From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2010
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Reminders. Civility in Thank you notes.
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 6:36 am

Just a brief mention of the importance in networking
and communication of sending thank you notes
for different occasions.

Previously this blog has pointed out some situations.
Also, note some words that might be offered to
express your thoughts and feelings in a blog.

Several instances have happened to me over the
holidays that inspired me to write thank yous.  This
has surely happened to you.  These are truthfully
inspired public relations documents that have positive
unintended consequences.

1 comment
Reminders. Civility in introductions and at meals
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 5:30 pm

Whether you are traveling to the far corners of the world,
dining out with colleagues or visiting speakers, attending
a meeting or interviewing, there are a number of things
that are expected behaviors.  These are expressions of
civil behavior.  What people notice are not that one does
behave civilly, but that one does not.

Does it cause a person to lose a client– maybe, a job
offer–probably not.  But it puts us at ease when we
understand that we are giving respect to people when
we know what to do in situations.

 - Face the person to whom you wish
to introduce and make eye contact
  - Place yourself an arms length distance
(considering the crowdedness and noise
level in the room)
  - Offer your right hand (use only one
hand;  i. e. do not reach the left hand out
to hold an elbow), arrange to make palm
to palm contact in a firm yet friendly
grasp.  Hold the hand a couple to a
few seconds.
  [It is good practice to have your hands
dry and warm to the touch.]
  -   Say:  “Hello, my name is Shawna
Jones and I am a senior at Brandeis.”  Say
your name and offer something basic about
yourself that relates to the event. [Speak
after you have no food or drink in your
  - Provide the person a chance to introduce
herself or himself to you. 
[Be prepared to engage in small talk related
to the location, day, weather, etc.] 

When we are with others, it is appropriate
to introduce them to third parties who you
might know.
It is common practice to say both persons’
names and mention information that allows
each person to have some context about
each other and perhaps something they have in
common with each other.

  - If people are seated, ask if a seat that you
see untaken is indeed not being used by some
one else.  Ask permission to sit there.
  - If there is planned seating, ladies should be
seated first or given the opportunity to sit first.
  - Sit in an attentive, comfortable and straight
posture.  Refrain from placing your elbows on
the table.  Think about when you are going to
stand and get up as you place yourself in your
  - Introduce yourself to others
at your table taking enough time to
get people’s names, so that you can
remember and pronounce them well.
  -  Common spoken courtesies are
expected of and to everyone from the
waitstaff to the guest of honor– please,
thank you, etc.
  - Pass items across your body not in
front of others.  When passing salt, pass
both salt and pepper.  If you are unable to
reach something, ask a closer person to
reach the item for you.
  - Place your napkin on your lap before
eating, leave it in a easy to reach place,
if you get up, and use it strategically during
the meal.
  - Only begin eating after everyone has been
  - Tactical planning is sometimes needed in
tighter configurations if there is a left-handed
  - Place used items that are intended for
further use on plates or side dishes, rather
than on the table.
  - Signal the server when you are finished
by placing knife and fork together on the
plate in front of you.  Consider keeping
the napkin until you rise from the table.

  - Ask the waitstaff questions to understand
servings, offerings or preferences.
  - Be considerate of price when placing your
order, if you are not paying.
  - Alcohol is often offered.  Know your limits.
In important gatherings, it is sometimes better
to ask others to order first to see how others
are dealing with alcohol.  Watch your limits.
  - cell phone etiquette is especially important.
off or vibrate.  If you must speak to someone,
get up and leave the table. to a quiet place and
return promptly.
  - Left-overs from a meal are left at the
restaurant at formal meals.  Informal meals
can be treated differently, depending on who
you are with.


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Career consultant interactions
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 8:31 am

Recently, in setting up a program I was asked to review
several resumes in advance of the program to give
the students a “leg up.”  The students had to volunteer to
have their resume’s reviewed early.

The resume was sent as a .pdf file attachment and appeared
as a general run of the mill internet form.  So, there seemed
to be many places where suggestions could improve the
resume.  After a quick assessment, I was concerned that
I would be perceived as an ‘ungrateful wretch’ simply
tearing the resume to pieces.  So I contacted the professor
and asked for her recommendations (knowing in advance
that I wanted to speak to the student to find out how
receptive he was, what his intended position was and
where the resume model came from.)

We spoke and I learned that he seemed to be most interested
in autonomous career and looked to do a post-doc in
preparation for either an academic position or a role
in a government laboratory.  He had gotten format advice from
undergraduate career counseling at the school.

What a revelation?  That changed the whole nature of
my review since I would not be reviewing the resume
thinking it was targeting an industrial job position.

The bottom line here is it is important when seeking advice
on one’s resume, cover letter, CV and other documents
to apprise the reviewer of what position you have
prepared the documents for.  There are helpful hints
that will be different for documents.  Several format
issues, like margin, font size, kind of paper or file type
will be similar.

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Insights. Chemical, business, breakthroughs, rumors in the media
Filed under: Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:23 am

While we all read and peruse documents from many
sources, what can you do to tell whether the information,
knowledge and facts are true?

It is a dilemma we all face.  Are there rules of thumb
or practices to adopt that could help us?

I have been taken by a book by Bill Kovach and Tom
Rosenstiel, titled “Blur” with a long subtitle that is a
recommended resource.

Kovach and Rosenstiel have collaborated on journalism
texts and, as journalism has extended into wider realms,
have expanded their audience view in this book.  They
authored a readable tool that provides some insights
on how we should engage the items we read.

The book provided excellent criteria for me to read
the “Disappearing jobs” article and offer constructive
feedback that the trends commented on were not new
and “surprising” but have been the case for the forty
years as I have observed them.

An eye-catcher for me was the authors clustering of
news media items as
 - accurate and contextualized stories based on confirmed
evidence, with valid conclusions from knowledgeable
authors.  [verification]
 - immediate and on the spot recording of developments
as they happen providing a flow and attention-grabbing
conduit.  Little cause and effect, authors act as monitors
and impact not always clear.  [assertion]
 - reporting items with a slant reaffirming the mindset
of an intended audience.  Sometimes it is clear that the
words and inflections reflect an agenda. [affirmation]
 - depictions of incidents or allegations that appear like
news worthy items that are targeted to support or oppose
points of view. [interest-group]

The authors propose strategies to deal with each in
objective manners.  They also point out that newer media
types, such as aggregation, blogging, tweeting and
texting are communication forms that should be examined
as one or a blend of the four models.

So, my estimate is that the article mentioned above
reflects the journalism of assertion, the second cluster.

There are many other places these observable trends
can be applied, especially in the business world and
technology, science and engineering forecasting.

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Interview Question: Why do you wish to work for …
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 10:08 am

One of the essential questions that a job seeker needs
to provide an answer for, whether it is directly asked
or not, is what are your motivations for working for
this particular company, this particular department
in this role?

In a previous post, we provided the value of
offering your self-assessment motivation and
interests, as well as research on the company’s
specific goals as being your goals.

Also, you should be reminded that there are
critical “questions behind the questions” that are
being posed in this question.  Interviewers seek
the fit, the skills, the potential for growth and
contribution, and positive attitude that will not be
defeated by challenges but will be energized to over
come them.  These are the ingredients of four questions
behind the questions in an interview.

1. Show and speak about how you liked how you were
treated professionally.
2. Point out how you liked recent news on progress,
the goals presented in the annual report, or business
forecast in a business report.  Your research into the
3. Provide examples of what you have done showing
the match of skills and abilities they seek (look at
the job description) and your accomplishments.  It is
not enough to say you can learn this or that.  Say what
you have done learning things quickly and contributing.
4. Do you easily get bored?  Don’t say that!  But indicate
your attitude to learn new and important things to
address the overall mission.  When you get bored, what
do you do?  Do you maintain or repair an important
instrument (or take a long break!  don’t say that, either.)?
Do you explore the literature, update your notebook,
or develop new aspects of the project?  The emphasis should
not be on you, but on the team goals.  See 1  for example.

Remember, telling a story can be more effective than
reciting facts and that there are questions behind the
question you should be addressing in your response.

1 comment
Cover letters. Pointers for these introductory documents
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 12:06 pm

Excuse me for bringing this topic up again.  It
is essential that you know it is something every
resume reviewer will consider, even if just to
eliminate a candidate from consideration.

Rule of thumb:  A cover letter is expected for each
submission, except if they explicitly state do not
include a cover letter.  Most times it is expected.

Recently, a person sent a draft of their
public relations documents.  The cover letter
(1) had an important name in the heading misspelled
and (2) did not include their own address in the
heading part of the page.

My recommendation is to (3) minimize the use of “I”
did you hear me say that?  Let me say it again, use
few “I”s (– it requires you to think about different
ways of saying the same thing).  This person’s letter
used 7 “I”s in 3 paragraphs, where 5 would represent
her better.

While most people “get it” that it should (4) be short,
it should also include specific, pertinent items in
clear language.  Topics were mentioned in a general
fashion, rather than offering specific information.

Two leading resource are for cover letters are:
Both have detailed comments and one has terrific
examples to click through.

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Cloud computing. Growing in importance
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

As readers know, we have been following “cloud computing”
as an integral part of our Internet Presence for some time.
 1   2  

Two recent additions that are worthy for your consideration
are Joe Mullich’s pull-out section of the WSJ (12-7-10, pp.
B6-B10) I have not been able to find a link on the Internet,
yet) and Alternatives to Google docs for ‘cloud storage and

Mullich’s multi-page pull-out is valuable from many
perspectives.  He points out in a graph ten high-level
uses of cloud computing and estimates how small,
medium and large sized companies apply the “cloud”
in each usage, namely:

Large companies:  storage and email, but surprisingly
   significant adoption in all 10 categories
Medium sized:  email and security
Small-sized:  security and email

It appears that this could be an area for emergence
if barriers for entry are reduced.

Mullich nicely describes the notion that there are
“several clouds,” just as Barabasi has proposed–
there are several ‘continents’ in the Internet
landscape.  There are public and private clouds
and hybrid clouds.  (Where Barabasi has a
central core continent and inward and outward
directed continents, Mullich uses the metaphor
of public and hybrid clouds.  Where Barabasi
speaks of unaffiliated ‘continents’ Mullich
points to private clouds.  Clouds seem to be
replacing ‘resident computers.’)

Mullich’s perspective is worth exploring.

PC World published an interesting perspective that
Google-docs are not the only format for cloud
document access and storage.  Other formats
 - Dropbox
 - Microsoft live mesh
 - Windows live skydrive. 
This is an evolving area that will continue to
grow as a tool box for all of us.
[Right now, I am invested in Google docs.]

1 comment