A Sweet Last Day at Contract Live

As anyone who read my last blog post knows, Friday was my last day at Contract Live. Before I share pictures from my going-away party, I’d like to briefly explain the reason for my departure.

The short of it is that it just wasn’t the right startup for me. My bosses and I agreed that someone else would be a better match for the startup and the position, so we’re leaving on very good terms =]

This was a very interesting first experience working in France: I got a great introduction into French startups, learned a lot about how things work here, and had a very intelligent boss to learn all sorts of things from. It may not be the best place for me, but I definitely don’t perceive it as time wasted and will keep some nice memories!

So now it’s time to get back out there and look for work =] Do let me know if you hear of any Bay Area startups looking for someone to come in and help with comm., social media and e-marketing, amongst other things O=]

I’m still waiting on pictures (and videos ;D) to come in from coworkers, but here’s a sneak peak and I’ll update this post once I have everything.

I hid Kinder Surprise (Yum!) eggs all over our office for everyone to find in an early Easter celebration! There was one hidden in the printer O=D

Bowser laid an egg!

Project Happy: I have 2 moments to share from today.

1.) I had tons of fun riding on the back of a friend’s motorcycle all over Paris. We drove alongside the Seine River to go to the Eiffel Tower =]

2.) That same friend told me I seemed like an energetic, smart kid and that I’d be going places, so he’d like me to hit him up when I decide to start my own business (I’m sooo flattered he thinks I have so much potential and have what it takes to create my own startup <3)

What about you? Tell me about a nice moment you had today =]

How To Get A Job: 7 Tips

Picture from the job fair where I met Contract Live’s founders (Le Camping, the organization that put it together) used it to publicize their next job forum!

This seemed like an appropriate post to write since so many people are currently complaining that they can’t find work. Furthermore, I know this is going to make me sound like an ass, but I feel like I did a pretty good job finding my job. When I first started looking in Paris, I went to a job fair where a Master’s and internship program’s advertisement was that ~80% of their graduates found work withing 9 months of graduating.

Gah! I saw this and thought I was screwed! People with masters’ degrees and internship experience were still having that much difficulty finding work?!

Luckily… I did find work. And it didn’t take me that long (just 1 month). So maybe I’ll be able to help a few people out O=]

So here are my 7 Tips for Finding A Job

  1. Know what you have to offer. What experience do you have? Volunteer work? Languages you speak? Even stuff like waitressing counts–you learn how to deal with people, work under pressure, etc. So make a list of all your experience and skills. Now start thinking about the kinds of businesses/jobs that would find these skills useful.
  2. Know what you want.What are you interested in? What do you like about your hobbies (important detail since you’re most likely not going to get paid to do your hobby, but knowing what you like about it will help you figure out the type of work you’d enjoy)? Are you passionate about an industry or vocation? (You’re really into computers or love to write.) I really enjoy writing, socializing, and learning new things so Comm/Social Media was a natural fit for me.
  3. Market yourself. Ever heard of soft skills? (article in NY Times) The vast majority of employers put these at the top of their list of attributes they want in employees. Unfortunately, they also complain that young people today are lacking in them. (And of course I don’t remember where I read this ><‘ promise I didn’t just pull it out of my ass though.) Soft skills are the things you don’t usually learn in school. Things like communication and teamwork (forced group projects didn’t always turn out that well, right?). In order to develop these, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things, especially activities that force you to communicate, such as sales. A great way to do this is to volunteer for students organizations. They often need more people to help so you’ll be given more responsibility and opportunities to do things and learn than at a regular job (my personal opinion.) Quick tip (1.): AIESEC is an amazing organization. They run an international internship program as well as conferences. It’s where I developed skills such as leadership, sales, writing newsletters, PR, fundraising, giving training seminars, etc. I highly recommend AIESEC! Quick tip (2.): soft skills will also help you give stellar interviews.
  4. Send amazing resumes and cover letters. Make sure you know how to create a good-looking and effective resume and cover letter. These are the first things recruiters see from you. Want a sure-fire way to make sure you’ll never even get so much as an interview? Send in a lousy resume and cover letter. If you’re not sure how to go about it, here are a few links that will help you get started: About.com: Job SearchThe Rockport Institute’s Award-Winning Guide, and Wikihow.com’s guide to writing cover letters. Universities and even city libraries also often offer workshops and consultants to help you in your job search. Besides these sites though, there is one big thing you need to keep in mind: keep what the recruiter wants in mind! Use keywords from the job ad in your resume and cover letter. And don’t just send everyone the same resume and cover letter. Take the time to write one for each job you apply for.
  5. Be open-minded. Apply for jobs that aren’t exactly what you want or that don’t pay quite as much as you would like. Why? Jobs aren’t always what they seem. The job description doesn’t always explain what you will actually be doing very well, and a lot of companies will customize your tasks depending on your strengths and experience. Furthermore, a company that doesn’t sound as cool and hip as Google or Apple might still have a great job to offer. Case Study: Sophie. I went to a job fair where we did a speed-dating type exercise so that everyone would at least have the opportunity to meet all the other participants. The result? I met tons of interesting people, and kind of forgot about the ones that didn’t sound quite as interesting. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to go when I was called back for an interview at Contract Live. Boy am I glad I went though! At the interview, I discovered that this start-up has a great young team that is very fun to work with, that they’re already pretty successful so they would be able to pay me a living wage, and (Tada!) their philosophy is very young and open so I would have a lot of opportunities to try things an older, more conservative company would never dream of letting their PR people do. So I found the job of my dreams (no joke, I didn’t think I would find it) because I went to the interview that didn’t sound that interesting. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
  6. Don’t say no to interviews. (Oh, and make sure you dress professionally too! See pic for example.) Sounds obvious, right? Well… what about the jobs you’re not that interested in? You might start to get a little tired from writing resumes and cover letters, and going to interviews. Think about this though: you’ll get great interview practice. You’ll feel less pressure since it’s not a job you really really want! And… wouldn’t you rather practice and mess up BEFORE you interview for an amazing job? And finally…
  7. Take every opportunity you can. Are your resumes and cover letters up on Monster, LinkedIn, Craigslist and Careerbuilder? No? Why the hell not?  Have you been looking into job fairs happening nearby? What about volunteering for a company you really like? Some companies hire volunteers who show a lot of potential. And networking? Chances are someone knows of a job you’d be interested in!

Wow, I feel like all my job hunting and researching over the years have really paid off. I never realized I learned so much =] Hope you find this helpful! Feel free to leave comments, questions, and anything I forgot ❤

*** Like this article? Check out my Job Search Toolbox for more great tips! ***

Success! I Passed My Last Exam!

I’m very happy to announce that I have finally passed my last exam! The first time I took it, I missed it by a few points–so disappointing =/ San Jose State University managed to mess something else up with my paperwork so I need to turn a form in again, but I will soon be receiving my diploma!!

Ah sweet, sweet success =D

This means than I am now finally ready to get my plane ticket to France. Can you guys believe that I still haven’t bought it?! According to my mom’s friend, the flight attendant who is helping me get a standby ticket in business class (yes! 3 suitcases here I come! =] ), we don’t need to rush since it’s easy to get standby tickets at the last minute, but I’m still getting a little impatient.

Hopefully, my next post will be announcing which day I’m leaving for France. And of course I’ll continue to keep everyone updated about when I’m free to catch up. There are still many people I haven’t had a chance to see yet!

Speaking of which, I’m free for dinner tonight (Tuesday night) so send me a text if you’d like to grab dinner =]

1,000 Views in Under a Month!!! Thanks everyone!

I was very excited when I turned my laptop on this morning because I had  a feeling today would mark a memorable milestone in my blogging journey. Last night this blog had had 970+ views and I was pretty sure it wasn’t too unrealistic (or pompous!) of me to hope for a few more throughout the night….

and I was right!! As of 5pm August 11th, I’ve had 1,030 views.

Now I could be all self-congratulating and proud of myself… but I’ll be reasonable. The reason I’ve had this many views (other than my undeniable natural talent ;D) is because you have been taking the time to read my posts.

So Thank you, and I hope you’ll keep finding a reason to come back =]

SJSU Freshmen, take Sci 2!

The other day, one of my best friends’ little sister sent me a text asking about Science 2: Success in Science (Sci 2) so, being the undisputed authority on all things Sci 2, (HA! O=] ) I promised her I would write a post describing why she should take the class.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to remember how confused you were when you first went to university and tell the freshmen you know getting ready to attend San Jose State University (SJSU) to take Science 2, or at least read this post.

Here are only a few of the many reasons all incoming freshmen at SJSU should sign up for Sci 2:

I. It is chock full of resources! In this class, you will learn tons of things that will help you be successful at  SJSU (hence the name):

  1. Which offices and departments are in charge of what, including where to go for help depending on the sort of trouble you stumble into
  2. Where to find important documents and info on the SJSU website (not as easy as it sounds, trust me)
  3. Important rules and regulations most students don’t learn about until it’s too late
  4. A list of resources found on campus such as free tutoring and help with paper-writing
  5. The CSU formula used to calculate student GPA (useful in determining how much effort to put into which classes)
  6. Self-analysis regarding work and study type and relevant tips (for maximum efficiency so you have more time to spend enjoying university life)

II. Science 2 is a great class to meet other freshmen and make friends in. With both a lecture and an activity section, you have 100+ potential new friends in this class alone. Coincidentally, this is where I met some of my best friends =]

My 2 best friends from my time working as a PA

III. Each activity section has a Peer Advisor (PA). This is an older student who has already taken and done well in Sci 2. Each PA is assigned to a class s/he co-teaches, grades assignments for, and meets with each student one-on-one every week to evaluate individual student progress and help with any problems before they spiral out of control. I like to think that we’re very helpful and great role models, but that’s up to you to judge for yourselves.

IV. It’s a great work opportunity: if you do well in the class you can apply to be come a PA. PAs do a lot of work attending their class section, grading assignments and meeting with students every week, but it’s generally under 20 hours a week, pays better than most jobs on campus, and is very rewarding. I really loved getting to know the students in my section, helping them become more familiar with SJSU, and seeing how much more confident I’ve helped them become at the end of the semester. Other PAs and I have become friends with many of our students and still keep in touch with them. It’s really a great job for anyone who is organized, sociable, and enjoys mentoring.

So there you have it folks! This is one of the best classes I have taken in university. It should really be called success at SJSU rather than success in science since it’s so helpful for freshman of all majors, and enrollment is not limited to science majors. It’s a little more work than most freshman classes, but it saved me from spending endless hours looking for information, gave me the tools and knowledge to stay out of trouble, and helped me graduate on time (I’m sure my parents appreciate the savings!)

So do your friends and relatives coming to SJSU a favor, tell them to sign up for Sci 2 (or Sci 90T for transfer students.)

*** Wanna get ahead of the curve? Check out my Job Search Toolbox for tips to set yourself up with a job by the time you graduate! ***