Archive for March, 2014

970249_539592979431185_1168549634_nDear Job Seeker:

Auntie Beth is here to help you get that dream job, or at least something that may lead to your dream job. Just so you know, kids, Auntie Beth has never been unemployed, or even underemployed. Auntie Beth has worked her heinie off since the tender age of 15 when she scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Auntie Beth has no sympathy for whiners.

If you want to work, there are jobs out there for you. “Work comes from work,” said the great sage Jerry Saltz, art critic for New York Magazine, at a recent SCAD event. It is a full-time job to get a full-time job. Get out of your robe, get off Facebook, and get going.

Here are Auntie Beth’s Top Five Tips for Getting a Job:

1. Rework your résumé. Put everything on one page. Yes, ONE PAGE. People don’t have time to sift through your stuff looking for interesting nuggets. Make it easy. Tailor your résumé for each listing. Use their keywords. If you have gaps in employment, use the header “related experience.” If your education is the best fit for the job, put that first. If it is your experience, put that first. Persuade people with your résumé that you are the perfect fit.

2. Do your research. Once you know that an organization is hiring, find out everything you can. What are the organization’s strengths and weaknesses? How can you contribute? What are your unique skills that would be valuable to the organization’s goals? This will help you take on No. 3 below, and will help you if you make it to the interview stage.

3. Use your cover letter to persuade by offering proof. Your cover letter should consist of three main paragraphs. In the first paragraph, explain how you found out about the job. If someone in the organization gave you a lead, NAME DROP. Explain why you want the job and are the best candidate. In the second paragraph, prove how you were successful in previous jobs and tie your proof to what they want. If they say they want someone with time-management skills, don’t just write, “I have excellent time-management skills,” prove it by writing, “I was able to juggle three college courses while working two full-time jobs — one of which named me ‘Sales Leader of the Month.'” In the third paragraph, reiterate why you are the best and explain what you will do next (i.e. “I will call you in two weeks to set up a meeting to discuss the position.”). Then do it. You cannot be passive. (Although if the ad says, “no calls,” you have to respect that.)

4. Network. Use your vast Facebook friends list for good: Tell everyone that you are looking for a job. Tell them what you can do and what kind of job you want. Ask former colleagues and supervisors to endorse you on LinkedIn. Join groups so you get notifications of open positions. Most people get jobs because of people they know. One of my former students tracked down the information on the person doing the hiring for a position he wanted. It turns out that the person and I worked together and are still Facebook friends. He asked for a reference, which I willingly gave because he is industrious and I like him. The chance of you finding a job through simply responding to ads on monster.com is next to nil. Most people will go out of their way to help you and connect you with people they know who are hiring. Follow up on all of those leads and then thank each person in writing.

5. Put on your big girl panties or big boy pants and get out there. Dress for the job you want. Jeans and a hoodie are not going to cut it. Invest in a suit. It is an investment that will pay off handsomely. Go in person in that suit to organizations where you want to work. Drop off your résumé. Be friendly and energetic. They’ll be impressed, I promise. A student of mine did that and had a great job in less than 24 hours. Remember: The worst thing anyone can do is say, “No.” It’s scary but you must do it.

Remember: Your job is to get a job. If you cannot pay for your own living expenses without help, then you are either a student or you are underemployed and need a better job.

Don’t be afraid to take a good job just because it isn’t exactly what you want. Cliché alert: It is a foot in the door and a step in the right direction toward the “right” job — and it pays the bills in the meantime.

Now go get ’em, Tiger. Make Auntie Beth proud!



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Dear Mr. Rashid,

Thank you for your recent email, which appears to be a forwarded recommendation letter from Gregory T. Hagan. While I’m certainly happy Mr. Hagan was pleased with your services, it might behoove him to proofread his letter. As a writing professor and fan of the English language, I am mortified to see that the letter is one huge run-on sentence. Additionally, is “Hem” a person on your staff or is that your nickname? Or perhaps did Mr. Hagan mean “him” here? Why is his name misspelled in his email address, and why is it included at the end of the recommendation letter, making it look like that is the way to contact you?

If I had been asked to assist Mr. Hagan, I would have edited the letter to read as follows:

I am writing to recommend the services of Abdulla Rashid. I was in urgent need of a loan of $8,000 to pay my bills. A friend recommended Mr. Rashid, who helped me immediately. My family and I are now happy. Please contact him if you are in need of any kind of loan. 

I’m dismayed that you would use such a poorly written letter as the first contact with me. It really makes me wonder whether it would be wise to use your services when I have to question your attention to detail. And really, you should have written me yourself first, then provided his recommendation letter as a supplement.

Also, why is your organization offering loans in the first place? Your boilerplate indicates that you provide “innovative plastics solutions.” I see nothing on your website about loans and I see no Abdulla Rashid Salem Jumaan listed on the team biography page.

For these reasons, I must decline your implied offer to loan me money. Thank you anyway. Please send my regards to Mr. Hagan and encourage him to take an English composition course.


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Dear Revelers in Room 479:

I’m so glad you are having what appears to be a rip-roaring time. I wanted to invite the front desk person to your party, but (lucky for you, I guess) he/she did not answer the phone.

Here’s a tip for your next party: Don’t have it in your hotel room at 4 a.m. Parties like that tend to raise the ire of people in other rooms — say one across the hall and down four doors down.

It was kind of a shock to be startled out of a sound sleep by slamming doors and hollering by grown men and women. It took me back to my college years in Traer Hall.

Thank you for giving me that extra time to get in a few more levels of Candy Crush before my early flight. I think I’ll leave you a thank you note when I head out of the hotel.

With malice in my heart,


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Dear Colonel Al-Kurdi Malik:

Thank you for your recent email. You are clearly a busy man — what with leading the Free Syria Army and all — so I feel honored that you chose me as a correspondent along with other “undisclosed recipients.”

During this personal discussion, could you explain how the Free Syria Army (FSA) is different from the Free Syrian Army (FSA)? I’ve heard of the latter and am familiar with it as the Western-backed rebel group fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Is the Free Syria Army a group of discount hunters or part of the Freegan movement?

According to various news reports, Brigadier General Abdul-llah al-Bashir is the leader of the Free Syrian Army. There’s a Colonel Malik al-Kurdi who is the deputy commander of the FSA. Is that you?

If so, congratulations on the promotion to “leader.” What happened to that al-Bashir guy? He only lasted a week!

With all due respect as I know English is not your first language, maybe you should proofread your emails. I’m sure you didn’t really want to send me a “massage.” (Although, I do feel fairly tense right now.)

In addition, here’s another bit of advice: If you want to protect your identity as you indicate, maybe you shouldn’t grant interviews to various media outlets.

Anyway, thanks for writing. I can’t wait to be your pen pal!

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