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SPARKIN is an executive recruitment agency with a difference. We care more about your optimum fit than about making a placement! We are focused on aiding and abetting your career progression and optimization. Our primary target audience is strategic planners of all persuasion. We work with allies in key centers in the United States and around the globe. Our experience is based around the importance of relationships and becoming an expert at building them and through them attaining personal and career goals.

Parkin Empathy Prize Winner – Vicoria Aldecocea

The ability to work seamlessly with creatives or for that matter clients, (or consumers) starts with a ‘determination’ and ability’ to effectively understand others. This ’empathetic’ gene is key for effective strategic problem solvers as it is for an effective society!
Many congratulations to “Victoria Aldecocea,” the newest (and 24th) Parkin ‘Empathy’ Award winner. ($1500 cash prize plus $500 coaching).
The award is judged by the students on the course as well as the strategists that teach the course; (Not the school; Not SPARKIN)
It was great to be able to individually zoom with each of the 15 students: Victoria Aldecocea, Blair Baker, Ben Berlin, Raphael Bussy, Leslie Collin, Jewelian Griffith, Anastasia Montoya, Dasha Ovsyannikova, John Pillsbury, Todd Reichman, Tierney Riccitelli, Marti Rosenberger, Nicholas Schneider, Vanessa Van Der Keyl and Emily Woodward. Thanks to all the teachers who also voted: Vanessa Cameron, Marta Insua, RP Kumar, Chris Kwak, Alejandro Oszust, Christopher Owens, Eric Pakurar, Carlos Roncajolo, Pete Scanlon and Patrick White. Finally, thanks to dynamic Manolo Garcia, Director of the San Francisco school.
#MiamiAdSchoolSanFranciscoAccountPlanningBootcamp #ParkinAward #CareerOptimisation #Careers #LifeSkills #SparkinSearch #Inclusive

Better Q’s = Better Answers

Basic facts are must haves, but better questions demand thought, from interviewor and interviewee alike and ‘often’ lead to better understanding. Try:
Don’t ask her how much she wants to make, ask her how she wants to grow
Don’t ask him where he wants to work, ask him what he wants to experience
Don’t ask them about a typical day, clarify which skills they want to focus on using
Don’t ask me what I’m looking for. Ask me what a dream scenario might be.
#Betterquestions + #BasicFacts = #Cleardirection

Great Strategists are Empathetic. What inhibits empathy?

A core ability of the most effective strategic planners is empathetic ability. So, why are some less empathetic than others?
a) Lack of life experience? It’s certainly easier to understand someone if you’ve experienced their lot.
b) Prejudice – We all have biases, but the more we have or the stronger they are, the harder it is to empathise. Strong curiosity can be a helpful counterbalance.
c) Lack of emotional intelligence? (EQ) – EQ is not formally taught and some who might have great intellect don’t neccsarily have high EQ.
d) Ego out of balance? – Narcissists are only interested in themselves.
e) A combination of the above
f) What do you think?
#careerskills #strategicplanner #eqpower #empathy

The Strategist I’m Told to Identify

The ‘ideal’ strategist I’m typically asked to identify:
A true empath – so is equipped to understand/connect with colleagues, consumers and clients alike
A sense maker/connector of disparate ideas – culturally savvy
Openness – To all people and ways of thinking – is genuinely open-minded and so able to understand and incorporate the spectrum of perspectives.
#jobsearch #corestrength #employable

Where to Focus..

‘If you are depressed you are living in the past; If you’re anxious you’re living in the future; If you are at peace, you are living in the present.’ (Lao Tzu)
Or, there are times to reflect and to plan and the ‘present’ might not feel the best, but really, the present is the only time to live. #Live #Love #Inspire

Open Mind=Quantum Leap?

‘What we see depends mainly on what we look for.’ (Sir John Lubbock)

Or, this is a perfect time to clarify what you want and don’t want and to refocus. But, if you want to be informed and/or surprised, always have an open mind so that iterative progression may instead be a quantum leap.

Be Passionate Or Don’t Interview

Job interview manual tip, page 1, section 1, point 1 – ‘Show the love!’ If the would be employer does not feel your enthusiasm, even if you are brilliant, you’re probably not getting the job. Be passionate and if you can’t, pursue something else.

Job Market Update 07/30/20

Jobs market for strategists – How are things tracking?

The opportunities for paid work have picked up in the last month but the focus now and through the remainder of 2020 will emphasize, freelance/flexi/’permalance’. Why? Because clients, uncertain about consistency of consumer expenditure will not want to lock themselves in to extra marketing and in turn, so agencies similarly will not want to be locking in cash, least of all on full time hiring. There are of course exceptions. Where full time hiring is really happening is with agencies that in ‘normal’ market conditions, might relatively struggle to attract top industry talent. For those that really want to freelance, after many job cuts in this marketplace, expect plenty of competition, as a huge surplus your strategy peers are also now looking for freelance.

Flexi/Freelance Working Opportunity – Should I Consider It? Yes if:

Money – You need to keep the money rolling in and it can be lucrative.

Sanity – You need to keep your mind engaged whilst waiting for full time.

Availability – Because there is no full time!

Assessment – Because it provides a much better way to assess your fit as part of a new team/with a new client. You have the chance to ‘trial,’ as does the agency.

Variety – Allows you to have a better variety of work.

Skills Focus – You can focus on using the expertise you prefer to focus on.

Connections – Allows you greater industry exposure.

Career Direction? – If you’re unsure about what’s next for your career, freelance gives you time to re-evaluate.

Flexibility – Freelance allows you to work when you want.

Flexi/Freelance Working Opportunity – Should I Consider?

Flexi/Freelance Working Opportunity – Should I Consider It? No if:

Lack of security – Freelance unlike full time, is temporary work. When an agency needs to cut back, the freelancers tend to lose out first.

Constant hustle – As freelance is temporary, you need to constantly be pursuing next.

Loneliness – You are very often not part of a team and working in isolation.

Lack of Structure – You are in business for yourself. This is good but you have to create the structure of your day.

Dealing with Admin’ – If you work for yourself, you’ll have plenty of non-strategy things that need to get done.

Team Involvement – You don’t usually have the same level of information or involvement with the team.

Project Completion – Project work invariably means you work on discrete parts of a campaign or brand building exercise which you may not see through to completion.

Career Paralysis – Freelance can be a detour from a time needed to reflect or retool.

Freelance – What Are My Next Steps?

Instead of being the end of the world, the loss of a job can be a good thing, the need for money aside, it really does depend on how you ‘want’ to see things. As a crisis or as an opportunity. For certain, some form of new beginning but, what should your focus be if when you are laid off?

1.If you desperately need to work, (to keep cashflow or sanity) then take any freelance role where you know your skills are needed.

2. If you’re not desperate for work – Use the time you now have to reflect and assess what would be an optimal next career step; Which skills you would like to develop and which experiences do you want to have next. Clarify whether this comes from non-vocational training or from specific freelance or full-time roles.

3. Smile – Know that the job you’ve been paid to do, understanding consumer behavior, is a dream scenario for many. So, from time-to-time, why not now, remind yourself what you get paid to do for a living. Really think about it. Then, smile. I promise, you, you will feel energized.

For more on the subject of Freelance working, sign up for our ‘Free’ newsletter, which goes to thousands of your strategic problem-solving peers. The next edition is out 8/3 and focused on freelance working.

Staying Positive Increases Your Chances of Getting Hired

Just spoke with a strategist who lost their job and with it their confidence, but how they reacted was smart.
After reflecting, first they concluded that the world and ‘their’ world, would not end. They decided they wouldn’t let it!
They decided after allowing themselves to be shaken for 24 hours to return to the front foot.
They then then posted on social media. Their post focused on gratitude to all that had given them the opportunity both in the agency and all that had helped their development. They highlighted the fact that they had so much to learn. (Gratitude and humility can go a long way, as can other’s awareness of our availavility to work.)
Within a day they had received some positive responses and within a week they had a job offer.
#proactiveapproach #neversaydie #strategicplanning

To Get the Job You Hoped For – Ask incisive questions at the interview

A salutary lesson for any job seekers but particularly for strategists, trained to ask the right questions for their clients and then not doing so for themselves when interviewing for a new job.

“Unfortunately, the role wasn’t what I was sold – I started there on the promise of delivering strategic work, but the other personnel and the agency leadership were only focused on delivering comm’s or worse, ad campaigns masquerading as strategic innovation! I left within three months of arriving. It was a hard lesson in really being on the same page as others in terms of what you want to achieve.”
Moral of story – To obtain a better first-hand understanding of the opportunity you’re being considered for, ask better questions, such as:

How does the agency make the bulk of its money? (tells you what the actual business focus is)
Key People in the agency – What are their primary skillsets? (tells you what skill-sets are really valued)
Awarded Work – What is the agency known for/Where is it being recognized and how?
What is the publicly articulated vision for the agency?
Your Success is defined as what? Be crystal clear what the people about to hire you believe makes you a success in your role. This will confirm whether your and their thinking aligns.
#CareerSuccess#Clarity#Questions

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