5 Career Lessons from Mean Girls

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the iconic movie, Mean Girls. In addition to having the most quotable script of all time, Mean Girls also offers a lot of career takeaways! This list is “so fetch” so you better keep reading.

1. Don’t get an ego

Cady’s ultimate downfall is that she starts thinking she is all that and a bag of Regina’s low cal chips. She gets caught up on getting to the top of the social pyramid, which ultimately causes her to flunk calculus, lose her BFFs, and get grounded.

Whether you’re on the job hunt, interviewing, or just starting out your career, don’t let your ego get to your head. Humility is key; no one likes a conceited employee who thinks they’re better than everyone else.

2. Nothing good comes from cliques

Cady’s school is full of cliques: the plastics, the JV jocks, desperate wannabes, burnouts, etc., and it’s the presence of these cliques that turns everyone against each other in the end.

When you’re at your job, avoid joining the office clique. It’s important to create an inclusive, not exclusive, work environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. If you work your way into an office clique, people may be afraid to approach you and you can miss out on some awesome opportunities.

3. Accept help

Cady, Janis, and Damian all work together to take down Regina George, and it works! *Spoiler alert* Regina ends up getting hit by a bus, loses her position as queen bee, and becomes an athlete instead. There’s no way Cady, Janis, or Damian could have stripped Regina from her power without one another.

Similarly, there’s no way you’ll get an interview, job, or promoted without people’s help. Whether it’s using your connections, or asking a friend to proofread your resume, put your pride aside and accept their help.

4. Brains are an asset

Cady is introduced as a super smart calculus wizard, but she dumbs herself down to get a guy *ew.* By playing dumb, Cady eventually loses her crush’s affection, and fails her calc test. It isn’t until she accepts her math abilities, and joins the mathletes that she realizes all of mistakes she’s made that year.

Realize and capitalize on your strengths. Never dumb yourself down to spare your supervisor’s or coworker’s feelings, instead take the opportunity to teach them what you know!

5. Take responsibility for your actions

At the end of the movie, Cady takes responsibility for writing the Burn Book (a book that has a bunch of mean things about all the girls in her class). Even though Cady only wrote one page of the lengthy book, she still took the blame for all of it.

We will all make mistakes at work, but it’s important that you make sure to take responsibility for them. Admitting you did something something wrong on your own (rather than your supervisor finding out) shows really good character and will help you in the long run.

kickSTARt Your Interview

 

Two short weeks ago I was in the heart of the Windy City for the Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day. It was an all day affair complete with breakfast, lunch, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. I learned a lot through my anxiety-ridden experience, and want to share my new-found knowledge with all of you!

The lunch portion of the event was particularly helpful because we (the very nervous interviewees) had our very own, real life HR Recruiter at our table. Luckily, she was very nice and let us ask as many questions as our hearts desired, and I asked “what advice do you have for how we should approach the company booths during the networking time?” Her answer was simple, informative, and easy to implement – simply be a S.T.A.R.

Whether it’s a quick talk at a booth, a phone interview, or an onsite interview, the S.T.A.R. method is the best way to answer any question a recruiter poses. In order to implement this answering method you have to use real life examples. For example, if the interviewer asks you about a moment you are most proud of this is how you would answer using the S.T.A.R. method:

Situation:

Anytime you give an answer you need to give the recruiter/hiring manager some context of what was happening. What you may think is obvious might not be to them, so make sure you include information about the basics of the situation.

Example: The moment I’m most proud of is when I won my internship competition last summer when I was a digital media planning intern at MediaCom. The competition consisted of five teams with four people on each, and lasted throughout the 10-week internship.

Task:

This is where you describe what you were asked to do, or what the challenge of the situation was.

Example: For the internship competition each team was asked to create a comprehensive media plan for BP Fuel Rewards Program, which culminated in a group presentation in front of agency leaders.

Action:

This is the most important component of the S.T.A.R. method. The action piece of the method is where you describe what you actually did in the scenario.

Example: My group did substantial secondary research to fully understand the situation at hand. We then worked together to create an insightful media plan based on our research. Our presentation was well rehearsed, and adequately reflected the work we put into it.

Result:

This is the conclusion of the S.T.A.R. method. Now you need to tell them the “so what.” What happened as a result of your actions? The result section is where you prove to the recruiter that you made the right “action.”

Example: As a result of our hard work and detail-oriented plan, my team won the intern competition. Our prize was the opportunity to present to MindShare’s North American CEO.

 

The S.T.A.R. method is a great way to handle any interview question; it keeps your answers clear, concise, and organized. It also helps you from rambling on and on.

Have you ever used the STAR method?

Ring Ring, Your Dream Job is Calling

Our generation is almost a stranger to the art of talking on the phone. If I hear my phone ring I automatically think there’s been some major catastrophe. While we’ve moved away from social communication via telephone calls, professional communication still heavily relies on good ol’ fashioned phone calls. Specifically, recruiters like to use phone interviews instead of making their candidates come in, so it’s important to master the art of phone talk. Here are 5 ways you can be a rockstar on the phone.

1. Smile

I know they can’t see you but recruiters can tell if you’re smiling by the sound of your voice. Make sure you sound pleasant, because you are being judged solely on the the audio you provide.

2. Create a cheat sheet

While phone interviews aren’t ideal because you can’t respond to the body language of the interviewer, they do offer a few perks. Because the recruiter can’t see you, they also can’t see your very handy cheat sheet! Have your resume in front of you as well as information about the company, skills you want to touch on, and questions you have that you might otherwise forget.

3. Take notes (listen)

One of the hardest parts of talking on the phone is staying focused! It’s so easy to let your mind wander and completely zone out. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS. Take notes while the recruiter is giving you specific details about the position, this way you stay focused and have specific details you can refer back to when you ask questions at the end of the interview.

4. Location, location, location

Make sure you get good reception wherever you decide to take your interview phone call. Cell phones don’t provide the connection security landlines once did. For this reason, you need to make sure you find a quiet place with good reception before your interview.

5. Thank You/Follow Up

Even though phone interviews may not seem like a big deal, they are! Make sure you take the appropriate follow-up steps and send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview (an e-mail is sufficient for telephone interviews). Your thank you note should not only thank the recruiter for their time, but also highlight reasons why you would be a perfect addition to their team. This is also a good time to sneak in anything about yourself you didn’t get to talk about during the interview.

 

*ring**ring* Better pick up, you never know when you’re dream job will call you.