“My résume is not all lies! My name is correct!”

February 1, 2010 1 comment

I was recently accepted into an internship program through the University of Oregon called Portland Senior Experience.  I am in the process of interviewing for possible internship positions.  While preparing my résumé, portfolio and references I began thinking about how many opportunities, during the employment process, people have to be dishonest about their school and work record and their accomplishments.

Personally, I have never considered lying or even bending the truth to a potential employer, but I have heard many stories of people who have and the truth is always found out somehow, especially with the internet and all of the different ways to find out information about people.  (See my previous post, “How did you know I like DnB music and Persian food?”)

I did an internet search for “how to lie on your résumé” and Google returned 210,000 pages.  It is a shame that this type of unethical behavior is encouraged.

A good company will check references and validate information about potential employees to make sure the information they’ve been provided is true and correct.

Ultimately, some morally bankrupt people who have nothing to lose will always be dishonest in an attempt to get ahead. Take the ethical route.  Be honest.  Work hard.  And you will be rewarded.

Liberal Arts Education: Invaluable Experience or Ineffectual Waste of Resources?

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Lately I have  been reading Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist, an extremely well-written and engaging blog centered around career advice.  Business Week calls her writing “poetic.”  Her career advice appears in more than 200 newspapers.

I recently replied to a post of hers titled, “How to manage a college education.”

(Image: Mike Keefe, The Denver Post)

Penelope,

I am a senior at a liberal arts college. I went to college directly out of high school, but realized that I had no idea what I wanted to study. I had to take several years off to commit to an area of study–communications.

I have many friends and associates who–with their frivolous degrees–are struggling to pay off debt while working in an industry completely unrelated to their area of study. I have been making every effort to avoid living that scenario.

Above all, I am extremely happy with my choice to study communications at a liberal arts college. My instructors are mentors who have years of experience and an excellent grasp on traditional communication methods and a handle on all of the current social media trends.

Many other invaluable opportunities are offered through universities, like study abroad programs, internship programs and student groups and societies, which further validate the importance of a liberal arts education.

While it is true that people can read and study the same information outside of a classroom that they can inside the classroom, a diploma certifies that a person has learned to write effectively and think critically.

It may be true that the generation that grew up with social media is the most effective at communicating of any generation in history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are communicating strategically–in a way that will influence behavior.

Lastly, I do think that societal status (unfortunately) still plays a role in who gets the jobs on many occasions, even if two people have an equal knowledge base. Having a college degree plays a big role in societal status. Of course there are exceptions–Gates, Jobs, Kerkorian etc. So, I am willing to trade the $30K per year for that status in case I am not one of the lucky ones who can bypass an education and end up as a gizzillionaire.

How did you know I like DnB music and Persian food?

January 23, 2010 1 comment

Nowadays, anyone who is interested in finding out more about you can easily “google” you.  You may be surprised at what they find.

The first day of my strategic communications class (a fancy word for social media), my instructor had put together a power point presentation with a slide on each student in the class.  The slides contained information she gathered from the internet through various social networking sites.

When she got to my slide, it said that I like DnB music and Persian food.  At first I had NO IDEA how she possibly could have found out that information.  It turns out she had somehow found some comments from years ago that were on my MySpace page!

I made the natural migration from MySpace to Facebook along with everyone else and I pretty much stopped maintaining my MySpace account.  After class I looked myself up to see what dirt I could find on myself.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t presenting myself how I would like to be seen.

Here are a few suggestions for maintaining your personal brand:

  • Use appropriate default photos that reflect you positively
  • Set privacy settings for accounts you prefer others outside your network to see
  • “Google” yourself every now and then to see what others find when they look you up

Remember that you are in control of your online image.  If you have friends who have posted pictures or information that does not support the image you are trying to maintain, ask them to remove them.

Finally, it is better to have some information about yourself online than none at all.  Happy branding!

Here is an interesting video of Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library discussing social media and branding.  (Warning: Video contains some colorful language.)

Where do I fit in?

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

In a lecture hall on a university campus, most of the students are still below the legal age to consume alcohol—of course this doesn’t stop them from doing it anyway.  Among the sea of teens, you see the occasional gray-haired gentleman or a woman with wrinkles around her eyes. These folks really stand out in the crowd.

I am the twenty-something young woman who neither blends in nor stands out.  I have asked myself at times, Where do I fit in?

My academic adventure began in September of 2001.  It was then that I left my nice home in Newport Beach, California and arrived on the University of Oregon campus to find myself living in a tiny room on the fourth floor of a campus dormitory—an experience that I will never forget (for all the wrong reasons).  That is whole blog post in itself!

After my first year of college, I moved back home to Newport Beach.  At that point I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life.  For the next six years I worked at a few different businesses, learned some helpful job skills  and thought about what I wanted to study.  All things pointed toward public relations.  So, in the fall of 2007, I returned to the University of Oregon where I have been ever since.  I plan to graduate this spring, 2010 with a degree in journalism and a minor in communication studies.

I am a non-traditional student, which means that I didn’t graduate from college four years out of high school.  My interests, pastimes and ambitions are quite different from most of the people on campus. Oftentimes I find that I can relate more easily with the young professors and instructors than I can with most of the students.  I am doing my best to stay involved and participate in the programs offered by the university despite how awkward and out of place I sometimes feel.  Do I have regrets?  No.  Would I have done things differently if I had known then what I know now? Yes.

This blog will focus on my non-traditional journey though academia.  I have some fun stories to share and some tips that other non-trads may find helpful.