Fake It ‘Til You Make It: Final Steps for Module #1

Liam Neeson saying "I don't know who you are, but I will look you up on LinkedIn and I will find you"

Photo

Avoid photoshopped pictures, “glamor” shots, or pictures with copyright symbols on them.

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Also avoid red-eye photos or photos with other lighting issues:

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Also, avoid photos at odd angles:

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You can do worse than to take a selfie with your computer that is simple, in good lighting, and uses no effects (but shave after having the flu):

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Or, if you want to get real fancy, you can do some slight cropping and editing in Preview (Mac) or whatever Window’s people use or Pixlr, a free online photo editor.

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Headline

Your headline is what most LinkedIn users will see first. It should bridge what you’re currently doing with what you want to do.

Sales Support, Accounting, and Merchandising Intern at Jayden Star LLC, New York, NY

This means you need to summarize what you’re doing now quickly to get to the what you want to do:

Merchandising Intern at Jayden Star, LLC | Looking for full-time accounting internships starting March 1, 2017

Consider my own.  I these are my full titles:

Assistant Professor of Technical and Professional Communication at East Carolina University; President and Founder at Content Garden, Inc.

That’s a mouthtful, and leaves out the most important part. So, I shortened it to the most relevant information for my target audience, which are small business owners who are prospective clients:

College Professor; President at Content Garden, Inc. | I help small businesses reach new customers online

Skills

Let’s talk skills next, because this will influence your summary and experience. You need to focus on including the threshold skills for your field. And my rule is: fake it ’til you make it. If you know something about a skill, and it’s important to your field, put it on your profile. Then learn as much as you can about that skill to earn its place.

Throwaway skills like the following are not bad to include, but every job seeker will have them:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Social media
  • Microsoft Office (i.e. Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Public Speaking

You need to isolate 5-10 core threshold skills you want to feature in your profile. Here are mine:

  • Technical Writing
  • User Experience
  • Usability Testing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Strategy
  • Editing
  • WordPress
  • SEO
  • Digital Marketing

Summary

Once you’ve isolated 5-10 threshold skills, you need to use them throughout your profile, starting with your summary.

My professional mission is to work for a retail company in Greenville, NC in a marketing[,] public relations[,] e-commerce[,] social media[,] or event coordination entry level position. I can do the following for this organization, experience with social media platforms, research and assist with developing marketing material, and develop promotional social media campaigns to engage users and build followers. I believe my pertinent skill sets would be a good fit for this position.

Those 5-10 things you mention better be in your skills section.

The best way to get endorsements and recommendations for skill sets is to endorse and write recommendations for other people on LinkedIn.

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Experience

Your experience section is your chance to highlight actual experience in each of your core skill sets. And yes, you really do want to get experience in each of your core skills by the time you graduate, whether that’s through actual work experience, volunteering, service-learning, or interning.

Besides highlighting your core skills, your experience section is a chance to show that you have the ability to create outcomes for organizations. You need to include measurable, quantifiable impacts for each past job:

Logistics Executive Team Lead Intern

Target

June 2015 – August 2015 (3 months)Goldsboro, North Carolina Area

Executive intern for Logistics department

– Learned process, execution, and management of store with sales of 27 million annually
– Created new process to better stores out of stock percentage by over 2% month to date
– Managed a team of 35 logistics team members
– Provided feedback, directions, and problem-solving techniques to increase sales

Cover Letter

The cover letter is a document you will write for each module in this class that is a letter to me, your instructor, discussing your writing process for that module.

There is a page on the course website devoted to cover letters that explains them in more detail.

Essentially, though:

  • They are about your writing process for completing your module.
  • They are informal letters to me, your instructor, pointing out key elements of the work you did in creating your module.
  • Their purpose is to give me context for the deliverable I’m creating. Often, the work involved in a written document is not visible from the document itself.
  • They are a best practice in many industries. Project managers, bosses, and clients often want a cover letter to orient them to the documentation you have created for them. These letters tell the audience what went into the creation of the deliverable to demonstrate the value-add of the deliverable. They also orient the audience to what they are about to read.

Final Step for Module #1

6) 9/8/16 by midnight ET >>

Revise all documents you’ve created. The point of these reviews is to help you improve your writing. This process will be negated if the draft you submit to Eli is the same as the draft you hand in as your final (and end up eventually showing to your community partner). Revise, revise, revise.

Be sure you log in to Eli to see what you reviewers said about your draft as you work on your final draft. Listen to your reviewers and make critical choices to improve your documents based on what they say.

Post your Cover Letter and a link to your updated LinkedIn profile to Blackboard.

Getting a Job: Teacher Response to Homework #2

Grades will always be posted to Blackboard. Check for them there.

It’s tough out there, but it’s also easy to misunderstand what is expected of you

This all boils down to the expectations on your generation of job seekers, which are high. Whereas previous generations received jobs without college degrees or with few skill sets, your generation is expected to perform in a dizzying array of communication venues, from social media to face-to-face meetings.

In every communication situation, however, there are always expectations, or conventions, to follow. You may not know what they are, but you can figure them out if you pay attention to social cues and do some research beforehand.

Getting a job = solving problems

Last, but not least, I think a lot of first-time jobseekers misunderstand what is expected of them in the current economy, which is to solve complex problems. Organizations want self-starters who can immediately begin to add value to their organization with very little training. The more you can legitimately present yourself as the solution to problems the organization is facing, the better chance you have of landing that first career-launching position.

What Exactly Is Business 2.0? Teacher Response to Homework #1

Grades will always be posted to Blackboard. Check for them there.

Everyone handed this in. Good.

One thing to note on this assignment is that several of you forgot to submit a link to your introduction on the course website with your homework assignment. When I ask you to post to the course website, I also ask you to submit a link to your post to Blackboard along with your assignment for grading purposes.

So, to use Kristin’s post as an example, she would just submit this link with her homework assignment: http://www.guiseppegetto.com/engl3880/i-am-kristin/

This enables me to make sure you completed the full assignment. You will only be asked to post to the course website for homework assignments, and will always be prompted to do so within the assignment itself (i.e, the following is from Homework #1):

  1. You should have already received an email containing your username and password for the course website.
  2. Use it to log-in and make an introductory post on the course website…

8. Post all your writing (including the link to your post on the course website) in one document to the Blackboard assignment for Homework #1 (Content>Assignments>Module #1 Assignments).

Digital technologies have increased the speed of business processes

One of the first things I want you to learn in this class, is that the digital world has sped up the pace at which we do business dramatically. Social media allows real-time customer responses. Social commenting platforms like WordPress enable customers to get in touch with organizations 24/7. Products can now be ordered via e-commerce sites like Amazon and shipped all over the world in a matter of days.

Digital technologies have increased the level of social engagement required by business organizations

All this new technology has also upped the threshold for customer engagement on every front. If someone Tweets at your organization that they are ticked off because they ordered a product and it isn’t working, your organization needs to handle that. Employees from different departments (e.g. marketing, product development, shipping, customer service) need to work more collaboratively than ever before. Today’s customers expect a high quality experience at all levels of purchasing, from finding information about a product to support after they have made their purchase.

Organizations who don’t understand or have access to digital technologies are doomed to fall behind

Most of my work as a consultant has stemmed from the thousands of organizations out there who have fallen behind in the digital realm. Organizations ranging from homeless shelters to media outlets have hired me to help them do everything from social media engagement to web design. The one thing all my clients have in common is that they are struggling to keep up with the demands of an increasingly digital economy. They don’t understand how to engage people in this new economy, and how to respond to the shifting paradigm of customer experience I described above.

Course Introduction

Greetings!

Welcome to ENGL 3880: Writing for Business and Industry! I have been working in collaboration with folks in the business world, mostly as a consultant, for about five years now. I have taught courses in business writing and related topics at the college level for over ten years. I also have my Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from Michigan State University. I’m currently an Assistant Professor (meaning on the track toward tenure) of Technical and Professional Communication here at ECU.

I’m excited to share some of the insights I’ve gleaned during these various professional experiences with all of you.

In the interests of helping you acclimate to my style of teaching, here are some highlights of this course website, and thus the course itself, that you’ll want to keep an eye on:

  • Deadlines – I’m a big fan of deadlines, both hard and soft, and so I tend to scaffold assignments pretty tightly.
    • The best place to check for hard deadlines is always the schedule page, from which you can view the schedule for each course module, or learning unit, as it’s posted. All deadlines for each module can also be found within the module itself.
    • Your first hard deadline is 8/26/15, when Homework #1 is due by the start of class.
    • I will also include soft deadlines as steps within the modules.These deadlines that are not required, but you are encouraged to meet them to stay on pace with the assignment.
  • Technologies – As this is an online course, it is obviously going to be technology-driven. In this regard, there are three main technologies to concern yourself with: WordPress, Eli, and Blackboard.
    • WordPress is the Content Management System that runs our course website. If you ever have problems with it, I invite you to first be good technological problem-solvers and take a look at WordPress’s excellent documentation, both within the CMS itself and on their website.
    • Eli is a peer review technology we’ll use to share our writing with each other. They have a very robust support section on their website, so check their first if you have any problems.
    • I’ll assume you’re all familiar with Blackboard and so won’t go into that one, except to say that all you’ll be using it for is turning in assignments and downloading readings.
  • Interactions – I like to think of teaching as a series of interactions during which knowledge is made. The main interactions of this course are: homework assignments, modules, discussion in class, and small group work.
    • Homework assignments and their due dates can be found via the schedule page, under the schedule specific to each module. So, for instance, if you go to the schedule for module #1, you will see that homework #1 is due to Blackboard by Wednesday, 8/26/15 by the start of class. Homework assignments will always be the first thing due when we start a new module.
    • Modules are larger assignments that are due about every 1.5 weeks. You can see modules as they’re posted on the modules page, but like everything else, they’re included in the main schedule.
    • You are encouraged to post and discuss stuff (questions, comments, interesting news articles, whatever) on the course website and in class that you think your peers would like to hear about, and every homework assignment after the first one will require you to do so. That way we have a nice active online and in-class community with interesting content constantly being discussed.
    • Much of the work you produce in this class will be done collaboratively in small groups. Research has shown that peer interaction in classrooms of all levels is highly beneficial to learning and fosters better peer support. At the same time, the current economy requires collaboration for pretty much any profession worth having, so this small group work will also be a form of training to prepare you for the world beyond this classroom.
  • Reaching me – All my contact info is available on the syllabus page, which of course you should read through thoroughly in case you have any questions or concerns about any course policies (you’ll be prompted to do this for homework #1).
    • I’m pretty much always available via email and phone during normal business hours (M-F 9-5). I am slower to respond on weekends, but still check my email.
    • I have obviously also worked hard to build a robust course website with a lot of information and interactivity, so please do read through it before asking me simple questions like “when is such-and-such due” or “how do I access X?” If you can’t figure out how to do something or are struggling in any way, the best way to reach me is to post a comment on the course website itself. I will receive an email every time you post something to the website, so it will be the equivalent of emailing me, and often another student will beat me to the punch with an answer to your question. Most importantly: other people who have that same question will see it and the answer that gets posted, saving us all a lot of lead time.
    • Of course I have traditional office hours posted on the syllabus page. You can call or chat with me via Skype or Google during those times as well. It’s best to make an appointment with me if you want to talk outside class, just to ensure I haven’t stepped out for a moment when you stop by or call. I am also available for appointments outside of these hours.
  • Working hard – If you aren’t intimidated by the massive course website or omnibus introductory post, I should just mention that I teach a tough class. I also provide a lot of support, however, so if you’re willing to work hard, ask questions, and engage with the material, you should be fine. If you are NOT fine, reaching out to myself and your peers early and often is always the best response. If you are feeling lost in the course, which can often happen when working in online learning environments, touching base with another human being can help ground you and get you back on track. I have high expectations for students, particularly graduate students, but I don’t want anyone struggling needlessly. That’s what the assignments are for ;-).

Good Social Media Strategy Is Goal-Oriented: Teacher Response to Module #2

Grades and individual feedback on Blackboard.

Key learning from this module

Social media strategy =

clear, measurable, and achievable goals +

authentic (real), focused, and consistent presence +

maintenance tasks +

triggers for when tasks are to be performed

Make sure your goals are MAST

If you set clients up with goals that aren’t measurable, they won’t know when they’ve achieved their goals and you’ll end up looking like a failure in their eyes. You also need to make sure their goals are achievable, however, or the same result can occur.

Make sure your tasks are completely clear

It’s also important to use language that makes all elements of your strategy clear. Language like “create consistent page activity,” for instance, isn’t useful, because it doesn’t explain what to do in a clear, consistent manner. You need to include what this activity looks like with language that is native to the platform you are using (e.g. “post a video to YouTube about X,” “post a Tweet on Y topic,” etc.).