Social Media Gaffs Cost Jobs

This was in my textbook on Project Management:

Ninety-three percent of employers check social media profiles of prospective hires. According to Money magazine here are the 10 most common reasons a candidate’s blunders on social media cost the person a job:

  1. Posting something embarrassing on the corporate Twitter feed.
  2. Sexual oversharing
  3. Revealing company secrets
  4. Blowing your own cover*
  5. Talking “smack” about a job you haven’t accepted yet
  6. Making fun of clients or donors
  7. Making fun of your boss or team
  8. Posting while you should be working
  9. Complaining about your job
  10. Drinking in a photo — even if you’re over 21

So you’ve been warned. I’m sure the sexual oversharing is not going to help anyone in the post-Harvey Weinstein-era, and it shouldn’t.

*Unless you work for the CIA, I’m not sure what’s meant by “Blowing your own cover.” Comment below if you do.

References

Poppick, S. (Sept. 5, 2014). “10 Social Media Blunders that Cost a Millennial a Job–or Worse. Money Magazine. Quoted in Information Technology Project Management by Kathy Schwalbe, Cengage Learning, 2015.

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Baseball Trainer?

I just got an email from Ziprecruiter suggesting I apply for a job their algorithm thinks lines up with my background. I click and get to a job posting for a Baseball Trainer. I can’t remember the last time I played baseball. Maybe that was when I was in my early 20s and played softball. If softball doesn’t count, I haven’t played since high school.

Woe is me.

Ziprecruiter is not alone. It’s given my email information to numerous websites, like Indeed, Handshake or SmartHire, who bombard me with jobs teaching physics, chemistry, special ed or accounting among other fields I have no expertise in. Some refinement is needed.

My first choice for a job is a librarian position. Yesterday I had a good long talk with my mother’s friend whose husband was the head of Northwestern’s library. After the holidays, she’s going to introduce me to some people there. Fingers crossed.

My fingers are also crossed for a job as a librarian who coordinates the ESL/Literacy program at a public library in the northwest suburbs.

Of course, I’m also hopeful for a writing opportunity.

Interviewing Tips

I attended an informative session at the library on The Art of Interviewing. The main takeaways were skills are the name of the game and making those skills stand out is key. This speaker, who’s a recruiter for IBM, didn’t think much about soft skills, while I’d thought that skills get you to the final round and “Who would I like to have lunch with?” gets you the offer.

Since I’m hoping to transition out of teaching I wanted to see how other fields hire. Here are the recommendations:

  • Here’s the best tip: If you’re interviewing for a job with Bank A and have 75% of the desired skills, look at the ads for the same position at Bank B and C. You may see that you have some of their desired skills that aren’t listed by Bank A. In you interview point this out. Show that you’ve done this homework. Tell them that the competition wants someone who can do X, Y and Z and that you’ve got those skills. You’ll really stand out.
  • When discussing a work gap, tell the interviewer how you’ve spent that time acquiring new skills — seminars, online courses, etc.
  • Before an interview check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll talk to. Notice how they communicate in addition to their associates and background.
  • “Tell me about yourself” means how are you the solution to our problem.
  • Don’t include jobs from more than 10 years ago. (I’m wondering though. I’ve been in education for more than 10 years and I want to show that I’ve functioned successfully in other areas.)
  • “What is your ideal job?” Answer is the job you’re interviewing for. Five years doesn’t matter to them. You basically want to communicate that “based on what I bring to the table, the next step for me is to build a foundation from a position like this.”
  • Stand for a phone interview. Keeps you thinking.
  • Write bullet points to prep for interview.
  • Always follow up on interviews.
  • Cover letters address gaps, career transitions. Recruiters don’t read cover letters anymore. (It used to be that cover letters showed writing and thinking skills. I guess people don’t care about that anymore.)

Job Hunting

Since I always try to keep my eyes open for new opportunities, I don’t feel like it’s been ages since I’ve looked for a job, but this fall it sure feels like I’ve entered a new era.

When looking for jobs teaching English I rely on my network and two websites, tesol.org and chroniclevitae.com. These two sites have the better jobs. Dave’s ESL Café tends to have poor search filters and worse yet any fly-by-night English school can and does place ads there. I found the dreadful job at KNUE in Miho, South Korea on Dave’s.

This time around I’m branching out. I’m looking for jobs on library websites, which has been straightforward and I’m also using new services like Ziprecruiter.com. So far Ziprecruiter has been the best of the new internet services. Once you set up an account, you get suggested jobs that align with your skills, interests, education and experience. It’s quite tailored and several jobs have “One-Click” applications. Once you’ve applied, you receive emails about when the employer looks at your application and if they look two or three times. Each time the email tells you something like “only 17% of resumes are looked at three times,” which is encouraging.

I’m also testing out Handshake, which University of Illinois offers. Those jobs are relevant to my degree in Library Science. Handshake offers posts on other professions too.

Some other sites like Localwise.com clog your email with lots of unrelated jobs. For example I’ve gotten jobs connected to engineering or physics, areas I have no expertise in at all. Even worse, they sell your email address to anyone so I’ve gotten emails about “opportunities” to sell life insurance. So you have to be leery unless you want to spend your days unsubscribing to spam.

ESL Watch

ESL Watch is a very useful website for teachers looking for jobs. Like Yelp or Trip Advisor it offers reviews of employers worldwide in the field of English as a Second Language. If you want to avoid a horrible job, checking this site can help you steer clear of the dodgy employers.

Like anything, you have to discern whether the reviewer is a hot head or the employer pretending to be a satisfied teacher. Despite this, it’s a step in the right direction.

Advice

A friend has a friend who’s considering changing careers and teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. My friend wants me advise her friend and we’ll meet on Tuesday.

I have enjoyed all the students I’ve worked with — from kids in Japan to university students to college professors in Indonesia to adults on up to 90 years old in Japan. Like a lot of teaching work, you get to connect with interesting people and to be creative. However:

  • There are only a few countries where American’s can get jobs without to much difficulty: South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Japan has become hard to find work in. Europe requires an EU passport. South America has few opportunities.
  • It’s not a job that welcomes older people as you near 60, as we all do, no country I’m aware of wants you.
  • In the US most jobs are part time. The place to work and have job security and decent benefits is the K-12 realm. If that’s not your ballgame, you’ll be stuck stringing together a few part time jobs.

    Adjunctivitis has become the norm and it’s exploitive.

That’s the reality. I pity friends who went and got Masters degrees thinking EFL would be a second career for when they get older. It isn’t.

A Long Day and a Good One

Week Two and we’ve started with two very different days. On Monday after lunch Tara and I had a surprising day. We knew that we’d have a different day as we’d been told that everyone would go to the main campus across town for a ceremony with the Rektor and Vice Rektor i.e. the university president and vice president. I’d hoped we’d have an earlier day than usual, but knew that there was no telling.

I was impressed by the large campus with stunning architecture. While the grounds were stark they, buildings were colorful and for me exotic.

As is not unusual, it took awhile for people to assemble, which is common for Indonesia. The ceremony was supposed to start at two and at 2:20 I wasn’t sure when we’d start. Then a woman holding two headscarves approached Tara and I. She asked if we’d wear headscarves so that “everyone could look the same.” I didn’t have much time to really think about it before we were whisked into a side room to put on headscarves. When we went to the big mosque on Saturday, we had to put on headscarves and take off our shoew, which I gladly complied with as it was a way of respecting a religion. Now I was caught off guard and not sure how to decline. This was just a meeting and some women in Indonesia don’t wear headscarves. This group did, but they also want to become an internationals school with students from abroad and the lecturers want to go to America to study. They’ll have to be around women without headscarves. Anyway, we went along and as soon as we put on the scarves, the woman who gave them to us told us we looked beautiful. It seemed awkward to be told that now that we had scarves on we were beautiful. I’m not sure what to make of that. Some of the folks on the planning committee were apologetic and I think embarrassed about this last minute headscarf thing. People have been so hospitable and gracious, but there still are some awkward moments.

Eventually the meeting started. First the head of the organizational committee spoke, explaining its goals (i.e. to prepare young lecturers to speak in international settings like conferences and to enable them to write for academic publication. It’s a loft goal since a lot of my students can’t write an outline let alone a solid paper. Also the Vice Rektor stated that within about 10 years the government wants all lecturers, not just assistant professors to have PhDs. Now 30% do. To top that off, this university wants to be in the top 500 universities in the world by 2030, which considering that the library doesn’t subscribe to many databases or have a collection of books needed to do the research needed to get highly ranked means it’s sort of a Don Quixote impossible dream.

We’ve got three weeks to teach or perhaps explain the main skills needed to write an article that would be published in an international journal. (I say explain because to me “teach” implies that at least half of the students can do at least a so so version of the taught skill. Here I think a lot will just be able to talk about it and will need more practice before they can apply what’s been taught.

The Head of the Language Center spoke and I was surprised how much of his talk was administrivia (e.g. we reserved the hotel for the teachers on July 16th, I’ll fill out the forms for their stipends on Tuesday, and things of that ilk, which we’d just handle through email or less formal meetings).

So all the department leaders, Tara and I and two students all spoke. One student included a lot of religion in his speech, which I doubt would have been included in a similar speech at a Christian university.

So the meeting finally ended and then people took a lot of photos before finally leaving.

We’d driven with an administrator named Fuzan and a lecturer and were going to return with him. But a very bright outgoing student offered to drive us to the hotel. Fuzan politely, but firmly said he would because he’d been assigned to. We thought we’d just go with whomever was less inconvenienced. There was quite a lot of back and forth and finally the program director intervened and had us go with the outgoing student. OK. Maybe he lives closer to our hotel.

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