Monday, October 29, 2012

Gaining Job Search Clarity

Several months after beginning my job search, I have made an important discovery that has changed my trajectory. I realized, after some thought provoking discussions, that I was not only unfocused, but actually moving in the wrong direction.  I was heading backwards to what I used to do, not forwards to what I want to do.  It was an "AHA" moment for me.

In fact, I have been moving in the right direction and the wrong direction simultaneously. I have a split-personality, so to speak. I failed to see that my personal persona and my professional persona should actually be integrated. My branding message is inconsistent across platforms. My Facebook profile and blog reflect my personal brand.  But, my professional persona does not clearly reflect who I am now. My Linkedin profile, resume, pitch, etc. are based on who I was and what I did in the past. 

Although I have done self-assessment and job planning in the past, I am in a different place now.  I need to stop and re-assess where I am going and what I am doing, again. In my personal life I have a clear brand, but it does not carry over into my professional life, and it should. 

My job search has been a journey of self-discovery on which I have had breakthroughs and gained clarity.  Before this epiphany, I was feeling frustrated and disappointed. Now, I feel re-focused and re-energized. I know I am heading in the right direction.  Following are the next steps I will take:
  1. Review personal branding statement & adapt for professional use. 
  2. Consistently communicate revised brand message across all marketing materials.
  3. Find the right target market for my blog and grow my following.
  4. Share my job search experiences with other struggling job seekers, especially parents transitioning back to work
  5. Explore opportunities to gain experience in different areas of social media and digital marketing.  
Stay tuned for the continuing job search saga of Marketer Mom....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marketer Mom Returns

Hello Everyone,

It's been longer than expected, but I'm back.  After a 2 year reprieve, I've finally taken up the reigns on my job search again.  I knew when I started writing that I wasn't quite ready to return to work, but I didn't realize how long it would take me to begin the process in earnest.

Now, I have begun, and it's been an interesting experience. I've thought a lot about what personal branding is and how to brand myself.  So, that's one topic I will be talking more about. I decided that finding a job is now my priority and I've sought help to jump-start the process and to hold myself accountable to making progress towards my goal.

I've worked on improving my resume, elevator pitch and Linked-in profile.  I'm taking workshops at JVS (Jewish Vocational Services) and beginning to network. I'm posting resumes and have had one interview so far, a story in itself.  As you can see, I'm in full-swing.

You can expect hear from me on a regular basis now.  My intention is to blog at least once every two weeks.   So, hold on to your hats and come along for the ride, which promises to have as many ups and downs as the best roller-coaster ride you can think of.

Stay Tuned,
Allison Lieber Prout, Marketer Mom

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello Summer

Reposition yourself to re-enter the workforce; join me on my personal branding journey.

My daughter finished Kindergarten today.  Tomorrow is officially the beginning of summer vacation and I've made an executive decision. I'm going to stop blogging for the summer.  I've made quite a bit of progress on my job search process since I began the blog in April.  When I pick up again in the fall I will finally be ready to start looking for a job. Thank you to all of you who have been following me. I hope you will tune in again next season when things get serious. Until then, have a great summer.

See you in September...
Allison Lieber Prout, Marketer Mom

Friday, June 4, 2010

List of Prospective Employers Part 2

Reposition yourself to re-enter the workforce; join me on my personal branding journey.

I've been following up on my research this week and I've confirmed that the following companies are my primary targets. With a few exceptions, I've kept it narrowed down to food - consumer packaged good (CPG) companies. This will make it easier to keep my job search and resume focused.
  1. Leapfrog Enterprises (consumer electronics-child education)-Emeryville
  2. Del Monte Foods- San Francisco
  3. Ghiradelli Chocolates - San Leandro
  4. Dreyers' Ice Cream/Haagen Daz - Nestle USA - Oakland
  5. Clif Bar - Berkeley
  6. Shaklee - direct sales/nutritional products - Pleasanton
  7. Clorox Company -  Oakland
  8. Jamba Juice - Emeryville
  9. Safeway- Pleasanton 
 All of these companies have the types of jobs I am looking for, specifically, consumer product brand and product marketing jobs.  I know that the field is very competitive, but before I look into other types of jobs, I'd at least like to give these companies a shot. All I want to do, essentially, is to get in on the ground floor of the organization and work my way up.  The trick is to figure out how I can portray myself as attractive to them.

To that end, I will turn again to research. My first step will be to print some of the job descriptions available and fine-tune my resume according to what they are looking for. I will also begin to set-up informational interviews with people who work within these companies to find out both what it is like to work there, and what issues they are facing or problems they need solving.

I also need to pluck up my guts and find out about getting those references I talked about in an earlier blog.  So, there's lots of work to do. I'll keep you posted.

See you next Friday.... 

Friday, May 28, 2010

List of Prospective Companies to Work For

Reposition yourself to re-enter the workforce; join me on my personal branding journey.

Well, it's back to work now that I finished my marketing metrics class and have a bit more time to dedicate to my job search. One of the first matters of business on my planning guide is to put together a list of prospective companies to work for.  This is not as easy as it seems. To make the list meaningful you have to sort through quite a bit of information. My approach is to spread a wide net and narrow in on specifics.

My objective is to target local companies (within a radius of 30 miles of where I live) that are large enough to have branding departments and are within my range of interest, ideally, consumer products. Since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, many of the companies headquartered here are technology and/or internet focused.  Although it would be foolish to ignore this category of employers altogether, they will have second tier status in my targeting efforts. The kinds of companies that interest me most, aside from Leapfrog, are food related.

With that in mind, I googled 'Bay Area Companies', and came up with a few good lists. Wikipedia's List of companies headquartered in San Francisco was a good place to start.  From that I chose various categories.  Next, I will look at each company I'm interested in more closely to see if they have the kinds of jobs that I am looking for. Another good resource is SF Gates' Chron200 which lists the largest and most financially healthy companies in the Bay Area. 

 From my initial research, I've come up with the following companies to check out more closely:
  • Ghiradelli Chocolates
  • Del Monte Foods
  • Dreyer's Ice Cream
  • Haagen Daaz
  • Jamba Juice
  • Williams Sonoma
  • Safeway
  • Shaklee
 Next week after I've checked out these picks more closely, I'll be able to present a more concise list to target.

See you next Friday...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Celebrating Moms

Reposition yourself to re-enter the workforce; join me on my personal branding journey.

This week I'd like to put on my mom's hat for a change and consider what it means to be a mother.  My friend sent me a great video entitled Momisms which was circulating for mother's day and I just loved it. Watching it made me think of my mother and myself with my daughter and how all mothers can relate to the experience which is a common bond between us.

A mom is a director, she directs the lives of her children so that her household runs efficiently. She is a teacher, adviser and counselor, encouraging her offspring to learn social competency and lead happy, healthy, independent lives. She is a role model, remember actions speak louder than words. She is a protector, a cheerleader, a friend. She is always on your side. She wants the best for you. She is your most powerful ally.

I am proud to be a mom and I don't want to downplay that in my job search. In fact, I'd like to incorporate it into my job search, if I can. Leapfrog is a company that I would really like to work for. It's a company that makes educational toys for children. Don't you think that's a great fit for a Mom? I am totally in tune with their target market. Interestingly, the company is mostly run by men (it's a software company). Anyway, my plan is to put together some sort of presentation for them that introduces me and what I can do for their company. I did a similar marketing project for Avon before I started with them and it landed me the job.  Putting forth extra effort makes you stand out as a candidate. It's a great way to differentiate yourself. Oops, my marketing hat is back on!!

Moms are hard workers and great organizers. They know how to prioritize and have social skills.  Be proud of what you are and what you have to give. Don't hide it, acknowledge it and integrate it into your work life.

See you next Friday...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Updating Your Skills - two sides of the coin

Reposition yourself to re-enter the workforce; join me on my personal branding journey.

Since I've been out of work for quite awhile, especially in my chosen profession, I find I can gain a bit of confidence by taking professionally related classes. Most communities have local universities or colleges which offer continuing education courses. These days, of course, you can also do classes online.

Things are changing so fast in the world around us, sometimes it's challenging to keep up with the technological advances.  Between when I went to college and graduate school, computers became common use in the work place. When I worked at Avon China we used computers and Microsoft Office programs regularly, but there was no internet or even email at that time.

Now Social Media is all the rage. I recently took an online class through UC Berkeley Extension about using social media in marketing strategy. It was a great class, and I learned a great deal. Not all classes are created equal, however. I've taken 4 classes altogether. Two were really useful but two were not what I expected.  

When I take a great class, I feel challenged when I'm taking it and accomplished when I complete it. When I take a not so great class, I feel frustrated when I'm taking it and humbled when I complete it only to realize how much I don't know!  One day I feel like I can take on the world; the next I'm afraid I won't be able to compete. 

Such is the nature of the job search and just about every other challenge in life. We have our ups, we have our downs.  The important thing is to keep going. "Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it."  Fear has been a challenge I have faced my whole life. I am proud to say, it hasn't held me back.  You just have to learn to plow right through it with your blinders on. 

The class I am currently taking will be over in a little over a week. I just need to focus on what needs to be done and get through it. Then I will be able to sigh a breath of relief and get on with my life. Wish me luck.

See you next Friday...