Beyond the Book

Due to the substantial concern about getting a job throughout the world, many reporters from well known media outlets have asked questions related to the topics in this book. They have raised issues or asked questions directly to me or through media sources about personal branding, references, resumes, cover letters, the effective use of social networking, and a wide variety of other topics. We think that our readers should have the benefit of the answers I provided to them to supplement the material in the book. The material below is excerpted from material I have provided in response to questions posed by the media.

The Interview



Job Search


Choosing a Career

Personal Branding 

After Graduation 

Social Networking 

Social Media


Cover Letters 

How to Apply a Career to Your Major

Managing Obstacles



Topic: References
Reporter: Laura Mohammad
Media outlet:
Question:  Reading between the lines. What a reference doesn’t tell you may be more important than what he does say about a job candidate.  What will a reference not tell you?
Answer:  References are concerned about legal action that may be taken against them and so, they are likely not to be totally open about any weaknesses that a candidate may have. They will speak about strengths, but weaknesses are a topic they will seek to avoid. 

Question: How do you know what that means? What does it mean when references don’t return calls — is it a statement about their organizational skills or the candidate?

Answer: This could be just due to a very busy person. I advise people seeking a reference to provide the business phone number and the cell number of the reference.  If the reference will not provide it, than they may not care very much about the candidate and that too is of value to know.


Question :  How do you know when a lukewarm reference is a statement about her and not the candidate?
Answer: Best way to know this is to ask them how the candidate compares to other people that the reference has worked with or supervised.  If the reference is just a lukewarm type of person, it will become apparent because the reference will describe other people in a lukewarm fashion too.
Question:  What other unspoken codes should you look for?
Answer:  Is the reference willing to refer you to yet someone else that the reference knows is familiar with the candidate? If not, the reference is either hiding something or does not know the candidate very well.

Topic: Reference Checks

Reporter: Pamme Boutselis

Media outlet:

Question 1: Who should be used as a reference?

Answer 1:

• People who are familiar with a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

• People who have known you a long time and at least for more than a year.

• People that you are sure will provide a positive reference.
• People that can be counted on to return a phone call or email by the prospective employer within 24 hours.


Question 2: What is the protocol for using a person as a reference?

Answer 2:  Call them first (not email…call). Describe the positions you are considering and get a sense if they would be a positive reference. Ask them if they would consider providing a cell phone number as a contact number since some reference checks are needed quickly. Provide a potential reference with an updated copy of a resume so that they can fill in their knowledge about you that they may not have. And ask them directly what they think your strengths and weaknesses are because those two questions are asked during almost every reference check and it is better to find out in advance what they might say or not say about you.

Question 3:  Who should NOT be used as a reference?

Answer 3:   Avoid people who are well known or famous if they know you, but do not know you very well. Even then, be careful because people who are well known or famous may not be easy to contact or quick to respond to a reference check. What good is having Mr. or Ms. fame as a reference if they can’t be reached quickly?
And it goes without saying, mom and dad and your Uncle Bob may love you, but do not use them as a reference.

Question 4:   What do potential employers hope to learn from a reference?

Answer 4:  How well candidates work with other people and matters related to work ethic and reliability are the most sought out bits of information about job candidates.

Question 5: Any other tips or advice, particularly as it relates to new grads?

Answer 5:  Have more references prepared and ready to be contacted than you might need because you can never be sure of schedules and availability so you need to have a few in reserve.And be sure to thank each reference each time they provide one and once you get a job, let them know you have a job and provide a modest gift…candy or flowers, as a thank you for being there for you.


Topic: Importance of Internships

Reporter: Emily Schettler

Media outlet: Iowa City Press-Citizen

Question: Are internships necessary for obtaining a job out of college?

Answer: I track the interns after they graduate and about 40 % go to work for an employer that they interned with and 80% go to work in the industry that they worked in during the internship. I advise students to seek 3 internships before they graduate so that they obtain a range of experiences.

Often, not only does the internship develop skills and contacts (and sometimes friendships and mentors), but sometimes, it helps a student confirm what he or she wants to do or does not want to do after graduation.
Internships are generally more important…often much more important…than any course someone can take in school. The competition is so intense for jobs that graduating seniors or grad students who do not have an internship often do NOT receive calls for interviews.
In an internship, you learn about how to work in an organizational heading…even learning how to answer a phone or participate in team work.

Job Search

Topic: How a Job Search is like a Campaign

Reporter: Julia West

Media outlet: Philadelphia Metro

Question:  What can a person searching for a job do to make a personal campaign?

Answer: Basically, I advise them to:

1. Ignore jobs that do not interest them or that are not likely to be interested in them (similar to a political campaign in which more focus in on swing states and those voters who do not like you or who you have no chance with are ignored).

2. Determine what geographic area will be your focus (just like a political campaign)

3. Create a database of prospective employers (similar to the manner in which political campaigns now have massive databases of prospective voters)

4. Send different version of your resume to different prospective employers whose needs and interests may be different (clearly, people running for office give different speeches to different audiences to fit the venue and audience)

5. Finally, follow up several times without appearing to be a stalker (check your mailbox….it is probably full of the literature you have received in the past from the same candidate).

Question:  What is the difference between a political campaign and a personal campaign?

Answer: Unlike politicians, I advise my students to always tell the truth about themselves. Unlike politicians, I advise them that if they get the job, they better be prepared to do it well.





Topic: Want a job? Don’t ask this in your interview.

Reporter: Kaitlin Madden

Media outlet: CareerBuilder.Com

Question: It’s good to ask questions in a job interview. But what questions should never, ever be asked?

Answer: I want to address timing. Some questions should NOT be asked early in the interview but it is OK to do so toward the end.
1.” Who will I report to?” Rationale: asking this in the beginning appears to make a candidate look like he or she is more concerned about the title of the person who will be the boss. However, toward the end of the interview, after the candidate has established some rapport, it is professional to ask this question.
2. “How did you become successful here?” Rationale: asking at the beginning makes the candidate appear he or she is pandering. Toward the end of the interview (here comes that rapport element again) it can cement a relationship via sharing of important details about an interviewer’s history with the organization.

Topic: Getting a Second Interview

Reporter: Amy Levin-Epstein

Media outlet:  CBS Money Watch

Question:What are your two best  tips that will guarantee a second interview–if not a job?

1. Build rapport. People have to like you before they hire you. The way to get asked back is to build rapport. It is all about finding common ground. I tell the people I counsel that everyone has at least one thing in common with the people that they need to reach. Find it. Do your research and find out as much as possible about the person you are going to meet. Learn about where they went to school, what is their favorite food or sport and where do they live. Learn as much as possible and then focus on the one or two things that you share in common. With the Internet research tools available, you can find out alot about someone in an hour’s worth of searching. The thing you share with the employer becomes the foundation for building rapport and a relationship….it almost always gets a follow up interview.

2. Much easier but almost always NOT done, send a thank you note. Not an email. A real piece of paper with a hand written note. It adds a personalized touch in an ever more impersonal world…again…not a guarantee but it comes close.

If you would  like to see the entire article please click here:

 Topic: How to Respond to: ‘Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?’

 Reporter: Dawn Klingensmith

Media outlet: Job Week

Q: It is highly likely that a job interviewee will be asked where he or she expects or would like to be in five years. What are some strong answers to this question? What are some weak answers? What are employers trying to find out by asking this question — whether an interviewee is ambitious, has unrealistic expectations or a sense of entitlement, or is open to change?

A: It is almost as if every interviewer goes to interviewer school and is taught to ask this question! Employers ask this question for a variety of reasons…some because they do not know what else to ask…others because it does reveal a little about the job candidate’s plans for the future or if he or she has any plans at all. Responses I suggest to job candidates include  “Working in a company, like this one, that challenges me and fosters my professional growth” or “Continuing to build on my base of knowledge about this industry.”  I strongly recommend that candidates do not indicate that they expect to be still working at the company. It is not likely to be very believable since people do not often stay at the same company for five years.

Topic: How to Interview Confidently without Coming off Cocky

 Reporter: Kristi Elliott

 Media outlet: Tribune

Question 1:  How can a prospective employee stay on the “confident” side of the line between being perceived as cocky versus confident?

 Answer 1:  Start by doing your homework. Most candidates do not do all the research that they need to do.  They need to research the company, its industry, and very importantly, they need to research the background of the people  they will be meeting. If a candidate has done his homework, he will be more confident.

 Question 2:  What are some signs that you are coming off too aggressively in an interview?

 Answer 2:  The interviewer’s body language will tip off that the candidate is coming off as too  aggressive. If the interviewer is not making eye contact or is cutting off a candidate’s answers to questions, the candidate is in trouble.

 Question 3:  What can the candidate do to save an interview if he or she senses the interviewer is feeling put off?

 Answer 3:   The candidate can start by appearing and being humble. Ask “can I take notes”. Employers love to hear that phrase. It says “here is a candidate that is interested in what I have to say”. Of course, if you ask to take notes, you had better take notes. The candidate can also ask questions that suggest that he or safhe is  not a cocky person. Questions such as “can you share with me what it takes to succeed in this industry or company” almost always get answered and immediately create a situation in which the interviewer is treated with the respect he wants…and it diffuses what might be a situation in which the interviewer is turned off by the candidate.

Topic: Interview mistakes: freezing, rambling and stammering

 Media outlet: Star Ledger

The two most frequent mistakes that are relevant for almost all job candidates and interview situations:

 1. Candidates freeze, stammer or ramble when they are asked the question “tell me about yourself”. This is because they have not come prepared with versions of their elevator speech. Every candidate needs to have 10, 20 and 30 second versions of an elevator speech ready to go when asked to tell their story.

 2. The other frequent gaff is not being prepared when asked “do you have any questions for us?”  Job candidates need to have two sets of questions. The first set consists of questions that have been prepared in advance of the interview. The next set are the questions that emerge during the course of the interview (this requires the candidate to listen carefully throughout the process for topics in need of clarification).

Topic: Bad Interview Anecdotes
Media: The Wall Street Journal
The most problematic job candidate I had was someone who knew the CEO of the company and made sure to tell that to the interviewer at least 3 times during the interview. Does anyone really think that a boss wants to have an employee telling all he sees on the job to the CEO after starting a job? No  supervisor wants a spy in his department. Best to not name drop in an interview. That sort of thing, if done at all, should be reserved after you start the job.

The other anecdote was a candidate who came in and shared an offer letter with the people interviewing her. She said she already had an offer from another company  but was willing to see if anyone could top it. Let’s just say, that interview was very very brief!

 Choosing a Career

Topic: Career Changers Should Be about Growth in a Direction that Builds Where You Have Been Before

Reporter: Rhonda Mouton

Media outlet: Wise Magazine

Q: The world has changed and there are many jobs that are no longer in demand. We are looking for tips on how a person can make succcessful career changes. What are the major factors to consider when changing careers?

A: When considering a career change, you should seek a direction that reflects the following characteristics:

1. The new career should build on some aspect of what you did before so that you have the confidence to move forward and succeed

2. But it should also reflect characteristics that take you out of your comfort zone so that it is truly new and not just a rehash of where you have been.

3. If you are going to grow personally and professionally, you should always look for opportunities that broaden your skills and contacts and create even more options for you in the future.

Topic: Choosing a career? Leverage your strengths and be honest with what you want in life

Reporter: Alina Tugend

Media outlet: Freelance

Q: How do you go about choosing a career?

A. I tell students and recent alumni that they should be honest with themselves…not everybody is good at everything but everybody has a gift and they should come to terms with what their gift is, turn it into a strength and use it to pursue jobs that they find of interest.  Basically, it is taking a page out of a marketers playbook…it is leveraging a strength that employers will find attractive.

Being honest is all about coming to terms with what really turns someone on and motivates them. I recommend forget the money for the moment…focus on what you like to do and what you enjoy doing. That is where strengths need to be leveraged and applied. That is the career direction to pursue.

After Graduation

Topic: Advice for College Grads Stuck in Unwanted Jobs

Reporter: Sheryl Nance-Nash

Media outlet: TheFiscalTimes.Com 


Leverage your contacts: Even at your existing dead-end job: Just ask! You would be amazed how many recent college grads never ask their friends, neighbors or distant relatives for leads. I encourage my students and recent grads to ask their co-workers and supervisors (even in their current dead-end job)  if they were pleased with his or her’s  work. If the answer is yes, then I encourage them to ask their contacts about the people they know who might be of some help in finding a job.  Most importantly: stay in contact with everyone you can after you graduate….other opportunities may develop later.
Leverage the relevant skills: Often, the entry level skills such as attention to detail, working as a good team member and identifying creative solutions to difficult problems are greatly needed because there are greatly needed and the skills most companies are looking for from recent grads.
Leverage volunteer assignments: Since many recent grads have had a volunteer assignment: create a list of the results the organization achieved through your work. Examples: If it was for an organization fighting hunger, how many people were fed or how many families were assisted by providing them with food. If it was for medical aid, how many people were treated or cured? If it was to raise money for a cause, how much money was raised?

Leverage your contacts: Even at your existing dead-end job: Just ask! You would be amazed how many recent college grads never ask their friends, neighbors or distant relatives for leads. I encourage my students and recent grads to ask their co-workers and supervisors (even in their current dead-end job)  if they were pleased with his or her’s  work. If the answer is yes, then I encourage them to ask their contacts about the people they know who might be of some help in finding a job.  Most importantly: stay in contact with everyone you can after you graduate….other opportunities may develop later.


Leverage the relevant skills: Often, the entry level skills such as attention to detail, working as a good team member and identifying creative solutions to difficult problems are greatly needed because there are greatly needed and the skills most companies are looking for from recent grads.



Leverage volunteer assignments: Since many recent grads have had a volunteer assignment: create a list of the results the organization achieved through your work. Examples: If it was for an organization fighting hunger, how many people were fed or how many families were assisted by providing them with food. If it was for medical aid, how many people were treated or cured? If it was to raise money for a cause, how much money was raised?



Topic: How Recent College Graduates Can Turn Volunteer Work into a Gateway to Careers Outside of Public Service

Reporter: Eilene Zimmerman

Media outlet: New York Times

How to leverage a volunteer assignment: create a list of the results the organization achieved through your work. Examples: If it was for an organization fighting hunger, how many people were fed or how many families were assisted by providing them with food. If it was for medical aid, how many people were treated or cured? If it was to raise money for a cause, how much money was raised?

How to identify the relevant skills: All work (paid and unpaid) requires very similar skills. Often, the entry level skills such as attention to detail, working as a good team member and identifying creative solutions to difficult problems are developed in a volunteer assignment and greatly needed because there are generally less resources available to the volunteer and the organization.

How to leverage the contacts: Just ask! You would be amazed how many students never ask. I encourage my students to ask their co-workers and supervisors at volunteer organizations if they were pleased with the student’s work. If the answer is yes, then I encourage the students to ask their contacts at the volunteer organization about the people they know who might be of some help in finding a job.  Most importantly: stay in contact after you leave the volunteer assignment….other opportunities may develop later.

Topic:  What Are New Grads Doing to Find Jobs? 

Reporter: Catherine Ngai

Media outlet: Medill News Service (DC)

Q: What creative ways new graduates are employing to find a job in a tough economy, especially in light of the new jobs numbers?

A: The most innovative tactic I am seeing new graduates work is that they are creating brief surveys, informing potential employers that they are doing research  (on a topic of interest to the employer and the student) and then, based on the surveys, they are preparing white papers on the topic or blogging about it.

At the very least, it is getting them telephone interviews that have the potential to lead to a job.

Topic: Job Outlook for 2011 College Graduates

Media outlet: Campus News

Outlook for 2011 College Graduate…simply outstanding…but not all graduates will benefit equally!!

Question:  What is the Job Outlook for 2011 College Graduates?

Answer: First, as to my outlook:

By the spring, many of the government’s initiatives will FINALLY start to kick in and soon to be graduated college graduates will benefit greatly for the following reasons:

They are flexible.

They cost less.
They bring less of an impact on a company’s health care plan’s experience rate.
They are a blank canvas and can be trained and molded to fit what a hiring organization is looking for.

Improving their odds, some graduates will benefit more than others from the improved outlook for the following reasons:

They have been so freaked out by concern over ever getting a job, they have over prepared for it.

They have taken the time to work with their career services department at their college or university (not all graduates visit the career services department and they are going to lose out for not doing so).

My strong recommendation: get to the career services unit at your school but do not depend on it because it is overwhelmed with students and alumni also doing the same. To improve the odds further, three words: network, network, network.

Topic: Recent Grad Trends

Reporter: Kenneth Corbin

Media outlet:

Q: What are the key trends for new college graduates entering the workforce for the first time? Can you offer some perspective on hiring trends, in-demand majors and growth careers?

A: A key trend I am seeing right now is the need to apply a digital skill to almost any job. Whether it is research, sales or production, the students winning the job competition are bringing strong digital skills to the table.

People often major in subjects that they find of interest as first year college students but by the time they graduate, the prospects for those majors may not be great. My advice is they have a couple of options:

1. Short term: Seek support jobs in the professions that have better prospects. Example: Education majors can find jobs in training positions in the business or engineering area.  People who major in humanities can find jobs in the communications departments of organizations that focus on business or engineering.
2. Longer term: there are programs  available that provide additional course after graduation that train education and humanities majors in business….something to consider.

 Social Networking

Topic: Online vs. Brick and Mortar

Reporter: Paul Rogers

Media outlet: LA Weekly

Question 1:  Do business social networks work? Can they really help your job hunt?

Answer 1: Facebook can hurt: I did a study in April among undergraduate students. More than 40% of the students has offensive pictures or language on their Facebook pages! I will be reporting many of the details of the study in early April on my website:

Question 2:  Online to on-the-job: does online learning really put people to work?  Do employers take online qualifications as seriously as their “bricks & mortar” equivalents?

Answer 2:  Employers are very suspect of online degrees. They are concerned, in particular, about the validation of the student skills and question the social skills of students who do not collaborate in a physical classroom.

Question 3:  Outside the comfort zone – why flexibility is critical to landing a job today.

 Answer 3:  Flexibility is important because too many students limit their possibilities by not seeking jobs beyond their major or concentration.  Employers are looking for people who can think, express themselves and work well with others. They know that they will have to train the newly hired recent grads. So, recent grads who can think and communicate should consider many more opportunities beyond their major.  If they do, they may land a job that takes them in a new and exciting direction.

Topic:  Social networking and job searching….leverage what we know about Kevin Bacon, the actor

Reporter: Sharon Abboud

Media outlet:

There are the things you should do and the things you should not do.


I tell people that I counsel to take a page out of the Kevin Bacon game and the six degrees of separation idea. Everyone is connect to everyone else in some fashion.  Use LinkedIn for that purpose. Find out who you know may also know someone else. LinkedIn provides that information. I had a former student who wanted to work for ESPN. He found me on LinkedIn and  told me he found out that I was connected to an ESPN exec. I did a minute’s worth of searching and found out that I did not know that person directly, but I knew someone else who knew the ESPN exec. My student got the interview!
Two things:
Do not be too aggressive…it can be a turnoff if one keeps contacting others too often.  And remove offensive material off of Facebook. More than 70% of the people on Facebook may have information on their pages that an employer may find offensive.
Topic:  Summer Networking Presents a Unique Challenge
Reporter: Anthony Balderrama
Media outlet: CareerBuilder.Com
Question: With summer approaching, I want to give job seekers tips on how they can enjoy the warm weather, but still keep their job search active. Please give some tips on different ways to network during the summer: BBQs, rec leagues, etc.
Answer: The challenge of summer networking is that so many of the venues and places are outside. Most of us are not walking around with our briefcases and resumes in hand. We forget that these summer places offer real opportunities. Best advice:

Keep your business cards with you wherever you go. In your pocket or wallet or glove compartment of your car.  If you have a smart phone, learn to use it by immediately uploading a new contact into it and beaming your contact info to the person you have just met.

Be careful: since these are usually social or recreational, do not come across as too pushy…keep it low key!

Topic: Entrepreneurs and Networking Events
Reporter: Tia Jackson
Media outlet: BrandMakerNews.Com
1. What tips, etiquette rules, and do’s and don’ts should entrepreneurs adhere to when interacting with others at networking events?
A: Here is the main point: if a person is an entrepreneur, he or she is innovative and creative and can connect the dots quickly in ways that many other people cannot do. When someone other than an entrepreneur goes to a networking event, we often counsel that person to
leave with at least one good contact. We might encourage them to spend more time with fewer people to get to that point.  When an entrepreneur goes to a networking event, his or her main goal is to meet many people. Spend less time with each contact — enough time so that the people can be remembered but not so much that
fewer people can become contacts.  The entrepreneur can do the follow up work later and connect the dots later.
Topic: Networking: Staying Top of Mind and Recognizing that every relationship has a Rhythm
Reporter: Rachel Zupek
Media outlet: CareerBuilder.Com
1. Don’t be a slowpoke when networking: Why candidates must follow up quickly so as not to miss out on jobs and connections.  What can one do?
A:  The most important thing is to follow up with a personal note the next day. That will separate a job candidate from the crowd. It should be hand written and customized to reflect the specifics of the conversation that took place at the networking event.
Very importantly, if done immediately, it gives the candidate the opportunity to connect in yet again a few weeks later with some other sharing of information and in that way, a real relationship has the chance to begin to develop.  If a candidate takes too long for the initial follow up, future communications after that may appear to be out of synch with the rhythm of the relationship.

Social Media

Topic: Improving Profitability through Social Media

Reporter: Patrick Egan

Media outlet: Business News Daily

Social media is all about status updates and postings of something new…best ideas:

1. A business should use it when it has something new to share…when it has a sale or promotion that is breaking…or when it has a new product (ie…a new menu item if a restaurant).
2. What if a business does not have any news? Then, create news. If you are a restaurant…create a new menu item. If you are a clothing retailer, create a new promotion. Put out the word on Facebook and the calls will come.

Topic: Online Presence and How to Make it Work

Reporter: Heather Huhman

Media outlet: Business Insider

Question: What advice would you offer job candidates regarding their online presence?

Answer: Many of the people I advise have some kind of an online presence. In fact, I recommend it. But here are some key things to note:

1. Employers use candidate profiles as a way to screen out people not worth their time to bring in for an interview. Red flags are not alway pictures holding a beer bottle…but that is one of them. Red flags can be something as simple as a typo on the site or a grammar problem. Red flags can also be any post or material which suggests controversy, such as belonging to an organization that is not very popular or that is associated with an unpopular position on an issue.  We just completed research on this topic and will be issuing a press release on it at the end of  March…76% of all students likely have a problem with their Facebook profiles.

2. To be sure you are someone that they bring in, be sure to have TWO online profiles, one for your private life and one for your professional pursuits….and never blend them together.

3. The safest way to assure additional security is to use a name for your personal profile that only your friends know.

To read more about the article click here:

Topic: Social Media & Higher Education

Reporter: Josh Sternberg

Media outlet: Freelancer

How are you teaching social media to your undergraduate (and graduates). Is there a special program? Is it part of a marketing/business/communications/journalism program?

1. We are developing a course that will focus on it exclusively.
2. We are developing a certificate program that will have as its focus mobile marketing, with social media also an important component of the program.
3. In our standard marketing communications courses, social media has now become an important set of at least a few lectures in each of the courses.

As an aside, we are also using it to help guide students to find jobs and to attract prospective students to attend our university.


Topic: How to Present that You are Motivated 

Reporter: Chelsea Gladden

Media outlet: Flexjobs

Q: Please provide tips on how job seekers can show they are really motivated.

A: Employers need to figure out two things:  1) Can you do the job and  2) Will you do the job. Your question goes right to this second objective.

There are several ways to demonstrate motivational level. Here are four of them:

1. In a resume or during the interview, be prepared to document (in the resume) or discuss (during an interview) how you went beyond the call of duty to accomplish something important at an previous/existing job or internship.
2. If relevant, show how you have sacrificed something to pursue the field that you wish to work in. For example, do you volunteer in a skill related area or for a good cause in which you use skills relevant to an employer’s job opening?
3. It is amazing how many prospective job candidates do not conduct research about the prospective employer. To show motivation, do your research and work your newly developed knowledge about the employer into the cover letter and the interview.
4. And at the interview, convey high levels of enthusiasm. People tend to think that an enthusiastic person is also a motivated person.

Topic: How do job seekers get attention

Reporter: Virginia Backaitis

Media outlet: Freelance

“What are five pragmatic things I can do to to make sure my resume gets seen by hiring managers?”

1. Use fewer words: Research has shown that on average, less than 20% of a resume is read by the average reviewer…so keep it focused with less irrelevant material. Too many people include  nice but not necessary info.

2. Use key words: every job spec has a few words critical to the job. Be sure to include those words in the resume and maybe even more than once.

3. Pay attention to design: consider having it edited by a graphics pro…do not get too carried away or you will look like you are trying too hard…but make it look unique.

4. Be sure  to send to the correct hiring manager…if not sure…send it to more than one person but be sure that both people know that you have done so in order to avoid any confusion.

5. Since hiring managers can also have off days…if you do not hear back in 3 or 4 weeks…send it again…it may have not been noticed the first time but might get noticed the second time around.

How to Apply a Career to Your Major

Topic: There are many directions someone can take with a major in environmental studies.

Reporter: Mallory Woodrow

Media outlet: Environmental Magazine

1. If a student were looking to get into environmental consulting, what courses should they focus on and what skills should will be most valuable in the industry and most important in helping them succeed?

A: Science courses such as Biology and Chemistry, while challenging are important, and the best Environmental Consultants need to conduct analyses and so, you must take at least one and possibly two statistics courses.

2.  If there is such a thing as a “typical career path” what would it look like?
a. In an entry level position, what types of tasks and responsibilities should a student expect to take on?

A: Everything from doing professional work such as written reports and writing articles to conducting secondary research…and yes, making copies and sometimes getting teh boss coffee too.

b. What kinds of varying positions / jobs / experiences should a new hire seek out to become well-rounded as an environmental consultant and make them marketable in the industry?

A: Jobs that show exposure to Environmental issues.  Internships or part time work for a governmental agency or non-profit conservation organization always helps.

3. What differences are there between working for a large (national or international) environmental consulting firm compared to a smaller, regional one?

A: You will get more hands on experience working for a smaller firm, but you will work on bigger issues working for a larger firm.

4. If you had one piece of advice for a student looking to get into a career in environmental consulting, what would it be?

A:  Do not stay in one place too long. Get as many experiences as possible.

5. Based on your experience, what are the most surprising or unexpected elements about working in environmental consulting?

A: That it can lead to a wide variety of jobs even outside the environmental arena.

6. What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your career?

A: Helping people find their way in life.  That is the most rewarding thing I do.

Here is a small sampling of the careers someone in environmental studies can pursue:

1. Working for government to assist in monitoring companies and their compliance with environmental regulations
2. Working for law firms to provide support in research on environmental laws
3. Working for nonprofits whose mission it is to preserve the environment


4. Working on Wall Street to provide research on companies and their environmental contributions and vulnerabilities and its impact on their stock price

What should a person do to get a competitive edge while pursuing their education?

1. Write articles for ezines
2. Get internships or paid jobs using social media skills that many (although not all) students can learn to acquire.


Managing Obstacles

Topic: Your job search in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s

Reporter:Debra Donston-Miller

Media outlet: TheLadders

What are the benchmarks for each decade? What can you do to catch up if you have not met these

I am asked by many people “I think I am behind from where I should be, how do I catch up?”.

Who you know is always more important than what you know…it is the marker which counts the most.

One cannot suddenly change educational credentials or past job experiences or salary levels. But you can immediately go to work and change who you know and who knows you. The quality and the quantity of your contacts are the things or markers that can be changed almost overnight. By networking and getting to know people who matter, one can immediately change their value. Conducting a publicity program for yourself (blogging or using Twitter), you can immediately become known by others.

Topic: Hard to Pronounce Names and the Job Search Process

Reporter: Dawn Kligensmith

Media outlet: JobWeek

Q: At what point might a hard-to-pronounce name eliminate someone from consideration, and why? (eg, when someone is looking for any excuse to weed out resumes)?

A: Hard-to-pronounce names (and I speak from experience) increase the probability that someone may not get advanced in a job search. The probability depends on how many people are seeking the same job. Just look at the list of the last names of people we elect as President or Senator…easy to pronounce names have a slight advantage at the resume stage….BUT NOT AT THE INTERVIEW STAGE…SEE BELOW

Q: Couldn’t an unusual last name work to a job seeker’s advantage?

A: At the interview stage, the tables can be reversed particularly if there are many candidates being interviewed. When there are alot of candidates meeting the prospective employer in person, the people with bland or overly familiar last names are more likely to blend together. The person with a hard to pronounce last name stands out…but it is important that they are clear in the way they introduce themselves. It is important that they state their name clearly and slowly and to everyone they meet so that their name resonates in the minds of prospective employers.

Q: You specifically said FIRST names in your book. I suppose that’s because nothing can really be done about last names?

A: Right…nicknames are good substitutes for first names. However, a really tough last name can sometimes be turned into a nickname too if you work at thinking it through.  Someone with the last name Smithowizowski can become Smitty for example…that stands out and is easy to remember.



Topic: Working for a Startup instead of Going to College: Is it such a good idea?

Reporter: Ryan Lytle

Media outlet: U.S. News & World Report

Q: Should a high school student work for a startup or not after graduation? 

1. Many startup experiences are thrilling and exhilarating and much can be learned. Every once in awhile, an Apple or a Microsoft is born and everyone becomes rich. Unfortunately, most do not succeed and while failure can teach many lessons, most of the startups simply teach bad habits.

2. The problem is even an experienced professional is not able to always know how to determine which startups to join and which ones to pass on. A typical high school student will usually not be able to know if the startup is worth their time and effort until it is too late…and it usually is too late for most of them. Better to go to school to learn how to choose which startups to join and which to forget about.

Topic: The Best Degrees–a Return to Fundamentals

Reporter: Debra Auerbach

Media outlet: CareerBuilder

Q:What kinds of skills/background are employers most looking for these days?

A: Back to the fundamentals. Employers are very unhappy with the writing skills and the analytical skills of college graduates and so, any degree that is associated with strong written communications (English major or journalism major) or analytical skills (philosophy or economics or math or statics majors) will get the attention of most employers. YES…THERE IS HOPE FOR THE LIBERAL ARTS MAJOR!

Q: What are some of the hottest jobs today and what degrees are needed to get them?

A: Social media…every type of organization needs to have a social media presence (profit or non-profit or government) and anyone who has a demonstrated skill in that area is ahead of the curve. 

Q: What advice would you give college students who are undecided about their major?

A: As soon as possible, seek out an internship and try to change the type of internship each semester and over the summer so that by graduation time, you have a good sense of the types of jobs and employers.


Topic: How to Drop a Class

Reporter: Carly Sitzer

Media outlet: Her Campus

Q: How do you drop a class…what is the best way to do so?


1. Topline advice: if you are going to drop a course…do it before it can impact a grade point average. Most schools have dates after which it will lower the gpa. Why is that important? Because once you begin your search for a job, employers will be looking at the gpa before even bringing you in for an interview.
One other piece of advice: if you drop it…be kind to the professor. Avoid the blame game. It is not your professor’s fault that the course did not work out just as it is not necessarily your fault. It usually is as a result of a number of variables and you may want to take a course with that professor in the future (or you may even have to take it in the future with that professor) so keep the relationship healthy.


Topic: What are the hottest majors right now?

Reporter: Meg Leventhal

Media outlet: Honor Student Magazine

Q: We want to get parents and students thinking about the best fields to enterright now -especially in terms of getting a job immediately following college.  Is there an an unique program that is hot right now at your college?

A: Our programs are professionally oriented. We do the following:

1. We insist that students take a course in their first semester called University 101… is a course all about how to succeed in college. Our approach is that if a student does not navigate that critical first
year they may not make it through all 4 years…so we spend alot of time with them in that first year getting them comfortable with college life.
2. The next critical period is the final year…in that year…we get them ready for jobs through intense hands-on learning programs. Please see the one that I am involved in as just one example:

…and also many internship opportunities outside of the classroom.


Topic: Study Skills

Reporter: Lori Johnston

Media outlet: AOL

1. Please offer some tips on improving study skills.

A: There are two study skills that make a huge difference.

1. Pace yourself: do not cram all you need to get done in one long session, but rather, break up your study time into smaller sessions over a more prolonged period of time. That will improve the odds you will retain the material when a test comes along.
2. During a study session, after about an hour…stop….take a 2 minute break…walk around the area…clear your head. That will recharge your battery and you will get more out of the session.

General Marketing, Advertising, & Branding


Topic: The Benefit of Repeat Business

Reporter: Melissa Jackson

Media Outlet: eLocal USA

What are the advantages of consistently working with the same professional?

A: communications are faster and more easily understood

How do you, as professionals, try to ensure that you establish long-term relationships with clients?

A: Invest time in getting to know your client/customer. It will allow you to better understand their needs and aid you in creating custom service that builds loyalty.

Are there times when you won’t work with a customer again?

A: Yes….when it is clear that the customer is just looking for the lowest price and not the greatest value.

Topic: Getting Your Brand on Target

Reporter: Jeremy Smith

Media outlet: ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.Com

Question: Branding is tough and making sure your customers are targeted properly is harder. What is the best way to find your brand and target your customers?

Answer: The single most important thing: focus…focus and then…focus some more. Every brand has what we call a sweet spot. The people in the center of the target who love the brand the most and are willing to pay the most for it. To refind its way….a brand must start with the center of the target audience.


Topic: Top Facebook Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Reporter: Leyl Black

Media outlet: American Express Open Forum

What are common marketing mistakes small businesses make on Facebook? What are some of the common pitfalls of novice Facebook marketers?

Answer: Biggest mistakes:

1. Not maintaining the pages. My research indicates that 75% of small businesses stop updates after 6 months. The pages get stale and so does the image of the business.
2. Not providing news that could not be found somewhere else…small businesses need to reward people for coming to their Facebook pages by providing news or coupons or some reward not found somewhere else.


Topic: Retail Catalogs

Reporter: James Bicker

Media outlet: Retail Customer Experience

Question: This week, JCPenney shut down its catalog division. Are catalogs still relevant with shoppers?

Answer: JCP is making a mistake by shutting down its catalog entirely….there are segments of consumers (not all consumers…segments) that still want to thumb through the pages.


Topic: Super Bowl Ad Hype

Reporter: Tamara Ikenberg

Media outlet: Courier-Journal Newspaper 

Question: Are Super Bowl commercials still the “events” they used to be, and what may be contributing to them being less influential?

Superbowl commercials are no longer as effective as they once were because:


1. Many of the people viewing the game are no longer totally engaged with the television set…they are also viewing smartphones, iPads and other hand held devices which distract them and their attention to the game.
2. Advertisers increasingly look for segmented audiences rather than mass audiences. While they may still advertise during the Superbowl…they do not spend as much in the way of production dollars on the production of the commercials…leading to less innovation and less interesting spots.


Topic:  Marketing Metrics

Reporter: Rick Cook

Media outlet: CMO.Com

Question: How do you choose what to use both for marketing generally and for specific campaigns?

Answer: I always tell clients to construct the table of results before a site is launched that they would love to see a month or two after the site is launched if the website is viewed as an effective site….and to put the metrics in order of importance to them. When you do that, it forces decisions that shape the creation of the site…it provides for the tradeoffs that have to be made in metric choices. A site cannot be all things to all people and will not likely optimize every possible metric. The mission of the site will likely shape the metrics needed.

Topic: Retail Marketers Who Use Direct Marketing

Media outlet: Direct Marketing News

Reporter: Alex Palmer

Question: How can retailers use zip codes and other customer data to better target their marketing? What works and what doesn’t?

Answer: People in a zip code in Duluth Montana or Springfield Illinois are going to be more similar than people living in a zip code in New York City or Boston. There is more diversity of demographics within a zip code in larger cities and thus, zip code data needs to be augmented with other data. House files or merging of other lists helps alot.

Topic: Medical Practitioners and Digital Marketing

Reporter: Daniel Casciato

Media outlet: Medical Office Today

1. How can today’s medical practitioners build and expand their patient base through the use of digital technology? How can they get more people in the waiting room? What are some best practices they should follow? What tools/techniques have been proven to be most successful and why? When it comes to expanding their patient base, what is the most persistent problem faced by most medical practices today?

A: The biggest problem: Many medical offices start a digital marketing program by hiring outside experts but then drop it because they do not staff up to manage it after it is launched. Best practice is to be sure you are developing real relationships with patients and not just spamming them.

Topic: Why Do Small Retailers Fail?

Reporter: Adriana Gardella

Media outlet: NY Times

People think it is all about location and yes, location is very important but….it is becoming less important in the Internet age. There are many other factors, not the least of which include:

1. Customer service
2. Well trained employees
3. Timely promotions
4. Changes in product offerings often enough so customers do not get bored but not so often that they feel uncomfortable.
5. Partnerships with other retailers