3 Reasons You Need To Stop Making Fun Of People’s Majors

With the Class of 2013 accepting their degrees and striding into today’s job-market, I’ve noticed a trend that is not only rude, but probably a waste of time: This trend is belittling what our peers chose to study in college. It’s important to remember that what you chose to study was a personal decision, and it should be respected as such, and just because one person may not end up with a job in the field of study they choose to pursue is no reason to mock them for it.

In a recent article by Buzzfeed, the validity of the private school education was openly mocked, displaying ‘uses’ for degrees that were not only degrading, but not in any way funny (My degree has not been used as a doorstop, window prop, or laptop coaster, I can assure you). What we need is to inspire students to pursue their dreams, most specifically the ones that inspired them to go to college in the first place. So without further ado, here are 3 compelling reasons you need to stop making fun of people’s majors:

  1. They might get hired before you do. In a 2009-2010 publication by Anthony P. Carnevale, Ban Cheah, and Jeff Strohl, it was estimated that recent graduates faced a 8.9% unemployment rate (mind you this was 2009-2010). However of these, the recent graduates of the Arts, Architecture, and Humanities faced the most difficult unemployment rates among their peers (9.4-13.9% unemployment rate). Similarly Yahoo took a closer look at the census materials used in the aforementioned article, and found that some of our favorite major fields of study to mock had the lowest unemployment rates: Agricultural Science ranked 3rd and Communications ranked 4th (surprise to no one, Health ranked 1st). Statistics aside, if someone you mocked gets hired and later you have to use them as a connection for a job, that could be rather awkward.
  2. There are more constructive things you could be doing. In the time it took you to look up an article mocking someone’s major study, you could have perused a Mashable job board, applied to a position on LinkedIn, searched for alumni/alumnae from your college to connect with, or even given your resume spa treatment. There are a plethora of places you can send off your resume (like a message in a bottle) but sometimes it can be tricky to get started. Before you send your friend pictures of your resume being used as…anything other than wall decoration…take a look into some great places to start, like this handy writeup from CareerBuilder.
  3. Your might not work a job in your major field either. When you begin your precarious job search (I say precarious because it can be scary), identifying your true passion and where you aspire to work can be just as difficult as when you were deciding on a major field of study (if not more so). While you may have had an undying love of architecture, or a passionate love of fine art…you may find yourself making a 180 degree departure from what you studying to pursue something similar or bearing no relation to what your read about in textbooks. You may find that your studio arts passion is enlivened by graphic design…or you may find yourself in love with the competitive nature of sales. You may even find that you want to go back and reinvent yourself and go headfirst into philanthropy or non-profit work. Whatever the case, spend your energy focusing on your career path, not nitpicking the lives of others.

Hope this helps, and good luck class of 2013!

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A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

3 Quick Resume Fixes

Does your resume need a quick touch-up? Here are three incredibly simple fixes you can apply right now to perk it up a little!

1. “Professionalize” you email

If you are still using PrettyBallerina110@something or ILoveBacon290@somethingelse or any other email that reminds us uncomfortably of the 90’s, it might be time to do some spring cleaning. As you go forward, you want to put your best foot forward and impress. You email address might be one aspect of your resume you haven’t addressed yet, and if you are still using a college email, this might not be a big concern. However, sending off your resume with a ‘childish’ email might be a big turn off to recruiters.

Some quick fixes?

Try using ‘Firstname.Lastname@(whichever service you use)” or “FirstinitialLastname@(whichever service you use” 

Already taken? Try to keep your new email as uncomplicated as possible. While being expressive and being creative isn’t a bad thing in life…on your email and your resume, you should always take the safer option. Be professional.

2. Pick a font. Yes, just one font.

Comic sans, Papyrus, and Courier were all awesome fonts in their heyday: people put them on everything and they were much beloved. Fast forward to the 2000’s and most people have dropped the silly fonts for more clean and consistent fonts like Helvetica and Arial (and some Times New Roman too). If your resume has alternating fonts or multiple colors, it might be time to make some minor adjustments. The first (and best) change you can make, is set all the writing on your resume in one clean legible font. I feel confident in saying that no employer will see the humor in a resume written entirely in Wingdings or Dingbat. Similarly, while Chalkduster is playful and child-like…it can come off woefully childish; much like wearing a Barney the dinosaur tie into a corporate interview. If you do nothing else, make your resume all one consistent and clean font, and do it soon.

3. Check your spelling.

This might sound a bit silly, but always check you spelling every time you revise a resume. Between auto-correct, spellcheck, and whatever else is built into your word processor, there is always the off-chance that a company name, employer name, or job title can be woefully altered by accident. Always check that your name is spelled correctly , as it is the first thing an employer will see (and it just looks dumb if you mess that up). This also applies to everything else you do in your job search; check your contact’s name, check the company’s name, and check any name you’re going to have to put down in writing. Never EVER misspell an interviewer’s name in an email, and better yet, turn off spell check and do it by hand. Your resume will thank you.

I hope this helps! Happy Spring Cleaning!

Leaps of Faith: The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

The Feedback Loop

Recently, I had a fundamental moment of clarity. For months I have been driven to find ‘the job’: the one placement with the full-time title, the dream salary, and the security of knowing I would be ‘safe’ job-wise. After taking some time to think seriously how I had been approaching my job search I realized it felt like something was missing. Perhaps stuck on a feedback loop of ‘click Linkedin profile, check salary, submit resume, repeat’, my job search felt like it was becoming stagnant. After speaking with several people and asking for some solid career advice I realized my major mistake: I was too fixated on the position, and was ignoring the real factor that should have been influencing my decision, passion.

Position, Position, Position

In college, a lot of emphasis is put on ‘the job’: perfect your resume, wear the right clothes, don’t mess up your interview or you won’t land ‘the job’. Sure, wearing the perfect black pumps might help you stand out, but even the best patent leather should never outshine your passion to be a part of a company. A fundamental shift in ideology is often needed to see past the fine print and determine “Is this where I want to be”. Granted, in this economy there is more stress put on moving out, making rent, and surviving financially….if you are reading this, you are likely a recent grad, or know one who is feverishly rifling through Linkedin in a frenzied search for employment. At the core of every decision you make, you should be able to answer the question “Am I passionate about this?” If you can confidently say “Yes, I can’t imagine being anywhere else”, then taking a leap of faith on a competitive job listing might be exactly what you should be doing. Think less about your search as a quest for a position, and more as a quest for a place that fuels your passion.

Take a Leap, Keep Reaching

If at first you fall flat on your face, don’t get discouraged. Just because you can’t work for the company of your dreams today, doesn’t mean you should give up hope: follow them on social media, read the articles they post, and keep at it. If that means going out of your way to interact with them on Twitter in relevant insightful ways, do it. If you can prove you are passionate about what they do and want to be a part of it, you might just get that chance. And if your passion doesn’t catch their attention, don’t lose faith. When you are that passionate about what you do, you never know who might take notice.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone still looking!

3 LinkedIn No-No’s

Hey guys! So for the weekend, I am going to share some helpful things you shouldn’t do on LinkedIn. I’ll keep it short and sweet:

  1. Don’t ask for a job. Seriously. If you are planning on connecting with an alum in a powerful position, they probably get emailed a lot about jobs, job offers, job opportunities, etc. Just don’t do it. Instead, ask them if they could give you some career advice, or maybe as if you could grab a coffee and gain some insight into life after college. Better yet, ask them about their career or their major.
  2. Don’t make your status unofficial. If you are a student, your status should be ‘student’. Not ‘philosophical goat-herder’, ‘bohemian’, and especially not ‘funemployed’. LinkedIn is for professionals, so keep it professional.
  3. Don’t post statuses you wouldn’t want you mom to see. This means no ‘Sh-ts’, ‘f-cks’, or ‘sh-tf-cks’; no exceptions. Post articles you like, articles you’ve written, or things you care about. Keep it classy.

Hope this helps! Happy job hunting!

The Essential Interview Kit

When you’re hunting for that elusive job, you will need to pack quite the toolkit. Whether you’re toting a plastic folder, a flashy attaché case, or a hybrid of the two, you will need a ‘kit’ to navigate job fairs, interviews, and the occasional run-in with a recruiter on the street. Sure, you may know some of the things to bring in your kit, but do you have the full she-bang to knock ’em dead? Check this handy list I compiled based on what I have heard from friends/family/colleagues/bosses/etc.

Example leather folder/attaché. Image courtesy of High Veld Promotions

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What to Expect at a Startup Job fair

So I was recently at the NYC Startup Job fair, and had many interested interactions with several companies I shall not name. For the sake of keeping you engaged, I will share three things you can expect at a job fair. I will also share three excellent ways to stand out and get noticed at said job fair.

A startup job fair is essentially no different from any other job fair: you have small companies, big companies, companies with great set ups…some with not so great set ups…pushy people, shy people, and everyone in between. What’s important to remember is that both you and these companies are here for essentially the same reason. You want to get noticed, and so do they. Some things you might encounter at these job fairs are egos, expectations, and entertainment (no seriously, some companies give out candy). But amidst all that chaos, you can expect essentially three things from companies in attendance:
  1. Level of Formality. Depending on what type of company and how big they are, some companies vary in formality. That isn’t to say that some are “better” than others, but at a startup job fair you will definitely see a range of characters. Some recruiters will sport the tried-and-true business suit, while some will appeal to the ‘younger’ or perhaps ‘lax’ crowd with branded t-shirts and jeans. Regardless of what the recruiter is wearing, realize that they expect utmost professionalism from you: sometimes the t-shirt clad individuals can be more intimidating than those in suits.
  2. Wide Variety. At a startup job fair, more so than other job fairs, you will see a very wide variety of companies: sometimes a financial-based company will be placed directly next to a lingerie company (yes I’ve witnessed this). No matter what company you think you should apply for, be sure to check out as many as you can. Why? Because sometimes the dream job you’ve always wanted isn’t found in expected places.
  3. Egos. When you come into contact with companies at job fairs you will notice that some have a tendency to puff-up for the throngs of job-seekers more than others. Whether it’s overly elaborate displays or bold claims, some will come off as highly intimidating. The key is to stay calm, focused, and charming: charming the pants of a recruiter can be more powerful than trying to hold your ground and arguing. Remember that.

Anyways, stay tuned: Tommorrow will be what to expect from other job-seekers at job fairs!

Harnessing LinkedIn

Hello Again!

Did you miss my actually helpful posts? Well good, because I’ve done away with Viral Monday and the lot, and I’m just going to stick to NYC updates and social media helps and how-tos. ENJOY!

So as I’ve been navigating today’s job market, I’ve started to pick up on some valuable networking strategies that should absolutely be at your disposal as you navigate the tricky prospect of getting hired in 2012. Previously I’d mentioned specific job sites (or job boards), learning social media, etc; what I want to really hammer home today, is how to effectively utilize one major tool for employment, LinkedIn.

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