Virtual Career Fair How To’s

One downside to virtual career fairs  is the lack of fun company stressballs, pens, and mints.  Fortunately, there’s an upside: you can wear your PJ’s.

Last week we posted that we are hosting a virtual career fair for GU alums interested in connecting with startups and small businesses.  According to Market Research Media, the virtual conference and trade show market more than doubled between 2009 and 2011 (  Virtual events are expected to be a US$18.6 billion industry by 2018 – and many of those will be virtual job fairs.

Getting the most out of a virtual career fair requires more than just logging in so here are some tips:

1.  Check your internet connection.  Nothing like connecting with your dream organization and having your internet crash.

2. Research. Research the companies in advance as you would for any career fair.  Since virtual career fairs provide connections through online chats, you don’t want to waste precious time gathering company information and details that you can find out in advance. Bypass the general and move directly into the meat of the conversation.  Also research the platform and format of the virtual event you will be attending.

3.  Upload your information early.  You want to make sure everything goes smoothly, things are formatted properly, and that your information is available to employers if they take a peek at attendee information before the fair.

4. No hashtags. Since the connections are made through online chatting, it can be tempting, or even habit, to use emoticons or instant messenger lingo – DON’T.  While you may be a wizard at using clever hashtags on Twitter, save those for the twitterverse.  #needajob #loveyourcompany #hireme

5.  Follow Up.  Remember the name of the person you chatted with so you can google them later.  Just like any career fair or job interview,  show your interest, enthusiasm, tenacity, and gratitude by following up with the company/employer/recruiter with a note.  Attach your resume so the recruiter doesn’t have to search for it.

6.  Have an updated and completed LinkedIn profile.  It’s the next logical step in investigating candidates during or after the fair.  Also make sure your overall presence on social media including Facebook and Twitter is appropriate.

Some say that while you can do a Virtual Career Fair in your PJ’s and slippers, you should still dress up in order to bring out your most professional self.  I personally, think I would still opt for the comfort of PJ’s. But that’s just me.

Have you participated in a virtual career fair and have some tips? We want to hear!

Apps We Love… For Work

Evernote – We’re still exploring this newly discovered app.  It allows you to create to-do lists, capture ideas, store meeting notes, store photos and then sync them and find them anywhere – tablet, phone, or computer – via a powerful search tool that even searches words in photos.  You can store documents, design and manage projects and more.  The supplementary app “Skitch” allows you to mark up documents with annotations and symbols.  Seems a bit complicated to get started but could be worth the time.  Free.

Georgetown Mobile App – The Alumni portion of the app has it’s very own careers section which includes a job search tip of the week, alumni job postings, and a schedule of upcoming webinars. Make sure you select the “Alumni” homescreen at the bottom of the app to access. Free.

GoToWebinar – Our favorite thing about the gotowebinar app is that you can now view our award winning professional development webinars from your phone or tablet!  From the hilltop to your desktop… and now your phone… or tablet. Free.

Indeed – Simple and easy job search app. Search by job title, key words, company, and location.

GlassDoor – We like this easy to use app to search for jobs, salary information, or companies in geographic regions.  The app is sleek and intuitive.  Filter your searches easily, flag the jobs you are interested in and email job descriptions to yourself or friends. Free.

Studio – Studio is doing for graphic design what Instagram did for photography.  We use this for work but it’s also fun for home!  Import pictures, add text, graphics, and overlays, and you have a powerful image to convey your message.  Free.

Lumosity – Improve your memory, attention, and overall brain performance through scientific brain workouts.  A  good alternative to Candy Crush. Free.

Easilydo – If you have trouble keeping up with all of your emails and social media accounts this app may be for you.  Easilydo aggregates your email, contacts and social media account information to pull out the things that can make you more efficient. You can schedule happy birthday messages to friends on Facebook, congratulate colleagues on promotions through Linked In, in addition to tracking packages, get directions to your next meeting, add contacts to you address book automatically, have your boarding passes and travel documents handy, and more.

Top 5 Tips for Managing Up

Managing up is an important part of your professional career and if you master it quickly you’ll spend more time on the content of your work than on managing your boss.  Think of it as honing your emotional intelligence in the workplace. Try these 5 tips for making yourself indispensable to your boss.

1. Promise Low, Deliver High.  Missed deadlines or under delivering on a project make your boss nervous because they aren’t sure if there are other things slipping through the cracks.  Better to wow them with your quick turnaround or fully baked white paper.

2. Anticipate Needs.  This one is twofold. First, know your bosses strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies.  Do they hate managing their calendar?  Help them do that.  Do they value speed?  Respond quickly. Is data not their strength?  Be the data guru.  And second,  do it without them asking.  Jump in and take initiative. Chances are they will be relieved and grateful.

3. Good news travels fast. Bad news travels faster.  If there is an issue take a few minutes (read: 10) to gather the details, process the problem, identify some solutions (see #4) and then tell your boss immediately.  There is nothing worse than if they hear about it through the grapevine.  If the issue is your fault, own it. And apologize.  While it may not fix the problem it will definitely garner respect.

4. Don’t bring problems without solutions.  Your boss probably has other problems or fires on their plate and this one will add to the list.  Make it easy for them by anticipating the need for a solution.  Bonus points for bringing a few possible solutions they can choose from.

5. If it’s not on paper (i.e. documented) it doesn’t exist.  You could have a million and one great ideas and think about your work 24/7 but until you put pen to paper its not real to your boss.  Write concept papers to put ideas into action. Deliver on small details quickly and demonstrate that action. Sometimes this means cc’ing your boss on emails. Sometimes this means printing a copy of something and putting it in their mailbox with a note.  Just like in high school math, show your work.

Bonus: Ask questions. But not too many.  There’s a time and a place for questions. When given a project, a few clarifying questions are important, necessary, and showcase a thoughtful approach, but too many questions and your boss will wish they just did it themselves.  Learn to deal with a little bit of ambiguity. Channel their style and approach, add in your own, and then dive in.  Sometimes you have to fake it to make it.

We want to know – how have you effectively managed up?  Check out some of our archived webinars on managing up here.

Top Dog: Gender Differences In Competition

New York Times bestseller and award winning journalist Ashley Merryman (L’98) came back to the Hilltop this week to speak to a group of 100 alums about her new book Top Dog: The Science of Winning & Losing.  After presenting a webinar for us in the spring on the topic, we found that many (many!) of the questions that came in were about gender differences in competition so her talk specifically focused on this aspect of her book. What was an hour lecture could have continued for two or three more.

Ashley’s books (co-written with Po Bronson) take a scientific journalistic approach – Ashley and Po research, read, assimilate, attend conferences, interview experts, and examine data for months  in order to live and breathe a topic.  The outcome is what I think of as a research-based compilation of everything interesting and important about a particular topic (in this case, competition). They take the scientific research hiding from the general public in journals and ivory towers and make it accessible, relatable, and actionable.  [Their first book, Nurtureshock, focused on children’s development and parenting.]

What we thought was going to be a conversation mostly about competition between and among men and women in the workplace really became a conversation about gender differences in all aspects of life; it’s difficult to extricate work from home, personal from professional.  And you definitely can’t look at adult competition without examining it’s childhood roots. As a woman, a working professional, a mom, and specifically the mom of a daughter, I found the conversation to be intensely personal.

Here are some of my take-aways:

  • Women compete – they just compete differently – “they choose competitors differently, they don’t have the same timing in their attacks and withdrawals, they differ in whether they play to win or play not to lose.. and they judge risk differently, even more so under stress” (p. 92).
  • Girls grow up playing in pairs; boys in groups.  Interesting foundation for competition.
  • The real benefit of competition is improved performance, not winning. This is one reason Ashley advocates for children’s programs not giving every child a trophy.
  • Only 4 women ran for Governor in 2010 – Women will run for political office when the odds of winning are decent by not a long shot.
  • Similarly, women tend to apply for jobs when they have all of the requisite skills, men when they have some.
  • Among start-up employees, women are outnumbered by men 2 to 1; Women tend to look at the odds of success as opposed to their male counterparts.

We’ve been hearing about “leaning in” lately… Its the buzz-phrase of the day.  Some people love it, some people hate it.  But regardless, Cheryl Sandberg should definitely have  a copy of Top Dog on her nightstand.

Other articles by Ashley Merryman & Po Bronson:

How to Tell If A Woman Will Be Successful In Business
Why Can Some Kids Handle the Pressure and Some Fall Apart?
Helping A Worrier Become A Warrior
Forget Brainstorming
The Creativity Crisis

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing and Nurtureshock are both available on

What We Are Reading


Bridget Holmes, Senior Director, Career Initiatives:
A Year Without Pants: WordPress & The Future of Work
I’m just diving in to this newly released book and am already intrigued. Who can even fathom work without email? It may become a thing of the past, according to author Scott Belkum.  This book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind and the unique work culture that contributes to its success.  Stay tuned for my reactions!

Whitney Pezza, Associate Director, Alumni Career Services:
To Sell Is Human
Jason Levin (MBA’06) recommended Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human, after a branding workshop we did with him.  It’s a fascinating book in which Pink offers a glimpse into the new science of sales (long gone are the days of door-to-door selling) and offers the new best practices for moving others.  Pink explains that everyone works in sales; he even commissioned a study that shows that people spend about 40 percent of their work time persuading people.  No matter your industry, it’s a fantastic and very useful read!  

Sarah Hay, Assistant Director of Alumni Career Services:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking
I am in the middle of reading Susan Cain’s New York Times bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and find it fascinating.  As an extrovert, I thought it would be wise for me to read this book and gain a perspective on how “the other half lives.” So far it’s been eye opening to not only hear Cain compare the decision-making styles and behaviors  between the two traits, but show how the United States transformed in to a country that promotes extroversion in every facet of society – especially the workplace!  I’m excited to continue reading Cain’s analysis on how adopting introverted traits may not be the worst thing for our current and future leaders.

We want to know: what books are on your reading list?

Things We Love… At Work


Say Thank You… Sometimes we forget the power of a simple thank you note.  They aren’t just for interviews or gifts either. Thank you notes can be powerful tools when networking.  If you’ve had a great conversation with someone, they have provided you with some sage advice, connected you with colleagues, or sent business your way, don’t forget about the power of a handwritten note.  We love these simple and classy personalized notes available online or print on PaperlessPost.

Triple C for J.Crew universal charger

Stay connected…  Don’t worry about your cell phone not being charged for that next conference call when you have this handy universal charger. We love this striped version from J Crew.

Put Pen to Paper…  We’re always in search for the perfect pen and we might have found it!  It can write 1.7 meters a day for 7 years. We’ll let you know if it runs out of ink any time soon!

“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.” – Anon  We all may use our e-calendars and smart phones to schedule or lives but there is something to be said for a classic calendar.  We love this oversize desk blotter calendar to keep track of events, birthdays, holidays, and our to-do lists.  Use your 7 year pen to jot down your important meetings and deadlines.

Spice up your brown bag lunch… This Ikat Cooler Lunch Bag is perfect for bringing your lunch to the office. The whole thing goes in your freezer and will keep your lunch cold through all of your morning meetings.  Plus, the patterns are on trend for fall!

Professional Summaries: Make It Count

The dreaded professional summary.  A good one is the Holy Grail of resume writing.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve seen a ton of resumes.  And I’ve seen very few with really strong professional summaries.  My philosophy is if it’s not stellar, why waste the space?  Professional summaries that focus on fluff or soft skills take up precious space on a resume that could be used to highlight your results and accomplishments.  A stellar one, on the other hand, can make an already strong resume even stronger.  Caveat: Generally, I only recommend professional summaries for individuals with 10+ years of work experience.  They can be especially helpful in summarizing varied careers that have encapsulated different industries, sectors, or position types. 

Here are a few tips that may be helpful:

1.  Take a step back.  If your resume is your dissertation, what would the abstract say?  If your resume is a novel, what does the inside cover say? How would you thoughtfully summarize your career? Think about themes, highlights, and creating context.

2.  Balance.  You don’t want to repeat what is already on your resume but you also don’t want to be too vague (read: fluffy).  You have to strike the right balance of high level and detailed.  Instead of a 50,000 foot view try a 25,000 foot view.

3.  What makes you different?  People who apply for the same job will most likely have a somewhat similar background and education.  How does the combination of your skills, experiences, and training set you apart?

4.  Stick to 4 to 6 statements or bullets and start with the number of years of experience in your field. For example, X professional with 10+ years of experience in YInclude profession, areas of expertise, types of organizations/environments you have worked in.

5. Ask a colleague or mentor.  Find someone who knows your work and industry well and ask them to summarize your work to get you started.

6.  Tailor to fit.  Depending on what you are applying for you may have different professional summaries. I know, that means two Holy Grails.  Chances are once you get the first one down, though, the second will come easily – it’s just a matter of rearranging and slightly varying your emphasis.

7.  Avoid things that should be obvious. Respected.  Enthusiastic. Motivated. Prove these in an interview, not on your resume.

What is your biggest obstacle in creating a strong professional summary?

Did you know? Alumni Career Services offers free resume and cover letter reviews for alumni. Send your resume electronically to and we will reply with feedback.

Job Posting Site Roundup

There are a million job search and job posting websites out there… I have found that I continually recommend a few to people depending on their interest areas. Here they are:

GU Alumni Job Postings-
General –
Higher Education –
Non Profit –
Publishing –
Journalism –
Philanthropy –
Local Government –
Independent Education-
Human Resources –

What are your favorites? We’ll add them to the list!