Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

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 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:



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.




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.