Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 used what LA Fellows instructor Larry Braman taught her in this blog post for recruiter Artisan Creative where she is a Social Media Consultant:  Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turning a volunteer position into a paid position...One LA Fellow's story

Roxanne Rock, Cohort 4, recently shared how her volunteer position turned into a paid position.

I'm glad to report that I have completed my 100 volunteer hours for City Scholars Foundation.  It was a rewarding experience that allowed me to use my administrative skills and gave me the opportunity to work with the 2010 MS Suite.  The inhouse staff is comprised of just two people - the Founder and the Program Manager - so it felt good that I was able to attend to all of the small tasks it takes to put a program on.  Once my 100 hours were completed I let them know that I intended to volunteer to help with their upcoming program but that I had to reduce my contribution from two days to one day per week.  They knew that they needed more help than that to tend to all of the details.  They decided to hire a temp two days a week through October.  They offered me that opportunity.  Now I can say that I work for pay two days a week and am still able to continue my job search and networking three days a  week.  Thanks to LA Fellows, I get to update my resume to show that I am working!  

Roxanne Rock
Cohort 4

Monday, September 19, 2011

Victor Beauchamp of Cohort 4 shares his Top 5 Best Job Search Practices

When I think back on most useful practices I learned there are the obvious classics such as “bring shiny penny,” the “blunt instrument,” network, practice interview questions, volunteer, etc. which were all valuable lessons for me, but the “Top 5” that stood out during my search were:

1. Have an Accountability Partner(s)/ “Continue the Fellows” – Immediately after Fellows graduation I went into a “Post-Fellows” funk and started to slip back into some bad habits: staying up late, not wearing shoes, etc. Fortunately I was able to attend a Monday morning group of “Mini-Fellows” led by Julie-Ann, with Monique, and Lorita that had an agenda and weekly homework assignments. Just knowing that I had to start off my week with at least three people expecting big things from me really made a difference and helped keep me focused throughout the week. It also helped me feel like Fellows was still ongoing as we already knew each other’s issues and had an amazing shared experience that we could all draw from. I recommend that everyone have at least one “accountability partner,” but if it can be a few former Fellows I think the experience will be that much richer because you can reinforce to each other what you learned in the program. (Also, be friends with Joy Gemberling if possible: she is very resourceful, helpful, and a human good luck charm!)

2. Adjust Resume for Each Job (Use Hybrid with “Selected Accomplishments”) – Although this is a huge drag (especially when the “no’s” start rolling in) I took Lynnette’s advice and only applied for jobs that I thought I was really qualified for, and created at least a new unique “selected accomplishments” section for each with my best three bullet points that fit the job. This helped me immediately understand how I was qualified for the job, got my best attributes on to the first page, and became the basis for my cover letter. (If you don’t want to do this you have to at least use Lynnette’s resume template and follow it exactly to the letter unless you want to get in trouble : )

3. “Be Completely There” During the Interview – I would get super nervous during interviews and over-prepare which would create a tightening effect, but Larry’s numerous tips about speaking from your lower abdomen, “mee mow moos,” shaking it out, and finally just “letting go and trusting it will be there for you” really made a difference for me. I also found that using his SOAR template and putting those concepts on flash cards instead of actually writing out full interview answers allowed me to still grasp the basic concepts but sound less rehearsed…

4. Help “Non-Fellows” Job Search (Teach) – As I mentioned numerous times before many people in my other networking groups are very interested in LA Fellows: I used these opportunities to teach people the lessons which helped me better understand what I had learned and made it obvious to me when I was not practicing what I was preaching.

5. Take Risks/Get Out of Your Shell – I used the Fellows program to take advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me, even if it meant getting way out of my comfort zone (like speaking at graduation, attending black tie affairs, or having informational lunches with complete strangers that prefer to talk about “chicks” instead of job openings, true story : ( I figure whatever I had been doing for the last few years had got me unemployed so changing it might reverse the effect? Although none of those experiences directly led to me getting this particular job, I saw each of them as accomplishments that went in my “backpack” so when I started feeling nervous about the next panel interview I just thought: “this is easier than the graduation speech and that went ok so calm down.” It really helped put things in perspective forced me to see myself in a totally different light.

Although these were all important to me I really can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuing the spirit of support and community with other Fellows: in fact I think the only downside about landing for me is no longer having the chance to go to Mini-Fellows (that and the whole working every day thing : ) Seriously, please get together with each other because it really is the easiest way to “keep” what you learned. I wish you all luck in your job search and if there is any way I can help please let me know…

Victor Beauchamp, Cohort 4

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ara Easley shares how her LA Fellows training and volunteering helped her secure employment

Ara Easley, a proud LA Fellows graduate of Cohort 1, shares how she moved past the struggle and hopelessness of searching for a job and secured full-time employment.  Read all about how she made it happen:

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it... I was struggling at the time I was in LA Fellows, to the point of hopelessness. The people were great, the classes were helpful, but I felt like a lost cause. Then there was a job fair at LAVC. Tony asked who wanted to help set up, which gave us an opportunity to be of service in the moment, and talk up LA Fellows as well as ourselves. All of the skills honed in LA Fellows came into play. LA Fellows filled in the conversational gap of "what are you doing now?", and we had spent countless hours with all of our coaches figuring out what we wanted to do next, and how to present it concisely, confidently and with our own personality shining through.

I met a recruiter, who asked what I was looking for, and I perkily answered non-profit. He asked if I would be open to loan processing. My smile stayed just as big as I said yes. He asked what I had been making, and then presented this salary, which is a cut, but is way more than I was making while unemployed, so once again I stayed open and positive. The job turned out to be a Bankruptcy Specialist at Bank of America, temp-to-perm, and after the scheduled nine month contract it has finally gone perm! Nine of us started that day, and four of us are left.

It may have been a tip from Lynnette that put me over the edge... she said to use your real job title no matter how dry, and no matter how little it represents your actual job. I had an eight year stint at Northrop Grumman growing from Benefits Assistant to Associate Benefits Analyst to Benefits Analyst. The Bank of America job was obtained through resume alone, with the briefest of phone interviews. Those titles told the recruiter I had a background in Insurance and was very analytical and detail-oriented. I may have other skills, and they may have even come out more if I fudged my title to match the tasks from my previous position, but these are the skills I've been hired for, and am continuing to hone them while I am at Bank of America. I am truly grateful to LA Fellows for the support and the tools to get me back on my feet and back to work!"

Ara Easley, Cohort 1, proudly displays her LA Fellows certificate at graduation

Friday, September 9, 2011

LA Fellow blogs about the "Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing"

One of the graduates of LA Fellows Cohort 2 recently wrote this blog post about Job Search in her new role as Online Marketing and Social Media Consultant for Artisan Creative.  She said she reflected on much of what she learned in LA Fellows when writing the post.

She writes, "Do your research.  Know as much as you can about the company culture and the person you are meeting.  Prepare a couple of interesting questions to ask your interviewerLinkedIn is a great place for finding inspiration!"

To read the full post, visit

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 discusses job search best practices that really work!

There are two best practices that have served me well in the process of landing not one role, but two, both in a new field for me, Marketing.

First is to, before every single interview, phone, in-person, panel, write out the answers to the sample interview questions. Even "Tell me a little about yourself." (Why is that the hardest one?) Over the course of my job search, my answer has changed based on what's going on with me, what the role is, who I'm meeting, what stage of the process we are in, all sorts of reasons. Some of my answers are always the same, but to have them firmly in the front of my mind right before an interview has been essential to being articulate and calm during the meetings.

Second, remember that a job interview is a chance to meet another person, to find commonalities and maybe even make a new friend. Like an audience for a performer, they want you to do well, they want to like you. Although they are judging you in a certain way, they, like you, would love to discover that you are the perfect candidate. Interviewing and networking are both chances to meet new people and start new relationships. How fun is that?

I've had a lot of interesting experiences during my job search including a Dramatic Re-enactment of an interview (the panel messed up big time) and a very strange interview with a Daily Deal site. The jobs I have landed have come from internet site searches, black hole notwithstanding. I've tweaked my resume and cover letter over and over and over. And over. I've tried making deals with my karma. The most important factor has been thinking of the entire process as building relationships, start to finish. Today I can't wait to start working with my new manager next week and getting my feet under me in my new role. I get to build a community of creative professionals and that is my mission (thanks again, Dr. Green).

Best of luck to everyone and if there's anything I can do for you, please let me know!

Wendy Stackhouse

Cohort 2

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chai Chaloyphian, Cohort 4, shines at Habitat for Humanity

Congratulations to Chai Chaloyphian, LA Fellows Cohort 4, on completing over 100 volunteer hours at Habitat for Humanity. In addition to volunteering and completing the training portion of LA Fellows, Chai is on track to complete his MBA before the end of the year, will compete in his 15th LA Marathon, and has started his own company. What an inspiration!

Chai Chaloyphian, Cohort 4, proudly wears his Habitat for Humanity shirt and hat