Nov. 12 Event Summary: “Hiring Practices: What Communications Professionals Should Know”

IABC-LA’s Paula Cassin and Cheryl Farell, Panelist Moderator, with Jay Berger, Pamela Jones and Lilli CloudOn November 12, 2009, Cheryl Farrell, IABC-LA Board Member and Chair, Regional Events, served as Panel Moderator for three distinguished panelists who not only engaged 30 member participants, but also helped attendees recalibrate search efforts in this distinctively tough job market.  While you may be “analytical,” “strategic,” and “organized” according to your resume, those attributes are simply not enough to obtain an interview…yet gaining clarity on what works and what doesn’t will help place you on the top of the interview pile.

Cheryl and attendees welcomed:  Jay Berger, PhD, Manager Partner, Morris & Berger (www.morrisberger.com), whose boutique executive search firm finds senior level execs for non-profit clients; Pamela Jones, Senior Recruiter, The Walt Disney Company, who is responsible for full life-cycle recruitment in Production, Marketing, Studio Operations, and more; and Lilli Cloud, Founder & Principal, Blue Feet Communications, who helps entrepreneurs and job seekers develop their personal brand (www.yourBlueFeet.com).

The combination of prepared and audience questions and expert panelists’ answers covered what’s-on-our-minds topics ranging from the top three elements found in successful placements to overcoming an applicant’s impediments to becoming a job-seeker entrepreneur.

Here are some strong suggestions from Jay, Pamela, and Lilli regarding key topics:

Resumes, Cover Letters and Personal Branding:
• Jay: chronological and 2-4 pages ideal (1-page resumes can be frustrating for a senior level recruiter!). No gimmicks, no photos. No generic cover letters.
• Pamela: Keep it simple. “Interests” not necessary. Pay attention to the job description and have searchable terms that you can back up in an interview.
• Lilli: Become a job-seeker entrepreneur. Consulting is replacing many jobs, so do both job search and consulting.  Hang your personal branded website shingle. A professional head shot is crucial to be taken seriously. Raise your visability through social networking yet get out of your house physically and to make those in-person contacts.

Secrets to Successful Placements:
• Jay: On-line applying is here to stay. Send cover and resume as an attachment.  Word-of-mouth snowball approach works.
• Pamela: Understand and speak to the job you are applying for vs. “I always loved Disney as a child”!  Be prepared with job-specific examples as opposed to canned responses. Do research on the company prior to interview…take the old school approach.
• Lilli: Be prepared to answer the toughest questions that you may normally want to avoid in an interview regarding your experience (e.g. not finishing school, gap in employment)

And More…
• Personal branding means presenting “the you on your very best day.”
• Plan to stay with a company at least for 2-3 years
• Employers can see where you have been applying; so keep your search focused
• Non-profits will consolidate marketing and communications professionals into one role: “Institutional Relations”…excellent opportunities for good writers; grant writers.
• Give as much as you get from a networking contact (ex. Share an interesting article or something of value to them.)
• Volunteer at non-profits…towards a full-time position.

And finally…”Be Encouraged. Network. Demonstrate (Show Don’t Tell).”

The early morning breakfast event simply would not have been possible without the Calabasas headquarters location of The ALS Association generously provided by fellow IABC members, Jeff Snyder and Greg Cash. This event was also attended by Career Transitions Now members, led by Douglas Whitaker.

Due to the vibrant success of “Hiring Practices,” for those IABC-LA members who missed this opportunity, the event is being coordinated for a January presentation at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. So start networking!

Lilli Cloud of Blue Feet Communications discusses personal branding towards getting work

Participants learned hiring practices’ secrets to being a successful job seeker