Questions that if you’re a transgender job applicant, you may have

Gavel On Rainbow Flag

Last time, we provided some resources to help transgender students look for jobs once they’ve graduated. Still, if you’re transgender, you know that there will be questions you have either during the interview process or the hiring stage regarding your workplace rights.

For example, right off the bat, you may be wondering whether or not you should include your preferred name on your job application.

According to Jillian T. Weiss, the executive director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, using your birth name on a job application is not a legal necessity.

Weiss does say, however, that if an applicant is asked to provide any previous names that they have gone by, on the application, it is likely that the employer will be initiating a background check. In this case, it may be beneficial to be open and honest about your gender identity as omitting the information may be seen as a misrepresentation of yourself.

Depending on whether or not you wish to receive employee health insurance, once you’ve been hired by a company or organization, know that you will have to specify the gender you wish the insurance company to identify you as.

According to Mary Beth Barritt of the University of Vermont, depending on your specified gender preference, you may be ineligible for insurance coverage for certain gender-specific treatments.

But, don’t worry.

According to HIPAA law, a law that regulates the sharing of health information between individuals and their healthcare providers, a patient’s gender identity cannot be disclosed to an employer without the individual’s consent.

With HIPAA law in mind, you may be wondering whether there are other workplace protections in place for transgender employees. The answer is that… it’s complicated.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on their sex, race, color, national origin and religion. However, Title VII does not explicitly provide legal protections for individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, in recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, has fought to expand this protection.

In 2011, the EEOC brought to the 11th Circuit Court United States Court of Appeals a case of a transgender female who alleged unlawful discrimination by her employer, the Georgia General Assembly (GCA).

In her claim, the plaintiff, a transgender female, stated that she had been unfairly terminated from her position at the GCA because she had gone through a gender transition while employed there.

Referencing a Supreme Court decision from 1989, in which, a woman was denied a promotion at work because her supervisor felt that she “did not act as a woman should act”, the Court of Appeals decided that a human being is classified as transgender based on “the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes [and gender-behavioral norms]”. Since, according to the Cornell Law School, The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, dictates that, “individuals must be treated in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances”, the EEOC concluded the plaintiff was unlawfully terminated.

In recent years, at least two other cases appealed by the EEOC and tried by the Court of Appeals have come to the same conclusion.

First, in 2004, when Jimmie L. Smith had his employment terminated after he “began to express a more feminine appearance [at work]” and notified his employer he would be transitioning from male to female. The second occurred in 2016, when Jennifer Chavez, a transgender female, was immediately terminated from Credit Nation LLC. for, “sleeping on company time”, although; she had had no previous infractions and company policy dictated measures that worked to correct employee behavior before termination was considered.

The EEOC doesn’t just qualify sex discrimination as unlawful termination, though. According to the EEOC’s official website their definition also includes:

The fact remains that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and The Equal Protections Clause are up for interpretation by state governments. Despite this, 92% of “CEI rated employers”, provide gender identity protections for transgender individuals, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Society has a long way to go, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to work regardless race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity but that doesn’t mean we won’t get there.

References:

Price waterhouse v. hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989)., 1989).

Smith v. city of salem, 378 F.3d 566 (6th cir. 2004), 2004).

Glenn V. brumby 663 F.3d 1312 (11th cir. 2011)., 2011).

Chavez v. credit nation auto sales, LLC., 2016 WL 158820 (11th cir. jan. 14, 2016)., 2016).

Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

Barritt, B. M. (2010). FAQ’s for transgender job seekers. Retrieved from https://www.ou.edu/career/pdfs/FAQtransjobseekers.pdf

Fidas, D., & Cooper, L. (2017). Corporate equality index 2017. (). Washington, D.C.: Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2017). What you should know about EEOC and the enforcement protections for LGBT workers (examples of LGBT-related sex discrimination claims).. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protections_lgbt_workers.cfm

Weiss, T. J. (4 October 2011). Trans job applications: To name or not to name?. Retrieved from http://bilerico.lgbtqnation.com/2011/10/trans_job_applications_to_name_or_not_to_name.php

 

Begin networking today!

Social network

Networking is the act of building relationships and partnerships with business professionals that are capable and interested in helping you further your career goals.

Believe it or not it is never too early in your college career to begin networking and the earlier you begin making connections, the better.

In an article for immigration and education reform advocacy website FWD.us, contributor, Joshua Rodriguez, wrote about struggling in his classes and having a hard time finding an internship the summer after his freshman year of college.

He writes, “Never in my life had I gotten C’s before, and it was difficult to understand why I was struggling in college.” Going into his sophomore year, he realized that he had to take a different approach to his studies and job search. He states this hard truth in the article:

“College shifts the responsibility of education from the teacher and institution to the student. You are in charge of educating yourself and making sure that you are getting what you need”.

The fact of the matter is that whether or not you need assistance in your job search or your classes, this is assistance that you’ll need to seek out yourself.

Who can you include in your network?

  • Past employers
  • Past and current professors and high school teachers
  • Family friends

You can begin forming these connections by asking yourself this question: What do I aim to achieve through my network?

According to Rodriguez, if you’re looking for assistance in your college courses, then your goal might be to build professional relationships with your professors that enable you to feel comfortable asking for their help.

If you’re looking to acquire an internship over the summer, your goal might be to build professional relationships with people that can serve as a reference for a job application.

However, don’t limit your network to people in your immediate social circle. Emily Bennington, owner of Professional Studio 365, an organization that helps students transition into careers post-graduation, suggests, “checking out conferences in your field or your local Chamber of Commerce.”

Don’t be afraid to go out and seek mentors! Start making connections today! Contact your professors or visit the USF Career Success Center for help researching job and internship options.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References

Grant, A. (2011, 28 September 2011). 6 ways to network while you’re in college. U.S. News & World Report

Rodriguez, J. (5 April, 2015). Your network is your net worth: Using your network to succeed in college. Retrieved from http://www.imfirst.org/2015/04/networking-in-college/

The eight questions you should ask an employer before accepting a job-offer

This is the start of great things

If you’re strapped for cash, then you may have no choice but to take a job simply for the paycheck. In the long run, however, it’s important that you find a job that’s the right fit for you and will give you long-term satisfaction.

To make sure the job that you’ve been offered is the right one for you, make sure to ask these ten questions:

  1. What are the company hours?: We all have responsibilities outside of work. If your job requires that you put in more hours than the typical 9-5 but you’re unable to fulfill that requirement because of external factors—e.g. family commitments, medical reasons etc.—then, you may need to consider other job opportunities.

2. What is the company policy on time off?: Occasionally, life happens and you may need to take time off to accommodate a doctor’s appointment or a sick family member.

According to Liz Ryan of Human Workplace, a publishing and consulting firm, if an employer is not willing to accommodate days off for situations like family emergencies or doctor’s appointments, then, they may not have your best interest in mind.

However, employers should still use their discretion when approving employee days off.

3. Does the job require any travel? This may only apply if you’re working a sales job. Nevertheless, it may be important to know if you’ll be required to travel; even if it’s a short distance.

If you are required to travel, Ashley Deibert, Vice President of Marketing at iQ Media, suggests that you ask whether or not the company will reimburse your mileage or provide you with a pre-tax commuter card.

4. Are there opportunities for advancement? Are you looking for a long-term job? If so, will this company provide you the opportunity to advance your career?

5. What are your health/dental/ and vision plans? According to Deibert, some employers will wait to add new hires to company insurance plans. This allows them to make sure their employees are sticking around for the long haul.

At the very least, still familiarize yourself with the company plans insurance plans to ensure there are no conflicts with your own doctors, dentist and optometrist coverage.

6. How did this position become available? According to Jillian Kramer, a contributor to Business Insider, the answer to this question will speak volumes about the previous job holder’s relationship with the company.

Were they fired, did they leave the company or were they given a promotion? These are important questions to ask because the answers may reveal something about the company culture.

7. What departments will I be working closely with? Although you may be working alone at a cubicle chances are that you’ll have to report to someone.

According to Ryan, the answer to this question may reveal something about how connected the other employees/departments within the company are.

8. Where is the company headed? According to Kramer, if you are aware of the path the company has taken in the past, you’ll want to know what path they’re headed on. Like the rest of these questions, this will ensure you’re on the same one.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Deibert, A. (28 May 2014). Twenty questions: Ask before you accept the job offer. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140528183101-8724727-twenty-questions-ask-before-you-accept-the-job-offer

Kramer, J. (30 May 2017). 6 questions you should ask before accepting a job offer. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/6-questions-you-should-ask-before-accepting-a-job-offer-2017-5

Ryan, L. (5 January 2016). Five questions to ask before you accept A job offer. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/01/05/five-questions-to-ask-before-you-accept-a-job-offer/#33a1911b4702

 

Is your thank you letter in the mail?

Hand Written Thank You Note

Previously, we had talked about the importance of enclosing a cover letter with your job application and personalizing it, to ensure, that you’re addressing the job requirements while explaining your qualifications.

Though this may seem like a tedious task, it is one that will show employers you have thoughtfully considered how your skillset could best serve the company.

This week, we’re going to talk about another often overlooked component of the job application and interview process: the thank you letter. Commonly, thank you letters are a great way to show gratitude for a gift that you have received.

And, when a hiring manager calls you in for an interview, they are gifting you their time. So, use it wisely and then follow up with a thank you.

Thank you letters (or emails, we’ll get to which one is better in a second) allow you to do three things:

  • Show that you have good manners: Like when showing gratitude for a gift, a thank you letter sent after an interview shows the interviewer that you are thankful for their consideration of you.
  • Show that you’re serious about the job position: According to a CareerBuilder.com survey, those who don’t send a thank you letter or email following an interview—a shocking 57% of job applicants—“stick out as a sore thumb” to hiring managers.
  • Reiterate points that were made in the interview by you or the interviewer: Show that you were being attentive during the interview while making sure that the interviewer remembers specific information about you.

According to Monster.com, whether or not you send a thank you email or letter is largely dependent upon where you’re applying.

If you know a hiring decision is not likely to be made for a couple of weeks, then sending a thank you letter through snail mail is fine, and at a more traditional company, may be preferable.

If you know that the decision will be made within 48 hours of your interview, then it is beneficial to send a thank you email to make sure that the message travels fast and is sent to the appropriate person.

Employers want to hire employees that are committed to the company and are grateful for the experience. Be one of the few that shows appreciation before even getting the job offer.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Doyle, A. (11 May 2017). Job interview thank you letter examples. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/job-interview-thank-you-letter-examples-2063964

Kaufman, Z. C. (2017). Job interview thank you: Is it better to send a letter or email?. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/interview-thank-you-email-letter

 

4 open-ended interview questions and what employers really want to know

Applicant and recruitment procedure

A job interview is your first and only opportunity to make a positive face-to-face impression. So, it’s important that you’re prepared to answer whatever questions come your way.

However, not all questions are going to have simple yes or no answers or require you to rattle off your work experience and skills. Employers may simply want to gauge your ability to think critically or assess how you’ll fit into the company culture.

You might be wondering: Where do I begin to answer the question? How much detail is too much detail and what are employers looking for in my answers?

So, here are 4 commonly-asked, interview questions and what employers really want to know:

  1. What can you tell me about yourself? Employers typically ask this question so they can learn about your previous work experience and gauge your skills. Kathryn Minshew, a writer for The Muse.com, a website that offers career advice to job seekers, suggests that to answer this question, job candidates should use the Present-Past-Future Formula.

This formula prompts job candidates to guide their answer by talking about present and past job positions they’ve held, the skills they acquired through their past positions and how their experiences and skills pertain to the position they’re applying for.

2. What is your greatest weakness? It may seem counterintuitive to go into a job interview and explain in detail your greatest weakness to a potential employer. However, it’s important to realize that they’ll simply want to ensure you’re aware of your weaknesses and have taken steps to improve.

So to answer this question, you might want to share an anecdote about a time one of your weaknesses e.g. an inability to delegate tasks, threatened your work efficiency and explain how you overcame that challenge e.g. by learning to delegate tasks.

Monster.com says that when choosing a weakness to discuss, make sure it’s not directly related to the job you’re applying for e.g. if the job required you to keep track of and file documents, it would be unwise to mention that you have a problem with organization.

Instead, mention that you tend to take on more work than you can handle. So essentially, don’t place doubt in your employers mind that you are unable to handle critical components of the job.

3. What is your greatest strength? When asking this question, employers typically want to confirm that you have the credentials listed on your resumé. So, don’t be vague when giving your answer.

Detail concrete examples of situations where you exhibited a strength in order to complete a task e.g. being detail-oriented helped you to identify a mistake in a client logo that no one else had noticed and was due to be printed on 100+ shirts.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years? According to Dayvon Goddard from LinkedIn, employers want to know that their potential investment in you is going to be a valuable one. Do not place doubt in their minds by suggesting that your potential investment in them is not a long-term one.

Instead, suggest that you are interested in growing with the company and that the position is pertinent to your long-term career goals.

Begin preparing answers to these questions now so you’re not thrown off guard during a job interview. Make sure that you’re confident in your answers so that a potential employer is confident in your abilities.

Need some practice?

The USF Career Success Center conducts mock interviews.

Visit Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Adams, S. (6 February, 2014). 4 ways to use facebook to find a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/02/06/4-ways-to-use-facebook-to-find-a-job/#16480f0f1fab

Doyle, A. (18 January 2017). Best way to answer interview questions about your weaknesses. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-your-greatest-weakness-2061288

Goddard, D. (15 July 2014). Where do you see YOURSELF in 5 years? (how to answer). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140715181346-135125319-where-do-you-see-yourself-in-5-years-how-to-answer

Martin, C. (2017). List of strength & weaknesses: What to say in your interview. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/greatest-strengths-and-weaknesses

Minshew, K. (2017). A simple formula for answering “tell me about yourself”.. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-simple-formula-for-answering-tell-me-about-yourself

 

The cover letter: the hidden gem to landing an interview

Rejected Resumes

In most cases, employers won’t look at a job applicant’s resume until they’ve read their cover letter, and if the letter doesn’t convince the hiring manager and/or executive director that you’re the right person for the job, your resume will most likely be thrown in the trash.

What exactly is a cover letter, you ask? Simply, it is a letter that is addressed to the hiring manager and/or executive director of a company and explains an applicant’s qualifications for the job.

It allows the applicant to go into more depth regarding their skills and qualifications than their resume allows, although, like a resume, it too should be short.

The most important element to writing a cover letter is directly addressing the needs of the company and position to which you’re applying.

The hiring manager or executive director will want to ensure that an applicant has a basic understanding of the company’s mission and needs.

For example, the Illinois Spina Bifida Association (ISBA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that “works to improve the quality of life of individuals and families living with Spina Bifida [a spinal cord disorder]”.

So, the applicant would need to understand how the organization is currently achieving their mission e.g. ISBA provides in-home social work services; sleepaway camp for individuals with Spina Bifida looking to become more independent and provides youth and adult support groups.

The opening paragraph of a cover letter should address who you are, what position you’re applying for and how you came to hear about the job listing. Did you see a newspaper ad about it? If a respected employee of the company or organization told you about the position, make sure to include that information.

As a precursor to the following paragraph, where you’ll be explaining your qualifications in detail, write an opening of 1-2 sentences that summarizes why you believe your qualifications make you the right person for the job. For example:

“As a recent graduate of University of St. Francis where I studied Communications with a concentration in PR/Advertising and Journalism, I believe I have a deep understanding of how to target messaging and branding towards specific audiences. It is my hope that my educational background combined with five years of experience working for ABC Advertising Firm, as a project manager, will prompt you to consider me for the position of Marketing Research Analyst.”

The body paragraphs are where you’ll want to elaborate on the specific qualifications you have that are applicable to the position you’re applying for. For example, if the job posting specifies that the company is looking for someone who can, “improve quality results by studying, evaluating, and re-designing processes; implementing changes”; then, you may want to mention any experience you’ve had as a project manager. For example:

“At ABC Advertising, I was tasked with leading a team of graphic designers to create a logo for a sports recreation facility. It was during this time that I came to learn the importance of evaluating progress not only within the context of the finished product but in the ability of the team to work together. My considerations have helped me better manage my creative teams and increased overall workplace efficiency.”

The closing paragraph of your cover letter should reiterate why you’re qualified for the position, and as a personal touch, why you think the company is the right fit for you. Make it clear that you’re interested in interviewing for the position and that you’ll be in touch.

Sign your name, include your contact information and check for any grammar or spelling mistakes and you’re good to go!

Visit the USF Career Success Center for cover letter writing assistance

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

References:

Doyle, A. (18 June 2017). How to write a successful cover letter. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-a-cover-letter-2060169

Two roads diverge….which one are you going to take?

Taking decisions for the future

One question you’ll be asked over and over again as you begin applying to colleges is, “So, what’s your major?”

Over time, this question can become annoying, especially if you’re like the other 20-50% of incoming freshman that are undecided, according to author Virginia Gordon in her 1995 book, The Undecided College Student an Academic and Career Advising Challenge. If you’re feeling this way, the truth is, there is no magic formula that will help you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.

In fact, according to a study conducted by CareerBuilder.com, over 20% of college graduates were employed in a job that had nothing to do with their major. See? Even people that thought they had it all figured out through college changed their minds once they’d graduated.

Despite this, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to forge a path towards your future. As Robert Frost once said, “the only way forward is through”.

According to Bradford Holmes, of the U.S. News & World Report, declaring a major may make you eligible for greater financial benefit going into college such as, “department-specific scholarships, special freshman housing [etc.]”.

If you have some interest in a specific major but are still undecided this is another situation where it may be beneficial to declare because, depending on the program, some classes may only be offered once per year.

There are a couple of different options you could consider to help you decide your career trajectory:

  • Attend a community college for the first two years: Along with the requirements for your major, you’ll also have to complete general education courses. If your major is undecided then it may benefit you to attend community college until those credits are completed.

 

  • See what interests you and audit classes: The only way to see what majors are out there is to explore. SUNY Plattsburgh advises undecided freshman to narrow down the field by considering their interests and how those interests correspond to a college major before enrolling in an introductory course.

Or consider these questions:

  • What is your favorite subject? Why?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What do you see as your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What environment do you see yourself working in?
  • What resources are available at school to help you consider your options?

 

The USF Career Success Center can provide you with resources that will aid your decision.

 USF Career Success Center Tower N204
8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.

References:

CareerBuilder study as qtd. in O’Shaughnessy. (15 November 2013). New study shows careers and college majors often don’t match. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-study-shows-careers-and-college-majors-often-dont-match/

Gordon qtd. in Freedman, Liz. (28 June 2013). The developmental disconnect in choosing a major: Why institutions should prohibit choice until second year. Retrieved from https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/

Holmes, B. (7 March 2016). Pros, cons of applying to college as an undecided major. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2016-03-07/pros-cons-of-applying-to-college-as-an-undecided-major

SUNY Plattsburgh. (12 July 2017). Common misconceptions and advice for undeclared students. Retrieved from http://web.plattsburgh.edu/academics/advising/undeclaredadvice.php

Can I have a moment of your time?

Businesspeople in the office

At some point in your professional life you’ll have to give an elevator speech. Elevator speeches are roughly 30 seconds long and explain to a potential employer why you’re the right person for the job. The speech is essentially your personal mission statement.

While employers want to make sure you are properly qualified for the position, they do not have the time to listen to a detailed and drawn out description of your job background.

So, it is important that your message is clear and concise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Define the purpose of your elevator speech: Obviously, the main purpose of an elevator speech is always to land the job. However, in order to do that, you must know what the job requires and how your qualifications and career goals fit the job description.

2. Briefly explain your current job position and previous industry-related work experience and success:

This helps to show that you have drawn comparisons between previous skills that industry-related work has required of you and how those skills relate to the position you’re applying for. It also confirms to a hiring manager that you have the necessary amount of experience for the position.

3Keep your audience in mind: Choose every word carefully. Stay away from industry-jargon that would confuse anyone, even a company CEO. Also remember, that the most important thing piece of information an employer wants to know about you is how you can benefit their company.

4. Practice: While you are trying to initiate a genuine dialogue with a potential employer you’re still essentially making a sales speech. You want to exude confidence and ensure at the end of the speech a potential employer has learned everything that you want them to know about you.

 

Remember, the elevator speech is a window that can open to a more in-depth conversation regarding your job strengths and weaknesses. So, simplify now and elaborate later.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Collamer, N. (4 February 2013). The perfect elevator pitch to land a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/02/04/the-perfect-elevator-pitch-to-land-a-job/#4073e3e01b1d

Doyle, A. (13 April 2017). Elevator speech examples and writing tips. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976

Think all social media platforms are the same? Think again.

Social Media Applications - Facebook and Twitter

Last time, we talked about the importance of monitoring your social media because employers will be too. Just as important, however, is making sure that your content is appropriate for the platform that it’s on.

While social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter serve the same purpose, to connect networks of individuals together, the way that each platform reaches this goal is different and is based on what they can offer to their users.

For example, Facebook allows users to send friend requests, messages, and post updates about their lives, with photos and videos while also allowing the user to tag people or places into their conversations.

According to Forbes.com, users are also able to classify their friends into subnetworks based upon their relationships to those friends—personal or professional—in order to ensure their content is targeted towards the right people.

And, job seekers should be writing and sharing content with people in their professional Facebook networks as well as engaging with other’s content.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter requires you to be more selective about what you share and who follows you as it doesn’t allow you to filter who sees your posts. However, like Facebook, Twitter lets its users create networks or “lists” of people based upon specific keywords e.g. “industry professionals”.

According to LifeLearn.com, while this capability doesn’t allow you to directly communicate with users that you aren’t following, Twitter will notify them when they have been put on your list. If they decide to check out your profile and like what they see, they may be persuaded to connect with you.

Likewise, users are also able to track direct mentions of their company or individual profile to find out what people are saying about them or their brand. Twitter Analytics also allows users to track them following their tweets are receiving to see what topics their followers are interested in.

Despite these differences, Facebook and Twitter do share commonalities. For example, Facebook and Twitter allow users to find content easily through the use of hashtags.

A feature that was once exclusive to Twitter, now allows Facebook users to discover what industry news is trending and which industry professionals are following the hashtag. Users can then share—retweet on Twitter—pertinent information on industry topics from those professionals.

Social media is your key to making professional connections. Learn how these networks function to make sure you’re making the most of what they have to offer.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References

Adams, S. (6 February, 2014). 4 ways to use facebook to find a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/02/06/4-ways-to-use-facebook-to-find-a-job/#16480f0f1fab

LifeLearn. (9 May 2014). 7 things you may not know about twitter lists (and why you should care). Retrieved from http://www.lifelearn.com/2014/05/09/7-things-may-know-twitter-lists-care/

Schiff, L. J. (25 November 2013). 14 ways to use twitter to market your business. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/2380667/twitter/14-ways-to-use-twitter-to-market-your-business.html

 

Is your social media up to par?

Social Media - strategy conceptIn 2016, a study from CareerBuilder.com, found that last year, 86% of employers consulted potential hires’ social media pages before deciding to make an offer.

This should come as no surprise in an age where social media takes up much of our time and allows us to share our lives as well as our thoughts and opinions instantaneously.

While social media can be a vehicle for self-expression, it is a vehicle for first impressions too, so it is important that you are presenting an honest yet professional version of yourself. Here are ten things to keep in mind when posting online.

  • Show that you know how to use social media: Just because employers may be looking at your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn does not mean you should be scared to use them.

 In fact, 41% of respondents in the CareerBuilder survey reported that they were unlikely to hire job candidates that did not have an online presence.

So, create that LinkedIn profile or professional Facebook Page.

On both Facebook and LinkedIn, join and participate in career-focused discussion groups. Show potential employers that you have a genuine interest in industry conversations and have the expertise and thoughtful opinions to share.

  • Show that you are articulate: According to the CareerBuilder survey Jobvite.com, 36% of employers look to see that potential hires are communicating clearly online. Are your commas in the right places? Are you spelling words correctly and using correct tenses and proper sentence structure?

If not, you may want to correct those errors. If an employer catches a big mistake, such as the misspelling of several words or improper capitalization, this may leave the impression that you don’t care to present the best version of yourself and may not work to represent the company well.

  • Be creative and strategical in how you use social media: Especially if you’re applying for a marketing or graphic design position, it’s important to show employers that you are able to bring something fresh to their organization.

Are you creating a personal website? Link to the content that you create whether it be logos, photos you take or content you write. Show potential employers what you have to offer them.

Share articles or videos that are pertinent to your industry. Share your opinions and encourage others to do the same in a constructive way.

Don’t:

Set your social media profiles to private: Not only will this make it easier for you to find and make connections but it also puts potential employers at ease.

According to Monster.com, setting your social media profile to private leaves employers to assume that you have something to hide. Do not lose out on a job opportunity because you chose to keep your profile private, even though, you have nothing to hide.

If you do have something to hide; remove it.

 Badmouth previous employers or coworkers: While social media may seem like a diary to vent your frustrations, remember that everyone, including potential employers, can read what you write.

Do not give off the impression that you are unable to exhibit self-restraint and to find productive ways of dealing with your emotions. If you must speak out about work online ensure that you are able to show potential employers that you have found a positive resolution to your problem.

 Use profanity: According to Jobvite, 63% of employers say that the use of profanity on a job candidate’s Facebook page is a put-off. Swearing comes off as aggressive and sometimes crude, two characteristics that you do not want employers associating with your personality.

Social media is a great resource for connecting with potential employers and other industry professionals. Remember, however, that once someone clicks on to your page they are receiving an impression of you whether it is one you intended or not.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Kasper, K. (February 17, 2015). Jobvite infographic: Watch what you post on social media. Retrieved from http://www.jobvite.com/blog/jobvite-infographic-watch-post-social-media/

Thottam, I. (2017). These social media mistakes can actually disqualify you from a job. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/these-social-media-mistakes-can-actually-disqualify-you-from-a-job

Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates Has Increased 500 Percent Over the Last Decade (2016, April 8). Retrieved from http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?ed=12%2F31%2F2016&id=pr945&sd=4%2F28%2F2016