Monthly Archives: January 2010

Carrying yourself well in an interview

An interview is much more than reading over a resume and relaying facts to your potential employer. It is the first opportunity for them to see you and for you to give them a potentially great impression. Many of us may not realize it, but we usually have several nonverbal habits we do on a regular basis. These actions are especially heightened when we are nervous or anxious, so it is important to be on your best manners when on a job interview.

According to a report in the Business Blog at ayushveda.com, “25% of recruiters say they would reject a candidate if he were over-weight!” This means that one in every four interviewers could potentially turn someone down who is obese, most likely because people associate being fat with laziness, dependency, and other stereotypes that may or may not be true. I’m not saying you neeed to go out and make sure you have an awesome body before an interview, but it does help to look you best when we live in such a judgmental society. If you are over-weight or not, may sure to be aware of your posture, which can make you appear slimmer and well-poised.

Although there will likely be a lot of things going through your mind during an interview, there are a few simple nonverbal actions to remember beforehand that can help greatly.

Perfect posture

Good tips to remember during an interview are presented by Leena in her blog at mybandra.com:

1. Eye contact– This sounds obvious, but our eyes are the windows to our mind, and many people are unaware how bad their eye contact really is. Make sure to keep your eyes on the person you’re communicating with in order to let them know you are listening.
2. Facial expressions– Practice watching yourself in the mirror and how you would react under certain situations. I know I use dramatic facial expressions all the time that are very unattractive. Make sure to have a happy smile on your face and relax!
3. Gestures– Use these sparingly. Most hand movements and gestures are unnecessary and can make people nervous watching you move so much.
4. Personal space– Simple as it sounds, keep your respective distance from the people around you. Don’t try to invade the interviewer’s personal space, but at the same time do not position yourself so far away that you send a negative vibe.
 
Limit your gestures

Dr. Anne E. Beall stresses the importance of non-verbal communication for a successful interview in her excerpt on Ron Culp’s blog. She states that our eyes show “liking and interest.” This reminds me of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” Use not only your voice but your sight in order to show you are confident and eager to listen. Dr. Beall explains, “In one study researchers found that people tend to gaze more at someone who is giving them positive feedback but that they reduce their gaze when they are receiving negative feedback.” Maintain eye contact for a good amount of time, but not so long that he interviewer thinks you are creepy.

Follow some of these basic steps and improve your body language and non-verbal skills in order to have an excellent interview!

Information/sources used in this blog can be found at the following sites:

http://ayushveda.com/blogs/business/interview-tips-personality-body-language-in-interview/

http://blogs.mybandra.com/2010/01/18/interview-tips-5-important-interview-tips/

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/ron-culp-hire-learning/2009/12/non-verbal-communication-essential-to-effective-interviews.html

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Social Media Monitoring- Ethical?

The idea of everything I do on the internet being monitored reminds me of the show Big Brother. Yes, it is not as strict in that I can sleep unwatched at night, but when computers play such a common role in our everyday life, it can make us somewhat cautious about what we are searching online. I am required to keep a media log for my Comm Theory class, and have noticed I am trying to stay off the internet more so that I do not have to keep track of the websites I visit. This is for the main reason that I am too lazy to write down every single fact about my internet habits because it becomes very tedious when all I do is visit Facebook, Twitter, and my email accounts. Using a system such as Radian6 seems kind of intimidating and scary to me.

Some argue that monitoring social media is very intrusive and can be damaging to one’s career or business as a whole if inappropriate actions are found. I know someone who recently got fired for accessing very inappropriate websites on their computer at work, not knowing it would be monitored. I think it is unethical to be accessing inappropriate websites in a work setting, especially when the employee receives a high salary and has other duties to be performing. Social media monitoring is a good tool to use in order to make sure employees are being professional and efficient. On the other hand, I do not think it is ethical to monitor the social media habits of students or others unknowingly, unless it is for some form of educational research. The internet is large enough to find out virtually anything you want to know about other people. If you need a monitoring system for purpose that is not work or school related, you are just taking one more step in becoming a full-time internet stalker.

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Filed under PRCA 3030 Social Media, TOW- Topics of the Week

creative cover letter tips for students

When it is time to venture out into the real world and find a job, most students are somewhat overhwhelmed and confused at the idea of creating a resume. Even the word itself has a funny asterisk above it and appears foreign. Creating a strong and relevant resume is one of the single most important parts of getting your name out there and putting your acheivements down on paper.

On the helpful blog at “Quintessential Resumes & Cover Letters,” author Teena Rose offers tips from her book, The 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer. A coverletter can be seen as a sort of bridge connecting your resume with your future career. Rose states that the cover letter should be an ” introducer, an answerer of questions, and a speaker for your candidacy.” You do not want the cover letter to simply restate everything that you have written in your resume; instead you want it to summarize and highlight the key aspects of it. Here are some of the main uses of a cover letter as explained by Rose:

    Explaining employment gaps or other career blemishes;

   Articulating relocation choice or willingness to travel;

   Stating salary requirement, if requested by company;

   Reflecting work experience in lieu of education requirement;

   Highlighting key points that match the hiring company’s requirements.

Lisa Newman offers some excellent advice for remembering what to include in your cover letter in her blog at Career-resources.com. She compares the cover letter to your “best interview suit,” and suggests using the acronym C-O-V-E-R when writing the different parts of your cover letter.

Connection- In the opening paragraph, establish some sort of connection between you and the employer, explaining how you would fit into their company and the similarities you possess that would be a great addition to their team. People are attracted to people that are like them, and by emphasizing the connections you have with the company, you are starting your cover letter off on the right foot.

Overview- Since the resume is a statement of what you have done, the cover letter should contain an overview or background information on who you are as a person. A company is not only hiring you as a worker, but as a human being as well. By explaining a little about yourself, it shows you are bringing more to the table than just a set of learned skills.

Voice- Now that the employer has a good idea about who you are and what you have accomplished, it is crucial that you voice your interest in starting a career at the desired firm. Clearly state what it is about the company has got you interested. Explain the feelings that you felt when you applied and how you would feel if were hired.

Examples- This is the part of the cover letter where you can state your “experiences and skills” to differentiate yourself from the competitors. Include not only the skills and knowledge you have obtained over the years, but details and examples that will suppliment your acheivements.

Request- After you have explained what you have to offer and how you are an excellent candidate, Newman says the end of the cover letter is where you should “close the deal” and request for a follow-up interview upon reading your resume. Express your interest and include details as to when and where to contact you, and how much you desire an interview.

Possibly the best tip about creating your most effective cover letter comes from Dave Vower on Definition-of-leadership.com: “KEEP  IT REAL!” Your resume should be a direct representation of who you are and what you have to offer. So be honest and put your best you out there. Follow these simple tips and your cover letter will show your true colors!

Information used on this blog can be found at the following websites:

www.resumesandcoverletters.com/tips_blog/

http://careers-resources.com/content/five-steps-dressing-your-naked-resume-perfect-cover-letter

http://definition-of-leadership.com/on-line/keeping-it-real-at-work-will-change-the-way-you-look-at-your-working-hours

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blog comments: quick, easy, and important

The whole point of blogs is so that anyone in the world can post their opinions on anything they want, anytime of the day for anyone to see. There are virtually no restrictions or limitations to what one can say, and this can make blogging very complicated and overwhelming. Some find it easy to type out their thoughts and views on the internet for all to see, while others, like me, are somewhat hesistant and restrictive about what to say. I sometimes feel like I am too formal on my blog and need to understand better online blog etiquette. I’m not sure who reads my blog, and I don’t say anything particularily clever or funny that I myself would want to read.

Like any social networking site, such as Facebook or Twitter, whenever someone comments or posts something to our pages, we feel a certain gratification that someone in the world actually cares what we just had for lunch or what movie we are going to see Friday night. Providing other people with your input can be motivation enough to log on and update your different pages. Commenting on other people’s blogs is a quick, easy and important way to be an active social media user.

Blog comments don’t have to be super long or boring. They can be a simple note about how a certain part of an entry made you laugh, or how something caught your eye. It will only reinforce the blogger’s confidence to continue writing in their own, unique style. In return, commenting on blogs can help give you different ideas and approaches for creating your own page. Positive criticism and tips are also great ways to show someone you are genuinely reading what they are writing. Next time to read something that affected you in some way, don’t be afraid to leave a post and let the world know how you feel!

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Filed under PRCA 3030 Social Media, TOW- Topics of the Week

social media an excellent tool during haiti crisis

In the wake of the awful events that have struck Haiti over the past weeks, there has been a tremendous amount of global help for those who are suffering and are in desperate need of aid. Since the earthquake that hit the small country left thousands dead and land ruined, it has been hard for people to fly there and help first-hand. Instead, social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, television, and texting have all provided various ways for anyone to contribute aid instantly and easily.

Not only are audiences receiving updates on the Haiti Crisis through traditional media such as newspapers, radio, television, etc., but the new wave of social media popularity is providing an opportunity for a younger generation to do their part and help those in need via their favorite online networking sites. Facebook groups with a certain number of members are guaranteeing to donate money, and Twitter has made it easy to gain access to many reputable organizations working in Haiti.

The American Red Cross twitter page is extremely informative and helpful in providing followers with facts on how much donations would provide people in Haiti, along with pictures and updates on the work being done. I feel like they have done such a professional and smart approach to how to use Twitter during a tragic event. By providing facts on what exactly a $50 or $100 donation would provide, people will be more likely to want to donate when they are aware of what their money is going towards.

Although some people may be wary about donating money through text messaging, this is still a very effective way to use social media. Texting is such a universal tool that people of all ages are using, and when phones are always at your fingertips, it is simple to click a few buttons to make a positive contribution. Hopefully the ways social media is being implemented for the Haiti Crisis will prove to be a strong tool that will help the wounded during these hard times.

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Filed under PRCA 3030 Social Media, TOW- Topics of the Week