Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to Conduct an Effective Job Search

Looking for a job is an extremely exhausting and time-consuming process. You send out tons of resumes, fill out multiple job applications, and constantly alter your cover letter to better fit each new position. And at the end, you don't even remember what you have applied for, when and why.

I will take a bold guess and assume, that many positions within your interest probably essentially focus on the same set of qualifications and have very similar job descriptions, but their fancy names sometimes can throw you off and turn you away from applying completely.

How not to let your dream job (that you deserve and definitely are qualified for) get away?

To make your life easier, I decided to share my approach to job hunting that I took after graduating from college.

The heroine from the Sex and The City show couldn't be more right. Within almost 10 years of living in New York I have lost count of the resumes sent and interviews completed.

This time I have decided to keep track!

So I created a Google Spreadsheet and started documenting my efforts.

Screenshot of my job hunting spreadsheet

I took down positions i applied for, names of the companies and their websites, and sources where I saw the job listings on. I consider the last one important. On a numerous occasions I've been asked how did I hear about the position. And when you don't know what to say, it becomes obvious that you have applied for too many jobs and probably are desperate. No one wants to hire just to fill the spot. Employers are looking for the perfect fit regardless of the level of the position.

It takes a little bit of patience having to record your every effort but I believe by doing so you can become much better at interviews and actually develop a sense of what you want in life aside from the monetary compensation to pay the bills.

Fast-forwarding my story, in less than two months and five interviews later I scored a job.

If I were to look for a job now, I would add to my existing job hunting spreadsheet two more fields such as:
- The questions I was asked and wasn't confident I answered well;
- My answers that were accepted favorably;

We learn from our mistakes, and You can improve upon referring back to your experience 

Another important part of your job hunting process is to keep prepared 3-5 questions to ask at the end of an interview. A job interview is a two-way-conversation, and asking questions makes you look engaged.

Here are some of the questions that will make you sound generally interested:

- How will my performance be evaluated?
- What do you expect from a person in this role?
- What are the top three skills an employee should have to succeed in this role?
- What are the opportunities to grow within the company?
- What kind of training does the company offer?
- Does the company offer mentoring?
- Who is successful in the company and what does he do different?
- It also doesn't hurt to ask about the career path of your interviewer!

And of course, the general questions about the hiring process such as:

- How does the recruiting process work?
- When will you hear from them?
- What are the next steps?

Here are your top 10 job websites you should look into especially if you are in communications like me:


And last but not least, don't disregard joining various topical Facebook groups. In my case, I am a member of NYC Ad Jobs & Networking, FindSpark Community, and my college alumni group.

Here is my final advice to you summarizing everything above - keep sending resumes, keep the notes in the spreadsheet, and keep improving upon reviewing your efforts.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hasta Luego, EspaƱa, You Taught Me a Thing

Here is the long-awaited post about my return to NYC from a two-week-long vacation.

It was a full house on the board of Barcelona - New York flight. Vacation - exhausted and maybe slightly reminiscent travelers sat quietly down covering under the big black shades their long - suffering eyes, the eyes that have seen so much and have been through a lot within the past couple of days.

I quickly screened through the crowd wondering what were their stories, and my attention was picked by a few people wearing t-shirts with prints that spoke for themselves: "Holy Ship" and "Pasha Ibiza".

What did it tell me? These were the hardcore party-goers who enjoy electronic music as i do; who have the thirst for adventure and are ready to hit the rode and wander the globe searching to satisfy their appetite. 

What it also tells me that these guys work flexible schedules that allows them to travel, mostly in creative industries. 

The border line is, with a little bit of context you can create a whole profile on a person and become a much better communicator before a conversation even starts.

By picking on the little details like a t-shirt print you can learn a whole different story about a person and use it in your advantage. Nonverbal communication is an extremely important life-hacking skill.

Paying closer attention to your surroundings you will take your communication skills to the next level and start having a much more personal conversations leading to a better and stronger relationships with people.

You think you are not good at communication, start screening the room at work. Pick up on small details that paint a bigger picture, and start striking deeper conversations. You will notice right away how pleasantly surprised the people will become, once you start asking the right questions. Who doesn't like to talk about themselves?
A photo posted by Ksusha (@kseniantn) on

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Are You Challenging Yourself?


What is challenge?

Challenges are hard. I tried to do the #SoberApril challenge and swore I wouldn't drink for the next 30 days to prove myself and others there is a way to socialize without drinking.

My month of April was all scheduled-up with events and meetings leaving very little time for having second thoughts.
Organizer is open on the April - page

 And you know what?

I have failed the very first day but didn't regret. 

I learned a good lesson that a lot of the time drinking can stitch the relationships you could have never built otherwise. And, no, I'm not encouraging You to drink however I do want You to look at the bigger picture. Sometimes being a little bit more flexible and susceptible of the environment can bring you from point A to point C skipping the B all together - something you could have never accomplished had you chosen not to adapt to the change or the circumstances.

The challenge that I'm trying to do now was born in accordance to the masterminds of marketing such as Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, and Ann Handley whose book "Everybody Writes" I just finished reading and totally loved. 

These marketing gurus claim one and all that one post a day can go a long way adding value to you as a professional and establishing your reputation as a thought leader.

So, my challenge of this month is to publish one blog post a day or try to do so and see where it takes me. And if I fail, it's a learning experience. 

As you may know, the hardest part in writing is the start. The fear of writing the first line and for it not to be perfect has stopped me (and maybe you too?) many times in the past. But this time I believe I found a way to overcome my writing fear by speaking out my mind on the Google Voice app that types it all up for me, so i don't lose the train of thought. All i have to do is edit. 

I believe through trial and error we get where we want to be, and failing from time to time is what creates a character and makes us stronger as individuals and professionals.

So let the challenge begin, and I will see you tomorrow!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

To hell with Sober April. Just Live Your Life

The Sober April wasn't meant to happen, and i have failed on the very first day of the month - Friday, when upon screening the crowd at one of the Bushwick night clubs I sighed and declared that I need a drink, now.

While alcohol is not particularly healthy; it is indeed a social lubricant, a melting - sharp-communicational - corners substance, and the key to understand and to be understood in the foreign environment should that be a different industry or a different country.

My Serbian friend once told me a tale about a foreign general who came to Serbia to sign an agreement only to learn that he must drink with the Serbian army chief before signing anything. The chief's reasoning was very simple, "I can't trust someone who can't drink with me."

Many of my European friends have shared with me their version of this story adding that they also wouldn't be too comfortable in a company of a person who doesn't drink. " What is he hiding? Is he trying to take advantage of me? Is he sick? Does he take medication? And overall,  what's his story?"

This post is not to agitate you to run outside and buy a bottle of something and make it a day. It is to make you understand the different psychology behind everything, and how having one social drink can turn things in your favor.

Friday, April 1, 2016


#SoberApril is a social experiment the mission of which is to prove that social networking doesn't always have to have an alcohol setting.

For every day of #SoberApril i will attempt to do one social activity (most of which are free) and blog about it. 

Follow my journey and contribute with your own experience - use the hashtag #SoberApril; because it can be fun without happy hours and boozy brunches.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Here is Why You Should Maintain Your Personal Brand on Instagram

Yesterday i had a coffee with my neighbor - a handsome Brazilian male model. As the conversation went on, being someone who "struggles" with social media and digital marketing for a living, I of course, wanted to know how many Instagram followers does he have.
Image courtesy: tanuha2001 /

Maiko, 34, seemed very eager to talk about the topic of social media, and to what degree it affects his life. He did have 8000 followers on Instagram, which, he said, is "very few". (Needless to say, that's about 25 times more than i have on my Instagram account!)

Maiko shared with me two important points: one, he said, for models it's much easier to gain followers by posting perfect shots from photoshoots; two, he desperately needed to get more followers, and he HATED the idea behind it.

Maiko' showed me an account of his fellow model friend (@chico_lachowski), who is being followed by 850 thousands of people! The guy gets his jobs right from Instagram. More than that, not having a big Instagram following for a model these days can drastically alter his prospects of getting modeling gigs. Because, if no one likes you on Instagram, chances are, no one will like you in a commercial/runaway walk or an ad gig that you are banking on! This is the kind of mind set people have today.

While my friend said he finds it very superficial, and he feels stupid every time he takes a selfie and shares it with the rest of the world, for Maiko this is the way to maintain his name in the industry.

But is Instagram only good for models?

Once in a while i check the job market to see where i stand against the competition, and guest What! The next level positions have a "strong (proven) ability to gain followers" as a part of the job description!

Open Media Road. Digital Brand Manager job description

And of course, let's no forget about Rihanna recently finding a girl for her music video on Instagram using the Discover tool. Sanam is the artist based in Seattle (on NYC now, as her account states) whose appealing and unique Instagram personality attracted a superstar and pushed the artist's career onto the next level.

As the conclusion, i won't "discover America" by saying it's crucially important to keep your online presence intact. And what you have on your Instagram, represents who you are as a brand. Yes, a brand, because all of us are "brands" in a way. And your Instagram account could be the key selling point in getting you / your brand from point A to point B or even C in your career path. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

5 Tips for success at a job interview!

Handshake man - women
Photo via commons.
Author: flazingo_photos

1. Read the job description!

You may think this is a banality - wrong! Reading word-to-word what is written in the job description is extremely important and saves you from asking unnecessary questions.

It also helps to ...

2. have an understanding of everything listed in the job description!

Is there something you are not familiar with or have a vague understanding? Google it before the interview! Rarely people are 100% qualified for the position they apply for however, they must project a general understanding of its characteristics. It is also useful to read other job listings with the same position title you are interested in. See if they list any different requirements (set of skills, programs) to perform this job in the most efficient manner possible.

3. Can do attitude.

Ya ya ya....We all know that. However, it's crucially important you communicate this to your potential employer. Be honest about things you aren't an expert in BUT reassure that you can become an expert. Because there's nothing impossible, and you are very interested in advancing your skills in this field.

4. Get your questions ready!

Asking (SMART) questions shows that you are generally interested and want to understand if you can fit in.

 Questions such as:

- What kind of qualities are you looking in the candidate? 
- Can you give me an approximate day-to-day list of activities of someone in that position?
- How do you evaluate the job progress?
- What is the evaluation process for the applicants?

And many more. Forbes has listed some examples that look helpful!


From my personal experience - it totally worked! Write down things you think are important such as names, who would be your supervisor, or information that you weren't familiar with (particular program applications etc.) so you can what? - Google it and become familiar!

5. Get ready for their questions!

One of the most important ones is Why do you want to work for this company.

This isn't about the money or status. You've got to sell them that you believe in the idea, mission, practices or whatever it is that that company does, and you want to be part of this. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

SMS etiquette

How often does it happen that we wait for the one message that is going to change the outcome of the rest of the night?

Sunday, January 18, 2015


One cannot truly call himself a New Yorker unless he tried on multiple hats that the Big City has to offer: a bartender, a waiter, a role with the loud name "Brand Ambassador", which stands for a sales person, an usher or a "front of the house" team member whose responsibilities include "but not limited to" handing out flyers outside and stopping people on a street to persuade them to go inside of a venue.

Lastly, the two roles surrounded with the most romance and expectations of fame and prosperous future are modeling at Abercrombie and Fitch, half-naked, if you dare and fit the A&F parameters, and, of course, acting!

To gain an experience in the latter I headed to Central Casting on Thursday, the day when at 1 PM they accept applications from non-union females only.

Photo credit:
The crowd in the room, so to say, was not what I expected. It was about 20 of us with the third of the group in their late 50s but going on early 40s. The kind of experience one gets in Vegas, when at a casino every cocktail girl looks the same from afar: slim and very fit body, high heels and mini skirts; and only at a close up you see the difference.

"Portrayable age" said one of the questions in the application. Later, one of the girls asked, "What do I write down on the "Age" question? The one that I can act like?
- Honey, you write down your actual age, - the host answered softly (with understanding).

The room was full of enthusiasm however. The vibrant host-lady stated, "Remember, you are very important to the director." Background actors set the overall atmosphere. "Imagine, they are shooting the scene at an office full of cubicles. They need you there to be seated pretending you are doing the work. Even though, your face might not be seen, you are an integral part of the movie."

Thirty minutes through the meeting the girls were readily filling out the Skills section. "Are you proficient in any sports? Do you know how to dance? Do you play any instruments?"

"Singing is not an instrument,"- every now and then interjected the host.

"Write down all of the costumes you own. Background extras bring their own clothing. Ladies, if you own a cocktail dress, put that down!"

An agreeable sign of relief spread across the casting room. There is still a chance to flaunt as a flapper dancer on a ball framed-up to 1920'es or to be present at a the Oscar Awards even the fictitious one. 

The time was two o'clock. And after a brief introduction to the terms and conditions of the employment and expectations on both sides it was time to call it a day. The host informed the guests on Acting Glossary such is "Call Time" - the time the extras expected to show up on set; "check-in number" - a unique number given to all actors; and a "sign-in voucher" - the proof of the time spent on set used to claim a paycheck.

Another important piece of information was about a salary expectations. Extras get paid $96.25 (if I remember correctly) for 10 hours of work, everything past 10 hours is considered an overtime.

"Ladies, remember, you are here for the lovely experience not money!" - The host exclaimed cheerfully at the very last.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas confessions: OKcupid obsession and a 3-digits-debt

Yesterday, at the friend's Christmas party in a very intimate atmosphere a male friend of mine has shared his experience in online dating specifically on OKcupid.

Sometime this summer Alex has discovered that he is hugely successful among the female users of OKcupid. The attention - hungry (and horny) New York City ladies literally threw themselves at our handsome fellow that at some point he said he went on to six different dates within a week.

"It was so addictive!" - he said.

It was so addictive that Alex opened up a credit card specifically to pay for the dates. By the end of the summer before Alex even knew it, his credit card debt rang up to five thousand dollars!

Now, the credit card is closed; Alex is paying off his debt and is staying away from online dating for a little while. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How I went out with the Wrong Chris! #TinderStories

We were set to meet at 9 PM at Lillie's on Union Square. Chris was a techy Greek - American guy with a promising startup future, and we met on Tinder.

We had been chatting for about a week when the time has come for us to finally face each other and not through the screens of our phones. I was fashionably 10 minutes late as I was crossing the Union Square, when someone grabbed me by my elbow:

- Hey, how are you?! ... Hi!
- Hi. - I was least than enthusiastic about such street encounters.
- Hi!! My name is Chris! I'm from Greece. Where are you from?!
- Oh, hi Chris, - said I in a much softer voice.

He wasn't exactly 6'1 as he said, I thought to myself and added aloud, "You aren't as tall as you promised though." He joked his way out of my remark and we proceeded to the closest bar he knew to continue the conversation.

Over a glass of wine I began a silent examination of my date. I peered closely at his face: sure, most photos on Tinder are small and blurry and definitely aren't representative of a real person. Oh, maybe, it's the second glass of wine (I had the first one with my friends to boost my confidence) that like a haze coated my brain preventing it from thinking clear.

Suggestive questions followed, "So why are you on Tinder?", "Can you tell me more about what are you working on right now?" Chris seemed to have a gift of gab, threw in jokes and painted with words abstract scenery of his current situation and the nearest future. I was confused.

- So... Did you like my Instagram? - I blurted out.
- No! What are you talking about?! I've never met you before. - My date was finally losing it.
- So... Who are you?! - I fired off.
- My name is Chris, and I am from Greece. - At this point he reached for his ID and proudly presented it to me. "I just thought you were pretty and decided to meet you," - he said.

Now this finally made sense.  Chris told me he was slightly confused over my Tinder questions but decided not to pay much mind to that.

.... So I came one hour late on my date with Tinder Chris.
Needn't to say he didn't believe a word I said and thought I was the biggest fibber of all times.

Ps if you still haven't heard about Tinder, please refer to Wikipedia here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

True stories about relationships #girlsproblems

- I used to date this guy, whose towels were always folded very carefully angle to angle. I thought he was crazy and I eventually left him. Later i learnt he had a maid... (c)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Girls' observation on Tinder:

1. Please no cats, dogs or kids with caption "It's my nephew" on your profile photo. Also no piles of cash or lit joints. We might be 420 friendly but hardly claim it as a chosen lifestyle.

2. Please HAVE a profile photo or have your face on it. If you think we have time and desire to swipe though the first three shots of beautiful landscapes in order to get a closer peak at you, you are mistaken. Swipe-left, Next!

3. No need for a two-(mobile) page-long self-explanatory profile indicating a specific qualities, features, horoscope signs and type of characters "need / no need to apply." It's Tinder. It's ain't that serious. And you are a weirdo to spend so much time trying to change it. 

4. I don't know about you but I personally don't like desperation. Don't send me "Sexy, how are you?" at 3:30 in the morning on Friday if you ever want to hear from me again.

5. The last one but not the least, we have already "liked" each other. Why do you take sweet time, four days so far to be precise, to write me a greeting? ©

This post was influenced by Bro Bible "6 Reasons bro join Tinder" .