Monday, April 14, 2014

Congrats, English Honors Society--with Pictures!

The English Department's Facebook page has pictures taken by our very own Photographer Extraordinaire, Dr. Erin Karper.

If you'd prefer the link without visiting us on Facebook, here it is:

Congratulations to our latest Sigma Tau Delta inductees--you rock!

  • Shawna Bentz
  • Brittney Bartlett
  • Ashley Marie DeMar
  • Kathryn Dickie
  • Edward Fronczak
  • Michaela George
  • Jacob Honan
  • Addison Marino
  • Makayla Olden
  • Kristin Rivers
  • Andrea Scibetta
  • Jessica Tobin

Personalize your Cover Letter

Some good suggestions here on how to retrieve the name of the person to whom you should address a letter of application for a job. A personalized letter is more professional and appealing than "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam."

Notice: recommended resources come from inside the company to which you want to apply. It's tempting to do a quick online search for a name that goes with the title. But even a company's own website may well have outdated information. A generic "who's who” page (not on the company’s own site) can be even more out of date.

Online information is more easily accessed--but there's so much electronic information scattered around the internet that it can get out of date quickly. It's safer to ask live people for a name!

Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad! This is your kid's boss calling...

According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, companies are calling your parents. I don't know about you, but I find this a bit creepy. Then again--I'm an old fogy. My parents are even older fogies.

While the jury is out, HBR examines the practice, the responses from younger employees, and considers whether it's a good idea or not. Some people, apparently, find it a warm & fuzzy moment. Whatever your opinion, be aware that your folks may get someone from your place of work trying to cozy up to them.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Interviews

Here's an interesting way to test your resume: do a word cloud:

What's the point? 

The point is that in order to get a human being to pay attention to your resume and application materials, you must often first get a computer to select your stuff for further review. If the computer doesn't see the "right" words in your application, it won't push your name to the front of the stack of applications. 

You can use one of the two word-cloud generators the article supplies, or do a Google search for the phrase "free create word cloud" to get many, many more recommendations.

Undergrad Research Conference 04/11/14

The Niagara University Undergraduate Research Conference is this Friday, April 11. It runs all day, starting at 9 a.m.

Students from around the university have been preparing research in classes and during honors thesis projects--come support your peers, and learn stuff in an enjoyable, collegial setting! 

More information about what panels and posters, which students, and what their topics are, here:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

$200 Prize, Writing Contest

Writing contest, $200 for the most "liked" essay on the topic of Gen Y, “the #YOLO Generation, known for selfies, swag and drunken snapchats.”

Deadline April 14, 2014. 

The $200 is good. And the chance to list this demonstration of your creative genius on your resume? Priceless!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Avoid Half-Truths

Don't lie? Well--duh. You know better than to tell a deliberately misleading untruth, something this article warns you against doing.

But stuff you may believe is innocent could be perceived as a lie by a prospective employer. Be sure you are communicating clearly! Here's what I mean:

  • Dates: Make sure date ranges on your paperwork accurately communicate how long you worked. If you work a couple of months that happen to span different calendar years, include the month (not just the year).
  • Reason for leaving your last job: No, you don't need to put it in bold type in your cover letter. But if asked, tell the truth. If it's less than flattering, work out phrasing ahead of time.
  • Drug and background screening: Know ahead of time how to respond to the question "Can you pass a background or drug test?"
  • References: Your referees can become your professional friends--but your friends shouldn't be your referees. 
  • Skills & talents: If you can do something well, be sure to promote it. If you haven't mastered Excel, or French, or whatever, then you may fairly claim interest, but don't claim to be an expert.
Thanks & a tip of the hat to Joyce Tesar.

Thank you, MicThaPoet!

Thank you, Michael Adam Gaut, aka MicThaPoet, Niagara University English Department Alumnus, for his wonderful presentations on March 28, 2014! To hear him reading one of the poems he shared while at NU, visit this link: