Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meh, Better, Best

Which of these versions of my blog would you prefer to read?

  • A blog for English majors
  • A career-focused, inspirational blog for liberal arts majors
  • Savvy, juicy tidbits on career and life success, especially for my favorite students

The article I've linked to today asks you to recast your resume using similar rhetorical strategies when you write your resume. I especially like this article because there are several examples, and some thoughtful "how to" insights.

Thanks and a tip of the Twitter hat to Pooja Boinapalli, @SimplyHired!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why an English major ROCKS

Employers (says the Washington Post) are dissatisfied with new graduates. When they are presented with a complex task in which they have to create their own solutions, new grads belly-flop. No step-by-step instructions, and they are lost.

But isn't that what an English major teaches? Thinking on your feet; oral and written communication skills; awareness of the diversity of American and global cultures; ethical reasoning skills. Vocational majors give employers less of what they want: "There is... too much emphasis these days on picking a practical field of study, which is why business is the most popular undergraduate major. But employers need people who are broadly educated and have practical skills."

Just to be clear, you can't just study Shakespeare or Toni Morrison, even if you get straight A's, and walk into a high-powered job. Get out there and begin proving and developing your executive competencies: 

"[S]tudents who dedicate time and effort to their major or an outside-the-classroom activity, secure multiple internships during their four years, and take on leadership roles are more likely to possess the skills needed for the workforce than students who drift through college."

Thanks and a tip o' the Twitter hat to Jeff Selingo and the Washington Post!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Employer Mismatches

When you're interviewed, you know you get to ask questions. In order to impress your employer, I've written some entries about things you can ask that show your own head is in the right place--like this entry: Questions like these:

  • If you had to describe what it’s like to work here in 3 words, which would you choose?
  • Which competitor causes this company the most heartburn? How do we stack up against them?
  • Are there opportunities for training such as continuing education, company sponsored self-learning and MOOCs, understanding new technologies, etc.?
  • If I started tomorrow, what are my top 3 priorities?
But what might you have asked to head off misunderstandings--to find out if the job really meets your needs? Can you assume that:
  • There's flexibility in the work schedule--that with good reason, you can be allowed to come in 30 minutes later than the scheduled start time.
  • Your weekends belong to you, unless there's a for-real crisis situation; that  you aren't expected to show up for meetings, or be plugged into your email account 24/7 (even Saturday nights).
  • You can expect that if you use your own car, phone, computer extensively for work-related tasks, you will be given the appropriate resources, or at least compensated for the big bucks you're spending.
Thanks and a tip o' the Twitter hat to Liz Ryan and Forbes!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Add some Vroom to your Vocab!

Four-session workshop on Latin & Greek Word Parts
  • Would you like to understand more words when you read?
  • Are you curious about the origin of English words?
  • Will you be attending graduate school?
  • Is English not your first language?
  • Are you a TESOL major?

Many English words derive from Latin and Greek. Knowing Latin and Greek word parts can help you understand more words in English. In these sessions, you’ll learn 100 Latin & Greek word parts. (Please note: This is not a course in Latin or Greek.)

You can take this free four-session workshop at either of these times:
  • Mondays • Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23 • 2:30– 3:25 pm, DNL 234
  • Tuesdays • Feb. 3, 10 17, 24 • 3:40 – 4:40 pm, DNL 219

Space is limited. Sign up today • contact Sharon Green in the Office of Academic Support at 716.286.8071 or If you sign up, please plan to attend all four sessions.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Portfolios: Not Just for Artists

If you want to knock their socks off at your next interview, come toting not only a duplicate of your resume (in case the prospective employer can't lay hands on the one you uploaded, emailed or snail-mailed), but a portfolio as well.

In a portfolio, you collect materials that represent tangible evidence of the work you've done, and the great style and attitude you can bring to this employer. It also provides you a handy "talking points checklist" when you're asked about what you've done in the past.

Thanks and a tip o' the Twitter hat to @businessinsider and @ThePaperWorker

S.B. Anthony essay contest, deadline 1/23/15

Happy new year! 

There is still time to send an essay to the 2015 Susan B. Anthony Writing Awards; deadline Friday, January 23, 2015.  

Submissions must have been written for an undergraduate course at Niagara University within the last three semesters (fall 2013 or later), or be an original piece of writing. Details  at

Or contact Ms. Sharon Green, Office of Academic Support at NU, Seton First Floor, 716-286-8071,

Friday, January 2, 2015

Resolution 2015: No More Job Boards

Job boards are your least effective way to locate openings for which you can apply. Only a small fraction of jobs available are ever advertised. So what else can you do? And what does the nebulous answer "network!" mean anyway? 

Here are some solid answers for how to find companies you might want to work for. The first link shows you how to identify and connect with companies--not only the most obvious choices, but some of the less-recognized names you might not have thought about. 

The second link gives you ways to identify individuals in those companies who might be interested in your credentials. No, you should not go to public "directories" for these organizations--they are likely to be far, far outdated. 


Thanks and a tip o' the Twitter hat to @LisaRangel!