Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, September 21, 2015

crush your interview/ writing/ "Get out there and gab"

Jul. 23 To Crush Your Interview and Avoid Looking Like An Amateur:   I cut out this article
by Tim Ryan in 24 News on Jan. 14, 2013:
Let’s be honest, most people don’t interview particularly well and quite honestly who can blame them? Chances are you don’t go to interviews very often since you’re probably busy with school or actually getting work done. Think about it, if you only picked up a tennis racket or kicked a soccer ball once a year how good would you be? Let me answer that for you - you’d be pretty average, if not terrible.

 The issue is interviewing matters (a lot), while kicking a soccer ball will be more of an afterthought (unless you’re Lionel Messi that is). The need to translate what you know and what you’re capable of is paramount in almost every profession, industry, and role you could imagine.

Given your opportunities to practice actual interviewing will be few and far between, your energy needs to be focused on a few key elements that you can control and that will help you crush your interview and look like a pro.

The devil’s in the details - You should be cognizant of everything and everyone around you the minute you step into the office. That woman next to you in the elevator, she’s the President of the company - say hi to her. Those photos, awards, and advertisements hanging in the lobby or office - the company is proud of those (that’s why they hung them up). Take stock of what they mean and ask your interviewer about them.

Study your interviewer(s) - The goal should be to know everything you can about the person who’s interviewing you and with the resources available today online (and for free) you’ve got no excuse. Where did they go to school? What have they done before? Do you have any common interests? They’ll certainly know a lot about you, be more prepared.

Answer the question - Too often people approach interviews reactively, the best candidates are always proactive. Rather than sitting down and preparing yourself to answer whatever questions they *might* ask you, figure out the answer to the only question that matters: how are you going to solve their problem? When employers hire, it means they have a burning need and void they need to fill - you need to know how to fill it.

Aug. 3 "Writing: A career building block": I cut out this article by Tim Ryan in 24 News on Feb. 21, 2012.  It was about writing, one of my biggest interests, so of course I had to cut it out:

Writing is becoming a lost art, particularly in the business world. The chances are you’ve received either a poorly written email, sat through an inarticulate presentation, listened to an unconvincing speech, or experienced all three. The ability to write clearly and effectively remains one of the central building blocks of our society, yet increasingly the emphasis on writing as a skill seems to be waning.

The irony, of course, is that it’s never been easier (or cheaper) in the history of civilization to disseminate content to the masses. Between blogs, e-publishers, and social media you have a triumvirate of tools to professionally present and share your message – without the need of any third parties.

There’s any number of reasons to explain its decline.  Some argue it’s the influence of social media, which facilitates speed rather than thought, while others suggest schools no longer place the same emphasis on effective writing that they once did.

However, why writing has declined as an art is not nearly as interesting as why it remains such a highly valued skill. The truth is it’s one of the best tools in your career arsenal and something that lets you do the following very well:

Sell – It could be an idea, a product, or a new project but your success will be judged on your ability to sell it. By using clear and concise language you stand a far better chance of effectively selling your pitch.

Influence decision makers – Whether it’s the CEO of your company, your investors, or your clients you can be sure they place a high value on strong writing. If you’re looking to influence these groups, put thought into the structure and tone of your chosen medium (e.g. presentation, discussion, proposal). By communicating effectively, you strengthen your argument.

Stand out – Given fewer take the time to write effectively, polishing your own writing skills is a great way to stand out from everyone. Use it to differentiate yourself in any number of forums, such as a job application or written exchanges with more senior members of your company.

"Get out there and gab": I cut out this article by Leah Ruehlicke (Talent Egg) in the Metro on Aug. 20, 2014.  It's about networking with some tips:

Putting yourself out there is tough.
Meeting new people is intimidating, networking is exhausting, and you can’t shake the fear that your attempts to meet new people are perceived as annoying.

However, roughly 80% of jobs are never even advertised, which means that creating your own opportunities is a great way to build your career – but where do you start?

How can you successfully master this market and push yourself forward (without being, well, pushy)?

Get the right attitude

You wont get anywhere if you’re held back by doubt.

Yes, networking can be awkward, and looking for new opportunities around every corner may make you feel like a creep.

Remember, if you approach each situation in a clear and direct way, no reasonable person will find your requests for information or inquiries off-putting.

Tip: It’s good to be prepared for a certain amount of disinterest. Some people just won’t want to engage with you – and that’s ok!

Give as much as you take

Leveraging your contacts is a great way to find out about opportunities.

Not only will you benefit from an expanded network, you’ll have a decent chance of a referral or “in” in the form of your connection!

However, you can’t ask for favours without being willing to dish out yourself. Want to take someone for coffee to pick their brain? Have something to offer in return.

Tip: Don’t just blindly suggest lunches to every contact you know. Have a question they can specifically answer, or seek information they in particular can provide you with.

Navigate the social job market

Building up your social presence will introduce you to others on social who may be able to help you out.

Well-positioned experts in your chosen field usually have a good sense of where hot new opportunities are hiding.

There’s an added benefit here! Employers will look you up online before hiring you for anything. Ensure your social presence is just as notable as your real one.

Tip: Be professional – but let your personality shine through. For example, share articles you find informative, but expand on why it resonated with you in the first place. Twitter is an excellent platform to discover interesting news, build opinions on it and share those with others.


Volunteering introduces you to a whole new pool of people. You can be strategic about who these people are (don’t worry).

Interested in pursuing a career in journalism? Try volunteering with a literary magazine or publication who seeks event volunteers.

Volunteering also allows you to stay as far within your comfort levels as you want. You don’t necessarily need to volunteer in positions that require networking, either. Getting involved in your community is a great resume builder and great evidence of your transferable skills.

Tip: Seek out opportunities. If there’s a particular organization you’re interested in working with, get in touch and ask them how to go about volunteering your time with them. Don’t just wait for positions to be advertised publicly!

Be proactive

As you explore and learn more, be alert for opportunities where you can create your own experience!

A good friend of mine was struggling to find employment post-graduation. She turned things around by offering to audit her local library’s social media strategy and develop a new plan for them.

This proactive approach was a great way for her to show off her skills, gain experience and build her network. She even managed to stay in her comfort zone. Networking doesn’t have to be a horribly uncomfortable night of small talk – it can simply be a one-on-one conversation that gets you on people’s radar.

Tip: Figure out what you want to do or what skills you want to develop – then get creative in finding opportunities which cater to this.


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