Tag Archives: Jeanne

How a yellow plastic sand shovel helped get my first ad agency job

By Jeanne Corrigan

I’ve recently reconnected with some coworkers from my first ad agency job at Valentine-Radford in Kansas City. While times weren’t as tough as they are today, it was definitely an employers’ market and I was having a hard time getting interviews. I wanted to stand out from all the other agency hopefuls so I got creative with my search and that made all the difference.

If you’re thinking about a creative approach to your job search, here are three ways you can do it:

1.    Show your personality to get a meeting.

  • In an effort to land interviews, I created a two-part mailer. The first was a light bulb in a box with a note that said, “Bright young professional seeks entry-level position. Illuminating details to follow.”  Then I followed up with my resume. Cheesy? Maybe. Overuse of puns?  Of course. Effective? Most definitely. I think I got eight interviews on the basis of that effort alone.

2.    Keep the conversation going.

  • During this same job search, I was playing phone tag with a department head at Valentine-Radford, but I couldn’t get an interview set up. So, when his assistant called and said he couldn’t find time because he was buried in work, I ran to the store, bought a yellow plastic sand shovel (to help him dig out) and sent it overnight. I had an interview the next week and a job shortly after that.

3.    Demonstrate your understanding and passion for the business.

  • A woman I know wanted to work for an event company that puts on running events. She was an avid runner and wanted to get into event planning. She knew there were no open positions at the time so she would check in periodically with short email message and photos of her race finishes. It took some time but she got the job.

While there are certainly guidelines to being creative in your job search – the approach must fit with the position and the industry you’re going after – I do believe creative resumes can help you stand out and be remembered. When you think about it, what have you got to lose?


Mutual Amusement: A look at her sense of humor

By Jeanne Corrigan

Women are funny creatures. I know because women’s humor is a part of my daily life — research participants often show flashes of wit and some are downright hilarious. At On Your Mark, the office chats are full of quick retorts and funny perspectives as are my own conversations with friends.

When I think about women and humor, I’m reminded of a quote from the movie “When Harry Met Sally” – “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.” While I agree that not everyone can have good taste, what about a sense of humor, is it possible that all women have a sense of humor?

Woman-to-woman humor is unique and inclusive. We tend to laugh together – it’s a shared experience, particularly among close friends because it’s about seeing a situation, or the absurdity of the situation, in the same way. Women tend to be collaborators in their humor while men are more individual performers. Men often set-up a joke, deliver the punch line and wait for laughs. Humor among male friends includes sarcasm and a lot of good-natured ribbing. And it seems men want to share that kind of humor with women, too. According to a survey of 331,138 eHarmony male users, men are most interested in women who have “guy humor,” which consists of “sarcastic, juvenile, geeky or raw” jabs.

In female relationships, humor is about a shared perspective and it often defines the potential for friendship. In fact, the line between casual acquaintance and good friend is often set by how often and how much humor can be shared. You don’t just laugh with the women you are closest with, you cackle, literally fall off your chair, and turn heads at restaurants.

When I was in my 20s, I moved from working in an ad agency in the Midwest to working in a regional bank in New England. I felt completely out of place because no one seemed to “get me” and my sense of humor. Then, in the middle of a boring meeting, I began smiling to myself about something funny and I noticed someone else was suppressing a smile, too. That smile was a sign that there just might be someone in that bank that I could connect with and maybe become friends. That was 15 years ago and Lorrie Burns is still one of my closest friends, all because of a smile in a dull presentation.

Finding the same things funny is often the first hint that another woman might “get us.” And we are closest to those women who do. So, in thinking about the original question – can all women have a sense of humor – it seems to me that most women are funny to someone. And that someone likely laughs about the same things we do . . . so maybe we can all have a sense of humor.

She’ll definitely put your oxygen mask on first.

By Jeanne

Women have a hard time taking care of themselves. And as women who talk to women, we also know they have a hard time even talking about themselves and their own preferences.  There’s a lot of talk about balance and how women should prioritize themselves so they can best take care of others, but we don’t always see that in action when doing our work.

  • When we give women the payment for their participation in our research, most say they are going to use it for something their kids need, or to treat their family to something fun.
  • Women often do the “mundane things” and don’t mind them, in fact enjoy them, if it gives them just a bit to be alone — and NOT feel guilty about that alone time!  (Which includes grocery shopping, running errands for the family, even her morning shower, you name it, but it’s time alone without guilt.)
  • We have frequently asked women to keep a journal as part of a study. It never fails that one woman mentions (with several other women nodding) how much she enjoyed putting down her thoughts and ideas and that she misses it when the project is over. The process makes her pause, take a breath and think about herself, why she does what she does and typically she becomes more self-aware the longer she journals. Yet, it’s unlikely that many keep journaling.

So women’s nurturing instinct is alive and well, 24/7.   Which is important to know when you’re talking with women and asking them to focus on their own actions and opinions.  As moderators, we find ourselves saying “but what about you, just think about yourself” when we’re asking women about their own preferences.  Which means often it’s the second or third response that gets to the heart of the matter. The first response is probably about others; the truth about herself is a little further underneath.