Saturday, January 23, 2010

Interview with Tracy Earles from Parallel Path

A couple of weeks ago, I met with some of the leaders at Parallel Path, an internet marketing firm to find out more about their business. I've been very interested in what role social media plays with internet marketing and asked Tracy Earles, the VP of Marketing and Business Development, if I could interview him for my blog.

I'd figured out how to do a podcast with Skype, but unfortunately, when it came time to interview Tracy, the technology failed and so Tracy ended up recording our conversation with his iPhone.

I'm not sure if this will work for you all... If it were in .mp3 format I could add an mp3 player gadget... If you have Windows Media Player, you should be able to listen to the interview at the link below.

Tracy's advice for small business owners with a limited budget? Pay Per Click...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How Blogging Got Me a Perfect Job

Last week I landed the perfect job. How? It wouldn't have happened without blogging!

A few months ago, I decided that as long as I was doing all this networking to get a job in QA Management, I should use my social media skills to specifically network with industry experts via a new QA blog. There was even an article written in the Fort Collins paper about my blogging strategy. Even though these global experts might not know about specific job opportunities, I'd at least be gaining new knowledge that was bound to help me in interviews.

I started reading more and more about Software Quality Assurance. I joined a lot of groups and networks and began to recognize the leaders. It took awhile for me to build the confidence to start engaging with the big names... It was kind of intimidating! Would I be viewed as ignorant if I asked a dumb question? Would those gurus have time for an "unknown" like me? Would my lack of employment label me as a "loser" or a "pest" only looking for a job?

What I soon discovered is that regardless of how much of an expert someone is, they still appreciate recognition and like to help others gain the knowledge that they have. Certainly we want to do some sort of homework before asking questions of experts, but they are people, just like the rest of us! They write books and blogs and articles so that those of us that want to learn, can do so. And when we engage with them, whether to ask for clarification, respectfully debate a point, or tell them that we admire their work, we start to form a relationship.

Much to my delight, not only did I learn a TON, I began forming relationships with some of these Software QA leaders. We connected via LinkedIn, and in some cases became FaceBook friends. We followed each other on Twitter and I soon started feeling like one of the group! I joined a "writing about testing" network where many of these big names gathered, and put in a "position statement" to be accepted at a conference that is taking place in Durango in May. Only 15 people would be accepted. Again, it was intimidating to submit my name amongst these industry greats. Most of them have written books (much more academic than The Laptop Dancer Diaries!) But I did it...and I was accepted!

Then one day, one of those industry leaders, Matt Heusser, sent me an email. He'd read on my blog that I was interested in telecommuting. He wrote:

I know a web-based media outlet looking for someone with a testing background to do writing, editing, possibly management of the assistant editor for the website.

The job was work-from-home, working for TechTarget's and would include covering conferences, networking with experts, and researching trends and tools. Was I interested? On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the most interested, I was a 100! This was a job that would allow me to write, continue to explore Social Media, and stay up-to-date with latest, greatest news in the industry. I was already past the point of being timid about networking with the experts... I loved it. And it would actually be part of this job! How cool is that?

Matt took the trouble to learn more about my background and put in a glowing recommendation. Though I didn't have the journalism or editorial experience they had listed in their job description, I've had a 27-year career in Software Dev and QA, so if they were looking for a software quality techie, I was qualified.

But the HR interview went something like this:

HR: How much editorial experience do you have?
Yvette: None
HR: How much Web publishing experience do you have?
Yvette: None
HR: How much do you know about Content Management Systems?
Yvette: Not much

Yvette: What do you usually look for in a candidate?
HR (chuckling): Someone with a background in editing and Web publishing. So you don't fit the typical candidate...but (nicely) we may try something different.

It actually was not quite as bad as that, but I certainly did not think I was going to get the job.

But a few interviews and editor tests later, I had the hiring manager, the publisher, and myself convinced that I could definitely do this job. Not only could I do it, I could do it WELL. Not just well... ROCK STAR WELL! The hiring manager (who I love for her confidence in me) assured me that I could pick up the journalism skills that were needed. I agree. I feel more confident and excited about this job then any other I've ever been offered.

I start on Monday with a trip to Boston. This is going to be fun!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rebecca Mullen's Altared Spaces

Rebecca Mullen is my daughter's husband's mother's sister... At least that's who she was when I first met her. She has become my friend (which is a much easier way to introduce her.) We discovered we both enjoyed writing and we've been exchanging pieces for critique for the past 6 months or so. In doing this exchange, I feel I've gotten to know Rebecca much more than many of the other people in my life.

There's a poem that's been passed around the internet about friends... how they're in our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I think there is a reason for every friendship. Each relationship gives us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and can touch our lives in ways we don't even realize.

Rebecca's writing, which you can find on her Altared Spaces Website, delves beyond trivial "chit chat" and explores emotions of the heart. Through appreciating simplicity she has the ability to find the extraordinary in objects that others would find ordinary. She sees beyond the surface and finds the hidden treasures in every thing and every person.

Rebecca will open up your mind and heart to possibilities that you may never have explored before. I encourage you to read her writing. Like me, you may find your heart growing and discovering beautiful altared spaces in your life every day.

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