Monday, October 20, 2014

Stalking the Wily Job Opening with Research

Job-hunters are told they should research companies they want to work at. But what does that mean?

Here’s a quartet of articles that provides tips for pre-interview information-gathering:
  • What kinds of information you need, and what’s less important;
  • Where to look for this information;
  • What to do with the information once you get it, and blunders to avoid in using it.


But since today’s market is so competitive, you’ve probably figured out that waiting until after you get the interview to do any research might not be such a good idea.

Instead, think about setting up a separate folder for each job you apply to, using your computer’s desktop or your web-browser (or even a real, paper folder if that’s your style). Or, use one of the internet clipping services like Instapaper, Evernote, OneNote or others—the ability to review information on your phone or tablet could come in handy.

Look up the basics of the employer before you apply so you can fine-tune your pitch about why you would be a great employee. Then, if the employer shows interest, you can add to that information to prepare for the interview.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pixar's 22 Rules and Your Resume

"Pixar's 22 Rules For Telling A Great Story" is a compilation of wisdom from Emma Coates, who worked as a Pixar employee. She tweeted items from the list about a year ago; and various blogs have picked it up over time. It remains as fresh as the first time you saw Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or Wall-E.

But what does that have to do with your resume or cover letter?

When you apply for a job, you tell where you’ve been, and how you’ve gotten to be the perfect person to fill this job. In other words, you tell a story about yourself. (And as an English major, you should be really good at understanding story!)

Pixar’s 22 Rules can help you think creatively about what you tell, and how you shape the plot line of your life in your search for a great job.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Of Karma Whores and Raises

On October 9, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wedged his foot firmly in mouth at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.

He told women in the tech industry not to ask for raises, promotions:

  • It's not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along... Because that's good karma. It'll come back. Because somebody's going to know: 'That's the kind of person that I want to trust. That's the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to.' And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.'
You can google Mr. Nadella's name to read more about the firestorm--and about his apologies and backtracking. I've supplied a few starting points above.

If you think that women (or men, for that matter) are going to be paid what they're worth just because they sit quietly and smile sweetly--well, I'd like to ask if you're interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge for a very good price.

This comment made a lot of headlines. It was surprisingly naive, but it offers an opportunity to publicize a truth of the business world. Instead of playing Sleeping Beauty, waiting for the Salary-Increase Prince to come along and kiss you, brush up on basic salary negotiating skills, like the ones offered here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dracula's LinkedIn Profile

In the spirit of Halloween, I was able to find this lovely description of the ever-popular Count Dracula's LinkedIn page. It contains helpful hints so that you too can avoid having a LinkedIn profile that sucks!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do & Don't: "Tell Me About" Yourself in 5 Easy Steps

Here's a great template for the dreaded "tell me about yourself" question you may get in interviews. I like it because it's broken down into 5 categories--a small enough number that you can keep in your head (or even ink on the palm of your hand, if you're that paranoid). The list also comes with "do" and "don't" categories that will allow you to test each of your nuggets of information for relevance and hireability.

This could also make a great checklist for stuff to put into your letter of application!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Free Tuition!

If you speak German (Deutsch), you can get a free education.

Germany is offering tuition-free education to students from around the world.

Just where this is going--what the drawbacks might be, how it will impact the U.S. higher education system--is still unknown. But it's something to watch. U.S. education and loan debt costs are spiralling upward. Colleges (especially at state-sponsored schools) are cutting costs, jacking up tuition, and squeezing consumers harder for a product of lesser quality. (

We live in interesting times.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mystery Internship: The Plot Thickens!

I wrote about Blind Applying about a month ago ( The concept is a little cutesy, and a lot cool: you submit your application for an internship without knowing where you might get to go. See more on the basics here: The organization has just released the list of employers and locations for summer 2015.
Hurry up if you want to apply; the deadline looms!