Career Ladder
Career LadderUniversity of Houston-Clear Lake

Your quarterly e-newsletter from the UHCL Alumni Association and the Office of Career Services.

Online Reputation and the Job Search
Chuck CrockerBy: Chuck Crocker
Associate Director, UHCL Office of Career Services

Social media and the internet offer several easy-access resources for job seekers, such as job boards, job search blogs and career-related networking sites. Used strategically, social media can be an effective way of connecting to a professional network and uncovering job opportunities. However, social media may be a serious barrier to many job seekers.

Employers are looking at all social media sites to check out job candidates. Depending on what the job candidate has posted online, these searches may be an asset or hindrance to the job seeker. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (January 2010) states that more than 85% of employers are using search engines to research possible new hires. In the same survey, employers say they are looking primarily for written comments and images. So, what does that mean for job candidates?

  1. Be careful what you write about other people on social media sites. It is not uncommon for employees to use sites such as Facebook to complain about their employer, manager or co-workers. One might think that only their friends will see these comments, but friends have friends who have friends who are not in your network, but who may see what you have written. Even worse, many candidates have not enabled privacy settings and their posts are broadcasted to the whole world, including a potential employer. Many employers are concerned about a candidate who openly complains about their job. It puts into question their professional judgment and ability to work genuinely with others.

  2. Be careful about images you have of yourself online. Right or wrong, employers make judgments about a candidate’s lifestyle based on posted images. Photos that are sexually suggestive or display of out-of-control drinking or partying can raise red flags for employers who are concerned that a candidate will not be a positive representative of their organization.

So what should you do when using social media sites and protecting your reputation?

  1. On non-professional sites, make sure that privacy settings are set. Also, be strict about who you friend. Mostly, do not write controversial statements about your employer, co-worker or supervisors. If you have a problem with your boss or co-workers, find a trusted friend or confidant to voice your displeasure.

  2. Use social media to talk about issues germane to your career field. Sites such as LinkedIn offer the opportunity to post your résumé, comment on professional and career-related topics and network with other professionals. Employers want to know that you are both committed and knowledgeable about your chosen career field.

  3. Google your name and see what comes up. This can help you do some troubleshooting about what is out there about you or where your name is mentioned.

In short, as a professional, one should always use careful judgment about what one writes on social media sites. The world does not need to know your innermost thoughts unfiltered. It could cost you your career.

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Using Social Media in the Job Search
Emily GlynnBy: Emily Glynn
Career Counselor, UHCL Office of Career Services

Remember when you could go into a business, greet the manager, personally hand them your résumé, and converse about why you are the best person for the job? Times have changed. Instead, we sit behind a computer and submit our application materials into the unknown land of the World Wide Web. Since applying online sometimes seems to be the only option, the value of social media use is rising. Below are a few things that you can do to increase your online presence.

  1. Let People Know You are Job Searching
    If you are a part of an online networking community, let your friends, family and professional connections know that you are on the job hunt. Sometimes these individuals already know your personality, strengths and interests and can be the best referral systems.

  2. Become Active Online
    Begin or follow a blog. Build a professional LinkedIn profile. Create a Twitter account. Post a Facebook status about your job search. With all of these online resources, company and position research is at your fingertips. For example, search a person or organization on LinkedIn. Observe who they are connected to, explore the groups they are a part of and reach out to connect. Google yourself and view the search results. Push your professional profiles, like LinkedIn, to the top of the search by being a more active participant. Finally, share information and it may be reciprocated. Forward a job posting, re-tweet a link or share an article.

  3. Engage in Online Conversation
    If you are a follower of blog writers or industry blogs, join in the conversation. The purpose of a blog is to promote thought and discussion. If there is a job, industry or company you are interested in learning more about, create dialogue by posting a question in the comments section. Make sure it is open ended and relates to the original blog topic post. Social media sites such as Twitter are also helpful in engaging online. Twitter has its own conversation tool. By using a hash tag (#) in front of a keyword or key phrase, you can search for conversations or chats (i.e. #JobHuntChat or #CareerChat). This not only helps you connect with others in their job search, but you can target specific industries or connect with actual hiring managers from companies. LinkedIn is another place where you can increase your online presence. Connect with professionals in your field, follow industry heads, and join discussion groups that focus on the job search.

Remember to control your content. If you are active on social networking sites such as YouTube or Pinterest, be aware that what you put online could potentially be available forever. Examine and utilize your privacy settings. You may want to remove content altogether during the job search. The key to all of this is active participation and leaving a positive presence online. Additional resources, along with more job search and career tips can be found on our website. Don't forget to visit the UHCL Office of Career Services to assist you in all of your career preparation needs.

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Alumni to Alumni:
Social ME-dia

J. Pamela Culpepper-Cronk, '80, '83By: J. Pamela Culpepper-Cronk
Owner, J. Pamela Photography
'80 BS, '83 MA, Distinguished Alumna '00

Okay, I get it! Social media is taking over as our principle source of communication. Websites, emails, blogs, Twitter and Facebook excel as loosely targeted forms of communicating messages to an individual or group. It is our Internet life. While I agree it is a superb avenue to reach out, it is missing the "human" touch.

I began my career as a professional photographer almost 30 years ago. With my UHCL Master's degree in hand, I joined the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Space Center Rotary as well as became affiliated with local and national organizations in my field. I networked like crazy. Following my mother's advice, "to see and be seen," I stepped into the life of our community.

By nature, I am admittedly a joiner and an extrovert who is energized by people. Advertising was done by way of the yellow pages and ads purchased in area event programs. However, I found then and now that the best referrals occur when one person asks another, "Can you recommend someone…?" It is the old Clairol commercial, tell two friends and they will tell two friends, and so on. It works!

After three years in business, I was eligible to join an amazing organization, the Association of Business and Professional Women. Each member owns or has fiduciary responsibility in her business. This group was the brainchild of two UHCL professors. What a blessing to be mentored and supported by the collective wisdom of that personal group.

Basic business models still prevail: under-promise, over-deliver; and do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going do it. Strong businesses are built on a key tenets, basic among those is the concept of relationships. How do you build a relationship? Sometimes you work together for a common cause. Or you might "play" together; serve on a board or committee. It could be lunch or a phone call. Be connected with "real" people. Does that take time? You bet! But, the payoff in long-term clients is enormous.

Social media is quick and easy, but nuances are lost. Of course, there is no going back to the dawn of time before computers, et al. We love having information at the touch of a key. Still, in our haste for immediacy and communication technology, I hope we do not lose something of ourselves, like the ability or inclination to see, hear and converse, people to people.

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Alumni to Alumni:
Blending Careers and
Enhancing Opportunities

Marilyn Sims, '88By: Marilyn S. Sims
Attorney at Law, Weycer, Kaplan,
Pulaski & Zuber, P.C.
'88 BS, Distinguished Alumna '10

So, you finally graduated with a degree in your chosen profession, and thanks to timing, the job market in your field has dried up. It seemed to be the lucrative field when you started down this career path, but today, despite achieving your degree, there are still no promises for employment. What are your options now?

One option many students are choosing is to continue their education to become more marketable. However, rather than pursuing more education in your chosen field, the one not currently offering the promise of a job, consider obtaining a companion degree in a field that enhances your current educational accomplishments; something that blends well with your chosen profession and builds skills or techniques that can be utilized by, or sold by, a prospective employer to their clients.

For example, if you are an accounting major, and you have not been able to obtain a position in the accounting field, consider a finance degree, an MBA or even a law degree. Blending your knowledge of accounting with one of these fields of study allows you a broader spectrum of employment opportunities. It allows your résumé to have added qualities that can be marketed by a potential employer, and in today's competitive market, just having a degree is no longer the door opener you need. It is having a degree in fields that employers can utilize. Thus, make decisions about your education that provide employers a reason why your résumé shines above all others and why hiring you brings qualities that their business can utilize.

If continuing your education to obtain another degree is not a viable option, you may want to enhance your résumé in other ways. Today, technology and networking add new dimensions for experience and outreach.

When hiring a new employee, almost all employers search the internet for information on a potential candidate, just as potential clients and customers do when searching for a company to hire. With all the connections today, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and personal or professional networking sites, there is a world of information out there about you that, in years past, was not available to prospective employers. With a few key strokes on the computer, employers can determine your interests and affiliations, so be sure to use these sites to your advantage. Make it easy for employers to see what groups you are affiliated with and how involved you are in professional organizations.

Your UHCL Alumni Association offers various networking opportunities. AlumNights are networking events sponsored by businesses and individuals in the community. The association also hosts many other activities, special projects and social events around the UHCL campus. Be sure to watch for upcoming events and join in the groups. The more people you know, the more opportunities that you have, so get actively involved in enhancing your credentials and making your career happen.

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Writers needed

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Contact us.

Career Events

Texas Job Fair
Thurs., Apr. 2
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Texas Southern University

Spring Teacher Job Fair

Tues., Apr. 9
12:30-2:30 p.m.
UHCL, Atrium II
Professional attire required.

Helpful Links

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Center for Advanced Management Classes

Have a position available? Contact the Office of Career Services to assist in locating interns, student workers or UHCL alumni.

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