Job Hunting? So am I.

Scouring the internet for work?     Frantically filtering through emailed job alerts?   Scanning the fine print on the odd (now quite rare) newspaper entry in any business section you can lay your hands on?   You aren’t alone.   So am I.   So are hundreds and thousands of other people.   I agree, it can be a thoroughly exhausting and soul destroying process.   I have experienced some difficult Christmases in my life but I think 2015 took the cake.

In retrospect, and if I look at my reasons for resigning my previous tenure, I don’t feel as convinced as I was then that I had made the right decision.   In fact if I could turn back the clock……

Nevertheless, the situation is what it is.

There are many entries on the internet about this particular subject ranging from realistic encouragement to a cheerleader ra ra type ‘you can do it!’   There are tips on how to interview, how to get ahead of the pack, on what to write in your CV (I have always inclined towards the truth – but hey, I am very old fashioned!). However, these are written by gainfully employed people with beaming smiles, in shiny corporate gear.   Somehow I just can’t help but feel that they could never truly empathise with the person I currently am, this person who is in a nil income position.

I imagine that this post may be a littlTokai Forest - seeing the wood for the treese different …

 

(Tokai forest serves as my makeshift office from time to time)

 

Please don’t for a minute think that I am at peace with my unemployment status.   I need to work, to work hard – it is intrinsic to who I am.   I am a single mother and have obligations which I could never begin to enumerate but in a bid to survive the inevitable negative thinking, panic and lack of motivation which at times can be more than overwhelming, I am devising a couple of tips of my own.

 

The nature of the beast

Finding work in my forties and in today’s era is very different to the way it was for me in my twenties.   Now, most of the recruitment entries are listed online and while the net is informative, it can be very impersonal as well.   In the past hiring companies used a couple of lines of news copy followed by a telephone number in order to feature the job.   The brief was succinct. Within the first couple of minutes of voice contact you could pitch your character and at best establish a rapport and both parties could form good idea of the client/employee match.

These days, the shortlist is established quite early on.   The volumes of applicants are also significantly higher. The pool larger.   The filtering is undertaken by a recruitment agency.

The power of your first impression therefore, lies in your CV and portfolio, if applicable.   Even better, in your covering letter.   Keep this brief unless instructed to do otherwise.   For example, companies requiring the services of a copywriter often need to get a feel for how you would promote their product by the way in which you endorse your own skills.   Alternatively financial institutions seek and appreciate brevity – stick to the facts.

If at all possible try to research the vision and mission objectives of the client.    In a final, original and powerful sentence do your best to emulate their approach.   Companies hire based on psychometric evaluations and import is placed on the corporate culture.   It helps to be in sync with a potential employer.

Rejection or no word at all….

The cold hard fact is that rejection is a part of life.   Then again developing a hard skinned, dismissive attitude is a form of denial.

Of course this is difficult!

I have learnt to apply a “learning curve” approach to negative responses but I am still at a loss as to how to deal with the indifference.   I suppose there are only so many ways that a recruiter can phrase “you are not a suitable candidate”.   It is also helpful to be a little fatalist.   If you are not the right person for the job, the recruiter is doing you a favour in letting you know and not stinging you along, or unrealistically building your hopes.   Perceptions endure and if for some or other reason you are awarded a contract which does not match your skill-set or personality, it could be very difficult to prove otherwise.

If you are fortunate enough to receive a little more feedback, don’t take it personally – rather take it to heart in a character building way.   Remember the platitude – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?   Well I say what doesn’t kill you…..doesn’t kill you.   It is as simple as that.

If you do not receive word sometime after application do not be afraid to follow up.   I have found that a once a week follow up is a reminder – anything more than that constitutes annoyance.

If the position is closed move on.   Move on swiftly.   In fact, the upside of the frenetic activity in the web is that you should have submitted enough applications to keep your expectations intact.   After all you still need to manage these.   Convince yourself that you are creating your own stock of possibilities.

Down Time

This is a tough one.   People are just not aware of the pending nature of a financial plight or burden – that you are sweating bullets.   A recruiter is always busy.   A job hunter experiences a lot of down time and I do intend the double meaning in this expression.   Try to not be idle.   Hone your skills in your free time.   I read a lot about copywriting.   I also try and follow the trends in media.  By the same token, I keep up to date with finance conventions and learn how to do weird and wonderful things with Microsoft word and Excel. I open the dictionary every day and collect five new words (yeah, I know a little bizarre) I am having a go at mastering Photoshop 2015 – don’t you love free trials?   I am still trying to grasp web code and statistics.   Try and learn a new language.   At the end of the day any current knowledge will stand you in good stead – emotionally and in your job hunting endeavours.   Learning bolsters confidence and self-esteem.

Don’t think too much!   I need to emphasise that negative thinking eats away at confidence.   Just prior to Christmas, I was still trying to source temporary work just to buy my child a Christmas present.   The days went by, the 25th drew closer and on Christmas Eve, I was in such a state because I had spent so much time dwelling upon the desperation of our situation that I could barely breathe.   This is when the youngsters show a lot more maturity than we do, and faith.   My son reassured me that the time would come when I would be able to spoil him again.   He accepted the circumstances with grace and hope.

To try to earn a little cash I have worded legal contracts, designed invoice templates, painted houses, drawn logos and taught swimming.   In today’s economy these earnings rapidly dissolve into nothingness but they helped a little. (   On that note, reduce incidental and non vital expenses as quickly as possible)

I still needed to keep myself occupied.   To this end,  I have redesigned brochures and devised my own ads, short- and body copy, digital artwork and straplines.   I have even invented my own press releases.   It may seem silly now but one day I will be able to draw on what I have mastered!   I have put it all down to experience.

So, in short be as busy as you can be.   Remind yourself that when you are working, there will be less time for the whimsical things.   While old fashioned, Neural Linguistic Programming is quite a powerful tool.   Try it now….stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how capable you are – how valuable as a human being.   If you do it enough times you will believe it.   If you believe it, a recruiter will too.

Routine

Adopt a healthy and productive routine in the week.   Accounting for each hour in the day with an absorbing and affirmative activity is really helpful.   I have read many articles relating to the emotional benefits of routine and I stand by them, for children, for unemployed mothers.

In the morning, I log into the Job sites and place my CV on record.   I note the name and reference number of the position.   In the afternoons, I undertake my follow up calls.   In the evenings, I hone my skills and I write a couple of pages of my book (another story for another day)

Weekends can be particularly depressing.   If you are lucky enough to have some form of savings, schedule a coffee hour treat time.   Involve yourself in charity work.   If you enjoy exercise or have a hobby fill your quiet hours with this form of activity. For example come hell or high water, I wash the car on Sundays – it may seem trivial but it makes me feel better.

Hang in there

Something will turn up.   I have to believe this and if you are in my position so do you!   We have no alternative.

I hope these tips are helpful.

My thoughts are with you!

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Castle – Kings of Lite

Making Hops Hip             -2.5

It takes an inordinate amount of chutzpa to create a marketing environment around a product which bears the “lite” badge.   Castle Lite, distributed by SAB Millers in South Africa and partnered with Oglivy Mather amongst others, have done just that.   They have the culture and the website to prove it.  3

The latest ad, “Ziyabande” feat. Stilo Magolide, is one of quite a few in the series of releases offered by the creators of the equally popular ‘Cold Squads’ and ‘the Republic of Extra Cold’. The internet surfer is treated to DJ Warras shows, a presidential invitation by Pearl Thusi, to a world of magic, free downloads and much, much more.   In other words Castle Lite represents not only a beverage but the brand of an entire following; a citizenship!  They have without a doubt tapped (forgive the pun) into and embraced the appropriate market and with gusto and brilliance.

I don’t drink, yet I am a fan.

Now this is advertising which demonstrates brilliance and strategy – a long term plan geared toward creating that fantasy kingdom of cold for the consumer and is attractive in any season.   They keep you riveted, interested and purchasing.   What more could a distributor hope for?

The latest ad just exudes cold, it is superbly raw yet etched and edgy.

A -2.5 degrees (which happens to be the temperature at which the beer is lagered) stayed with me a long time after I saw the ad for the first time.   It was frozen into my buyer’s brain.8

Stilo boasts a frost tipped beard, cold platinum accessories, grey hoodie and the viewer is treated to an almost monochromatic world here; shades of blue and hues of stellar white.

Even Stilo’s movements are slow and his tone is concentrated and generated with icy rap delight.   He has entered the zone.   The zone of hyperthermic cool.cleats  6

Sounds are freeze sculptured; dry ice against silver steel, the crunch of cleats on a frozen floor, tinkling, crushing, clanking.  Fractured clusters of sonic glassy tones.  Crissssssp.   Crystal.

These reverberate without the warm fuzziness of chords and notes and are perfectly melded on a frozen console.   They are almost clinical and yet amazingly resonate and morph into music.

Enticing.7

This ad is sequential to the “Can’t touch this”, Vanilla Ice revival and the Yeti offerings.   All visceral and popular and without a doubt demonstrate the skill of team who not only nailed it with their first attempt at grasping the niche but continued to do so with the challenge of brave variations on the initial theme.   Marketing trilogies are tricky.   This team has a series.

I have included the link to the YouTube video.  Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4FMur9MUak&feature=em-share_video_user

Global warming?   El Nino just you wait.   Castle Lite is in a state of cryo-genius.

And it is here to stay.brand

ME

A special mention should go to Lebogang Rasetheba – Director

and Simon Ringrose – Producer

 

 

 

Warhol’s Copy

Love him, or hate him, Andy Warhol left an irrevocable impression upon product promotion – reimaging the supposedly mundane, a consumable, an item of little interest and rocketing it into pop-fame-orbit.   His artwork may almost be seen as a form of wordless copy.   The impression of the “Campbell’s soup can” has become indelible.

The time was ripe for a character like Andy to find a niche which would secure him fame and fortune. Billboard and poster advertising became a preferred medium and splashed with post war colour, items were aligned with promises of “A good Life” .   Then there was the explosion of plastic. ”I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” Read more Warholian quotes at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/andywarhol162032.html#yl75X9ZWMdrcu2uO.99

Having commercially illustrated for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and the New Yorker, he succumbed to the allure of the avant-garde, the underground and the distinctly bizarre.

His ability to recognise the paradoxes in art, and to create an oil-and-water synergy on the substrate , reinforced his fame as the first hugely successful pop/reproductive artists of his time.  His own brand of commercialisation  is apparent in his art, a product of the bygone era, of the notorious Warhol factory- by the same token his opinions were sought after, his statements adopted as mantra.   In fact he coined the expression “Fifteen minutes of fame”.     Warhol was heralding the way forward for music, theatre, film and of course advertising and in his own inimitable way, he was solidifying the concept of branding.

He made this widely publicised comment about the accessibility of the “American Dream” and the Coca Cola brand, thereby rendering the two almost synonymous:

“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”

This was of course all recorded prior to Coke’s ill-timed, albeit temporary (three months to rectify) formula-change in 1985 (Pepsi did not miss a beat!).   I wonder what Warhol’s take on this debacle would have been?   Despite this hiccough Coke, just like Warhol, remains a legend.

Andy Warhol Cokes Galore
Warhol Cokes Galore

I do think Warhol would have enjoyed the name of this site……

My intention for Justlikevinyl is that it should digitally showcase the content and copy I have created – a portfolio of sorts but I can’t resist the blog aspect.   From time to time, I will be posting anecdotes, suggestions, tips and stories…..all the rich and colourful threads of an experience tapestry of sorts.   The threads of my evolution as a writer.

And hey – I may even throw in a bit of plastic.

Take care

Kat