Monday, March 30, 2009

Fast Company - April 2009

OK, I'm not even halfway through the April issue of Fast Company and my mind is racing. I have to share 3 stories I think everyone should read.

1. What Should I Do With My Life Now?

2. Sell Handcuffs - Why customers will pay you to restrain them

3. Boy Wonder - How Chris Hughes Helped Launch Facebook and the Barack Obama Campaign

If you don't subscribe to Fast Company, then I suggest doing so. I'm never disappointed. Enjoy your day.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Be True to Your School ... Sort of

I received an email this morning that has me all fired up. I've shared the message below and I would love for you to pass along to support Natalie and her friends.

My name is Natalie Moistner. I am a senior at Cathedral High School and President of the Paws for a Cause group. Five of my friends and I would like to tell you a story and ask for your help.

In our religion class we are assigned a service learning project of our choice. Our school brought in experts on service learning to help us with this project and encourage us to work hard. Me and my five friends (Katy, Morgan, Abby, Kaleigh, and Elissa) decided to host a dog walk to raise money and awareness in support of animal adoption. Things were going great and our group seemed to be the only one that was actually excited about the project.

However, we were called down to the Advancement office at our school and told that we were overstepping our boundaries". There was concern that our fundraiser was going to interfere with Cathedral's fundraisers. The argument was that parents are tired of being asked for money. "Someone may be asked for twenty five dollars and refuse to donate $25,000 simply because they are sick of being bothered."

I am not sure what kind of parents he is speaking with. Our parents are impressed by the leadership and initiative that students take to help others less fortunate than they are. Seeing kids make efforts like this only increases their level of respect for the school. Although we are not asking for money, rather, hosting an event with a $5 admission fee and donating all profits to animal shelters, the Advancement office still feels we should not be allowed to advertise in our school. Even though they assign us service learning projects, allow other organizations to fundraise, we are not to advertise the event at our own school.

We may not agree, but we will honor the wishes of our school. Doing so will cost us a reliable support base, so we have to sell our cause to a larger, less familiar audience. This is where we need your help
The motto of Paws for a Cause is: "Be the voice for those who cannot speak". That is exactly what we are asking you to do. In this case, the animals are not the only ones being silenced.

Help us spread the word about the Monon Mutt Strutt. The flier for the event with all of the details is attached.

Thank you for your time
Natalie Mositner
Katy Achtien
Morgan Lewis
Kaleigh Roughraff
Elissa Hagans
Abby Kotarski

I'm really frustrated by the way the school is handling this. Not only are they squashing a great cause for ridiculous reasons, but they are trying to squash the entrepreneurial spirit of these students. What's great is that these girls are looking for other ways to promote their cause. Their spirit is not completely crushed and by helping support them I think we can not only help the animals, but also help these young innovative students realize they can overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.

My goal is to help them set-up a PayPal account for donations even from people that can't make it to the walk. Any other suggestions on how to help them overcome their obstacles? Here's the flyer they are posting around Indy.


Thanks for your help.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your Cover Letter Is Your Resume

I was recently asked by a friend for some recommendations in looking for a job and what I look for when reviewing resumes. With all my social media involvement this past year, I would have thought LinkedIn or some other online advice would come to my mind first. But that was not the case.

The first question I asked my friend was about his cover letters. Just like his standard stock resume, he was using a standard stock cover letter. Now, from my experience in multi-family if I get a good cover letter (or get one at all) I definitely take more time to read the resume. If the cover letter is specific to J.C. Hart then I can almost guarantee that person will get an interview.

Why is this important to me? It's important because if someone takes the time to write a custom cover letter for my company then I know they are serious about a career and not just looking for another job. What I really wonder is why this is so rare? In today's tough job market or really anytime it's critical to explain why you want to work for a company. Your resume doesn't do that, and a stock cover letter is just whipped cream on shit.

So then I got to thinking. Uh oh, stay with me. If I have a LinkedIn account that gives all my basic resume info and a cover letter is so important, then why not just send a cover letter out to prospective employers. Most likely you're posting a resume online or emailing it, so why not just send a really great cover letter that has links to all the other information the employer needs to know. While I'm not looking for a job, I put together a sample cover letter/resume that I could tweak and customize as needed. I left it generic for this exercise, but I hope you can see the potential and how it tells a better story.

Let me know if you think I'm nuts, if you like the concept but think my letter needs work, or if you think I'm on to something. I'd love to hear that too. Thanks and enjoy your day!