How Soon is Too Soon to Apply?

As first semester is winding down, all that seems to be on my mind lately is when to start applying for REAL jobs. The thought beginning the application process seems quite daunting.

We are all in the same boat. We all want to be ahead of the game and I’m sure we would all like to secure a job before graduation. So that got me thinking… When IS the right time to apply for jobs? Should you start a whole semester early, or wait until a month before your graduation date?

I’ve asked many professionals about this and the responses are always mixed. Some say that you should apply as soon as possible, while some say that you should begin to apply after you graduate. Through the foggy opinions, a few sound words of advice stuck out to me. I hope they help you if you are graduating soon!

If you are planning on graduating in May…

Make a target list of companies.  Look and see what jobs are open around you and start keeping your eye on those companies. If a job happens to be open now, apply for it! Sometimes the hiring process can takes months to complete and there’s no sense missing out on a dream opportunity.

Start attending networking events in your field. If you are a PR major, locate your closest Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter and get to know professionals. The more relationships you have, the better your chances will be of being referred to for a job. If you are in marketing, look for a Sales and Marketing Professionals (SMP) group in your area. For journalism, consider contacting someone at your nearest Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Define your dream job. If you have your heart set on a certain company and they don’t have any jobs open currently, start perusing them. They may have something open in time for when you graduate. The best thing to do first is to email someone from the department you are interested and introduce yourself. Always send a resume, too! Once they respond, see if you could set up a job shadow or an informational interview. This helps get your foot in the door, even if you aren’t interviewing for a job there. After the job shadow, they will have a more personal relationship with you and, chances are, you will be at the top of their list when a job opens up.

Consider your salary requirements. This is often something that companies want to know before they hire someone. Since you have a few months before you graduate, start researching average salaries in your area so that you know what you’re worth. Remember—it’s ok to negotiate! Just don’ t get too crazy.

In my opinion, it never hurts to apply for a job. Even if they decide that they don’t want to wait a few months for you, at least you made a new connection! To all of my readers, have you started applying for jobs yet?

Fun in Door County

I just returned from a magnificent weekend in Door County, Wis. with my wonderful boyfriend! Highlights of the weekend included several wine tastings, shopping in Fish Creek, lunch at the White Gull Inn and walking through White Fish Dunes and Cave Point state parks.

I was very lucky to come across a Groupon for the Sand Bay Beach Resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. For only $110.00, we got a two-night stay in a standard suite, complete with a king bed, whirlpool, mini kitchen, pull out couch and direct view of the beach. The hotel was very pretty and we were lucky to be there while there was still fall color around us.

Overall, we were happy for the short weekend getaway!

Cave point state park

At White Fish Dunes

A very windy visit to the coast guard station

Shopping in Fish Creek

The beach at our hotel

Secret

Secret time: I am never happy with the header of my blog. I change it about 4,354,454,537,828,439,485 times per week. Do you like this one? Do ya? Dooo ya? Yes? Yeah. Alright, cool.

I’ll probably change it tomorrow anyways.

For touch points, creativity is the most important factor

As originally seen on http://www.weidert.com

I recently attended the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference in Orlando, Fla. where I had the opportunity to hear from Geno Church, word-of-mouth expert and author of the new book Brains on FireI was lucky enough to be able to hear him speak again at the Northeast Wisconsin PRSA’s annual meeting last Tuesday. During his presentation on social media strategy, he briefly talked about ‘touch points’.

It seems that touch points have been a popular topic on marketing strategy blogs lately. In a world that is becoming more and more automated everyday, companies who get personal with their customers stand out in the crowd. Tangibles like business cards, newsletters, packaging and personalized emails are all considered to be touch points, and if they are executed strategically, their simplicity will enhance and strengthen your brand.

On the book’s blogBrains on Fire colleague Amy Taylor wrote about a recent experience she had with the company MOO. Not to steal her example, but I also had a similar experience with the company that I’d like to share with you. I came across MOO a few months ago when I was looking to make new and creative business cards. A quick Google search brought me to their website where I found several creative options to add to my personal brand. I chose a design, placed my order and waited for my cards to arrive.

Normally, I receive a basic email after an online purchase saying that my order has been processed and I am provided with a tracking number. Boring, plain, nothing special. Much to my surprise, MOO was different. Shortly after ordering, I received an email from “Little MOO”, the company’s automated email service. Not only did Little MOO give me a tracking number, but he also assured me that he would be there to answer any questions I had along the way. Below is the opening paragraph from the email:

Hi Jessica,

I’m Little MOO – the bit of software that will be managing your order with moo.com. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will print it for you in the next few days. I’ll let you know when it’s done and on its way to you.

Letter from Little MOO

Not only did the company keep me updated on the order process, they also built anticipation for the arrival of my business cards. Most importantly, though, they made me remember them. By adding a little bit of creativity to their automated emails, I was entertained and left anxiously awaiting the next email from Little MOO. Geno also makes the point in his blog that not all touch points have to be extravagant or even expensive. The simple wording of this email is what put their name in my head.

But not all touch points have to be digital. I recently booked a weekend at the Sand Bay Beach Resort in Door County in hopes of catching the last of the fall colors. In addition to sending me a pamphlet about their hotel, I also received several pamphlets about attractions in Door County, as well as the featured events that were happening when I would be there. The hotel also contacted me to see if they could help me book any scenic tours or wine tastings. Although this is something that they probably do for all of their customers, it was personalized for the time that I would be there and it made me feel like they valued my business. Again, this was something simple and inexpensive, but it went a long way in making an impression on me.

Now, more than ever, it is important to stand out from the crowd. Are your automated messages blending in? Be creative, think differently and make those personal connections. Not only will you stick in your customers’ minds, but you will build your company’s brand loyalty.

Read Amy Taylor’s blog posting about touch points for more insight.