Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Request Letter Chutzpah
On November 29, 2011, I published a post in this blog titled “meet with anyone by sending email,” with a link to Boston College’s equivalent to our own NU Career Development Center.
Today’s link has a similar mindset. You need and want to do informational interviews. But how can you possibly approach someone who doesn’t know you (or knows you only distantly, or might have forgotten you)?
Here is a list of templates for all kinds of situations, waiting for you to improvise with your own specific details. It may feel like an awfully intimidating prospect—after all you’re majoring English, not selling Ponzi scheme investments. Still, these templates have language that is respectful, to-the-point, and clearly states the writer’s objective.
Worth a try! Why not do an informational interview over spring break?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Learning to Job Search

“If you haven’t studied and practiced job search skills, you should assume you suck at job search.”

Here is one person’s experience at learning how to search for jobs. It’s not something we teach you in classes—at Niagara University, or anywhere else in the educational pipeline. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, as of 2012 it is simply not (most of) my job.

In pre-college education, you learn to read, write, think. In college, you read, write, think to learn. If you’re headed off to graduate school, with an eye on becoming a college professor, (a) you have learned some basics that will help you get the Ph.D., but (b) you still haven’t learned a darned thing about how academia as a business works. (I did an extended apprenticeship as an assistant to a notable Rainmaker at the school where I took my degree.)

In short, simply following the rules to get a college degree in a specific discipline (English, Computer Information Science, Business, whatever) is not enough. You must supplement your critical thinking and writing abilities with an understanding of how to apply your abilities in a way that an employer will understand and value.

If you’ve been following my blog, visiting the Career Development Center at Niagara University, and taking some steps to come up to speed with the “Real World”—congratulations! You’re on your way to graduating without the masking taped message “hire me!” on your mortarboard.

As blog which referred me to this link (JibberJobber) pointed out, this is nearly an e-book’s worth of material with solid advice. It’s divided into categories:

Cover Letters

It’s not the be-all and end-all of job search guides; it’s not a magic bullet. But it does have some solid, well-organized ideas that you can apply to learn how to find (and keep, and get promoted within) a great job.

Monday, February 27, 2012

So You're LinkedIn--Now What?

So you’ve been reading my exhortations or those you’ve found elsewhere that tell you “LinkedIn” is your Facebook for grownups, at least when it comes to searching for jobs. You’ve joined, you’ve posted a few things. Now what? Can you just sit back and let the job offers roll in?

Of course not. Here is a good article that offers five different approaches to using LinkedIn actively (rather than passively). Keep exploring, pushing buttons, asking questions, joining groups.

Friday, February 24, 2012

NU Religious Studies Dept Essay Contest

The Department of Religious Studies is pleased to announce: The 4th Annual Essay contest!

Topic: Any essay on religion or theology (you can even use an essay from a previous class!) Essay should be 5-10 pages, typed and double-spaced.

Submission: Essays must be submitted in person to Maggie McGurk in the Religious Studies office located on the 3rd floor of Dunleavy by Friday, March 23rd, 2012.  Please include Student ID on title page. Contest is open to all undergraduate students.

If you have any questions contact Dr. Robert St. Hilaire ( or Maggie McGurk (

Twitter Chats for Job Seekers

I’m not terribly active on Twitter, I must confess. Some days, it feels like I have more than enough input from many, many sources—adding Twitter makes my head feel like it’s going to explode.

So I have missed some developments—including the phenomenon described in this link, Twitter Chat. It’s described well in the article I’ve linked here. At a predetermined meeting time, those chatting use a hashtag to thread the 140-character tweets into a cohesive conversation. The article also recommends some clients (software that sets up the Twitter information in a specifically useful way) to help you get the most out of the chat.

This article also describes eight specific Chats that NU English majors seeking a job, or wanting a community for their concerns, might be interested in. That narrowing-down is good—because when I checked the list of all available chats (linked in this article), I found that there are nearly 600 ongoing chats!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Automate your job search

Imagine having the job openings delivered to your in-box.

Well, it isn’t quite that simple. But here are some good strategies for casting your net wider.

Three involve Twitter, which I’ve discussed previously in my blog. This link gives you a few more strategies and people to follow.

One is Google Alerts. Good idea! It’s something that I’ve used for different purposes, and it works. You will get some false positives, but if you can refine keywords you’ll keep these to a minimum. I do recommend that you play around with keywords, and refine several times through trial and error—see what you get, and tweak accordingly.

For instance, I have a Google Alert set for programs that resemble NUstep. This is a Niagara University program that allows high school students to take some of their required NU courses (and courses likely to be accepted at other universities) while they are still in high school. But what to call it? “NUstep” is Niagara University’s brand name. I’ve found by reading the returns I get through Google Alerts that both “dual enrollment” and “concurrent enrollment” are the phrases I need to have delivered to my in-box once a day.

To get to Google Alerts, go to your Google homepage. Select “More” from the set of menu items at the top of your page in a black bar. Then select “even more” from that menu. Scroll down; Google Alerts should appear on the bottom left side of your page (you’ll have to do a bit of scrolling; it’s under “specialized search.” Be mindful that Google keeps fooling around with the interface; that may change over time!)

Keep in mind, too, that these are supplemental strategies—not primary ones. In other words, you still need to keep doing your own legwork rather than sitting back and letting your computer do it for you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Virtual Business Cards

I had never heard of a “nameplate” site... until I read this article.

But it makes perfect sense. It’s a place where you can design a one-stop collection of links to things like your resume, your blog, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn identities, and so on. We all have sooooo many choices and options these days in social media. Each has a different, specific purpose; each connects with a slightly different audience, with different content.

Some of the articles I’ve read describe it as a “landing page” (airport metaphor—the place where someone “lands” in a plane to go to whatever a large city has to offer). Others call it a “web business card” (those 2” x 3.5” little bits of paper that people hand each other, with name, title, company, and various old-fashioned contact info—email, phone, fax). The word “nameplate” is also a metaphor (the little square of information that gets screwed onto your office door).

There are some very pretty examples at each of the five sites that the link above offers as poll-selected choices. Snappy graphics, clickable links, and so on. If you’re talented with the visual arts (as well as the verbal ones, English majors), these might offer you some interesting options.

So—here’s a way to help a potential employer find out more, without your having to list on physical paper a bunch of clunky web addresses that have to be hand-typed into a browser window. Someone can type your one address (most sites give you the option of using your name as the bulk of the address), and get clickable links to find out more. Some of the online services (most with a minimalist “free” option) also offer the opportunity to get a physical, printed business card to hand out to people in face-to-face discussions.

In fact, I guess I’ve had a “nameplate” site going for some time now, not quite knowing it's a concept—my self-designed Google page

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lying on the Job Interview

Are you pregnant?
Who provides your childcare?
Will your wife let you travel?
Are you Muslim?
Where were you born?
What did your doctor say during your last physical?
What race are you?

It’s easy to get hypnotized into answering any and all questions on a job interview! After all, that person sitting across the desk has power over your life, and is a gatekeeper to something you really, really want: a job.

Some questions are illegal. Some are loaded.

Today’s link has some internal links to off-site resources that give you some background about what is legally okay for potential employers to ask—and what is not. All the the above questions are illegal, unless an employer can prove that they are directly and immediately related to the job for which you’re being interviewed. (I would presume, for instance, that asking if you’re Muslim would be appropriate if you’re being interviewed for a job as an Imam, the leader and teacher of a religious community—but then, they should already know that before you get to the interview!)

It also has some good strategies for responding honestly and honorably to sticky questions that are not technically illegal, but are designed to probe your personality, your quirks, and your weaknesses.

Here’s a comprehensive, well-organized list of potential questions, along with sample answers:

Getting back to the totally illegal questions—if an employer is that (a) clueless or (b) vicious about knowing and following the rules on what’s legal and what’s not... do you really want this job? One commenter on the Lifehacker page reports responding “I am not a good fit for this company, good luck with your search.” (I should mention that I’ve had to do this once or twice myself. Not pleasant, but definitely more pleasant than getting hired in a hostile environment.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Broaden your social media networking

Here is a list of 20 social media websites, with varying professional focii, for your consideration as possible places to hang out and network. Some are recent, and all are less high-profile in the general public than services like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+. Some I’ve heard of (vaguely), and some have flown well beyond my radar.

Not all of them will be appropriate for your specific needs and interests, of course. However, the second one looks interesting for those into video (, a place for collaborative editing. And on the homepage of the very last item listed (, I found a list of contests open to aspiring writers. None of the contests seem terribly high stakes (recognition and praise), but perhaps worth your venturing a submission if creativing writing is something you are interested in.

If you win a contest, or end up with a really interesting collaborative video, worth a quirky or interesting line on your resume! (One of those tidbits that just begs a potential employer at an interview to ask, “Tell me more!”--and if you don’t get asked, still indicates a willingness to branch out, take risks, and be a generally well-rounded, interesting, innovative person to work with.) And of course, if you become engaged in discussions and collaborations on these sites, you might find that someone has a friend who has a cousin who knows someone in the industry, who has a hot tip on a job... It can happen!

Friday, February 17, 2012

New York Gov't Jobs, Internships

For NU Students and Recent Graduates: All majors
New New York Leaders (internship and fellowship)
The New NY Leaders Initiative is designed to renew the connection between young people and the state and ensure that state government is diverse, talented, and prepared to lead for decades to come.

One component of the initiative, the Empire State Fellows Program, is a full-time leadership training program that prepares the next generation of talented professionals for careers as New York State policy-makers. The second component is the first ever coordinated, statewide Student Intern Program, which will assign students to a particular branch of government to gain hands-on experience serving the people, and provide interns opportunities to interact with government leaders and policy makers.

For more information on both the fellowship (for those with a degree) and the internship (for current students), please see

Law School Mock Admissions Event

For Anyone: Considering law school
Who Gets In? A Mock Admissions Event
When: Tues., Feb. 28, 2012, 8-10 p.m.; reservation required
Where: Online

Ever wonder what goes on behind the closed doors of an admissions committee meeting (reviewing applicants for law school)? This is your chance to find out. On a special 2-hour episode of “The 180 – Live,” admissions officers from top law programs discuss applicants and determine who gets in and who does not… and why. It’s a rare opportunity to witness admissions officers in action, and you’ll get to participate in the process.

To reserve your free observation of this live online event, go to to register.

From Facebook to Face

2/20/12 Special Note: this event has been postponed. Watch this space to find out more about when and where the event will be held. Thank you.

For Everyone: All majors, all years (freshmen to seniors)
From Facebook to Face
When: Thurs., Feb. 23, 2012, 5-7 p.m.; reservation required
Where: Castellani Art Museum

Approximately 20 alumni + employers from a variety of majors and career fields have volunteered to meet with our students in a low stress atmosphere to coach them through the art of making a good first impression.

Business etiquette trainer John Bourdage will host. See examples using NU staff and students: (Great fun to watch! And very instructive!)

Free! Free food and drink (but please ASAP register so Career Services can make sure there is enough food: 716-286-8500, or, no later than Weds. Feb. 22.

In previous years students have created career opportunities for themselves, or been offered positions as a result of attending this event. Business professional or business casual attire, please. If you have a resume, bring it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What is the ATS Black Hole, and Why You Should Care

ATS stands for “applicant tracking system.” The bottom line is that there are too many people applying for jobs. What would you do if you were an employer who posted a job listing—and received 100 applications a day?  For a solid month?

Application numbers like this aren’t uncommon because new media (Facebook, Twitter, and various internet portals) have made information about jobs more accessible. We’re in an economic recession (or a depression, or a “jobless recovery,” depending on the financial analyst of your choice)—which means more people than ever are seeking work, applying in a wider range of geographical areas, and sometimes submitting applications out of desperation rather than real qualification. At the same time, workforces have been slashed—so the number of people dealing with those 100-a-day applications are fewer and more stressed out than ever before.

ATS systems (and there are many of them available for employers to purchase) scan  your resume, seeking a “match” with (a) buzzwords the employer has placed in the job advertisement, (b) words or phrases the company that created the ATS has specified, and (c) words or phrases that the employer has specified. The more matches, the higher a score your resume gets. The higher your score, the higher the chance that a human being will actually read what you’ve written.

Everyone using ATS systems acknowledges that it's quite possible the best candidates will not be the computer's top picks. A candidate could write a "perfect" resume (from the human employer's perspective) and still not get an interview--because the candidate did not speak to the computer first, and got axed from the lineup for the human being to look at.

So you have a “Catch-22” situation. On the one hand—avoid filling your resume with buzzwords. On the other hand—the more buzzwords the computer recognizes, the more likely a human being is to read your resume.

Below is a set of articles explaining what ATS systems are, and how to accommodate them as you apply for jobs.
  • A Wikipedia article describing what these systems are:
  • An article from a subsidiary of The Wall Street Journal giving you a sense of how widespread the use of ATS is, and why they’re so popular:
  • An article suggesting ways to incoporate your understanding of ATS into writing your resume:
  • Why you should probably avoid pdf copies of your resume:
As somebody who has sat facing a stack of 10 resumes to review each workday for a month (just 10!), I will side with Jen Kennings, the Jeopardy! champion who was finally beaten by the Watson computer a year ago, when he said "I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords" (an allusions to a Simpsons episode).

As somebody who wants to promote and advocate our brilliant Niagara University English Department undergraduates as well-prepared for the job market, I want to be sure you understand what's going on out there, and plan accordingly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two opportunities to build your resume!

What: Design Posters 
Who: David B. Taylor, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director, Institute for Civic Engagement, 
When: By early March 

Dr. David Taylor is finishing up the first offering of an Advanced Certificate in Applied Urban Ministry program through Continuing Education. The average age of those in this program is probably somewhere between 55 and 60 years of age, with little computer expertise. However, this  group is highly motivated and appreciative of this opportunity to be furthering their education.   

As part of the course requirements, the students had to develop a "congregational action plan" that involved a proposal (in the form of a paper) for a project or program that would impact their congregation and also their surrounding neighborhood/community. This week they present their proposal via PowerPoint (which none of them knew how to use prior to the class) to the rest of the class.  After that, Dr. Taylor would like them to turn their paper/Powerpoint into an attractive, professional poster (not a skill they presently have).

Dr. Taylor would like assistance from NU students with experience developing posters to "mentor" students and work one-on-one with them to translate their ideas on to the poster.  He thinks this might be able to be done in one two hour session.  The volunteers can email Dr. Taylor. Students have until early April to finalize the posters. 

What: Publication and Editing for Creative Writing Journal 
Who: Atasha Ramsaroop, Editor-In-Chief,  The Aquila Literary Journal, Niagara University '13, BBA Accounting, (646) 352-2883,; and Martha Krupa, Aquila advisor, Writing Coordinator, Office of Academic Support, Seton, First Floor, 716-286-807
When: By end of March 

Aquila is looking for support. The editor and faculty advisor ask students submit their work to the Aquila Literary Journal for publication. Submissions include any genre of poetry, short story, non-fiction, drawings, photography, or paintings. They are looking to increase diversity in all subjects. If any students wish to submit an original poem or story in a language other than English, they are highly encouraged to, though the Aquila asks that they also provide an English translation. The deadline is March 30, 2012, 11:59 p.m. for submissions to Students may submit anonymously should they choose. All print documents should be submitted in .doc (Microsoft Word or any other word processing program) format.

They are also looking for several editors. Interested students can drop by Aquila meetings held every other Monday at 7pm in Dunleavy 235 (the next meeting is Feb. 20th). If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at Or see the link to the Aquila at (left side of page).

Only 3 Questions!

Dang--I didn't know there were only three questions on any interview, ever, anywhere. But yes, it does make sense that these are them.

I've left it to you to click to find out what they are. Because if you scroll down the page, you'll find that there are many links to resources to help you prepare and think about what these questions mean.

Also, while the article focuses on interviews (face to face, or possibly phone/Skype), you can be these questions will be in the backs of minds of people reading your resume and your letter of application too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No-no words!

Great article from the end of 2011 listing the top ten "used to death" words in resumes. It's not that these words (or any words) are bad in and of themselves. 

But when everyone claims to be a "creative professional with extensive, effective organizational experience, with motivation and innovation shown by a dynamic track record of problem solving using communication skills...."

Well--who are you? What sets you apart from the crowd? You might be that person described above--but I doubt it. It's gloppy gobble-de-guck which means absolutely nothing.

Find new ways to describe what you do well--in your resume, your cover letter, and your well-rehearsed elevator speech. Take a risk using a new turn of phrase. Use a bit of well-positioned slang (if it zings, and is not surrounded by a lot more slang).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sneak Peak: "Sing 4 Somalia"

“Sing for Somalia”
April 18, 2012
Mark this date on your calendar

Dr. Brian Murphy in Communication Studies is one of a number of people planning a joyful fundraising event and celebration to support the Prime Minister of Somalia.

An NU faculty member, as you know, has stepped up to the challenge of serving to help rebuild Somalia, and to end the famine and political instability in that African country. After serving Niagara University as faculty member in the College of Business for many years, Dr. Abdiweli Ali stepped up as prime minister of Somalia in 2011. He is currently “on leave” from his faculty responsibilities.

I don’t know all the details—but the possibilities for bands, speakers, and international media coverage are definitely there! This is one you won’t want to be looking back on years later saying “wish I had been there”!

Watch this space for further details!

Tweet your stuff!

This article is a very useful resource for job-seekers interested in using Twitter. Yes, I knew about finding people in your industry, or in your target companies, to follow. Yes, I knew that Twitter was useful in cultivating your network.

But I did not know about these specific hashtags in circulation!

Also a good piece of advice: since Twitter is limited to 140 characters, you can't easily offer links to websites with looooong names, where you might store your uploaded resume, an online portfolio, or the like. Advice in this article suggests you accompany your tweet with a "tiny URL linking to your resume." 

You can generate shortened "alias" URL names by going to sites like "tiny url" or "" or "bitly" (these are google-able terms). If you want an article with more depth on services like this, try clicking here. Bottom line is they are free, and very, very easy to use.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Templates for Networking

This post has some really useful information: how to start (draft, begin writing) an email to someone with whom you want to network, but whom you have no idea how to approach.

As in, “you don’t really know who I am, and you probably don’t care, but I think you could really help me out, and everyone keeps telling me it’s important to network, so I hope you’ll forgive this intrusion on your life.”

At least, that’s what you’re probably thinking as you sit down to draft one of these emails (or make a phone call, or even jog down the hall for a face to face discussion). But how do you avoid coming off like a yutz?

Again, these are templates, not tailored to your individual situation. But they do give you a starting point. And very often, getting a few words on paper (making the start) is the hardest part of the battle. We all know that one from writing papers for classes—don’t we!? (Yeah, us old academics struggle with that one too, for conference papers.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spiffing Up Your Resume

Interesting post—with some interesting tools that can help you look at stuff differently.

Take some of the recommendations with a grain of salt. For instance, suggestion #1, “delete your objective”—that terse statement at the top of the page about what you want. I don’t know. On the one hand, the “objective” is too often “blah blah blah”—I seek a motivating position that will challenge my capabilities to be the best that I can be. (That means absolutely nothing.)

On the other hand—it might be interesting to play around with replacing your objective instead with item #3, a summary of your skills.

Suggestion #4, “identify keywords” led me to—which takes text you plug in and makes graphic clouds out of the words. (Easier for you to see than for me to describe.) The result makes some words pop out and others recede—forcing you to look at the language (especially at what parts seem to the program to be “most important.”) It’s a bit of a game—but if it can jog loose some of your thinking, it might be worth a try.

Suggestion #5—I hate the term “power words,” but the example is solid. Show the significance of work you’ve done, rather than simply the literal job title and some wimpy generic language about your official role on the job.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writing Assignment: Elevator Pitch

This article invites you to “
Imagine yourself sharing an elevator ride in your office building with a respected CEO;  meeting a Publisher at a networking event; or on a plane next to the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox.”

What do you say? Do you go red in the face and stammer “hire me!” and then fall silent? Yeah—I probably would too. Age 56 and I still get tongue-tied.

Even if you never use it, here is a solid suggestion: write your 30-second “elevator speech” in advance. Practice. Revise. Practice. Practice again until you can rattle it off in your sleep.

Why? You’ve probably know from studying for exams that if you’ve rehearsed information over and over, it “sticks” in your mind. Even when you feel like you’re going to draw a blank, those words and phrases come back to you—one leads to the next, and the next.

Try putting a little time into crafting your pitch now, so that when opportunity knocks at the oddest moments, you can seize the day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

High Finance Wants You!

“Yale University student Marina Keegan received an email last May from Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds, offering her $100 if she said why she didn't apply for a summer internship.  Keegan, an English major, decided to take Bridgewater up on its offer.... Ever since she got to Yale, Keegan was bombarded with emails from banks, consulting firms and hedge funds, begging her to consider working for them; same with her friends.”

Wait—what—an English major???!

I usually listen to NPR podcasts on the way home, and this one had me doing a double take.

According to this story, English majors (as well as many other liberal arts majors—in addition, of course, to business majors) are being courted, actively wined and dined, by finance companies. Now—the take-away is not that this phenomenon is occurring only at Ivy League schools, as the article points out. And the article’s focus is on the problem that these undergraduates are being wooed into a career path which does not improve our lives overall, and where (as one of the comment-posters put it) the industry eats its young. (Eww. Anti-business bias, anybody?)

However, what I thought was noteworthy for English majors & our friends in related fields is that these companies recognize and value degrees in the humanities. We have skills. We have chops. We have talent.

Maybe they don’t value non-Ivy League schools adequately—but that’s easier to overcome that the (mis)impression that they don’t value English majors skills.

NU Undergrad Research Conference

Hi, all. Dr. Barnwell has asked that I encourage all students to consider participating in the Undergraduate Research Conference this year. The flyer can be viewed at

Dr. Barnwell writes, “Last year we had a record number of participants and are hoping this year is even better! If you are working students doing research, please encourage them to present their research at this year’s conference.  In addition, please encourage students in your classes to attend the various poster and panel presentations throughout the day. 

"The conference will be on Friday, April 20.  Submission forms are due to Kathy Sydor in DUNL 312 by Monday, April 2.  Please note that, because of scheduling and printing concerns, the deadline this year is a firm deadline.  Unlike previous years, we will be unable to accept late submission for inclusion into the conference.”

This is a great line for your resume, if you particpate!

Playwriting Contest, 3/1/12 deadline

Road Less Traveled Productions is sponsoring their Third Annual Buffalo Young Writers Contest for Playwrights between the ages of 17 and 22 years and presently enrolled in high school or college in Western New York. The deadline has been extended to 3/1/12.

Please see the email below for a chance to “unleash your inner playwright.” Note that you must be between the ages of 17 and 22... I’m not sure what they consider the cutoff, when turning 23 makes you “over the hill” for purposes of this contest!

If you would like to view the information on the website, you can visit for specific information about the contest. 

Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP) is a professional not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to the development and production of new theatrical works by Western New York playwrights, as well as presentations of esteemed modern dramas of outstanding literary merit. RLTP launched its first annual Buffalo Young Writers contest in the fall of 2009. Response to the original contest (and the resulting showcase) was so positive that RLTP revived the contest in the Fall of 2011, with a second BYW Night in May 2011. 

2011’s Grand Prize Winner, UB Student Jon Zelasko, is currently developing his first full-length play in the Emanuel Fried New Play Workshop (RLTP’s in-house mechanism for the development of new play by WNY playwrights). Zelasko’s play Sam will receive its first public development reading this Fall at the Road Less Traveled Theater.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Upcoming Events Feb & March 2012

News flash from Robert Swanson, Associate Director, NU Career Services (

February 2012, Employers recruiting for internship and full-time positions in ALL MAJORS:

Citi Group (banking, finance)
Summer analyst internship program and other full-time opportunities
Monday, February 13, 2012, 6:00 — 7:00 p.m., Bisgrove Hall, Rooms 350 & 351

Mutual of Omaha (insurance)
Career Night Seminar
Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 6:00 — 8:00 p.m., held at
Mutual of Omaha 6245 Sheridan Drive, Suite 108, Williamsville, NY 14221

GEICO (insurance)
Summer Leader Development Internship
Interested candidates need to submit a resume by Friday, February 17 to with “GEICO Internship” in the subject line

NU’s Career Development Center presents:

Professional Networking Event:  From Facebook to Face.  
Thursday, February 23, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Castellani Art Museum
Led by business etiquette expert John Bourdage, From Facebook to Face is a cocktail party based on the concept of speed dating. It provides students with the chance to meet successful recent alumni and develop their interpersonal and networking skills. Plenty of food, beverages and career opportunities. Appropriate dress is business casual or business attire (shirt with a collar and khakis at a minimum, jacket and tie preferred—or dress slacks/skirt and blouse). Interested students can pre-register by contacting the Office of Career Services at (716) 286-8500, or

March 2012, Watch for these events

Career Expo 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Castellani Art Museum

Target Corporation (retail sales)
Executive Team Leader Program
Information session and interviews
Thursday, March 29, 6:00 p.m. Dunleavy Hall Room 208

Structured networking

Structured Networking, from Harvard Business Review. This is a long-ish article, but filled with valuable tips on how to develop and use networking strategies—including practical, specific tips you can take. The comments, many from job-hunt coaches, are also valuable. For one thing, they affirm that the article strategies are useful and appropriate in the business world. They also add some suggestions that amplify or expand on the comments in the original article.

Isn’t it time you began revving up and systematizing your networking strategies?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cover letters

This is a great set of advice and tips on how to write a cover letter! The last thing you want to do is come off like a “generic employee”--these are a dime a dozen. Instead, think about what makes you a good fit for the organization you’re applying to, and what makes you stand out from the pack. Throw in a little (repeat: “little!”) humor. I can tell you from experience that when i get applications from people for jobs, the last thing I want to be as I read is bored.

As English majors and minors, you all have what it takes. You know the rhythms of language. You know how to avoid clogging the arteries of your letters with passive voice and stodgy nested clauses that make sentences run on and on (and on). You know how to tell a story. Use those skills!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Future Self Talks Back

Here are two very interesting articles from "Your Future Self." The first one isn't specifically related to finding jobs--but then again, finding a job is part of a larger strategy for a satisfying, productive life. The second article riffs on the idea, refocusing on job-finding strategies.

Not all the ideas may resonate with you. In fact, they may smack of the creaky old relative who, over the holidays, monopolized your time in a wheezy voice with tales of "When I was your age..." Ugh. Unsolicited advice from major butt-in-skies.

I will say, however, that these are fairly benign--you can read and ignore, if you wish. They do sound like things I would have said to my former self. Yeah, I was young too, once. When I was your age... (!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Black History is No Mystery at NU!

Click here for the Flyer

Here's the official Niagara University flyer for Black History month, the month of February. 

Black History Month was originally launched in 1926 as a week--the second week in February--by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. It became Black History Month in 1976... although people groused that it was the shortest month in the year! When Martin Luther King Day was signed into law in 1983, and slowly adopted across the country, folks started saying that we finally got enough time--as MLK day extends the month of February unofficially as a time to learn about and commemorate black history.

There are some super events lined up for your entertainment and edification pleasure on the flyer I've linked above!

(Please note that I've updated the link to the flyer, since the first posting had a typo on it! Thanks! Feb. 03, 2012)

Susan B. Anthony Lecture

Here's a link to the flyer:

Title of the lecture: "In the Spirit of Susan B. Anthony" - to honor the 192nd birthday of women’s rights pioneer, Susan B. Anthony on February 15!

Melissa Dunlap, Executive Director of the Niagara County Historical Society, will speak about local women inspired by Susan B. Anthony, including Belva Lockwood, Ann Eliza Young, Anthony herself, and others.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 6:00-7:00 p.m. Dunleavy Hall, Room 127

Scholarship and service opportunity

Here is an opportunity for students who are committed to Niagara University’s service learning program—a scholarship for making a commitment to serve for 300 hours over the course of a year. There are a number of informational events and meetings, and some personal contact information supplied if you cannot attend the meetings or would prefer to email and/or talk with someone directly. 

Basic description: Niagara University is now a Campus Partner of the New York Campus Compact AmeriCorps Education Award Program. The program encourages students to SERVE their community, LEARN from their experience, and EARN an education award of $1,175.

How many available: Niagara University is looking for students to fill at least 10 volunteer slots.  

Commitment, qualifications: Students are required to provide 300 hours of service over the course of a year in exchange for a scholarship. Any student can participate--undergraduate or graduate, fulltime or part-time.

Info tables to find out more: Information tables will be set up in lower level Gallagher Center  
  • Thursday, February 2nd from 11 am to 3 pm
  • Monday, February 6th from 12 to 4 pm
  • Wednesday, February 8th from 9 am to 1 pm
Meeting to find out more:
  • Thursday, February 9th at 7 pm in the NUSGA conference room in lower level Gallagher.
You can also find out more here: