Help Your References Help You

April 8th, 2014

You had a great resume. You got the interview. Now you furnish your references. Will you get the job? Employers DO contact references and YOUR reference can make the difference between you and another candidate getting the job offer. Help your references help you:
1. Talk with potential references before the job search. The better you know your reference and he/she knows your goals and achievements, the better reference they can be for you. You want references who will enthusiastically endorse you for the job.
2. Use recent references who know your work experience and your work ethic. Ensure they’ve known you for a minimum of one year, and preferably longer. Employers are most likely to call more recent references. Using one or two former/present employer references and one or two academic references works well for recent graduates. Refrain from using family members, even if you have worked for them. They are automatically discounted as being subjective.
3. Use references that can articulate your transferrable skills. You may not have done the job you’re applying for, but a good communicator who knows you can demonstrate your strengths in a meaningful way to a potential employer.
4. Furnish your references with a recent resume. They may not recall how long you worked for them or what your background or other experiences are or even your major or degree. Whether or not they are writing a letter of recommendation, an updated resume will be helpful for them and beneficial for you.
5. Finally, remember that employers WILL contact references. Reference information needs to be updated. Check in with your references every time you have an interview set up to let them know they may be contacted. Ensure their contact information, title, company, etc. is correctly submitted to the employer, and that they have access to phone/and or email (travel, particularly international travel could affect their availability). When a candidate is a top contender following an interview and your references are not available by phone or email for several days, employers can and will move on to the next candidate.

Are you using the right words in your resume?

March 31st, 2014

In “Hiring Managers Rank Best and Worst Words to Use in a Résumé in New CareerBuilder Survey” Ryan Hunt shares words recruiters and hiring managers look for in a resume. Preferred words are action verbs that are result driven while the adjectives of old leave too much to subjectivity. After reading the article, ensure your resume is proving your accomplishments.

New Year, New Resume

January 6th, 2014

Time to refresh your resume? Our Career Center can help you take your everyday list of jobs and duties and turn it into a marketing tool that catches the employer’s attention. Robin Deshwan, writing for USNews Magazine in her Jan. 2, 2014 article, reinforces the tips we give our students and alumni: Resume writing tips for the new year

Holidays provide a great time to connect

December 17th, 2013

Add three to five people to your connections over the holidays. Take advantage of the holiday family and social gatherings to learn what others are doing and tell them about your career interests. Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert, gives some great tips in her article Networking Tips for the Holidays.Networking Tips for Holidays

Cover Letter Checklist

November 27th, 2013

Employers read cover letters. Many pay more attention to the content and flavor of the letter than they do the resume, since so many resumes look similar. Do include a cover letter. When writing your cover letter, be sure to review Martin Yates’ simple check list, all the while keeping it to one page.Simple Checklist For Writing Effective Cover Letters

Young and just starting in your career? Some insightful advice from your peers.

May 31st, 2013

Career Advice for Young Professionals from Successful Go-Getters article by The Brazen Team found in Brazen Life
Career Advice for Young Professionals from Successful Go-Getters

The Dreaded Cover Letter

December 6th, 2012

Have to write a cover letter. Use them as an enhancement to your resume! See this quick video by Brian Smith for

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A good cover letter may be as important as a well-crafted resume when applying for a job. This video will show you what information to include in your cover letter.

Don’t Reiterate Your Resume

A cover letter is a requirement for most jobs, so it’s crucial to have one that is well written. Firstly, when you write your cover letter, don’t reiterate your resume. Your cover letter should tell us about who you are. At the top of your cover letter should be a section including all of your contact info. Following the contact info insert the salutation of the person you’re trying to reach.

Cover Letter Body

The body of the cover letter is broken down into three paragraphs. The first should be an intro paragraph saying why you’re applying to the job. The second paragraph lets the employer know what you have to offer them. The third and final paragraph is your conclusion. After the closing paragraph, you will finish the letter with your signature.

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Facebook – Self-esteem Booster. But is there a downside to all this social networking?

December 6th, 2012

In Columbia Business School’s Columbia Ideas at Work, November 30, 2012 issue, Ken Wilcox explores the double edged sword of online social networks and give us something to think about.

Facebook Friend or Enemy?

Online social networks enhance users’ self-esteem — and lower self-control.
Today, individuals have grown accustomed to sharing intimate details about their lives online — weddings, graduations, and new jobs are all fair game for publicizing through social networks like Facebook.

“But there hasn’t been a lot of research on how using a social network affects consumer behavior, particularly its effects on how people feel about themselves and the decisions they make offline,” said Professor Keith Wilcox.

Wilcox and Andrew Stephen (PhD ’10), of the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a series of experiments to explore how social network use affects consumer behavior. In one experiment, they told users to browse either Facebook or for five minutes, then gave them a snack choice of either a cookie or a granola bar. They found that the more Facebook users focused on people they reported to be very close friends — rather than acquaintances or strangers (people they didn’t even know offline) — the more likely they were to choose the cookie more often than those who just browsed CNN. In another instance, users participated in an auction for a new iPad after browsing. Those who had focused more on close friends while browsing Facebook again displayed less self-control, as evidenced by higher bids on the iPad compared to those who browsed CNN. In addition, when users browsed Facebook and were instructed to share information with close friends instead of distant connections, they reported levels of higher self-esteem after browsing.

“People try to put their best faces forward on social networks and browsing for as little as five minutes can enhance users’ self-esteem and make them feel better about themselves,” Wilcox says. “The downside is that it results in an overinflated ego and manifests itself in negative behaviors.”

To further test the connection between social network use, higher self-esteem, and lower self-control, the researchers also conducted an online survey with more than 500 people nationwide. The survey results were consistent with their findings on self-control in the lab experiments — users who focused more on close friends than acquaintances in their networks had higher BMIs, were more likely to engage in binge eating, and had higher credit card debt and lower credit scores. The more time people spent browsing Facebook, the less discipline they displayed in their offline decisions.

However, Wilcox cautions that the potential negatives shouldn’t outweigh the positive benefits of engaging in online social networks. “Social network use can help people feel better about themselves, enhance their social capital, and help them build relationships,” Wilcox says. “The more people are aware of these negative tendencies, the more likely they are to counteract them.”

This research may also be applicable to advertisers, who have struggled with low click-through rates on Facebook ads versus higher click-through rates for ads on other sites like Google. “If people feel higher self-esteem and less disciplined while browsing a social network, advertisers might need to appeal to these users in a different way than they would on Google, for instance,” Wilcox explains. This creates a starting point for future research, he says, on the basis that consumers use social networks to fulfill a variety of social needs. Those needs include self-expression and self-presentation — some of the same needs that underlie decisions to purchase luxury brands and affect how consumers respond to messages promoting image versus quality.

On a broader note, Wilcox stresses the importance of recognizing how behavior rules differ online versus offline; in the real world, people tend to be more modest with close friends than with distant friends. But online, those social norms do not necessarily apply, he says. “If everyone on Facebook is sharing their accomplishments, it just seems natural to do the same thing — particularly with the people you’re closest to. But users should be aware that the high self-esteem they feel from sharing online can have a dark side.”

And that effect may not be limited to Facebook — Wilcox says it could hold true for any social network where people are focused on presenting a positive self-image. “Although LinkedIn is primarily used to develop one’s career, the heart of the network is about presenting a positive image to others,” he says. “And while some Twitter users focus on sharing news and other non-personal information, many also use it as a form of self-promotion.”

Keith Wilcox is an assistant professor of marketing at Columbia Business School.

Read the Research

Stephen, Andrew, and Keith Wilcox

“Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control.” Working paper, Columbia Business School, 2012.

Linked-In Etiquette for Job Searches

December 6th, 2012

LinkedIn is a great asset when searching for a job, however there is some polite protocol that will make your job search more effective. Learn about LinkedIn Etiquette in this video from

Courtesy of by Christopher Berrien Linked In Etiquette for a Job Search