A couple of weeks ago, IABC/Washington (of which I’m president-elect) held its annual “resume review and networking night.” This has become something of a tradition for us, and one of the chapter events I enjoy the most. Every August, we scrap our usual monthly meeting format (bar, dinner, speaker, you’ve all been there before) and devote the evening to networking.
Um, yeah. Nothing new.
What I think adds a different dimension to this event is that we schedule a limited number of free resume reviews and career counseling sessions, which take place throughout the evening, which senior communicators – both members and non-members – graciously donate their time to do.
It’s a bear to organize. Putting the schedule together, dropping people in, rearranging things because folks have conflicts that come up, handling late requests and walk-ins when the schedule is already overflowing… yea, you get the picture.
It’s completely worth it.
If you’ve ever been a job hunter, let alone one in a down market, you’ve felt the pain of paying a few hundred dollars for an “expert” to look over your resume. Perhaps they made great edits, but your search hasn’t gotten any easier. You have no clue what you’re doing wrong … are you doing something wrong? And you get even more depressed when everyone around you seems to be getting the jobs they want (or at least, say they want).
It’s great to be able to provide this service free (the meeting registration is the only fee). Granted, most of the volunteer reviewers are not avowed experts in that area, but you figure after 20, 25 years in the business, they know a thing or two about resumes. More often than not, what people are looking for is not a once-over of their resume, but for someone to listen to them, bounce ideas around with, and perhaps walk away with a couple of new doors to knock on.
This year, we had 24 such sessions scheduled. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, we were able to knock out 54 such sessions – we accommodated everyone on the wait list, and then some (you can see some of the photos from the evening here).
But what really makes this kind of event, I think, is the recharging of batteries that almost everyone experiences – especially those who’ve been on the hunt for a while. I didn’t, but almost teared up, when one of the attendees told me that he’d barely been able to get out of bed in six months, since being laid off (and this is someone very senior we’re talking about here) but that this event – the first he’d attended in those six months – made it worth it. Yup, I’m mushy like that.
What added even more value to our event was the presence of Kate Perrin, CEO of PRofessional Solutions, the DC area’s only PR temp agency. Kate, who’s a stalwart of the DC communication community, made brief remarks on job hunting in a down economy; reassuring (don’t lose your confidence) but also candid (don’t apply for any and every job, get to grips with SM and put new technologies to work for you, don’t ignore the cover letter, and market yourself because you are your product).
Here’s a brief clip of Kate talking about marketing yourself. Yea, the camera’s shaky (I didn’t have a stand and it’s the first time I’ve done this), but hopefully it’ll give you a flavor of the evening.
By the way, if you’re interested in putting on a similar event for your own professional development group, PRSA or IABC chapter, please let me know; either shoot me an email or leave a comment below with your contact information. I’ll be more than happy to share our formula.
You’ve got to share – and sell – yourself. It works.
What programming have you found most beneficial, no matter where you are? Do you have a formula for job hunting or career success? Do share it so that we can all learn.
[…] wrote a post on IABC/DC Metro’s tradition of organizing an annual rÃ©sumÃ© review, career counseling and netwo… (disclosure: I’m immediate past […]
That’s a great idea, Leo, we’ll definitely see if/how we can incorporate this next year. Thank you!
This great work. Kudos to your chapter for making this happen. In the early 90s, when I went through layoffs, I spent six-months sending out resumes and trying to get interviews. Very difficult to get a meeting. I vowed that if the tables turned I would do things differently. Eventually I owned my own firm (which I later sold), but during those years, I (and my team) gave informational interviews to anyone who asked for them. We were upfront that it was purely informational and would last 30 minutes. We not only helped job seekers in an effort to keep my personal promise, but as a firm, we also knew exactly who was available in the marketplace and because these people eventually got jobs, often with potential clients, we benefited. We found people remembered us because we met with them when others wouldn’t return their phone calls.
So bravo for the work at your meeting, but I think all your members should consider extending the effort to your own companies. (We conducted the interviews first thing in the morning and went on about our day.) We can make the time, and it just takes a little bit of remembering to make it work – remembering an earlier time when we were looking for work and just wanted someone to sit and talk with us.
Shonali, IABC is a fantastic organization, and events like these could never be more important than they are now. I’m sorry I missed it. Though, I was flattered to be there in spirit through Kate’s remarks! Hopefully, I can join you next time!
Joyce – we’ll look forward to it. Thanks for stopping by!
[…] link is being shared on Twitter right now. @shonali, an influential author, said Communicator, sell – […]
Well Done Shonali! For a first video it was very good.
And the subject is impressive in her obvious knowledge.
I also like how you prepare the viewer for the video in your blog post.
You know I appreciate video, would love to get this on Secodn Life. It is possible to import all documents to the grid actually.
Kelly Services have a presence here, and job fairs do very well actually.
Thanks so much, Pooky! Hmm, that’s really interesting about Second Life. Maybe we can chat some more? Thanks again!
Thanks for the excellent wrap-up report and the video taste of the event, Shonali. It was a pleasure to be part of the evening and to have a chance to share some encouragement and advice.
The evening was so well run and I was very impressed with the expertise you rounded-up to do the resume reviews. A quality experience for those in attendance!
Thanks so much, Kate. You were so generous with your time, we really appreciated it. It was fun trying my hand at the video; next time I just have to stop it shaking. :)
Shonali, this a great idea for programming. I would definitely be interested in getting information on the formula. I am especially impressed that your group had the wisdom to not charge anything on top of the meeting registration. It sounds like your organization was able to provide a valuable service to attendees. Thank you so much for sharing this idea. (BTW, the video was a nice touch.)
You bet, Richie. Thanks so much for stopping by, and not laughing at my amateurish video. :)