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!

Dear Class of 2013

By now you have probably received your fill of guidance from major influencers such as Richard Branson, Tom Keene, and Gary Shapiro (and so many countless others); told you must follow your dreams, forget your dreams, be very afraid, be confident, be passionate…be a lot of things to succeed in the environment in which you are about to embark.

It’s going to be a bumpy road.

I’m not Richard Branson, but I’ve seen a plethora of mixed messages being hurtled at the upcoming class of graduates: everything “You’re going to be great! Take risks” to “You’re totally screwed, be very very afraid” and I thought that perhaps it was the right time to throw in my two cents.

So here’s my loose change.

So class of 2013 (most notedly from Goucher College, my alma mater) what advice I have to give to you is cut through the clutter of mixed messages and focus on what you want to do and who you want to be. The best advice ever given me, was to seek a culture I wanted to be apart of above a listed job position; rather than scan through massive lists of uninspiring job listings, look for that one special listing that speaks to you from that one company you would kill to be a part of. You might not get it off the bat, but keep it in mind when applying to you second choice (kind of like you did in college). Similarly, when looking for advice and scanning other articles titled “Class of 2013” only read the articles from the influencers whose accomplishments speak to you most.

The only thing they don’t teach you in college.

College is great for a whole lot of things; you learn a plethora of information, introduce you to new life experiences, and for the most part college is what you make of it. But there is one essential element in life that college will not teach you, and neither your parents nor your friends can instill in you. Passion has to be a part of yourself you develop throughout your college experience and you must demonstrate to those around you. It doesn’t matter how perfectly white and well-laid out your resume is, or how perfectly put together you look in your interview; your passion for what you do needs to outshine your patent loafers.

To summarize:

  • Focus your search
  • Find your niche
  • Wear your passion on your sleeve
….And breathe!
Hope this helps!

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!

Work / Life Balance and Music

Nicky Romero and Avicii recently (well a little less recently now) released their music video for ‘I Could Be The One’. If you haven’t seen it yet, see below:

In the video a woman who has become fed up with her job is at a critical ‘come to jesus’ moment and feels trapped by the judgements of the society around her. After dreaming of a life free of the stigma, redundancy, and dullness of her current life, she sets out to live the life she has always wanted.

I love this woman’s fierce attitude, but I will agree that kicking sand castles and giving people the bird isn’t really what we should all be aiming for!

Now I won’t try to say this paints a fully accurate portrayal of how to solve work/life balance issues, but it does give a very compelling argument why that balance should be struck. I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs and move to Barbados…but here are a few less caustic things this video may suggest we do:

  • Take some “me time”. It’s important to set aside time to think, to meditate, and to refresh. Just because you can throw yourself headfirst into your job with no breaks doesn’t mean you should. Some simple ways to do this? Go for a walk during your lunch break, plan out a fun date for yourself on the weekend, or maybe treat yourself to something special after a hard assignment!
  • Try new things. Maybe riding a horse down the beach isn’t your thing, but try something new! Take up a new sport, find a new hobby, or maybe even just do something that scares you. No matter what you do, challenge yourself to have a little more fun!
  • Just be ourselves. Part of what makes this video so compelling (besides the fact it is fun to watch) is how the woman is able to finally feel free by expressing her individuality and personality. Always express who you are, and remain genuine! If you are into beaches and horses and dancing the night away, embrace it and make time for yourself to enjoy those things.

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!

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!

3 Things You Need To Stop Doing On LinkedIn

Here are three things, seriously just three easy things you need to stop doing immediately on LinkedIn. Why am I cutting right to the chase? Because I think that right after you read this, you should make sure you aren’t doing any of these major no-nos.

  1. Be anonymous. If you are a job-seeker and are afraid of people ‘knowing who you are’ on LinkedIn STOP IT. The whole point of making your profile and firing off copies of your resume is so that employers can go look at your face, read up on what you’ve done, and even see what your past boss had to say about you. Yes, sure, they could call up “Benny Bossman” but wouldn’t you prefer to save them the trouble? And yes, sure, you might want ‘your privacy’ on the internet…but if you want to remain anonymous, don’t use LinkedIn.
  2. Update your status erroneously. There is a time and a place for letting your friends that you are off eating a sandwich, and that place is not LinkedIn. Instead, post articles you  feel are interesting or post blogs that you have written (I do that currently). I would try to avoid political statements, but if there is a genuinely compelling political article from a ‘legit’ source (by which I mean Politico, CNN, or any major news source,…not a GodHatesObama.net or RomneySucks.com).
  3. Start any cover letter with ‘To whom it may concern”. If you are using something as forward-thinking and modern as LinkedIn for your job search, avoid looking archaic and bland…actually look up the Talent Director/ Recruiter’s name. The more you appear to care, the better the end result.

I hope this reaches you well, and good luck!