Thursday, May 31, 2012

Post B.A. DIY Study Abroad

I love the "Cool Tools" blog--always some interesting stuff. Found this link to a book (and description) which might be of interest to those who have graduated (or will soon). The book title pretty much says it all: Work Your Way Around the World.

From the Cool Tools blog: "Most of these kind of books are a bunch of hand-waving generalities, or out of date particulars; this one is very specific and very current. It is massively researched, with tons of incoming gossip on where the easily-gotten jobs are this year, and what to do about paperwork and visas in that particular place, and how to land the job, and what you should expect, and letters from those who just did it. It's all very helpful, practical and inspiring."

I cannot personally vouch for the book, but I can vouch for the site on which I found it. If you are feeling sad about the economic situation today, in a holding pattern, and not in enough of a rush to get a job flipping burgers, something like this might be just the ticket--a sort of do it yourself (DIY), on-the-fly internship mashup with study abroad.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Behind the Curtain at LinkedIn

This article explains why having a "complete" LinkedIn profile is not enough. 
One thing LinkedIn is good for is being able to supply other people with your information. That is, you can list your LinkedIn affiliation on your vitae, or your business card, or verbally ask someone to seek you out there. 

Another thing LinkedIn is good for is being able to contact others you are connected with. For example, you can see that someone you know has a connection to someone you would like to know--you can request an introduction.

But how can you increase your chances of what is perhaps the holy grail--a hit on your profile without these person-to-person transmissions, with an opportunity, solely through the attractiveness of your own profile?

The link above gives a run-down of how to set the conditions for the "out of the blue" contact. It's not a promise, by any means, but an explanation of the algorithms and conditions which can make that possible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is Coding the new Typing?

Back when I was a young whippersnapper, my mother told me "Learn to type. It's something you can always fall back on." There were some sexist assumptions behind that, of course. In part, it meant "If you get married to a jerk who leaves you high and dry with no money, you can work as a secretary." But then again, my generation didn't really expect women to get and/or keep professional jobs. 

And I have worked my fair share of secretarial jobs... oops, now it's "administrative assistant" (although that term used to mean something more high-falutin' than it does these days. Title inflation strikes again.)

Anyway: I have been seeing references out of the corner of my eye to coding. Writing computer code. Making computers do things you want them to, or that other people want them to do and hire you to get them to do. It is not (I freely admit) something I'm terribly familiar with.

However, I have seen it being touted as the same kind of fallback employment skill that typing used to be. I do know from reading employment blogs that there is a boom in jobs calling for tech skills--and not just soft skills (human relationships and writing), but rather hard skills (writing programs, although not necessarily inventing them).

Hence the trio of links above. The first is more about "why look into coding." The second and third are about "how and where to find resources."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stalking Your Way to a Job

Okay, the title sounds rather creepy: stalking. If you prefer, think of it as networking!

You need to decide where you want to work, and ingratiate yourself with people at that company. Using your choice of social media (that’s media, plural), engage with the interests and concerns of people who work at that company.

In fact, rather than waiting for your ideal job at your ideal company to come along—some coaches suggest focusing on the company alone. Get a job, any job at that company, and work your heart out doing it well. You’ll have access to internal postings on jobs you’d really prefer, you’ll have networks within the company, and you’ll have a proven track record.

Likewise, get a 360 view of the company by rummaging around on the internet for comments, good and bad, about the organization. There are bound to be a few negative comments out there; but if you find a preponderance of horrible stuff, think twice about setting your heart and your sights on working for that company.

Along the lines of the above, realize that companies in a position to hire may not be quick to tell you the down sides of working for them. Here’s a guide to reading between the lines. You know how when an ad for an apartment says “cozy,” it means the presence of three friends will have one of you sitting in the hallway? Well—job ads come with similar “red flag” language.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Networking: Platforms & Performance

There are so many social media platforms out there. Here’s a handy infographic that will help you differentiate the purpose, audience, and expectations of each of the major players.

Not everything that belongs in your LinkedIn profile should be on your resume. Ideally, you are tailoring each resume you send out to the position for which you are applying. Here’s an overview of why, and what.

Why should you be concerned with social media? Because according to this article, if you respond to an ad or a posted opening for a job without a networking referral, you have a 1 in 100 chance of landing the job. (I know—some of you who have been on the market for a while are grumbling, “it’s more like a 1 in 100 million chance; I’ve sent out my 100 applicants and then some, and still haven’t hit the jackpot.”)

But those who apply with a referral from a company’s own employee have a 1 in 7 chance of landing the same job. (Here’s the link to that data source: That’s better than a 1000% improvement in your odds.

Your mileage may vary—but the numbers do suggest that social networking and referrals (whether old fashioned face to face, or newfangled social media) are worth your time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paradigm Shift in Jobhunting

According to this recent blog post, there has been a shift in how larger companies seek employees to fill open positions. Rather than posting an opening online at a job board, they set up "talent communities," or seek people through various social media. 

It makes sense. The "old way" for an employer to find a new employee, screening on a case-by-case basis, seems horribly inefficient in the Web 2.0 era. After all, most large companies will predictably have some turnover or new position creation, and thus an ongoing need for fresh faces. 

What this means for you, job-seekers, is that you need to make sure you are online in the right places. Easier said than done, I know!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tweet My Jobs

There’s a new social media job-hunting platform: “Tweet My Jobs” at It’s fairly new, but has been getting some attention and discussion; see the following links for more:

As an added bonus: here is a link to a 2009 free-to-download booklet of 19 pages on how to get a job using social media:

The job hunt as sales

When you look for a job, you are selling yourself. Ergo, you are in sales. “People buy from people they like.  As a job seeker you are always in sale or marketing mode.  What you’re selling is yourself and what you can bring to a potential employer.  If you haven’t worked in sales before, this is going to feel a little uncomfortable at first, but with a little practice and repetition you’ll get the hang of it.”
Here’s one savvy article on selling—simplify your message. Put your responses in language that is understandable, direct and conversational, rather than full of jargon and starch.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Basic Financial Literacy

We do a lot of talking in college about literacy--reading literacy, teaching literacy to others, computer literacy. But we don't do a terrific job about promoting financial literacy. I'm not advocating that college professors should be sitting down with each student or advisee and teaching "how to balance a checkbook." In some cases, the student might know more than the professor.

However, for anyone finishing up one leg of his or her education (whether that means high school or college) here is a great collection of basic articles on how to keep head above water--and how to actually enjoy swimming in that water.

TIAA CREF is the organization that handles my retirement account. I trust them... not because they are handle retirement for educators, but because my mother checked them out and gave them a thumbs up. (She plays the stock market. And wins. And won't teach me how because her "system" is intuitive.)

There are some good links on the right side of the page too, with video seminars supplementing some of the topics. I had to sign in to get access -- but I signed in with my gmail account, and said I was not affiliated with any institution. That tells me that access is free and open, although they do want to know who's watching their seminars.

Friday, May 11, 2012

LinkedIn Tool-Kit

LinkedIn doesn't look or behave the same way Facebook does, nor does it take you the same places that Facebook does. If you are new to LinkedIn, or looking to beef up your profile and usefulness of your LinkedIn, here's a series of blog postings that can help with suggestions and models.

Interviews with no Applications

Getting interviews without having to submit applications that get lost in the black hole? It sounded like a scam when I read the headline at first. You know, like the elementary school joke that so many diet companies lead with: "Want to know how to lose 20 pounds of ugly fat in one day?" (The answer: "Chop off your head." Right.)

But it turns out that this article has some solid strategy, not to mention theory from a someone with a master's degree in psychology. Basically, it involves leveraging LinkedIn connections, seeking introductions to people at companies you've targeted as places you would like to work. 

Read the whole article--worth emulating!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Magazine Publishing Community: Ed2010

For those interested in magazine publishing, check out Ed2010:

Here's a list of current internships:

"Helpful links" including magazine and newspaper titles, publisher websites, glossaries and more:

You'll also find salaries, success stories, mentoring and more by a group of people who were dedicated to breaking into the magazine field, and banded together starting in 1998 to help each other and give back to other "whippersnappers" in need of community.

Internship leads

Twenty top companies hiring interns... that's right, hiring. Here is a list of paid internships, with some really eye-popping salary numbers cited--a handful north of $5,000 a month for software programmers. Maybe that's not your skill-set, but still respectable for things English majors can do.

Internships are not just for people who are currently students--more people are signing up for internships who have the degree in hand, sometimes doing a sequence of internships.

As this Sunday New York Times business section reports, there are sharks out there among the sheep--companies that seem to be substituting the word "internship" for what might politely be called "unpaid go-fer-ship." (Go fer coffee, go fer dry-cleaning pickup, go fer babysitting my kids... be on call 24/7, literally.) Some companies have been (successfully) sued for abusing the system.

On the "up" side, internships can help you develop a network in the industry of your choice; give you a solid line on your resume showing experience and references; allow you to test-drive a career choice before committing to it completely; and sometimes even result in an offer of fulltime, permanent employment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Job Listings, Daily Tekk

Here’s a retweet to a very useful resource: “100 Useful job & internship resources.” Skimming over quickly, not all will be equally useful—you may find many of the materials listed here at Niagara University’s superb Career Counseling office (help with your resume, for instance). But scroll down the categories and you’ll see several categories that can give you solid leads: “job listings; specialty job listings; internships, entry level & part-time; startups.”

From Heather R. Huhman (@heatherhuhman) 100 Useful job & internship resources, Daily Tekk (

Young & Jobless? Maybe there’s Strength in Numbers

This article in Sunday’s New York Times Business section is ricocheting around the blogosphere. Titled “The Jobless Young Find their Voice,” its main premise is probably not something you don’t already know. Unemployment and frustration among new college graduates is running high. Duh. And there's lots of debt from college. Again: duh.

The article does, however, have a number of useful-looking links. First, you can visit either “The Campaign for Young America” or “Fix Young America.” Both (says the Times article) are aimed at organizing young people, promoting their concerns, and finding solutions. I’m not vouching for either one, but they look like they are worth your further exploration.

"Campaign," in particular, has a well-stocked “resources” tab toward the top right side of the page. Three of the four links (help finding a job; more info about the job market; debt toolkit) offer useful material. For instance, clicking on “help finding a job” led me to (who knew?!) Goodwill Industries, which is holding a (who knew?!) virtual job fair May 7-10. I tried out the link; a bit clunky, sort of a Second Life without the flying. I can’t tell you if it’s a timewaster or a goldmine—could be either.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Toot 'n Tweet

The links above suggest additional strategies for developing your job search. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn--speak about your accomplishments clearly, so employers know what your "value proposition" is--what you can bring to a position that will take your work beyond minimal expectations.

And learn how to craft a Twitter presence that will get you good attention from prospective employers, as well as helping you identify what employers are out there seeking someone with exactly your skills and interests.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fine-Tuning Your Networking

Here are some fine-tuning tips for your networking strategies. Maybe "networking" sounds like a dirty word. But remember, networking does not mean crawling toward the Big Guns, on your hands and knees, eyes downcast, pleading "please, sir, may I have a job?"

Rather, you are establishing business friendships and liaisons--a chain or web of people who together can offer each other the power of multiple resources. You may be junior to many of the people in your network, and you may owe the elders some minimal deference. But the idea of a network is that each person is essentially a peer, having something to offer another.

For example, you may one day be in a position to offer another "junior" in your network a job. After all, you are not going to be an entry-level, fresh-out-of-college kid forever. Inevitably, you will develop, grow, and expand your powers. For instance, I know of an English major who graduated some 10 years ago, and is now giving internships in his company to other English majors.

Another very real possibility: you might hear of one of those elders in need of an employee to fill "X" kind of job. Now, you're very good at "Y" kinds of jobs, and not a good candidate for the "X" job--but you know someone who is. You recommend your friend--both filling an elder's needs for job applicants, and earning the gratitude of the friend who may be able to do a good turn for you later on.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Job Market Analysis

Here is a link to a 14-page pdf job market analysis for May 2012. The overview is helpful if you need to contextualize your hunt for a starting career position in this economy. You also get some breakdowns for major metropolitan areas, showing you where the jobs are (and are not), and which companies (including a list by major metro area) are showing the largest number of openings to be filled.

It’s a bit geeky and statistical, and may take you some time to wrap your head around. However, it can yield good insights. If (for example) your objective is to get a job on the west coast, you’ll find that San Francisco is a much better bet than Los Angeles, overall—there are 2 unemployed people for every job opening in SF, whereas there are 6 unemployed people for every job opening in LA (info from chart on page 5).

Bear in mind that these are jobs listed with “Simply Hired”--so there could very well be some skewing. However, the data will give you a starting point for making sense of where to target.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Headphone Tuneage at Work?

Peripheral vision. Subliminal hearing. Serendipitous encounters with co-workers.

Here is an article from the Harvard Business Review that points out the dangers of seeming to stay on task at an office, but cutting yourself off in the process from chit-chat, ambiance, intangibles, body language and so on around you. Plugging in your headphones and zoning out can prevent you from interacting with other people.

Here's a repost from one of the career blogs I follow. Interesting comment on this blog page: an adult with Asberger's says that listening in to all irrelevant office chit-chat can be highly distracting to the point of destroying his concentration.

Should you plug in at work? I guess it depends on the office you're in, what kind of task you're doing, and other factors--such as whether the person sitting one door down will be annoyed by your music, no matter how low you play it.

If there is the slightest possibility you'll miss some kind of cue to learn, interact, participate, respond, you'll want to suffer without the tuneage, at least if you're new, uncertain, or not entirely certain. You would never want to plug in while waiting for an interview, for example, no matter how relaxing it might feel to you--that would be sending the wrong message. If your co-workers and immediate supervisors don't seem music-and-tech oriented, you might want to avoid being the lone zone-out. You might seem to be implying that you'd rather be at Margaritaville with Jimmy Buffet than at work... and your boss might see fit to give you a permanent vacation.