Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Matching: Your Resume & your LinkedIn Profile?

Does your Resume match your LinkedIn profile? And do your Facebook, Twitter and other social media presences reflect well on your overtly-professional online materials?


Your resume is a one-page document that can pique an employer's interest in hearing more from you. One of the intermediate steps between "I got your resume" and "Won't you please come in for an interview?" might well be a hiring manager's peek at your social media presence.

As my series of links to other blogs suggests, employers want to see consistency. Your resume should be pared down and economical in wording. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to amplify and develop that information--you can even provide clickable links to an online portfolio or "landing page," where you supply even more evidence. And your other social media sites should show you as a well-rounded person who enjoys life, has a wide range of interests... and omits your beer-pong trophies, vulgarity and similar red-flag mentions.

Monday, September 29, 2014

So "Who Cares?" About Service Learning?

Employers do!


Niagara University's Vincentian mission offers students lots of opportunities for service: one-off events, longer commitments, service learnings as part of coursework, and so on. 

Of course, it's great for those who are served. All of us could use a hand up (not a handout) at some point. Some have more points than others when a hand up can make a huge difference. And that's a good reason to commit to service.

But as you may already know, service is good for you, too--and for any employers lucky enough to recruit you to their teams. The blog post I've linked to today assumes its audience (students, parents, school administrators) need a refresher course on why service is good for everyone. 

I'd like to add one more audience which should get on board with these ideas: employers. When you graduate from Niagara University, you'll be looking for a job. Your prospective employer may not know why or how they should value NU's service component. This list will help you articulate what "value added" you can bring to the table as an NU degree-holder.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Delayed Gratification

Just seen a "perfect-for-you" job ad? Don't apply just yet! http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-applying-job/

Some good advice in the blog post linked above. If you see an ad for the absolutely, positively perfect job, one you have been hoping would turn up just as you're ready to graduate and look forward to becoming fully employed--stop. 

If the first thing you do is fire off your all-purpose resume and cover letter, you've squandered a valuable opportunity to do more digging. Remember, you won't get any job, ever, by writing about how great you are and how much stuff you can do. Rather, you'll get interest (and hopefully the job) by describing what you can do for the organization--by carefully matching up your skills and talents with the needs of the employer.

So even though a job advertisement makes you shiver all over, take some time to research the company, network through LinkedIn, and fine-tune your resume and cover letter. Delaying your own gratification in responding to the perfect job ad may give you the longer gratification of actually getting the job.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Debunking the Myths

U.S. News & World Report's "Money" section ran a great article debunking myths about how the job search works; link here: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/09/17/dont-believe-these-8-job-search-myths

There are apparently lots of myths out there--because there are lots of articles debunking them. Here are some more, all packed with good advice:

All of these articles not only describe the mistaken beliefs job-seekers hold, but give you detailed advice about how to conduct a more efficient search.

Go with Joe, to Guatemala Doncha Know!


Micro Study-Abroad Opportunity

Beat the winter blues, get a great conversation-starter for your resume, and learn something about the world. Dr. Joseph Little will be leading a "budget backpacking" experience to Guatemala for a week, January 11-18, 2015. Must be 21+, in decent health, and willing/able to rough it. Cost is incredibly reasonable, about $2K.

Full information on the website above. Descriptive narrative and application form in upper right of page. Or email jlittle@niagara.edu

Update a few hours later...

Okay, Joe has so many exciting things planned that it makes my head spin. I apparently conflated a couple of trips. 

  • The one in January 2015 is for grad students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents... anybody with a connection to Niagara University, more or less.
  • There's another trip in March 2015, coinciding with NU's spring break, open to undergraduate students. 
  • And next May 2015, he's leading a group to Vietnam.
Bottom line: if you want to travel to real places, "at cost" (without a touristy price for touristy accommodations), Joe is your man.

And if you want to see proof that his educational tours are the most fun anybody has had since cotton candy was invented--see his photo album here: http://tinyurl.com/guatmarch2013

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EntrepreNU: You name the date!

EntrepreNU wants You!

As an exciting way to showcase its Vincentian heritage, Niagara University will be rolling out a program for students to compete for a $10,000 grant to address hunger issues in the Niagara Falls area. You’ll be hearing more about the EntrepreNU2015 Competition in months to come.

As support for students, Jim Wardlaw and his colleagues from Stitch Brand and Culture have agreed to serve as guest speaker-mentors to any group of students interested in taking this challenge. A meeting time for groups can be arranged between September 29 and October 17, providing an introduction to creative and innovative thinking for everyone (not just business students!)

There will also be a larger workshop in a month or so where Jim and his associates walk you through the process of entrepreneurial innovation. (Details TBA)

Get a jump on this challenging competition! Set up a time for Jim to come visit with any group of students (class, club, or just a bunch of interested folks) by emailing EntrepreNU@niagara.edu.

More info:

  • Find out more about EntrepreNU2015 on Friday, Sept. 24, 2 p.m. in the LLGallagher Multipurpose Room

Extra bonus points: You may feel like you have "no time" to participate in this challenge.

But consider dropping in anyway. This looks like a great opportunity to start wrapping your head around how the world of business works--check out the EOS tab on Stitch Brand and Culture's website.

I'd never heard of EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System® --but it looks like something that could be very useful to know about as you seek your place in the world of careers.

Monday, September 22, 2014

CitiBank wants YOU!

CitiBank says:

If you want to make an impact beyond the city, the country or even the industry where you'll work, meet us. We'll tell you why in a company where the world never sleeps, you can exceed your ambitions.

Citi-Buffalo Career Presentation/Meet & Greet
  • Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2014
  • Time: 5:30pm - 7:00pm
  • Location: Bisgrove Hall, Room 350-351

Meet Senior Managers as well as recent alum now working at Citi.
Learn about the many career opportunities available at Citi Buffalo.
Learn about the skills we look for in an ideal candidate.

Robert Swanson, director of the Office of Career Services at NU, says: 
Citi is a major employer in Western New York with opportunities for students in all majors. A conversation doesn’t cost anything and the food is free too! Business formal dress preferred and students with resumes should bring them.

Go to Grad School or Not?

There are good reasons to take a master's degree or even a Ph.D. after you've graduated from college. There is also a whole raft of really, really bad reasons.

'Tis the season for colleges and universities to be pitching... to start their fishing expeditions for fall 2015. They've got smiling representatives, glossy brochures, and a pen that is really a whiz-bang piece of technology as "swag" (the giveaway imprinted with the school's logo). And they've got their own bottom lines to consider.

Before you get serious about doing a graduate degree, read links like the ones I've posted today... and treat them as the tip of the iceberg they are meant to be. Talk with people--your family, your professors, the Niagara University career center, and people who hold jobs that you want to have 10 years from now. 

Make a real decision about whether more school is good for you based on thoughtful assessment about what it will and will not get you.

Friday, September 19, 2014

To Whom it may NOT concern

When you apply for a job, you'll probably need to complete an application form. But even if that form asks everything an employer might want to know (how many cavities at your last dental visit?), you still want to supply a resume and cover letter.

Why? Because company policy may dictate the online application, but the person actually doing most of the screening and reviewing of applications may prefer the letter-resume combo to the clunky form online.

So if you're stuck with an automated application center, but you still have to address the cover letter to someone, what do you put? Ever stop to think how funny that outdated salutation in a cover letter is--"to whom it MAY concern." What if it doesn't concern the recipient in the least? 

This first link, a blog entry from Beyond.com, suggests digging up the actual hiring manager's name, and using it even if that name was not given in a job-posting.

And this link from Monster.com suggests a few alternate strategies for how to proceed if you cannot track that name down. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dirty Networking?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/09/16/why-you-hate-networking/ According to this article in the leading business journal Forbes, scientific evidence shows that networking literally makes you feel dirty enough to want to scrub yourself down -- especially if you are in a lower-status position.

So what can you do to clean up your act? Well--here's one guide to feeling less dirty, more comfortable about networking: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/networking-made-easy-easier/. It's got a great set of suggestions for building from a small start up to larger events, and some useful strategies for starting discussions.

Finally, while networking can include talking with anyone (your relatives, your barber, your college classmates), there's wisdom in seeking out events specifically organized for sectors of the business world. Here are some tips for making a good impression at formally-designated networking events: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/09/09/7-tips-for-networking-success

Bonus: visit my blog entry from several days ago for networking group right in your own backyard! goo.gl/QGPbsV 

More on the Competition that Makes a Difference

VCEP Kickoff
Friday, September 26 - 2 p.m.
Lower Level Gallagher

The Vincentian Community Enterprise Project (VCEP) EntrepreNU is a contest born of a cross-university initiative aiming to engage students with local needs in the spirit of St. Vincent. Students will team to develop a self-sustaining business idea that will address local problems pertaining to food, nutrition and hunger in the city of Niagara Falls. The winning team will be announced by spring break and receive a $10,000 startup fund to launch their plan. The end of Vincentian Heritage week will mark the kickoff of this competition with an official bang. For more details, contact the Department of Social Work at 716.286.8520.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free the Freelancers!

Okay--so Niagara University's career services, parents, friends, have all been training you to think about a career as a monogamous commitment: one employer, one paycheck, until retirement, death, or dissatisfaction do you part.

But there's also freelance work, which may very well be the wave of the future.

Business Insider posted a list of the 55 best companies for those seeking freelance gigs. That is, these are the companies with the most freelance opportunities. See the link here: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-companies-for-freelancers-2014-9

You can also see that list in its original context, FlexJobs: http://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/55-top-companies-hiring-for-freelance-jobs/ You'll also find additional content on the FlexJobs site--not only specific job listings, but also "how-to" blog posts, lifestyle benefits, employers that use freelancers a lot...

Some of the services on FlexJobs (like specific freelance opportunities) are by subscription ($15/month or $50/year). I'm neither endorsing nor dissuading you from purchasing these services. Rather, I note enough free material to warrant checking out their website.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Freelance Writing Opportunity


The blog site "Hack College" (http://www.hackcollege.com/) is looking for student writers! Take a bit of time looking through the kinds of material described in their "call for writers," and leaf through blog entries on the website. If you think you'd make the cut -- consider applying! It's a great way to get market exposure and build a portfolio.

("Hack," by the way, used to mean "to cut up into little bits," or "a person who is not very professional." But it's earned a positive spin through association with the term "computer hacking"--to use your smarts to get something you need and want with less effort. Appropriately enough, the motto of Hack College is "Work smarter, not harder.")

Friday, September 12, 2014

Networking Nirvana in WNY

Are you a young professional?

If not--do you want to be young? Sorry, I can't help you.

Do you want to be a professional? Okay, I can help with that! Check out Buffalo Niagara 360, a network by and for young professionals here: http://www.buffaloniagara360.org/

Since Niagara University helps sponsor this organization, all of the events (except "Happy Hour for a Cause") are free for NU students, faculty and staff. See more information here: http://dailypost.niagara.edu/bn-360-upcoming-events

Mystery Internship: Blind Applying


Here's a radical idea: a "blind date" style internship.

Submit an entry, including your resume, and get the chance to get a paid internship, with possibility of allowance for travel and lodging, somewhere in the world.

You may find yourself packing your bags for Japan, Australia, Germany... or somewhere else! 

Many will enter, and few will win... but your name and resume will be made available to other companies seeking interns and employees.

I signed up for the mailing list late last spring, and the organization sent me an email today saying they have started accepting applications for internships to begin in summer 2015.

Deadline November 3, 2014.

As the New York State lottery commerical says: "Hey, you never know!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Competition that Makes a Difference

EntrepreNU Competition

The EntrepreNU Competition is a new program run by a group of faculty and staff from all four Colleges, the Levesque Institute, and ReNU Niagara.  Students will compete to create a self-sustaining business or entity that addresses a local social problem – with the winning team receiving up to $10,000 in start-up funding.  This year, the focus is on food, nutrition, and hunger in Niagara Falls and we are searching for new, innovative ideas that are also feasible and realistic.  The competition aims to:
  1. Help students learn and grow by giving them the opportunity to create, and take responsibility for, something meaningful
  2. Increase student engagement and excitement on campus
  3. Further our mission by helping members of our local community


The final details for the student competition will be announced at the Launch Party on September 26th at 2pm in the Multipurpose Room in Gally, but the initial proposal will have three parts:
  1. A 3-5 page concept paper explaining the idea in more depth
  2. A 2-5 minute video introducing the team and idea to the world
  3. A brief overview of the business plan using Business Model Canvas (http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc)

The competition will follow this rough timeline:
  1. After the launch, students will have a couple weeks to finalize teams, and then teams must register by early October
  2. A community meeting, a series of workshops, and some discussion sessions will be held throughout the Fall semester to aid students in creating their proposals
  3. Initial proposals before Thanksgiving so that three finalists can be selected before Christmas Break.  Each of the three will win $500
  4. The three final teams will receive mentoring for the next three months and make their final presentation in early March
  5. The winning team will be announced by Spring Break and have access to a $10,000 start-up fund

More information at: www.niagara.edu/entrepreNU
Follow us on Twitter: @EntrepreNU
e-mail us at: entrepreNU@niagara.edu