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April 20th, 2009

LinkedIn: 3 Steps to Start Jobseeking

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Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

So by now, hopefully you’ve set up a profile, joined groups, and created a strategy for LinkedIn usage that will keep you from looking desperate.

Now down to business: who has the job you want?

1. Make a list of companies you think you’re interested in working for. If you haven’t figured that out (solar? green consumer goods? carbon finance?), use the industry search function under the “companies” tab to browse who’s out there.  Find out who’s who in that space. Use other resources like GreenBiz to see which companies are making headlines.

2. Now, search those companies – if you can narrow down to the job title you’re interested in, all the better (use “keywords” under the company search). Who do you already know there? If appropriate, send them a note to connect – as always, don’t be too pushy.

3. For people that currently hold the position of your dreams, what does their career path generally look like? Do they have a graduate degree? How many years work experience? What accreditations do they have (LEED AP, etc)?

Do this for 10-15 folks in 3 or more companies – the more the better. You’ll start to get a sense of general trends in qualifications, and also in what specific companies are looking for. For example, if you’re looking at sustainability consulting firms, are they generally hiring people who have 5 years in environmental non-profits? Or out of traditional consulting backgrounds?

About an hour of poking around like this will give you an idea of whether you have a good shot at being noticed and hired when you apply for positions at that company.

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April 13th, 2009

My LinkedIn Manifesto for Successful Jobseeking

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Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

Okay, you’re more or less set up on LinkedIn? Good.

Before diving into specifically how to use LinkedIn (next week and beyond), I want you to step back and think about your frame of mind as you use it.

Following Michael Pollan’s advice on what to eat (“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”), I put forth my own LinkedIn manifesto: Be open, not too open, and choose quality over quantity.

And putting a few disclaimers first:
- Some people disagree with me on the quality over quantity point. I’m going on what I’ve personally seen be effective in my almost-year at BGT.
- Everyone uses LinkedIn for the own purposes (business partnerships, advertising, jobseeking, etc), and will have different takes on what’s useful for those aims. I’m focusing on jobseeking.

Be open:
Yes, make sure you’re marked as “Interested in Career Opportunities,” have a public profile, a photo, a completed profile, etc. (See LinkedIn’s own tips on jobsearching through the site).

Not too open:
Know someone whose LinkedIn name looks like this? “Bob Smith BOB.SMITH@GMAIL.COM OPEN TO ALL CONNECTIONS”

These people make me shudder for a couple reasons: they look desperate, and they look like they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re looking for. If you want to connect with people you don’t know, they have to see the value in connecting with you. The age-old dating rule applies: while you need to be open and accessible, do play a little bit hard to get.

Drop the CAPS lock, the exclamation points. asterisks, etc. Your resume and experience should be able to market you. If they don’t, spend your time getting some experience instead of adding Wingdings to your profile.

Choose quality over quantity:

To me, flags are raised when people have 3000 connections. Or when they have 5. Find a sweet spot between those numbers, comprised of solid connections with people you’ve met or worked with. The point of LinkedIn is you can access all their second and third degree connections, so you don’t need to link to every person you ever come across. If you want to expand your networks quickly, join a bunch of groups that you’re interested in (like BGT‘s — in order to be able to vouch for everyone in our personal networks, we link to our community through our group rather than through those 3000 connections with people we’ve never met).

Oh, and file this under Carolyn’s Serious Pet Peeves: If you are going to request to link to someone you don’t know, PLEASE add an introduction or reason you want to connect — it drives me nuts when people I don’t know at all request to link to me without any explanation — or, worse, they just mark that I’m a “friend.” If you take a minute and think about what you and that person share, they’re more likely to check out your information, link, and remember your name. Make people want to help you.

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April 10th, 2009

A Bright Green Refresher: Categorized Advice for Green Jobseekers

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Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!

General:
Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”

Sustainability Consulting:
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part I
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part II

Career Transitioning:
Perspectives from a Green Career Transition-er
To School or Not to School?
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside

Engineering:
Renewable Energy Inroads
Solar Opportunities to Match your Skill Set
Solar Classes and Certifications

Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
Get Linked(In)

Networking:
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Get Connected (Networking 101)
Get Linked(In)

Career Coaching:
Here to Help: BGT Launches Career Coaching
Career Coaching: Launch is a Success!
Kudos to Christina: Career Coaching Feedback

Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb
Green Jobs: The Definitive Article
Top Skills for Getting a Green Job
What’s the Best Way to Find a Green Job?
Twit Your Way to a Green Job
On Eco-preneurship

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April 6th, 2009

Students and Grads: To Do List – Get Linked(In)

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dsc_00412Penned by Carolyn

This week I’m launching a To-Do list for students and grads who are getting into the job search.

LinkedIn is basically the cheap & easy way to start virtually networking. Here’s some homework for the uninitiated:

Step 1: Create a profile. Fill out your profile with the internships you’ve had, positions held.  My general resume tips apply — but you can be more concise on LinkedIn. Just the most relevant and impressive things you’ve done.

Step 2: Find folks
. The genius little robots behind LinkedIn can get into your Gmail/Yahoo/AOL contact list and find folks you already know that are on LinkedIn. As you invite people to connect, take the chance to include a friendly hello — and, if you like, politely mention you’re jobseeking.

Step 3: Join groups! Find alumni organizations, interest groups, and, especially, Bright Green Talent‘s group. Groups are a great way to find interesting discussions, job postings, and links, and to connect with folks who share communities and interests.

More next week on how to get set up and start using these tools to find yourself a job. We’ll also be hosting a webinar with our friend George Kao in the coming weeks on more tactics for leveraging LinkedIn in your job search. Stay tuned!

Oh, and if you don’t believe me that LinkedIn is the way to go, check out what Guy Kawasaki has to say on the matter.

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April 1st, 2009

Students and Grads: Resume Boot Camp III

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dsc_00412Penned by Carolyn

By now, you’re back from spring break and have been furiously de-tagging all those photos to keep them out of the hands of recruiters and hiring managers (here’s the New York Times’ take on personal branding – he’s even more disgruntled than me).

Before work kicks back up again, take a few minutes to refine your resume. Focusing on the actual meat of your resume — work experience and positions held — here are tips on making your achievements powerful and to-the-point.

As a general framework, career coaches sometimes talk about the CAR technique:

  • Circumstance means setting the scene — what challenges were you facing in the role? What goals did you have?
  • Action: describe what you did to handle the circumstance. Use verbs.
  • Result: what was the outcome that you achieved?

Specifically, here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Give context — the months or years you worked, a very brief description of the group or company if it’s not well-known, and where the position was located.
  2. Use numbers — as many as possible. This will help you avoid being vague (though clearly make sure the content is relevant).
  3. Use bullet points. Sentences glom together and are hard to glance over. Bullet points are easily digestible for hiring managers.
  4. Make it relevant to the job you’re applying for. Map your achievements to the skills/qualifications the company is looking for, and get rid of or downplay the rest.

So, here’s what one of your positions might look like (this one’s a bit on the long end):

1/07-3/07 Research AssistantThe Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Stanford, CA.

  • Chosen by a visiting professor as one of two research assistants to quantify and codify ecotourism operators’ manners of addressing the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from travel.
  • Wrote and distributed a web-based survey of 150 tourism operators on 6 continents.
  • Compiled and processed data on tourism operators’ use of carbon offsetting programs using SPSS; created 25 charts to display results using Excel.
  • Co-authored 30-page report published on The International Ecotourism Society’s website in 2007.

Go wild! And if you need a breather, check out this list of hilariously stupid things people have written on their resumes.

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March 24th, 2009

Keeping your personal life separate from your green job application process…

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Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

As this is posted, I’m off for a week in Colorado, enjoying the end of ski season up in the mountains. I know you’re on the edge of your seats waiting for the continuation of Bright Green Resume Boot Camp, but another temporally-relevant subject is on my mind this week as students are off sipping (chugging?) tequila drinks on spring break.

So, this week’s subject? Keeping your personal life separate from your job application process; or “how to keep the 457 photos your friends posted on Facebook of you blacked out in a club in Cabo from surfacing as you’re applying for a job in the real world.”

I’m one of those people who’s generally disgruntled about how connected we all are and how much information is out there (yes, ironic given that I work on a lot of Bright Green Talent’s social media). However, if you just can’t step away from your iPhone, Facebook, MySpace, etc, here’s a common sense checklist for cleaning up your image.

Facebook:

  • First off, fix your Facebook privacy settings to keep people from being able to find you.
  • And control who can see your photos.
  • And consider – as hilarious as they are, how many photos of you with a drink in your hand do you really need? Detag where necessary.
  • Are any of your groups incriminating?
  • All that stuff we said about professional networking? Keep it separate from Facebook. Avoid “friending” professional contacts – people you might ask for a reference from, your aunt’s friend who has connections with a green marketing company you’re interested in, etc. Use LinkedIn for that.

On the interwebs:

  • Google yourself: look for news, web hits, and images.
  • Check on YouTube for embarrassing videos that your friends uploaded.
  • Check Flickr and other public image hosting sites as well.
  • If there’s anything incriminating up there, try to get it removed, or at least have an explanation prepared.

Twitter:

While I’m still trying to wrap my head around Twitter and why people need to know/care what I’m doing every 4 minutes, there are lots of reasons to tweet, but do be aware that it is, in fact, public.

  • If need be, create one “professional” twitter account that makes you look studious and mature, and another where you can tweet things like “omg SO hungover for interview this morning; hope they didn’t notice”

Gmail:

  • Ever notice how random people you emailed once show up on your chat list? Yeah, you show up on theirs too. Careful with your gmail status.

Hope I didn’t ruin your spring break… have eco-friendly fun, and enjoy the time off before you get back to the grind of jobsearching.

Oh, and looking for a cool summer gig?
Check out these opportunities to take charge on a green project:
http://www.grandaspirations.org/index.html (Nationwide)
http://www.green.dc.gov/green/cwp/view,a,1233,q,461478.asp (Washington, D.C.)

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March 16th, 2009

Students and Grads: Bright Green Talent's Resume Boot Camp II

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Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

Last week, in the first installation of Bright Green Talent’s Resume Boot Camp, I discussed some general tactics for not having your resume immediately thrown out.

Before I get started on formatting and other juicy resume advice, let me just give a plug for Bright Green Talent’s newly unveiled career counseling and resume services. We try to give catch-all advice on the blog, but everyone has their own unique issues and getting personalized advice can make all the difference.

So, as for formatting:

  • Rule #1 – Simplicity reigns. We receive resumes all the time that look like they were composed in Kid Pix – colors everywhere, different fonts, clip art… scrap all of that. The flashiest your resume should get is bold type on the schools you attended and the titles of positions you’ve held.
  • Rule #2 – Do not succumb to the desire to have columns in your resume. I don’t know from whence said desire comes, but it makes the resume visually confusing and a lot of automated applicant tracking systems will mangle all your information as they upload your resume.
  • Rule #3 – As lovely/mature/handsome you might look in photos, please don’t include any in your resume. Nick, our Managing Partner, sums it up as such: “It distracts from your accomplishments and oftentimes lowers recruiter’s opinion (makes it seem like you’re relying on your good looks, or are over-confident).”
  • Rule #4 – And while we’re on the subject of visuals, let us touch upon video resumes… basically, we’ve yet to see one done well. In the future, they might become the norm (for instance, keep an eye on Visual CV) – but for now, it seems like the flashiness and entertainment value are covering up weak experience or some other shortcoming.
  • Rule #5 – Don’t make any of your resume too text-heavy. Bullet points are a great way to go  — they make your resume seem digestible at a glance, which will in turn increase the likelihood of someone reading through the whole thing. Plus, it’ll make you avoid rambling and vagaries, which there’s no room for in a one-page resume.

Rules 6 and beyond to come next week. Stay tuned! For advice in the meantime, find us twittering away.

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March 5th, 2009

Paying it Forward at LaidOff Camp

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Penned by Carolyn

Christina and I spent Tuesday morning at LaidOff Camp, an “unconference” aimed at helping unemployed people network and strategize about their job search and next steps. Around 500 people showed up at the first of these conferences – a whole slew of others are being planned around the country.

We had the chance to give a workshop on transitioning into the green sector. After giving some tips on where to start researching, networking, and learning, we turned to one of our favorite topics — paying it forward. At Bright Green, we’re trying to revolutionize the job search by educating jobseekers and connecting them with great, green opportunities. However, we can’t place everyone that comes to our door into a job, so we want you to realize the power you have to find a job and help others do so too. As we’ve discussed before, it’s really hard to find a job wholly on your own — you have a much better shot if you get a referral or meet someone and have an “in” with the company. Doing someone a favor by connecting them with a friend or acquaintance might not pay off for you right now, but we believe that it will come back around when you’re in need in the future. Simply put: create good will, create opportunity.

To facilitate this favor exchange, we used the “post-it exercise,” where everyone wrote a question or interest on a post it that they left on the wall. We encouraged people to check out those post-its during the day, and, if they felt they could help, to leave an email address. The hope is that everyone can pick up their post-it at the end of the day and have a group of folks to reach out to as they move their job search forward.

If you have success stories from “paying it forward” in your jobsearch, please leave us a comment –  we’d love to hear them!

Here are photos taken by Steve Rhodes. You can find the rest by searching Flickr for “brightgreentalent.com.”

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March 3rd, 2009

Bright Green Speaks Out

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With so much buzz around green jobs, journalists have been reaching out to us at Bright Green Talent to learn more about green jobs. Here are a couple recent hits:

Nick’s speaking today at Tufts’ Fletcher School and MIT Sloan; tomorrow he’s headed to Yale to speak with School of Management and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies students. Hope you can join him!

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March 2nd, 2009

Students and Grads: How Not to be a Jobseeker Horror Story

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Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

Last week, I talked about how to meet people and up your chances of getting noticed in the resume pile.

However, it’s important to be sure you’re getting noticed for the right reasons — the way you interact with people is a great demonstration of your judgment and social wherewithal, and how you might fit in with a company. The first impression might be the only impression you get to make — and you’d be shocked how quickly word travels in the tight-knit community of green businesses and organizations.

We know you’re new to the job search process, and people are throwing advice at you from all angles on how to succeed. However, since we all have a morbid fascination with horror stories, here’s a list of people you really DON’T want to be remembered as.

Appearance:
- “The guy who looked vaguely homeless.” If you’re meeting people in person, dress nice. The green sphere is generally somewhat more casual, but people expect you to look neat and well put-together, even if you are currently living in a tent to reduce your carbon footprint.
- “The girl dressed for a frat party.” To state the obvious, don’t be showing too much skin – especially if you’re competing with a bunch of other students or recent grads and trying to present yourself as older and more mature.
- “Wait, which guy?” Everyone tends to wear muted colors or dark clothes when they interview or go to job fairs. Wear something unique — a bright color or an interesting necklace/accessory which might make you more memorable in a sea of jobseekers.

In conversation:
- “The guy who talked forEVER.” If you’re at a schmoozy event, don’t corner someone for 25 minutes, and, as tempting as it may be, don’t recite your senior thesis from memory. Converse. Ask smart questions.
- “The girl who asked me point blank for a job.” Be confident; don’t be too brash. If you have a good conversation with someone, get their card and follow up with an email the next day saying something along the lines of, “Great to meet you, enjoyed the conversation, I’m interested to hear more about your company and employment opportunities that might be available.” You’ll do even better if you have a favor to do for them in return — connecting them to someone you know, lending them your lawnmower, etc.
- “The guy who kept interrupting me.” As your mother always says, have manners and be a good listener. Also, make sure your conversation is relatively P.C. – if you don’t know the person that well, better to err on the side of not offending them, given that you don’t know their sensitivities.

Ethics:
- “The guy who fibbed.” Be honest! We can’t emphasize this enough: if there’s one thing that will automatically get you ruled out from a job, it’s getting caught in any sort of lie, even something that seems totally innocuous. As recruiters, we’ve dealt with this as candidates have tried to tell the company different stories than they’ve told us — and, given that there’s a lot of information sharing going on, it won’t go unnoticed.

Next week: a more positive spin on what you SHOULD do when you’re meeting folks. And start getting ready for our jobseeker resource center, the Greenhouse, to be launched within a few weeks.

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