By: Ben Gavlik
Bethany, W.Va. – On Wednesday, September 27th, award-winning author Danny H. Rubin visited Bethany College to talk about business communication skills. This was a perfect event for all students looking for potential jobs and internships in the upcoming future.
Rubin started the event discussing his life story and how he became successful. I quickly learned his success did not come easily or quickly. Although Rubin is only 33, he’s been very persistent and dedicated in order to accomplish his feats.
One of his main points during the lecture was in order to be successful, you have to do what you love every day. No matter what the obstacles are, if you don’t pursue your passions, you’re never going to achieve your ultimate goals. Throughout his speech, Rubin discussed how his relentless drive helped him overcome difficult times.
His adversity starts at the University of Virginia. Since middle school, Rubin knew he was passionate about writing. However, the University didn’t prove a communications or journalism program. Therefore, Rubin had to search outside of school to stay connected to his passion. He did so by working with the local newspaper and TV station and working for ESPN radio.
After undergraduate and graduate school, Rubin worked several different jobs in the media before realizing he didn’t enjoy the negativity in the news. Yet, he still knew he wanted writing to be a part of his career. He eventually started working at a marketing and public relations firm in Virginia and started his own blog.
His blog included a collection of different material without a general focus. Despite little success, Rubin wrote a blog post on writing templates for awkward job situations. After several of weeks, Rubin used Google analytics to see how his blog was doing. He then noticed this particular blog post was gaining much more popularity compared to other posts.
Subsequently, Rubin realized he might be on to something. He wasn’t promoting his blog; therefore, people were searching these kinds of questions online and found his material. He proceeded to write 60-70 more posts on different kinds of business writing including LinkedIn writing and networking. After a year, Google analytics showed that Rubin had over a million views on his blog.
His success was gratifying to him, as he found something he loved doing that gave real purpose to his audience. The popularity his blog was gaining inspired Rubin to write a book about business writing. After working with a team in Phoenix, Rubin finally published the book around two years ago.
After a long process, Rubin finally realized he needed a book distributor in order to sell his book. After several noes, a book distributor eventually accepted his book and FedEx agreed to release it in over 900 stores. This was one of the biggest examples of Rubin’s persistence since many of his emails went unanswered for weeks. It would have been easy for Rubin to give up and be discouraged, however, he kept with it and used the strategies in his book to gain different contacts.
In hindsight, it’s difficult to understand why no one has ever had this book idea before. Business writing is extremely important, and there are billions of people in the world that had the opportunity to come up with this idea. Yet, in Rubin’s perspective, this book was possible because it’s a representation of himself and his dedication.
After the lecture, Rubin answered several students’ questions to help prepare the audience for future opportunities. During this session, Rubin noted an important characteristic to get jobs is selflessness. One example he used was meeting someone at a job fair. Most will reach out to an employer with a follow-up emailing stating they like their company. However, this shows you’ve put little effort into the email. Instead, if you research their website and be specific about what you like in the email, that shows you care their business compared to other applicants sending generic emails.
Rubin also discussed job interviews and what kind of questions to ask employers. One of Rubin’s main theories is “when everyone zigs, you have to zag.” In his opinion, most of job applicant’s questions to an employer are going to be about themselves, such as their pay or their expected duties. In Rubin’s perspective, this is sending the wrong message to an employer that you’re all about yourself. Instead of asking those kinds of questions, questions about the employer such as, “how did you get into this field”, are much more impressive and help you “zag” instead.
Another question that was asked was “how do you make sure your resume stands out.” Rubin’s answer focused on the skills and work experience section. Rubin believes most applicants mix up skills and qualities. A skill would be a program you’re able to use, such as WordPress. Nevertheless, too many applicants put qualities in their skills section such ‘leadership’ or ‘hard-worker’. If an employer is looking for people that can use different programs, an applicant that has a skill like WordPress is much more likely to be recognized.
Rubin also stated the work experience section of your resume should answer three questions: how much, how often, and how many. This makes sure you are quantifying your work experience and clearly explaining what you have done.
Overall, I think Rubin did a great job motivating the audience and giving students valuable information at a critical point of all of our academic lives. The Keresty Lecture is often the most publicized event during communications week, and Rubin did a fantastic job living up to the hype of the event. I believe his speech had an immediate impact, as these strategies are ones that all students should start using. His book “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?” includes over 100 templates for business writing and is available on Amazon and various stores. I highly recommend any student looking for jobs or internships in the future.