Archive for the ‘Recruitment’ Category

Tackling that age-old question in our modern marketplace

November 27, 2017

Old and young

When it comes to age, I’m a firm proponent of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

Recently a journalist who was interviewing me asked me my age. I get it.

I used to be a newspaper reporter and I know it’s traditional to write, “So-and-so, age blah-blah, did fill-in-the-blank.” But I also know it’s not a hard and fast rule.

There are plenty of stories these days that don’t include a person’s age. Therefore, I politely said to the reporter, “I prefer not to give the number as it’s not germane to the story.

She accepted that and the story was printed no problem.

Likewise, if you’re in the jobs market and are of a certain age, you may find yourself struggling to overcome other people’s preconceived notions around your particular number.

Unless you’re a 102-year-old who swam the English Channel or a 12-year-old who graduated from university, age shouldn’t be the leading factor.

1 Stop referencing your age

At an event, a very lovely female participant came up to me and complimented my shoes. Then she lamented,”When I was your age, I could wear heels. But it’s been forever.

Another time, I heard a man say to colleagues at a project meeting, “Give that task to Peter. I’m too old.

How often do you reference your age? How often do you draw unnecessary attention to the distance between your age and that of your audience?

At first glance this might seem aimed at older folks. But the same goes for younger folks too. The whole, “Oh, I wasn’t even born back then” crowd.

It’s fine to talk about age with your best friend, but if you want to stay vigorous or be taken seriously in the workplace, then cease your own ageism. You might be your worst enemy.

Interviewers aren’t allowed to ask you your age. So, don’t out yourself.

Sure, put your universities and degrees on your CV. Just don’t put the dates.

2 Mine your contacts

A reader from western Ireland wrote to me saying he’s a 64-year-old former sales professional frustrated because he hasn’t found work in four years.

He’s convinced his age is part of the reason his CVs are not getting traction. He says he’s sent out more than 200 of them over the years but landed nothing.

But he also tells me that in four years he has probably only reached out to ‘two or three’ of his former contacts. So, I am working with him to strengthen his strategy.

Think about the wide-range of people you have met over the years. Talk to them. Ask them for people you can call. Cold resumes don’t result in jobs nearly as much as warm referrals do.

3 Mix it up

In addition to tapping into your friends and contacts from throughout your career, you can also network with people younger than you. Is there a business incubator you can join? Is there a project they’re working on that could benefit from your experience?

You might want to think less about a full-time job and more about piecing together consulting work.

4 Power up your profile

You don’t have to have a zillion followers, but, you should immediately set up a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account. We can chat Facebook and Instagram and whatever else later. For now, let’s focus on these two.

First, I recommend Canva.com to create a polished header for your social media accounts. Then you should spend some time crafting words about you and your experience that are strong, punchy and engaging.

Also be sure to Google professionals you admire to see what they’re doing.

Don’t completely plagiarise, but do borrow ideas, formatting and/or a few keywords from others. Don’t be afraid to be creative. You can always adjust your copy.

But if you write the same old, same old, you’ll sound the same as everyone else and, well, “old”.

In short, if you’re not online, you’re not relevant.

5 Shape up

If you’re not eating right and exercising regularly, do not blame your age alone for gaining weight. Your physical health is connected to your mental health.

This is a scientific fact and it’s also the perception of many potential employers.

The more fit you are physically, the more you will be perceived as someone who is fit for the job.

The same goes for your wardrobe and grooming. Wear something sharp and current. And for heaven’s sake, if you have hair growing out of your ears, get rid of it!

We can be put in a box once our number becomes the lead of our story.

Like, “She looks great for 45….” Or “He appears much younger than 50….

Whose opinions are these? Why can’t it just be, “You’re doing great“, period? It can.

A 65-year-old client of mine, who is right on top of each of my suggestions, told me this week that a friend of his remarked, “I have never seen you have so much energy!

That’s a great report. And it can be yours too. Your experience combined with applying these strategies actively will make it so.

Is your age holding back your career?

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

Millennials -The Good, The Bad, and The Selfies

November 8, 2017

Millennials are a generation of lazy, entitled, fame obsessed, technology worshiping, narcissists.

Sound about right?

Baby Boomers out there, think we (yes, I am one of “the” M crew) have been handed life and its obstacles on a silver platter, meaning we have grown up with a sense of entitlement, brought up to believe that we deserve the best (even when we don’t) and crave praise and attention, all of the time!

Subsequently, it is not difficult to see why we are stereotyped as lazy, entitled and selfish.

But to you, the Baby Boomers reading this, shocked at the expectations and entitlements of my generation, you may also be shocked to learn, we are not all that different after all.

Now as we fast forward ten, fifteen years, Millennials have the same high expectations in the workplace. But what is so wrong with having confidence in yourself and your work?

It is not that we, as Millennials, have created a revolution in workplace and life expectations, but rather evolved to this world of abundance. We have not developed new personality traits from Baby Boomers when they were our age. Most teenagers and young adults, from any era compared to their parents, are selfish, can be lazy, and at the very least narcissistic, now and again.

Baby Boomers say we are consumed by social media. We check our phones, at minimum, once every hour. But how many times a day do you check your email? Now I can hear you say in that voice at the back of your head “But emails are far more important that social media”. Are they?

I believe we are evolving to the point now that they are both equally as important (especially in the world of PR).

And just think what if the world of technology had evolved a generation earlier? Is it possible that Baby Boomers would have been just as social media obsessed as us? We didn’t choose this life, but rather it was selected for us by Apple, Samsung, and Facebook, and we simply evolved and adapted.

So what can we bring to the world of PR?

We know Millennials don’t see technology and social media as a chore but rather part of their everyday routine being switched on and connected, close to 24 hours a day.

We are a troop of networkers, ready to shout and scream to get our message across. We want to work hard, make a difference for our clients and reap the results, even if that does mean sharing it on Insta Stories, Facebook posts, Snap Stories, Tweets, and the list goes on.

As a generation, we don’t have high levels of respect for authority. But because we don’t respect authority we don’t resent it, and therefore we feel as if we can approach and create relationships with our leaders.

We are a generation of dreamers, meaning we are optimistic, thinkers, and life hackers.

We inspire and find new ways to deal with on-going issues. We believe that we can in fact “change the world” and want to bring your business to the next level. We stand up and combat the stereotypes by continuing to show up to work with enthusiasm and ambition.Actions speak louder than words after all!

Let’s not forget that Baby Boomers, you too were a problematic generation, and you turned out alright.

Didn’t you?

Blaithín

Blaithín Gallagher is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Tips on how to secure your first PR job

March 30, 2015

PR - Fuzion

Anyone working in PR has been there… that place you find yourself when trying to secure your first job in PR.

Having been with Fuzion since 2007, I have been involved with the hiring process of several interns and team members. Being on the other side of the application and interview process has taught me a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do when looking for your first PR job, so I’ve decided to share a few tips.

Update your CV and cover letter

Make sure your CV is tailored to the job, well written (good grammar, no typos), and most importantly, up to date. Oh, and don’t lie!

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t let yourself down at the first hurdle. Whether you are a graduate or are interested in a career change, we understand that you’re not yet an expert in the field of PR, but we do want to know what you can bring to the table.

Whilst you might not have anything that directly relates to PR, I would suggest that you try to highlight specific achievements and areas you do have experience in, and show how these are transferable to PR. PR is about pitching and this is your first opportunity to pitch yourself to us or any potential employer.

With cover letters, make them cover letters!

As in, send it in the body of your email and not as an attachment. Also, we know if we’re getting a generic cover letter, so specifically tailor it to the job for which you are applying WITH US… there’s nothing worse than getting an application in which you tell us why you would be a valuable asset to the team at “A.N Other Company”.

Of course, we know we’re probably not the only company you’re applying to, but if you expect us to take the time to review your application and respond to you, please have the courtesy to get our name right.

A simple trick here is to check our website beforehand and to personalise your application to the person you think might be doing the recruiting. If you are not sure who that person is then ring in advance and ask.

Check your online presence out before we do!

Google yourself – what do you find online about yourself. Hopefully you should find a Twitter and LinkedIn account, but if you don’t, set them up now! If you can’t be found on Twitter, and especially LinkedIn, it means you’re not taking advantage of these platforms, and they are where you need to be.

Online presence

With Twitter, follow key players and influencers in the media, learn about the industry, and make connections by retweeting posts you find interesting or relevant. A LinkedIn account is pretty important for anyone on the lookout for a job in the industry. Why not ask college professors and former employers to write recommendations for you – let them tell us how good you are! Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

If you fancy yourself as a writer (we love people who can write well) then start your own blog and start writing about your favourite things – make sure you include this in your CV.

Yes, we do check all of this!

Connect, and stay connected

During the interview, we like to get a feel for you, and so often ask about who you follow online, what papers you read, what journalists and news sites are you a fan of. Educate yourself on the industry – we’re not interested if you follow the guys from Geordie Shore, or Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, so try to be relevant!  Tell us why certain blogs or news sites interest you.

We’ve done our homework on you, now do your homework on us

You’ve secured an interview, now familiarise yourself with our company, our clients and campaigns, and have some sort of idea about our company ethos. Tell us why you’re interested in this position, and particularly in Fuzion, and why you think you are a good fit. Don’t get caught off guard, these are obvious things we will look for, so be prepared. Knowing your stuff will not only calm your nerves for the interview, it will also show us that you have initiative, and are enthusiastic and serious about working with us.

Be able to tell us what you could bring to the table, have some ideas of how you would put a PR plan together – as I’ve already said, we know you’re not experienced in the field, but have a think about this in advance. Do you have a dream client? What would you do for them if they were launching a new product or had some important news to share? If you want to work in PR, you’re going to need to be able to do this on a regular basis, so show us you can.

And most importantly be yourself. Trust me, we want to hear your personal story and we want to hear your opinion about things. Be honest and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

Ok, you didn’t get the job this time, and you ask “Do I need a specific degree to get a job in PR or what do I do next?”

If you have excellent communication skills, then you have some of the basic characteristics for a career in PR. A relevant qualification is not always necessary, but it can be an advantage and provides you with the competitive edge against other applicants—at least on paper.

Persistence

At Fuzion we don’t specifically look for a degree in public relations – our team is made up of experienced PR professionals, ex-journalists and producers, media trainers, social media experts, and graphic designers, as well as individuals with senior management experience.

So don’t be disheartened that you didn’t get this job. Go out there and get some hands on experience – volunteer for a non-profit or charity, PR your local festival, help out at community events, write a blog, do some freelancing;  and don’t give up on your PR dream. Show why you can become an invaluable member of any PR team.

Make sure that we don’t forget you by sending us a nice email and thanking us for considering you in the first place. One of our team got a job with Fuzion on the third attempt – we love persistence, another great trait for a PR person!

The very best of luck with your PR career ..

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

 

How to Attract Top Talent

October 2, 2014

Attracting Talent - Superman

Attracting top performers to your organisation is the key factor for future success according to many of the top CEO’s and one of the biggest challenges they are facing today.

Understanding how top performers think is critical and to get this right organisations must figure out what motivates and inspires them and then how to create an environment where these things exist.

Some of the common attributes that top performers look for in an employer are:

Real value alignment

Top performers want to believe that the organisation they are working for are strongly aligned to their own personal values. These ‘key’ corporate values must be clearly communicated and could include things like customer ethos, creativity and innovation, involvement in the community,  teamwork, opportunity and personality.

Quite simply “If you want me to work for you I must believe in you

Positive reputation

In the eyes of the top performer, the organisations they consider working for must have a strong, attractive brand and a great reputation in the marketplace. This by default will enhance their own personal reputation and help them to progress with their career. When the question is asked “where do you work?” you want to be able to answer proudly and even create a little job envy ..”Oh, you are lucky to work there“.

Special personal opportunities

Top performers want to know what sets the organisation apart and what does that mean for them: Special experiences, unique opportunities, enjoyment, satisfaction, achievement and rewards, career progression and a great work life balance are things that important for these individuals.

Development opportunities

The opportunity to develop both personally and professionally is crucial for the job satisfaction of high achievers. They want to invest their talent and precious career time in an organisation that can help develop them and progress their career positively.

Communicating

If these attributes genuinely exist in the organisation (easier said than done!) then the challenge is to communicate these to Top Performers in a way that attracts their attention.

Some of these attributes are easy to convey such as organisation success, great products and services but other ‘softer‘ attributes are difficult to convey in a believable way to prospective talent but it can be done.

Website

The organisation website will be the first port of call for anyone considering working with the organisation. Organisation websites are normally built with customers in mind but you will find that the more progressive ones will go to great efforts to demonstrate the opportunities that exist for staff and will try to provide evidence that their place is a genuinely great place to work.

While describing employee programmes and opportunities is a must on the website, the ‘evidence’ will come from the staff themselves and with clever corporate videos, team blogs, demonstrations of team activities and team testimonials the opportunities can be communicated in a believable way.

For an ‘active‘ job seeker the website will be useful, but to attract someone more ‘passive‘ who may not be considering a career change you must work much harder to get their attention.

Social Media 

Social media in particular, free from the formality of the organisation’s normal communications is a powerful platform for communicating the softer aspects of the organisation. These channels are the perfect way to demonstrate the personality of the organisation, the positive work life balance activities, the team spirit and publicising some of the community work and other things that showcase the ethos and values that exist.

For example happy pictures of team activities can speak volumes for any organisation.

For deeper messages well written blog posts, which allow more informal and softer communications can be distributed cleverly on the social media platforms to really demonstrate the special personality of the organisation.

PR

If the right attributes exist for the organisation then it is vital that these are communicated to the widest possible audience through the media using PR.

Your brand is ‘what other people say about you‘ so it is really important that you carefully plan and shape how your organisation is perceived. Not only should the organisation’s progress and success be communicated but every opportunity should be taken to publicise community work and other non-commercial activities that really show how special the place is.

One of the clever ways to do this for our clients is through profile pieces in the media with individuals who work there. These are a powerful way to capture stories and communicate the real personality of the organisation.

Awards

Awards are another clever way for an organisation to showcase other aspects of their personality and ethos. For example many organisations in Ireland are competing for the Chambers Ireland CSR  and ‘Great Place to Work‘ awards. Companies as diverse as Diageo, Microsoft, EMC and McDonalds are all participating in these awards, which demonstrates in a tangible way that it is not all about profit within their businesses.

In 2013 Fuzion proudly won a Chambers Ireland CSR award for our international Safebook anti-cyberbullying campaign, which we hope speaks volumes about the type of business that we operate. We care!

The top performer is not a work horse and they care deeply about their careers and about things that really matter to them.

Jim Collins in his iconic book ‘Good to Great‘ says one of the key factors of successful organisations is great people.

It’s up to you to attract them!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Driving your Reputaton

June 4, 2013

Smoking_while_driving

Sitting in traffic in the middle of town on a Monday morning my attention was drawn to the dirty branded van that had just cut in front of us.

The driver of the van seemed to be hanging his arm out the window and I noticed it was because he was smoking.

Two minutes later the cigarette butt went flying onto the road followed closely by a spit …lovely!

If you decide to brand your company vehicles make sure you let the driver know that it’s your reputation he’s driving around the place.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR Company with offices in Cork and Dublin

Game Changing Interviews

February 3, 2013

job vacanciesJust before the New Year we decided to publicise a vacancy for a Senior PR post in our Dublin office.

We deliberately wanted to leave the job description open so that it would invite interest from  a wide range of people leaving us with the opportunity of shaping the role around the successful “right” candidate instead of letting everything be dictated by a very specific role ..it has been an interesting journey with some really good learnings!

  1. The job vacancy posted on our website and the use of social media alone was enough to generate a huge number of responses and enough quality candidates
  2. From the minute we tweeted and posted the link for the vacancy we could see huge traffic hitting our website
  3. People are really happy to retweet and share news about job vacancies
  4. So many people apply for jobs without reading what the job is about!! – I would say about 40% of the enquiries were totally irrelevant
  5. The role attracted a lot of attention because of the way we described it – avoid cliches (dynamic person…)!
  6. People in really good roles are now prepared to move to new jobs – is that recession fear easing off?
  7. Some people are caught in fur lined” mouse traps – they are getting no satisfaction from their jobs but are stuck because their packages are too good to leave. We met a few of these!
  8. Many people have taken roles in the recession because they needed the money – most are really unfulfilled now, which is bad for them and their employers.
  9. There are a lot of really talented, hard working people out there – the quality of the people we met was amazing
  10. Employment agencies – I can’t see us ever having to use one..

After just one week of searching we found more than one ideal candidate for the role but we also met a number of quite diverse people all with something unique to offer who we know we will stay in touch with and work together in some way on various projects..

The game of recruiting is changing, the game of looking for a job is changing and hopefully this simple interview process could turn out to be a valuable “game changer” for us.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Clannish – Who is Missing Out?

August 15, 2012

Taxis

I totally hate getting taxis, I hate having to leave our car in town and I hate having to get back into town the next day to collect the car …. I hate taxis! (and I do admit to being quite odd at times ..)

After a long day on the Cork Gourmet trail sampling food and wine in so many great establishments followed by a few visits to some popular watering holes, getting a taxi home was a necessity.

I wasn’t really in the mood for small talk but our driver was a really pleasant, cheery guy from Pakistan. He asked us about our day and on the journey to Balincollig he shared with us some of his life stories and his love of Cork.

It turns out our driver was a senior bank official in Pakistan but found that when he came to Ireland this experience counted for nothing so he ended up spending a few years packing shelves in Tesco. Acknowledging his lack of progression he decided to save hard and invest in a business course in Ireland, which he felt might change perceptions of him.

Despite doing really well on his course his job prospects never improved and he found he was lucky to even get to interview stage. At admits now he has pretty much given up on his career dreams and has settled for his job driving a taxi.

Always upbeat in his intelligent conversation with us, he did hope that his two kids, who according to himself are as Irish as we are, (complete with Cork accents!) would have better luck than he did in fulfilling their full potential.

It upsets him that the Irish are so “clannish” and while not being considered for jobs he is more than qualified for is quite upsetting,  he really gets upset when some people get in his taxi and jump out again when they see he is coloured.

He reckons that he is experiencing now what the Irish experienced many moons ago in other countries.

In the back seat of his taxi I reflected on what he was saying to us and quite honestly I couldn’t disagree with him or offer any great words of wisdom. At the end of our ride home we shook his hand, gave him a decent tip and encouraged him to keep chatting, sharing his story and changing minds one by one.

To use his very politely chosen words, maybe we are “clannish” and I wonder are we sometimes missing out on the best people because of our prejudices?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The Lost Chef from Sheffield

July 12, 2011
The Lost Chef from Sheffield

The Lost Chef from Sheffield

Walking through the village early in the morning with Bing (the four legged one!) we were met with the unusual sight of a guy approaching us from a distance wearing a white chefs uniform complete with black apron and dragging behind him a big suitcase on wheels and carrying a heavy shoulder bag. We quietly wonder what this guys story is.

Getting closer to the lost chef we make eye contact, nod and greet .. “Good morning

Excuse me mate, do you know where the Westfield B&B is?” – He was quite a tall young lad with an English accent.

We had no idea where it was but just had to help him – a quick Google search on the smart phone and a minute later we find the B&B on-line and then call for directions.

In between the Google search and the phone call the young guy explains to us that he is a trainee chef from Sheffield and had just completed his first shift in his new job in a nearby hotel.

He had been booked into the B&B by the hotel if he could just find it!

The poor guy looked lost, lonely and totally out of sorts.

It turns out he had dragged his heavy bags in the wrong direction from the B&B, but it didn’t matter as the B&B landlady informs us that there was a cancellation by a guest of the hotel where he was working and he needed to head back and stay there instead.

He politely thanked us for the help, crossed the road and started slowly making his way back to the hotel.

Working away from home – it is a long and lonely journey ..

To the lost chef from Sheffield, all the other young people looking for work away from home, our sons and our daughters – take care out there, wherever your journey takes you..

Life’s great adventure ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

But you have no experience ..

December 20, 2010
Fuzion Christmas Card - Paul Wade

Fuzion Christmas Card - Paul Wade

On the 1st October of this year a really bright young aspiring Graphic Designer called into Fuzion to show us his portfolio. This followed a very courteous email about wanting some work experience at no charge.

The situation is really simple – Paul Wade a recent graduate of CIT, the Design & Communications course, like so many other graduates has no practical work experience. He is looking for a job and of course …. he has no experience!

Instead of this being an obstacle he simply removed the problem by asking us to take him on for free in exchange for “experience” – since then he has been working and learning under Graham our Senior Designer for the last two months. As he says himself, he has learnt more in these two months than he had in his few years at college.

The one thing we can’t teach him is something he had already in bucket loads – a great can-do positive attitude.

The other thing about Paul is that he also has a job in a local supermarket, which pays his bills.

As soon as the workload permits we would like to take him on here – why? He has a great attitude, he is a nice guy, he has integrated with our team and he has learned a lot.

By the way – the Fuzion Christmas card you can see on this blog – that’s Paul’s work!

Well done Paul for making it happen!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications


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