Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Talk Too Much

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is not known for keeping her tongue.

In fact, some may say she talks too much.

And, it's true.
Guilty as charged.

I talk too much.

On dates.
When I meet new people.
When I am at a party.

It's not that I don't want to listen.  I do.  I want to know what you have to say.  In fact, unless you are a total bore, I really want to know your thoughts on things.  I want to debate.  I want to get to know you better (again, unless you are a total bore).  I might not ask the right questions, but I mean to.

I have a lot to say, too, however, and, spending so much of my day alone on a regular basis ...  I can't seem to help but run at the mouth when I am in an environment with actual people to talk to.

It's something I'm working on.  I promise.
And a skill that will come in handy should I ever get a job interview.

Last week on Brian Lehrer on WNYC, a gentleman named Scott Peek, who volunteers at a Dallas career networking organization about the two minute interview.

This is smart.

Because, if I remember correctly, when you sit down across from the interviewer, they will say "Tell me about yourself" and then ...  nothing.  You need to know ow to answer that question, in a way that will keep their attention, show your interest in the company and how much you'd like to have that job.  and you have to do it in two minutes.

Here are some tips from Scott, as posted on the Brian Lehrer Help Wanted Facebook Page (and, yes, everyone is suddenly getting unemployment Facebook pages, feel free to fan mine):
Remember this is a well prepared response to the first interview question that you will always get that states... "Tell me about yourself..." or "I've haven't read though your resume... can you summarize it for me?"

The future employer is trying to translate the potential value you might bring to their organization, rather than hearing all about your past experience...

Here are the four steps (and it has to be brief - within 2 minutes)
1. (15 sec) Restate your name (if needed), and ensure you describe your role (or desired role) for which you are seeking.
2. (45 sec) Highlight your work experience and be specific about the accomplishments (business results) you have been a part of.
3. (45 sec) "Talking about the future" Project how you'll take your past and translate it into terms of that person's company, the role you'll play at that company and/or the potential results you see yourself creating for that person as you get hired.
4. (15 sec) Ask an opened ended question of the interviewer that relates to their business. This step starts to turn the interview into a conversation.

A few guidelines:
- You have to comfortably be able to describe what your next career will be.
- Spend a lot of time researching the company. You want to learn as much as you can about: Companies Goals, Challenges, mission statement, vision, culture, product portfolio, client base, how the clients might view that company, what their org chart might look like, who are the key players in the company/department, etc.
- Most of your research can be found within their website, on Linkedin pages, talking to others in the industry.
- Bottom line is you have to see yourself in the position talking their language as you enter the interview.
- The worst thing is to not know who you are talking to, what the company does, how long they have been in business, and who some of the main competitors are.

I remember from my days of being the interviewer (as opposed to the interviewed) that it's hard to keep all those resumes straight. Of course the person interviewing you will go over it before you walk in the door, but remember that they have received hundreds of resumes and it's just difficult to engage with the person you're interviewing and look at the paper in front of you. Instead of being perturbed that they don't know who you are, use those first two minutes to shine.

Also, in the comments section on the Brian Lehrer page, someone wrote that they felt that a handwritten "Thank You" note seemed desperate. Pshaw. Gentle readers, your MatchGirl (and Miss Manners) would disagree. A handwritten "Thank You" note is simply good manners.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One Year...

Good morning, gentle readers.
Can you believe that it was one year ago today that your MatchGirl, depressed and disheartened, crawled out of bed on a dismal February morning and started this little tome?

I can't begin to quantify how thing have changed for me since that day.  I'm still an unemployed gal in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  But the quality of my life, except for that pesky no income part, could not be better.

I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people, to work on some great projects and to bring together people in a way that wasn't available previously in our neighborhood.  I've been able to focus on what I enjoy doing and, at the same time, grow my profile and my resume.  And, most significantly, and importantly to me personally, I've been able to let a few of you know that you are not alone in this unemployed world.

Thank you for reading, dear ones.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Work It Brooklyn


Work It Brooklyn
February 24th
7 - 10pm
170 N4th btw Bedford & Driggs Ave

Calling all freelance creative workers of Brooklyn!

Join us on February 24th for Work It Brooklyn, a networking event formed to connect inspired creatives working independently within the creative fields. Graphic designers, dancers, musicians, tech gurus, painters, and others are welcomed in this evening of productive debauchery. WIB is devised as a forum to connect folks working from home without the benefit of a network support system, opening up the opportunity to meet and forge partnerships, fine and create work, instigate healthy competition, and encourage the exchange of ideas and potential collaborations, all the while having a whole lot of fun.

It is no understatement that North Brooklyn is bustling with new initiatives at every turn, in food (Greenpoint Food Market, The Meathook, CSA's, Rooftop Farms), green ambitions (North Brooklyn Compost Project, additional Green Markets), art (3rd Ward, North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition), community and social issues (Williamsburg Walks, Northside Town Hall), and sports (North Brooklyn Runners, McCarren Tennis). WIB is an effort to connect the residents of this region, individuals already filled to the brim with activity, bringing them together for an evening of conversation and partnership.

The evening will be held in two parts. The Arsenal will be divided into six field-related stations, providing a hub for folks to gather within and outside their primary concentration. At the center of the space there will be Speed Networking. Think musical chairs meets speed dating, where attendees get to meet and speak through this spunky and time sensitive activity. We will also be raffling off tickets for a chance to win prizes provided by our proud sponsors, local businesses and organizations that believe that WIB rocks as much as we do.

There will also be a projection screen with a presentation of any attendants who wish to submit a page with a portfolio sample and contacts. That way if someone likes what they see in what you do on this screen, they can contact you once the evening is over, or serendipitously meet during the event and start what could be a beautiful collaboration between creative minds. Read the instructions attached and check out our blog for details on submitting templates for the presentation, due Feb 19th.

This is a free event and pre-registration via eventbrite is required. Registration closes Feb 19th or whenever we reach 100 attendees.

Work It Brooklyn is produced by Aja Marsh (North Brooklyn Runners), Briana Campbell (Unemployed Brooklyn) and Joann Kim (Greenpoint Food Market). For full details and schedule for the evening, check out

Please feel free to contact us at  

Work It Brooklyn is proudly sponsored by Brooklyn Based, The Arsenal, The Skint and Ladies Who Launch. Raffles graciously donated by Kombucha Brooklyn, WORD, Brooklyn Brewery, Ladies Who Launch, and more to come!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let's Strike A Match


Ah, gentle readers, it's that time of year again, when chocolate is shaped like hearts and the stores are swathed in pink and red.  Yes.  It's Valentine's Day.

While your MatchGirl is not one for going over the top on this day, she is very glad to have all of you, dear ones, as her Valentine.


Stick Boy liked Match Girl, He liked her a lot. He liked her cute figure, he thought she was hot.
But could a flame ever burn for a match and a stick? It did quite literally; he burned up quick.

Monday, February 8, 2010

So Sad About Us

Ah, gentle readers, you must forgive your MatchGirl's absence on the interweb of late. There has ben a tragedy and my trusty little iBook is out of juice. While he sits at Tek Serve, waiting to be repaired, I am left without a way to post to you.

Currently, I'm sitting in the Greenpoint branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, frantically trying to get things done in 30 minute snippets. I think we can all agree that this is not the best way to be prodctive! Between responding to e-mails and job hunting, trying to start schoolwork and trying to update my blogs so you, my faithful readers, won't think I forgot you, time is ticking down fast fast fast!

It's impossible to get done much of what I need to using the computers in the public library.  They have such strict restrictions on what you can and cannot do with them.  And, while I should go to FIT and get some things done, where there are fast Macs (yay!!!!!) and limited restrictions on what you can do with websites and no time limits, I can't remember my new password and the paper it's written on is somewhere not on me.  Alas.

Thus is the life of a computer-less girl in the computer age!

Walking into Tek Serve on Saturday afternoon with my sad little iBook, I was simply praying that they could fix it.  I had an idea what was wrong with it - despite its age, it still runs pretty well - but I am definitely no expert.  While the gentleman said that it was something they could fix, and he was not condescnding or weird or anything about it, he also told me that my little friend was 4 years old and the motherboards were really only slated to last for 3ish.  *sigh*  I know.  What I wouldn't give to have the cash for a sleek new computer!  A MacBook Pro - all trim and fast with long battery life!  It's a girl's dream!  Not having a job for a year, however, it's simply not in the cards.

Certainly, the first thing I will do once I am gainfully employed (after I buy my dear friend T a case of her favorite potabl - as a giant thanks for keeping me fed and liquored this whole year) is buy myself a brand, spankin' new Mac!  For now, I wait.

I only have a few more minutes left on the library computer, dear ones, so I must sign off.  Keep your fingers crossed for my little iBook to be back with me by the end of the week and more tales of unemployment to follow.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Need A Job

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is in quite a quandry.

My unemployment will run out sometime this Spring (it looks like April, but these things are so confusing, and, as unemployment continues to grow, who knows if they will add another extension - it is an election year, after all!).  When it does, I will have been out of the 9-5 grind for a year and a half.  A long time.

That's not to say that I haven't been working.  No.  In this past (over a) year, your MatchGirl has been working her little bum off.  I have been networking.  I have been sending out resumes.  I have revamped my resume and I have written hundreds of cover letters.  I have started two blogs - both of which have gotten quite a bit of (positive) attention from the media (local and international).  I have organized meet-ups for other unemployed people, so that they can come together and relax and share a drink with people in their same boat.  I have become a co-founder of Work It Brooklyn (taking that networking idea to the next level).  Yet, I am still unemployed.

I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do for employment and, though I truly need a job (and soon), I still look at postings with a critical eye.  Sure, my main want for employment is to work for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (and idea cemented after spending a day working with her team), but they're not hiring.  So I am looking for a job.  And, while I don't want just any job, I am open to ideas.  I am open to suggestions.  I am open to someone sharing my LinkedIn page with someone they know somewhere, because I am just not sure how to turn the other things I have been doing into something that can sustain me financially. 

Who out there is looking to hire a smart, talented and hard-working woman?  A creative girl with a great sense of organization and personal style?  Someone who gives her all to everything she does?

Cos, seriously, I need a job.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Fun with Craigslist

MATURE, EXPERIENCED Admin Asst. (williamsburg)
Date: 2010-02-02, 12:42AM EST

We are a small importer/manufacturer located in the warehouse district of Williamsburg. You will be working in a small office in a dusty warehouse. you will be working hard and will be asked to perform many duties and have alot [sic] of responsibilities. If you cannot deal with this read no further. if you are a loyal, hardworking, COMPETENT, and honest person we are looking for YOU!

OK. So they are looking for someone to work their asses off in a small, dirty place. Awesome.

And, this person while not needing a ton of experience, needs to have gotten (at least part of) a college education and have worked in an office. They need to be skilled and computer savvy (or, as they type, saavy). They need to have an outstanding personality and they need to shine.

- 2 years work experience in an office
-Minimum 2 years college
-able to answer calls (take orders, customer service)
-able to interact with customers (have a great personality)
-verifiable references
-skilled in Microsoft Office
-computer saavy
-Mature individual

A Plus:
-knowledge of Quickbooks
-bilingual (chinese) (MAJOR PLUS as we need an individual that can communicate with overseas suppliers and our overseas warehouse..almost guarantees you the job providing you meet all the requirements)
-graphic design
-skilled in Photoshop
-any computer networking skills

Oh yeah, and while you're at it, please be fluent in Chinese, and know graphic design, including Photoshop, and be able to help the company with their computer network.

-answer phones: (take phone orders, customer service)
-input orders into Quickbooks
-shipping (ups, fedex, usps)
-keep office running efficiently and organized
-inventory control
-warehouse work (no heavy lifting)
-product packaging
-read and answer emails

We are small and not able to offer the perks that a big company can. However, we are a fast growing business in a niche industry. The more valuable you prove yourself to be to the company the more you will make. This is a great opportunity for a talented and loyal worker.

You will be offered minimum wage (off the books) during the training/probationary period of 1 month. Afterwards, you will be offered $12-15 per hour to start.

And, at the end of the day, for a month, at least, they will pay you $7/hour (granted under the table, but who can survive on $7/hr) and then, if you've worked your ass off, they will pay you $12-$15 (so, obviously, you're commuting to Williamsburg from somewhere, cos who can afford to live there on that salary?). No perks. No benefits. Probably no paid sick days. I'm sure no vacation days. Definitely no health insurance.


Glad to see that someone who is invaluable is only worth $12-$15 an hour. It's good to know.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girl On The Phone

Gentle readers, this topic keeps coming up - in conversation, in e-mails, in comments on Twitter and the blog - it's all about waiting and, more importantly, etiquette.  Whether it's a job you've interviewed for or a person you've gone on a date with, there is just a certain way to do things.

I realize that I just posted about this topic, but, in the few days since that post, I can't even count the amount of conversations that have occurred around the topic.

If you say you are going to call, call.
If you ask for a phone number, call.
If you have no plans on calling, don't ask for a phone number that you're not going to use.

Perhaps this is more of a dating post than an unemployment post, but it is what it is.   The same rules apply - it's simply common courtesy.

While walking with a friend this weekend, talking about boys, the topic of the no-call arose.  More to the point, the topic of asking for the phone number you're not planning on using.  She said that, and I am paraphrasing, she would much rather a guy didn't bother to ask for the number (after a meeting, a make-out, a hook-up) if they are not planning on using it.  If they just part ways with no way of contacting you, then that's that.  There are no expectations.  But when they ask for a number, tell you they are going to call, the game changes.  It's a different world, and everything is up in the air.

I brought up an episode of Friends during this conversation - which has come up in every conversation about the no-call - "The One With The Dollhouse".  In this episode, and bear with me, Chandler goes on a date with Rachel's boss.  He finds her dull, but, at the end of the date, he says "So, I'll call you."  And, of course, he doesn't.

An excerpt:
Rachel: Come on, this isn’t funny. She thinks it’s my fault that you haven’t called her. You have to call her!
Chandler: Look, you can’t call somebody after this long just to say, ‘In case you didn’t notice, I don’t like you!’
Rachel: Well then you’re going to have to take her out again.
Chandler: Nooo!! She’s really dull! And she gets this gross mascara goop thing in the corner of her eye!
Rachel: I don’t care! I don’t care! You are going to have to take her out again and end it, and end it in way that she knows it’s actually ended. And, I don’t care how hard it is for you, do not tell her that you will call her again!

I'm not saying that people are sitting and waiting for the phone to ring.  And I'm definitely not saying that every person who gives out their number and doesn't get a phone call is freaking out that their phone is not ringing.  But it's just impolite.

As for your MatchGirl, in keeping with her New Year's resolution of no expectations, she's given out her number to those who've not called and, while, it'd be lovely to hear from them... It's too much energy to be upset that they've not phoned.

To relate this to the job hunt, hiring managers, please, if you have someone in for an interview, if you have someone in for a series of interviews, at least have the courtesy to phone (or, hell, e-mail) them and let them know that you've gone in a different direction.  It's not that hard.  It's simply common courtesy.