Education Career Services

July 26, 2010

Social Media Intoxication: enough all ready!

I finally have a few minutes to reflect about the day and how to maneuver along this crazy highway called electronic social networking. Problem, the only thing I can think of is: I need to check my LinkedIn, Twitter, Face Book, and five other accounts just in case…

There are benefits of networking but where is the point of diminishing return? Or is there such a concept in this arena?

How much time and energy do you spend texting, twitting, linking, and face booking? If we accumulated the amount of time spent (or should I have said wasted) peering into monitors and punching keys over a full week period, do you think the minutes (hours?) would be staggering and perhaps eye-popping? Being a rookie with such technology, I thought I would take a few minutes and tally the average amount of time I actually do surf.  Perhaps the following is close to your time spent? Let me know if this is consistent for a week span:

* LinkedIn, logged in on the hour and spent an average of eight minutes on the site each time
* Responded to three peer questions on LinkedIn (total time spent for each ten minutes)
* Twitted and read those twitting articles several times a day (I am not a huge Twitterer so my time was limited to personal knowledge—no doubt many out there spend hours Twitting each day)
* Face Book was checked and browsed four to five times daily
* Blogging took a great deal of time over the week; with three active blogs to keep up, I seem to be running in a circle

Add daily interruptions and now I must ask, how does any real work get done? Running several publishing, writing, and human capital firms is a full-time (70 hour week) job—heck, no wonder my hair is sprouting more salt and less pepper! Maybe it’s time to kick back and rethink what we do during the day?

All of this leads up to the concern: Is the social/media craze worth the sacrifice? At what point is enough too much and at what point are we walking around with our eyes glued to a networking device—never looking up to see if the sky is falling or if there even was a sky?

I don’t know how far this networking evolution will take civilization but I am beginning to worry about the negative effects of social media intoxication. Thus far, I’ve had the pleasure to see the following:

* Employees forgetting to work but not forgetting to network
* Students texting instead of taking notes (while an instructor I disallowed laptops, phones, and any other electronic medium in the classroom)
* Less original work being performed and being submitted (or was I imagining)
* Family members not connecting face to face, even at restaurants while sitting at the same table (go figure)
* Drivers texting while operating their vehicle
* An over all decrease of interviewing and real social skills

Don’t know about you but I believe social media networking does have a darker side associated with it. For starters, think I’ll limit the time spent on electronic toys and insist those sitting at the dinner table with me pay more attention to the people sitting at the table. Perhaps each day enjoy simplicity, noise-free simplicity…

So what if I miss a Tweet or am not the first to see a photo on Face Book… does it really matter?

dhuffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services/Career Services International
dhuffman@careersi.com

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June 23, 2010

Skyrocket Your Success with Social Networking, Part II

Submitted by Victoria Andrew, Professional Writer, Editor, and Blogger

The following concludes our previous post. Let us know what you think as well and how the activities worked for you…

2) Zumeo.com

Zumeo.com is a job search site specifically for recent graduates.  The job listing feature is very user-friendly and has a diversity of filters allowing you to search for jobs based on location, your personality type, your education, and other aspects of yourself not typically offered on other career search sites

Once you click on a job posting, more info is provided and you can click to view the company’s profile, view it on a map, or go to the actual job posting where you can apply for the job.  Users can also browse by company.

Users can multiple upload files to develop a professional portfolio, showcasing your past projects.  Zumeo also creates an online resume automatically with a brief description, your objective, experience, skills and education.  Although this functional approach is not recommended, it may give you the basic information and inspiration to create a dynamic and compelling resume.

If you’re looking to network, Zumeo allows you to connect with other users, join company communities, and submit endorsements of other users.

Activity:

Sign up for Zumeo.com with your email or through Facebook Connect.  Proceed to fill out a survey and on-line assessment to determine your strengths, talents, interests, and jobs matching your personality, goals, and skills.

3) Create a Blog

Blog about whatever interests you – music, books, politics, sports, food, whatever it may be.  In the perspective of social media networking for your career search, the content is not as important as revealing that you are opinionated and confident enough in your writing to share it with a community of online readers.  You definitely garner bonus points too if you’re able to create a blog that has a substantial following, as this demonstrates an entrepreneurial side that most employers love.

Activity:

Write a list of ideas, topics, and issues you feel passionate about.  Our of your lists of interests, passions, and even obsessions, choose one you can confidentially write about on a weekly (or even daily) basis.  Then, set up a blog in just a few key strokes by utilizing services such as Blogger or WordPress.  You shall definitely get bonus points if you’re able to create a blog that has a substantial following, since this shows an entrepreneurial side most employers appreciate.

4) Create a LinkedIn Profile

For those of you that don’t know, LinkedIn is essentially a Facebook for professionals. You’re able to provide a skeleton version of your resume and you can also connect to any professional or work-related relationships you have developed throughout the years. Employers are able to see this version of your resume, interests you have, and also the people that you’re connected with.  By creating this profile, employers are able to see how you interact and communicate with other professionals like yourself.

Activity:

Launch your own LinkedIn profile! Even if you feel you have miniscule professional/corporate experience as a recent graduate, take inventory of your achievements in internships, volunteer work, and classroom projects producing quantifiable results.  Having a profile will demonstrate a level of professionalism, ambition, and sophistication over and above typical college graduates.

5) Create a Twitter account

Twitter is an excellent way to get yourself involved in the community, show your thought process, and your opinions on many different subjects.  Yes, you can tweet that you’re going to eat a sandwich or that you’re dressed in a red boa for Gay Pride, but we would recommend tweeting more on your thoughts, opinions, revelations, and discoveries on the job search quest.  Employers will thus see that you’re an intelligent individual and that you’re able to communicate effectively, even if it’s only in the form of 140 characters.

Activity:

Create your own Twitter account and resist the temptation to tweet about trivial, everyday life experiences.  Push yourself to a new level and tweet only about your career interests and job search.  Demonstrating such discipline and restraint will set you apart from the crowd and reveal a higher level of sophistication than others your age.

Fine-tune your list of potential network contacts and set a goal to contact a certain number each week or month.  Arrange to meet with as many contacts as possible, and always ask each one for more referrals.  Send thank you notes, and update your contacts regularly on your progress.

Ultimately, job seekers should aspire to take advantage of any extra edge that they can get.  Capitalizing social media is an excellent way to get your name out there, to brand yourself, and also to potentially network with future employers or references.  By taking the fullest advantage of social media, the world shall be your oyster.

Thanks Victoria, you are greatly appreciated…

dhuffman,
career services international / education career services
dhuffman@careersi.com

June 21, 2010

Skyrocket Your Success with Social Networking

Submitted by Victoria Andrew, Professional Writer, Editor, and Blogger

At its foundation, social media is a set of technologies and channels targeted at forming and enabling a potentially massive community of participants to productively collaborate.  IT tools supporting collaboration have existed for decades. Yet, social-media technologies, such as social networking, wikis and blogs, enable collaboration on a much grander scale and support tapping the power of the collective in ways previously unachievable.

Six core principles underlie the value of social-media solutions and serve as defining characteristics setting social media apart from other forms of communication and collaboration.  Principles include:

  1. Participation
  2. Collective
  3. Transparency
  4. Independence
  5. Persistence
  6. Emergence

Social media can include text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications.  Ultimately, it can be an effective tool to help with your job search. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn enhance and expedite your hunt for a new job.

For Generation X/Y, social media networking serves as the most potent catalyst to forming the vital partnerships, visibility, and opportunities needed to penetrate the job market for the first time.

Consider the following sample sites and exercises for working your networking muscles:

1) InternshipRatings.com

Thinking about applying for an internship? Wondering what kind of experience you’re going to get out of that internship? Internships are the most important thing students can do to prepare for their career, especially if you choose the ones which will grant you the important transferable skills needed for your future career.   InternshipRatings offers you reviews from students that have already been through internships and know how valuable they are.

Activity:

Log on and create a free account with www.internshipratings.com.  Complete a quick and easy survey to rate different aspects of your current and previous internships, including the level of “real life” experience, compensation, and networking opportunities you have garnered so far in your education and early career.  Then, add a comment to describe a specific experience from your internship in more detail.

Ultimately, this site is a quintessential way to weed out the internships that will be a waste of your time and shall catapult you into the ones that will actually benefit you personally and professionally.

Next post we will go over four more sites and activities for each. So, if I were you, I’d make sure and check out this location in the next few days as we skyrocket the social networking scene all the while propelling your success.

Thanks Victoria, I can’t wait to continue…

dhuffman,

June 15, 2010

Social Media Intoxication: enough all ready!

I finally have a few minutes to reflect about the day and how to maneuver along this crazy highway called electronic social networking. Problem is, the only thing I can think of is: I need to check my LinkedIn, Twitter, Face Book, and five other accounts just in case…

There are benefits of networking but where is the point of diminishing return? Or is there such a concept in this arena?

How much time and energy do you spend texting, twitting, linking, and face booking? If we accumulated the amount of time spent (or should I have said wasted) peering into monitors and punching keys over a full week period, do you think the minutes (okay, I should have said hours) would be staggering and perhaps eye-popping? Being a rookie with such technology, I averaged the following throughout a full week:

* LinkedIn, logged in on the hour and spent an average of eight minutes on the site each time
* Responded to three peer questions on LinkedIn (total time spent for each ten minutes)
* Twitted and read those twitting articles several times a day (I am not a huge Twitterer so my time was limited to personal knowledge—no doubt many out there spend hours Twitting each day)
* Face Book was checked and browsed four to five times daily
* Blogging took a great deal of time over the week; with three active blogs to keep up, I seem to be running in a circle

Add daily interruptions and now I must ask, how does any real work get done? Running several publishing, writing, and human capital firms is a full-time (70 hour week) job—heck, no wonder my hair is sprouting more salt and less pepper! Maybe it’s time to kick back and rethink what we do during the day?

Is the social/media craze worth the sacrifice? At what point is enough too much and at what point are we walking around with our eyes glued to a networking device—never looking up to see if the sky is falling or if there even was a sky?

I don’t know how far this networking evolution will take civilization but I am beginning to worry about the negative effects of social media intoxication. Thus far, I’ve had the pleasure to see the following:

* Employees forgetting to work but not forgetting to network
* Students texting instead of taking notes / while an instructor I disallowed laptops, phones, and any other electronic medium in the classroom
* Less original work being performed and being submitted (or was I imagining)
* Family members not connecting face to face, even at restaurants while sitting at the same table (go figure)
* Drivers texting while operating their vehicle
* An over all decrease of interviewing and real social skills

Don’t know about you but I believe social media networking does have a darker side associated with it. For starters, think I’ll limit the time spent on electronic toys and insist those sitting at the dinner table with me pay more attention to the people sitting at the table. Perhaps each day enjoy simplicity, noise-free simplicity…

So what if I miss a Tweet or am not the first to see a photo on Face Book… does it really matter?

dhuffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services/Career Services International
dhuffman@careersi.com

June 4, 2010

Mix at your own risk!

By Kimberly Sarmiento, CPRW
Career Services International

Today’s job seekers are advised that social media sites and on-line networking are valuable tools for professional advancement.  But much like a poorly written cover letter or résumé can do more harm than good, a badly managed on-line presence can hurt you professionally.  How do you optimize your chances at success in the new virtual business world?

First of all, blend the social you and the professional you with great caution.  LinkedIn now features sections where you can link your Facebook and Twitter account to your profile.  While many seem to think this is a great way to show your personality to a potential employer, I would advice against connecting your LinkedIn profile to a site you use to express yourself freely

Even if you don’t have drunken debauchery filled weekends where pictures of you could arise, there are plenty of thoughts, comments, and interests your boss does not need to know about you.  If you want to keep these spaces free for your personal expression, do not connect them to a professional site. 

You should also be aware that even if you do not connect your Facebook or MySpace account to your LinkedIn profile, your employer could still search for you.  Therefore, you should check your privacy settings.  While your LinkedIn settings should be set for the most open access, your personal websites should not.  Make sure whatever an employer can access when they search for your name will depict you in a professional, positive light.  

One suggestion to mitigate these concerns might be to create a second Facebook or MySpace account for professional, semi-casual contacts.  If that is the case, manage your friends list well and make sure no one on it would tag you in a Spring Break photo from 1988 that you swore you burned the negatives of years ago.

When it comes to connecting a Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile, make sure your tweets are professional and well, very non-confrontational.  If it isn’t proper to discuss a topic at your office, it probably isn’t a good idea to tweet about it

You probably already realize it’s a bad idea to tweet about the hot waitress serving you lunch.  But also know you might want to avoid tweeting about strong dislike of people who belong to certain religious or political affiliations or your opinion about controversial subjects.  Yes, this is the land of free speech but that doesn’t mean speech is consequence free.  While your employer can’t really fire you for having an opinion he or she disagrees with, there are many grey areas of employment and promotions where revealing your belief that marijuana and prostitution should be legalized might not favor you.

Finally, realize that any tweeting, blogging, or general commenting you do about your company on-line could violate company policies.  Make sure you are not giving your employer legitimate grounds for dismissing you by reviewing your company handbook.  When in doubt, leave out numbers, specifics, or any other information which could be considered confidential.

While the digital age is fantastic, one thing old fashion forms of communication afforded you was the chance to think twice.  You might write the letter – but you had the chance to throw it away before you mailed it!  Remember that what you put on-line in an instant can be accessed by the wrong person before you have the opportunity to remove it

By constantly considering what you put on the Internet from the point of view of a hiring authority, you can make your on-line presence a boost to your career rather than a stumbling block.

Thanks Kimberly

Dhuffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services/Career Services International
dhuffman@careersi.com

May 6, 2010

The Hidden Job Market for the New Energy Economy

What is a green job?

According to the UN Environment Program, a green job is “…work in agricultural, manufacturing, R&D, administrative, and service activities that contribute to restoring environmental quality.  Specifically, this includes jobs that protect ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce energy and water consumption, decarbonize the economy, and minimize pollution.”

A month ago, we discussed the explosive growth and income-generating potential green jobs have to offer despite a volatile economy.  We also explored the process of transitioning from a traditional corporate role to a position driven by social responsibility and environmental activism.  Now, the question remains, how does one find a green job?

The traditional method is to explore popular, online job boards.  There are the mainstream job boards such as CareerBuilder, Monster, and Simply Hired.  However, you are not going to find a plethora of green collar positions upon such general job boards.  It would benefit you to consider cleantech job boards for opportunities related to environmental responsibility.  TreeHugger’s Job Board and greenjobsearch.org are more fruitful options for a targeted search.  In addition, there are job boards focused on specific areas within the green industry, such as Jobs in the Wind from the American Wind Energy Association.

However, employers may not advertise a job opportunity with an online job board for multiple reasons.  The company of your dreams may be a startup and not possess an HR department.  They cannot handle the volume of response acquired from postings on CareerBuilder.com or other broad-based postings.  Therefore, other strategies to hunt for green jobs arise.  Consider the possibilities within the hidden green job market:

1) Networking

Networking is a crucial skill any graduate entering the job market or seasoned professional can possess.  How else will you meet the contacts necessary to acquire a new position in the cleantech industry? Attend green events such as EcoTuesday, GreenDrinks, Green Festivals, or events sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society. 

For green networking tips, visit http://www.planetfriendly.net/networkingtips.html

2) Contact the companies directly

Many sustainable energy companies publish job listings on their website, as opposed to external recruitment for candidates.  To gain access to these opportunities, candidates should identify enterprises they would be interested in working for.  Tactics to review and assess prospective companies include:

* Going to green memberships to review their lists of relevant employers.  Examples incorporate the American Solar Energy Society, American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, and the Electric Auto Association.
* Review the exhibitor/presenter list at industry conferences.  For instance, there were 400+ organizations at a recent Intersolar conference sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society.
* Read as many green publications as possible, such as Global Green USA. Green Career journals/magazines will have multifarious news articles highlighting prospective employers.
* Go to the National Green Pages to discover a sustainable energy business directory.

3) Academic Institutions

Academic institutions should offer an encyclopedic array of job-related resources for colleges and students, including job fairs and listings.  In response to the growing demand for green jobs, Columbia University and Stanford University are holding Energy and Environmental Career Fairs in the fall.  The University of Illinois and University of Minnesota also are holding sustainable energy career fairs.  Most importantly, academic institutions are a quintessential place to engage in networking.

4) Recruiters

In response to the gigantic growth arising in green jobs, recruiters have begun to specialize in careers involving sustainability.  Examples of green recruiters include The Green Recruiter, Lotus Partners, Bright Green Talent, and Commongood Careers.

5) Membership Organizations

Industry associations and other membership-oriented organizations generate job postings along with their member services.  For instance, Net Impact, a national organization focusing on actualizing business for social justice, offers career services and an annual green career expo.

6) Online Social Media

Company representatives (including hiring managers) often utilize social media to perform their own outreach initiatives for prospective candidates.  For instance, the Green Jobs and Career Network group on LinkedIn provides job postings in locations worldwide.

7) E-Mail Lists

E-mail lists for sustainable energy jobs are also an excellent method of penetrating the hidden job market.  Most of these are free for job seekers to join, including EnviJobs, Green Job List, and YNPN.

Despite the recession, the American job market is growing fast for green careers.  According to the American Solar Energy Society’s green jobs report, “…green industries already generate 9 million jobs in the U.S., and with appropriate public policy, could grow to 40 million jobs by 2030.”  In a recent NY Times article noted, “…56,000 newly trained workers and 14,000 project managers are needed to realize our current administration’s one-year goals for energy efficiency alone.”

So, now go out there and save our Mother Earth! Green careers lead to prosperity and job security.  You will also be strengthening and healing both our economy and planet.

Presented by Victoria Andrew, professional writer for Career Services International

March 17, 2010

Did I REALLY Post That?

No doubt we’ve heard it over and over again… social media/networking is overtaking the world and just about every aspect of life, including job searching and career management.  So, with this common truth, what’s the latest?

According to an AIRS Sourcing Report dated February 2010, you may be amazed at the prevalence permeating (I have never used those two words together in my life so if it makes no sense, get over it) the social media network.  For example:

2010 Social Media Stats Review:

* Facebook has been in business 6 years (last month), and now has 400,000,000 members
* 50% of Facebook users log on daily (are you one of them—hmm, if 50% log on daily, that means 200,000,000 users log on daily—this is for the match challenged out there)
* 65 million Facebook users access the site with mobile devices (still a respectful number by any stretch)
* LinkedIn has 11 million users across Europe
* India is the fastest growing country using LinkedIn, with more than 3 million users
* LinkedIn is offered in 4 different languages, while Facebook is offered in 70 languages
*
Twitter now has 75 million profiles
* In December 2009, 17% of Twitter users tweeted, equating to roughly 10 to15 million users joining the conversation

Enough of the numbers and what does it mean to you? First of all, for those not venturing into the social media world, you are at a disadvantage as professional exposure can be an added value when searching for a job.  Unfortunately, there may be price to pay if you are tangled into the electronic social network.  For example, once an entry is written and published or an image is posted, there is no turning back. For those hitting Spring Break hard and fast, beware your behavior may be recorded for the world to see… and as the trend continues, the world WILL see. 

While on an off-beat strum, if you’re looking for a site to show off your creative side, one of my former college students developed “A Community for All Artists” and is located at http://artists-square.com.  I encourage you to check it out.  Okay, getting back on track…

. and bringing me to another point, employers ARE searching potential candidates on the Internet.  I’ll go ahead and make my position clear: error in the way of conservative caution and DO NOT post, publish, or take pictures your parents (or potential employer) would not be proud of.  Just think about Phelps and the stir he created due to posted pictures. 

With millions searching, seizing, and spying, be careful,

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman

February 22, 2010

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Digital Networking & Search Engines

The following was submitted by one of our very own professionally certified writers, Sigmarie Soto:

Just as you take advantage of Internet resources to research companies and find job opportunities, potential employers use them to get more background information on candidates.  With tools, such as LinkedIn and maybe even Facebook, you have the opportunity to showcase your professional side.  What happened the last time you “Googled” your name?  Hopefully, public links to embarrassing pictures of you on MySpace or Facebook weren’t first to come up. 

Believe it or not, potential employers will look for these types of links to get an idea of the type of person, socially, they are considering hiring.  What’s important is to keep it professional. 

So, is the use of photos on LinkedIn professional or not?  Although LinkedIn is a large and global professional networking site, it didn’t allow users to post photos until 2007 in an effort to separate themselves from other sites.  Based on popular demand, they allow users to post one small photo.  In the professional world, it is not advisable to include your picture on a résumé.  However, your online profile is a different story because it is your virtual identity and connection to a vast amount of contacts that aren’t necessarily available face-to-face. 

Chances are that if a potential employer picks up your résumé and is interested in what they read, they won’t automatically be worried about what you look like.  If they happen to do a search on your name, they are looking for things that are connected to you.  It is not to say that hiring decision-makers should decide whether a candidate is “qualified” based on their looks, but simply sometimes putting a face to the name can help prior to an interview.  This is true, also, for instances when you go to job fairs or professional networking events.  Ultimately, sometimes people can remember a face more than they can remember a name.

Time for a cliché—a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you are inclined to use pictures, be careful what types of pictures they are.  Pictures, as a first impression or refresher, can ultimately play against you if showing too much age or not enough age.  I’m not talking glamour shots, but a plain, professional solo face shot would suffice.  Show some personality, but not in an overwhelming way.  Avoid posting pictures of you and one or more people, and avoid using pictures that are small, especially on LinkedIn. 

Public profiles can also prove detrimental if the information you share is unprofessional or vulgar.  Keep your social networking profiles private and be careful who is in your network.  Just as you probably wouldn’t want Auntie Aida to see certain aspects of your social life, the same should hold true for potential employers.  Potential employers aside, current employers and even customers can gain access to this information and these images. 

Just because you are in the door, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t upkeep and improve your professional image and profile.

Thank you Ziggy for discussing such an important (and often neglected) career management issue.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

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