A Surprising Thing I Have Learned in My Job Search

The past several months have been a whirlwind of frustration, questioning my self worth and abilities, and countless nights lying awake wondering what I could do to make myself a better candidate for the positions to which I was applying. Every new rejection email felt like a personal blow below the belt despite the fact that each letter was written in a courteous tone with no real insult. Rejection was something foreign to me. I don’t mean to present myself in a conceded manner, but I want to establish a basis for a very important life lesson I have learned from the copious rejections I have received.

In high school, I was always a gifted student, breezing through Honors and Advanced Placement courses without breaking a sweat. I made every athletic team for which I tried out and was hired to the first part-time job to whom I had given my resume. I was accepted into every college to which I had applied, and I had done all this without developing a “big head.” Arrogance was not a part of my personality makeup because success was something I took for granted. It had come naturally my entire life, so failure and rejection were not something that crossed my mind.

Even in a completely foreign country during my Peace Corps service I still found a route to success and acceptance. It was only after my evacuation from Sierra Leone that I experienced my first real letdown in life. My job search has been my first true taste of the real world, and I have tried my hardest not to let it leave a bitter taste in my mouth. When the rejection emails started coming back, I learned a lesson I had never before have to learn: humility.

I suppose when I started applying to agencies I retained the attitude I had always had in life. “No worries. This application is a shoe-in.” After dozens of rejections, this has been an eye-opening experience for me to say the least. I was pretty down on myself for a few weeks. I realized something during one of my sleepless nights that gave me a rejuvenated hope. Not everyone can offer me a job, but every rejection is an opportunity for growth. 

Now, when I receive a rejection email after an application, I write the creative director or HR manager back and inquire what made them decide to pursue other candidates. I ask what they would have liked to have seen from me and where my opportunities for improvement lie. Not only has this made me a stronger applicant presently, it has kept me in the game. Instead of allowing myself to wallow in self-pity at another rejected, I have learned to accept it and grow from it. In a way, I am thankful for these past few months.

(I would still appreciate the opportunity for a career, though.)

Why I Hate Resumes

Resumes are crucial to the 21st century hiring process, and I’d like to think that mine is polished and pristine. Yet, I hate them. The list of past work experience, qualifications, and languages spoken are not what would make me a valuable employ. You can’t learn that from a resume or cover letter. I yearn for the old days of business when I would have had to physically walk into a place, land an appointment, and SPEAK with a person. Broken paragraphs and bullet points crammed onto one page do not define my value.

You put out hundreds of resumes each accompanied by a personalized cover letter, and if you’re lucky, maybe 20 of them are viewed. Even then, the person in charge of hiring may only give your resume attention for five minutes tops. There has to be a better way. Maybe we should all begin submitting video resumes where at least we can make a personal impression. Perhaps I’ll simply start giving out my Skype name (it’s just Jordyn Giddens) in hopes of the opportunity to make human contact.

Maybe it’s just my frustration with the job search starting to break through, but I hope employees of the future are able to submit more than a piece of paper and a one-page letter for consideration for employment.

Pinterest: An Advertiser’s Goldmine

As I was spending another evening virtually planning my non-existent wedding and trying to ignore the delicious-looking pictures of food, I had a thought. Why aren’t more advertisers taking advantage of the goldmine that is Pinterest? They give advertisers the options to promote their pins, and yet, I have never seen a promoted pin. It is a medium used by scores of women who dedicate high amounts of time to it. Think of how many impressions advertisers who don’t utilize Pinterest are missing out on.

For example, a typical twenty-something female will click onto Pinterest 1-3 times a day and visit at least 4 of the categories the website offers. Let’s say these women visit Health and Beauty, Food and Drink, and Weddings and Events. There is a chance to expose those women to a make-up ad, a light beer ad, and an ad for a wedding planner all in one sitting.

The best part about the whole thing is that it is essentially free (or at least costs relatively little). Additionally, people are choosing to view your message, and as such, will likely respond more positively than to a television or pop-up ad of the same product. Location, location, location. It’s a business tactic as old as business itself. Take the message to the audience and good things happen. I hope to see a bigger trend of Pinterest ads in the future.

Pinterest is an addiction.

Pick on Someone Your Own Age

Recently, I came across this article in Business Insider:

http://www.businessinsider.com/6-quotes-prove-millennials-bad-employees-2013-1

Essentially, it is a 500 (give or take) word insult to the Millennial generation. Having been born a Millennial myself, I am no stranger to the author’s point of view. Older generations love to hate my generation, but I do not pretend this is anything unique. Previous generations are always convinced that theirs is the hardest working, most morally upstanding, and respect deserving, and I have no doubt that the Millennial generation will one day catch ourselves saying the same things.

My family often chastises, “You and your brother have no idea what hard work is. All you care about are your phones and Twitter.” These little speeches offend me, but not to any great extent. The above article offended me on a supremely different level. It is hard enough for Millennials to start our careers without articles like this one quoting a stratified sampling and creating a misrepresentation of our generation as a whole.

I  cannot speak for the rest of the Millennials, and I do not pretend that I am in any way special. However, I worked two jobs through high school. When it came time for college, I read industry blogs and studied employment patterns. I equipped myself with the knowledge that I would need at least 3-5 years of intern experience before I could “hang with the big kids.” I put in the time. I held an internship and a part-time job all four years of my college career. After college, I  spent a year as a highly overqualified department manager at a local WalMart because I was to enter Peace Corps service the following year. I left my family and the comfort of America to help promote our nation’s image and build a nation in need until we were removed due to the Ebola outbreak. I am not afraid of hard work, and I understand that what you get in life must be earned. I am not the only Millennial to recognize this either.

So, forgive me if I have stepped onto a soapbox. It irks me when my generation is lumped into one lazy, entitled, empathetic ball of misrepresentation. Perhaps the next time you go to insult us, you should stop to think who it is that raised us. Better yet, help put a stop to this ageism by observing that while some Millennials fit the persona presented in the above article, most of us are not that way. We should all take value from each other and realize that contributions from every generation are what move industry forward.

Do recalls hurt brands?

Due to the recent recalls of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Bell & Evans chicken, I have decided to exam whether or not recalls damage brand loyalty. My short answer would have to be no. If you prefer a longer answer, then read on. If your brand is well established then a recall over a minor thing like less-than-agreeable ingredients or one corrupted batch of meat isn’t going to put your product in the ground.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally will not be ceasing my purchases of devilishly tasty Fireball because of a recall in Britain. Nor do I believe that Fireball or Bell & Evans will suffer because of these recalls. Many consumers are loyal enough to the products that they will continue to be loyal once the issues are resolved.

Fix the problem, follow up with an honest public relations campaign, and in the words of Bob Marley “every little thing is gonna be alright.” Cheers!

Delicious, delicious Fireball.

Why is humor undervalued in employees?

It’s basic supply and demand. Modern audiences want their media to make them laugh, frequently and quickly. So why aren’t more advertising agencies hiring employees with a stronger appreciation for humor? Is someone more likely to share a link that’s designed really well with lots of great information or something that made them “lol”?

The truth is that consumers still want the information, but they want it presented in a way that makes them chuckle. There’s a lot of crap in the world, and everyone enjoys diversion. Unless you’re promoting cancer treatments or putting together a PSA about animal abuse, etc. humor is a marketer’s best friend.

So, I submit to you my new CV:

Relocating for a Job

Growing up in Kansas, I was surrounded mostly by teachers. Since Kansas is #5 in the nation for education, I am in no way complaining about the plethora of educators. My parents are in education, and they generally love what they do. Yet, I always wanted something different. When I discovered my talent and love for advertising, I knew I would have to leave the Plains.

I have come to embrace this fact in the past few years. I want to experience the world of advertising across the world. Travel is one of my passions anyway, so relocation would be a thrill for me. I look at it this way: I can hone my skills and perhaps one day return to the Wheat State to initiate a Kansas advertising revolution.

Carpe diem, right?