• News You Can Use

    Warm Up Job Search in Icy Hiring Market

    Finding a job in the best of times is trying. But in the post-recession climate, the search is even more challenging. Experts offer advice to help weather the storm.

    1. Focus your search on businesses surviving the recession such as U.S. manufacturing companies that export.

    2. Demonstrate how you can save a firm time or money in your cover letter and résumé.

    3. Highlight your skills in a summary that emphasizes your unique qualifications. Focus on challenges, actions, and results in your work history section rather than taking up space explaining competencies and responsibilities.

    4. Show an employer that you have the skills, experience, and personality for the job and that you can bring innovation to improve the bottom line.

    5. Target the "hidden" job market through networking. If you limit your search to job boards, your application will likely be overlooked due to the sheer number of résumés received.

    Discussion: What research strategies might you use to locate businesses that are doing well during the recession? What is the difference between discussing job responsibilities versus accomplishments? Can you begin to network while still in college? How?

    Source: (2011, October 11). Stick to basics to find job in uncertain times. Los Angeles Times, p. B4.

    All Hands on Deck for Social Media Plans

    An organization's social media policies should be formalized for several reasons: to present the company's brand consistently; to empower employees to become involved in the plan; and to reaffirm the organization's stance, opinion, and views on participation.

    Any social media policy should do the following:

    1. Explain why social media is important to the firm and clarify the social media's goals.

    2. Give details about how to handle common situations such as negative complaints or scandals.

    3. Be specific about which sites are being used and for what reason.

    4. Create at-home social media use guidelines. Because social networkers are never off the clock, employees must know that reasonable office rules apply when doing business at home, too.

    Discussion: If you use social networking now, how can you translate your knowledge into a talking point during an interview? Why would it be important for an organization to provide its employees with specific responses for situations that arise with social networking? How does a unified social networking policy empower an employee?

    Source: Barone, L. (2011, June). Rules of the [social] road. T+D, pp. 76-77.

    "Skill Up" to Land that Job

    News abounds about a "skill gap," or the difference between the skills people have as opposed to the skills that employers need to fill available jobs. The job resource Web site Quintessential Careers offers this advice to help close an individual's skill gap.

    1. Look at certification or technical training programs as ways to acquire new skills. Professional associations or community colleges are excellent resources for building competencies.

    2. Become an apprentice. Some professions such as electronics, plumbing, or machining offer paid apprenticeship programs.

    3. Volunteer at a nonprofit. It's a great way to gain knowledge about how to use databases, build Web sites, and learn accounting procedures that you can transfer to a paying position.

    4. Freelance. Expand your skills on the Internet as a freelancer, a contractor, or a "micropreneur."

    Remember that old saying: Anything that's worth having is worth fighting for. Be ready to fight to land that job.

    Discussion: How can you leverage your current talents to earn money while you look for a job in your chosen field? Besides learning new skills at an unpaid position, what else can you gain from volunteering? Why is it important to constantly update your skills?

    Hinton, S. (2011, Nov. 7). 4 ways job-seekers can "skill up" in a post-recession economy. quintcareers.com. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from www.quintcareers.com.

    Social Networking Sites Increasingly Popular in Online Job Searches

    First there were want ads. Then came job boards. Now social networking sites are the hottest trend in job searching.

    LinkedIn has increased its share of the job search market from 4.7 percent in 2010 to a projected 12.2 percent in 2013. Recruiters and Fortune 500 companies alike are increasingly turning toward Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to fill positions.

    The reason for the trend stems from the onslaught of applications that come from job board postings. Even with search technology tools, firms are finding it difficult to make meaningful decisions about résumés without human intervention.

    Surveys indicate that as the recession eases, more job seekers will be actively searching online. It's not surprising that big boards like Monster and CareerBuilder have added features to make their sites more social-networking friendly.

    Discussion: What makes a résumé appealing to an employer? Why are social networking sites conducive to a job search? How can you clean up your online image to make yourself more attractive to a potential employer?

    Source: Russo, F. (2011, October 3). The new online job hunt. Time, pp. 14-16.

    Strategies to Improve Student Writing

    A lecturer in the Department of Management at California State University, Northridge, has devised pointers to help his business students improve their writing skills. His tips can be integrated into any business communication or writing course.

    • Develop pedagogies for illustrating poor writing in large courses. Since Millenials learn visually, try to incorporate photographs that show poor writing (such as a sign.) Show business students the importance of writing by sharing the research that quantifies the impact of poor writing on business.
    • Create separate pedagogies for small courses. Use peer groups to help edit. Add discipline-specific vocabulary words to exams.
    • Emphasize the importance of writing in every class, not just writing-specific courses, and devote time to teaching writing skills even in discipline-specific courses.

    Providing feedback is crucial to helping business students improve their writing. The following strategies have proven effective.

    • Create a rubric and use it consistently.
    • Conduct in-class editing before a project is due.
    • Reduce grades for only the most significant errors but mark other errors, too.
    • Score content separate from writing mechanics.

    Discussion: How does poor writing reflect on an organization? How can you continue to become a better writer even after you leave school? Why do you think students learn about writing best when it is taught in specific contexts?

    Source: Smith, W. (2011, March/April). The literate business student. BizEd, pp. 42-48.