Survival of the Fittest – Job Hunt Edition.

I have come to the conclusion that the job hunt is survival of the fittest. You can chuckle or sigh at the comment but it is TRUE! Here is the deal…. I am a senior who is about to graduate this summer and I have applied for countless number of jobs. The job hunt began in February and the IDEAL plan was to have a position nailed down by April. Now, I have been blessed with a couple of interviews that has given me the interview experience. I don’t just want a job with an employer who doesn’t even know my nickname. I want a job with an employer who cares about ME and my work performance. A job with an employer who cares about the positive employee relations and their rich history.

So… below are the reasons why I think the job hunt is survival of the fittest.

• There are a ton of Do’s and Do Not’s for resume content…. talk about contradicting! 
• It is based off of individual preference… cannot please every single person and match their every want.
• I once had someone tell me that they did not like my personal branding efforts and that the only person who should have a graphic on their resume is an artist.
• …They teach us in school to always brand yourself! They say, “If you can’t brand yourself then why would a company trust you with branding responsibilities?”

EVERYONE is checking InDeed, CareerBuilder, Simply Hired… job boards. Seriously, the list could go on FOREVER!
• It is great that so many job board Websites are available to job seekers… but guess what? EVERY COLLEGE SENIOR IS LOOKING AT THE SAME BOARD! So this results in the company getting FLOODED with resumes!

Clean up your social media… no red solo cups!
•If you could not tell already… I am not one to bar hop, party hop or to take six shots of tequila. The “Clean up your social media,” thing wasn’t that big of an issue for me. However, I expect that the person who is interviewing me, for a major company, has THEIR social media cleaned up. The employer is evaluating me just as much as I am evaluating them.

• Company: “We are only interviewing on Friday.”
Me: Ok, it is Wednesday and I am scheduled to work a double on Friday. ” I am scheduled to work a double shift on Friday… could we schedule it either early in the morning on Friday, any time before 10:20 a.m., or another time early next week?”
• Company: “We being interviewing at 11 a.m….Do you get a break on Friday? We are located in Tampa and the interviews don’t last long, it will only take an hour.”
• Me: “I am scheduled to work two shifts in one day at a fast paced and high volume restaurant. It is difficult to leave for a period of time.”
• Company: ” Ok, you can call back next week and see where we are with the hiring.”
• Me: ????????????????

Do NOT wear…
•This is goes along with the resume in the sense that it is the employers opinion on either they like or dislike your presentation.
• They say, “Do not wear bright colors, do not wear too many accessories and do not wear strong perfume.”
• But, my style is mixed between Kate Spade and Milly! It is all about color and personality! This one I had a tough time with because I like to dress similar to my personality…. and I do not want to cover that up.
• Best advice I got on this subject, “Just dress conservative and once you get the job THEN you can dress with your personality”.  & “Just be yourself!”
• ….but I still added a tiny bit of color! ; – )

Overall, the entire process of being on the job hunt has been a roller coaster. Do not get me wrong, it has been an exciting process. I enjoy applying to different jobs and putting together the materials. I even snail mail employers my branding packages . Of course, I send a personal thank you letter to each person who considers me for a position. I must day that I am fortune enough to be employed at this moment and have a job. However, it is not the dream job for me but it is more than what some people have.

Must never give up!

Cheers!

J.J.

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Cingular Wireless & AT&T

Today, I want to write about a milestone in my life. My first job. Sales Representative for a Cingular Wireless Agent retail store. This position lasted throughout my Junior and Senior high school years and the beginning college years.

I began my journey with Cingular Wireless in the summer of 2006. A family friend of mine knew the owners, Albert and Armando,  looking for a sales representative. So, they brought me in for an interview and hired me on the spot. About 6 months after working at the retail store, Cingular Wireless was purchased by AT&T.

Yes, I remember the merger. Won’t forget  reassuring Cingular customers that their wireless plan has been ‘grandfathered in’ meaning their plan won’t change unless they change it. I also remember when text messages  and picture messages were sold as two different packages. Today, it is looked at as one. I won’t ever forget the customer who said, “5,000 text messages? That is way too much! Ill pick up the phone and call!” Wonder how many text messages that person is sending now… it is a must have!

Below are a few things I learned as a Cingular Wireless / AT&T Agent. 

•I will forever have the customer service number memorized!

•Customers want to be accommodated. Make time for them. I once made a customer so happy she bought me the Garth Brooks complete CD collection as a Christmas gift (we both loved Garth!). I made a difference in her life and she made an impact in mine!

•This is where I first encountered angry people. Someone who is angry at life… and their wireless bill. I quickly learned and adapted to customer resolutions!

•Mystery Shoppers were my favorite! I welcomed the pop quizzes on my performance.

•In order to activate an account, you must talk to a representative in customer care. Make them happy just by asking how their day is going.

•When activating the cell phone with a customer care representative you must read off a series of numbers. IMEI codes or SIM card codes. I learned that it is much easier and efficient to read the numbers off in a series of 3’s. 123-break-456-break-789-break

•People LOVE their rollover minutes!

•I had a customer walk in the store and say, “I want a phone with the biggest antenna!” He was pretty confused when I showed him the Trio 360 Palm Pilot. After working with him for 2 hours, I sold him a Motorola flip phone. He left with knowledge that the biggest antenna doesn’t necessarily help you get crazy service.

Photo of me during 2006 in front of the orange wall.

Photo of me in front of the famous orange wall –  2006

Heather was my mentor during this time period! She showed me the ropes of being a sales representative!

Heather was my mentor during this time period! She showed me the ropes of being a sales representative! Notice the accessories and collateral behind us?

Izzy and I decided to take a break to show off some dances moves!

Izzy and I decided to take a break to show off some dances moves!

Strawberry Queen Pageant

In a small town just in between Tampa and Orlando resides Plant City. Plant City is a small, yet powerful town, known for their strawberries. In fact, it is the winter strawberry capital of the world. How is this possible? Well, the soil is rich, the farm land is vast and the weather is perfect. You see, it doesn’t get too hot or too cold in Plant City during the winter / harvesting months (Thanksgiving to Easter). When a cold front does come through, the farmers will turn on their water sprinklers, just before the front hits. This is to create a frozen shell around the berries. The shell protects the berries from frostbite and it makes it a little more sweeter.

How do I know all of this? I competed in the hometown scholarship pageant, Strawberry Queen. Strawberry Queen  can be compared to Miss America. Typically, the pageant takes place each year during the first or second weekend in Feb. In order to compete in the Strawberry Queen pageant, you must live in Plant City limits, are between the ages of 16 and 20 and have good academic standing. The Queen and her court (4 other gals) represent the town throughout the year but most importantly during the Strawberry Festival season. For the most part, any gal who lives in Plant City waits anxilsuly for her chance to compete for Strawberry Queen.

The phases of competition include: personal interview, 30 second on-stage commercial / public speaking, swimsuit (it has changed to casual wear) and evening gown. After those phases are complete the judges narrow down the girls to a top 10. The top 10 is then whisked back to a private, sound proof room. Each girl is pulled to answer the same onstage question. Only the audience knows the onstage question. The question is typically about Plant City or the festival.

Although, I did not become Strawberry Queen, I did make it to the top 10. I prepared and prepared for this pageant for about a year. My preparations included an interview prep and onstage question prep as these were the most nerve wrecking phases. My coach also helped me with the commercial / public speaking phases and walking on stage. Competing in the pageant really gave me boost to the real world interviewing and confidence with public speaking. I can honestly say that preparing for Strawberry Queen helped me with my interviewing skills and public speaking skills.

Check out the photos below from the competition!

9929_1146794905747_3708313_n 9929_1146794945748_3504957_nTo learn more about the Strawberry Festival visit:  Website

To learn more about the pageant: Website

*Photo on the left was taken after the 30 second commercial / public speaking phase.

*Photo on the right was taken during the onstage question.