• Note From Mary Ellen

    As the school year inches toward its conclusion, some students will be looking for jobs and instructors will be providing tips on preparing résumés and getting ready for job and internship interviews. Even if your students are not yet focused on employment, it's wise to motivate them to think about what they can do to be prepared for eventual job searching. This issue offers lots of practical employment tips for you to share with your students.

    Networking Is Still the No. 1 Path to a Job or Internship

    apr13 Alexandra EngleMost job seekers start their search at Monster or CareerBuilder. Although online job boards provide helpful resources and advice, these Internet resources are not as effective as networking in securing positions. A 2012 Right Management survey reported that 46 percent of jobs were found through networking. This kind of person-to-person interaction is particularly necessary because it's estimated that 50 to 80 percent of jobs are never advertised; they're part of the hidden job market.

    In an interview that will appear in Business Communication: Process and Product, 8e (to be released in early 2014), business student Alexandra Engle spoke candidly with me about networking. "People kept telling me that I should 'network,' which sounded like great advice," she confessed, "until I realized that my network consisted of other soon-to-be unemployed graduates. That's when I got active on LinkedIn and Facebook and started approaching my relatives, teachers, and friends. Even in this dismal economy, amazingly, two internships turned up even before I graduated. Networking seems daunting at first, but it definitely works!"

    Like Allie, your students are probably intimidated by networking. They don't know where to begin, but actually they are already networking every day and everywhere they go. BC:PP provides a step-by-step plan to get started networking. In the next BC:PP edition, we provide even more networking guidance and also discuss how to use LinkedIn and other online resources to tap into the hiddden job market.

    25 Quick Guffey Handouts to Sharpen Student Writing Skills

    A common refrain that I hear from instructors centers on the weak language skills of students entering their classrooms. Are students' skills really declining, or does it just seem that way? Regardless, our goal is to sharpen those skills so that their business messages are clear and correct. To help your students refresh basic skills (such as punctuation, capitalization, usage) as well as to develop skillful writing strategies, I've written "25 Quick Exercises to Sharpen Your Students Writing Skills." Some of these exercises have appeared earlier in the Writing Technique tab of this newsletter.

    These handouts usually review a writing principle, such as how to place apostrophes or how to develop parallelism. Then students apply the principles in 15-point exercises, many of which include explanations with the key. These quickie reviews are invaluable when you have some spare time at the end of the class, when you need to help students strengthen a weak language area, or when you want a quick change-of-pace activity. If you are an instructor with a school e-mail address, you may also order these from me by sending a message to m.e.guffey [at] cox.net. Please tell me about your course and how you plan to use these exercises.

    Update on New Editions of Guffey Books

    My coauthor Dr. Dana Loewy and I have been working extremely hard on the next edition of Business Communication: Process and Product.You can see previews of the 8th edition this fall and may proceed with plans to use it for your classes early in 2014. BC:PP, 8e, is packed with new content and exciting visuals demonstrating business communication in the digital age.

    Business English,11e, with coauthor Carolyn Seefer, came out this year, and we're already hearing from instructors telling us that they like having fewer chapters so that they can finish in one term. In addition to streamlining the chapter lineup, this edition provides greatly enhanced online support that automatically checks and reports grades for the textbook's reinforcement exercises, while simultaneously giving feedback to students.

    Essentials of Business Communication, 9e, like its previous edition, is setting sales records for Cengage! Coauthor Dana Loewy and I are delighted that so many instructors have discovered that its combination of textbook/workbook/reference manual makes it very easy from which to teach. Adjuncts love it! And students praise EBC because it helps them develop their communication skills quickly in preparation for the job market.

    Please tell me how we can make these textbooks better for you and your students. Send your comments and questions to m.e.guffey [at] cox.net. I always love to hear from instructors and promise to respond immediately.

    Mary Ellen