Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Start a blog.

If you don’t already have one this is your call to action; straight from me to you. Start a blog.

Okay it is pretty direct for me to just say that but by this point I am utterly convinced that having a personal blog (one that you can contribute something useful) to is the single most valuable tool for you to have as a student, a professional, a job hunter or even an employer. Over my past entries I have been ramping up to this point (figuring it out for myself along the way too) by talking about people I know, people I have seen and how social media has helped them get to where they are today. But the one thing all of these people have had in common is their blog.

Take Promod Sharma – my inspiration for instance. Because of his blog he was interviewed by the Toronto Star and written about in both the online and print editions. He was also showcased on the Toronto Board of Trade website and the Metro newspaper. He has been nominated for a business excellence award and interviewed again by the Globe and Mail. All of this is because of his social media and blogs (you can read more about all this in detail in my blog post here).

Gwen Elliot who I recently saw speak at TEDxRyerson and wrote about in my review. She is now hosting a show on Rogers TV called “Start Something Big!” – a realty show interviewing millenials who have been entrepreneurial and started their own businesses. She got to where she is because she started a blog.

My friend Dan who I wrote about in a post called Motivation is becoming increasingly inspired and more motivated every day since he started his blog cglfgamerzreview. Every day he’s becoming more focused and thinking about where to take it and the opportunities it is going to give him. I completely believe that his devotion to his blog is going to take him places in the gaming industry.

And finally, it’s time to talk about myself.

Since I started this blog a month ago I have talked about social media a lot. My personal Twitter account has had its’ followers increase from 49 to 134 (at the time of this posting) and most of those are people who have followed me because they have seen and read my blog. I was able to present a 75 minute workshop at the Toastmasters District 60 conference on social media earlier this month, and I am going to be co-presenting a workshop on social media, January 10 at 12:30 on http://www.hr.com with Anita Nickerson, an HR professional. Again, this is because of my blog and Toastmasters. I was able to go to the TEDxRyerson conference last weekend and write a huge review on it (part 1 and part 2). While at the conference, my blog gave me a purpose while being there and an extra chance to network with the presenters. Because of my interest and involvement with blogs and social media I was also advised to apply for a job with Digital Agencies by a friend who has worked for them before (it was the first time I had ever heard the term “Digital Agency”).

So here is what I did.

  • On Monday of this week I redid my resume, changing it from an HR resume to a social media and marketing resume.
  • On Tuesday I put out a few applications.
  • On Wednesday I got a call from Hooplah (my first pick) to come in for an interview.
  • Today, I just came back from that interview.

I guarantee you, that if I had not started this blog none of this would have happened. I also want to talk about how I applied to Hooplah and what the company and interview process was like.

The Application

On their website, this is what I saw written under the careers section:

I put arrows next to two of the points for a reason. #1, the “requirements” section grabbed my attention unlike any other job ad I’ve ever seen. A place where an appreciation for “laughs, food, and loud music” is a job requirement? Well, I like laughing, I like food and I certainly like music. A workplace that wants their employees to be happy with their jobs? Okay! I’m in!

Second, they wanted an application that was “anything but generic”. As they are a marketing agency, this made perfect sense to me. So I got out my email and this is what I wrote – word for word:

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Dear Hooplah,

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? 

 

It’s a quote by Dr. Seuss that I have atop my website. Why? Because I believe it. There isn’t anything that I do that I don’t take seriously. When it comes to social media, people want to know what they’re doing with it. But more importantly, they need to know why they should be using social media in the first place. I make it my goal to help educate the people that follow me to have their answers to these questions and not leave any loose ends for them to worry about. And apparently, it’s working. Over the last month I have had three of my blog articles featured as headlines on Cromwell ToastmastersSpeakers Daily Shout, and TEDxCairo. In addition, I was selected as the top Tweet out of hundreds of Tweets that trended #TEDxRU over this month to be showcased on The Ryersonian.

 

I am interested in hearing more about your job opportunities as a Social Media Specialist as well as a Digital Project Manager. I have attached my resume as well as my Klout score (as of today). Please know that you can reach out to me directly at 647-***-****.

 

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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My response from the president? Two words.

“Let’s meet”

The Interview

I figured the drive to get to Hooplah’s office on the other side of the city should take about half an hour, but not wanting to take any chances with Toronto traffic I left an hour and a half early so I would arrive on time and could hopefully grab some lunch. At 1:20 (my interview was for 1:30) I went into their office.

My first impression was I couldn’t help but grin. It certainly didn’t look like any office I had ever been in before. In the center of the room was a large oval table area with duel-monitor PC’s set up and the office itself was extremely colourful with various social media logo’s on the walls and the general colour scheme. It reminded me of a mix between the Ted Roger’s School of Management computer lab’s at Ryerson, and someone’s house (but more professional looking). It’s difficult to describe but it looked like the sort of place that encouraged collaboration and wanted you to feel comfortable while at work. So far I liked what I saw.

I was greeted by one of the employee’s (I didn’t recognize him from any of Hooplah’s employee’s LinkedIn profiles) who welcomed me in and went to get the president (Leslie) who would be interviewing me. A minute later he came out and we went into the board room to start the interview.

Similar to application process, the interview was unlike anything I had ever been to before. As I have an HR background I was expecting to be given a mix of standard behavioural (backwards looking) and situational (forwards looking) interview questions. Instead, Leslie put up my resume and website on a giant-screen monitor in the room and started asking questions about what I had done with social media, about my hobby’s and my background. We were shortly joined by the media director David and what we had was less like an interview and more like a flowing discussion. What their company vision is, what they want to see from the people who work from them, and what I was looking for as well.

I don’t recall ever feeling so ready for an interview before either. It wasn’t that I had spent an enormous amount of time preparing for it – in fact I probably spent about as much time preparing for it as I did for any other interview. The difference was I was passionate about what I was talking about. We were speaking marketing, we were speaking social media, we were speaking about our goals and our visions. I am now feeling like it is quite possible that my HR education may have been the wrong background and I should have gone with marketing after all.

I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited about a job before this. They made me feel welcome and valued – even as a candidate. In an earlier blog post about Steve Jobs I knew I had to change something and wrote “What will I do differently? I’m still working on it, but there will be something.” I think I’ve found it.

Oh, and one last point – start a blog.

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(Update from Nov 24: This event has already taken place and you can read my reviews: Part 1 and Part 2)

Tomorrow I will be attending my first TED conference. Or to be more specific, an independently organized TED conference by my former university – Ryerson. If you are unfamiliar with TED I suggest you head over to their website and take a look at some of the speakers. TED hosts a collection of some of the best speakers in the world – what started as something small has grown into a worldwide gathering of something incredible and tomorrow I get to be a part of that.

As part of the event, they will be incorporating social media allowing people to tweet their questions to the speakers using the hashtag #TEDxRU. This is exactly the type solutions that social media is able to provide. How many times during a presentation have you had a question that you have been dieing to ask but not been picked? Or how many times has someone asked a question and not been understood? Twitter solves both of these problems by allowing everyone to pose a question, and whoever can do it best in 140 characters or less will have their voice heard.

One of the biggest challenges for me tomorrow however, will simply be deciding which speakers to see. As the itinerary for the event has now been released, I find myself browsing through the speech titles trying to imagine what’s in store with each of the speakers. I hope to find a slightly more detailed itinerary tomorrow when I register, however if there is not one prepared, then I will simply sit back and prepare to be surprised. I don’t imagine every topic will be appealing to me, but that’s the beauty of TED. Sometimes you like what you get and other times you don’t. But you can always appreciate the effort that comes from each speaker.

Anyone who is following me on Twitter will see a stream of my questions and other live updates from the event tomorrow. I will also be posting a summary afterwards, although perhaps not until Monday.

It’s almost midnight so I think with that, it’s time to get some rest so I’ll be ready for what’s in store.

Motivation

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Life
Tags: ,

Today I’m going to talk about something a little different, the idea is motivation and the focus is on my friend Dan’s blog called cglfgamerzreview.

As you may have guessed by the blog title, it’s a blog about video game reviews by someone who is very passionate and dedicated about what he is doing. The blog itself is fairly new only having been created a couple of weeks ago but you would guess it’s been running a bit longer considering there’s been a post almost every single day. Not the droll kind either that makes you fall asleep reading it. The content is authentic and written with an sense of outgoing crazy humour that I can say is well in-tune with the author’s personality. He also, rather than giving any type of rating system simply makes his suggestion at the end of the blog post whether you should buy the game, rent it, or burn it in a bonfire while washing your eyes for having had to look at such a monstrosity.

But the real motivation that I’m seeing is from the author himself. I’ve seen him at both his ups and his downs, and I don’t think I can say I’ve ever seen him on more of an “up” than since he started writing this blog. It goes to show how doing something you’re totally passionate about can increase your own happiness and self-worth.

I won’t say anything about his plans for the blog (they are there), but let’s just say we can expect to see some good things coming.

And by the way, motivation is contagious!!!

 

If It Were My Last Day

Posted: October 27, 2011 in Life
Tags: , , ,

If It Were My Last Day

I’ve never really been an Apple fan. I remember the first time I used a Mac; it was through grades 6-8 in Bloordale Middle School. I didn’t really understand why the computers were so different than what I was used to using, I just knew that they were. I suppose the fact that the monitors were shaped like an Apple should have been some clue but hey, I was young.

Even now, the only Apple product I own is an iPod and it’s a pain to use because I find iTunes to be extremely frusterating to work with. I keep my music in file folders on my computer that I’ve sync’d directly to my computer via CD’s. The easy way to play them is to drag and drop them into their relevant location on the MP3 player but iTunes just adds some extra unnessary steps.

Anyway, the point is I’ve never been an Apple guy and am still not. But when I heard Steve Jobs died it still got my attention just like everyone else. It just seemed odd that someone so well known and young was no longer around.

I found myself immediately doing some research, finding out a little bit more about Steve Jobs. One of the first things I came across was his Stanford address from 2005. I’m sure many people have either read it or watched it online, but if not you can do so here.

There was a lot of useful information contained within, however the one part that stuck out to me was this quote:

This is probably some of the most simple and relevant advice I have ever come across. It’s extremely easy to get stuck in a routine and just go with it because well, it’s easy. I’ve thought about this quote almost every day since I’ve come across it now and the answer for me has been “no”.

It’s simple and motivational. Advice to live by in order to get the most from your life and be happy. What will I do differently? I’m still working on it, but there will be something.

RIP Steve Jobs.