Friday, January 31, 2014

Keeping a Life: Beyond Undergrad

Well, it seems like I've found my counterpart on the interwebs: Gotta love the blog name!
  • Get a Life, PhD: Succeed in Academia and Have a Life Too
  • Weekly Tips on How to Succeed in Academia and Have a Life Too 
  • This blog is written by Tanya Golash-Boza, PhD, a faculty member and mother of three school-age daughters. It is written for academics and aspiring academics who are looking for support, inspiration, and tips on how to be successful in academia while also enjoying life. 

If you are leaving (or have left) Niagara University to pursue a graduate career, or thinking about seeking a life in academia, this is worth a read. Pointers on writing, publishing, negotiating job offers, and generally how to avoid turning into a train wreck trying to juggle your professional and personal lives.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Do you know Ed?


From the organization's website:
  • THE DIRT ON Ed2010: We are a community of young, eager magazine editors and magazine-editor wannabes who want to learn more about the industry so we can fulfill our dreams of being in top editing positions. 

There are face-to-face and online components. Listings of jobs, fulltime and part-time; internships, paid and unpaid. Mentoring and buddy-system connections. A blog. Salary info. A terrific Twitter feed. More, and yet more.

If you're interested in magazine publishing, or just want to find out more about the culture and the contacts--Ed2010 is a great starting spot!

Reference Request!

Today, a trio of links on how to get those all-important references. Whether you need folks who are willing to field phone calls from your prospective employers, or whether you need written material to add to a dossier or sent to an employer or grad school, there are some basics you should know about.

After all--you have written your cover letter and resume. You are applying and interviewing. And you aren't going to shoot yourself in the foot and say anything less than complimentary about yourself.

Employers will check your references to make sure you have the skills, the attitude, the aptitude to do a job well. Anyone can look great on paper, or even in person. But what others say about you can help employers make up their minds about whether you are worth the effort of hiring, training and retaining.

Some basics (which you'll find covered in more depth in the above links):
  • Choose a team; get a wide-angle set of perspectives on who you are and what you can do.
  • Communicate with those preparing the reference. Remind your referee of the great things they will be able to recall about you. Supply information on where and when reference requests will arrive, or should be sent.
  • Discuss the particulars of what you want your reference to say. "He/She is a great person" is too generic; it's called "damning by faint praise."
  • Follow through. If your referee cares enough to recommend you, then he or she is rooting for you and will be gratified by your success.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New MA at UB: Innovative Writing

I received the following email, which I pass along to NU students who may be interested:

I would like to invite your students to apply to the University at Buffalo's new graduate degree in creative writing. We're launching our new MA in Innovative Writing program this Fall 2014. Our application period opens February 1.

The curriculum of the new writing program has been designed by UB poets and fiction writers--Myung Mi Kim, Judith Goldman, Dimitri Anastasopoulos, and Christina Milletti--who are hoping to round out our internationally renowned department with a new workshop-based curriculum, and to make it a launch pad for young writers. In Fall 2014, novelist Nnedi Okorafor also joins our faculty.

Our MA Certificate in Innovative Writing presents a unique form of graduate study in creative writing, closely intertwining the practice of writing with literary and aesthetic inquiries. Our goal is to create a collaborative environment for our students, in which new forms of writing can flourish alongside familiar genres. Poetry. Fiction. Hybrid forms. Digital media. However innovation takes place.

Students in the program can expect to be immersed in a mentorship community activated by conversations about writing--above all, to be invited to view their work as an investigative, exploratory process: a mode of inquiry that, at its best, can articulate diverse experiences of 21st century culture, and unearth, perhaps even overturn, our most foundational thoughts, freeing them for profound imaginative work. 

UB's English Department is a haven for writing events of all kinds due to our two distinctive reading series--the Poetics Plus and Exhibit X Fiction Series--which regularly brings award-winning writers to Buffalo. In Spring 2014, alone, our guests already include (among others) Rodrigo Toscano (Feb 11), Jerome Rothenberg (April 17), Alice Notley (April 24), Amanda Michalopoulou (April 10) and Victor LaValle (March 6).

Graduate students who enroll in our writing program will earn an MA in English with a Certificate in Innovative Writing--a unique degree they can then position in a number of effective ways. It's particularly ideal degree for students who are interested in enhancing their writing portfolios and their literary backgrounds before applying to writing-related jobs, or MFA and PhD programs.

The deadline for applications is Feb 1, though this year, we intend to accept applications on a rolling basis since it's our first year at work. Please feel free to contact me with questions. For more information about the program, please visit:


Christina Milletti
Associate Professor of English
Director: Creative Writing Certificate Programs

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Sell Yourself Short

Okay, this isn't an obvious connection for folks seeking their First Real Job: "Achieve Sales Success by Mastering these 5 Steps," an infographic found at

You may have no ambition to sell anything: not a paperclip, not a used car, not a Girl Scout cookie, not anything. Nor am I suggesting that you should want to go into sales. Not everybody does, and that's just fine.

But face it: you will be selling yourself when you are on the job market. So why not learn from the best, the folks who sell for a living, and who enjoy doing so? Here are the 5 steps, and what you, the job-seeker, can learn from them:

1. The sales attitude, your personality: You don't get a choice but to sell if you are on the job market, so you're not using this information to decide if sales is right for you. But you can see what the skills are, and evaluate what skills and attitudes you need to cultivate to be successful.

2. The sales call: You're probably not "cold-calling" and asking "Hello, do you have a job for me?" But you might find these strategies useful asking for informational interviews, following through on an application, or otherwise initiating a job-related action.

3. The discovery call: Ways to consider whether and how your product (that is, you as an employee) can meet the buyer's (employer's) needs.

4. The voicemail: Aaak! You've called and been sent to voicemail. Rather than just muttering your name and number, here are some ways to make voicemail work for you, rather than against you.

5. The follow-up email: Some basics on what makes a great business email, and a sample of the high standards of communication you'll be bringing to the table as a new employee.