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

The 3 Career Staples Every Female Post-Grad Should Have

Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Well while Marilyn was surely onto something, what she forgot to mention was that women need a few more weapons in their arsenal than a powerful set of pumps to impress and succeed. As a recent grad I have witnessed firsthand the impression the ‘wrong’ outfit has left on others, and think its time I shared some solid post-graduate advice I received from the women in my life. There are three essential pieces that should be in your wardrobe, no exceptions. Feel free to accessorize them as you will, but just like a good house, every woman needs a solid foundation. So off we go, here are the three things you MUST add to your career-wear collection NOW.

business-woman-suit-outfit

  1. A solid black blazer. Unlike Marilyn, I think every first impression starts top-down: a black blazer can be classed-up, dressed-down, and worn with a wide variety of different clothes to create that positive first impression. For interviews, this piece is a must-have. Wearing a blazer over a daring top and black slacks can add restraint, and can work to add uniqueness to any outfit. Wearing a blazer over a work dress can create a clean professional look that will tell your employer “I’m serious about my career”. Similarly, wearing a blazer over a loud colorful dress will let you remain classy while still being fun. A blazer can also be your worst enemy if worn with the wrong things: Don’t wear anything that scoops too low over your “two best friends”. If you wear a scoop-neck or a plunging neckline, a blazer will draw a LOT of attention downward, making the focal point your breasts and not your face. As with any networking or career functions, try to keep necklines only a few inches below your collar-bone: regardless of what industry you are looking to get into, it’s always better to play it safe and then be a little more relaxed when you get the job.
  2. A dependable set of shoes. Marilyn was absolutely right about shoes: whether you’re a fan of sky-high stilettos or ballet flats, getting ‘the shoe’ you can walk to work in without changing is a for-sure MUST. In professional settings, the safest and most dependable is a barely there heel (just enough to nudge you up an inch or two) or a ballet flat. I prefer black, because it goes with absolutely everything, and keep ‘decoration’ at a minimum. If you’re going to wear a designer shoe, try to find a type that doesn’t scuff easily and is made to take a lot of abuse. Wearing pumps might work once you have a job, but until then stay far far away from them. Why? If you suddenly get a call asking if you can get coffee with a contact/interviewer/influencer you’re not going to enjoy power walking in whisper-thin heels that have you teetering 6″ above everyone else. Even if you are taking the subway/bus/or driving, there is just a much higher chance of you falling down, being late, or even breaking a heel before you can even make an impression. Make sure you can put these shoes to work and put them through hell, and you’ve got yourself a job-conquering weapon.
  3. One ‘classic’ work dress. This is the most important of the 3, and will be the hardest to find. A good solid work dress should be form-fitting but not curve-hugging, tactful but not tacky, and a neutral ‘can wear anywhere color’ (I prefer mine to be gray). The most important thing to remember about this dress is that is MUST be the safest piece in you closet: no cleavage, skirt below the knee, and well-tailored. If you can find all those features on a dress with pockets, go for it, otherwise stick to what works. If you need references for solid work dresses, look at websites like Anne Taylor, J.Crew (the tame ones ONLY), and refer to classically dressed women like Michelle Obama. What you essentially want to do, is give the impression that you are already employed, or taking your job search seriously, and a strong classic career dress will say that for you before you even open your mouth at a career event.

Have some other great tips for what grads should wear? Leave it in the comments!

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!

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.

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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If You Are Unemployed And You Know It, Grab Your Mouse!

Image courtesy of Loanmixx.

Getting a job these days is getting pretty rough, especially if you’re straight out of college. Even for those still in college, the prospect of getting the necessary experience is daunting, horrifying, even enough to send the best of us crawling back under the covers and shivering in fear. But you should know there are some hot new resources out there for current and graduated students. Check them out!

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