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CareerLeak website

A while back, I posted an entry about a job search website, CareerLeak.com.

I just wanted to remind you of this excellent resource and to let you also know that they've done a major makeover and the site is much more user friendly. It also has more features such as Occupation Profiles and a "growing" Resume Database. They are adding new and unique content everyday.

They have a lot of interesting resources, one of which is profiles about companies. It looks like actual employees can create individual profiles about their organization and indicate Job Satisfaction, Management Qualities, Stress Level, and Education Required for a variety of different jobs. Check it out!

Posted by kkowatch on April 29, 2009 at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

Blogging for your Career

At the portfolio panel SI Career Services hosted earlier in winter 2009 term, one of the students had a professional blog on her site – Sensical – which I noted as an excellent way for this particular student to demonstrate what they were learning to the world and also for them to spend time reflecting on their studies.

Not too long after that, I was invited to attend a webinar hosted by Brazen Careerist. Brazen Careerist is "a community of top Gen Y thought leaders, forward-thinking organizations and everyone else who realizes that the way we define ourselves in both work and in life needs to change." Brazen Careerist was founded by Penelope Trunk, who has an excellent blog, Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist, with many interesting entries about blogging for your job.

At this webinar, the speaker provided some great advice and tips for students to consider when creating an online presence through a blog. I thought that the SI student and alumni population would be especially interested in this knowledge, especially knowing that many of our students already are very active in the blogosphere.

So here we go.

The old way of doing a job search was an “active job search.” This is where you go out and find jobs and apply to them by sending your resume and cover letter to a postal or email address. The new way to do a job search is to do a “constant job search.” A constant job search is on going. In fact, you many already be doing your constant job search right now. This includes actively building a network (i.e. your SI classmates, LinkedIn, professional organization colleagues), monitoring your online presence (have you Googled yourself lately?), learning about new opportunities through your network (in contrast to learning about them through a job board), and job-hopping when appropriate.

Brazen Careerist strongly promotes the idea of using a blog as the way to get your next job. And, they give solid reasons for why blogs are (one of) the most effective career tool. For one, a blog helps you build a personal brand. Bloggers stand out from the crowd. Most resumes look pretty similar (as do blogs visually), but the content of blogs can vary incredibly! What you can contribute to your blog will go above and beyond that of what you can add to your resume or even your unique, tailored resume. Also, having a blog shows initiative and creates talking points for you in your resume, cover letter, interviews, and in life in general.

A blog also provides amazing networking opportunities. The barriers that people face when applying for jobs through a corporate careers website do not exist when you are a blogger – or even a blog reader. You are easily accessible as are most bloggers that you want to talk to. This multiples your network immensely -- but only if you take advantage of these contacts.

Also, contributing to your brand development, a blog in itself is a living resume. Recruiters get in-depth knowledge about you and what you know and how you do things from your blog. A blog may not be as visual as an e-portfolio, but it is much more dynamic (unless you update your portfolio weekly or daily, which is just about unheard of!) Also, you may have noticed that many job descriptions state a requirement for “excellent communication skills.” A blog demonstrates that – and it will help you hone your writing skills as you go along.

Lastly, blogging establishes you as an expert. You can create your niche and promote yourself as being knowledgeable in the field. Brazen Careerist says that the expert status is no longer reserved for the experienced and that the youthful and public can now take on that stance also. And, it makes research fun. You’re going to have to think hard about a lot of stuff and look it up – so why not make your research all the more enjoyable since it will be for your blog?

So, how does one become an Effective Blogger? How does one make blogging work for their career? First of all, choose a topic or subject that you are going to focus on. Your blog should be tailored, so you should stick to one general theme throughout all of your posts. This can be an area of interest to you and should be in alignment with your professional field of choice or in the industry or function that you want to work in.

Then, choose a blog platform. There are many out there – Typepad, Wordpress, Blogspot, Weebly. Then, choose a domain name. You want this to accurately reflect your topic. Using your name is always good for networking – of course, then everything you put on there must be professional. Your preferred domain name may not be available, so think of a couple options. It’s always ideal to also purchase your direct domain name if you have the technological prowess to redirect the link. A suggested domain site is GoDaddy where a domain name is around $10 per year.

Then, start your research and development. Read lots of other blogs and make notes of what you like, don’t like, what is done well, and what isn’t. Start leaving comments on other blog sites and make sure to include your link to your blog. This is a form of reciprocal networking… you’re investing in others, and by doing so you are investing in your own network.

Then, set a schedule and start writing consistently. A blog post make take you anywhere from one to four hours to write, so plan accordingly and decide if once a week, once a day, bi-weekly or whatever is best for you. Be sure to not start out sprinting… new bloggers will write every day for a couple weeks… and then never write again. So, start out realizing that a blog is more of a marathon and that you need to space your postings out best for your life and writing schedule.

The hardest part of all is building a following. You need to get the word out. Add your blog link to your email signature, your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook site, your portfolio site. And, actively put it out there when you read other’s blogs or post comments on sites. This is the biggest and most important part of building your brand to make your blog work for you and your career development.

To wrap things up, it’s also important to touch upon how you can use your blog to get the job you want. Like I mentioned above, you need to get your blog link out there. Make sure to also include it on your resume – at the top in the contact information section. You should include a short blurb about it to draw attention.

You should also treat your blog like a living resume. You need to add a picture to it, add an “about me” page, and make sure that your contact information is displayed everywhere. As great as you may be, if a recruiter can’t easily get a hold of you via their most preferred contact method, they can easily move on to another qualified candidate. Lastly, be sure to talk about your blog in interviews. I firmly believe that the blog writing process is equivalent to the reflective process that is part of the PEP program at SI. Similarly, this writing process will help you to distill your thoughts and opinions about what you are learning and going to be applying which will make you sound all the better in your interviews. You blog entries will demonstrate to any employer your depth of knowledge in a subject, your prowess in social media applications (which is an in-demand skill!), and it gives you the opportunity to share that you can “mentor up” (basically train your boomer-generation boss on how to use Wikipedia or a blog effectively in the workplace.)

Blogging in this way allows you to leap over the barriers that are in place in the job-search world. Bloggers share information informally and the formal hierarchy that is in place for job applicants is removed. Therefore, you can be in contact with just about anyone that’s relevant to your needs - as they can be with you!

To conclude, blogging takes time, dedication and hardwork. Its not something that can be done overnight. Each blog entry in itself is time-consuming and the time it takes to gather a following takes more effort and dedication. BUT, employers will recognize the hard work and they’ll notice your dedication to the field. So, if you are willing to do it right, your next blog entry could mean your last formal job application ever.

Posted by kkowatch on April 28, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

HCI Job Sites

I just wanted to throw this blog post out real quick... I've been going through some resources that we have avialable here. I was updating a listing of HCI job sites and as I verified the links, I found so many awesome jobs out there to be had by our soon-to-be graduates. Check out all these sites -- and if you know of a new one that's not here, please send it my way (and I don't mind waiting until you get your job secured!)

Association for Computing Machinery Career Resource Centre

Association for Information Science and Technology Careers

Boxes and Arrows

Creative Hotlist

Computer Jobs

Coroflot Jobs


Good Experience Job Openings


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Career Center

Human-Computer Interaction Resource Network Job Bank

Internet Technical Group Job Bank


Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals – CI Career Center

The Information Architecture Institute Job Board

Usability First

UsabilityNews.com Jobs

Usability Professionals Association Job Bank

Posted by kkowatch on April 22, 2009 at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

Four Tips for Students on Twitter

As you know, faithful readers, I'm fascinated by Twitter. A current student, and a colleague of mine, Scott Tsuchiyama (staff member at the UM Career Center), and I were discussing Twitter last week and he shared with me a blog post that he wrote for the Career Center. He shared with me this post to share with you!


This is a guest post from Scott Tsuchiyama. He is a Career Advisor at The Career Center, and a current SI student. You can find him on Twitter, @scottytsuch, and at his career blog.

Twitter is a free service that allows you to publish 140-character messages, also known as "tweets." These messages show up on your Twitter profile page, and to other Twitter users that have chosen to subscribe to your messages (your "followers").

The concept of Twitter and its usefulness can be difficult to understand at first; Influential Marketing Blog even created "The 5 Stages of Twitter Acceptance" with that in mind. Here's a rundown of a few ways students can use Twitter to aid in their job search:

Follow the Leaders. Twitter can give you access to the thoughts of some of the most influential people in your field -- actively seek out and 'follow' those people! Interested in information architecture? Follow @louisrosenfeld and (former SI faculty member) @morville. @librarythingtim is Tim Spalding, the founder of LibraryThing. Use a service like WeFollow to look up key individuals that are interested in the same things you are.

Brand Yourself. If you're using Twitter, there's a good chance you have a presence in other places online as well. Fill out your bio with information relevant to your professional interests, and add yourself to the aforementioned WeFollow with some good keywords. Make sure you include a link to your LinkedIn profile, professional blog, or digital portfolio. It's important to maintain a consistent image across all these resources, and will go a long way toward helping you present yourself as a professional in your field.

Job Postings. While Twitter is not a job posting site, there are some people out there who go out of their way to post job opportunities through their account. Check out @sfmobilejobs for Mobile Web and Digital Media positions in Silicon Valley, Seattle, LA and NYC. @StartUpHire lists positions with venture capital-backed start ups. Here's a list of Twitter profiles with job postings by state. There are even companies on Twitter that post open positions, including @attjobs (AT&T), @mtvnetworksjobs (MTV Networks), and @TRCareers (Thomson Reuters).

Add Value. Most people who question the value of Twitter see it as a simple 'status update' platform where people talk about what they ate for lunch. While that does work for some, the vast majority of us do not lead very interesting lives (or have the wit to make our lives seem funny).

It's extremely important to add value if you're going to use Twitter. As blogger Adam Lisagor says, "I don’t mind if you tweet that you’re eating a sandwich as long as you say how it tastes." So say something interesting or thought provoking. Ask a question. Provide a link to a great resource. And don't do this.


Scott Tsuchiyama
Career Advisor
The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building
515 E. Jefferson St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Posted by kkowatch on April 15, 2009 at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Gale Technology Career Expo

Thursday, April 16
Gale Technology Career Expo* in Farmington Hills
Time: 11am-7pm
More than 20 openings in the areas of Software Development, Quality Assurance and Systems Analysis! Learn about new software development, systems analysis and quality assurance jobs at their Farmington Hills location. Attendees will be able to meet with Gale staff, attend digital product demonstrations and try out some of Gale's electronic resources.
*On-site interviews will be conducted with qualified candidates - be sure to preregister.
Location: 27500 Drake Rd, Farmington Hills
Register: Gale and Cengage Learning

Posted by kkowatch on April 10, 2009 at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Article: Southfield Public Librarian Shares...

I was skimming my e-mail today and noticed a message from a listserv that alluded to an essay by a Southfield (Michigan) Public Library librarian. I was amused to see that the opening lines state, "As a librarian, my world was always about books. But in this economy, I've evolved into a career counselor." Once I started my job as a Career Counselor at SI and learned more about the professional role of librarians, I saw the commonalities that the two professions share. As an SI student recently put it to me, we are both "brokers of information", which was a phrase that I really liked and have used several times since.

Anyway, I wanted to share this article which is on this particular librarian's experiences working at a library in this recession. The overall tone of this article is bleak, but it ends on a positive note as this librarian finds satisfaction in helping her patrons find and use the information necessary to their lives. Enjoy!

MY TURN: Reading Into the Future

As a librarian, my world was always about books. But in this economy, I've evolved into a career counselor.
By Eva Gronowska | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 6, 2009

Libraries are my world. I've been a patron all my life, and for the past nine years I've worked at multiple libraries and archives in and around Detroit. The library as an institution has many roles, but as our country struggles through an economic crisis, I have watched the library where I work evolve into a career and business center, a community gathering place and a bastion for hope.

In the spring of 2007 I got a library internship at the Southfield Public Library, just north of Detroit. Summers at SPL were usually slow, but that year, we experienced a library that hustled and bustled like science-fair project week, midterms or tax season. Yet patrons weren't looking for Mosby's Nursing Drug Reference or 1040 forms. They were coming for information on entrepreneurship and growing their small business.

I interpreted people's interest in our business collection as the first step to pursuing their dreams, but these patrons were not motivated by dreams. They were responding to reality, and they were looking for Plan B. In Michigan, a slew of unfortunate circumstances caused the first rumblings of recession. Rising unemployment was compounded by rampant foreclosures. The auto industry went spiraling, and with it, their suppliers, then neighborhoods. Michigan's deficit grew, budgets were slashed and business slowed. Southfield used to headquarter five Fortune 500 corporations; today only Lear Corp. remains. As the city shed business, it shed tax revenue as well. Department budgets shrank and a hiring freeze permeated the city.

Things worsened in 2008, and in 2009 the economic crisis continues to suffocate Michigan. Interest in small businesses has remained high, but unemployment, the credit crunch and foreclosures command our patrons' attention and, consequently, ours. Last year, we put up a display with a variety of job resources that we restocked every hour. Each night the library closed, the display was bare. While we normally keep displays up for a week, we kept the job resources display up for months.

Our computer terminals began to fill up, too—this may not be unusual for smaller libraries, but SPL has more than 150 computers, and now some of the people coming in to use them had never even touched one. I challenge you to find someone that's never turned on a computer, explain to them how to use the mouse and keyboard, set up an e-mail address, and then fill out an online application. Now imagine doing that in less than 15 minutes while a line of people with more questions grows impatient at your desk. That's a typical weeknight at SPL.

Some of these folks are job seekers who are suddenly confronted with having to fill out online applications. I recently worked with a man in his mid-50s who was laid off after 25 years as a delivery driver. I helped him navigate the Web sites for UPS and FedEx, search through open positions, register his information and then apply for a job. He quickly became self-sufficient and returned often to check his application's status. I haven't seen him in a while; I'm hoping that's a good sign.

Housing is also a huge issue, and patrons routinely ask about rental vouchers, mortgages, foreclosure lists and apartment searches. A large number of low-income, mentally challenged or illiterate patrons often cannot comprehend the information and are in dire need of a social worker. At times, these conversations are trying, but demonstrate the extent of need.

Regardless of who they are, you can always hear the patron's voice quiver when living arrangements are uncertain. People are scrambling to keep a roof over their heads and as librarians we stay mindful that these folks are vulnerable. A local "company" publicized a free foreclosure-information event at SPL, unbeknownst to the library. The local news caught wind of it and aired a story without researching the company or contacting us. The next day we had ourselves a hubbub as people clamored to get their foreclosure packets. Worse yet, the representative of this "company" was asking for a $20 application fee just to give patrons what was freely available. One older woman was willing to forgo her medication for the week to pay the fee. A veteran librarian derailed the questionable practice by offering our service and the information for free.

Then there's the tightening credit market. People see the writing on the wall and they want to get educated. They can't afford a financial adviser, but checking books out is free. Some of the most popular titles now are "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," "Think and Grow Rich," and "Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan." We answer question about taxes, stimulus checks, grants, bankruptcy, credit scores, credit reports and many other personal-finance issues. Fortunately, we have all had comprehensive business training. Without it we wouldn't know where to start—especially now.

The crumbling economy affects us all. I have had to work long hours and don't get to see much of my boyfriend or experience any kind of social life lately, but I am thankful to be in a position where I can help people overcome this struggle. The long days are made great when I help job seekers find work, talk to teens about college, meet new business owners, have a discussion about literature and watch senior citizens send their first e-mail to their grandchildren. These small victories and billions just like them are why librarians continue to fight the good fight. In Michigan, we haven't lost hope. As long as there are libraries here, there will always be hope.

Gronowska Lives In Southfield, Mich.

© 2009

Posted by kkowatch on April 10, 2009 at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

Twitter in the Classroom?

So, I'm fascinated by Twitter. I'm not a fan of Twitter (especially when I just tried to log in and I got a message saying that there's "Too Many Tweets! - One Moment Please!"), but due to my unique personality type - INTJ - I like to learn how things work and why people use them, so I keep coming back to it. (You can follow me at kkowatch - yes, terribly dull name, I know!)

On top of the fact that I just read that Twitter will be one day used as a search tool for current information (which I can see the usefulness of), I now just saw an example of how a professor uses it in his classroom that sounds really great to me! Read on...

April 8, 2009
Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class -- via Twitter
From the Chronicle of Higher Education

Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students. He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions.

Mr. Complese first tried out his idea in a course he co-taught last spring to about 20 graduate students at Penn State. He couldn’t get two screens, so he had students bring in their laptops and follow the Twitter-powered peanut gallery on their machines during discussions.

Back then, most of his students were unfamiliar with Twitter, the microblogging service that limits messages to 140 characters. And for the first few weeks of course, students were reluctant to tweet, says Mr. Complese. “It took a few weeks for this to click,” he said. “Before it started to work, there was just nothing on the back channel.”

Once students warmed to the idea that their professors actually wanted them to chat during class, students begin floating ideas or posting links to related materials, the professor says. In some cases, a shy student would type an observation or question on Twitter, and others in the class would respond with notes encouraging the student to raise the topic out loud. Other times, one of the professors would see a link posted by a student and stop class to discuss it.

Still, when Mr. Camplese told me about his experiment soon after he spoke at The Chronicle’s Tech Forum, I couldn’t help thinking that it sounded like a recipe for chaos, and I told him so. He replied that his hope is that the second layer of conversation will disrupt the old classroom model and allow new kinds of teaching in which students play a greater role and information is pulled in from outside the classroom walls. “I’m not a full-time faculty member,” he said. “I use my classrooms as an applied-research lab to decide what to promote as new solutions for our campus.”

He said he planned to try the technique again next time he teaches — hopefully with the second screen installed. “My goal is to only teach in rooms that allow me to project from two different sources,” he said. —Jeffrey R. Young

Posted by kkowatch on April 08, 2009 at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

UM-SI ULA and PLA PEP Credit Update


NEW PEP-credit option:

· All ULAs and PLAs are now eligible to receive 6 PEP credits through your current positions/assignments. These PEP credits will be applied to the Fall term of your second year in the program through SI 681 registration. So if you have completed 2 semesters of work already and will continue to work in your positions this summer, you are eligible for 6 PEP credits this fall.

· ULAs and PLAs will be required to complete the same requirements as all students participating in PEP internships (specifically SI 681). You will be required to develop an ePortfolio--as a self-reflective tool, to submit MONTHLY reflective reports and participate in a group shared discussion/blog with your peers through the ePortfolio system. You will have to submit a final reflective evaluation at the end of the summer as well.

· ULAs and PLAs will be required to participate in a Career Development seminar (offered in the fall following their first year of work) for additional self-reflection and peer sharing through structured career/self-assessment group activities. You will also be required to present on your experience and reflective learning to SI students, faculty, staff and mentors in the fall as well through SI@Work.

Again, these are the same requirements for any student participating in SI 681.

We have communicated this new policy with your supervisors and mentors so they are all aware of what is expected from them as well. They are all on board with this new policy. If you are interested, I’ve included this information below:

· Fall (for 1st year ULAs and PLAs): Job description (this can be the original job description that you post when recruiting ULAs and PLAs sent to the PEP office at the start of the year.

· Summer: Updated description if goals/objectives have changed or a new project has been added. If nothing has changed, then we would just contact supervisors for confirmation of the stated goals and objectives.

· End of Summer: Supervisors to complete a web-based survey/evaluation from the PEP office regarding student’s work performance for the year. Supervisors are encouraged to meet regularly with the student to provide adequate advice and guidance and to ensure progress towards goals/objectives. Supervisors are also encouraged to share this feedback with the students on a yearly basis, if not every semester.

This new policy was developed to provide equity, structure, self-reflection, and stronger communication channels between students, SI and the libraries. It should also make it easier for you all to meet your PEP credit requirements for graduation.

Registering for SI 681 is not required, and enrollment is not automatic. YOU MUST contact the SI Career Services if you intend on registering for SI 681 in the fall. We ask that you let us know by MAY 16th.

SI Career Services will be holding an information session for all ULAs and PLAs who plan on registering for 681 on MONDAY, APRIL 27TH from 12-1 in 405 A /B. If you have never attended a PEP rally/info session, we encourage you all to attend so that you are aware of everything that will be required of you to register and receive your PEP credits. If you can’t make this time, please contact Joanna Kroll at jckroll@umich.edu for an individual appointment.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Joanna Kroll
Sr. Associate Director, Career Services & Practical Engagement
University of Michigan School of Information
ph 734-615-8294 fax 734-615-3587

Posted by kkowatch on April 06, 2009 at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)