Category Archives: Tips and Advice

Two Simple Career Tips with Big Impact

Harry Joiner knows how to get a good job. Sandra Chesnutt knows how to keep a good job. Here’s a bit of what they taught me. If you understand and apply these tips, your career will benefit.

1. “The richest actors aren’t rich because they’re the best actors. They’re rich because they get the best parts.” -Harry Joiner

Harry Joiner headshotHarry Joiner is the real deal in recruiting, and that’s rare nowadays. He looks at a candidate from a holistic career perspective, not from a single job req, time to fill, recruiter comp point of view.

A) I took a lot of notes during helpful calls with Harry over the years, but this line always stuck with me. In order to be successful, you need a role in which you can succeed. There are many variables in whether or not you’re set up for success. When evaluating a job opportunity, ask yourself if it’s a good part. Look for a strong script, visionary but fair director, compelling story, solid supporting cast, and adequate budget – or whatever is important to you. What makes a good movie makes a good company. What makes a good part makes a good job. Consider how this role will help or hurt your next role.

B) The other piece here is obviously that a good agent helps actors get the best parts. A skilled recruiter is your career’s best friend. Try a few on for size. Ask for referrals from people in your field whom you respect or admire. Remember that most recruiters (especially on LinkedIn) are the equivalent of housewives calling themselves realtors. Everybody’s a recruiter just like everybody’s an entrepreneur.

If you’re in ecommerce, check out Harry’s job board: ecommerce jobs. Harry places serious talent, specializing in contingency based Manager, Director, VP, SVP, and CXO-level executive searches for transactional multichannel ecommerce.

2. “Write specific, personal compliments in thank-you notes.” -Sandra Chesnutt

Sandra Chesnutt headshot
Sandra is a friend and mentor, a savvy marketer and fantastic overall person who has been very helpful to me over the years.  Sandra understands organizations, technology, and marketing on a fundamental level. She also has keen insight on managing professional relationships.
This piece of advice is lovely, it’s old school, and it has a big payoff for a small investment. It will cost you ten minutes, some reflection, a nice card (I love this Crane’s stationery), and a stamp.
Read Sandra’s awesome post with lots more detail and examples:
While any thank-you note is better than none, use the note as an opportunity to touch the recipient on a more meaningful level. It only takes one or two thoughtful sentences to make it memorable. Go a little deeper. Point out something specifically great about the person. Everyone loves to be recognized. A compliment is the simplest magic. Example:

Okay thank-you note:

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for the helpful call. I appreciate your time and insight. I look forward to talking again soon.

-Emily

Great thank-you note:

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for the helpful call. I loved the mirroring/last 3 words concept and the What I want/why I want it/benefits to you approach.

I especially like how you always offer actionable tips from either your own life/experience or outside, quality resources. But the best part is that you summarize these tips so I get the CliffsNotes version quickly, you make it applicable to me, and you provide an example that illustrates how I can use the tip. Plus, you always remember the full name of the source so I can seek more information.

Thanks again for your help.

-Emily

People love handwritten cards.

Get a nice set like this from Crane’s or a little Etsy shop. These classic looking cards make a great impression – at about $1.90 per card, this small investment will pay dividends:

Six Lessons on Health and Happiness (Part 1)

2016 was a year that everyone (in my echo chamber) was happy to see end. I reflected for a month, and here are six takeaways regarding health, happiness, social life, and apps:

  1. There is usually no Ctrl+Shift+T for life, but you can always open a new tab.  Retweet.
    (Hasty clicker? This browser hotkey reopens the last closed tab. It’s Ctrl+Shift+T on Windows and Command+Shift+T on Mac OS X. Works in most browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Try Command+Z on Safari.)
  2. Deleting Facebook from my phone made me read more books and go to bed happier. You’ve read the studies, you know Facebook makes you sad. Why are you still spending hours on it? I’m not saying you should quit, and I know there are good reasons to use Facebook. But time is the most valuable thing you have. The ideas and stories you read/see influence your outlook and mood.
    Be discerning about what you let in. Add up all the hours you spent in 2016 letting Facebook wash over you with content chosen by its algorithm – not by you. Passive consumption can be dangerous (or at times, relaxing and perfectly okay). Bottom line: your time and attention are precious.
  3. Boxed wine is back/good. Black Box has a tasty Chilean cabernet and it’s an incredible value: you pay about $17 for the box, which contains four bottles. It’s award-winning wine that costs 40% less. It lasts six weeks in the fridge. You reduce your carbon footprint and the spigot harkens back to the jug of Gatorade at childhood soccer games. It’s hydration for adult sports that’s better for the planet and your wallet.

    Emily carrying boxed wine and groceries
    Arrive like this, get invited back.
  4. Track your steps and walk around more. I hit the goal of 10,000 steps a day only about twice a week, but tracking it with the Pedometer++ app does make me move around more.
    (Health tracking: I don’t do wearables because I don’t want a bluetooth device on my body 24/7. Here’s why. GMOs mess with your wiring; EMFs from tracking devices do the same. This app tracks steps while your phone is in your pocket or purse vs. a watch on your wrist. Those inches make a difference in exposure levels.)
  5. If you love a piece of art, buy it. Surround yourself with beauty. Go buy original art, whether it’s off the street or on Etsy or at a gallery (but don’t pay too much). Don’t buy mass-produced shit (unless you love it).
  6. See old friends whenever you can. Don’t trick yourself into believing that social media is a replacement for truly staying in touch. Make the drive, even if the visit is short. Schedule strategic layovers with enough time to grab lunch with a local friend. Bring a small gift (other than boxed wine). I recommend showing up with 99 cent bubbles on a spring day, like my college friend Shay.

The Budget Keeper: Three Money Saving Tips for Your Twenties

This advice is geared toward your early twenties but is applicable to any stage of life. Whether you’re a recent college grad or a bit older, these tips will save you and make you the most money, based on my experience and calculations as a woman in my latest of twenties.
TL;DR:
  1. Used car
  2. Low rent
  3. Imbibing on a budget
They don’t teach these tips in school, but they should.
Set yourself up to be in a better place financially in ten years like so:

1) Buy a used car

Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy a flashy car to seem rich. You want to invest in your appearance for your career? Invest in your clothing. Dress at least one pay grade above where you are now. A sleek wardrobe that fits is a smarter investment than an automobile that spends 95% of its life parked.

cars parked in a full lot
A car spends 95% of its life parked. Good investment?

Keep your car payment as low as possible (or non-existent). $400-$500 a month will go further invested in stocks you believe in, in industries that you understand, than getting flushed down a motor finance drain. Buy a perfect black suit and a versatile cocktail dress that will pay for themselves, not a luxury car in which to sit alone in traffic. It’s for the birds – who cares about your car? (So millennial, I know.)

2) Keep your rent low

You’re young, you’re renting. Renting is okay. Renting is smarter than owning in many ways. A home is a liability, not an asset. Don’t feel pressured to own. Rent til you know. Enjoy your freedom. You can pick up and move to a new city anytime. You don’t need to mow a lawn or pay property taxes or acquiesce to an HOA.
house keys and Tile and Michigan keychain
The Tile is for when you lose your keys after a night with the Budget Keeper.

(Bonus tip: buy a Tile so you can save time and money finding your lost keys or anything else you frequently lose. It’s a GPS tracker connected to an app. I’ve sworn by Tile for years. They make great office gifts, too. It’s $24.99 for 1 or $62.93 for 4 on Amazon.)

While renting, bargain with your landlord.

2a) How to lower your rent

A) Offer to post reviews in exchange for reduced rent or at least two years of controlled rent.
B) Offer to pay three or six months rent in advance for a discounted rate or 1-2 months free.
C) If you’re in marketing, offer to do some social media promotion for your residence in exchange for reduced rent. Don’t use your personal brand for this – spell out a contract defining the promotion.

2b) Another renting tip: document

Whenever an issue arises, politely document the hell out of it via email, and make sure they know that you have kept track. Don’t be a nuisance or threaten anyone, and be lavish in your praise for what these apartment managers do right. But whenever you do email about a recurring issue, simply point out that you have documentation of the same thing having happened before, listing the dates and/or attaching the details as a PDF or email attachments. Maybe you have no issues with your landlord, property manager, or neighbors – consider yourself lucky. Keep renting until buying truly makes sense for you, your career, and your goals.

3) The Budget Keeper

This one is a little controversial 🙂

Don’t do this on a first date.

Do be discreet.

When you go out, pack a hip flask. Some people will judge you and think you’re cheap. You’re not, and who cares what they think? You’re young, trying to save money, and you just cut your bar tab in half. Bars mark up liquor an average of 300-400%. Restaurant owners are the only employers who don’t pay their staff living wages and expect customers to foot the bill. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a little sauce to top off your drink, considering how expensive going out can be. Especially if you have a high tolerance.

Sugar Kane

Think of this as a backup plan / accessory. This tip allows you to control your spending without ending the night early. You’re busy being fabulous, maybe networking a bit, you go-getter! You may even make some new friends or impress old men who retired from the railroad.

Notes:
Do buy something.
Don’t stiff the bartender.
Don’t get drunk.

Credit for the Budget Keeper goes to RickM. It’s not only a money-saver; it’s a throwback to a better time.
Let me know if you find these tips helpful. I’ll post more soon, hopefully in video format.