Monday, December 31, 2012

Twitter for Job Search

Happy New Year (a few hours early). Here's a tip on how to use hashtags, tweet the right stuff, and follow the right people or organizations to extend and deepen your job search. A few things I didn't know here--like a short list of colleges where the career centers are especially active on Twitter with tips and leads!

Here are the Twitter addresses for the colleges with lots of activity in their Career Services centers, mentioned in this article:

  • Syracuse University = @CareerSU
  • New York University = @NYUWasserman
  • University of Arizona = @uacareersvcs
  • San Diego State University = @sdsucareerserv
  • Indiana University = @IUCareers

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cleanup on Aisle 6

Remember way back when you were a college freshman and thought it was cool to post embarrassing photos? Okay, maybe not; but did you ever have friends who thought it was cool, and some of their photos are about you?

If you're nearing the sober (and sobering) age of graduation and job-hunting, you'll probably want to do some cleaning up on your Facebook page. Heck, don't stop with photos--look for stuff you might have written or posted that could give an employer the wrong idea of how you'll fit in with a more conservative group than you're used to hanging with in college. (Religious views, politics, snark-fests and the like.)

Here's a link to a great "how to" article, complete with step by step directions and screenshots to help you find the privacy-control goodies that Facebook keeps moving around. 

(I think Facebook must have a strategy--drastically change and move the privacy controls every few months, sort of like grocery stores rearrange their stock to force consumers into looking at everything, rather than just the stuff they want to buy, in places where they know to find it. More need to clean up = more "visits" to the Facebook website.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Job by Any Other Name

The above linked article asks whether job titles are going the way of "the 8-track tape player, the Edsel, and the Dodo bird." Are job titles sooooo 20th century? 

It's a good point, though, and might give you some insight into how to construct your resume. If you have previous experience, whether part-time or fulltime, how does it help a prospective employer if you set down only that your title was "Chief Compliance Inspector of Widget Regulatory Qualifications" at XYZ Company?

Job titles have become obscure and obfuscatory. A secretary is now an "administrative assistant." A garbage collector is a "sanitation engineer." A "language arts pedagogical specialist" is still an English teacher. Hey--these are jobs with dignity, no problem there. But why add more syllables and specialized language when that only makes it harder to know what a job is?

Beyond my beef with ways to torture the English language, in many cases the job title often tells only a fraction of the story. In order to survive in a lousy economy, workers need to make themselves indispensable. In order to make themselves indispensable, they end up doing a little of this, a little of that--stuff they are good at, stuff the company needs, but not necessarily stuff that is in the job description.

Next time you put together a resume and think about job titles--or when you look at postings for jobs you might want to have--think about what value added you can bring to the table. Go beyond the job title.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chart your Value

Here's an especially good "hands-on" blog post that shows you how to translate your experience into strong selling points to a prospective employer--even if you don't think you have "experience."

Use a template to list all the things you have done... soup to nuts, like community service, earning good grades, club participation and leadership, sports. Notice that none of these activities are likely to be ones where you got paid to do something.
Then, list all the skills and employable qualities you can attach to your activities. You can find more ideas and examples of how this works at the blog posting. 

Of course, paid work is the gold standard of proving you have successfully met the challenges and gained the skills you will need to impress an employer--you can be fired from paid work if you don't meet or exceed expectations. 

But don't ignore the silver standard of unpaid work. As of December 18, the price of gold was $1,669.50 per ounce, and silver was $31.60 per ounce ( If you're holding 55 ounces of silver... that's still worth more than an ounce of gold.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Video Premier: Hidden Homeless 1/16/2013

A groundbreaking video premier event. Hidden Homeless is a Mouse Media production in collaboration with the Western New York Coalition for the Homeless that tells the story of youth homelessness in Buffalo, NY.

The city of Buffalo has around 1,500 homeless youth ages 0-21. Because of our cold climate many of them are living in train tunnels, abandoned homes and cars or surfing from couch to couch. Within three days on the street, they will commit a crime (beg for money, break into a property, steal food or sell their bodies) to survive. Most of these children can't go to school, work or vote. They had no face, no voice...until now. “Hidden Homeless” features these youth telling their stories in their words.

This free video release event will be held at WNEDs main studio and will include food, refreshments, speakers and Buffalo's first and only homeless youth video. Come out and be a part of this historic event for our kids. We as a community can make sure all our children have a place to call home. 

Please spread the word and be sure to RSVP to Jose Latalladi at or 716-248-0020 ASAP so we can make sure there's enough food to go around.

(Thanks to Joseph Little for sharing this information with me.)

Fright Wig at the Interview?

From U.S. News & World Report's career blogs, here's an article on how to plaster your face with day-glo orange "warning!" signs that will make your interviewer squirm. There are easier ways to scare off a prospective employer than putting on your Halloween fright-wig.

Actually, if it even appears likely you would commit any of 10 of these ill-advised faux pas, you probably won't advance from the stack of incoming applications to the interview phase. 

So that means combing through your resume and cover letter to make sure that there are no gotcha issues--like your list of people willing to vouch for you as a reference, where nary a one is qualified to comment objectively on your working habits and capacities. (Your mom, your second-grade teacher, and your postal delivery person all fit in that category.)

Thanks and a tip o' the hat to Joyce Tesar, for passing along this article!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guide to Gift Guides

Now for something (almost) completely irrelevant to your job search: Kevin Kelly's gift guide from cool tools. It's actually a guide to guides--links to a number of other resources for last-minute and/or highly cool ideas.

Don't fret if you don't have a lot of money; there are inexpensive and do-it-yourself things on the various lists. There are charitable organizations. There was even a source for eye-catching business cards, with a different photo printed on the flip side of the "business" side of the card (on the Scott Kelby list; here's a direct link to the cards:

And even if you have checked off every name on your shopping list--there are some pretty cool doo-dads here, whether you purchase, make as specified, or get all fired-up creative and make something slightly different.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jobs on Tap at Jobsapalooza

The Niagara University Career Services office ( has posted updated information under "events" on the right side of their page. 

  • Times: 11:00am — 2:00pm 
  • Location: Buffalo Niagara Mariott
  • Event Location: 1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst, New York 14221 USA
  • Date: January 10, 2013 

Jobsapalooza, formerly known as JobQuest, is Western New York's most versatile career event. Open to students, alumni and community members, attendees are welcome to network with employers regarding internships, jobs, career trends, industry insights and more. Professional attire is recommended.
List of participation employers can be found at
Even if you are not looking for a job right now, please consider going--just for the heck of it. Get your feet wet, schmooze, see how it's all done, before graduation is looming and breathing down your neck.

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Here is a terrific list of 25 things you should learn to do, and do well, before you launch into the career of your choice--even the internship leading to a possible career.

Some are obvious; some are fun... heck, some are ones I'm still working on. (Notoriously: office organization, and not dribbling during business lunches.)

You don't get bonus points for mastering any or all of these life-skills. But you do get demerits for failing at any of them. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Using English In the Business World

And now for an object lesson in what an English major is good for. Here, NPR reporters connect Great Works of Literature (King Lear, Oedipus, Wiley Coyote...--wait, from Roadrunner cartoons?!) to the notion that the government is heading toward a "Fiscal Cliff."

If you've been following this news story at all, it may seem to be a muddle of politicians' rhetoric. But using your knowledge of literature, you can identify the strands (including the whopping doses of chicanery) and think your way through to what it all means.

You have the tools to make sense out of what is happening in the world around you. That's a strong selling point for English majors in the real world!


Thursday, January 10, 2013
Time & Location To Be Announced!

For more information, contact NU"s Career Center:

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot News, Buffalo Area Internship

  • Title: Public Relations / Communications Intern
  • Internship Description: The Public Relations / Communications intern will be responsible for assisting in the day-to-day activities required to execute the company’s public relations / communications strategic vision.  These responsibilities will include drafting press materials to be distributed to local media outlets, monitoring press coverage, writing articles for internal distribution, taking photographs, maintaining internal websites, assisting with public relations events, as well as other administrative functions and tasks.
  • Schedule: The hours and days are flexible, within a Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. work week.  Weekends and some evenings may be required.
  • Qualifications: Working toward a bachelor’s degree in communications and/or public relations, demonstrate an understanding of the principles of public relations, excellent verbal and written communication skills, proficient in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher, strong attention to detail, ability to multi-task and meet deadlines.
And on the subject of internship, networking and more:
  1. Don't forget to check out the website that appears on, the Public Relations Society of America, Buffalo Chapter. It's a professional organization which you should look into for networking, professional development, events, and so on.
  2. If you're in the market for an internship in the area, check out the bulletin board immediately across the hall from my office, Dunleavy 352 (between Dr. Collington's Dunleavy 354 and Dr. Keller's 356... and yes, the numbers in Dunleavy are a bit disorganized.) That's where we pin the materials we receive, as they come in. 
  3. The Career Services Office is the authoritative best place to shop for internships... in fact, Bob Swanson, the director, sent me this news. They may have interships up their sleeves that you will find nowhere else, along with savvy tips on how to get an intership, what to consider in accepting an internship, and how to "work" the opportunity to greatest advantage.

Santa is my Co-Pilot: Holiday Networking

It's holiday party season! Time to drown your sorrows over the crappy job market... or not. Here's some advice on using holiday parties to which you may be invited as networking events.

You may not (yet) be in this position--dreading a "networking event" because you've been invited as one of the Important Poobahs that other people are going to seek out for advice, connections, favors. But you can take a leaf from this classy lady's book. Go to networking events, and be generous. Don't ask what others can do for you; instead, ask ways you can offer others insight, connection, praise.

When you get a business card... what do you do with it? Shove it in a pocket, and realize that you've misplaced it only after you've fished out the balled up piece of lint that has gone through both washer and dryer? Here are some alternatives.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stalking the Wily "Hidden Job"

From CBS MoneyWatch, here's one of the prime reasons you are networking: to shake loose the "hidden jobs." No that doesn't mean that you have to work behind a screen because you're ugly. Rather, it means that the precise job you may get does not exist before you get it.


It works like this. When someone leaves a company, that company is very often going to take a long, hard look at what the person in the job was assigned to do. The employee might be leaving for very good reasons, after a long and mutually-happy association with that particular employer.

But especially in this mean and lean economy, employers are trying to do more with less. Someone leaving is a great time for the employer to re-think just what value that paycheck buys the employer. What areas of that person's work needed more attention? What areas could be scaled back, or handed off to someone else for a better fit with the company's priorities and human resources?

If you have networked well and thoroughly, it is possible that you will know of a job opening, and you will have the insight to offer a new skill-set, a value-added proposition, a fresh perspective on how to streamline and bring more to the company's bottom line.

The English Department has Adopted!

We've adopted!

The English Department has adopted a family in need of Christmas Cheer. We're purchasing toys, clothing, gifts and household/food items for Mom & Dad, three children ages 4-15, plus a newborn. That's a lot of people (six)--and we got a lot of stuff!

To contribute to this effort, see Ms. Evelyn Tracy, Dunleavy 315 (to your right as you get off the elevator). We'll have a can out for anonymous cash donations. (The more donations, the stronger our ability to supply gifts.)

In addition to cash, we could use help wrapping gifts! I'll bring in wrapping paper and the collection of purchased items thus far, placing with Evelyn Tracy on Tuesday morning. I've promised a delivery on Saturday to the family. Drop by and wrap a gift!

Yours truly,
Santa Claus, chair of the English Department

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Internship: The New Interview

Here's a link from Forbes, one of the biggest names in All Things Money. The best route to a permanent job may well be an internship--think of it as an extended interview. 

Some eye-catching quantifiable tidbits:
  • "69% of companies with 100 or more employees offered full-time jobs to their interns in 2012."
  • "You have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with."
  • "Fifty-three percent of the surveyed employers said they expect to hire more interns in 2013 than they did in 2012."
Bonus: at the bottom of the linked article, you'll find a list of the highest-paying internships nationwide. 
If you haven't already started planning what you'll do during summer 2013, here is some serious food for thought.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Money

No, I'm not talking about Benjamins lying around on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up.

I like to read the Kevin Kelly-curated blog "Cool Tools," because it draws contributions on all kinds of stuff you never knew about, by users who have tried alternatives and found the best tool for the job.

Today's link is to a review (with generous samples) from Jean Chatzky's March 2012 book Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security, available for about $10 in paper and ebook format.

It's not arcane or long-winded. Rather, it boils down into simple principles some financial behavior patterns you can apply to your money-management.

It won't make you rich overnight. But if you follow even half of the advice, you'll be a lot more financially secure in years to come.

Ms. Chatzky also has a blog at, with most entries in video format.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bienvenidos Presentation 12/7/12

Katy Martin, president of the on-campus club Bienvenidos, invites the NU community to a presentation on Brazilian culture:

  • Friday, December 7, 2012
  • 3:30pm
  • Multi-Purpose Room in the Gallagher Center

In October 2012, four club members and the club advisor spent a week in Lavras, Brazil. They were guests of UFLA, the Federal University of Lavras, in the south of Brazil. 

The week included cultural immersion, Portuguese classes, traditional Brazilian dance classes, hiking to waterfalls, a meal at a mountain-top restaurant and a tour of Brazil's second best University's campus. Brazilian students will be coming to NU in spring 2012 for a reciprocal visit. 

More information: Katy Martin, president of Bienvenidos,

Making It Look Easy

A trio of links that show how you can look easy and relaxed, although it takes a lot of work. Nobody's going to hire you if you let them see you sweat.

The blogosphere is cluttered with advice. Here's a refreshingly simple focus: "The Two Most Helpful Pieces of Resume Advice I Ever Received." What I like about this article is that it doesn't say these bits of advice are easy to implement. In fact, just the opposite: it suggests that getting to simple is difficult process full of crossing stuff out, thinking it over again, and distilling the essence of your resume into a crystal clear focus.

Okay, "Getting the Most from Career Fairs... Without Squishy Balls" does not have any "NSFW" (not safe for work... obscene) material. However, it is written with a jaunty sense of humor. It's a step by step primer for how to make your experience at a career fair less of a deer-in-the-headlights experience. Make it easier for a prospective employer to see the Talented You (rather than being overpowered by the fear pheromones oozing from your sweaty pores) at the massive cattle-call Career Fairs upcoming.

Unless you are applying for an academic job, nobody is going to hire you because you gave a whiz-bang paper at Dr. Collington's senior seminar Shakespeare Conference. This article on "Transferable Skills" gives you some language from the parallel world of business, showing how the skills you demonstrated at last Tuesday's event can be translated into stuff a prospective employer can appreciate.