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

Twitter For Beginners: Step 2

I realize it probably surprised some people that step two came a little later than expected, and I promise it was for a good reason. Yesterday the fabulous ladies over at The SITS Girls featured City Gopher.

In the words of Charlie Sheen, “WINNING!”

But as a result, I thought it would be best to allow anyone new to the blog to read step 1 thoroughly and get a chance to ask some questions if they had any before step two went live. It turned out to be a pretty good idea.

Some of your questions from step one as follows:

1. Can I use two hashtags instead of one?

2. Is the addressing for tweeting case-sensitive?

So to best answer your questions, I’d like to give you a tutorial on hashtags and ‘@’ mentions to show you exactly how they work and how they are different:

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3 Things Not To Do At Night In NYC

I’m Alive!

Also, sorry for the delay. Here is a quick and simple set of 3 things you shouldn’t do in New York at night. If you are stuck at Penn Station, I sincerely apologize and encourage you to skype/call/reach out to your loved ones in this turbulent time. I wish you the best. Here we go, things that will get you mugged…er…that you shouldn’t do at night:

 

  1. Wear Red Sox gear. The saying that begins ‘when in Rome’ has never been so true as in New York: don’t wear rival teams like the Red Sox, and do not ever wear anything promoting the Eagles. ESPECIALLY don’t sing ‘fly eagles fly’ if you are out alone.
  2. Don’t wave your iPhone around. If you are on a street you don’t know (or you notice there aren’t many streetlights) don’t wave your expensive items like cellphones, wallets, mp3 players, etc. This is a great way to advertise that you are muggable.
  3. If you are in heels, have flats on hand. If you are staggering down Meatpacking on a fine Wednesday night in sky-high heels, make sure you have flats you can switch into. Why? Well assuming you are confident enough to rock stilettos on cobblestone, you probably have the super-cute outfit to match…and that kind of thing attracts attention. If you aren’t cabbing home with some hunk from the bar, wear flats in case you need to run like hell.While you are at it, always keep a spare stash of cash in your bra or underwear in case you can’t outrun them and get robbed.

3 Easy Things To Consider For Interviews

Here’s another short and sweet how-to for the week: What are three things you should consider before walking into an interview? Well, what I can relate to most is comparisons, here are three comparisons that might help you out:

  1. If you wouldn’t say it on a first date, don’t say it in an interview. As weird as this may sound, oftentimes the things you wouldn’t be caught dead saying to an interviewer are similar to things you’d never want to say to a first date (especially a blind date). If you don’t think you should open a date with “I’m too attractive for you, but I can settle” similarly, maybe don’t start with its equivalent”I’m too qualified for this job, but you should hire me”.
  2. If you can’t say it to your most conservative family member, don’t say it. If talking about gay marriage and pro-life gets your in-laws, grandparents, uncles, etc upset, don’t spring it on your interviewer. For all you know, they could be pro-gay marriage, anti…or not even care that much. It’s not something you want to find out when trying to impress them and land a job.
  3. If you think a hipster would say it, don’t say it. Oddly enough, this one works too: if you were planning on opening with “I worked for company X, but you’ve probably never heard of it” DON’T. A better way to introduce a small company is to mention what they do, what drew you to them, how much you learned working for them, etc. Insulting your employer’s intelligence and being offended that they don’t recognize the name isn’t going to get you any brownie points.

I hope these help! Now go forth and nail your first date…er… I mean conversation during thanksgiving with your conservative relatives…er I mean…interviews.

(These also work great for conversations during Thanksgiving & on dates btw…feel free to try them out and see how it goes!)

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!

Words of Encouragement

Apologies (again) for my lateness (again). As a llama in a silly hat once said: “I’m in the wrong here, I suck”

(in case you don’t get the reference, watch the video below)

Anyways moving on, this week I want to hand out a bit of advice on keeping the faith. And by ‘faith’ I don’t mean any religious sort of faith (unless that’s your thing). I mean faith in economy, the job market, and your life in general. Here are three things to tell yourself when life gets a little too real:

  1. It’s going to be ok. No matter what is happening in your life, try to remain calm and remember that it can always be worse: if you are reading this on a computer screen, remember that there are people out there that don’t have computers or cars or food and are having a worse life than you. If you have a roof over your head, food in you stomach, and the drive to get back into the swing of things, you can and will do it. It’s going to be  ok.
  2. Karma does exist. Good things come to those who wait, and if you hang in there just a little longer, things will look up. Often when things don’t go as smoothly as we’d like them to, our first reaction is to lash out and be angry (I’m guilty of this too). Instead, just keep putting the time and energy in…and wait. You might be surprised what happens with a little time and hope.
  3. There is no harm in being charming. This might seem a bit odd in this list, but never underestimate the power of flattery. Whether its taking the time to learn what makes your boss tick, studying up the company you’ve always dreamed of working for, or even just holding the door for a flustered businessman, be prepared to have your kindness pay off. Sometimes knowing that your boss loves orchids, or that your favorite company roots for the New York Red Bulls, or even that you just held the door for a former Google executive can come in handy.

I promise the next two posts will go up in timely fashion this week!! I think 3 per week seems rather reasonable, no?

Three Reasons You Should Consider Startups

Hello again! So many readers may have noticed that I am a cheerleader for startup companies, and love the culture surrounding them. Why? Well unlike more traditional spaces, startups have a very different kind of vibe. So what are some reasons you should consider working for a startup? Here are 3:

  1. Opportunity. Unlike more traditional settings, working for startups can facilitate more learning opportunities, by offering opportunities to learn through hands-on experience. Instead of being part of a larger corporate body, small startups offer a chance to get your feet wet by oftentimes engendering a more tight-knit community of like-minded individuals. While more classic internships sometimes rely on only learning one department’s procedure, startups often allow interns to experience different department’s procedures and gain more diverse experience.
  2. Diversity: Because startups are created by a wild variety of founders (young, old, corporate, post grad, etc.) no two startups are ever the same. Sometimes in more traditional companies, their culture can be lost in corporate policy, professional procedures, and a visible ‘stiffness’ in company culture. In many of the startups I have worked with, there is a clear culture to each startup, one which is influenced by an incredible teams from a plethora of backgrounds. This leads to an engaging and diverse ‘voice’ or ‘face’ of a company, which many others can relate to and interact with.
  3. Pace. Because startups are usually new and on the rise, the pace of a startup company can be very challenging and demanding for recent graduates. While some may find the quick pace of a startup too brisk, I’ve found personally that the faster the pace of a startup, the more quickly I am able to learn and expand my skill set.

Whether you decide to try out startup culture or not, I hope your job search is fruitful and fulfilling!

Resume Revisions

Hello again! Again, apologies for delayed postings (they will be back to normal soon I PROMISE!). So having spent most of my days analyzing my resume I’ve discovered three things that absolutely do NOT belong. As you may remember, I wrote previously about the necessary interview kit. A resume is a very crucial piece of this kit, and is often the only lasting impression a company will have. This is why your resume should be concise, clean, and expertly crafted…and shouldn’t have these three things:

  1. Interests/Hobbies. If you have a passion for music, art, design, etc. leave this for the interview. Often expression the things you are passionate about are best left for face-to-face interactions and much of the context of these interests is lost on a resume. It’s perfectly fine that you love EDM, rap, or classical piano…but its not going to compel anyone to hire you on paper.
  2. High School. Essentially, unless you have 0 work experience, are applying to college, or haven’t got much else going on  don’t include your high school. Most people aren’t going to care all that much that you went to a prep school, or that you were an AP student. Besides, your recruiter (if they are clever and genuinely interested) can find that on your LinkedIn.
  3. Your GPA. Now I say this gingerly, as this can become more useful in certain contexts. Now, if you have a 3.5 or higher, are applying to a heavily math/science based job, or are top of your class, listing your GPA might be in your favor. However, if your GPA is any lower than that, you are applying for an entry-level job, or you are applying to a field in which more heavily favors hands-on experience your GPA will be little more than decoration. If someone is still interested in your GPA, by all means tell them about it. Typically, however, your GPA is only necessary for college applications and graduate programs.

You may have noticed ‘your picture’ was not listed as a thing that should not be on your resume. The reason for this is, certain countries do require pictures on resumes are standard practice. In incidences where you are applying to jobs overseas, research whether or not your picture is needed. However, on American job listings, leave your picture for your LinkedIn profile, and keep it professional.

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 Job Fair (Part 2)

As mentioned previously, you can expect a lot from companies at job fairs. But what about other job-seekers? Essentially job fairs draw in all kinds of people: some that you would expect and some that you wouldn’t. Here are five (albeit exaggerated) types you might see prowling a startup job fair:

  1. The Ivy-Leager / Tailored Suit. These will jump out very fast at job fairs, and be prepared for them as they will seem massively intimidating. Whether its their immaculately tailored suit, their monogrammed attaché case, their engraved business card holder, or the fact that their university’s shield is stamped or even affixed to their leather file folder with a brass plate, these are some intimidating folks. In most situations, their experience at their top-tier schools have awarded them with a few advantages, one being having their university on their folder (which is always, always leather in my experience) and often having incredible speaking abilities. The one advantage over a tailored-suit is often the ego of the tailored-suit: if they are humble and mind-numbingly smart, you’re just going to have to try your darndest to impress the pants off the recruiter after they meet with one of these. However if a tailored suit with a big ego comes up and annoys the recruiter, you will have a chance to put your name on the map by being the most humble charming person they have met all day. Not sure what a tailored suit looks like? Think of Obama. That fancy and impressive, just unemployed.
  2. The Casual Friday. The casual friday is an easy spot at  startup job fairs: t-shirt and jeans, girly top and leggings, or even shorts and a polo shirt are all favorites of casual Fridays. Though they may look uncompetitive in their alarming laid-back get-up, one thing to consider as you wait behind them to talk to a recruiter is that they may have extensive startup experience already. Sometimes what you dress your resume in outweighs the clothes you toss on in the morning, and in the case of many casual Fridays, their resumes are about as spick-and-span professionally terrifying as they come: whether its top-of-the-class GPAs, extensive experience at a Google/Yahoo/Spotify etc, or the ability to code in every language thinkable, beware the ironic t-shirt. Not sure what I mean by a ‘casual friday’? Think any cast member of Big Bang Theory.
  3. The Well-Seasoned. The well-seasoned or ‘more mature’ applicant pool adopt qualities of the other groupings sometimes: there are well-seasoned casual Friday, well-seasoned tailored-suiters, and even stand alone seasoned veterans of the job fair. These individuals are often in the same suit they’ve had for years and can be the most well-spoken of the attendees mainly because they’ve been through hell and high water searching for jobs. Whether it’s a former finance guy looking to switch careers, a female business analyst looking to take her talents to a young startup, or just some cooky-but-awesome coder looking to learn new programming languages these are by not mean ‘old birds’ and should not be dismissed so easily.
  4. The Dad’s Suit / Mom’s Pumps. There is nothing wrong with wearing you dad’s suit or your mother’s pumps to a networking event. In some cases, it can come off as charming. However at job fairs what you will see from these individuals are poorly-fitted jackets, too-big father’s shoes, ‘been through hell’ pumps, and well-abused business attaché cases. It’s not so much that wearing your father’s suit or your mother’s seasoned shoes is such a bad thing, but keep in mind this will make you stick out in a crowd of tailored suits and business goblins.
  5. The Business Goblin. Now I use this term affectionately, as I have heard people proudly call themselves ‘business goblins’, and what this term refers to is the game-faced well suited individual that has managed to perfect the art of looking thoroughly professional while remaining approachable. Goblins dress in just enough suit to blend in with the professionals, and just enough sass to jump out at recruiters. For women, this might mean a tastefully placed professional watch or accent piece that isn’t super girly (but exudes feminine qualities). I envision Barbara Corcoran as the epitome of femmefab business goblin, and likewise the classic Don Draper as the male counterpart.