Social Media for the Job Search

If you missed our August seminar on “Social Media for the Job Search,” here are the key takeaways.

Over 90% of recruiters are using social media these days. They can use them passively to check you out. Or they use them actively to search for candidates. Most likely they will do both. The big three for job search purposes are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Social media can benefit job searchers in four main ways

  1. Finding job openings that are posted
  2. Networking
  3. Building your personal brand
  4. Getting to know a potential employer

Job postings

This is pretty straight forward. Facebook and LinkedIn both feature job boards, where companies can post open positions. Users have the option to apply directly on Facebook and LinkedIn. While applying with your LinkedIn profile is perfectly fine as long as your profile is well written and complete, applying with your Facebook profile is probably not your best bet. Most people use Facebook primarily for private interactions, so there is not enough work specific information on there. If you see a job posted on Facebook, go directly to the employer website to apply rather than apply through Facebook directly.

Many companies also announce open positions in their updates and tweets. Therefore follow the organizations that you are interested in to immediately become aware of newly announced positions. On Twitter, some companies even have separate twitter handles for their recruiting division.


80% of open positions are never advertised and are found through networking. Social media can be a great tool in your networking efforts. LinkedIn was specifically created to facilitate professional networking. Use it to find people you know at your target companies, to find people who can connect you to your target companies, to reconnect with old college friends and colleagues, to discuss professional issues with colleagues, etc.

Use your network of friends on Facebook and Twitter and let them know that you are looking for a new opportunity. Craft a targeted message letting your friends know exactly what you are looking for, what your expertise is, and how your expertise and experience can benefit a future employer.

Building your personal brand

Social media is tailor-made for developing your personal brand. Before you start posting, determine exactly what your professional expertise is, your target audience, and how you want to position yourself. Identify influencers and organizations you want to follow and engage with. In order to make the most of social media, you have to be very active, post often, comment on others’ feeds or in groups you belong to, and engage your audience.

Getting information about potential employers

By following your target organizations on social media you will gain a lot more insight into those organizations than by just looking at their websites. Social media are often updated in real time and much more frequently than websites. This allows you to get a much better grasp of company culture. The better you know a potential employer the better you know if it might be a good fit for you. As an added bonus you will be the first to learn of new opportunities, since these days many companies announce open positions on social media first, before updating job boards.

Caution: Social media can harm your job search efforts as much as they can help

While you are job searching, be especially vigilant about what you post on social media! Compromising information has a way of “getting out there.” So don’t post anything you don’t want a potential employer to see.

Social Media Rules of Thumb

  1. Building a good personal brand on several social media platforms takes a lot of time. If you don’t want to or can’t devote a good bit of time to it, concentrate on one platform and use that one well. For most people in corporate America, LinkedIn will be the platform of choice. If you have Facebook and Twitter accounts that you don’t want to use for your job search, set your privacy settings on the highest level possible!
  2. Watch what you post! Abstain from posting photos that are sexually explicit or involve alcohol and drugs! You might also want to hold off on pictures showing you skydiving, bungee jumping or being involved in other activities that potential employers might consider dangerous. Do not post about divisive issues such as politics or religion (unless you are looking for work as a political consultant or pastor, of course). All of these can get you screened out!

If you need help creating your LinkedIn profile or crafting your personal branding message, contact the Career Center at (225) 231-3733.

Written by Anne Nowak.

How to Succeed at a Job Fair

Job fairs are a valuable part of any job seeker’s toolkit. With dozens of employers in one location, job fairs can be an efficient way to make lots of contacts quickly. Yet, if you’re not careful, you could accidentally make a bad impression on dozens of hiring managers at once. Avoid missteps with our Job Fair Success guide.

How to Prepare for a Job Fair

Research the job fair. Find out what companies will be there and what types of positions they’ll be offering. Decide which companies and positions you’re interested in, which shouldn’t be every single one — lack of focus is unattractive to employers. If possible, go ahead and fill out the online applications for any positions you want.

Create and polish your resume. Make certain that your best, most relevant skills and experience are highly emphasized. Employ strategies to cover any problematic details, such as a gap in your work history. Ensure that your resume is easy to read, consistently formatted, and free of grammatical errors. (If you need help putting together a resume, come visit the Career Center!) Finally, print out many, many copies of your resume.

Prepare your outfit. You should dress for a job fair the exact same way you would dress for a job interview.

Practice your 30-second pitch. You will need to introduce yourself to employers at the job fair, briefly detailing what kind of work you’re looking for and what qualifications you possess. For example, “Hello! My name is John Doe, and I’m interested in becoming a delivery driver with your company. I have three years of professional driving experience as a deliveryman for FedEx, and I think I’d make a great addition to your team.”

Get ready for on-the-spot interviews. Most employers won’t have time for in-depth interviews the day of the job fair, but some will. You should be prepared to answer common interview questions, such as, “Tell us about yourself”, “Why do you want to work for us?”, and “Why should we hire you?”

The Day of the Job Fair

Make sure that your outfit and appearance are neat, and that you have plenty of copies of your resume. Plan to get there near the beginning of the job fair — don’t wait until the end. Many employers leave long before the job fair is over. Once you arrive, get a map of the layout of the venue and where employers are located (if one is available) and study it to plan the order in which you’ll approach your target companies.

Make a good first impression on employers. When you go up to a booth, you will introduce yourself to the hiring manager using your 30-second pitch and give him or her your resume. Make sure you’re giving off appropriate body language. Be confident and friendly. Ask the hiring manager what the next steps in the process are, and follow them. Don’t forget to get the hiring manager’s business card before you leave. If they have no card, write yourself a note with the recruiter’s name and company.

They might not actually be hiring right now. Some employers at job fairs don’t have current openings. Instead, they’re using the job fair to expand their pool of applicants, network, and publicize their companies. However, you should still take them seriously, and make a good impression on them because they may have openings in the near future. Even employers that do have current openings will rarely hire someone on the spot during a job fair without a background check and in-depth interview. Don’t expect to be offered a job on the day of the fair — recognize that the fair is often just the first step of the process.

After the Job Fair

Follow up with the employers you met. If you haven’t already done so, fill out the online application for any company from the fair that you’re interested in. Then, email the hiring managers to touch base. Make sure you avoid sounding pushy, demanding, or desperate. Simply say something like, “I enjoyed meeting with you at the job fair yesterday. Everything you said about your company makes it seem like it would be a great fit for me. I just finished your online application, and I look forward to hearing from you.” Attach your resume to the email (rather than making them dig through the stack of resumes from the job fair to find you). You should follow up even with the companies that don’t have openings right now. Just let them know how interested you are in the company and how you hope they’ll keep you in mind for future openings.

The Most Common Job Fair Mistakes

  • Wearing casual clothes (jeans, flip-flops, t-shirts, etc.)
  • Looking ill-groomed (unshaven, wild hair, wrinkled clothes)
  • Having visible tattoos and piercings
  • Bringing children to the job fair
  • Having no resume or not enough copies of your resume
  • Going to every single booth and asking, “What are you hiring for?”
  • Saying nothing at all to the hiring manager other than, “Here’s my resume.”
  • Inappropriate body language when meeting employers (slouching, fidgeting, lack of eye contact, lack of smile, bad handshake, etc.)
  • Being unable to answer hiring managers’ questions about qualifications and skills
  • Not following up after the job fair

Written by Lynnette Lee.

Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 1

This is the first post is a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

Career Cruising is a database that’s a very user-friendly one-stop-shop for all things related to college, career, and job search information. All you need is an East Baton Rouge Parish Library card and a computer with internet connection. Want to find out which university in your area offers a criminal justice major? Career Cruising can do that for you. Want to find careers that don’t need a 4-year degree but pay more than $60,000 a year? Career Cruising can do that (it identifies 20 occupations for these criteria, among them commercial driver, energy auditor, landman, and mortgage broker). Want to know exactly what an actuary does and what it takes to become one? Yes, Career Cruising has that information too. Need to find scholarships to pay for college? Again, check Career Cruising.

You can access the database through the EBRPL Digital Library, which will take you to the Career Cruising home page.

Career Cruising presents ample information divided into five tabs: Assessments, Careers, Education, Financial Aid, and Employment.

You can browse all information without creating an account (except for the assessments and the resume builder — for those you will need an account). While you can use most functions without an account, the database will not save any of your activities and you will have to start over the next time you access Career Cruising. It’s better to create a “My Plan” account with Career Cruising to save your assessments, education plans, and searches. This way you can come back, view your earlier activity, and continue where you left off at any time.

Now you are ready to plan your college or career journey. Not sure about your skills and interests? Start with an assessment. You can take the “Matchmaker & My Skills,” which assesses your interests and matches them with occupations, or the “Learning Styles Inventory,” which measures how you learn best and retain information most efficiently — valuable information for planning your further education.

You can either use your assessment results to research matching careers or skip assessments and  jump into the careers tab right away. The careers section is such a treasure trove of easily accessible information that we will explore it in more depth in a future post. For now, here is an overview of the kind of information you can search for.

You can search for occupations alphabetically or by school subject, which will present you with careers related to your favorite school subject. You can also look at occupations by career cluster and by industries, and there is a separate section with explanations of military careers. Additionally, the Career Selector is a tool that lets you choose specific criteria, such as salary, core tasks, and education level, and matches those to occupations that fit your criteria.

The education section is also a one-stop-shop. You can search for universities by region or by major. You can conduct side-by-side comparisons of schools in terms of majors, size, cost, etc. And the database can give you a planning timeline by major, which will tell you which classes you should take in high school to best prepare you for your chosen major.

Now that you’ve chosen a college, you are ready to find scholarships. Use the Financial Aid tab to search among thousands of scholarship opportunities. You can use the alphabetical index to search according to scholarship name. Or you can use the Financial Aid Selector and search according to your specified criteria. For either search method, the result will give you a full scholarship profile and a link to the respective website. The site also features information about  the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Last but not least, Career Cruising can help with your job search. Under the Employment tab you will find links to information about job search skills such as cover letter writing, interview preparation, resume writing, etc.  There is a job search feature that links you to, a job postings aggregator that helps you find open positions in your field and location. To help you write a winning resume, Career Cruising also features a “Build My Resume” tool.

There is such a wealth of information in this database that this article can only scratch the surface.  Career Cruising is intuitive and user-friendly, so you will do fine just logging on and browsing the site. However, we will follow up with future posts elaborating on each section of this database.

Written by Anne Nowak.

LinkedIn: Do I really need it?

The short answer

If you are in a professional career in Corporate America, the answer is yes! If you are job searching in Corporate America, the answer is a resounding yes!


The preeminent global social network for professionals

According to the company, LinkedIn hosts the profiles of more than 400 million users in 200 countries and territories.  133 million of those users are in the United States. Recruiter surveys show that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to either vet candidates or proactively search for new employees. Yes, you heard right, 93%! If you cannot be found on LinkedIn, you might as well be invisible.

Apart from being found by recruiters, LinkedIn is most useful as a networking tool. It’s about establishing connections with other professionals. Job search and career advancement are all about networking. LinkedIn makes it easy to find and establish connections and to leverage them for a potential job search.  It will help you research companies, open positions, and people working for those companies that you may want to connect with. Recently LinkedIn has also beefed up its jobs database and job search feature, so that you can use it as a job board and often directly apply through the site.

As stated above, LinkedIn is most important for people in Corporate America. Small business owners are also seeing LinkedIn gaining in importance for creating new business and marketing. However, there are fields, where this social network is less instrumental, such as academia.

Where do I start?

You have to start by creating a profile. This is very straightforward, just follow the prompts. Make sure your profile is complete! That includes your summary, work history, education, a photo, and recommendations. There is an indicator of “profile strength” on your profile page, which will show what you are missing if your profile hasn’t made it all the way to “all star”. Completeness of profile is important, since only complete profiles will appear at the top of recruiter search results! And, yes, you do need a (professional!) photo and recommendations from connections for your profile to be complete.

The next step is to get connected to other LinkedIn users. Just start by connecting to people you know, such as current colleagues, former colleagues, family and friends, alumni from your alma mater, etc. The more connections you have, the more people will also want to connect with you. Your network will grow exponentially.

If you would like help creating your LinkedIn profile, the Career Center will help you. We offer one-on-one help, LinkedIn workshops, and books about the subject. For very good current LinkedIn information you can also follow Joshua Waldman’s blog.

This is the first in a series of in-depth posts about different features and functionalities of LinkedIn. So stay tuned!

Written by Anne Nowak.

The Chronological Resume

Resume and question marks

One of the most crucial parts of writing an effective resume is choosing the right format. We usually distinguish between chronological, functional, and hybrid formats, with each having distinct pros and cons. To that end, we will be discussing different resume formats and which ones work for which job seekers. Today, we’ll look at the chronological resume format.

What is it?

A chronological resume focuses entirely on your reverse chronological work history: where you worked, when you worked there, and what you did there. Check out a sample chronological resume here.

Take note that nowadays, most resumes designed for white-collar professional work include large sections of chronological work history, but are are not considered chronological resumes. These more complex templates are called hybrid or combination resumes, which will be discussed in a later article. Here, we will examine the strictly chronological resume.

the advantages

The chronological resume is a very straightforward and easy format to follow. Because of its simplicity, the format draws a hiring manager’s eye quickly to the applicant’s work history. It works well for people who have a stable work history with several years of relevant experience. This format is often used by job seekers who work in blue-collar industries, including truck drivers, laborers, skilled tradesmen, and plant operators. This template is also sometimes favored by job seekers in fields such as care taking, dish washing, and housekeeping, whose job duties are relatively uniform and require little explanation.

the disadvantages

There are several types of job seekers for whom this format is not a good choice. The chronological resume focuses entirely on work history — so if you have an unstable work history, this format will bring attention to that. Likewise, if you don’t have much experience in the field you’re applying for, this format will emphasize that fact. Additionally, this format offers no place to highlight your specialized skills, so it is a poor choice if you are in an industry which requires specialized training or abilities — such as information technology, nursing, or engineering. Finally, this format may be seen as too simplistic for job seekers in professional office, administrative, or management positions.

Components of a chronological resume

Contact Information: Your name, physical address (optional), phone number with area code, and email address.

Work History: This will include the name of each company, city and state of the company’s location, your job title there, the dates of your employment, and a job description. The job description should give the recruiter a good idea of what you did on that job. Make sure to include specifics about awards or promotions you received, experience training or supervising other employees, special software or equipment you used (such as a forklift or POS software), presentations or workshops you led, and any other special achievements you had on the job. I recommend listing each job duty or accomplishment as a separate bullet point, and starting each bullet point with a strong action verb. Start with the most recent job and work your way back.

Education: This would be the place to include academic degrees (GED, associates degree, etc.), vocational certifications (certified welder, CNA, CDL, etc.), and industry credentials (TWIC, OSHA, NCCER, Servsafe, etc.). Remember to include the name and type of diploma or degree earned, the name of the school, and the city and state.

References: Your references should not be part of your resume. References should be a separate document, one which you only provide when it is asked for. You may include a line on your resume that says “References available upon request.”

In addition to these tips, remember that you can come by the Career Center in person during business hours for one-on-one help with your resume.

Written by Lynnette Lee.

Gearing Up for Your Job Search


You’ve  just (re-)entered the job market and are ready to get started and find that next job. Before you call everybody in your network, scan all the ads, and send out an email blast with your resume, stop, step back, and get organized.

before activating your job search: The Checklist

What kind of job do you want?

The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find it. Clearly define what your strengths are, what contributions you can make to an employer, and what your job search goals are.

Are your resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date, up-to-standards, and in sync?

Don’t just add your last job to the same old resume you’ve been using for years. Brush it up, do some research into prevalent resume styles, and get input from others. Resume styles and technical requirements — such as applicant tracking systems — change! Make sure your resume and your LinkedIn profile convey the same message. If you’d like expert help, contact us at the Career Center.

Is your online and phone presence free of incriminating evidence?

Google yourself to be aware of what pops up if a potential employer googles you (most of them will). Check the photos on your social media accounts. Check your voicemail message. It should be short and crisp, along the lines of “You have reached Jane Smith. I can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message.” No music and positively nothing like “Yo, I’m too hung over to answer the phone right now, leave a message”.

Is your email address professional?

If you have an email address like or, don’t use it for your job search. Create a new professional sounding email address like that you only use while job searching.

Last but not least, be organized.

When you are out of work, it is easy to lose track of time and just go with the flow. Give yourself a daily schedule. Keep track of all your calls, contacts you made, and applications submitted. Schedule hours for job searching and schedule time for self-care. Looking for a job can be lonesome and easily veer into negativity. Make sure you have a support system in place, carve out enough time to meet with friends, exercise, and do other things that make you feel good!

Written by Anne Nowak, Certified Job and Career Development Coach.

If you’d like expert help with you job search, contact the Career Center for assistance.

Sisters in Search: How Participating in Job Clubs Improves Your Job Search Outcomes


Too often, the job search is a lonely activity characterized by a “fend for yourself” attitude, which can lead to “there are just no jobs out there for me” exasperation. To combat the feelings of defeat and isolation while job searching, the Career Center has revived the tried-and-true concept of job search groups, aka, job clubs. We are currently conducting the fifth job club since we started in 2010.

The concept of job clubs is not new. It originated in the 1970s and has since been studied repeatedly and in different settings. Each study has shown that job club participants have better and faster job search outcomes than job seekers who work on their own.

Our main motive is to provide a safe, supportive space and fellowship with like-minded job searchers while at the same time teaching job search skills. Our groups run for 12 weeks and meet once a week for up to three hours. Each meeting starts with a check-in, where participants share their job search activities, successes and missteps of the preceding week. This provides an opportunity for participants to vent frustration, share joys, and ask each other for both advice and networking leads.

The second part of the session consists of a weekly topic where participants learn important job search skills such as job search strategy, resumes, interview preparation, networking and informational interviews, development of a personal brand and elevator pitch, salary negotiation, dealing with rejection, managing personal finances, how to start your own business, etc.

So, after 12 weeks participants are walking away with resumes, elevator pitches, interview and networking strategies, active LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and greater financial literacy. But most importantly, they have established a true professional support system and even some new friends. They have more confidence to tackle their search. In fact, many participants leave the group before the end of the 12 weeks because they have found employment in the meantime.

Besides finding employment, the most important outcome of our job clubs are the participants’ newfound feelings of confidence and hope. Being able to help other participants with networking leads and/or advice during the meetings contribute to their overall well-being.

A testimonial from a previous participant of an all female group sums it up nicely: “The topics have been valuable, but the group support has been great. It has been a confidence builder. It has been helpful, when brainstorming, to give back to the others too … we were sisters in search.”

Written by Anne Nowak, Certified Job and Career Development Coach. 

Excerpted from “Sisters in Search: Improving Job Search Outcomes through Job Club Peer Support,” by Anne Nowak, which appeared in NCDA’s web magazine, Career Convergence, at Copyright © June 2016. Reprinted with permission.

To learn about start dates of future job clubs, check the events page of our website or join our mailing list to receive monthly updates on upcoming workshops.

Cool Careers: Geospatial Technology and Geographic Information Systems

November 16 was International Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day, and events were held all over the world to introduce GIS applications and careers to a broader audience.

Do you like maps? Do you like computers and technology? Do you want a career with upward potential and very diverse fields of application? Yes? Then geospatial technology is for you!


What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are software programs that help map different global, regional, or local phenomena, making them easier to understand. GIS aides in processing and communicating information and makes it possible to put different layers of information over a map and thereby telling the story of a place through different lenses. It is possible to create maps that illustrate the social, linguistic, ethnic, environmental, settlement, or climate history and development of a certain locale.

What does a GIS professional do?

GIS specialists translate data into maps. They research, design, and develop geographical information systems and geospatial technology using different databases. They also analyze data and use it to plot and prepare digital maps.

How do I become a GIS Professional?


Where do GIS professionals work?

GIS maps and data are needed and used in virtually every field. Law enforcement needs crime maps, the agricultural industry needs crop maps, and coastal protection agencies need maps of changing coast lines. GIS specialists are needed in numerous sectors; and are employed by diverse entities, such as engineering and surveying firms, utility companies, insurance companies, oil and gas companies, and logistics firms. Public employers, such as local and state governments, also have a sizable need in departments concerning  natural resources, traffic and development, urban planning, and elections, among others. Last but not least, the federal government and military employ GIS specialists for intelligence and homeland security work.

For more detailed information on this profession, check out the career profile for geospatial information scientists and technologists on O-Net.

Written by Anne Nowak.