Blog Are Now Due

Anything you change or post after this point will not count toward your grade.

Please remember to submit your OMETs if you haven’t done so already, and have a great summer!

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Graphical Job/Interview Advice

If you’re on the job market soon, here are some helpful reminders about conduct, how to answer interview questions, etc.

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Informal Report Guidelines + Final Grading Policy

This final informal report is due in hard copy at the beginning of class on Friday, April 19th (the last day of classes).

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to 1) show you can create a document in the style and structure of an informal progress report and 2) use that style and structure to effectively communicate what you’re taking away from this class. Take a look at the beginning of chapter 10 (your final reading assignment) in your textbook. It says that reports:

“[N]ote the progress of ongoing activities or projects, or summarize the results of a completed project or investigation. They may also recommend follow-up work that should be performed on the conditions described” (350).

This is your goal with your final report–show me your progress in the course, summarize what you learned, set goals for your future self. This should be a practical application of the concepts, projects, assignments and discussions from the course. In other words, don’t just say you learned how to format and organize ideas in a letter; show me that you understand why using the appropriate format matters and how you can expect letters to come into play in your future career.

It’s is NOT enough to say “Memos will be useful” or “I will use email in my future jobs.” That’s a given. What do you now know to consider when you create these documents? What can you show me you’ve learned about composing them?

Format

Your report can be in the format of a letter, email or memo. (You must print it out regardless.) Whichever format you choose, you MUST abide by its structural guidelines, including all necessary elements as if this were a document you were giving to your boss. Excluding headings, your report should be no more than 2,000 words. Look to p. 352 for further guidelines on progress report structure.

Content

Ultimately, what you discuss in your report is up to you. If you think about your status as student being analogous to an employee and this course as a long-term project for your company, what would you tell your boss?

Note that reports often deal with things that went wrong, not just the good stuff. So if, for instance, you slacked off early in the term but really made a strong effort after spring break, say so and give evidence to support your claim. Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses in a savvy way is a useful skill to have and shows integrity.

Other things to consider: you may want to quote yourself from projects or assignments over the term as evidence of progress. You may want to discuss problems you encountered in the class and show how you sought to overcome them. You might think about the various assignments you were given and how you tackled each of them differently. If possible use numbers, figures or other quantifiable elements (you might want to do research to achieve this).

Finally, please note that you are NOT making a case for a specific letter grade in the course; you are creating a rhetorically effective document that proves your organizational and writing prowess. Structure it logically, write with elegance and provide appropriate examples to implicitly demonstrate the grade you deserve.

Final Grading

This report in conjunction with your finalized blog design and posts will make up a significant portion of your final grade. Here’s an approximate breakdown of how your final grade for the course will be assigned:

20% blog design and content, midterm evaluation memos

20% attendance, group work and participation

20% final informal report

10% job shadow revision

10% final presentation

10% resume and cover letter revision, Linkedin profile

10% reading quizzes and midterm exam

Remember that any late assignments from the term bring down your grade, as do attendance issues. Keep in mind that you must hand in all assignments in order to pass the course, even if they are late.

Please bring any questions about this assignment or finals to class.

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WPC Presentation Rescheduling

Wednesday:
Lauren
Joe K
Whitney
Sam
Angela

Friday:
Mattie
Peter K
Matt
Bryce
Joe G.

Monday:
Jaclyn
Zach
Peter

Colleen

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LinkedIn Info: Read for Wed. + Google Yourself

LinkedIn is a social media website dedicated to professional networking. Much like Facebook or Twitter, you create a personal profile, and can adjust what information you provide.

Making a Profile

Sign up and create a profile under your name. Add things like your degree, past jobs (that are applicable, or framed in a way that makes them applicable, to where you want your career to go.

For instance, I worked as a server and bartender at a Mexican restaurant for a few years during college, but I don’t list that on my LinkedIn page because it’s not appropriate to the direction my career is headed now – towards teaching and editing.

However, five years ago when my career path was much less established, I might have listed that job to show I could keep a job for extended periods, and I might have framed my skills broadly so they could apply to where I wanted to go – able to multi-task and listen carefully, worked my way up the restauranting hierarchy from host to server, able to remember complicated formulas and rules like when mixing drinks, etc.

If you don’t have much of a job history, similar to resumes, your volunteer work or college activities become more important. So does your “Summary” section – this is where you can orient people who visit your profile.

When you edit your profile, you’ll see you can also list things like certifications, awards, organizations, languages, etc. Make use of those when appropriate. As you build your profile, you can adjust it by altering the order of information, adding details about your different positions, listing skills you have, and so on. Make sure you add a picture, and try to have it be a professional-looking photo (mine is not a great example of this). Forbes recently had some good advice about using the site.

Using LinkedIn

Let’s say you’ve made your basic profile: now what? The next step is to find connections and people/organizations/places to follow. This is the “social” aspect of the site. Others look at your profile, endorse your skills, recommend you for jobs, and so on. On your LinkedIn homepage, these different entities will update you, much like a Facebook newsfeed. Keep in mind that when you visit other profiles, they can often see that you’ve done so; this is why it’s a good idea to have your profile reasonably filled out and prepared for viewing before you explore the site.

Only connect to people you actually know, and who have a real relation to you career-wise. This isn’t like Twitter where you might follow people who look interesting. This is virtual networking. This is building a professional persona. I can’t stress enough that this site is public. What you post on here is easily searchable by potential employers, strangers, your friends, everybody. A google search of your name will yield this profile as a top result (usually). Therefore, the rules for crafting a good resume and proofreading it apply doubly here. If, for some reason you decide you don’t want to ever deal with LinkedIn again after this class delete your profile. You don’t want an out-of-date page lingering in your search results. This is a profile you should update semi-regularly: not every day by any means, but any time you have a professional development or something worth adding, you should change your profile. You should also periodically connect to new people.

Connecting: when you ask to connect to someone, it’s best to add a personalized message rather than the default connection request LinkedIn provides. This is just like cover letters – if you show you’ve taken the time to address the person/position directly, it seems like you care more.

Assignment for Wednesday

Please start your profile before class on Wednesday. We’ll be looking at different examples of LinkedIn posts and we’ll workshop some of your pages in class. Try to find an example of a “good” page to discuss. Be ready too to discuss the results of your google search. Your final LinkedIn profile will be due Friday before class. Please post a link to it, with your name, in the comments of this blog post. 

Also for Wednesday, please bring questions or concerns about LinkedIn and building your profile.

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Job Search Tips

Forbes had a helpful article last week about things to avoid during your job search. Unsurprisingly, guess what was #1?

1. Failing to proofread job-hunting materials.

The second piece of advice, don’t ignore your online footprint, directly addresses your Linkedin assignment this week. The entire article is worth a quick read if you have time.

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Final Presentation Assignment

As per your votes before break, the theme for final presentations will be Inventions. Since two related categories tied, I’m willing to keep it broad: you may either 1) discuss an important invention in your field or 2) propose a needed, non-existent invention in your field.

Purpose: to have you prepare for and understand the relationship between written and spoken text. Also, you will need to competently speak to colleagues at some point in your professional life, so now’s a good time to practice.

Assume a general audience for your presentation. Your delivery can be somewhat informal, but should stay within the bounds of professional conduct.

You need to give an idea of what your field is, why this invention is/would be important, and what led up to its creation. Pick a narrow enough topic for the time allowed.  If you’re imagining an invention, you should likely address the probability of creation. If you’re telling us about an existing invention, make sure you don’t just give a historical lecture. Keep in mind the 5 Ws of contextualizing information: who, what, where, when, why (and often, how). Regardless of your invention, your goal should be to make us care about your topic as you inform or persuade us.

You’ll have 7 minutes (+/- 30 seconds) to present. This includes set-up time. Going outside this range will result in a full letter drop in your presentation grade, so practice your timing. To help you with this, I’m requiring you to hand in a draft of your presentation on the day you present. This could mean a write-up, copies of your notecards, a detailed outline of what you’re going to discuss, your drafting pages…whatever you used to prepare and give your presentation. This should include a Reference page in APA style with the sources you used for your presentation.

Other requirements:

  • Don’t be boring. Seriously: find something to talk about that interests you.
  • Use visual aids when appropriate.
  • If you use PowerPoint (NOT required), do not fill your slides with text.
  • Speak extemporaneously, meaning, DO NOT read your presentation to us. This takes practice.
  • Speak loudly, clearly, and at an appropriate pace for your topic.
  • Listen closely to other speakers. If I get a sense that you’re not listening, I will quiz you on the information presented that day.
  • Read ch. 14 for more suggestions about presentations.

We will sign up for presentation times and topics the week after conferences. During presentations, listeners are expected to give feedback (more on this later).

REMEMBER: You must bring ideas for your final presentation to your conference with me.

By way of example:

Here’s one model of a talk that’s engaging, incorporates technology, and manages to explore field-specific research. Amy Cuddy teaches us about the importance of non-verbal language.

Here’s another fairly engaging speaker, Dr. Russell Barkley, who uses PowerPoint (sparingly). I’d argue, however, that he speaks a bit too quickly for his subject matter.

You can find other good examples all over the internet, but here’s one site that compiles some with commentary. And in the context of political speeches, here are some more examples.

Conversely, here’s a rather boring introduction to an equally lackluster speech, mostly due to its improvisational nature.

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