Friday, October 28, 2011

Why to clean up your Facebook info

Today's interesting story: how your employer can spy on your internet presence without even knowing where the "on" button on the computer is.

It’s about a problematic new way for employers to check your profile on Facebook without having to have any tech savvy themselves. Rather, they employ a go-between, this company called Social Intelligence Corp., which sends a bot (a programmed computerized robot—something that simply responds to a few key words, without having the human understanding of context) to check out your profile.

Frankly, I think it’s more than a little creepy! The Good Lord alone only knows how misunderstood some of your comments could be when taken out of context. I’m not sure I would pass muster, and I’m very clean (even my 88 year old mom can see my profile!)

But it might give you a sense of why it’s important to keep the Facebook pages clean, and save the (ahem!) more interesting aspects of your social life for private messages!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get Hired Book for 2011-2012

New and improved Get Hired Book, updated by Career Services.

You can get your own copy by stopping by in the Lower Level Seton Hall office... where you should be going on a weekly basis anyway to familiarize yourself with the superb resources that we have available to you FREE (well—actually, you’ve paid for these resources with your tuition).

You can also download your own copy by going to, and clicking on the link to the pdf version.

Or you can see a kooky picture of me holding up the copy I just got in the mail here: 


Today’s post: how to make your resume stand out, from U.S. News and World Report:

The advice given here may seem obvious. However, whenever the English Department posts an ad for a new faculty member, I am surprised at the number of people (yes, holding or close to holding a Ph.D.! in the premier field for language use!) who have one or more of the problems mentioned in this short, sweet, to-the-point article.

I should also mention that this post comes from a group I've joined on LinkedIn, a really superb place to get advice and information about your career, the job hunt, and anything professional. If you haven't yet joined LinkedIn, consider doing so now--it's easy and fast, and you can fill in your profile a little at a time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Could-a, Should-a, Would-a

Bob Swanson in NU’s Career Development office forwarded me this link. To quote from the article: “An April 2011 survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Adecco Staffing U.S. found that 71% of 500 recent four-year college graduates would have done something differently to prepare for the job market.”

That is, here is information straight from the mouths of newly-graduated college students looking back with 20/20 hindsight at what they might have done differently before leaving college.

If you see yourself in any of the “10 worst mistakes,” you still have time—just like Ebenezer Scrooge recognized when he was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come—to mend your ways for a better future!

This Thursday: Bruce George

This sounds like a great event — I certainly recommend it for all English majors who want to round out their study of English with a really contemporary perspective, crossing disciplinary and genre boundaries. Many thanks to Michael Gaut, one of our own highly talented English majors, and David Blackburn, our MISA coordinator.

Lecture by by Bruce George
3:30pm on Thursday, October 27th
Third floor, Bisgrove

Mr. George is an NU alumnus and originator/co-creator of the Grammy Award Winning HBO Production "Def Poetry Jam." He is also a former national slam poetry champ and an entrepreneur holding several positions which promote spoken-word arts and urban-inspired literature.  He co-edited (and had work featured in) "Bandana Republic," a collection of poetry and other writings compiled from former gang members and their affiliates. 

Mr. George's lecture will explore the influences and effects on and of art in the forms of (but not limited to) cartoons and other television, film, and literature.  For his unique involvement with modern poetry and his various creative writing endeavors, the events organized during his visit might be of particular interest to students in the English and Writing Studies programs.

Later that evening, in the same location, Mr. George will conduct a creative writing workshop at 6pm, followed by a poetry showcase at 7:30 where students will be encouraged to read from that which they have wrote or from previously written material. 

(See related post on this blog for October 14, 2011.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do it now!

Here is a terrific article titled “8 things college seniors can do now to prep for the job search later.” I would argue that students at any point in their academic career can benefit from devoting time to these steps.

An overview of the 8 things you can do:

1.  Clean up your tweets, your Facebook postings, anything in cyberspace. Don’t let a single rude tweet or skanky photo tank your career.
2.  Hang out at career services. Even if you’re not sure what you want them to do for you, go in and tell them that!
3.  Tweak your resume. Find ways to make yours stand out without breaking decorum and sounding goofy.
4.  Spell names correctly on your resume and cover letter. One typo can send your materials to the trash bin.
5.  Ask for letters of recommendation now from the people you want to write for you. Get onto your recommender’s radar.
6.  Network. Go to events, do informational interviews, ask friends, former employers, club members. Return the favor—pass your friends’ information along.
7.  Intern. You may have to scout out your own ideal opportunity. Start now thinking about what your ideal internship would be.
8. Start an online portfolio of writing, resume, references, video clips, etc. Offering an online portfolio can help you avoid cluttering up your resume while still displaying your best stuff.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is the Peace Corps for you?

Get Peace Corps Info in Person – Golden Opportunity 11/15/11

I’ve received information from Stephanie Newman (Career Services at NU, x8539, about a visit from a Peace Corps volunteer-turned-recruiter, Mr. Anthony Trujillo. He and his wife have served in Mongolia and the Ukraine with the Peace Corps. He will be on campus Tuesday, November 15. A schedule is forthcoming; he will have a table set up in Gallagher Center for those who want to drop by to chat.

I had a delightful e-mail exchange with Ms. Newman, asking some questions I know I would want answers to before considering the Peace Corps. I’ve cut-and-pasted his responses, which you can read here: Even if you have never considered the Peace Corps seriously before, this is a great opportunity to find out more from someone who can respond from his own personal experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Dreaded "Experience" Question

This is a great article for college students who are just starting to think about their hunt for the first job (although written for an audience a little further along in the career-search market):

The article suggest ways to describe how and why your limited experience does fit a job you really want -- and articulate English majors ought to be able to take this suggestion and run with it.

Further, the article offers some strategies like internships and do-it-yourself parallels to internship that college students should be doing anyway.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bruce George coming to NU Campus

Watch for this information posted around campus soon:
Bruce George
NU Alumnus & Co-Founder of HBO’s Hit Series “Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam”
Coming to Niagara University on Thursday, October 27th

Presentation: The Politics of Artistic Expression, 3:30 p.m., Bisgrove 350
(Music, Television, Film & Literature)
Creative Writing Workshop – 6 p.m., Bisgrove 350
Spoken Word Poetry Showcase – 7:30 p.m., Bisgrove 350

Brought to you by: The Office of Multicultural & International Student Affairs, NU Diversity Advocates & Niagara University Poetry Society; more info, call 716-286-8510

He sounds like a super guy! My only complaint is that he’s not an alumnus of NU from the English Department — but from Psychology! If our English majors are thinking about the job hunt... hey, if a Psych graduate can get a job in stuff English majors usually do, then why can’t an English major go out and get a Psych-type job??! (Hey--you never know!) 

Researching your career

Today’s tip is a link to an article about researching your dream job. The article assumes you have absolutely no idea what you want to do, and gives you what look to be promising links to resources on how to find out what different careers are all about. Be warned: there are some “for profit” sites in the mix; don’t pay for anything until you read the final paragraph of this email!


(I just love the title of that blog: Career Goddess!)

Of course, I’m sure you also realize that our Niagara University Career Services folks ( are by far your best bet for a core of search strategies. You have already paid for their services and the resources they can supply (you didn’t think your tuition all went to my salary, did you?!) And the folks in that office are experts at helping students exactly like you tailor and develop their job strategies. Think of them as “reference librarians to your career life.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breaking the Rules of Writing 11/5/11

Sent to a member of the English Department:

Last year we applied for a writing workshop grant through the Tonawandas' Arts Council. We won the grant, and are offering /Breaking the Rules of Writing/ on November 5, 10am - 2pm.

This workshop will be conducted by two local published authors, Mary Akers (/One Life to Give/ (co-authored with Andy Bienkowski), and /Women Up On Blocks/), and Buffalo State College English Professor Kim Chinquee (author of collections /Pretty /and /Oh Baby/).

We invite you and any of your English or Creative Writing students to attend the workshop. A few seats remain available for the workshop, and registration closes October 30. The workshop will be held at The Hodgepodge Café, 72 Webster Street, North Tonawanda, 14120. Cost of the workshop is $20; a limited number of scholarships are available. For more information, visit, email or call 716-479-6292.

This event is made possible, in part, with funds from the Arts Niagara Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Tonawandas' Council on the Arts, Carnegie Arts Center. Additional support is provided, in part, by Market Street Art Center, Lockport, NY.

Mike Miller, 716-479-6292

Facebook or LinkedIn? Both!

Seven reasons why recruiters like Facebook more than LinkedIn

I notice that the article focuses on recruiters--those actively seeking employees--rather than employment seekers--those who want to find a job. Still, it's worth discussion; and the comments section has some interesting thoughts.

If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, consider giving it a whirl!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Improve Your Vocabulary: Free!

  • Are you considering graduate school?
  • Are you preparing to take the GRE or the LSAT?
  • Is English not your first language?
  • Do you want to better understand words when you read?

If so, sign up for the four-session Latin/Greek Words Parts Module.  Many English words derive from Latin and Greek. Knowing Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes and roots can help you understand more words in your undergraduate reading and on qualifying exams for graduate school. During these sessions, you will learn 100 Latin and Greek word parts.

When? Four Thursdays: Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, & Nov. 10, from 3:40 – 4:55 pm.Where? Dunleavy 211. It will be taught by Sharon Green, Reading Coordinator in the  Office of Academic Support. Sign up by Tuesday, October 18 at or 716-286-8071. This module is free, but space is limited. Sign up today!

Long answer: "What can I do with this degree?"

Here is a link that gets you a pdf download (can be opened and read with Adobe Reader, or other free software):

The booklet you download here is from the University of Texas at Austin. A few pages are specific to UT Austin—predictably. But I marveled at the breadth of job descriptions listed from pages 5 through 17 — careers English majors can do, and things they actually are doing. There is something for everybody, and then some.

If you’re feeling a little “blah” about the job search, motivated to procrastinate until you’re just about to graduate, you might skim this list! Clearly, some of the professions listed here take a little bit of positioning and preparing — an internship here, a minor there, maybe as little as a handful of courses, or even an enthusiastic interest in a hobby. But a little advance planning could lead you to something you never would have thought about on your own.

Best — Jeanne Laurel

Humorous but Good Advice

Keep laughing! Here's a terrific post with illustrations. Of course you wouldn't wear a tee-shirt to a job interview, or a job fair; but you might as well be wearing a slogan shirt if your attitude comes off wrong. The tee-shirt article is funny and instructive; some of the comments also have thoughtful advice.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gannon Univ. poster for Thurs 10/20/11

(More info from post on the recruiter's visit published earlier today.)

Interested in Graduate School?
Gannon University is coming to meet you!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
10:30 - 11:30 a.m.    Dunleavy Hall, 3rd Floor Lobby 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.    Gallagher Center

Doctoral Programs
Physical Therapy (DPT)
Organizational Learning and Leadership (Ph.D.)

Master’s Degree Programs
Business Administration
Community Counseling
Computer and
Information Science
Electrical Engineering
Embedded Software Engineering
Engineering Management
Environmental Health and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Natural and Environmental Sciences
Occupational Therapy
Pastoral Studies
Public Administration

Admission representatives will be on hand to talk to you about any of our Graduate Programs! If you can’t visit our table, please check us out at: or email us at:

Grad School? -- 2 events you cannot miss!

Is Grad School for You?

Two events upcoming – one on NU campus (Thurs 10/20/11) and the other at Buffalo State College (Thurs 10/13/11 – and NU is willing to provide transportation!)

Very special event on NU campus: a graduate school recruiter is coming from Gannon University to visit Niagara University.

Ms. Bridget M. Philip, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania will be on campus Thursday, October 20. From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. she will be in Dunleavy Hall in the third floor lobby; and from noon until about 1 p.m., in Gallagher Center.

In a separate post today, I've reproduced the info from a flyer which lists a number of programs she is representing—she seemed especially interested in talking with students in English and related fields (Theater, Communication Studies, Education). In an email to me, she wrote “our English program draws students from a large background and we would be open to talking to any student interested in a Masters of Arts in English degree.  As for the Education students, we have the Masters in Education program, a Reading Specialist Certificate and ESL certificate that might appeal to the English/Education student.”

This is a terrific opportunity for you to find out more about grad school no matter what stage of your undergraduate career you are in, whether you have thought about grad school or not, and no matter where you are thinking about applying. You can drop by (no appointment necessary) for a few minutes without having to spend time traveling, or figuring out whom to talk with.

From Robert P. Swanson - Associate Director - Career Services - P.O. Box 2041 - Niagara University, NY 14109-2041 - Phone:  (716) 286-8538

This year we have coordinated an opportunity for our students to attend Buffalo State College’s Graduate and Professional Schools Fair.

Graduate and Professional Schools Fair - Thursday, October 13 - 11:00 1:30 p.m. - Buff State Student Union Social Hall - Buffalo State College

Universities from around the country, offering programs in all disciplines and career fields will be represented.  For more information go to
. Our office is also providing transportation.  Students seeking transportation need to e-mail before October 12.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New York Times deal: cheap!

Part of being a literate person is reading the newspaper. I subscribe to the New York Times Sunday paper (the “paper” paper, that is), and love it. Thought you might be interested in hearing about their digital subscription offer for college students with an “.edu” ending e-mail address.

Announcing Digital Subscriptions at the College Rate

  • Current college students, faculty and staff can save 50% on any Times digital subscription with our new college rate.*
  • NYTIMES.COM + TABLET APP: $2.50/week
  • ALL DIGITAL ACCESS: $4.38/week