10 tips to land your dream job

Looking back at the Twitter recruitment process, I have put together 10 simple steps I can share with anyone on the market. I am positive this will help you show the best of you to your potential employers.
You can start with watching the video and then read the transcript and use the resources linked!

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/CH5GHpNnSCc?list=UUybqtjqefCJoVnrSVOW9Cuw” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

1- Constantly build your personal brand:
Just after I announced my resignation from my current position a colleague commented “Ah, it makes sense now why you connected with me on Linkedin recently”. I explained that I nurture my network on Linkedin all the time and not just when job hunting. I regularly connect with people I meet through work and whom I find interesting. I update my status with valuable information and react on content I discover (via Linkedin or other social networks). Not only it keeps my profile visible and fresh it is also a great way to enrich my knowledge and keep tight relationships with people I don’t/ can’t see often (these type of people might be the ones you will ask for a reference in the shortlist of your negotiation…). It is also true for Twitter, blogs, Facebook, G+. This activity is your digital footprint. Keep it vibrant and personal at all times, don’t binge two weeks before an interview… Even better if can top it with participating in industry events, reunions, conferences…

2- Define what you don’t want:
Before you know exactly what job you want to hunt for, it might be easier to start by defining what you don’t want. This will also help you turn down roles that look good but don’t match what you need.
I my case, I knew I didn’t want to go back agency side (unless it was to enter a new market) and that I didn’t want to be in a declining media environment.  With that I mind, I moved to step 3…

2- Decide what you want:
Dream your ideal life and define what job(s) will take you there. Then, think back to define what your next role (the one that will get on track to achieving the dream life) should be.

This will help you target the right companies & positions but also make the best decision might you be in the position of multiple offers, rather than jump for the money, or the lifestyle!

My focus here went onto global and growing tech companies… might they be start ups or mature business.
Of course there will also be an element of gut feel when you make your decision, but at least steps 1 & 2 will validate the gut feel…

4- Avoid the Head-hunter’s rush:
Although they might be a good sounding board to know what is going on the market and prepare for interviews, head-hunters are like sugar! I am not saying to avoid them, but definitely advising to use with moderation….

When you meet recruiters you come out pumped because they have all these great connexions and always promise amazing opportunities… unfortunately that feeling doesn’t last and you often fall flat, when you realize that nothing comes through. Just like a sugar rush.
Apologies if I am breaking some illusions here but recruiters are going to try and push you for the roles they have in their portfolio at the time. Very rarely have I seen a recruiter able to create a role for a candidate.

So, use recruiters’ resources wisely. Only talk to the ones you trust and who know you well. There might only be a couple but the ones who really understand your personality, skills and ambition will offer opportunities that will match what you are looking for, other ones will waste your time and mess up your efforts to stay focus.

5- Prepare for “I day” (Interview day):
Nailing an interview is a great feeling… but trust me, it doesn’t happen by chance. You must prepare for it. Of course you need to leave some room for spontaneity with your interviewers but having your basics covered is essential.

Introduce yourself with impact:
How do you define yourself? I have started using: Marie Sornin= Digital strategist + surfer + artist. I even put it on my resume… It’s short, to the point, easy to understand, well rounded and opens up conversation easily.
Can you explain what you do in a sentence? I define my digital ad strategy director role at Fairfax with “providing expertise to the business to increase revenue, maximise yield and future the commercial strategy”.
Once again, short, well rounded and opening up conversation…

Tell your story: Find the flow to your career evolution. Highlight elements that correspond to the requirements for the job. I find that starting with your latest experience helps from over spending precious time on experiences that might not be the most relevant for the present role.

Prepare to answer the obvious:
About your career moves. An obvious one for me is, why I moved to Australia?
Why are looking to change role?

You might get asked if you use the products yourself, how and why. What do you find great, what can be improved. What is the opportunity for such a product/ challenge…
Prepare for case interviews (click on the linkk for McKinsey interview tips)

Illustrate what you mean with examples from your past positions that reflect the responsibilities and requirement for the role you are after. It shows your knowledge, can break the ice and supports theory.

Do your homework on the company, its milestones, its market, its products, its management, and its competitors, culture and about their interview process of course (Life at Google is a good example)

You would have heard that before but I will say it anyway: Be authentic, be yourself, be honest and open even about your mistakes. Remember this: at the end of the day you will only enjoy and be successful in a role that is made for you. Don’t try to convince yourself & the interviewer…
You might get asked what mistakes you have made, what your main weaknesses are… avoid preformatted answers like I am a perfectionist. Look for meaningful situations where you screw up, fixed them and learnt….

If you have multiple interviews, and if you can, align them so that you go for your most wanted last. The first ones will be an excellent practice run. Remember the questions you get asked and improved your answers. Sharpen your presentation!
I had a week lined up with interviews and during the first one, I got asked what would my first 3 months in the job look like. I gave an average answer. After the interview I thought about this particular question again and refined my answer with building a plan to focus my efforts on what would bring the most outputs and how. Guess what? This same question came up during the interview for the job I really wanted. I nailed it!

Ask questions. The interviewer will ask you if you have any question about the role or the company: ask your burning questions but also prepare questions that will give you insights about the culture, the strategy so that you know what you are in for, should you take the job!
Also, before you leave the room, make sure you are clear on what happens next. This will help you a lot for step 6…

How to get your dream job

6- Stay positive:
After you do interview, whether you think you did well or not. The wait until they come back to you is going to be very stressful. That is why it is very important that you clarify the selection process and time frame before leaving the interview.
Follow up and chase politely if you don’t hear anything with the timeframe provided.
Then, during the waiting period, remember a few things:

There is nothing you can do about it, so step back: Are you predicting the worst outcome? How much likely is it to happen? What will you do it happens?

Remind yourself of the best-case scenario. Mine was: I want to be able to choose the job I want. There were weeks when I thought it was all going wrong, however at the end of the selection process, my most positive outcome came true and decided to go for the opportunity that matched best what I wanted!

7- Negotiate but don’t be greedy
Once you have your first offer, don’t rush. Take your time to negotiate the best package! You must have done your maths before applying, now is the time to subtlety push for what you want. My advice would be that even if your really want the job and the salary doesn’t stack up. Express the minimum you need, be flexible about the package structure but don’t go for less. On the other hand don’t exaggerate your salary expectation. Your remuneration must reflect your ability to achieve the KPIs for the job!
When you the final offer, don’t agree to it on the spot. Take a day to make sure you are fully happy with it, then give your answer!
Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg has some great tips on negotiation.

8- Sign

9- Celebrate

10 – Enjoy the new job!

Marie Sornin

Moving down under?

Here is some local knowledge I wish I had when I first moved to Australia… I hope it can help any one who is thinking of moving to Sydney.

Where to live?

Sydney is a beautiful place for its harbor. The city is surrounded by bays and beaches. Of course there is stuff to do in the water & on the beach everywhere: surfing, rowing, diving, swimming, sailing, paddling, kayaking, beach walks, photography… the only one thing I would not recommend: sun baking (the sun is very aggressive in Australia).
Depending on what your profile is you will find an area that suits you best amongst the multitude of suburbs. If you are moving from a major metropolis and looking to make the most of the Aussie lifestyle, do not hesitate: find a place near the harbor or a beach! That is what I did and I have never regretted leaving Paris!

Sydney harbour from above

– Darlinghurst/ Surry Hills: Lots of places to go out, bars, restaurants & shopping… super convenient for those who work in the CBD. Probably 20 min from the water.

– Other areas around the city like Elisabeth Bay, Glebe, Leichardt, Newtown… are worth having a look at but don’t expect anything like Little Italy, East Village…. Sydney is small scale and the international/arty communities are not deeply influential.
– The one neighborhood I would recommend to avoid: Kings Cross. Nights in the Cross are always fun at the time, but always horrible the next morning and you certainly don’t want to live too close to it!

– Bondi: Great beach & social scene. Perfect for those who want to be at the heart of the action. Gets quite busy in summer, as it is the main beach accessible from the city and Western Suburbs. There are also other lovely areas around Bondi like Bronte, Coogee, Tamarama… but not as accessible.
Bondi-icebergs-all-coloured

Suburbs North of the Sydney Harbor Bridge are described as “OTB” Over The Bridge. For sure, at some point during your stay here you will experience the great Northern/ Easter Suburbs divide.

– Kirribilli, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Balmoral: Great spots along the harbor’s shore. Relatively easily access to/ from the city by bus or ferry.

– Further North is Manly (first beach on the Northern beaches- where I live). Great surf beach (I find the quality of banks here a lot more consistent than in Bondi. Even when it’s busy the crowd is also friendlier!!). Manly would be described as hippie, Bondi as Hipster… Manly is a lot more chilled out, not as much going but still super fun and offers a nice community feeling (particularly around Queenscliff and Freshie)
For those who work in the CBD, the ferry has to be the nicest commute in the world. Coming to Manly after a day at work feels like a mini holiday.
Not ideal if you like going out in the city as the ferry stops at midnight and a cab ride will be a good $50 to $60!

Further north are other beautiful beaches: the Northern beaches. Better for a day trip than to settle when you first arrive.

What not to miss:
There are a few milestones throughout the year that you don’t want to miss it.
If you have friends who intend to visit you in Sydney, strongly encourage them to come during Australian the summer and time it with some of the event below, they will fall in love with the place!

– Sydney to Hobart departure (dec 26):
Great spot to watch the race: from South head, Mosman, North head… make sure you secure your spot early as it gets super busy. Another good way to do it is to get on a boat or on a ferry!

– NYE: Always spectacular. So spectacular he first year I was here that I decided to move to Sydney. Yes it is that impressive! Totally worth the $500 that any venue on the harbor will ask for a NYE party. Do it once!

Sydney Festival: Every January
All sorts of concerts and arts exhibition all around the city. Most of them for free and some venues also put on great shows together during the period. Have a look at the program and book your most wanted ones. Some artists don’t tour Australia that often so concerts can get sold out

Vivid: Every May
Light shows all around the city. Beautiful way to make Sydney sexy at night. Photographers’ heaven, perfect excuse to go out during the week!

City2surf: Mid August (Sunday)
14Km run from the CBD to Bondi beach. Might be the biggest event of the kind in the world. Even if you don’t want to run it, go along! It is a really fun day and a great way to explore Sydney in a very Australian Spirit!

Things to tick of your list:

– Shortening every single word and calling your friends “mates”
– Drinking flat white
– Taking a surf lesson
– Joining Surf Life Saving, or your local triathlon squad, bowling club….
– Whale watching
– Getting sunburnt
– Playing lawn balls (and drinking too much beer)
– Going to the pub to watch Australia play England or NZ in Rugby,
– Falling asleep watching a cricket test on TV on a hot summer day
– Watching surf life savings competition (particularly rowing. You will understand when you see it)
– Sailing on Sydney harbor
– Hitting the beach before and after work

Marie Sornin

For those of you out there who are in jobs that are not satisfying or unsustainable

For those of you out there who are in jobs that are not satisfying or unsustainable … (we all know there is a lot of that in the media industry)
Some of you might be looking for a new job, but I also know that some are imagining a different way of working. You might be secretly thinking: “what if, I quit my job and do what I do on my own?”
Well, that’s exactly what I did in July 2011: quit my job as a social media director at Mediabrands and became an independent digital and social strategist for my own business, digitalcuisine

Over the last few weeks, I noticed that outside of the guys I regularly mentor, more contacts from my professional circles reached out for advice. I thought more people than just the ones I meet with might benefit from my experience . That’s how this blog came about.

If I had written this post 2 years ago, it would have been another rant from an over worked, stressed, depressed media executive. Hopefully it will be an inspiration for those of you who want to achieve work-life balance and believe they can build the life they want!

Here is my story:

I was a media agency senior executive, involved in leading blue chip accounts, operating in fast pace environment, managing teams of extremely talented staff, working on sophisticated digital strategies… picture perfect, right? Read between the lines and it also means: dealing with unachievable deadlines and unreasonable clients requests, constantly working long hours, missing friends’ gatherings, sacrificing your weekends to finalise presentations…

Don’t get me wrong, participating in global pitches count as some of the most enriching experiences I have had throughout my career. Working on strategic ideas with agency professionals such as Jerome Nessim (Owner, eclosion.net), Josh Grace (Managing Director, Leo Burnett), Kathryn Apte (Marketing Manager, Youtube), Mark Pollard (VP, Brand Strategy, Big Spaceship), Leanne Brinkies (Managing Director, Zenith Optimedia Melbourne), Andrew Reeves (Communications Director, Naked communications), Jeffrey Graham (Global Ad Research Director, Twitter), Mat Baxter (CEO, UM Australia), and more… has significantly refined my business acumen and boosted my self development.
My work is driven by my passion for the digital industry, but back then I found myself in the grind all week, barely recovering from all the stress during the weekends. I have no one else but myself to blame for letting work creep into my personal space. Don’t we all do it at some point? Is there an alternative?

What was the point for me being in Australia if I was not able to enjoy the lifestyle I came to here for?

Surfing local spot Queenscliff at Sunrise
Just another weekday sunrise at Queenscliff

The ones who know me well would acknowledge how important my morning surf is. When that went, I should have been aware that I was derailing.
I started having serious problems with my sleep and other unfamiliar health related discomfort… I was concerned and sought medical advice. The doctor explained that my physical and mental health were impacted by too much stress and that I could:
1/ Do nothing and it would get worse
2/ Go on a holiday, and then come back to what I was doing with some help from medication
3/ Fix the source of the issue: balance my lifestyle

They say the trigger to change is more likely to be a crisis than a positive response to a perceived opportunity. 2/ was my trigger.

They say comfort zone is where you keep doing what you know and everything remains the same: 1/. That way out of your comfort zone is where you are so frightened you, you freeze: 2/. There is flirting with the edge of your comfort zone, which is challenging and helps you grow. That is where 3/ fitted for me.

It then became clear to me that I had to fundamentally change the way I approached work. That’s when I stopped turning the “what ifs” in my head into “How can I make the best of myself?”

I went through a few months of self-introspection that I would summarise in the following: I am good at what I do and I need to give myself more flexibility in the way I operate. Basically ditch the Monday to Friday 9 to 5, yeah!!
Being a contractor looked like the ideal proposition: work from home most times, surround myself with a tight reliable network of complementary professionals, and be flexible on how I could organise my workload.

With that in mind, I resigned from Mediabrands and had 4 weeks to transform my vision into reality… scary but also very exciting! At that point, I didn’t have all the answers on how to set up a self employed business, what my offering, rate card would be etc.… but I got the wheels in motion and clarified all the technical points pretty quickly.

The self-confidence part was what required more grounding. I looked at the possible tangible outcomes of getting out of agency land.
The fail scenario was: try for a few months, don’t generate enough income, and then look for a new job. In that case I would have taken a few months off and gone back to work to try not to let it become overwhelming again… pretty average but could happen.
Success scenario: work more efficiently, make more money, select the clients and type of projects I wish to work on.
Realistically, I was not going to end up starving with no roof over my head. That was not enough to put my mind at ease. But the penny dropped thanks to the advice of my friend Ariane. Clever thinker, she suggested I look at the situation in a different way by allowing myself a budget rather than a time frame. She said: “You have enough savings right? Start your own business, enjoy your time off work until your savings run low and then look for a job again”
That was exactly the approach I needed! Instead of giving myself 6 months to launch digitalcuisine, I decided to give myself $20K… if my savings decreased by $20k from the day I quit my agency job, it would be time for me to get in touch with head-hunters!

Guess what?
It’s been 2 years and I haven’t reached the -$20K deadline yet! In fact, my savings have grown far more than +$20K… within that time I have also been able to go travelling for a few months and buy an investment property. There is more: I even discovered myself new talents and have become a successful commercial artist!

But enough of my personal story, here is my dump of tips for those of you out there who are thinking about self-employment… (Not in order of importance):

* Plan for the worst but prepare for success: We always think about the worst possible scenarios. Of course you must be ready to react if things go wrong, but you must also be prepared to maximize things when they go well! And there is a lot more chance that you will make things go well than wrong!
I didn’t prepare myself to turn my spare bedroom into an office, then an art studio, to contribute to the most significant digital transformation for the leading news organization in the country…

* Give yourself achievable goals: Do you have a vision for your life? When making a decision, ask yourself if it is bringing you closer to this vision or taking you away from it? When I took on my first contract with Fairfax Media, I gave myself 4 goals (outside of the deliverables of the contract) that would bring me closer to the vision I have for life and help my business development. With that in mind I spent 12 months working hard, very hard to smash my goals, which opened up amazing new opportunities, personally and professionally.

* Be self-disciplined: Getting out an office job and working on your own, doesn’t mean you are going to work less. It is actually very often the opposite. When working from home, you are the only one setting boundaries (no set working hours or location) to get into work mode. Fine if you want to work from 3pm to 1am, the only thing you need to do is to get the work done!
I have given myself a few rules like: Not working in my pyjamas (I get ready for work, just like if I was going to the office, the only difference is that the office is my spare room and that my morning commute has been replaced by 1hr of yoga or surfing), allocating blocks of time for admin & business development tasks (up to you if you want to do a little every day or every week, but don’t ignore them. They are as important as delivering!), giving myself a list of tasks to achieve every day (it’s very easy to get distracted when working from home, but if you know the minimum of what you must tick off. You are guaranteed to at least, have that done!)

* Don’t work for Free: There will always be someone to give you a good excuse to work for free (business development pitch, amazing client….). I recommend you don’t do it. You might think you’ll miss out on opportunities… actually, what you won’t miss out on is delivering work that pays. Remember that the only thing you can sell is your time. If you start filling it with free stuff… guess what will happen at the end of the month??
The one thing I would do for free is speaking at conferences. It is a great way to get your name out there and generate new business leads!
It is also important that you learn to recognize and pursue business opportunities with a real potential from dead leads which are never going to turn into real value for you. I would say, rule of thumb: after 3 or 4 attempts to convert a lead, drop it…

* Join groups: Don’t isolate yourself working at home, join groups of similar minded people. What ever they might do. I was happy to find the Manly Home Workers Association. A small group of local self employed guys brought together by Mark Kelly. We were going for a long lunch, sometimes followed by a group surf on the last Friday of each month. Not only you can meet amazing people that way, but you can also have a fun and might even pick up projects along the way…

* Do what you know and only what you know: Don’t hesitate to invest in the services that you need & will make your life easier: One of my first gigs as a consultant was with Fairfax Media. There was no way I could sort out the legal aspect of the contract on my own. I paid a lawyer to look at it. Same goes for accounting, house keeping (re book keeping- don’t over do it, a simple excel spread sheet might do the trick).

* Watch your time: If you invoice for one-day worth of work, work for one day, not two. Track your time. Communicate with your clients early if you are going over time, and look for options to cover that extra time you need. Don’t think admin time is free… the time you spend doing your admin is time you can’t spend delivering work. It should also be charged!

* Seek advice and listen to it: It is always a good idea to sense check your ideas, presentation materials to people you trust. Be open to suggestions and implement what you consider sensible. That is how I found my business name, optimized my rate card…

* Nurture your reputation and tap into your network:  You don’t need me to tell you how important a reputation is, particularly in a small market like Australia. Be impeccable in everything you do. Don’t hesitate to let people know about what you do and what you want to do… and thank them, when they do recommend your services.
My entire client based started from being recommended by people I had worked with or encountered in my agency life!

Ride the roller coaster: You are going to have some amazing days. New business, great contacts, strong ideas… and the some other days will totally empty, blank, silence, nothing… when that happens, try to stay balance, ride it gracefully!

* Don’t feel guilty: if you give yourself a day off on a Tuesday or a 3hr surfing session in the middle of the day and your delivery is on schedule. Don’t feel guilty about it. It’s very easy to feel that way when all your mates are at work…

* Also, be prepared to deal with late payments, unhappy clients… although it might never happen.

I will finish up by recommending this excellent post: A short lesson in perspective

And listen to “everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” as often as necessary.

Marie

Vipassana Meditation in Indian Prisons

As cliche as it might sound, a trip to India is a life changing experience…

For those who have never been to India, the first few minutes are a very accurate description of what the country is like.

I hope the rest of the rest of video will make you believe that the world can become a better place!

 

Marie Sornin

Stay hungry. Stay foolish

If you haven’t read Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, I highly recommend the book to anyone wanting to understand the digital ear in which we live.. Whether you are an Apple fanatic or not,

I think everyone would agree that he was a one of a kind perfectionist and visionary. I am totally appreciative of the man, his business achievements and his impact on consumer technology. However lunatic or hero? I can’t quite decide. Please help me form an opinion…

For those who haven’t read the book, this speech (Stanford commencement speech 2005) is a good summary of his life & business philosophy… highly inspiring

Stay Hungry, stay foolish

Marie

 

The happy secret to better work

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity…