Friday, September 28, 2012

Do Your Homework and Vote!

You will, of course, be voting on November 6 -- right? (If your answer is anything other than a resounding "yes," please reconsider. People died within my lifetime to assure that everyone in the U.S. has the right to vote.)

We're bombarded by election campaigns and claims at this time of year. It's hard to tell the true from the false, the twisted from the unvarnished fact.

Here's a website that gives you additional links:

Some show you cute graphics; Politifact gives you an old-fashioned meter set aflame if the campaign claim is false. Others give you the resources to dig into background facts--stuff you might not know where to look for, or might not really have the time to round up for easy reading.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sloppy Eater?

Dining for Success Etiquette Dinner
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
5 - 7 p.m.
Heritage Room, Clet Hall
Niagara University

Learn the in's and out's of Spinach Management!

For more information, contact NU"s Career Center:

  • Drop in; lower level of Seton Hall
  • Call; 716-286-8500

Law School in Your Future?

Greater Western New York Law School Fair
Monday, October 1, 2012
1-3 p.m.
Buffalo-Niagara Marriott Hotel

For more information, contact NU"s Career Center:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hire Me: The Billboard

And today, the lighter side of the job hunt. True story. Husband wanting to help out his wife find a job (she was getting discouraged) put her mug-shot up on a billboard. With email and micro-resume. Picture at the link above.

Or you can see an unobscured shot of the billboard here, on an Indonesian website (clearly, this has hit a nerve world-wide):

What do you think? True love? Good idea? Professional? Creepy? Don't know what came of it... haven't been able to Google up any updates since it was posted at the very end of August 2012.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Resume: Send in the Piranhas

Send in the piranhas. 

You have a resume. Is it any good? Don't ask your mom or dad; they love you and know you're perfect for any job, including CEO of the Whole World. Because they love you, and love makes you look perfect to them.

Don't ask your best friend; friends are just about as unbiased as parents. Would you tell your best friend he or she has a resume that is even less exciting than watching paint dry on a wall?

Today's link offers a good list of places to seek out an objective, perhaps-slightly-hostile resume reader. 

One more tip I learned in my travels: do not ask typesetter or typist for feedback, especially if he or she isn't a freelancer. Reason: you might sue for "bad advice," because there was a monetary transaction. In other words, you could file an absurd, nuisance lawsuit holding the typist responsible for your lack of a job--even if the comment was simply sympathetic and well-intentioned. nyone working in this kind of job will probably have the legal good sense to keep mouth firmly shut if asked "does it read well?"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grad School Grain of Truth

A colleague just passed along to me a spoof Tumblr blog comprised of fake MLA ads,

The MLA (Modern Language Association) is of course the big professional organization for language and literature departments. If you have any interest in attending graduate school in language and/or literature, particularly if you relish the idea of becoming a college professor yourself, you will have to go through the MLA, and their JIL (job information list). 

But times are hard, and jobs have been squeezed into some spectacularly strange shapes, like this one on the spoof blog:

  • Notre Dame University is hiring an Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies. Fluency is required in at least seven of the following: Middle High German, Old Dutch, Old Norse, Middle Welsh, Cornish, Galician, Catalan, Occitan, Proven├žal, Anglo-Saxon, Old French, Frisian, and Gothick. Secondary specialties in Jutish or Pictish love poetry and steampunk fiction highly desirable. Teaching duties will be 4/4, seven of which are Beginning Latin for theology students.
If you don't see what's sadly funny about the requirements--well, I'd be happy to talk about it if you're really interested in grad school. 

Long-term Networking Strategies

A little over a week ago, I told you that recruiters would be coming to campus -- see the Sept. 14 story here: and the schedule or recruiters coming here:

Here's a great companion article suggesting that you cannot just waltz into an internship interview a few days (or event months) before you want it.

Plan a long-term networking strategy to get what you want, when you need it.

Selling an English Degree

Please see the note at the bottom of this blog post concerning the link that first appeared here.

One of the things you'll have to do as you make a transition from college into the Real World is sell the value of your degree.

Why should an employer hire you, if all you do is read books and write about them? 

Some employers are a bit savvier than that. They understand that your verbal and written communication skills, your ability to analyze in depth, the breadth of your knowledge make you a strong candidate.

But you may still have to explain. 

Here's a list of great business figures who are avid readers, with annotations about what they've said, learned or done. They're not all English majors -- but they should provide good evidence that reading broadly and thinking deeply are not at cross purposes with business success.

Note: At the request of Online MBA dot com, I have removed the link that appeared here when I first posted. The organization is being penalized by Google; I'm not quite sure why. You can find the article again by searching for this string: 18 great business leaders who were avid readers

Friday, September 21, 2012

Are you a Weakling?

It's going to come up: the dreaded interview question "What is your greatest weakness?" Yup, employers will probe with this single question--

  • How you respond to squirm-inducing but legitimate questions;
  • Where they can expect you to have shortcomings if they hire you; and
  • Perhaps most importantly, how well you know yourself, and thus how capable you will be of bringing that self-knowledge to bear on your work for their company.

Here are two thoughtful discussions about your weaknesses, and ways not to be a weakling when you think about them:
This is a targeted discussion about the psychology (from an interviewer's perspective) about how to answer the question, from the Evil HR Lady (she seems to post only the question on her own blog, and the answer on CBS... to see the blog, click here:
A more introspective discussion of your weaknesses and what you can do about them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's here!

The 2012-2013 edition of Niagara University's "Get Hired" booklet is yours for the asking at the Career Center. Chock full of career wisdom and goodness, and based on the knowledge of seasoned professionals in the career-hunting field, this is your roadmap for your four years at Niagara University.

Already in your fourth year (having frittered away your time during those first three years with lower-order concerns like classes)? There's still time to super-charge your employability potential! Contact the folks at Niagara University's Career Center in any of the following ways:

I've got a few extra copies of this beautiful, full-color, glossy booklet to share, on the coffee table of the third floor lounge in Dunleavy Hall, just as you get off the elevator. But if they run out there, you can find more at the Career Center itself, the starting point for the rest of your life.

Freedom Trail, Sat., 9/22/12


The 13th annual Freedom Trail Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, from noon until 6 p.m. at 1425 Main Street near Portage Road, on the grounds of the main library. Celebrating our regions rich contribution to the legacy of the Underground Railroad, the Freedom Trail Festival is a major milestone, and it is hoped that it will serve as a catalyst for others to learn of our regions rich history.

Art and history come together as Main Street comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of music, poetry, dramatic recreations, storytelling featuring stories from the Underground Railroad and some of Western New York’s finest food vendors, as well as local and international talent. Community organizations will also share information on the Underground Railroad and regional programs that can benefit attendees.

The kids’ tent will host activities for children including drumming, dance, arts/crafts, and much more. 

The sponsors for this event include: Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs, the city of Niagara Falls, and special thanks to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority for their continued support.

Students in need of transportation can sign up in the campus activities and MISA office in lower level Gallagher Center. For more information, please contact David Blackburn at ext. 8510 or or  

75 Handpicked Sites from Forbes

Very cool compilation here. Forbes is one of the leading business magazines--something that even folks without a business major should know about. The market; who's a billionaire; savings and investment...

This link is a roundup of 75 websites "for your career." That means job boards, advice blogs, and an assortment of goodies.

My favorite (from an incomplete overview)?, in which the "Evil HR Lady" answers questions in an advice column format with snarky panache that's always good for a laugh, and perhaps could offer some insight into the Way Things Work. Here's an example of the kinds of questions she gets--how would you answer this one?!

  • I got into a situation at work — I threw my coworker’s keys out the door, and called her a [bad word]. I am being sent to human resources, and they are investigating a harassment claim. My question is, should I just resign, and would the harassment claim be on my record? Or should I just wait until they fire me?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Places to Publish

I stumbled onto this through my Twitter feed. It appears to be legit.

From the "about us" statement at the bottom of the page: "This bulletin provides updated listing of paying and no-cost opportunities for literary and freelance writers. Maintained by writer-volunteers, this not-for-profit initiative is updated twice daily, 7 days a week. We spend 16 hours daily to find, edit, and format writing opportunities/ announcements for our readers."

Solicitation to those who have stuff to share: "Send your inquiries or announcements (no-fee competitions, paying calls for submissions, and writing/ editing/ translation jobs that pay at least $10 per 500 words)."

Tabs at the top of the page: Freelance Jobs; Paying Markets; Free Competitions; Scholarships/Funds; International Opportunities. There appear to be many items under each tab, with deadlines still on a far horizon. In other words, it's a good place to browse. It doesn't look like you'll get rich publishing or apply for any of these items; bragging rights are probably going to be more valuable in the long run.

There are also many paid advertisements; it's a way this blog gets money to keep itself in operation and make it minimally worthwhile for whoever is behind it. I'm not saying "don't click on the ads"--rather, "caveat emptor, buyer beware" of stuff that isn't part of the blog, but is added as paid advertising.

Sales Strategies

No, I'm not suggesting that your first job out of college be in sales. It might be--or you might feel you don't have the temperament, the interest, whatever. 

But when you're looking for a job, you are (in effect) engaged in sales. You're selling yourself.

That doesn't mean you should use the kinds of strategies that have made you gag when you walked into (say) a Big Box store for a replacement set of cheap earbuds for your iPod, and the salesperson tried to sell you a home TV theater system complete with leather-upholstered reclining bucket seats. Too aggressive, too underhanded, too inflated can turn off a prospective employer.

However, today's link gives you some strategies and insights into how salespeople train, and what they know about human psychology, and how you can use that information in your job search. We're not talking about twisting the facts about your product (you are your product). Rather, we're talking about finding ways to highlight the reasons an employer should consider you and what you bring to the table, rather than tossing your stuff into the nearest paper-shredder.

In fact, as I was drafting this installment of NUEnglish, I received an email from a publisher who's doing exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. The email, from a well-respected publisher of educational books, sent me a description of a book in which they think I might be interested (I'm not, but that's besides the point). At the top of the email is a link: "Add to Cart." In other words, if I'm interested, I can order the book easily and quickly. (Oooh, I clicked that link and see that I can also add a $150 "membership" to webinars and discounts on further products... okay, now that's overkill. At least I don't have to "opt out" of the membership, when I buy my $35 book!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

File Sharing

No, not "file-sharing" as in illegal music downloads.

Rather, what happens if you want to share one file that is too big to email, or perhaps several files that don't fit as attachments to a single email. Or, it's how to share a file if your email is being cranky or strange.

Here's the link explaining how to share files easily: You'll find several different sites you can use. As with 99.9% of the stuff I mention on this blog, the file-sharing services are free for basic and highly-functional use. Some use a "freemium" model, charging for extraordinary volume or particular extra services; but you won't need to pay anything if you're in "just getting started" or "occasional user" modes.

Posted on my blog, of course.

Niagara Index seeks contributors

The Niagara Index, the country's 3rd oldest student-run newspaper, is seeking contributors -- writers, editors, photographers -- with many options for how much time you want to devote. Please see the flyer uploaded here (link good for 60 days):

You can also contact Emily Kaufman at

This would be a superb line on a resume. Besides -- this paper is only as good as the students who write for it, so I know English majors feel a sense of obligation to keep the standards high!


A number of blogs on job-hunting have packaged recent postings as "rules." Some are, and some aren't; most can be filed under "ignore at your own peril" as they should be obvious. Still--some good refresher and primer material. Enjoy reading!

Rules about using Facebook, some of which should be pretty obvious--no "beer pong" (or worse) photos. Also, some interesting tips--like taking out an advertisement

Rules for success. Again, stuff you probably already know, but set up in a catchy way that reviews the basics without getting stale.

Rules for resumes. Okay, I added the "rules" part. But here's a thoughtfully organized list of the qualities employers will be looking to see represented in your resume.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Interviewers Coming to Campus

This list might be of interest especially to those who are graduating next year; link will be good for 60 days --

Career Counseling has sent me a list of companies which will have representatives on campus in the coming months. Some are seeking accounting majors only--but there is a decent sprinkling of companies interested in discussing job opportunities with students from any major. 

I'd certainly do my homework if I were interested in one of these organizations--not only who the company is, but what the brief job description or title means. It's not "cheating" to ask the folks over at Career Counseling for help figuring it all out!

Please note that you do have to submit resumes before the representative shows up--some of those deadlines are coming up soon.

Virtual Virtuosity: Social Media and Networking

"Your Resume is Great! So, Now What?"--the answer isn't "so call me, maybe." Below are some ways to use social media to increase the range and scope of your networking efforts.

"5 Ways to Effectively Use Twitter to Land Your Next Job"--despite the split infinitive, a solid rundown of ways that Twitter can be use for more than just "ego-casting"--what I had for breakfast this morning, and what the weather is doing where I am.

"Make Your Virtual You a Viable Candidate"--if you are a internet-social person, here's how to make it work for you (in ways that don't involve Farmville).

"5 Reasons Your Online Profile is More Valuable Than Your Resume"--how to put LinkedIn to work for you.

"How to Craft a Compelling LinkedIn Profile"--simple tweaks that can help you stand out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Writing Contest, Susan B. Anthony

Hi, all! I'm reproducing below the email I received from Sharon Green from the Office of Academic Support.

The Susan B. Anthony writing contest is, of course, named after the woman whose name has become the best known in association with the efforts to get women the vote, or suffrage, in the 19th century. She lived 1820 to 1906, and thus did not see the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution in 1920, which stated "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Anthony wasn't a saint. She (like many other first-wave feminists) cut her teeth in the abolition movement, opposing slavery in the decades leading up to the Civil War. However, shortly after the war she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton accepted money to tour parts of the newly-rejoined United States from George Francis Train. Train's main motivation in sponsoring these two women seems to have been to insure that only whites were given the right to vote--and if that included white women, so be it. Toward the end of the 19th century, Anthony also bewailed the idea that ignorant European immigrant men were permitted to vote as soon as they attained citizenship, while morally-superior, American-born white women could not vote.

She's a compelling character, who made compromises to accomplish what she saw as the greater good.

This contest has been held at NU for at least the last 15 years, probably more. To the best of my knowledge, the award was announced and bestowed at the end of April/beginning of May "College of Arts & Sciences Day of Recognition." This year, as Ms. Green points out, the award will be set to coincide with the Susan B. Anthony event, around the time of her birthday on February 15. Look for more information in the coming months.

You don't have to write about Anthony. The basic requirements are that the paper must include connection to women's issues; and that it must either have been written for an NU class, or be an original piece of writing. More information is given in the flyer--I've posted it here for your convenience:

Dear faculty,

We wanted to let you know about a change to the 2013 Susan B. Anthony Writing Awards.  In past years, the awards were given at the Arts & Sciences Day of Recognition near the end of spring semester.  However in 2013, we plan to give the awards at a Susan B. Anthony event in February.  Therefore, the deadline for submissions has been moved up to January 25, 2013.   We also plan to invite the professors for whom the winning papers were written to participate in the event.

We wanted you to be aware of this earlier deadline as you plan your fall courses, and we would ask that, if appropriate, you announce the awards in your classes.  We’ll be publicizing the awards later in the fall and again  in January.   

Submissions must have been written for an undergraduate course at NU within the last three semesters, or be an original piece of writing.
Thank you.

Ms. Sharon Green
Chair, Susan B. Anthony Writing Awards
Coordinator of Instructional Services
Office of Academic Support
Niagara University
Seton Hall, 1st floor
Niagara University, NY 14109
(716) 286-8071

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Law School Fair, WNY area

Received from Stephanie Newman at the Career Counseling Center:

The Greater Western New York law School Fair will be held:
  • Monday, October 1, 2012 
  • 1 – 3 p.m. 
  • Buffalo-Niagara Marriott
This year we have over 60 participating law schools.  We appreciate your help in promoting this event.  For more info, see flyer (link good for 60 days): Or, for a complete list of schools and what they offer, visit

Paid Internship, Essence magazine


Ed 2010 (, one of my favorite sources for information about magazine and publishing jobs, how to get them, internships, and similar stuff of interest to English majors, has tweeted a stellar opportunity.

Essence magazine has a paid internship to offer ( See the information about the internship at

This black women's interest/focus magazine has been around for a long, long time. In fact, if you visit my office, you can see a poster from their 1985 "15th year anniversary," a lovely poster by Varnette Honeywood, with Gillette sponsoring that poster give-away. It's a bit tattered around the edges -- I was in grad school when I got it.