Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finding a new job - be specific

A friend with a long resume, depth in a couple of disparate fields - asked me yesterday how to go about finding a new job. She wants to take advantage of her unique, and potentially quite valuable, combination of skills – but there is no obvious job description to fit.

We talked about how employers aren’t going to make any effort to tailor something for you – unless perhaps you are interviewing with your father-in-law! But they will surely be interested in you if hiring you will solve the problem they have. And to them it will be quite a specific problem. They are not looking for just “a marketing director” or “a web designer”. They have a specific challenge to overcome – whether it be to reach sports nuts who play video games, or they need someone who understands the ins and outs of the gravestone business, or who can make a complex data driven website with deep functionality and an offbeat sense of humor.

This thinking applies equally to independents and freelancers as well as to staffers.

So when you eventually get their ear or your resume or portfolio comes into their view – you will need to be specific too, about what problem you are especially suited to solve for them. When you are applying for a job, it’s not about you – it’s about solving the employer’s problem and that problem is quite clearly defined in her mind. In her mind is where you need to be.

So be specific when you market yourself. It works. More on this over the coming weeks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How I know this economic mess is all going to work out okay

So here is why I feel really good about the way things are going to turn out. It's because of what I hear every day from my amazing clients (you know who you are - I applaud you!).

If their commitment to a successful business future is any indication - and I am sure it is - then all across the US individuals and business owners in the creative industry are rethinking and retooling and repositioning and doing what it takes to get themselves launched on the path to future successes.

There is no sitting around and looking for bailouts and blaming the economy here. They are so positive and determined and working so hard. They look at what is going on and see opportunity - even create opportunity. This undaunted energy tells me that between us all we will indeed put our economy back together.

It's been pointed out that during the dotcom bust Apple launched the first ipod and in the US alone more than ten other disruptive innovations started during the same period. Sam Palmisano, the head of IBM, said he was sure that new leaders would emerge from the current calamity who will "win not by surviving the storm by by changing the game".

As a new client just wrote me excitedly, "I guess I am already opening myself to more possibilities". This is the stuff that is going to make it all turn out okay.

New Workshops Designed To Help Creative Companies Effectively Sell their Work

I am excited to announce our new TransformationSpark Workshops to help creative people to be more effective at communicating their ideas and to build stronger, more productive teams.

These unique Workshops are perfect for Ad people, Producers, Directors, Designers, Editors, Composers, Audio Engineers and Sales Reps: anyone who presents creative work or has to interact effectively with clients and team members.

Creative projects live or die based on how effectively you present yourself in meetings, conference calls and work sessions. Listening closely and communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively is critical to your success.

TransformationSpark Workshops are inspired by the techniques of improv. They are a carefully designed mix of games, exercises and guided discussions. Motivating, informative and entertaining: you'll see real and immediate results. You'll get new confidence, you'll learn to listen without interrupting and you'll communicate your ideas so much more effectively.

TransformationSpark is a joint venture with April Jaffe, CEO of Transformation and Executive Producer at music company Expansion Team. April is a smart and successful EP and consultant on new business development and marketing; she brings a deep understanding of the value of the improv techniques that are the basis of this program.

We have just given a Workshop for about a dozen staff and managers at a leading New York design firm, and they were most enthusiastic about it. Here is what they said:

We just put some of last night's techniques to use on a (client) call a little while ago, thanks for the workshop!
Fun, useful and helpful. I will totally recommend it.
Everything I learned is useful for me at work and outside work, I'll try to apply everything.
The discussion at the end about how to solve problems with conference calls was really helpful.
I'd recommend it. I think it was as much about team building and working better with your coworkers as it was about effective communication - and both are very important.
Let us hold a TransformationSpark Workshop for your team. Learn more about the Workshops at TransformationSpark.com

Mark Twain - business wisdom

Here's some business wisdom for you from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:

"A man can keep his trademark current in such a country, but he can't sit around and do it; he has to be on deck and attending to business, right along."

So what are you waiting for? Get on deck and attend to business!