone. Gen Y workers know how to use their technology skills to create packages—reporting packages, sales packages, event packages. According to the Experience, Inc. study, “the office will no longer be the hub it once was. Working remotely will become standard, leveraging technology and virtual relationships. Gen Y is at the core of this trend because for them, meeting and interacting online is just as comfortable and ‘real’ as face-to-face meetings.”

Long, healthy careers: Instead of complaining about the lack of knowledge of Gen Y employees, co-workers should pass on their expertise. Some of my best experiences as a student journalist have been listening to stories of my professors. If those in the Gen X or Boomer generations think younger workers need to improve, they should work to encourage that improvement. They should want to do it at the beginning of our careers because according to Erickson, most Gen Y workers will have “60 to 80 years of healthy, active adult life—time to build multiple careers, work in corporations, try something entrepreneurial, return to school, invest in [their] family, and give back to making the world a better place.”

Social media savvy: Gen Y is working to stand out with their social media skills. Jamie Varon is one such example. She launched twittershouldhireme.com to attract the attention of Twitter hiring managers. Varon’s story is amazing because she used the Internet to network herself in a unique way, and even though she was not hired by Twitter, she was hired elsewhere and even launched her own digital media company. Having employees with social media skills should be seen as an asset to companies. If you can hire someone with great writing skills, who can elicit a following online, you can attract a wider audience for a number of causes. These people are going to be from Gen Y.



Class of ’09 leading the industry’s transformation by ahoffstrom
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

The change in media is definitely affecting my job search. For one, I didn’t expect to use LinkedIn, Visual CV, Twitter, a blog, Facebook and a number of other digital tools to market myself to potential employers. These outlets became available during my time in college, so that in itself is a major shift.

Secondly, the types of jobs I’m looking at and applying for are different than what I initially anticipated four years ago. When I started college as a wannabe journalist, I envisioned myself writing and reporting at a major daily newspaper. I wanted to work for a newspaper like the Star Tribune, a paper my family has subscribed to since I was born. Well, the Star Tribune is one of a handful of papers that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year. The Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2008, the Rocky Mountain News ceased publication in February and the Sun-Times Media Group filed for bankruptcy in March, a day later the Detroit Free Press cut its home-delivered print edition to three days a week and expanded coverage to the Web. To say the least, I’ve had to change my expectations a bit.

For me, the first true sign of media changing came in February 2008 when The Capital Times, one of two papers in Madison, announced plans to reduce its print edition in favor of increased online coverage. It was the first time I had heard of a paper shifting from primarily print to primarily Web. Last week, I was quoted by the Cap Times in an article about the high number of students enrolling in UW-Madison’s j-school despite the changing news media. Students continue to join the major because they see an opportunity, not a crisis.

I said, “In a way, this is a very exciting time because we can be the ones who can reinvent this industry.” I absolutely think our generation—especially the Class of 2009—will redirect journalism toward a viable, technologically-engaging platform.

Whether or not the best platform is a free print edition mixed with Twitter and digital layouts, my j-school friends and I are anxious to get in the field and make a difference. We’re just as passionate and excited about reporting as we would be if it were just print – maybe even more so. I think the shift in media makes us better reporters because we can see reporting packages. I can visualize how a story will read, how it can be supplemented with photos and video, how I can engage an audience through Twitter, Delicious and other online outlets. Writing is so vitally important, but the other elements add character to a story. I just hope that news organizations will hire some new grads who are eager to help.



Getting your name – and your work – out there by ayhosier
Alexis Hosier

Alexis Hosier

I am still looking for that foot in the door opportunity, however, in the meantime I am shaking hands and meeting new people. People in the business are willing to help. I can’t thank people enough for their advice on signing contracts, applying for jobs and anything else that is helpful to getting a job in Sports Broadcasting.

It is extremely important to get your name, face and personality out there and see what happens. You never know who might like you enough to give you an interview. I am still looking for that job in sports, but I have been told that patience is the key.

I continue to use CareerScribe.com, LinkedIn.com, Twitter, Facebook and anything else to network. CareerScribe and LinkedIn are professional networks that allow people to see polished information about yourself. On CareerScribe I am able to post recent stories that I have done and send that out to potential employers. It is a constant timeline of new things I am working on. Also, on LinkedIn I am able to make connections with people and build a network. I use Twitter and Facebook to post any recent stories I have done with Palestra.net. I am hoping that a lot of people see these stories and maybe someone will notice my work. Having a job by the time I graduate in two weeks doesn’t seem realistic, but I’d like to think that I’m ahead of the game.



Tweeting for a job by ahoffstrom
April 27, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

Do you want instant updates on the job market from career experts, online job boards or specific companies you hope to work for? My advice is to join Twitter and start following the people who will point you in the direction of your first job.

A few months ago, I was extremely skeptical of Twitter. I saw it as a Facebook status-like update with nothing more than people telling each other what they were doing all day. Why would I ever need to know that?

Then, my dad sent me a list of hot tips for a cool job market from the University of Michigan parent newsletter, and in it was a link to a list of 50 Twitter users to follow if you’re searching for a job. I took one look at the list and decided I would test it out.

Though I follow nearly all from the list, the five that I’ve found most helpful are:

  1. Willy Franzen (@willyf), the founder of One Day, One Job – “the insider’s guide to unique and exciting entry level job and career opportunities for recent college graduates,” who also put together the list of top Twitter users to follow
  2. Heather Huhman (@heatherhuhman), who almost always posts about internships or entry-level public relations positions
  3. Lindsey Pollak (@lindseypollak), author of “Getting from College to Career”
  4. Steven Rothberg (@stevenrothberg), the man behind CollegeRecruiter.com
  5. Alison Doyle (@alisondoyle), author of “Internet Your Way To a New Job”

In this world of social media, Twitter offers a quick way to stay connected to leaders in your chosen profession. In my case, news organizations are just as important to follow as the career experts. I also follow companies I’m interested in working for, previous employers, journalism and media job boards, and yes, some friends.

I have found that once you start following someone, they often follow you back, and may respond to you if you post a question or solicit advice about looking for a job. If you follow the right people, you can also find job openings. I have applied to positions via Twitter’s job search engine and through links companies post on their account.

If you are skeptical of Twitter, try it. You might like it.



Gaining advice to stand out by ahoffstrom
April 23, 2009, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

The beauty of looking for your first job is that everyone has advice to offer about the process. I have heard advice from my parents, my dentist, my professors, my neighbors, my friends and their parents. To put these wise words into context, I signed up for a journalism class that focuses on professional practices—what I like to call my job-search class. This class is definitely where I have heard the most practical advice about finding a first job.

My adviser said the most important thing in searching for your first job is to manage your expectations. This is something I’ve had to come to grips with as resumes go out and either I hear nothing or get rejection letters.

Other advice I’ve heard:

  • Define where you want to live and work
  • Network as much as possible with alumni, neighbors, teachers, previous employers—tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job
  • Update your resume often—it’s a living document
  • Start a blog
  • Look at newspaper ads and job placement Web sites (though the best jobs are almost never there), associations and company Web sites. Try cold calling as well
  • Make a plan to follow-up with potential employers
  • Send thank you notes after interviewing—it could be the difference between getting the job or not.

While I am taking this advice and using it to make myself stand out, I’m also taking into consideration advice I’ve heard in my classes too.

From my creative nonfiction professor I am learning how to write story pitches in order to freelance, which is not something I had really considered before this semester. With staff positions getting cut from newspapers and magazines, it does not seem like a bad path to explore. My professor says all you need is a good idea, a strong pitch that sells you as a writer, says specifically why you’re the perfect person for their publication and highlights previous publications for which you’ve written, as well as the correct name of the publication’s assignment editor, which changes a lot. She advised looking at a book called “The Writers Market” that lists information about literary publications throughout the country, who to send pitches to, what kind of writing they publish and whether or not they pay on acceptance or publication, among other things. Though this book may be outdated the moment it’s printed, I take comfort knowing there are so many publications out there publishing new talent.

I am in a digital media class that focuses on the shift from ethics in traditional print journalism and public relations to ethics of new media. In combination with my love of social networking, the course is allowing me to appreciate the Internet more as a strong journalistic medium. I think it also is making me a better reporter because I can see different ways to present information while maintaining the values of journalism. This class introduced me to Twitter, which I now update on a regular basis (follow me @takethelede). I now follow career experts with job-search tips, companies that post jobs and actual job boards. More on this in my next post.