Monthly Archives: January 2011

Live-Tweeting the LA Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics 1/30/11

I was hanging out with a friend the other day when he asked me the question, “Why do you always tweet articles?”.

The first response that came out of my mouth was, “It’s good for potential employers to see that I read a lot and know what’s trending.”

While the answer I gave him was enough to settle his curiosity, his question made me confront the real reason why I don’t really tweet much.

You see, showing employers that I stay on top of relevant events is important, but the real reason that I don’t tweet much of my own content is because, shhh don’t tell anyone this – I don’t think I have anything clever, funny, or interesting enough to say.

Which is an odd train of thought if you think about it, because I try and blog every weekday.

I (like many others) just feel that most of the minute details that are a part of my everyday life are just not that interesting to share with the rest of the world.

For example,

It’s cold outside.

Yawn. Of course, it’s New York.

Ugh, I have class from 10AM to 10PM today! Life sucks!

Really? Who cares!?

But now I realize how absurd this line of thinking really is.

I blogged a few weeks ago about how cool it was Live-Tweeting the BCS National Championship. I’d never taken part in a national event like that, and I want to do it again.

But this time, the event is going to be special for me.

You see, I’m an abashed Laker fan. (Yes, I’m from New York. And no, that doesn’t mean I have to like the Knicks.)

I haven’t been able to catch many Laker games this year, and the last time I sat down and watched an entire Laker game was when the Lakers were destroyed by Miami on Christmas Day.

This will be the first rematch of the NBA Finals from last year and you can bet it will be a good one.

I imagine tomorrow’s game playing out like this:

It’s 95-96, and the Lakers are down 1 with 15 seconds left on the game clock. Out of the timeout, Pau inbound passes the ball to Derek Fisher on the wing, Fish dribbles around for 5 seconds before finally passing the rock to Kobe.

With Pierce in his grill and the game clock winding down, the crowd chants 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! as Kobe jab steps right, goes left, spins, and then swishes an impossible fadeaway jumper over Paul Pierce’s outstretched hand as time expires.

And I’ll be there documenting it all with a tweet something like:

Kobeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! The Greatest of All Time!!!!

I doubt that the game plays out exactly the way I described it, but I can dream right?


Why Cover Letters Suck

For me, writing cover letters is hard.

It’s not that I don’t know how to write a good cover letter (I was able to get a couple interviews for internships last summer) or that the stakes have changed (applying for a job is a lot different than applying for an internship IMO).

Writing cover letters is hard because cover letters suck.

Well, at least the traditional cover letter.

The traditional cover letter is outdated – a remnant from the stone age when people actually wrote letters and mailed them at the post office.

They’re dry, they’re formulaic, and they suck.

You start out by listing your name and address, and the employer before writing this:

Dear Mr. Smith

I am writing to express my interest in…

You then proceed to briefly talk about your past jobs and experiences before requesting an interview at the end.

Dull. Boring. And more importantly, sucky.

Where’s the room for creativity and personality? How am I supposed to express myself when I’m boxed in by custom?

Sure, you can add a little bit of creativity and personality here and there, but the traditional cover letter just isn’t optimized for it.

I’d prefer to write my cover letters like I write my blog posts – conversational in style and tone, with a good story to draw the reader in.

This way I can show off both my skills and my creativity to a potential employer.

Although blog writing my cover letters might not work for every job I apply to, I think it can work for certain employers.

Take this cover letter I wrote recently. Instead of starting out by explaining my interest, I began by telling a story.

When a job posting shows up in my Google Reader with the title “Marketing Assistant” or “Account Executive”, I’m inclined to pass them by.

The jobs themselves might actually be interesting, but you wouldn’t know it from the title.

If I write a blog post with the headline, “Improving Your Writing Skills”, readers are less likely to click on my post than if I said, “10 Sure-Fire Ways To Improve Your Writing Skills!”

So when I saw a post asking for a “Creative Social Technologist”, I thought to myself, Now that sounds like a cool job!

This is only the second time I’ve written a cover letter like this, so for me to suggest that you throw all caution to the wind and write your cover letters this way wouldn’t make much sense. Unless you hate them as much as I do.

But if I do hear back from those two employers (fingers crossed), I’ll be able to make that recommendation.

I guess the only downside is that I can’t just copy and paste from cover letters I’ve written previously. But it will be all the more better when I hopefully hear back from employers requesting an interview.

What do you think of the traditional cover letter? How do you write yours?


Missing Post

I had a post written for today, but it went missing.

Where it could have run off to, I have no idea.

Maybe it’s floating around the web somewhere, attracting page views with it’s attention grabbing headlines, short paragraphs and evergreen content.

 

Actually what happened is all WordPress’ fault. I logged in while in class to finish my post but somehow all 500 words of it got deleted.

If I didn’t have class literally all day (from 10:05AM to 10:30PM), I would rewrite it.

But I do, so I guess I’ll just have to post an extra one this week.


Should You Let Sleeping Blogs Lie?

 

This question has been bouncing around in my head for some time now. Thousands of blogs are created daily, and there are well over 100 million blogs on the internet. 100 million! Imagine if a third of the people in America had a blog and were publishing content daily. Think of all the noise!

Luckily, many blogs don’t publish content daily or very regularly, and many blogs are abandoned. For some reason or the other, a blog may fall to the wayside. It could be from a lack of interest, too many time commitments, or not enough return on investment(ROI).

I’ve had three blogs that I’ve started only to see fall to the wayside, and I have been reluctant to begin posting on them again. For some reason, I have this feeling that a blog that I haven’t posted on in two months shouldn’t be resurrected.

Won’t someone see that I missed posting from November to February? What does that say about my commitment to blogging?

A reader could stumble upon a fantastic post one day, and delighting that they stumbled upon a wonderful blog return the next day, only to find nothing.

Also part of the reason I’m reluctant to resurrect my blogs is because they require work, and time – time that I don’t really have. I already write 5 posts a week for this blog, and it just wouldn’t be feasible to create 5 days worth of content for 3 other blogs, and then also keep my other commitments.

But I admit that there is something deep down inside me that loathes leaving my blog abandoned. It’s as if they are wasting away on the internet when they could be put to more productive uses (like generating ad revenue).

So I think I may just post once a week on those other blogs. One post a week is an easy way to establish a blogging schedule that is not too strenuous right?

Or maybe not. I’ll let you know.

How many blogs do you have that are now dead? Do you plan on resurrecting them? Share your blog stories in the comments below.


The Case For More Internships

If I could go back to the first day that I began college, the first thing I would have done was to get an on campus job or internship.

From my freshman year up to my junior year, I was both too lazy to seriously apply for a job or internship, and didn’t realize that internships were crucial for experience.

Luckily, I learned just in time for the summer after my junior year that I needed an internship if I was ever going to get a job after college. After all, I had no skills, just some knowledge in my head and a couple unformed ideas.

 

My Internship Experience

So I got an internship in DC working for a nonprofit. It wasn’t the most glamorous position but it taught me many lessons, including that a life in politics was not for me.

Returning to school for my senior year, I was hired for two on campus jobs that I believed would pay huge dividends for me. I figured these two internships, plus the one I completed over the summer would give me enough experience and make me competitive for jobs in 2011.

I was right – sort of. Even with those three internships, many of the jobs I see all over the internet still seem to require many things I don’t have – whether it’s 3-5 years of experience in an agency setting or some skill that I couldn’t possibly be proficient in at this point in my life.

 

Do I Need More Internship Experience?

But on the bright side I’ve seen many internships that would be perfect for me; from digital and social media marketing internships to music internships.

Many of them want a future college grad like me who has experience creating and running a campaign, managing a presence across social networks, and building and maintaining relationships online.

This makes me happy because to be honest, I don’t really think I’m ready to be tossed into the fire just yet.

An internship for a few months while I got to learn the ropes could do me well before a full-time position.

 

Keeping An Eye Out For Those Internships

So while I apply for full-time jobs I will also actively be looking for internships to help me gain experience.

But if someone wants to hire me for a full time job after graduation, I probably wouldn’t complain too much.

 

How many internships have you had? Have they been good or bad experiences? Share them in the comments below.


Networking Key To A Successful Job Search

I’ve stated a few times on this blog that one of my goals is to have a job lined up before I graduate in May.

While I still want this to happen, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I did not have a job until a few months out.

The reason? I just know that I will find something that I enjoy doing eventually; it’s just a matter of hard work, luck, and networking of course.

That last bit is the one piece of advice that I keep hearing over and over again: that networking is absolutely crucial to finding a job.

Before I started my job search, I never really took this seriously. Sure, I’ve networked before, but it wasn’t anything near as strategic as what I am doing now. I’ve been sending out emails, using Linkedin and Twitter, and talking to my brother’s friends.

The best part is that I’m not networking for the sake of finding a job (ok maybe it’s in the back of my mind but there are other reasons as well).

I’m networking because I am really and truly lost in this mess that is the Web.

As I started my job search, I became more and more frustrated because there were so many interesting and rewarding career paths for me to focus on. I’m interested in Social Media and the Web, and those two industries right there mean a dozen different jobs. What about marketing? Do I focus on a job in Internet Marketing, Mobile Advertising or Digital Public Relations? Or do I go a different path and pursue my love for Music? Or maybe I should start my own company?

Another reason this is all so confusing is because many of these fields are new, and haven’t had time to fully define their true roles yet.

Which I’m OK with because I do enjoy watching them develop, but currently it is incredibly frustrating.

So my solution to all this confusion and uncertainty is just to network my butt off and learn as much as I can people who have done it before me.

Networking removes pressure because even if I’m not writing cover letters or researching companies, I am still doing wonders for career. Not only am I learning, but eventually through the connections I’ll have made, I’ll be able to find a job that suits me.

How is networking helping you in your job search?


Taking 5 Classes Never Felt So Good

Wednesdays are going to be the bane of my existence – I can already tell.

On Wednesday’s this semester I have 5 classes: a Computer Science intro class with a lab, a music composition class, an electronic music class, and a film class.

So from about 12PM to 10:30PM I am in class all day. Literally, except for a break of about an hour and a half thrown in there somewhere.

So yeah, my Wednesdays are pretty brutal.

But as I came home last night completely exhausted, I dispelled the notion that Wednesday’s would be so miserable as to be un-enjoyable.

In fact, my Wednesdays might turn out to be pretty special.

First up is Music Composition. Right now I am learning how to read and write notes, the importance of time signature, etc. None of it is particularly fascinating, plus I played band through my senior year of high school, but composing music is something that I’ve always wanted to do – just not classical or band music!

More like Electronic Music, which I am taking. Yesterday I learned how to use Logic and Amadeus to compose a song, and I also learned a little about the theory and history of music, both digital and traditional. Plus our midterm and final are not your typical ones – we have to compose 2 and 4 minute songs respectively as our assignments! How cool is that!

Next up is an introductory Computer Science course. I’ll be learning how to use Python and I hope that this class gives me a good enough understanding of code so that I can learn other programming languages and make myself useful :).

The last class of the day for me is called Editing for Film and Video. I’ve only recently become interested in editing, but I understand that it is an important skill to have in 2011, especially with the explosion of online video.

The last class I’m taking only meets on Mondays, for two and a half hours. It’s called Digital Writing and it might be the class I am most excited about. We have to maintain our own blog, and we will be learning about what it means to write digitally: does the way you write change when you are online? What about issues of privacy? How has authorship and publishing changed in the last few years?

Some pretty interesting questions.

 

If you just read through all that, one congratulations, and two, isn’t that just the best class schedule someone’s ever described to you?

I’d say so.

Looks like it’s gonna be a fun, final semester.