Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Catching up with the Job Market

If you've just graduated—congratulations. If you are just starting to get serious about the job hunt at this point in your life—here are some catch-up tips.

1. If you have “no experience,” there are still things you can say about yourself without padding your resume. Try this post for starters:

2. While you're at it, “experience” is a word that's about the past. Most employers want to know how you did what you did, and whether you are sure you can do it again, in a new context. Here's some language to include:

3. Here's some advice and insights into what you're going through, from people who have very recently been there and haven't forgotten what it feels like:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

From New Grad to Employed: How?


So you've gotten the degree. Now you need a job. How?

Well, if you've been reading this blog (or if you do some backtracking), you'll find what I hope are some useful tips about internships, networking, LinkedIn, resume and cover letter content, and so on.

Here are two more useful links. The first, from Fast Company, points out that you have to prove you deserve the job. (Duh.) That means the world doesn't owe you a living, of course. It also means that you have to learn how to speak the language of jobs, rather than schooling. Yup--it's like learning to speak another language.

The second gives you some practical strategies about where to speak that language. Develop showcases--portfolios, websites, clusters of others who know you and will sing your praises.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just Graduated. No Experience? Hah!


You do too have experience. You are either in college, actively participating in classes, extracurricular activities, informal groups, retreats, and more. You've worked X number of hours a week while holding a solid grade average. You've worked the table at a recruitment event, where your department is seeking to attract new students to the university. You've contributed articles to the Index, the Niagara University newspaper. 

So don't be shy about taking the stuff you've actually done in the last four years and promoting it as worthy of consideration by someone who will consider hiring you.

Just don't arrive on the page (your cover letter, resume) or in person (interview, networking event) full of hot air about what you will do, how eager you are to learn in the near future. Instead, find ways to demonstrate a mix of eagerness, talent, and accomplishment.

If you're a new grad, nobody expects you to have 10 years' experience in the field. But in order to get a second look (an interview), you do need to demonstrate that you've got something to offer beyond hot air.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Twitter as Job Board


What a surprise--Twitter is one of the locations employers are turning to when they have an opening for an employee. 

Or maybe it's not a surprise. Twitter posts are free--compared to hefty payments to big-name job boards, where their openings will get buried among many other openings. Twitter posts can be seen by those in the poster's network--so it offers some networking referral potential. ("Gee, I saw that you're looking for an intern to do some editing and copywriting; I happen to know someone who would be perfect for that job...")

And Twitter posts are immediate. No waiting. (That also means for you, job-searcher: caveat emptor. As with any job search, let the buyer beware; do your due diligence to make sure the job is legit.)

There is a handful of links at the bottom of the Career Enlightenment article. Two independent websites; one tweet-stream to follow; one link that I couldn't figure out how to use; and one offer of a free e-book if you submit your email and nominal information. There should be at least one resource in that sequence you find comfortable to use.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lists of Summer Internships

The following is a poached list. I went to Google, typed in "internships English majors," and came up with a number of colleges and universities that have collected information about specific employers offering internships.

A few caveats: 
  • Some have dates which suggest they have expired. However, a company which offered an internship last year is likely to be offering one this year.
  • Some may have a location or a specific preference for students from a specific school. Read the fine print.
  • You can find many more than I've shown below--these are the first handful of resources that popped up. The best hunting grounds are going to be at schools with larger English departments, and thus targeted postings for that group.
http://engladv.wordpress.com/category/all-internships/ (The University of Washington)

http://www.stanford.edu/group/cellardoor/cgi-bin/home/2010/01/internship-opportunities-for-english-majors/ (Stanford University

http://www.english.lsu.edu/UndergraduateProgram/Internships/item38219.pdf (Louisiana State University)

http://english.barnard.edu/opportunities/jobs_internships#english (Barnard College)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Summer Internships, Local

Have you gotten your internship set up for summer?

It's not too late. Visit http://www.simplyhired.com/, type in the word "intern" and your zip code, and hit "enter."

According to this website, there are 1,389 internships available within 25 miles of Niagara University, and 400 of them have been posted within the last 7 days.

In the left-hand column there are additional filters; under "special filters" you will find one for "new graduates."

I'm not promising you will find the lifetime career of your dreams here. However, if you were planning to sit around twiddling your thumbs this summer, or working in a job with no ladder to climb--you may want to give this a whirl.

Bonus: How to be a good intern; mistakes you should avoid: http://comerecommended.com/2013/05/10-mistakes-to-avoid-as-an-intern/

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tough Love: How to Get a Job


Here's an excellent story, from the inside out. 

It's about doing all the stuff I've been blogging and telling you to do: networking, direct calling potential employers, researching, following through on first contacts, networking some more, following through some more. 

And it's about not doing all the stuff I've been blogging and telling you not to do: scanning job boards, polishing up only one letter, only one resume, and sending out an avalanche of stuff hoping to hit by sheer probability. 

And this story is told from the inside out--what emotions this strategy bumped into, what was painful, what the most useful internal motivators and attitudes were to make it happen. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday, LinkedIn!

LinkedIn turns 10 years old today!

With 225 million users today, LinkedIn has revolutionized job hunting over the past ten years. LinkedIn's history.

3/4 of all job openings are posted on LinkedIn. Virtually all recruiters (those who are tasked with finding people to fill job openings) are on LinkedIn. Infographic.

You can now add visual flair to your LinkedIn profile. How-to.

The difference between LinkedIn and Facebook.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Resume: One Page Plus


"The lower you are on the rung, the more competition. And that means the more résumés hiring managers have to read just to make one choice. They will LOVE you for making that job easier."

The original question on the blog entry linked above was "should I include X on my resume?" The job-seeker posing the question was working at a stop-gap job that had nothing to do with her aspirations and current search. 

Likely many college students looking for their First Big Break at a Real Job will have a string of (more or less) irrelevant jobs that they could mention. Should they? Yes, if they make sense in some way you can articulate (in your cover letter). No, if they clutter up your resume, push it beyond a single page, and show nothing more than mere gainful employment.

Another solid insight here: your LinkedIn resume and profile don't give you the option to customize beyond a single page. Hiring managers do not want to read page after page--in fact, they won't. They'll pick up your resume, skim the first few lines. But there is nothing that says you can't link to another resource online elsewhere. Suggestion supplied in the above-linked blog-post to an online free resource, Visual CV. 

(CV stands for "curriculum vitae"--the facts about your professional life. Resume means an overview, a short & sweet summary.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Whiskey Box Millionaire


Lists, of course, are always catchy. Here are 10 things to keep in mind on your new job. The stuff from #2 through #9 are about being on the job. But I think #1 and #10 are crucial, and wayyyyyy too often overlooked.

#1: Keep a portfolio. There is nothing worse than finding yourself laid off, or perhaps deciding that your office is toxic enough to leave, and wondering where you piddled your time away for the last few years. What did you accomplish? How can you sell yourself to a next (and hopefully better) employer?

The answer: from day one, keep a portfolio of really good stuff. It doesn't need to be labor intensive. Two strategies I've found useful:

(a) A daily journal. Spend just a few minutes each day writing down what happened. It may all seem very trivial the day it happens. Over time, however, you get a larger picture. Perhaps you'll even have a memory-jog (if a problem ever occurs) of when Harry in Accounting began harassing you, even if it wasn't visible as such when it started. 

Extra bonus: a word processing document lets you search, using "find." So-and-so says you or your boss never called back? Well--your journal notes you called two months ago at 10:43 a.m. It's not absolute evidence, but if record faithfully, you'll come to be trusted for your assisted memory.

(b) A whiskey box file. Sounds weird. I learned the phrase from a lawyer running his own small office. A whiskey box is a good fit for usual sizes of paper. Every time you write a letter, put a carbon copy in the file. Carbon? Obviously, that's old advice! You can photocopy. When I do something that might be worth keeping, or praiseworthy, or I have a vague inkling might be trotted out later--I make an extra copy. That includes emails. In hard copy, which cannot get accidentally deleted.

#10: Contribute to your 401k, at least the amount to get employer-match funds. Who, me, retire? Heck yeah. Social Security pays only a pittance, and may fold by the time you retire. You are likely to live well beyond 80, even 90. Do you really want to spend 20, 30, even 40 years living in poverty? 

Not only do you need to take responsibility for your own life, but compound interest can make you a millionaire pretty easily if you start now. Don't believe me? Read this: 

Plus, consider this: Many employers contribute a % of your salary, matching a % you contribute. If you don't kick in to your retirement plan, you are flushing part of your salary down the toilet. Remember, Human Resources people think in terms of "compensation," not "salary." That can mean health, dental, employer-purchased snacks and coffee. It can also mean retirement. And who ever tried to haggle his or her salary down rather than up?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Congratulations, Awardees!

Congratulations to winners honored at the 33rd annual College of Arts & Sciences Day of Recognition!

From left to right:

  • English Department chair, Dr. Jeanne Laurel
  • Eugene Blair award winners Hannah Owczarczak, Molly Hyland, Julianne Viviano
  • John Devine award winners Brianna Lanoye, Emily Kaufman
  • English Department faculty, Dr. Erin Karper, Dr. Jamie Carr

Our faculty are award winners too! Below, Dr. Jamie Carr receives the award for service from College of Arts & Sciences dean Dr. Nancy McGlen.

See the full press release here http://news.niagara.edu/33rd-annual-day-of-recognition-celebrates-nus-college-of-arts-sciences-2/, and a bunch more pictures on the Facebook page linked at the bottom!