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    It's Nothing Profersonal...

    When ABC reporter Shea Allen posted unprofessional comments on her personal blog, she crossed a line...and was fired. The phenomenon of mixing professional and personal online identities—dubbed profersonal by Jason Seiden of Ajax Workforce Marketing—is logging a lot of attention because of its prevalence.

    A recent report by the National Business Ethics Survey® of Social Networkers indicates that some employees are starting to get the point. The report found:

    • 79% of employees with at least one social network account consider how their employers would react to a post
    • 64% claim they consider how their employers would react to personal information posted on personal sites

    But not all employees are adopting circumspect attitudes with regards to their posting habits. The survey also reported that one fourth of respondents believe it's appropriate to write about their jobs if they do not name the employer.   

    Discussion: Should an employee post thoughts or perspectives about an employer on a social networking site? Do employers have the right to expect online professionalism in personal posts? What kinds of personal posts might an employer find unprofessional?

    Source: Hyman, J. (2013, August 5). Fired news reporter Shea Allen illustrates the meaning of 'profersonal' for today's workers. Workforce. Retrieved from www.workforce.com

    Beef Up Résumé While in College

    Students who leave college with a résumé that shows experience and accomplishments stand a much better chance of impressing a potential employer. Below are tips for students to help strengthen their résumés while they are still in school.

    1. Volunteer. Volunteering just a few hours a month shows a potential employer that the student has been engaged and involved.

    2. Work part time. Even a job busing tables gives the student an understanding of the work environment.

    3. Participate in class projects. Any major project—collaborative or individual—can be highlighted on a résumé to illustrate the student's ability to produce a major piece of work.

    4. Obtain an internship. Internships provide experience within a student's chosen field. They can signal hirers that the candidate may not need as much training as someone without such experience.

    5. Take leadership positions in clubs and organizations. Positions in groups can give a student valuable experience such as dealing with people, managing budgets, or fundraising.

    Discussion: Why might an employer be impressed by a candidate's record of volunteering? Why is having experience in any kind of job important on a new graduate's résumé? Why do employers value collaborative skills?

    Source: Gredley, K. (2013, August). Beefing up your résumé before the career search begins: Key advice for college students. Quintcareers. Retrieved from http://www.quintcareers.com

    Shaking It Up Improves Problem Solving

    Creative problem solving skills are one of those vague descriptors that many would like to add to their résumés. Although some people are born with the ability to think creatively, anyone can become better at sparking ideas.

    Recent studies suggest that the best way to kindle solutions is to step away, take a break, and be open to new stimuli. Instead of staying focused and blocking distractions, researchers found that those are the exact sorts of situations that help problem solving. The change of pace allows the brain to make connections it wouldn't in the confines of focused thinking. Daydreaming, it turns out, actually facilitates creativity.

    In addition, people are more likely to solve problems at times they least expect to—in the morning for night owls and the evening for early risers. Interspersing steady, focused thought with a completely different task—watching a movie, listening to music, or observing nature—can also lead to innovation.

    The key is knowing when to open the mind and when to focus it.

    Discussion: Why is creative problem solving a desirable ability to bring to a position? How can you illustrate creative problem solving on a résumé or in an interview? What are some ways to become more open to new ideas?

    Source: Shellenbarger, S. (2013, April 2). Tactics to spark creativity. Wall St. Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com

    What NOT to Include on Résumé

    It's common knowledge that hirers spend mere seconds going over résumés, so it's important to grab attention quickly. The best way to catch the reviewer's eye is to home in on specifics that highlight qualifications for a particular position. Susan Gunelis, president and CEO of Key Splash Creative, Inc. and a writer for the Web site Life'd, advises deleting the following from résumés.

    Personal details waste valuable space and provide no fodder for discussion; hirers are not allowed to address such points.

    Personal interests are not part of a résumé, which should include work-related content only.

    Basic skills and the obvious such as the ability to type or use e-mail are expected.

    Photographs may actually harm the chances of a résumé being considered; hiring managers must not consider a person's gender, race, or age.

    Extras that include more than the job spec is asking for show the candidate cannot follow directions.  

    Too many contact options confuse the reader. One phone number and e-mail address is plenty.

    Lengthy paragraphs are hard to read; bulleted points are easier to scan.  

    Errors in spelling, grammar, and formatting make it easy for a hiring manager to eliminate a candidate.

    Discussion: Why can a simple typo or spelling error on a résumé be a deal killer when applying for a job? Why would hiring managers be irritated by receiving materials not asked for in a job spec? Is it ever appropriate to use a non-traditional résumé?

    Source: Gunelis, S. [n.d.] 10 things to delete from your resume immediately. Life'd. Retrieved from http://www.lifed.com

    ABCs of Networking

    The word "networking" is everywhere. But what does networking really entail? Most agree that networking involves building relationships. However, many people make the mistake of discontinuing to network after they land a position. Experts say networking needs to be ongoing.

    To develop a professional network, job search professionals suggest being strategic. The following can help networking beginners get started.

    1. Have a specific goal before tapping into your networks. Most people are either trying to find a job, change a job, or grow within a job.

    2. Approach friends. Ask anyone you know to make online or personal introductions to individuals in your desired field.

    3. Research organizations that mesh with your personal values. Contact members of that organization using social networking sites like LinkedIn.

    4. Volunteer. Join clubs or groups in which you have an interest and become involved. If the organization asks for help, be onboard. Your work will not go ignored by other members.

    5. Follow up. Many networkers think they are finished after they collect business cards at events. However a follow-up note—the kind requiring a stamp—shows you are truly interested in continuing a dialogue.

    6. Conduct informational interviews. Move beyond an online relationship and arrange an in-person interview whenever possible. Meet for coffee or lunch and ask the individual about his or her career path.

    The most important point to remember is to keep any networking relationship alive by sharing news and information on a regular basis. It's the best way to maintain a contact in the long term.

    Discussion: Why is it important to continually network? How can you leverage social media to help you develop contacts? How can you use your college's resources to help you network now?

    Source: Rangwala, S. (2012, Oct. 9). Networking 101. www.washingtonpost.com/jobs