5 Outrageous Ways to Reel in the Right Job

Standing out in a sea of job applicants is a very difficult thing to do. It takes some calculated thinking and a lot of creativity to be the one that exceeds a hiring manager’s expectations.

A resume just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want to be better, you need to behave better. It’s time to invent something new and follow through with it. Shock and awe may be in order.

Forbes Magazine published an article back in 2015, featuring well-renowned advertising agency executives, citing remarkable instances where candidates went above and beyond to be outstanding. This article is full of great advice so take a minute to read through it.

There is agreement that being outrageous, and even down right out of control, are the right ways to catch attention.

Innovative industries like entertainment, advertising, and product design are perfect studies of how to step outside of the norm and be imaginative.

“Creativity is something I wish more candidates would explore. In all my entertainment experience, I’ve never actually had an applicant approach me with a really inspiring idea. Though if someone were to do that, without being asked to submit a project, it would definitely put him or her at the top of the stack. It would show that they are thinking strategically about the business before even being asked to—and initiative always goes a long way,” said Melissa Peterkin, Media Executive, Digital Media Group at CBS Television Distribution.

Put down the resume and check out these ideas. Hopefully these will stir you to try something different when you’re keen for a new gig.

  1. Send in a Decoy

You wanna land a big interview? Then release the pigeons. For real, my dear friend Ewan Pidgeon, Creative Director at Ingram Micro and well-respected creative talent worldwide, sent a decoy pigeon with his work tied to its leg to an agency in Irvine, Calif. where he wanted a job. Not only did the decoy pigeon get him the interview, it got him the job.

He also told me about a few stories that involved “ahem”, adult entertainers at GGT in London (now TBWA) but you’ll have to buy me a pint to get me to divulge those.

  1. Attempt to Bribe

Scott Montgomery, former co-founder of Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, and then EVP-ECD at FCB Southern California, has just recently opened Bark Incorporated with a couple of fellow advertising veterans. Like Pidgeon, he told me a few doozies.

One notable was a potential art director who showed up to the agency dressed in full battle fatigues —sporting the message, “ready to go to war for you.”

He also remembers a pretty kick ass bribe, where a candidate researched his favorite beer and sent a case of it along with his portfolio of work. “Presumably, I’d be drunk enough by the time I got to the portfolio that I’d call him right up and ask when he could start. Funny enough, I can’t remember how that one turned out,” said Montgomery.

“Anyway, my advice would be to make sure the work samples you show are every bit as ingenious as the idea that accompanies them. At the end of the day, it’s the candy inside the wrapper your future employer is buying.”

  1. Be Your Own Ambassador

You are your own brand. You need to create a message and an identity for yourself, then hit “repeat.” Think of yourself like a product, e.g. Starbucks. For me, Starbucks is an experience and its kinda like Kleenex—whenever I crave a coffee, I call it a Starbucks, just like I call a tissue a Kleenex.

Personal branding follows the same line of thinking and good branding is certainly memorable. And today is the day of the individual. So use your qualities and build value for yourself.

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: “Me Inc.” To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You,” said Tom Peters formerly of Fast Company.

  1. Get Respect

So this guy wants to land a job at one of Orange County’s most popular resort destinations. He researches the property, dines in its restaurants, and socializes with the staff.

He walks into the hotel lobby one day and sees a family that he soon finds out is looking for a wedding location. Because he had done so much research on the hotel, he tours the family himself, shows them the ballrooms, etc.

“This guy ends up selling the family a $25K package and doesn’t even work for the hotel. He wanted the job and he got it. And his story lives on,” says Brian Hippert, Security Supervisor at Paséa Resort and Spa.

This is just one of many stories where a potential candidate proves him/herself without even knowing if an interview is on the horizon. That took guts, which paid off exponentially.

  1. Buy Some Media

That’s right; purchase your own ad space. We’re not talking Super Bowl spots, but Google ads that cost less than a dollar for top results. Business Insider told the story of Alec Brownstein who tried to beat the odds in getting his resume noticed.

So he got smart and took out ads on Google with the names of key ad execs that he wanted to work for. When the execs Googled their name, his job request showed up at the top of the page.

Kinda risky, but really effective. He ended up getting hired at one of the foremost agencies in the biz, Young and Rubicam.

No matter how you go about out it, it needs to be disruptive, authentic, and memorable.

Corporate Politics: Do You Want to Drive the Bus or Lie Under It? 6 Ways to Avoid Getting Thrown Under the Bus

before-trying-to-throw-me-under-a-bus-just-make-sure-you-know-whos-driving-that-bus-da3d5Man, I’ve been chucked under the bus so many times that I have permanent tire marks on my head. I’ve been tossed to the pavement by colleagues, higher-ups, and teammates that I thought were close friends. I mean what the hell, aren’t we supposed to work as a team and have each other’s backs? History and experience tells me that I’ve been very naive.

You want to be driving your bus, not finding yourself buried under it. Here’s some suggestions for you.

Identify Your Allies. Trust me, relationship building is your most important job. You have to invest in your people and foster strong partnerships with your colleagues, including the boss man. If you’re managing a team, you must create an environment of teamwork. And if something goes wrong, you go down with the ship—and make sure that you’re team knows that you’re willing to do that.

Deliver. If you’re producing, I mean really contributing to the success of your company, then you will be the one that people look up to and the one that provides the direction. And by delivering, it doesn’t mean it’s a solo mission. Drive yourself and your team to be extraordinary, together.

Go Public. You know what? It’s time to stand up for yourself and communicate your accomplishments. You’re not going to get recognized if you don’t market yourself. So be your own brand steward, cause it’s your responsibly—don’t trust that anyone will do it for you. You’ve got this and I believe in you.

Keep it Constructive. You got something to say? Well by god, keep it positive. DO NOT rail on a coworker and please don’t take your boss down. It’s a death sentence. Remember, it’s human nature to retaliate and you don’t want the cannon pointed at you. Keep your cool.

Focus on the Future. Don’t turn around and look at the past; cause truly there is nothing there. I’m not suggesting that you don’t learn from your mistakes, because reflection is valuable. But you need to focus on what’s important—and that is the next step. You might have been sabotaged before, but you can’t dwell on it. Learn from it and move on.

Own It. Be strategic and develop your own ideas. Do the research, defend your hypothesis, and sell it to the hilt. No one values someone that can’t think for themselves. In fact, an idle mind is a nail in the coffin. And sitting back, letting someone else do the thinking for you just breeds mediocrity. So don’t take the centerline. Use those brains and be exceptional.

So now that you are driving the bus, don’t feel the need to throw your colleagues under it. Trust me, karma is a bitch.

Is Your Workplace a Fight Club? Good!

You remember the eighth and final rule of “Fight Club?

“If this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.”

Do you find yourself putting authority on a pedestal? So much so that you give too much respect and credence to all that claim it? Or do you think everything you’re “supposed” to think? Well then, this blog is for you.

I’m scratching my head right now, wondering, why are we always so agreeable? “Oh, you look so good in that dress, not!” “Oh, that was the most genius marketing plan I’ve ever read, stupid.” “Oh, I wish that I could be an inspiring leader like you, douchebag.”

I see better fights on Facebook than I do at the office. I’m just waiting for my fellow coworkers to fight it out beer pong style and jump into a giant pool of jello and hash it out like good ol’ frat boys. Ah, the good old days, I’m smiling. Anyway, much to my chagrin, I’m 99.9% certain that’s not going to happen.

It has become unacceptable, and even downright errant, in today’s society to challenge the norm, to think for ourselves, or to be willing to fight for what we can prove is right. And for me, I think that’s downright senseless.

Thinking, not doing—what a novel idea.

I used to work on a medical device product. A product that would seemingly change and better people’s lives. But as I worked through the product development, I realized that there was something critically wrong. Rather than saving lives, this product, in its current design, had the potential to end people’s lives.

But I was afraid to say anything. I was terrified to be entitled the “whistle blower.” So I tried to prove myself wrong by doing copious amounts of research, by considering redesign—fighting with myself to find a new solution.

In all of my energy trying to prove myself wrong, I realized that I had only solidified my position in being right. So I finally stepped up and said something. I decided that my fear of getting ousted was not as mission critical as it was to save lives.

And guess what I found out? My entire team, including the executives, had the same concerns as me, yet no one was willing to stand up and say something. My path to get to this point was horrendous, but I’ll tell you in the end, I, and my company, reaped the rewards by simply questioning ourselves and having the willingness to start over to find a better answer—the right answer.

The willingness to start over. We all need more of that passion. That inner drive to question what’s right, and more importantly, what’s wrong.

It’s ok to have conflict. And it’s just fine to have a confrontation. By god, its human nature to disagree. Agreement doesn’t always neutral out the bad.

So here you go, here’s five ways that you can fight the good fight and come out the other side on top.

Think for yourself

Don’t let someone else tell you what or how to think. You’re not a robot and you certainly don’t need to be led around by a leash. Working toward a goal requires a lot of self-introspection and understanding. All work, even what might seem to be trivial, deserves creative thinking.

I hate to use this term, but thinking outside of the box is what gets you noticed. It’s that extra stroke of effort that our supervisors see that sets us apart from the rest. So allow yourself to think. Don’t just operate under the auspice of what you think people want. Think it out and don’t worry if your point of view is incongruent to others. By varying opinions, superior ideas come about. And by thinking for yourself, it will catch on, and you will find yourself in an organization that can think together, without just “talking to themselves.”

Engage in constructive conflict

Constructive is the key idea here. People can disagree at work. It’s the strategic way that you handle the conflict that is the art. You don’t want to be known as the gunslinger. You want to be known as the one that poses the intelligent questions that prompt teammates to think further.

There is a price to pay for avoiding confrontation—and its mediocrity.

Strong, well-oiled teams can be built on the notion that constructive conflict is just part of the way business is done. Just like my work example above, I think that once the conflict happens, and the onion is peeled, you will find that the co-worker that you had the disagreement with probably had some of the same issues and concerns himself.

Be prepared to change your mind

I’m always right—blah, blah, blah. Save it. Seriously, no one can be right all of the time. In fact, it’s more effective to try to prove yourself, and others, wrong. If you want to be a competent, respected leader, then just accept that change (in thinking, direction, strategy, etc.) is good. Find your problem, defend your statements, stand up to authority, and find the right solution.

Create competition, because competition is good

I hate all of these moms and dads these days that tell their kids that it’s ok to lose. What the hell? We don’t want to lose. We want to win. Fortunately, or I guess for some unfortunately, there is always a winner. And no one remembers the runner up. There’s no pity party here people.

So establish a positive and peaceful spirit of competition (no in-fighting, no personal attacks, etc.) in your department. Put people together, force them to compete for the better idea and see what happens. This is how you develop talent. Fight for your position and brilliance and greatness will happen.

Establish openness

Openness is the beginning. Withholding learning, rather knowledge, to your self doesn’t do anyone good. And it’s reasonable to believe that disasters come from corporations, from people that are unwilling to share.

Find your partners at work, hopefully those include your teammates, and create an environment of openness with them. Be transparent about successes and failures. That’s how we all learn.

Leave it all out on the table. And even when it gets tough, you get tougher by pushing for more. Break the silence and enable people to do their best thinking. Openness will facilitate questions, which will return something, or someone better. Better employees, better service, better products.

Trust me, you’re not going to get fired because you question the SOP. Even though we all think that everything is safe up to a certain threshold, that comfort of security might just be what is holding you back.

In the insightful words of Tyler from “Fight Club,” “Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic.”

I dare you to start thinking differently. I encourage you to push the boundaries of the rules. I want you to find a collaborator that will work to prove you wrong. Fight the good fight man. I promise that you’ll be more creative and triumphant.

Your Next Post Might Cost You A Great Job

You better think about the context and content of your next Facebook status or Tweet if you’re in the market for a new job. Let me tell you something, if I were looking for a job right now I would pretty much need to eighty-six my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Go ahead and laugh—but that photo of me chirping up my last margarita would probably be frowned up.

If you think employers aren’t looking at social media when considering a candidate, think again. The Chicago Tribute says that 84% percent of employers used social media last year to recruit job candidates and 1/3 of those disqualified potential employees based on what they found. And just to round out the stats, The Muse found that employers are searching the following to learn more about you: Facebook 76%, Twitter 53%, and LinkedIn 48%.

Social media goes both ways. Employees use it to research potential companies and job opportunities. And employers not only check out resumes, cover letters, qualifications, and professional contacts—they also judge your personal history, professionalism, and your potential fit for the company culture.

So just remember that with social media, there is the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. You want to accomplish the biggest fail ever? Then tweet about your obsession with Fireball, your hatred for a politician, or make disparaging comments about your boss and colleagues. We’ve all done it, but it’s time to stop if you want to land a great job.

Here’s 9 ways to help you clean up your social media while you’re looking for a job.

  1. Google yourself and see what comes up. If you find posts or photos that are “suspect,” remove as many of them as you can.
  2. When you publish photos, make sure that they represent you in a positive manner.
  3. Change all of your settings to private so that you’re inner most feelings and indiscretions are left to those that you trust.
  4. When you share content, make sure that it’s relevant and useful to your industry so that it appears like you’re invested in your chosen profession.
  5. Change your interests to reflect things that are business-focused.
  6. Weed out friends that can make you look bad.
  7. Review your blog content and pull down anything that might be considered too edgy or controversial.
  8. Check YouTube and remove any videos that you’ve posted that might infringe on copyrights or portray you in unfavorable circumstances.
  9. Match your LinkedIn profile to your resume and make sure that you have engaging and pertinent endorsements.

Use your social network to your advantage. And remember that you can use your media to build a compelling brand for yourself.


3 Ways to Sabotage Your Next Event

3 Excellent Ways to Sabotage Your Next Event (Thumbnail 1)I love going to a big corporate event to watch all of the “Chardonnay Sisters” get hammered and hit on their colleagues. It’s especially fun to watch the shenanigans when the keynote speaker sucks and has nothing remotely important to say. And award shows are the best! I get a huge kick out of acceptance speeches, like someone thinks they got an Oscar or something.

Hey listen, I’m not saying that I’ve never drank martinis straight out of the ice sculpture, but come on, if you’re doing to take the time, effort, and spend the coin to host an event, then dammit, do it right.

Ok, I’ve already digressed. So let’s give you some decent recommendations in this blog.

Here’s what you need to know when planning your next event.

Book an Event Space that Wows Your Crowd. This requires some event planning savvy. And if you’re not an event specialist, hire one. Even if you’re on a restricted budget, an event planner will bring in the special touches that you might not be able to do on your own. They think of everything, down to the smallest of details. Not only does a good event planner handle the bulk of the planning and execution, they get great bro deals from their contacts to save you money.

First impressions are everything. You want your attendees to walk up in awe…you know, the red carpet effect.

Importantly, don’t forget that you want the room to look full, maybe even packed. This will look impressive and it will also prove to your boss that you’re smart, prepared, and that your event marketing and PR worked.

Establish the Focus of Your Event and Brand it Well. I’m sure that you’ve attended an event that we like to call the “Swiss Army Knife” event. You know, it runs the gamete—keynote speaker, networking, workshops, vendor booths—the so-called retail vendor event of the year! These types of misguided events make your company simply look stupid.

Event planning is a huge part of marketing. The event needs to extend the brand. It has to provide value to its attendees and most importantly, it needs to engage people. A bitchin’ keynote speaker is a must. And then provide some value adds, like additional expert speakers. Don’t overthink it; remember your audience and deliver one single message.

Again, if you’re going to do it, then do it well.

Remember the Scout’s Motto. “Always be prepared.” Event planning is a monumental task and anything can happen. Plan for the unexpected so that you don’t fail before you even open the doors.

This is even more reason to hire an event planner, who can deal with mics that aren’t working, a sound system that sounds like someone is talking through water, table centerpieces with wilting flowers, or event invites that include the wrong date. Like I said, anything can happen. And the details are what will astound your crowd.

Hopefully I’ve given you some sound advice. I believe in you, you’ve got this. You’re next event will rock the house.

Check out our event planning video – it’s epic. And remember the one important take-away—don’t invite Uncle Joe to your event. Bahahaha.event_management_video2

And not to gratuitously promote our products, but if you’re interested in an event planning career check out this link to our specialized studies program.

How to Lose Your Job in 5 Days, Hollywood Style

Businessman sleeping with sticky notes on eyes at desk in office

Well, you’ve decided that it’s time to move on and find a new job. At this point, I guess you have two options: try to get the pink slip or gracefully give your two weeks. Either way, just get it done in short order.

Here’s a terse set of brilliant exodus ideas for you to consider if you want to get out fast.

    1.  The Wolf of Wall Street Approach

Get totally wasted at lunch, which by the way, sounds really good to me. I would disclose some of my own indiscretions at this point, but then I would probably get canned myself and I can’t afford that. Anyway, I digress.

But, if you really want to get fired, I would grab your favorite colleague, rent a limo, and get down to some lush restaurant on the water. Then order vodka martinis every five minutes until one of you passes out. And don’t forget to charge it all on the corporate credit card.

This might actually get you fired in one day if you pass out and don’t show back up to work while the rest of your team is working their faces off.

Plus, a martini departure is a real classy move. In fact, it’s pretty epic. A cool boss would applaud you for this behavior—but I really doubt that will happen—unless I was your boss.

2.  Pull a Ron Burgundy

You’ve all see Anchorman right? If not, watch it. It’s the perfect professional meltdown. So Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy ends up in competition from a woman, by god, for the anchor position. Young and beautiful Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate) rolls in, amongst a gang of chest pounding male colleagues and gives Ron a run for his money at the news desk.

Let me tell you, the perfect way to get fired is to have a gender war. And Ron and his band of idiots fired the cannons.

Burgundy totally loses his mind with Corningstone. His typical sign off was “keep it classy San Diego,” but he went ahead and laid it all on the line with “go f**k yourself San Diego.” I mean really, this is an awe-inspiring way to get fired. Just go ahead and toss out the “f-bomb” and check the pulse of the crowd. I’d pretty much put it all in and bet that you get 86’d.

3.  How Could I Possibly be Expected to Handle Work on a Day Like This? It’s probably a good idea to call in sick for the 10th time, especially if you’re trending on every Monday. I’ve been around the block a few times and I’ve played this game before. Rest assured that when I was a director, I tracked every move of my prime offender. My issue wasn’t really about this person not doing their job, it was more about him thinking I had my head up my ass.

Nothing pisses off a manager more than questioning their intelligence. So go for it Ferris.

4.  Grab the Goldfish and Peace Out. Sometimes your moral epiphany isn’t what the boss man wants to hear. One time I decided to write my own eulogy…that I titled, “I Woke Up.” It was basically my sentiment to my bosses for working me silly. 80 hours a week in fact, with a peasants pay. I guess what I learned is having an opinion might be frowned upon in some circles. So if you can’t reasonably voice it, then you probably don’t belong there anyway. So grab Flipper the fish and ask “who wants to come with me?”

5.  “You’re Not the Boss of Me.” Famous words from the infamous Dirk Diggler. You wanna really piss of the boss? Go ahead and claim that the company can’t survive without you. The best thing you can do is to act like life at the ol’ donut shop doesn’t go on after you leave. I once told my boss that I “ran circles” around my colleague. Then I asked for a 6-figure salary. And, unfortunately, I received a cardboard box and was shown the door.

Needless to say, these exit methodologies probably will burn bridges (as you’re crossing) to relationships and resources that you need later. With that being said, maybe a two-week notice and a fist bump is the better idea.

But… if you get my humor… it’s pretty classic if you get fired on your day off too. Anyway, good luck. Ditch the taco stand in style and then off you go to your next venture.







Are You One Degree (Fahrenheit) Away from Career Success?

A person's hand stretches out towards a kettle which stands on a platform which is part of a large solar stove outside in the sun.

And I’m not talking about an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. In this blog I’m going to review a book that was published back in 2011 but is still very relevant today. The book is called 212 Degree Service: The 10 Rules for Creating a Service Culture by Mac Anderson.

This book is a fantastic and quick read. You have to read it from the perspective of creating an environment of service for both your employees and your customers. And employ the idea that your employees are just as important to your organization as are your customers.

Although there is a little redundancy in Anderson’s points, I think that was done purposely to reinforce the concepts.

Anderson starts with a simple scientific idea, “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. With boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. And…it’s that one extra degree that makes all the difference.”

It’s a basic notion; the idea that each and every effort, each additional nod to an employee, and every additional outreach to your customer counts.

Anderson notes 10 tenants of service and this is what I took away from each point:

  1. “It starts at the top.” A great leader understands that his or her stewardship is what it takes to turn a good company into a great company. The leader’s main focus is to set the tone, create the culture, establish the brand, and carry that brand through everything that is done. Without brilliant leadership, that extra degree will never be attained.
  2. “Your customers must come second.” Your employees are number one and this is because they become the gateway to your customer base. By looking for ways to reward employees and serve them like a customer, you establish an organization of exceptional service. Employees are the ones that execute the brand, from leadership to customer service, from finance to marketing. So hire the right people and trust them to do their jobs.
  3. “Engage the hearts and minds of your employees.” A vision that employees can follow on a daily basis is critical. Anderson quotes Jim Harris, “When something captures your heart, you are driven to succeed. Heartpower is the core of any successful enterprise. Capture the heart, and you have captured the employee. For without a vibrant, beating heart, any enterprise is sure to die.” This is very poignant in that the vision of the company must be compelling and understandable. Build the fire within and make your employees your greatest asset. Establish an environment of open communication, empower employees to make decisions, and invest in training and development.
  4. “Make your culture your brand.” No matter how you build your brand, you have to do it with your employees in mind. So just like staff or product training, your employees must be trained on the brand as well. The brand must be extended from the top all they way down the chain. Nordstrom is a great example of good branding. They focus on customer service and it starts with employee loyalty and acceptance of the brand. Set lofty goals that can reasonably be accomplished by your employees. Whether you are a product or service brand, hold your staff accountable to meet the organization’s expectations. That will set and keep you on the path to success.
  5. “Understand the “how of wow.” What I learned from this tenant is that after you lead by example you have to make your customers fans of your brand. I write a lot about Apple…because they live and die by the “wow” factor. Consumers believe in why Apple operates the way it does… and the “why,” rather than the “what,” is why people follow the brand. Customers become ambassadors of your brand and that right there is a huge victory.
  6. “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” In today’s economy people have too many choices. They are bombarded with information. One bad impression results in a sale to another brand. So again, take care of your employees so that they take care of your consumers to deliver what they really want.
  7. “Identify your moments of truth.” Jan Carlzon from Scandinavian Airlines said, “Every moment, every contact must be as pleasant and as memorable as possible.” Once you have a service mentality created with your employees that carries down to your consumer. Get input from your customer and adjust to what needs to be fixed. And again remember that your customers are saturated with information and they have to use their gut feelings to make their decisions. That’s why the first contact matters the most to create a sense of authenticity. It’s all about engagement.
  8. “Don’t assume…ask.” A former Microsoft executive said, “Service is not a list of off-the-shelf solutions, it’s a constant process of discovery.” You can’t try to force your customers to believe what you think. Its simple: you need to ask them for their feedback and then adjust your strategy to their needs. Use surveys, focus groups, and questionnaire cards at every point of the sales cycle. Listen to your customers and be on point with their needs to help sustain the brand and make them customers for life.
  9. “Celebrate success.” Have fun. Revel in your wins. It’s the best thing that you can do for your employees. It’s the trickle down effect. And if anything it will create buy-in across the entire organization. For everything accomplished, awards are king.
  10. “Reinforce. Reinforce. Reinforce.” This is the key to the realization of your goals. Spread the word and your message and never let down. Keep things simple, memorable, and communicate it often. Track your process. Determine areas of improvement, set realistic goals, track, monitor and communicate results. Change faster than your competitors and you will reap the awards with your customers.

Every degree counts.

You may purchase this book at Amazon. Or watch a Mac Anderson’s movie on YouTube.