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iTrack Job Searching Update

We just received a notice from the iTrack vendor that searching for jobs on iTrack is going to be better!

Changes in the search functions for jobs will include:

> Target jobs for your targeted state
> Exclusion of nationwide jobs when searching by a specific state
> The ability to easily receive targeted job posting results without visiting the detailed search page.

These were part of the recommendations that were suggested that iTrack Feedback Forum that we held last spring here at SI.

SI Careers always welcomes usability feedback on iTrack for us to pass along to the vendor.

Posted by kkowatch on June 29, 2007 at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

H1-B Visa Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Remedy

I've said this before, but I read a lot of blogs and articles and newsletters to keep up with everything that is SI-related. One article that I came across recently had some surprising news about H1-B Visas, which should be of interest to all of my international readers. It also has some not so great news for our non-traditional SI students.

Alice LaPlante, a writer at InformationWeek, wrote some commentary for the TechCareers' Newsletter as she's working on a very important story for anyone working in the IT industry. The article highlights the impact of H1-B visas on the IT employment ranks and comes to the conclusion: "It's Getting Ugly Real Fast."

Ms. LaPlante shares the following:
"Although admittedly anecdotal, I keep hearing two things: first, that older IT workers, even those who have kept their skills up to date, or are clearly competent to acquire new ones, are getting the shaft in favor of younger workers. And when employers run out of young U.S. citizens to hire, they turn to the (on average) very young H-1B visa holders before they'll look at the seasoned 45-year-old Americans.

Secondly, many foreign H-1B holders are feeling a vicious backlash as the trend toward outsourcing continues, and as technology companies keep issuing their dire warnings that without more H-1Bs they'll have to send more jobs offshore. Actually, H-1B holders -- the majority of whom are Indian -- get hit with a double whammy: not only do they, on average, get paid less than their American citizen counterparts, they are often very personally blamed for keeping IT salaries artificially depressed due to what many claim is an oversaturated IT labor market. "It's gotten very ugly very fast," one H-1B holder told me."

The only good thing that I can take away from this is that our international students have a good chance of getting employment within the technology industry -- and another good thing is that the SI salary surveys for the 2006 year thus far are showing that salaries are up, even with the economic state of Michigan. There are steps that can be taken to overcome these challenges: international students can work with SI Careers to develop a strategic negotiating plan when they are considering offers for internships and full-time opportunities in order to ensure that they are being paid competitive wages. More experienced or older students can brand their resume in a variety of different ways to highlight their cutting-edge skills and knowledge so that they get the interview that will prove them equally or more adept as their younger job contenders.

Ms. LaPlante came to these conclusions as she is doing research for another article on H1-B visas and employment. Check out the link for the rest of this article and watch this blog for a pointer to the one that she's been researching.

Posted by kkowatch on June 26, 2007 at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

News: Most Hated Internet Words

I took a hiatus there from writing for about a week or so; I am sure that many SI prospective and current students and alumni are in a similar time of life as I: I attend weddings or wedding-related events just about every weekend! I was out last week to attend my brother's Friday night wedding, which was quite a bit of fun and I had a great time explaining to many of the other fellow guests what the heck I career counsel people on these days. Surprisingly, many people still need to be informed on what an archivist does.

While we were driving home this weekend from Grand Rapids, I heard on the radio a clip about the Top Ten Most Hated Words on the Internet. As they rattled the list off, I thought, "Well, that's pretty much 100% SI!" The words included in reverse order (from ten to one): Wiki, Cookie, Social Networking, Vlog, Webinar, Blook, Netiquette, Blog, Blogosphere, and Folksonomy. By the way, what is a Vlog and a Blook? The DJ on the radio pronounced webinar "Web-in-air" the first time... I laughed about that! Anyway, this isn't really a career-development related blog; I just wanted to share this interesting list with you! I really think that SI and all of its little idiosyncrasies and terminology is really quite loveable!

A question for all of you out there: What are your most loved or hated internet words?

Posted by kkowatch on June 26, 2007 at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Check This Out: Blog by the Head Google Recruiter

I came across this blog today -- Meritocracy.net -- which is written by the head of staffing for Online Sales and Operations at Google. I know that this is of interest to a large amount of SI students and I wanted to share it with you as soon as possible. (You can add this blog to your RSS feed or get emails updates sent directly to you.)

The most recent blog was about the chasm created between people inside companies and people outside of companies because of technology. The blog author, Jason Warner, makes some excellent points about the difference in the way we apply for jobs now that we have the internet compared to before the internet -- and the level of energy involved. If you are interested in working at Google, definitely check this blog out and make sure to follow the advice given! Following up on my last blog, you may want to add some comments to the blog posts to get noticed.

From Jason's Blog, I also connected to another career-search related blog, that has some interesting take-aways: The Brazen Careerist. Penelope Trunk has some great advice on balancing work, life, and fullfillment.

Posted by kkowatch on June 13, 2007 at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Students Gets a Dream Job -- Because of his Blog!

A 21 year old got a job with the New York Times because of his blog. That truly is social computing at work! Check out the article on Brian Stelter at the Baltimore Sun.

I've received the recommendation from many different professionals and SI alumni to tell students to blog and participate in listservs for the purpose of increasing their network. I know that a bunch of SI students subscribe to professional listservs that post jobs and host discussions, but only once have I seen an SI student actually post something to one (and I subscribe to 20+). Participating in discussions on listservs or blogging about what's going on and what you are working on are forms of networking, especially if your work or comments are getting noticed. I recently found a job description that required two years of blogging experience - it’s true! If you haven't yet, sign up for at least one professional listserv in your field (email me for suggestions if you are at loss) and start blogging. Someone might notice and it may land you the job of your dreams!

Posted by kkowatch on June 12, 2007 at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

Where do YOU want to go?

I was just doing some research on the most frequently viewed job postings on iTrack and the top 34 jobs were either in Michigan, California, or New York. Obviously, this shows that that's where SI graduates want to be when they graduate.

But that's not true for everyone... I'd like to know where ELSE people want to be for internships and for their permanent opportunities so that SI Careers can do a better job of targeting positions and companies that are of interest to everyone! I'd love to hear your thoughts! You can also post your opinion on the SI Careers Facebook Site. (Not a member of the SI Careers Facebook site? Email kkowatch@umich.edu for an invitation!)

Posted by kkowatch on June 11, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

Resume Tips for Designers -- Or Anyone Really...

This blog entry was sent out among the SOCHI group here at SI, but upon reading the entry, I knew that this testimony had to be shared with everyone. A newly promoted Creative Designer wrote up a list of tips for the Designer's resume. Albeit, it's a bit crass in a couple places, but the tips are valuable to anyone who has to write a resume, not just designers. You can find the full entry at GraphicPush. Check out the list of tips below and you can also read the follow up comments at the site.

The first tip (applying for the right job) is crucial. I have stressed this before in this blog, and I'll say it again: Don't waste your time applying for a job that you are sort of qualified for or only mildly interested in. As soon as the reader of your resume receives your application, they can tell that you aren't the right candidate. The other tip that I think is essential is the one about writing your own resume/creating your own format. Every time I receive a resume in a MS Word template, I immediately tell the writer to remove it from the template and create their own flexible, adaptable, unique format. It only makes sense to write your own resume; only you know what you did and you need a format that is able to display that information in a way that is best for you (and if you need to learn the ins-and-outs of Word, I'm your girl. Just email me and I'll teach you everything you need to know.) ~Kelly

1. Apply for the Right Job
Call me insane, but I’m thinking you should read the job description before applying. Just a hunch. A little tip. I have print designers applying for the web position, web designers applying for the print position, freelancers and agency owners all over the country fishing for work and “IT? companies in India and Iran hawking their discounted rates. Approximately half of all resumes I’ve received are misfiled.

What really is pissing me off is that total lack of couth from the agencies and freelancers sending me e-mails to consider outsourcing the work. If I wanted a lecherous, desperate and mediocre designer on the other side of the country, I would have written my job description as follows:

Hi, I’m the Creative Director of a $35 million software company looking to offload a half-million dollar budget to the first insipid slob who solicits for the precise opposite of what I’m asking for. If you have barely passable design skills and the lifeless, impotent portfolio to match, call me!

2. Design Your Resume
This was a minor debate in my other post, but I feel it’s important for designers (including web designers) to design their resume. A generic Word template is exactly that — generic. It says everything about you and nothing about you at the same time.

I’ll be the first one to agree that designing for yourself is difficult (it took me three years to settle on the current design of my own site), which makes a resume and portfolio design all the more important for me to see. It demonstrates you have the initiative to brand yourself, to make yourself stand apart, to create a design that has no parameters, guidelines or specs.

3. If It’s Longer Than Two Pages, Cut it
I don’t need to know your life story. I don’t want to know your life story. I want to see your work experience from the past three relevant jobs, not every menial job going back to the six-month stint at White Castle in your freshman year. I also don’t give a crap about what high school you went to, reference letters from your neighbor or your pet cat.

Your resume should be short and sweet. Two pages of good, substantial experience and education. I dare say you might try to keep it to one page.

4. Stop Piling on the Action Words
Ten years ago, filling your resume with “action words? was a great way to drum up excitement from the recruiter. Today, it barely passes as cliche. At the end of the day, I want to know what you did, not what you utilized, implemented, solidified, generated, optimized, drafted or energized. Please don’t write over your head; it impresses no one.

5. Remember the Holy Trifecta: Brevity, Clarity and Accuracy
Keep your text brief and to the point, keep the design conservative and ultra-readable and keep the information FBI-background-check accurate. And for the love of all things holy, use your spell check. Please.

6. Make Sure Your Material is Printable
While it’s easy to create a fancy resume or portfolio, it must print well. If it’s a PDF resume and portfolio, it has to work on letter-size (or A4 for those in the UK) paper; if it’s online, be sure to use printer style sheets and test in every browser imaginable.

7. If It’s Online, Make It Clickable
If there are links in your PDF, make sure they’re linked to the e-mail or website they advertise. Similarly, if you have an online portfolio showing screenshots, make sure you link to the actual sites as well.

8. Don’t Dangle Your Portfolio Like a Carrot
This is different for ever job posting, but please send your portfolio when the company requests it. It’s very annoying to receive a dynamite resume, and at the end have it say, “Portfolio available upon request.? It means you didn’t read the entire job posting, and if you did, it means you don’t like to follow simple direction. Either way, it’s points against you.

9. If You’re Misrepresenting Work in Your Portfolio, Eat Shit and Die
If you’re the sort of person who likes to punch babies before stealing their lollipops, or the sort of person who microwaves small animals for fun, or the sort of person who burns down your parent’s house because they didn’t buy you the right kind of Barbie doll, you might be the kind of person who steals other designers’ work and presents it as your own. In that case, I sincerely wish upon you a full-blown case of Ebola and a happy two weeks shitting your way to hell.

Posted by kkowatch on June 06, 2007 at 08:16 AM | Comments (1)

Feeling Bad/Hateful About Writing Cover Letters?

I have yet to find someone who *Loves* to write cover letters. Cover lettering writing in itself is an art, and even I, who has read hundreds of them, understand your pain and the challenges of writing the perfect cover letter: professional, interesting, and exactly what the reader (who you've never ever met) will think is exactly right.

As a way to keep in touch with what's going on in all the fabulous SI specializations, I subscribe to a variety of different listservs including LIBJOBS, Nonprofit Tech Jobs, AMIA-L, iProJobs, etc. I seriously get a couple hundred emails a day from all these different listservs! Obviously, I don't read all the messages, but I do skim a lot of them and have had learned a lot about what is going on in the Information World – and also gotten some good laughs over the discussions and arguments (and they can get nasty!) amongs the other subscribers. (Sometimes it’s very hard to not put my two cents in, I must admit!).

Today, a gem came through one of the listservs that I just had to share with you. I try to keep this blog pretty professional, but I think that this site is a good one to read that will make you laugh, and make you feel like your own cover letter writing is not so horrible or challenging. Overqualifed posts a new cover letter every Tuesday for you to read (or you can subscribe and they will send it to you personally for your viewing pleasure) -- and to gather some DO NOT DO THIS tips! I find these very amusing. However, if you read a few of these letters and aren't quite sure what's wrong with them, contact SI Careers IMMEDIATLEY. :) Have a great weekend, everyone! Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on June 01, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)