Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Road Less Travelled

Your MatchGirl, gentle readers, has been freelancing since her layoff in January.

This has been an interesting ride for a girl who always takes the safe steps. The secure path. But the more I think about it, I wonder how secure that path has really been.

It's been the easy path. Yeah. That's right. It's been the easy one.

And I'm done with the easy path.

Because the easy path hasn't brought me the security that it was supposed to. It didn't bring me a 401K or a ton of money or a house with two cars in the yard... The easy path has just been the not scary one.

So now, dear ones, your MatchGirl is on the scary path. The one she's not quite sure where it leads. There may be bumps ahead, but there might be mountains to get to the top of. All I can do is keep travelling down it, making choice as I go along.

What path have you taken, gentle readers? What is the scary choice that you've made lately? And was it for the best?

I want to know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gut Feeling

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has posted here, many times, about how important it is to follow your heart. Especially in your job search. In the quest for your career. And I've written before about facing your fears.

Some of these things I wrote when I was employed, some when I was unemployed. Some I wrote having faced the problems. Some I wrote not having truly dealt with them at all.

But, dear readers, you know that your MatchGirl would never give you advice that she herself would not take.

So today I remind you to follow your gut. Face your fears. And don't only dream your dreams, but figure out how to live them.

If I can do it, even if tenuously right now, then you most certainly can, too!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Health and Wellness for Freelancers & Independent Workers

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl is happy to announce that registration is now open for the next Work It Brooklyn event. Read below to learn more!

We’ve all been there, working away for hours, focused on only the task at hand - maybe staring at a computer screen as we write, maybe it’s hours bent over jewelry wire, or time spent standing in front of a canvas. And then we look up and realize it’s 4PM and all we’ve eaten all day was that bagel with our morning coffee. That we’ve been in the same position for hours.

Friends, this is no way for a creative entrepreneur to live!

Whether you freelance, working from home or coffee shops for multiple clients, or are starting your own business, like so many of the members of Work It Brooklyn, you’re spending a lot of time focused on the business you’re trying to grow. But how much time are you spending focused on yourself?

Our next event, April 18th from 7 to 9PM and graciously hosted by our friends at Human At Ease,  is centered on how to stay healthy and well while you are focused on growing your business, and the best way to make all the parts of your life balance while you are doing this.

We’ll have a discussion, led by our own Aja Marsh, of North Brooklyn Runners, and with panelists including  Dishan Elise, a certified personal trainer and the founder/owner of Human At Ease and Kim Ann Curtin, a life coach who is founder and CEO of The Wall Street Coach.

Whether you’re working on starting your own business, freelancing from the cramped confines of your studio apartment, or a member of our community with a focus on food, health and wellness, this event will provide answers to achieving a better, healthier, life balance.

Don’t worry - we’ll also have our signature speed-networking, too!

Want to join us? Register here.

A few words about our amazing host!
Human at Ease is a fitness and wellness studio whose goal and desire in strengthening the “whole” person is to facilitate an overall sense of well-being & fulfillment, and to improve overall quality of life using one or more of our various offerings. Their objective is for the community to recognize Human@Ease’s name for what it is--a haven for strength & serenity. A place where we can all learn to “Love Ourselves”. At Human@Ease we all share in a common vision of positive human change.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Five - Cover Letters

Gentle readers, no one likes to write a cover letter. No one.

And here's why: It's hard. It's hard to get all that awesome about you squished into a couple of short paragraphs, all the while also saying how amazing the company you're reaching out to is.

As part of this series on branding yourself (you can read the first post here), your MatchGirl wants to take you back to basics. Sure it's great to have yourself up-to-date on every social network and it's amazing if you work in a creative industry and can make a website or resume that gets you some press or attention. But all that means little if you can't do the work and if you don't cover the basics.

Just like when you are re-building your resume (though, really, you should have done that by now), you need to be very specific in your cover letter. A one size fits all approach does not work here.

Some tips to get you going:

  1. Pull the key words out of the job description. These key words will become the basis for your letter.
  2. What are the main areas of expertise the job posting lists? How do these fit with what you've accomplished. Use the top ones to form the meat of your letter.
  3. What is the company up to? If the company name is on the posting, do a little legwork and find out what's great about the company - what you are interested in and think about how that applies to the job for which you're applying. 
  4. Keep it short. You're not writing a novel , or even an essay, here. Three or four short paragraphs will do it. You need to whet their appetite for finding out more about you.

Writing a killer cover takes time. And the time is worth it. The more you write, the more you tweak them to fit each different application, the easier they will come. And, as always, like anything in your job hunt, there is no shame in asking a pal in the industry to take a look at it for you. That's what friends are for!

What are some of your best cover letter tips?