Category Archives: Student Perspective

How To Market Yourself: Resumes

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16

As previously discussed in the last CUPID blog post (link here) how you market yourself is important, especially when trying to tap into the professional world. Yet, there is more than one way to do this. After surveying PWR alumni, I have described the top answers I’ve received: well-written resumes, and portfolios such as personal blogs or websites. Other answers that were common were social media outlets, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and spreadsheets.

Let’s begin with resumes. Resumes show future employers your skill sets and qualifications. Many reviewers do not spend a lot of time looking over resumes so it’s important to stand out but also customize your resume to the job you are applying for. Miranda Allan ’15 states, “I also start by highlighting my skills/projects in a separate column, which I plan to revise according to whatever job I’m applying for. I’m trying to abide by the ‘30 seconds or less’ rule of thumb.” Quickly glance over your resume; does your document match what the employer is looking for? The job application will specifically reference skills that they would like a future employee to have and it’s important that you add those into your resume. Ellen Fraser ’14 calls these “buzz words” and says, “I have a different resume for every single job I’ve ever applied to.” Hillary Dooley ’14 further adds onto this idea by stating, “The easier it is for the reader to make the connection between the experience on your resume and the job description, the better. An effective resume is well organized, tailored to the job, and includes a few visually appealing elements.” If you need help thinking of “buzz words” these are the common terms used to do so:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.04.26 PM

For instance, here are two resumes from successful PWR alumni, Ellen Fraser ‘14 and Michael McFarland ‘12. At first it might be easy to notice the difference in colors and font, but also notice the difference in content.

Michael McFarland ResumeMichael explains his resume saying, “It is concise and highlights qualities that District Attorneys and criminal defense lawyers look for. My interest section is also very helpful in marketing myself. I used to be against having an interests section, is a good way of showing a more complete picture of myself. I have now had multiple interviews where people brought up my interests section and it seems like a good way to get a conversation started in an interview. The interests I selected help show my strengths as a lawyer as well.”

Ellen states, “it helps on your resume when you are listing your responsibilities to say what the purpose of your responsibility was…(i.e. held events in order to get attendees excited about your organization’s mission…)” to make sure you are setting yourself apart in the field that you are applying to.

Ellen Fraser Resume_Page_1

Ellen Fraser Resume_Page_2Therefore with resumes, context is everything.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is visual rhetoric. Generally alumni agreed to try to keep your resume at the length of one page but of course there are exceptions to the rule. But personal branding is important. The choices you make in font and color matter. Rhetorically ask yourself of the decisions you are making and the reasons why you are picking certain colors and laying out your information in a specific order. Remember peer feedback? Alumni continuously say that they still find value in peer editing because it is helpful to have another pair of eyes looking at a document.

Want to know how to create an effective website or blog? Read my next post to find out.

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An Intro to PWR Student Explores SURF

Guest Blogger Meara Waxman ’19

Color scheme, organization of text, and images: all of these aspects are important to consider when creating a rhetorically effective poster and presentation. As I milled around the different posters lining the Great Hall and Elon’s SURF Day (Student Undergraduate Research Forum), I started to notice that the most complicated posters did not always turn out to be the most rhetorically effective.

poster1First, I saw that the scientific presenters often filled their entire poster with words and complicated graphs. As shown in the image to the right, it was difficult to pull out the most important information. Even as my eyes were naturally drawn to the images in the top right-hand corner, I could not immediately tell what the image was supposed to depict. The issue was not that the information was too technical, just that there was too much information on the page. Since the presenter was also speaking about the topic, I felt that this poster, while informative, could have been more effective if it had used the text to highlight the main points instead of summarizing all of the research.

poster2I saw another poster that also had a lot of information condensed onto a small space, but this one worked a little better because of the systematic color scheme. In the image on the left, the author chose green to highlight the section titles, and she outlined the bottom in a transparent green to continue the theme. Since her presentation was on photosynthesis, the color choice was not only relevant, but it also served to emphasize the topic of the poster. This visual presentation did a really good job of incorporating the contrast and repetition elements of the C.R.A.P principles of graphic design because of the green color and the consistent section headers. However, this poster did have a scatterplot right in the middle of the page, which cluttered up the central focus point of the poster and distracted from the highlighted bullet points.

The final poster that I will bring into my discussion is a poster that addressed all of the C.R.A.P principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). Compared to the other posters I discussed above, this poster (left) seemed rather simple. However, this simplicity actually enticed more audience members because it was not too overwhelming. The text and images aligned nicely and complimented each other well. Additionally, the format of the text was repeated throughout the poster, which kept the visuals consistent.

poster3The most rhetorically interesting part of the poster, however, required the viewer to pay careful attention. At first, I thought that this poster did not do a good job with repetition because the colors of the text were different for every section, and I did not understand the reasoning behind that decision. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the colors of the text came from the different colors of the map about Senegalese migration. This rhetorical decision subtly highlighted the map and drew attention to the most important features of the image.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the SURF presentations that I saw, and I am excited to hopefully become a presenter in the next few years. Seeing the posters today and noticing which elements made the posters rhetorically effective helped me understand the importance of making a poster visually appealing as well as academically engaging. Perhaps not everyone who looked at the posters realized that the rhetorical decisions of the presentation made the difference between what they considered “good” and “bad” posters, but those choices were still important underlying elements. In other words, the rhetorical language gave the posters the extra push they needed to be engaging, effective, and appealing.

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How To Market Yourself: Alumni Perspective

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16
(Written May 2016)

It’s almost one month until graduation. One month. But who’s counting, right? Well, if you’re a senior you might be, or you might be swimming in cover letters, resumes, and prepping other materials to send out to future employers. But what does life look like after graduation? How do you market yourself to set yourself apart from the rest of the bunch? Sometimes it’s hard to see the overall picture so I’ve decided to do a little research for those that are concentrating in professional writing and rhetoric by reaching out to PWR alumni who have been bridging the gap between their concentrations and the professional world. Their answers have me hopeful and after reading the next few blog posts that CUPID has dedicated to this, you should be too.

I have surveyed 20 alumni who have generously allowed me to pick apart their brains to answer my questions about the best strategies they use to market themselves and the platforms in which they do so. To break down their responses I’ve incorporated a couple of charts to showcase different aspects of their answers, but I have also themed the blog posts. So, to start, I am just going to give an overview of the findings. The next posts will be more in depth about resumes, websites and portfolios, and advice from an Elon PWR alumni perspective.

So, why is this important? To understand how to be effective Regardless, as PWR concentrations we realize that context is everything, and from the chart below we also realize that there are a lot of different contexts that we could be engaging with after we graduate.

Industries in Which Professional Writing and Rhetoric Alumni Have Been Employed/Currently Employed

Type of Industry # Of Jobs (N=71)
Education 3
Technical and scientific communication 2
Publishing, broadcasting 4
Service (healthcare, retail, food) 4
Management, business, financial, legal services 14
Community and social services 9
Marketing, advertising 3
Social media, web design, other media 5


So, what does this mean? Your first job is not going to be your only job. If you don’t believe this study please refer to this, which discusses similar findings for technical communicators. The idea of switching jobs can be scary for some and reassuring to others. Yet, being able to understand that the materials you create and the ways in which you market yourself depend on the context in which you are attempting to engage with is vital.

So, if a job looks interesting to you, and you think that you are qualified, apply. Unsure about resumes and other materials used to market yourself? Don’t worry, I’ve got you cover in the next post to come.

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An Intro to PWR Student Visits the PWR Capstone Showcase

Guest Blogger Meara Waxman ’19

As soon as I walked into the CUPID studio to see the Professional Writing and Rhetoric seniors present on their capstone research, I was completely blown away. I especially noticed that a lot of the students incorporated several forms of multimedia into their projects, which just added another level of depth. In our Intro to PWR class, we talked about the importance of not only creating multimedia and multimodal products, but also maintaining an appropriate balance in the forms of media one chooses.

maggieOne example of this impressive multimedia format was a student who researched stress levels related to undergraduate research in Honors and College Fellows. Just looking at the poster itself was really cool because of the author’s rhetorical design decisions; she printed had poster with a bulletin board background and each section of the poster looked like it had been taped or tacked onto the board in the typical bulletin board style. Additionally, the pieces of paper looked just like notebook paper, right down to the frayed edges from ripping the lined paper out of the spiral notebook.

I have seen this type of design multiple times in PowerPoint presentations and picture montages, but the design worked well here because of the topic of the research. The author was looking at stress levels of students doing research, so she had a very specific audience, and she catered well to that audience. The frayed pieces of paper made the project relatable for her audience because all of the students have experienced that frantic feeling of ripping sheets out of their notebooks. Additionally, the handouts gave the impression that they had been crumpled and then smoothed out again, and stressed students conducting undergraduate research could most likely relate.

Finally, the author realized that she needed to take advantage of a medium that her audience would actually use, so she created a website. Her online site offered a step-by-step process for thesis research, and she divided it up for College and Honors Fellows. The website also ensured that her project would be out there for future students who need help in their research process.

magsAnother project that incorporated multimedia was a project entitled “The Beat Lives On.” The first element that struck me when I looked both at the poster and at the website was the blue and white theme. If I was doing the project, I probably would have chosen a white background with blue lettering, but this author did the opposite, and it made the text pop out much more.

I was also really interested by the section of the poster that talked about re-imagining the product and actually displayed a picture of the storyboarding. First, this aspect showed the process of the research instead of just the end product, which added more context to the project. Second, it also admitted the original weaknesses of the project, which encouraged audiences to respect the end result even more. I was also very impressed by the website, which, in addition to being interactive, also incorporated video, audio, and images. The most astounding part of the website was how well all of the elements worked together, making each method of communication relevant and important to the project.

mirandaFinally, I looked at a project that dealt with a rhetorical analysis of feminist propaganda. This project was interesting because it compared posters from different waves of feminism, and the author also created her own propaganda visuals based on the effective elements that she had discovered. I thought this research was very interesting, but compared to the other projects, a multimedia element was noticeably absent. Perhaps the author could have created a slideshow with all of the different visual propaganda that she analyzed. I also would have liked to see a clearer juxtaposition between the different rhetorical elements in the posters she analyzed. It was hard to learn about the actual research because I was so focused on looking at the images of the propaganda.

It was especially interesting to compare the SURF presentations with the capstone ones. Overall, these projects were all incredible, and I was so glad that I got the opportunity to see them!

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The Senior Portfolio: Looking Back to Look Forward

Guest Blogger Jordan Stanley ’17

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.19 AMThere are two hallmarks that many if not most Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) majors can agree come with being an upperclassmen in this major: 1) you are beginning your senior portfolio, and 2) this reminds you that you will soon be graduating and entering the real world. Although the second can be both fear- and anxiety-inducing, with the help of CUPID studio, the first can ease some of that apprehension.

The idea of finding a career after college is both daunting and exciting, and as someone who absolutely wants to make sure she has a job upon graduation, I will do anything in my power to hedge my bets. Part of this is making an online portfolio. Elon, along with most authorities on job search advantages, recognize that it is crucial for students and young professionals alike to have portfolios for a variety of reasons, including evidence of talent and having credibly work readily available to potential employers. In our digital age, this makes complete sense, but still—imagine how overwhelming the task can seem. As a student, I have been working toward very tangible goals since the first grade, those goals being the next level of scholarship: high school, college. Now I’m supposed to sum up those 15 years of effort and the past four years of work toward my English degree with a few select documents? Questions begin flying through my mind: Which documents? Have I done enough? How can I make sure the employer understands what I am capable of? CUPID studio has begun to help me answer these questions.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.29 AMAs I began the process of developing my portfolio, I realized I felt so overwhelmed because I was asking the wrong questions. We have been working on portfolios for a few weeks now in the class, but still have not officially selected which documents will be included. This is because the process begins before a website is made or writing assignments are compiled. It begins with you. One of the first assignments we were given in CUPID studio was to write a personal identity statement and answer a few questions about ourselves. These questions spoke to personality, professional skills, strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Our identity statements should encompass who we are as academics and professionals, both in our own minds and perhaps even how others perceive us. We also had to describe our target audience for the portfolio, which ended up—for me—being one of the most important areas of preparation. How could you build a portfolio if you don’t know who is going to read it or whom you are trying to show them? It turned out I still wasn’t sure.

Although I am still trying to figure out exactly who my audience is for my portfolio—meaning who I could imagine myself working for—I have really gotten to know myself better throughout this process. Through listing my hard skills, soft skills, and other professional tendencies and prowess, I feel that I am far better equipped to testify as to why I can be an asset to an employer. Currently, we are working on revamping our resumes (samples shown below), which will be included in the senior portfolios, and beyond visual changes, I have been able to articulate my job experience and skills in a much more specific and impressive way. Knowing what I have to offer has also helped the process of choosing what should go in my portfolio. Because each document will be accompanied by a contextual narrative, I will be given the opportunity to explain my rhetorical decisions throughout the process. Now, with the thought processes prompted by questions we had to ask ourselves in CUPID studio, I can better look at a document and think which skill it accentuates.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.42 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.47 AM

While I still have a long way to go as far as designing an online PWR portfolio, I certainly don’t have quite as long. I feel that the CUPID class has helped me to shape a mindset that has both enriched my own personal understanding and made the impending idea of a post-graduate job attainable.

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Punny Hashtag #Puns

Guest Blogger Steff Milovic ’19

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.10.44 AMWhen you hear some cliché pun, do you laugh? Do you groan? When you’re online, do you roll your eyes and rant about how pointless that hashtag pun was?

No matter what your reaction is (as listed above), you are still reacting to the pun. It originally claimed your attention and now keeps it. Your emotional reaction (whether positive or negative) encourages you to pay more attention and read into the post itself. Therefore, whether or not you are a fan of puns themselves, that little punny post has officially gotten your attention – and has therefore succeeded in its original purpose.

That aside, what exactly is a pun, and why is it so influential?

The pun is not a necessary addition to any writing, but it creates a “…play on words in which a humourous effect is produced” ( As humor leads to an instinctual emotional reaction (ex: a laugh), the reader is likely to become more invested in the piece. It appeals greater to the reader as the emotion produced relays a feeling of connection between the reader and the writing. Other reasons to include puns in your online writing include, but are not limited to, “addressing uncomfortable or confrontational subjects, releasing tension, […] keeping the reader or audience engaged, […] providing punctuation and flow, making your work memorable, and providing cohesiveness.” Each of these reasons above continually reinforce the idea that puns draw the attention of the reader to the post, to the writing, and to the content itself.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.11.00 AMFor all of the reasons listed above, the incorporation of puns in the material for the CUPID blog is “im-pun-tant.” It is a way for us to draw newfound attention to the blog…but how? Most puns are utilized throughout a written piece. Since many students don’t even click on the CUPID blog; however, how would these puns have any influence whatsoever on whether or not potential readers will even check out the blog?

This is where social media makes its appearance. As a form of advertising, social media proves to be “…an effective way to connect with your audience and humanize your brand or company.” It is a quick way to reach out to massive audience, especially the younger population. In the case of the Scroll newsletter social media plan my class and I developed, the main readers would be distinguished as current Elon University students (thus falling under the “younger population” audience). Furthermore, the creation and implementation of puns in social media posts provides potential readers with an “…emotional appeal [that] differentiates you from the millions of other companies out there bombarding their social channels with nothing but self-promotion.” By utilizing puns in social media posts (easily done in photo captions, statuses, or hashtags), you can clearly set yourself apart from the competition. You are no longer just advertising yourself and your products…You are providing a good laugh and humor to the public.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.11.10 AMJust as everyone likes the funny guy at the party, everyone enjoys a good laugh from a social media post (or anything else that you’re reading). With all this in mind, it may be a good idea to start working up your own list of punny puns. To gain some “ins-pun-ration,” be sure check out some of the ones below we developed for the new English Department newsletter, The Scroll, launching this summer!










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Stalk Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Guest Blogger Hannah Silvers ’17

Personal branding is easier than ever. There are too many avenues to count that you can use to get yourself out there — whether it’s a personal website, a LinkedIn page or a professional Twitter account, you can show the world of potential employers as much of your work as you’d like.

But of course, personal branding is also harder than ever. The work you want employers to see isn’t the only information they can see. The online portfolio you spent so long curating and designing could end up buried below your MySpace, untouched since 2007.

So what can you do to save your personal brand?

Easy! You can stalk yourself.

It’s easy enough to delete your MySpace or untag yourself from unflattering pictures if you know that you need to. Often, though, we don’t remember those accounts we set up and used for a few months before forgetting the password. Simply typing your name into Google and adding “Elon” or your hometown can give you an idea of what an employer could find about you on a cursory search.

hannahs[Here’s what I found from stalking myself on a computer where I wasn’t logged into anything: Lots of blog posts and articles written about my writing and research, a few things I’ve written, and (surprisingly high up on the list) a blog post a friend wrote about me for Her Campus. I wonder if potential employers care that butter pecan is my favorite flavor of ice cream.]

Don’t forget to log out of your browser or social media accounts — or at use a different computer — when stalking yourself. That way, you get a better idea of what someone who isn’t you can find about you. There are features within most of these websites that allow you to “view” your profile from different types of users, like friends/connections, friends of friends, or someone without an account. But while those tools are useful, logging out is the only way to make sure what you’re seeing is actually what someone with no connection to you would see.

Stalking yourself isn’t all about untagging yourself from party photos to save face — it’s a rhetorical action based on building your ethos. Delete those accounts that don’t help you come across the way you want to come across as a professional, or at least lock down your privacy settings. Use your Google searching to uncover inconsistencies with the images, words and tones you use across different accounts and platforms, then go in and standardize them to present a clear, unified image to anyone searching for your work.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 3.37.36 PM[Side note: Want Google to help you keep on top of what’s being published about you? You can set up Google Alerts of any keywords, including your name or email address, here. Google will automatically send you emails as often as you’d like.]

Think about it this way: Your personal brand is what builds your credibility, or ethos, with potential employers. By taking control of your personal brand, you’re controlling how your audience perceives you as the author in the rhetorical situation — and, thus, how effective your arguments based on your ethos can be. And when it comes to interviewing for a new job, arguments based on ethos are always at the forefront. You have to show potential employers that you have the experience and the sensibilities to fulfill the role you’re applying for.

Be sure you take a critical approach to what you find. Keep your audience and your personal brand in mind, and delete what doesn’t help you build your ethos.

Happy stalking!

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Professional Presence: The Job Is Yours!

Guest Blogger Steff Milovic ’19

When you arrive for an interview, you are expected to be dressed in professional attire, and you are expected to maintain good composure, good attitude, and good posture. You are expected to arrive with two copies of your resume on hand, and you are expected to have a business card or two in your pocket. You are expected to handle any question posed to you, and you are expected to have a few inquiries ready in return.

These are the guidelines that you are implicitly expected to follow. If you do follow these rules, you may believe that it is safe to assume that the job is yours. However, the job is not just yours quite yet: there is one last thing that the employer will check. While you may have prepared for your interview with professional resumes and dress and a smile, did you ever prepare your online presence for screening? If not, you may want to do so before your next interview…

Step One:  Google yourself.
Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 12.06.18 PMThis is the first step that I was told to execute during my CUPID class when first learning about my current online presence. As it turns out, many employers are “Googling candidates to learn more about them,” as Miriam Salpeter (a job search coach) points out. It is a very simple search to conduct that could come up with vast amounts of information – both good and bad – that together help to represent you.  This is your online presence.

Step Two:  Delete anything that you would not like employers to see.
Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 12.06.25 PMThis is an important aspect to consider, following the Google search of your name. While you may enjoy particular content on your social media or personal website pages, one must recognize that an “…employer’s perception of your online activity is very subjective based on their own biases and preconceptions” ( The material that composes your online presence will be judged unfairly by an individual – an employer – who does not know your story…or the story behind that particular inappropriate picture on your Facebook account with your tongue hanging out. To avoid these subjective judgments, anything questionable (or that may require a backstory) should best be removed from your online presence.

Step Three:  Re-create your online presence professionally.
Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 12.06.32 PMNow that your previous online material has been identified and personally censored, it comes down to you to decide what content is posted online to represent you. It is extremely important to “…be careful of what you add,” as this material will also be judged subjectively by potential employers. When working to improve your online presence, the most common additions to boost yourself professionally include a blog, online portfolio, and website. These three creations (when done professionally) work best to demonstrate your strengths, your latest projects, and your writing.  So long as they are conducted professionally, they will serve as strong representatives of your online presence…and ultimately, how you are represented to your employers.

Just as you have worked hard on your professional dress and attitude when attending an interview, it is nearly as important to maintain a professional online presence. By portraying yourself in such a way both online and in person, it is nearly safe to say that the job is yours.

Check out this and this for more detail.

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Developing The Scroll: My CUPID Studio Experience

Guest Blogger Jordan Stanley ’17

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.52.37 AMThis Spring semester, the CUPID studio class embarked on revitalizing the English Department newsletter. In doing so, we translated the ideas behind the Back Cover (the old newsletter) to The Scroll, the new multimodal newsletter that shares the happenings of the English department across the mediums of Facebook and Instagram accounts and a blog. In creating a new publication—whether it is a transfer of medium, management, or starting from the ground up—there are many aspects that must be taken into consideration. While this can include seemingly endless facets—from deliverables, multiple chapters of a style guide, roles within the new publication, and more—many of the assignments that our class had to complete could be boiled down into two overarching categories: the abstract and the technical. My role in the development of the new English department newsletter revolved largely around the former.

When our CUPID studio class decided exactly what was that we wanted out of The Scroll, our ideas were by no means singular. Of the things we wanted The Scroll to accomplish, there was (1) what we wanted The Scroll to embody, (2) what content we wanted to bring to the audience, (3) what audience we wanted to reach, and (4) how. Objectives #2-4 are largely under the technical category, although the brainstorming that brought us to these objectives was certainly abstract. I like to think that I participated heavily in this abstract section of our preparation—offering ideas for how to shape our undertaking and the message that we wanted The Scroll to send (modern, new, not the same old newsletter). Before we talked about medium and content, we had to talk about the impression we wanted The Scroll to leave on its audience and its legacy, and then we were able to decide which media/content would allow us to arrive at that message. It was that abstract approach—and by abstract, I mean conceptual and somewhat idealistic—that I used to create #1 of those objectives: the mission to draw interns to The Scroll.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.52.45 AMHannah W. and I collaborated on writing the mission statement and intern flyer, both of which balance a focus between the conceptual and technical areas of the job. Although there is obvious importance to the intern flyer—getting someone to run the publication—it was the mission statement that served as the assignment that forced me to wrestle with the goals of the class, my own goals—both conceptual and tangible—and how both the intern and readers would digest these goals. As far as juggling perspectives went, my plate certainly felt full.

Hannah and I wanted to make sure that we communicated these items:

1) English is still a relevant discipline despite the value our society places on growingly technical education

2) This relevance and modernity will be embodied in the new medium of The Scroll

3) Elon English students, alumni, and professors are very successful

4) Good things are happenings in the Elon English Department.
Making sure this was done concisely and digestibly proved to be somewhat challenging. Because the word count of a mission statement is small, the importance of each word chosen is heightened. When we showed our end product to the class, Hannah and I had been slightly nervous because we had been tasked with speaking on behalf of the group with little group consultation first. The group was pleased overall, but we did spend 5-10 minutes discussing one instance of diction in the last line. This goes to show how crucial the wording of a mission statement is in accurately articulating the mission of any organization; and this is a further testament to the importance of a mission statement in general. A mission represents who/what an organization or publication is—it is an embodiment of the mindset, goals, and attitude. I believe what Hannah and I learned most in creating this embodiment is that co-authorship can be difficult—exercising a balance between your voice and the voice of those you represent—and that perhaps the most significant part of a mission statement is knowing how important it is to create a rhetorical framework for a rhetorical product. See our final mission statement below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.54.11 AM

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Hold On, You Googled Me?

Guest Blogger Hope Kase ’18

This week I want to discuss the importance of an online presence. We have been learning a lot about this topic in my CUPID Studio class recently, and it got me thinking about what I’m putting out there for the world, and future employers, to see. One thing I’ve learned is that more and more employers are starting to Google the people they are considering for a job before they bring them in for an interview.

In an online article for Forbes called “Why Every Job Seeker Should Have a Personal Website, and What It Should Include,” Jacquelyn Smith reports that 56% of all hiring managers are most impressed if a job-seeker has a personal website compared to any other online presence, but only 7% of job-seekers have one. Further, she states the fact that 80% of job openings are never posted, which means that making connections is incredibly important for even finding opportunities to showcase yourself.

Personal websites give individuals a unique opportunity to show employers more than just what shows up on a resume. When their name is entered into the search bar, if the first result that pops up is a personal website that is professional and impressive, that candidate will have a much better chance at getting the job than someone else who may be equally qualified but doesn’t have a website.

As a college student constantly on the lookout for job opportunities, I recently started paying attention to my online presence as I pursued summer jobs. When I Google my name, although I don’t have embarrassing party pictures or an old Myspace account from middle school popping up, my online presence is still far from what I would like it to be. If an employer were to look me up, all they would find is a lot of sports-related news and media from high school and Elon, an old Prezi from 10th grade, a snippet that mentions I am doing undergraduate research at Elon, and a blank LinkedIn profile. What that says about me is that I haven’t considered my audience when crafting my online presence and that I gave up when starting to create something professional for employers to see!

Although I plan to have my own website at some point soon to showcase my skills and interests in a professional format, this may not be for everyone. For those who may not feel the need or have the time to create and run their own personal website, let’s look at something they can do to improve their online presence. As an example, I will look more closely at LinkedIn, which is just one great way for candidates to show employers more about themselves through an online medium, as well as make connections. Below is my current LinkedIn profile and an example of a profile that has been much more thoroughly developed and used as helpful tool to her advantage.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.35.30 AMAs you can see, my profile is almost completely empty. With four connections and just my name and country listed, this would not impress any employer. I have not put any effort in to present myself as a valuable candidate or even offer any basic information about myself, and the only hope I have is that the employer may not even know if it is me or not.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.35.36 AMNow let’s look at the second example profile. Just from this quick glance, we can already tell that Abby Stern has done her part to craft a comprehensive online presence. We learn about her educational and work background, interests for the future, and what skills and knowledge she brings to a position, which allows for an employer to learn more about who she is and what she brings to the table. Further, her picture is a clear professional headshot, and she appears to have already made 500+ connections. This shows that she is active and serious about her career, and her intended audience may be quite impressed. When looking at these two profiles, it’s no question who would get the job should an employer be comparing them.

When searching for a job, there are a lot of avenues to consider that can help. One of the most important ones in this era of the internet is online presence. It is getting more difficult to stick to the old-fashioned paper resume and cover letter as the only resources utilized, and the internet can be one of the greatest tools at our disposal, if used right. So whether it’s a personal website, curated Pinterest, blog, or LinkedIn profile, it’s time to look at what comes up when your name is in the search bar, and how it portrays you. Are you feeling lucky?

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