Friday, September 19, 2014

To Whom it may NOT concern

When you apply for a job, you'll probably need to complete an application form. But even if that form asks everything an employer might want to know (how many cavities at your last dental visit?), you still want to supply a resume and cover letter.

Why? Because company policy may dictate the online application, but the person actually doing most of the screening and reviewing of applications may prefer the letter-resume combo to the clunky form online.

So if you're stuck with an automated application center, but you still have to address the cover letter to someone, what do you put? Ever stop to think how funny that outdated salutation in a cover letter is--"to whom it MAY concern." What if it doesn't concern the recipient in the least? 

This first link, a blog entry from, suggests digging up the actual hiring manager's name, and using it even if that name was not given in a job-posting.

And this link from suggests a few alternate strategies for how to proceed if you cannot track that name down. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dirty Networking? According to this article in the leading business journal Forbes, scientific evidence shows that networking literally makes you feel dirty enough to want to scrub yourself down -- especially if you are in a lower-status position.

So what can you do to clean up your act? Well--here's one guide to feeling less dirty, more comfortable about networking: It's got a great set of suggestions for building from a small start up to larger events, and some useful strategies for starting discussions.

Finally, while networking can include talking with anyone (your relatives, your barber, your college classmates), there's wisdom in seeking out events specifically organized for sectors of the business world. Here are some tips for making a good impression at formally-designated networking events:

Bonus: visit my blog entry from several days ago for networking group right in your own backyard! 

More on the Competition that Makes a Difference

VCEP Kickoff
Friday, September 26 - 2 p.m.
Lower Level Gallagher

The Vincentian Community Enterprise Project (VCEP) EntrepreNU is a contest born of a cross-university initiative aiming to engage students with local needs in the spirit of St. Vincent. Students will team to develop a self-sustaining business idea that will address local problems pertaining to food, nutrition and hunger in the city of Niagara Falls. The winning team will be announced by spring break and receive a $10,000 startup fund to launch their plan. The end of Vincentian Heritage week will mark the kickoff of this competition with an official bang. For more details, contact the Department of Social Work at 716.286.8520.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free the Freelancers!

Okay--so Niagara University's career services, parents, friends, have all been training you to think about a career as a monogamous commitment: one employer, one paycheck, until retirement, death, or dissatisfaction do you part.

But there's also freelance work, which may very well be the wave of the future.

Business Insider posted a list of the 55 best companies for those seeking freelance gigs. That is, these are the companies with the most freelance opportunities. See the link here:

You can also see that list in its original context, FlexJobs: You'll also find additional content on the FlexJobs site--not only specific job listings, but also "how-to" blog posts, lifestyle benefits, employers that use freelancers a lot...

Some of the services on FlexJobs (like specific freelance opportunities) are by subscription ($15/month or $50/year). I'm neither endorsing nor dissuading you from purchasing these services. Rather, I note enough free material to warrant checking out their website.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Freelance Writing Opportunity

The blog site "Hack College" ( is looking for student writers! Take a bit of time looking through the kinds of material described in their "call for writers," and leaf through blog entries on the website. If you think you'd make the cut -- consider applying! It's a great way to get market exposure and build a portfolio.

("Hack," by the way, used to mean "to cut up into little bits," or "a person who is not very professional." But it's earned a positive spin through association with the term "computer hacking"--to use your smarts to get something you need and want with less effort. Appropriately enough, the motto of Hack College is "Work smarter, not harder.")

Friday, September 12, 2014

Networking Nirvana in WNY

Are you a young professional?

If not--do you want to be young? Sorry, I can't help you.

Do you want to be a professional? Okay, I can help with that! Check out Buffalo Niagara 360, a network by and for young professionals here:

Since Niagara University helps sponsor this organization, all of the events (except "Happy Hour for a Cause") are free for NU students, faculty and staff. See more information here:

Mystery Internship: Blind Applying

Here's a radical idea: a "blind date" style internship.

Submit an entry, including your resume, and get the chance to get a paid internship, with possibility of allowance for travel and lodging, somewhere in the world.

You may find yourself packing your bags for Japan, Australia, Germany... or somewhere else! 

Many will enter, and few will win... but your name and resume will be made available to other companies seeking interns and employees.

I signed up for the mailing list late last spring, and the organization sent me an email today saying they have started accepting applications for internships to begin in summer 2015.

Deadline November 3, 2014.

As the New York State lottery commerical says: "Hey, you never know!"