Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ain't no one gonna turn me 'round

img source

Alex Chilton, lead singer of the original power pop band, Big Star, passed away today. When I was really getting into music, around the end of of junior high and beginning of high school, all I listened to was 90's British trad rock (Travis, Embrace, early Coldplay), 90's American power pop (Weezer Ozma, Phantom Planet) and early indie rock (Death Cab and Barsuk friends). I loved the new, and couldn't understand why anyone thought oldies were "goodies." Then I fell upon Big Star, and they opened up the entire pre-90's soundscape for me. I still think some of their tunes belong to the catchiest songs ever written group. Their tender teenage love song "Thirteen" has been covered by the likes of Elliott Smith and Jeff Tweedy. And from then on, I went on to devour the Beatles, the Byrds, ELO.. Thanks, Alex. Wish you could've played in Austin this Saturday.

Damn! Just found out that he had no health insurance.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

J x Jwest

So..... today I delivered the second punch of the custom food campaign for my application: cookies made by Polkadots. They made them in two days and even threw in two free cookies for good luck. And, I had to tack on a leprechaun cookie in the spirit of today. I dropped the box off at the receptionist's desk, asking her to please deliver it for me since I already saw the recruiting team yesterday, and drove off. Before I even arrived back home, I got an e-mail from the head recruiter exclaiming "THANKS FOR THE COOKIES" and "I've set up a personal interview with you on Friday at 9:30 AM." What can I say, guerrilla marketing for job applications really works!! I'm definitely not the perfect applicant for this internship (no business degree, sadly), but hopefully my enthusiasm for the company and initiative will show through. In the meantime, I'm sending out messages trying to bulk up my profile on LinkedIn, since I have finally accepted the tool as a big player in the recruiting industry. It's a real shame I didn't take advantage of the connections I had while I was still employed at my previous company, so it's catch up time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Job X Jobless

Ha, OK that was a terrible word play on SXSW. The craze is happening all this week. Strangely enough, I am hardly excited about all the hubbub. Still pretty scarred from the frenetic running around and heat exhaustion from participating last year. Maybe I'm just 24 going on 40. Sure feels like it. The largest motivation for me to check things out is to be able to check in on Gowalla and earn cutely-designed badges and items, and to possibly win prizes. It's a new location-based smartphone app that not only launched at Interactive this year, but won the best mobile web award. I resisted at first, but gave in to increased iPhone fiddlin' to keep up with B.

How's my job search going? Despite my cookie-cutter cover letters (man, they get so hard to write with enthusiasm after a while), I've had a few phone interviews, one in-person interview (at the tallest building in Austin! beautiful!), and another one coming up this week. Funny thing is, I completely guessed during an accounting job test and thought I failed, but I got called back! Really gotta cram for that meeting since I have no actual accounting experience. Regarding the last post, I finally got a polite reply back, stating that they hired a marketing manager a few weeks ago who was taking care of that, and a link to Facebook's job openings in town. Ha. Anyways, things are heating up a bit for me, so I am also lending a huge hand in the job search for B. I made it my personal goal to help him land an interview at this awesome company in town, employing the creative tactic of ordering and delivering a giant 30" pizza from Arpeggios with a custom message written with black olives. Of course, he submitted a stellar cover letter the night before. I started having reservations about it this morning, right before I was to pick up the pizza, but it turned out to be a huge hit! They loved it and were especially floored by the size of the pizza (the box took over the entire coffee table), telling me they were going to give him a call today. I shot a short video of the HR Department's response below. Now, all we do is wait. I had a second part/bribe planned, but since he has already gotten their full attention, I can use it for my own application for an internship there. : )

- Kisses
source: iguessimfloating
"Candy in the Kitchen" - Blair
source: you aint no picasso

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Steppin' Out

I just wrote a very long e-mail to my managers at my previous company trying to get them to create a new position and hire me to fill that role. I'm not used to putting myself out there by throwing out ideas and new ways of doing things, so it was good practice. Whatever comes out of it, it was the most engaging fun I'd had in a long time composing an e-mail.

Hi xxx and xxx,

How's it going? I'm doing pretty well, just figuring out what my next career moves are going to be. With that said, I have a business proposal for [Company]. I wanted to run it by you guys via email first. So, I'm sure you've noticed that most successful smaller and upcoming companies these days have a large presence in social media. It's all about live updates and relevant/ interesting news. And it looks like [Company] has caught wind of this, as evidence by the Facebook page and Twitter account. However, the majority of the 22 "fans" on Facebook already work for the company or are related to an employee. And the Twitter account is hardly active and more importantly, has a whopping zero followers. To me, it seems like this online promotion is more of an afterthought delegated to people who are up to their necks doing their actual jobs (i.e. xxxx, xxxx). Perhaps the sales team is already doing a good job bringing in new customers. But when asked about my previous job there, absolutely nobody had heard of [Company]. Besides word of mouth, the next best way to promote a company is via social media marketing. [Company] has earned some very prestigious honors from Oracle, and that is something that needs to be promoted more heavily, ie not preaching to the choir. Chances are competitors aren't doing much in this realm, and if they are, it's all the more urgent to catch up.

One company that is a great model of this is Bazaarvoice. They are a small to medium-sized startup, and yet they were named Austin's Best Company to Work for in 2009. They manage reviews for online companies, such as and Walmart, and they are extremely good at what they do. They have a very active Twitter account, 3675 followers, and tweet constantly when their company is mentioned in the media. I hear from friends who work there that people are just clamoring to apply, because of all the great buzz. If [Company] is so awesome at what they do (unique business model) and also wants to attract top talent, it needs to get the word out.

A few recommendations:
1. Amp up the Facebook page. Interact with client pages on Facebook and look for cross-promotion opportunities.
2. Tweet daily. Good subject matter includes company news, industry news, Oracle tips, @replies or retweets of relevant client tweets.
3. Start a company blog. Develop a focus, such as Oracle EBS implementation issues, SME's or whatever. From what I saw, all this dialogue and communication goes on over the phone and work emails between consultants, PMs and clients, so this useful knowledge publicly displayed would act as evidence that [Company] knows what it's doing. Consultants spend all their time doing their jobs well, and it would be helpful to have someone else get insights on their experience and also opinions on industry trends. Also, find related blogs and comment on them frequently.
4. Build the LinkedIn Profile. Get happy clients to exchange recommendations. Provide a blog update box for recent blog posts. Add a news box as well.
5. Start a Flickr and post company photos on it. One of my main hobbies is photography, and I would be willing to snap photos at events and gatherings. People like browsing photos to see that employees are enjoying themselves, and thus, the company is great to work for. Examples: Twitter's flickr, Bazaarvoice's flickr. Tied to this would be a strong push for the HR department to develop more team building and quality of life events, which stands out all the more during a recession.

Those are just a few suggestions, and I have plenty more ideas. If this is something [Company] is interested in pursuing, please consider me as the person most qualified for this job. To be blunt, during downtime in my previous role at [Company], I spent most of it blogging, reading blogs, checking Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, other review sites, etc., so this is second nature to me. Most companies successful in this endeavor have at least one full-time employee dedicated to this. I look forward to hearing your reply.

Thanks for your time and consideration,