That’s because, after three years of dismal hiring and salary reports for new college grads, things are finally looking up this year.
“Employers are more optimistic overall, and as a result, are looking to bring in entry-level workers to build their workforce for the future,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “Companies are adding jobs in a variety of areas and need fresh, educated talent to fill those roles.”
Indeed, numerous recent reports show positive hiring trends for this year’s graduates. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, for example, 46 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 43 percent in 2009.
Additionally, a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that, not only are more companies planning to hire new graduates this year, but those companies are also planning to hire in larger numbers. Employers expect to bring on 19.3 percent more new college graduates this year than they did in 2010, the first double digit percent increase in anticipated hiring since 2007.
Besides a better hiring outlook, annual starting salaries for the class of 2011 are also expected to increase. The NACE survey reports that the average anticipated offer to this year’s graduates will be $50,462, a 5.9 percent increase from the $47,673 average annual salary offer made to the class of 2010. Plus, the CareerBuilder survey found that, of companies who plan to hire new grads, 26 percent will offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2010.
Regardless of the health of the economy, though, the entry-level job market is always competitive, and new graduates will need to work for their job offers.
If you’ll be looking for your first job in the real world this spring, follow this expert advice in order to stand out from your competition in all areas of your job search.
Most recruiters spend less than a minute looking over a résumé, so make sure that your most important and relevant skills and experiences stand out. While those will vary depending on the job you are applying for, there are certain things all employers look for in job candidates.
According to CareerBuilder survey respondents, the following five most important skill sets and experiences they are looking for from new grads.
- Strong written and verbal communications
- Technical skills
- Project management
- Part-time jobs in another area or field
- Volunteer work
- Class work
- Involvement in school organizations
To ensure potential employers see your crucial qualifications, create a career summary at the top of your résumé that speaks to your “selling points,” and use bullet points when listing accomplishments so that they’re easy to find.
Interviews can be anxiety-provoking, but remember to be yourself, no matter how nervous you may feel, says Jenny Blake, author of the book “Life After College,” a resource guide for college graduates, as well as a blog of the same name. “Take three long, deep breaths before your interview to work out any nervous energy that might be building. The more natural and authentic you can be, the better. And don’t forget to smile.”
Whatever you do, avoid making the following mistakes, cited by CareerBuilder survey respondents as the most common slip-ups entry-level job candidates make in interviews:
- Going to the interview with no knowledge of the company
- Acting entitled
- Dressing inappropriately
- Not asking good questions during the interview
- Forgetting to turn off their cell phone before the interview
A little preparation can go a long way in avoiding these mistakes, though. For example, “Spend time researching the organization ahead of time by checking out their website, press room and other articles that might be written about them,” Rasmussen advises. “Going to the interview prepared is a great way to impress a hiring manager.”
Your job search might get frustrating or take longer than expected, but don’t give up hope.
“Even though the job market is gradually improving, it is still a highly competitive job environment,” Rasmussen says. “[But it's important to] stay positive and make sure you show that enthusiasm during your search.”
To maintain an optimistic outlook while you find a job, “Focus on creating value in your life even outside of your job search,” Blake says. “For example, start a blog, take some classes, join networking groups — find activities that will add value to your résumé and your life — which will hopefully take some of the pressure off of relying solely on your job search to provide validation and satisfaction. Besides, you never know when you might meet a fruitful contact through any of those venues.”
You’ll get a lot more leads in your job search if you vary the approach you take in looking for work. Rasmussen suggests using social media and in-person networking to supplement an online job search, for example.
If you job search seems to hit a stagnant point, don’t be afraid to look for a job outside of your preferred industry, either. “Consider taking a job outside of your desired field if it will help you gain experience and learn new skills,” Rasmussen says. “Plus, you may discover that what you originally planned wasn’t as good of a fit as a different path.”
Agrees Blake, “The important thing to remember is that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t end up madly in love with your first job — focus on the skills you are learning that will serve you for the rest of your career, and know that you can always correct course with the next gig. While you may not see every step of your path defined at the outset (in fact most of the time you won’t), if you can start small and start somewhere, things will unfold naturally. Dream big, trust your gut and don’t be afraid to take great leaps.”
Graduating this spring? Check out CareerRookie.com for entry-level job and internship listings.
With the upcoming wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the media and fans of the royal family are getting excited. What will the dress look like? Who has been invited? Where can I buy my own Will and Kate commemorative plate? (And, for that matter, do we know these people well enough to call them Will and Kate and do we really want their faces on our dishes?)
For some reason, wedding fever has taken over people on every continent, with many of them setting their alarms to wake up for the ceremony at 5 a.m. Central. Perhaps we’re fascinated by a life that few of us will ever be part of. Or maybe we just can’t resist a big, fancy ceremony. Consider that a reported 750 million people watched Princess Diana marry Prince Charles in 1981. Something attracts us to these lavish events.
At this point, you know enough about the royal couple, so we decided to see what other royalty from around the world are doing outside of their stately duties or what they did before marrying into it.
Here are some royalty from the around the world and their real-life jobs:Princess Madeleine
Royal title: H.R.H. Princess Madeleine, Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland
Occupation: Student and philanthropist
Princess Madeline has dabbled in several fields of study, including law, architecture and design. Most recently she began work on a postgraduate Organization and Leadership degree. She also is an active member of the World Childhood Foundation, an organization that works to prevent sexual abuse of children and help its victims.
Royal title: Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg
Occupation: The prince is the third child of Luxembourg’s Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, but he is also a successful businessperson. He currently sits on the board of directors of ArcelorMittal, a steel manufacturer based in Luxembourg.
Royal title: Princess Angela of Liechtenstein
Occupation: Former fashion manager
Before she married Prince Maximilian in 2000, Princess Angela was a standout student at the competitive Parson’s School of Design. She then served as fashion manager for designer Adrienne Vittadini.
Royal title: Prince Joachim of Denmark, Count of Monpezat
Occupation: Agricultural business operator, military reserves
Although Prince Joachim is royalty, he is sixth in line to the Danish throne, so having a career is probably a good idea. The prince spent many years in the Danish military, spending eight years as squadron commander, and today remains an active member of the reserve. He also owns and operates Schackenborg Manor, an active farm where he also resides.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Royal title: Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates
Occupation: Real estate developer, jockey
Although the prime minister had a hand in making the 2,717 foot-high Burj Dubai a reality, also known as the tallest structure in the world, Sheikh Mohammed’s true passion is in horse racing. He not only owns an Australian racing empire, but he also races the horses himself. In fact, he won the silver medal in 2010’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games’ Endurance competition.
Meanwhile, in the U.S.
Although we don’t officially have any royalty in the United States, we do have some political families who are as close as we can come to royalty. In the past, the Kennedys were the family to beat, but now it seems as if the Bush and Clinton families have begun their own dynasty. Think about it – can you remember a time when one of these political families wasn’t involved in politics? For the sake of not feeling left out, here are two women who could be part of a new American royalty. (Sorry, Sasha and Malia, but you’re too young to make the list.)
Royal title: Chelsea Clinton
Clinton’s most notable achievement could be that she grew up in the public eye and turned out to be an intelligent, seemingly normal person. However, already armed with one undergraduate degree and two masters, Clinton is currently studying for her Ph.D. at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. She also served as a consultant and for a hedge fund prior to returning to school.
Jenna Bush Hager
Royal title: Jenna Bush Hager
Occupation: Teacher, television correspondent
Like Chelsea Clinton, Hager spent eight years growing up in the White House and went on to have a successful career. Not only is Hager a teacher in a Baltimore charter school, but she’s also a correspondent for NBC’s morning show “Today.”
Did we leave anyone you care about off of the list? Who else would you consider to be American royalty?
• “One of my managers writes so small that I have great difficulty reading his handwriting. Even after telling him how this impacts my accuracy and timeliness, he hasn’t changed in six years.”
• “My boss doesn’t remember what work he assigned to whom, so quite often he will have two of us working on the same thing.”
• “My manager and I agreed upon a deadline for a report I was creating. When I submitted the report on the date of the deadline, he commented on my lateness.”
• “When we recently had a flood in the office, my manager made us work through it.”
• “My manager likes to invent his own words. Even if I question them, he’ll still use them.”
If any of the above comments sounds familiar, you might be an administrative professional. These responses, given anonymously to OfficeTeam, a staffing service for administrative professionals, are only a taste of the demands that workers in the administrative field put up with.
What do administrative professionals do?
Trying to describe what administrative professionals do is like trying to explain what parents do. They take care of, well, everything. Moms and dads make sure their children are fed, clothed, rested, driven to soccer games, and ultimately have a good day. Administrative professionals ensure bosses make their meetings, phone calls are directed to the right people, messages are returned, guests are taken care of, travel is booked, and anything else that arises is taken care of. Basically, like parents, they have to work miracles on a daily basis.
This is why the last full week in April is Administrative Professionals Week, and this year Administrative Professionals Day is celebrated on Wednesday, April 27. As the International Association of Administrative Professionals explains, the holiday began in 1952 under the moniker “National Secretaries Week,” but evolved to include all of the administrative professionals who keep the workplace functioning.
According to the IAAP’s definition, administrative professionals are “individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession.”
This workforce of secretaries, administrative assistants, coordinators and more add up to more than 4.3 million workers in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That equals a lot of headaches for them so that someone else’s day goes smoother.
In their own words
For a change, we decided to let administrative professionals do the talking and give us a glimpse into their busy schedules. Some of their stories are funny, some are outrageous, and others are just weird. Here are some notable experiences of administrative professionals:
“When I was an administrative assistant I had one boss who would call me up at 10 am high as a kite and mumble orders to me. I’d finally just tell him I couldn’t understand a word he was saying and hang up. It happened on a regular basis too. Also, he’d call up paranoid that his traders [at the investment banking firm] were plotting against him and he’d ask me to spy. I would always say no.” — Alison Kero
“I was [an] admin at a boutique real estate company, but about half my job was acting as personal assistant to the firm’s wealthy elderly principal. I recall one time when he was on vacation in Europe, and I received a call just as I walked in to the office in the morning. Apparently he had somehow messed up his hotel reservations and needed me to fix them. He had somehow booked himself into the wrong hotel in the wrong town on the wrong side of Germany for the next stage of his trip, and he didn’t know what to do. Oh, and did I mention that I speak no German?
A fair amount of Googling later I discovered that he had booked himself into the wrong hotel because it had a similar name to the one he was really looking for, and hadn’t noticed things like it being in the wrong town and such. I found an English-language travel review online that gave the contact info for the correct hotel. I then called his current hotel back and found someone who spoke German, and then conferenced them in while I called the correct hotel. I don’t want to think about the phone charges, but we got him sorted out in less than an hour. Because of course, I’m an admin and I can do anything.” – Wendy Zdrodowski, studio manager for Tree Studios
“I will never forget the day 18 years ago when, as a temporary administrative assistant staffing the front desk at my temporary agency, I received a call for the president of the company. Of course this was a great opportunity to showcase my abilities and get a great next assignment, right? The president was unavailable so I attempted to take a message. I was told the call was from the President of the Hair Club for Men.
I really thought it was a joke — perhaps a friend of the president attempting to get past the gate keeper. Remember this was before the cell phone era when his closest friends would have a direct line right to him wherever he was. So I asked the caller whether he was just the president, or a client as well (joking about the Hair Club for Men commercials). He presumed I was talking about our president and he confided in me that he was a client.
I was able to maintain my composure only long enough to get a number where the call could be returned and then erupted into a fit of giggles that stayed with me not only for the remainder of my day at work but also for the many years since that I’ve worked around people and telephones. Lesson learned? Don’t ask any more questions than you have to when on the telephone.” – Shannan Hearne
“I owned a concierge service in New York City for six years. I had a client scream at me for lighting a candle wrong. That wasn’t the most ridiculous part of that day.” — Kero
“I was temping on the switchboard of a small law firm for an afternoon while they had their firm’s holiday party in-house. I was to tell all callers that the party they were trying to reach was ‘in a meeting’ and offer [to send them to] voicemail or take a message. About mid-afternoon, the sounds of drunken attorneys attempting to sing Christmas carols were clearly audible and callers were getting a bit suspicious. I had to go in to their party and say, ‘Look, I will gladly tell callers anything you want me to tell them, but you’re going to have to work with me a little, because they aren’t buying it.’ They got a lot quieter in short order, and I actually got several repeat calls for work there and eventually a job offer. I didn’t take it.” — Zdrodowski
As you can see, administrative professionals have their share of challenges – some good, some bad, some strange. But they always make it work, which is why not just anyone has the skills to do the job or the desire to make it a full-time career. For those administrative professionals who make our lives easier, we send our thanks and we encourage you to let us know your most noteworthy stories.
Think about it. In both cases, hundreds of people who want the same thing try to get the attention of one person (Drew Carey/ the hiring manager), in the hopes of competing for the grand prize (an RV/ a new job). In both cases, it can be hard to get yourself noticed. So, like the people on “The Price is Right” who wear feathers and glitter and outfits made of Plinko chips, you might need to put in a little extra effort to stand out from the crowd in your job search.
Fortunately, though, you won’t need to dress up in a cheesy t-shirt and jump around on national television to do it. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, simply taking a few extra steps in your job search process can make all the difference when it comes to catching the eye of a hiring manager.
“While the job market has begun to move in the right direction, competition continues to remain high for open positions and job seekers need to stay on their toes,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Employers not only expect thank- you notes, but cover letters as well. Approximately one-third of hiring managers say a lack of cover letter will likely result in them not considering a candidate for their open position.”
In addition to sending cover letters and thank-you notes, recruiters say there are also small tweaks you can make to your résumé to help it stand out. The following catches their eye most:
- Bulleted list of accomplishments (51 percent)
- Career summary at the top (40 percent)
- Relevant keywords (39 percent)
- Résumé that is customized to the open position (36 percent)
Want further insurance that you’ll get noticed during your job search? Here’s how to tailor your résumé, cover letter and thank-you note so that you’ll jump out from the competition:
Your cover letter is the first impression you give to a potential employer. This is where you convince human resources they need you. Remember these three things when creating a cover letter:
- It should expand on, not just reiterate, the most relevant skills and experiences from your résumé.
- It should be employer focused. While it’s important to state why you are interested in the position, your cover letter should demonstrate how you can help the company by working there, not how landing the job will advance your career goals.
- Do some research on the company before you write your cover letter. Then, incorporate that research by telling the employer how your experience supports the company’s mission statement or a new business initiative.
Your résumé can be a little trickier, because it might not only be a human eye that you’re trying to catch. Companies both large and small are using keyword-search software in their hiring processes these days, so it’s important to make sure you always send out a search-ready résumé by incorporating keywords from the job description.
Also, focus on bulleting accomplishments instead of just job duties. Highlight how you saved previous companies time or money, or new ideas you had that the company implemented. The more quantifiable results you can emphasize, the better.
Finally, ditch the résumé objective in favor of a summary of your work experience. Objectives focus too much on what you hope to gain from the job, not what you can offer the company.
According to the CareerBuilder survey, more than one-in-five hiring managers said they are less-likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t send a thank-you note, so don’t take any chances by neglecting this small but important step.
You may feel like you’re being repetitive, but use the thank-you note to restate your enthusiasm about the job and your qualifications for the position. Also, be sure to cover all your bases. If you interviewed with more than one hiring manager, send a thank-you note to each person.
Last but not least, says Haefner, be professional and concise in all of your correspondences. “One-in-five hiring managers say they spend 30 seconds or less looking at a résumé, so all your communications need to be professional and to the point,” she says.
Have you done something that’s helped you stand out in your job search? Tell us about it in the comments section.
It’s been 41 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated in the U.S. in 1970, and since that time, we’ve made huge strides toward preserving our environment. Recycling has become the norm, the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking and everything from cleaning supplies to clothing to cars can now be found in eco-friendly versions.
While many of us have taken it upon ourselves to make earth-conscious decisions in our daily lives, most Americans feel that when it comes to their workplaces, both their employers and co-workers could make more of an effort to go green.
According to OfficeMax’s 2011 Green Workplace survey, 84 percent of U.S. workers say they recycle at work, but nearly two-thirds think their employers can do more to promote earth-friendly initiatives, and 73 percent say that their co-workers could also make a bigger effort to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.
When asked what their employers did to encourage green behavior at work, just 39 percent said their employers placed a sufficient number of recycling bins around the office, 13 percent said there was an employee dedicated to green workplace practices and 8 percent said their companies offered incentives to participate in green programs at work.
Of the workers who say they have room for improvement in their own environmental efforts, 63 percent say that company incentives that would give them the boost they needed to be more eco-friendly at work. Though 61 percent would prefer a cash incentive, most said that it wouldn’t take much for them to step up their efforts, citing an extra vacation day (46 percent), free lunch (44 percent) or a “green” gift (39 percent) as all the reason they’d need to participate in earth-conscious programs.
Not all workers need external motivation to maintain their environmental mindsets, though. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that a feeling of personal responsibility kept them motivated to recycle or take other eco-friendly steps at work. Fifty-eight percent said it was a desire to make a difference in the world, and 40 percent said they wanted to set a good example for co-workers.
Does your office celebrate Earth Day? Is your company eco-friendly? Tell us about it in the comments section, below.
If your office is anything like ours, then there can’t be a meeting without a dessert tray, a birthday without cupcakes or a walk to the elevator without passing half-a- dozen candy bowls. The constant temptation makes it almost impossible to resist a daily sugar splurge, not to mention to stick to any sort of diet or healthy-eating plan.
But the mindless snacking that many of us do in the office — even if it’s just a bite here and piece there — can add up to major weight gain, a recent study suggests. According to a report by Cornell professor Brian Wansink, who also authored the book “Mindless Eating,” just having a clear jar full of bite-size candies on your desk can tempt you into an average weight gain of seven pounds per year.
During an experiment conducted by CBS news about the study, producers set out a candy dish in their newsroom. One man went to the dish six times in a matter of a few hours, adding a whopping 600 calories to his daily diet. That’s 150 more calories than a double cheeseburger from Burger King. If he kept that up for a year, he’d gain about 40 lbs.
Got the constant urge to snack at work? We gathered nutritional information on popular candies, as well as items from caterers, restaurants and doughnut shops that probably make a regular appearance in your office. Our findings, below, might just be enough to give you some willpower.
Catering and restaurants
While most of the below chains offer plenty of healthy menu options, their baked goods and desserts will kill your diet quicker than you can say “pass me a danish.” Even eating half of some of these treats will give you more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.
Specialty’s (Illinois, California, Washington)
Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie
Per cookie: 470 calories, 28 grams fat
Double fudge brownie
Per brownie: 530 calories, 30 grams fat
Blueberry coffee cake
Per piece: 470 calories, 14 grams fat
Café Metro (New York)
Banana walnut muffin
Per muffin: 540 calories, 17 grams fat
Raspberry cheese square
Per square: 593 calories, 43 grams fat
Black and white cookie
Per cookie: 400 calories, 9 grams fat
Au Bon Pain (Nationwide)
Per dessert: 530 calories, 32 grams fat
Per scone: 530 calories, 28 grams fat
Oatmeal raisin cookie
Per cookie: 250 calories, 9 grams fat
Dunkin Donuts (Nationwide)
Chocolate frosted cake donut
Per donut: 370 calories, 23 grams fat
Coffee cake muffin
Per muffin: 650 calories, 27 grams fat
Per (itty bitty) munchkin: 80 calories, 4 grams fat
A couple of jelly beans here, a piece of chocolate there … we all know the drill. But the grazing can add up, too.
Brach’s jelly beans
One serving : 14 jelly beans (or about two handfuls)
Per serving: 150 calories, 0 grams fat
Snickers fun size candy bar
One serving: one bar (15 grams)
Per serving: 71 calories, 4 grams fat
One serving: about 25 pieces
Per serving: 250 calories, 13 grams fat
To put it into even better perspective, for the calories in just one raspberry cheese square from Café Metro, or one coffee cake muffin from Dunkin Donuts, you could eat:
- Two average-sized slices of cheese pizza
- An entire meal at Subway including: A six-inch turkey sandwich with cheese, a bowl of Tomato Garden Vegetable soup and a bag of Baked Lays potato chips.
- A large bowl of oatmeal from Au Bon Pain, an apple and a cup of low-fat yogurt
Even armed with the new knowledge about what’s really in your favorite at-work treats, it can still be hard to resist temptation. For tips on how to stay healthy at work, check out:
What do you do to stay healthy at work? Let us know in the comments section, below.
Tax day, Earth day, another American Idol contestant kicked off. What a week we have. How do we even have time to search for a job between deducting expenses, planting a tree, and voting for Casey? Tough times.
Because we know you don’t have time to do everything, and you’re not about to skimp on your quality time with Ryan Seacrest, we’ve put together a list of companies hiring this week. So check out the list and see what sounds good!
Corner Bakery Café
Industry: Restaurant (fast casual)
Sample job titles: Manager
Industry: Insurance and financial services
Sample job titles: Financial representative
QinetiQ North America
Industry: Aerospace, engineering
Sample job title: Junior database adminstrator
Insphere Insurance Solutions
Industry: Insurance sales
Sample job title: Sales representative
Industry: Professional services (health care consulting, education consulting, legal consulting)
Sample job titles: Consulting associate
Industry: Online media
Sample job titles: Freelance writer
Industry: Medical devices
Sample job titles: Manufacturing engineer
Sample job titles: Operations manager
BBVA Compass Bank
Industry: Banking and finance
Sample job title: Bank teller
Sample job titles: Assistant manager
To me, the idea of spring cleaning has always been a bit puzzling. After months of being cooped up inside during the gloomy winter months, why would cleaning be the first priority once it’s finally nice enough to go outside and do things that are actually fun? I prefer to do my cleaning when it’s raining or cold and there’s nothing better to do.
Which is why, in my eyes, the fact that there was snow on the ground here in Chicago this morning makes today the very best day of spring for cleaning, and I figure I might as well start at work. Why? Besides the fact that my cube is in need of a good feng shui, a recent survey by OfficeTeam found that 83 percent of human resources managers said that “the appearance of an employee’s desk at least somewhat affects their perception of that person’s professionalism,” and I don’t want my cube sending any mixed messages.
Think your desk could use a good spring cleaning? Here are a few tips on how to neaten up your workspace, according to OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
1. Get another perspective: If you have an office, sit in one of the chairs in front of your desk so you can see what others see when they meet with you. Cube dweller? Stand in the cubicle across or diagonal from yours to get a different perspective, and clean accordingly.
2. Get a system in place: Effective organization is different for everyone. Some people prefer to organize alphabetically, others categorically — by project or client, for example. Figure out a system that works for you and stick with it.
3. File, don’t pile: Taking a messy pile of papers and stacking them into a neat pile of papers doesn’t count as organization. Go through the papers and put them in the appropriate file or folder. Clearly label or color-code documents as you go.
4. If you touch it, do something with it: When you touch a piece of paper file it, recycle it, toss it or pass it along to the next person. Resist the urge to merely shuffle it around on your desk.
5. Only hold on to what you need: The common gauge for cleaning out a closet is “If you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out.” Apply this same principle to your desk. If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably don’t need it. Keep only the materials needed for your current project on your desk.
6. Go paperless: Cut down on your printing in favor of electronic records, calendars and email alerts that will help you remember and track important information without cluttering your desk and wasting paper.
7. Keep up the good work: Once your space is clean, keep it that way by taking a few minutes before lunch or just before leaving the office to straighten it up.
Do you have any tips for staying organized at work? Tell us about them, below.
Rosie Pope has an interesting job, to say the least. Pope, the star of Bravo Television’s new reality series “Pregnant in Heels,” is a baby concierge, which means she is at the beck and call of hormonal pregnant women all day long.
Watching this on TV is as entertaining as it sounds. The first few episodes follow Pope as she leads a high-strung couple through a baby name “focus group,” and brings a hair and makeup team into the delivery room for an expecting mom.
Yet the appeal of seeing Pope do her job on television goes beyond entertainment — and occasional shock — value. “Pregnant in Heels” also provides an inside look at a successful entrepreneur in a growing industry. Besides the “concierge” part of her business, Pope’s pregnancy empire features a popular maternity clothing line, nutritional and fitness counseling for expecting and post-partum moms and group classes for parents who want to learn about anything from baby CPR to how to decorate a nursery.
Perhaps the most surprising part about Rosie Pope Maternity is that the company is only three years old — a testament to the growing market for maternity product and services, but also to Pope’s intelligence (she studied neuroscience at Columbia University) and business sense. Here, she explains how she stumbled upon her interesting career choice, why she loves what she does and the skill set necessary for success in her line of work.
TWB: You deal with some pretty unusual requests on the show — are these a typical representation of the requests you get on a day-to-day basis?
RP: “The requests seen on the show are the most Bravo-esque, but on a day-to-day basis, the requests I get more are from people who want to be good parents — and they’re terrified about it. So we get a lot of requests [for what] I call it the ABCs of parenting. They want to know how to look after their child, they want to know about child psychology and baby CPR, or lot of them have nutritional and fitness concerns, so we’ll come up with a fitness plan or a nutrition plan for before and after the baby. The majority of people want a help and education concierge package as opposed to a ‘fashion’ or ‘outlandish’ package, but that happens also, as in the 16 clients that we end up highlighting [on the show].”
What prompted you to start your business? Was it a personal experience, a void you saw in the marketplace, etc?
“Well, when I was pregnant I was sort of horrified by the pregnancy clothes, so I decided to design a maternity line. Then, towards the end of my pregnancy and as I became a mother, I was also equally horrified by the parenting classes available to take. They were all taught in, like, the back of a hospital by some person who clearly hasn’t had a baby in many, many years … and it’s so not anybody that I know, so that’s where the classes started, and then I sort of built out the curriculum from there. In our studio, the classes range from $15 to around $200 so it’s much more affordable. But then people started coming in that wanted the private services, so that’s how the concierge part of our business evolved.”
Why do you think the business has grown so quickly?
“We live in a generation of parents that want to be educated and want to do the best for their children. And I think before, weddings were the sort of thing that we celebrated and spent all our money on and now that’s moved into babies and pregnancy and being a parent. So I think we’re in a different generation, where that has become really an important part of our society, and so along with that obviously goes businesses and products.”
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
“At the end of the day, I really feel that I’m genuinely making people better parents.”
What’s the most difficult?
“The fact that I get taken away from my own children to help other people with their kids. That’s hard. My clients tend to be pretty demanding, so it’s not like a 9-to-5.”
For people who see your show and think “I want to do that,” what kinds of skills do they need in order to become successful?
“I think you have to have a constant desire to learn, because there are so many things to learn about. Honestly, every day the philosophy on parenting changes, so you need to really need to love researching and love learning.
You also have to have the patience of a saint to deal with pregnant women all the time, and I’m a mom so that’s my expertise, but I also surround myself with people that I consider to be experts in their unique area, so the best doctors and the best nutritionists and the best trainers, so you really have to be able to find and form relationships with people who are really brilliant in their individual fields. It’s not that I’m going in and training someone in the gym, I bring in someone I think is best for that, so a lot of what I do is research.”
What about school? Any majors or subjects that lend themselves to becoming a pregnancy concierge?
“Anything that involves research, like I studied science in school — you have to have an inquisitive mind.”
Thinking about a launching a baby business? Consider the following:
- According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 4 million babies are born annually in the U.S.
- Eighty percent of expecting mothers now work during the last month of their pregnancies, compared to only 35 percent who did so in the early 1960s.
- The baby products industry grew from $4 billion in 1996 to more than $7 billion in 2006, according to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. This doesn’t include sales of food, diapers or clothing.
Posts here on The Work Buzz are always geared toward you, the job seeker. We know that job seeking is not only tough but also mysterious. You work your hardest to get noticed, but sometimes you never hear back from employers. You never know what they’re thinking. It feels very one-sided. That’s why we have today’s guest post from Kathryn Ullrich, an executive recruiter and author of “Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success.” She’s willing to divulge what’s going on in a recruiter’s mind so that you know what you’re dealing with.
Confessions of an Executive Recruiter
By Kathryn Ullrich
After three years of economic aches and pains, the employment outlook by companies in the United States has improved to a 12-year high, according to a recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics. If you are an executive or mid-level professional who is looking, or plans to look, for a new job in 2011, that can be pretty encouraging news. But are you really ready for a job search? From a seasoned suffer-no-fools executive recruiter, here are seven secrets to help fire up your search and fuel your success:
1. Recruiters spend 10 seconds “reading” your résumé
Odds are, you can lose up to a third of the words on your resume without compromising the content. So put your résumé on a word diet and eliminate the bloat. Remove extraneous words and phrases and generic mom-and-apple-pie references (“strong team player”) to bring your experience to the forefront. Additionally, bring your résumé alive by branding yourself from beginning to end and by using active verbs to describe accomplishments relevant to your target job.
2. Recruiters look for specialists, not generalists
Today, companies want specialists who have done the job before. Develop a personal brand, distinguish your skills and strengths, and design your job search around industries or functions targeted to your background. For inspiration, study real-life job specifications online. Recently, for instance, a well-known software company was seeking a seasoned marketer “skilled in developing online video for B2B marketing.” Translation: specialize!
3. Recruiters search for candidates who know where they’re going
Have a long-term career strategy or, at the very least, a strong sense for where you’re headed. Ask yourself, “Where do I see myself in five to 10 to 15 years?” Then figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Having a clear, concise understanding of your career path can demonstrate your leadership maturity to potential employers.
4. Recruiters care about how you present as much as what you present
Your communication skills can make — or break — your job search. For every situation, from interviews to networking events, know your key points in advance and be crisp and organized in communicating them. Practice your responses to common interview questions, determining the “just right” length to illustrate your strengths and experience, and using interesting, impactful examples as much as possible.
5. Recruiters anticipate well-crafted exit statements
Be well-versed in discussing the movement on your résumé. If you’ve jumped around a lot, prepare your “exit statement” for every move. Also, if you have gaps between jobs, have an explanation for what you did during that time.
6. Recruiters have finely tuned “BS” detectors
Be open, honest, and authentic. If you aren’t, you won’t fool recruiters or employers, at least not for long. They will sense something isn’t adding up and will get to the bottom of it. If you’ve had a bump or two along the road, personally or professionally, be upfront about them. Also, focus on the facts of any situation, not the emotions surrounding it.
7. Recruiters “watch, look, and listen” on social media
Nearly all employers look at your profile online: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media Web sites. Leverage that opportunity and have your online presence tell a story. Sure, you watch the appropriateness of what you post online, but take it a step further: tell your story and tout your brand.
Kathryn Ullrich is a Silicon Valley-based executive search consultant and author of the award-winning book “Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success” (Silicon Valley Press, 2010, $19.95). She also leads Alumni Career Services at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.