Category Archives: Networking

Creative Careers: Selling Your Art

Artists Square’s CEO, Racquel Cruz, asked fellow artist Candy Buckley, to expand on several challenges when it comes to selling art. No doubt Candy’s firsthand knowledge and experience will not only sound familiar for many, it will also prove to beneficial for up and coming artists.

When selling your artwork as a career or means of income, what is your target audience for your art type? What has been your greatest challenge in finding your audience and selling your work?”

I like to think that my style of art is diverse enough that it would appeal to a wide range of people. The type of art that I do is varied and greatly depends on my mood. I have pieces that would most likely appeal to more of a “New Age” audience, but I also have art that could appeal to any type of audience. I don’t stick with one style of art, my work ranges from contemporary to abstract and everything in between.

Career Tip #1: Don’t’ be afraid or shy to get your work out there via the many social networking sites available.

I enjoy working on several different projects at one time. I tend to get bored quickly so I find that this method keeps my mind working and my creative juices. While I of course would like to sell my art, I don’t cater to a particular type of audience.

One of the greatest challenges when trying to reach any type of audience is finding the best way to get work noticed. This is such a competitive field and there are so many extremely talented people out there that it’s sometimes very hard to find ways to stand out, so to speak.

I found that one very useful tool is social networking sites, such as the Artist’s Square. While these sites do normally have a large number of members, it is still very simple to showcase your work and hopefully get the attention of other artists and therefore prospective buyers. Facebook happens to be another of my favorite sites for advertising my art. I’ve created a page that does just that and truly enjoy interacting with the pages members and getting their feedback.

Career Tip #2: No matter which career field you find your passion, never compromise your creation.

There are many other ways to generate an audience and become a successful artist. It’s up to each individual to find his or her perfect fit, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking advantage of multiple venues at once.

Submitted by: Artist’s Square Member MoonDancer. View her work at:
http://artists-square.com/m/photos/browse/album/MoonDancer-s-Visual-Art/owner/MoonDancer

Thank you Candy for your helpful insight.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

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Career Breakout: Where the jobs are…

“I can never find any good job listings. Am I missing something or searching in the wrong place?”

This question was sent in by Kirsty Walden, who, like many, can’t seem to find any of the jobs they’re looking for. To answer her question directly… yes, you are searching in the wrong place.

According to the Career Thought Leaders Group, 80% of job listings are located in what is known as the “hidden job market.” This means your searches on sites such as Monster.com, or even local newspaper listings, are only advertising a minority of the jobs that need to be filled. In other words, you are, like many others, concentrating on 20% of the jobs out there. How can this be? You ask naïvely…

You see, the truth of the matter is, not all companies advertise jobs that need to be filled. Before shaking your hands in the air, there is logic to their madness. Companies that hire/promote from within, for example, will not spend the money to advertise. Would you? Additionally, given tight budgets and vast pool of qualified applicants, many companies don’t have the time or resources to create several listings for an opening. So why not tap a free online resource of global applicants and place an advertisement at a lower cost (if at all) via the World Wide Web?

Regardless of the reasoning, the key thing to remember is there are many perks for searching in the hidden job market. You want to be looking here, trust me. After all, would I steer you wrong?

Once you’ve found the hidden job market, you can expect less rejection, less waiting, and, best of all, less competition. According to Dice, on average you’ll be competing with fewer than 10 people for a position.

While this may sound too good to be true, I challenge you to think otherwise. Many people, like Kirsty, don’t know there is a hidden job market. The mainstream approach is to visit a common job search engine such as Monster and hope for the best. While this is not a bad approach and should be your first of many steps, strategies such as these don’t often lead to hiring.

A better approach, instead, is to find jobs in this hidden market by networking–it’s one of the most useful skills you should master as a career professional. It’s not hard to master either; it simply takes time and effort.

Here at Education Career Services, we teach the 1:50 rule. For every 1 person, there are at least 50 potential contacts to be used. These contacts can be from your personal, social, or professional life.

Career tip and activity: Make a list of all these people mentioned above, noting what industry and career path they are part of. Ask them if their companies are hiring in your line of work.

The results will be surprising!

One of the many perks of networking is familiarity. If one of your contacts does find a job opening for you, they can put in a good word… placing you immediately in the advantage. Likewise, hiring managers will be impressed by your ability to find the opening, rather than browsing online listings. Any advantage is a good advantage.

Don’t give up on the networking strategy. If none of your direct contacts have anything for you, expand your network. Find contacts of your contacts, then ask them for an informational interview or send them a networking letter introducing yourself.

Career tip: The job market is a system powered by who you know; therefore, the more people you know, the more power you have.

The important thing to remember is don’t be discouraged. Contacts may not always have useful information for you or job openings that need to be filled. That’s to be expected. However, you never know when a contact of yours will suddenly have an opening or a tip for you. Maintain that network and it will pay off eventually.

If you would like additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com. Cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books are available at our website (www.edu-cs.com) or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services

Career Breakout: Ready or Not, Here YOU are

(Missed) Opportunities often come and go at the oddest of times and the most peculiar places. When it comes to networking, are you prepared?

While sitting in a reception area waiting my turn for a cut, the silence amongst the group of four was deafening. Thinking as a career coach and author, I wondered why no one was taking advantage of a perfect networking environment. After too-much silence, I took the first step and broke the ice by asking a young lady sitting next to me about the cause of a minor leg injury (her left ankle wrap was a giveaway).

Conversation lacked reciprocation and so I pushed it a bit further with questions regarding her many tattoos. I quickly learned she and her friend, sitting directly across, were recently in Virginia. I then asked what it is they do:

I am an unemployed call center supervisor, ”stated one while the other stated she was also unemployed. Here’s where the “Ready or Not, Here YOU are” comes full circle as the remainder of this discussion was directed toward the “other” unemployed individual (we’ll call Irma):

You’re unemployed. How long have you been unemployed?” I asked
Since January, but I really need to find a job.” Irma replied.
What is it that you are looking for?”
It doesn’t really matter, I just need a job.”
What were you doing?” I asked knowing this lady needed to understand the value of an introductory statement/elevator speech.
An administrative assistant.” Irma responded with nothing more to share.
Seeing an opening, I pounced with “why would someone want to hire you?”
I’m a hard worker and good at what I do.”

Not satisfied with rhetoric, I then asked her what I typically ask all applicants during the interview process: “I have two other applicants also claiming to be hard workers and good at what they do, why should I consider you and not the other two?”
I am a hard worker,” she repeated and added “I offer the total package.”
Not knowing what that meant, I asked her to give me an example of a situation requiring her action, what she did, and what was the result.

Thrown back a bit, more non-specific, non-quantifiable verbiage flowed from her mouth.
“These are nice qualities just about EVERYONE will say, but I need more… I need examples, confirmation, something believable giving you an advantage.”

After a short pause, I informed the two that I own a career management and publishing company and know how difficult it is to locate and secure jobs. Without pause, Irma asked “can I have a job.” I responded that “nothing was available but one never knows what will happen next month or perhaps someone else I know has a need for an administrative assistant possessing the total package.”

I then asked for her card just in case, Irma had no card.

Once my hair succumbed to butchery, I politely paid the receptionist and, as I was leaving the establishment, gave the unemployed a card with my email address and website information. Three days later, still no word, no email, no connection from Irma.

Taking advantages of golden opportunities means being prepared at all places and at all times. After all, no matter where you are, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.

Reviewing Irma’s missed opportunity, what went wrong?
●   An initial reluctance to begin or take part in a conversation
●   Lacked an elevator speech or 30-second commercial
●   No true professional objective
●   The inability to quantify value in the workplace
●   Too much talk, not enough action
●   No introductory or business card
●   Asking for a job
●   Neglecting to follow-up

No doubt the above does not reflect all of the things that went wrong but it is enough for now.

Let’s place you in Irma’s shoes… Are you prepared? Before answering if you are Ready or not, take a few moments and respond to the following
●   What distinguishes you from the other two finalists (be specific and offer examples)?
●   Do you have a business or introductory cared with you at ALL times?
●   Do you know what you are looking for in a job, really?
●   Why should I hire you?

The next time you are standing in line, waiting for your appointment, or even riding an elevator, take a deep breath and put yourself out there.

After all, no matter where you are, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.

ECS offers cutting-edge books and workbooks designed to give you a competitive edge. Throughout the pages, prepare yourself with hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. For additional information, go to our storefront page on our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).

For additional information or assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

You said what? No you didn’t!

I was sitting in the lunch room, minding my own business when one of my employees decided to make an entrance. The first thing out of his lips was how anxious he was for the weekend. Granted, this weekend is a three-day event for many (though not for me or my writing staff) so I can appreciate his zealous expression. Unfortunately, I don’t think it career sound to talk to the person signing the paycheck that his mind, heart, and soul are two days from now (and work).

As a result, I began to wonder what other inappropriate things are stated to bosses (or fellow employees within earshot of their boss) without realizing the consequences. With this, I began a quick list and welcome your input beefing it up (think of the benefit an extended list would do for our children and their career aspirations).

Here you go; the “you said what?” list follows:

  • I can’t believe the wild night last night, I got so wasted I can hardly function with this splitting head ache (how many times have you made such statements? I’ve heard this way too many times and in several ways)
  • I checked salary.com and I think we need to have a chat later this afternoon (as an employer, I hate it when this happens as each company is different—as are employees’ salaries)
  • Just got my period and have the worst PMS (no additional comment required)
  • Does anyone have any Visine?
  • Hope I don’t have to do a drug test today
  • (when speaking to a peer at the next cubicle) Hey, check out this job on Monster.com
  • Let’s shut down, it’s 15 minutes before quitting time and it takes 15 minutes to get ready to leave
  • I was not late… I was sitting in the parking lot for the last ten minutes so I was technically here (I actually had a receptionist use this excuse twice… second time she was let go)

No doubt you can think of many more. Who know, perhaps you even “accidently” said too much at the wrong place and time. My words of advice: put yourself in your employers shoes… think about what you say BEFORE you say it.

If you would like additional information or assistance in any other career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section. If preferred, email us directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Going Global? Clicking can be dangerous

Today’s job seekers are advised that social media sites and on-line networking are valuable tools for professional advancement. But much like a poorly written cover letter or résumé can do more harm than good, a badly managed on-line presence can hurt you professionally. The question remains: How do you optimize your chances of success in the virtual business world?

First of all, blend the social you and the professional you with great caution. LinkedIn now features sections where you can link your Facebook and Twitter account to your profile. While many seem to think this is a great way to show your personality to a potential employer, it is NOT recommended to connect your LinkedIn profile to a site you use to express yourself freely.

Even if you don’t have drunken debauchery filled weekends where pictures of you could arise, there are plenty of thoughts, comments, and interests your boss does not need to know about you. If you want to keep these spaces free for your personal expression, eliminate the possibility of errors by not connecting them to a professional site, just saying.

Be aware that even if you do not connect your Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace account to your LinkedIn profile, your employer still can search for you. Therefore, check your privacy settings. To spell it out: While your LinkedIn settings should be set for the most open access, your personal websites should not. Make sure whatever an employer can access when they search for your name will depict you in a professional, positive light.

One suggestion to mitigate these concerns might be to create a second Facebook account for professional, semi-casual contacts. If that is the case, manage your friends list well and make sure no one on it would tag you in a Spring Break video from 2011 that you swore no one saved.

When it comes to connecting a Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile, make sure your tweets are professional and non-confrontational. If it isn’t proper to discuss a topic at your office, it isn’t a good idea to tweet about it.

You probably already realize it’s a bad idea to tweet about the hot waitress serving you lunch or the stud-muffin you hooked up with at two in the morning. But also know you might want to avoid tweeting about strong dislike of people who belong to certain religious or political affiliations or your opinion about controversial subjects. Yes, this is the land of free speech but that doesn’t mean speech is consequence free.

While the digital age is fantastic, one thing old fashion forms of communication afforded you was the chance to think twice. You might write the letter – but you had the chance to throw it away before you mailed it! Remember that what you put on-line in an instant can be accessed by the wrong person before you have the opportunity to remove it.

By constantly considering what you put on the Internet from the point of view of a hiring authority, you can make your on-line presence a boost to your career rather than a stumbling block.

If you would like additional information about developing an introductory letter or assistance in any other career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section. If preferred, email us directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com or visit us at Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Artist Agora

Throughout our Career Breakout series, career professionals from across the country offered to take the reins now and then, sharing their career expertise and diverse background for your benefit.

As today’s question comes from a fellow artist, I asked the founder and CEO of Artist’s Square (www.artists-square.com), Racquel Cruz, to frame a response onto this canvas for everyone’s benefit.

“Being an artist, I am finding it difficult to secure employment. Is there a virtual gathering site for artists to share and explore in the Greater Central Florida area?”

Yes, there is a virtual gathering site for artists to share and explore artwork in the Greater Central Florida area.  In fact, Central Florida is the native location of an online social networking site for artists, called Artist’s Square.

The site was based on the idea of online technology, mixed with the concept of creating an ancient Greek agora, known as a “meeting place” or “marketplace.” Just as the ancient Greek agora, it is a gathering place for artists and people who love art.

Not only does the site provide local tools and resources for artists, but, Like WONO, its heart and purpose is connection, affording artists career opportunities as well as career guidance designed specifically for this unique group. Thinking Artist’s Square is just for the locals? Think again. The site extends its services for artists and art lovers internationally and globally.

Career tip 1: Artists looking for opportunities can take advantage of a social/career network.

As an artist you will have the opportunity to create a free profile, submit ARTicles, add your own blog, and this is just the beginning. Even physical art galleries can add their locations (tied with Google maps) and update images for exposure.

The site certainly cannot make an individual dedicate themselves to their dreams, but with its available resources and technology, it can create better opportunity for an individual. It can also change negative statistics for employment, hobby, and artwork all around the world.

Take a look at the site and let us know your thoughts. I know how difficult and struggling finding work is, especially for an artist. Artist’s Square is dedicated to encouraging, assisting, and partnering with you as your journey blazes new trails. Together, with West Orlando News, we will give fellow artists the tools they need to succeed.

Career tip 2: Passion and dedication will take your dreams as far you want to go.

Thanks Racquel, the road to artistic freedom and expression is becoming more accessible. Being a fellow artist, I am also an artist’s square member.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS