Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evolution - mine and yours

Excerpted from October Sparkings

Our careers and businesses must constantly evolve to keep ahead. In Pollock Spark's latest evolution, we have moved to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Wikipedia describes the area as "both a haven for established immigrant families and an area of artists and hipsters." So here we are. Our updated contact information is found here. The photo is taken from the terrace outside my new office.

We continue as always working with Creative Professionals, both as individuals and at their companies, to help them build businesses and careers. October has seen another Careers in Transition Workshop at MediaBistro in New York, with a similar workshop online later in the month, for people who can't make it in person to our New York session.

I am seeing more people in creative businesses evaluating their business models and wondering what they should do next. The atmosphere seems to have changed over the course of the year, with an acceptance of the "new normal" for now. Professionals are starting to put everything on the table - from selling up, to building alliances and strategic partnerships to restructuring their workforce and focusing their offering.

Many "traditional" creative jobs are getting hard to come by, but I have heard, for example, that there is a shortage of artists in the TV sector who are trained in the latest technologies and the competition is fierce to hire those who are up to date. So consider upgrading the skills you offer in a smart way and you could be golden. This goes for businesses as well as individuals.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Social Media for Job Searchers = Just like a Cocktail Party



By Michael Pollock

In the old days employers and headhunters looking for candidates made phone calls or sent emails. Now they are actively using LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates. This is a main source for professional resumes. Friends mention to their social media friends in tweets and updates they are looking for someone. Employers like referrals as "social proof" for a candidate.

So says Social Media Content Strategist Catherine Ventura who told me "in the back of every job seeker's mind should be the idea that nothing you do online is purely social." "If you are looking for work in the TV industry, look at the updates and tweets of people who work in the field. See what topics they are interested in. Just like you do at a cocktail party, don't barge in, spend time listening and then use language that's appropriate to the conversations you are joining."

"Google yourself and see which social media sites come up," says Ventura. "Look at your last 20 tweets and your last 20 Facebook and LinkedIn updates and whatever else comes up (your Amazon reviews for example).

See what you're saying and how you're saying it; what does your social media voice convey to people who don't know you? Do you want to sound like a seasoned pro? A thought leader? A pragmatist? An innovator? An enthusiast? A team player? If you don't sound the way you want, approach it like a screenwriter and start projecting the personality and level of professionalism you DO want to project."

Ventura tells me that she sees the different sites as different sections of a resume. LinkedIn is the most important with professional history and recommendations. She suggests joining groups on LinkedIn, not so much for the postings as for the collage of badges that gives a picture of your interests at a glance.

"Facebook," she says, "is used to best effect as indicating your outside interests, special skills, hobbies and who you are as a person." You know that people do like to peek, especially if they are looking to hire you. So be sure that you have not said anything disrespectful about your employer!

Because social media is public, you should be conscious that people are meeting you this way, and the voice you use - even down to the adjectives - is the first impression you make. Just like a cocktail party.

Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark ( www.pollockspark.com ). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals. He works with people in film, TV, advertising, design, marketing, music and the Internet, bringing them the experience, techniques and inspiration to take their businesses and careers to new levels of success.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Productive networking



Getting "the inside information"
By Michael Pollock

I always have productive encounters and learn something new at local media industry meet-ups.

For example there is Digital Wednesdays in New York's trendy Gansevoort Hotel. It happens every Wednesday evening and is free of charge. Sign up for information at www.digitalmediaevents.com.

I've met content providers, ad agency principals, publishers, dot com entrepreneurs, filmmakers, photographers, designers, marketing and HR people - all working in the online world. I have met people who came looking for opportunities and people who came specifically to recruit. Everyone is there to meet and share ideas, opportunities and experiences. It's a no-pressure environment: just buy a drink and introduce yourself.

Max Ramirez, who founded Digital Wednesdays, told me that it is becoming popular with radio and TV people looking for connections in the online world. "I see a smoother natural fit for people going from TV programming or ad sales into online programming or video ad sales. Video is one of the hottest topics right now."

According to Ramirez his guests include upper management from Google, Yahoo and MSN. This is a place "where you hit it off with the senior HR manager of Conde Nast and you have built a relationship that you would normally have no chance of doing. Only so much information is available publically - here you can get the inside information about what is really going on."

There are industry meetups all over the US. I did a Google search for "marketing meetups Phoenix" (try it for your town) and found that, among many others, the American Marketing Association has regular monthly events - open to non-members for a nominal fee. So use your search tools - you will find like-minded souls and, more to the point, hiring-minded souls. You can meet them in the flesh and practice your elevator speech on them. Ramirez tells me that CEOs from across the country visit Digital Wednesdays when they are in New York. Now he is broadening it to include the fashion business and he tells me that he is in talks to start up Digital Wednesdays in Paris - I'll see you there!

Of the current economy Ramirez says, "2009 is testing the best. The digital media ecosystem of 2010 will reward the tenacious." So get out there and get meeting - let's see some tenacity!

Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark ( www.pollockspark.com). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals. He works with people in film, TV, advertising, design, marketing, music and the Internet, bringing them the experience, techniques and inspiration to take their businesses and careers to new levels of success.