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Blog # 4: Workers and Literacy

Literacy —”using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential” (USDE NCES, 2007, p. 246)—is important to US workers. A slightly extended definition of literacy is “the knowledge and skills needed by adults, in life and at work, to use information from various texts (e.g., news stories, editorials, manuals, brochures) in various formats (e.g., texts, maps, tables, charts, forms, time tables). [Adults need the] ability to retrieve, compare, integrate, and synthesize information from texts and to make inferences, among other skills” (IES).

In this image, “Digital Natives,” (Cristóbal Cobo Romaní, used here courtesy of a CC license), we see young children learning to use the tools of digital media production and consumption. In media and communication studies, the generations who have grown up with the internet and ubiquitous personal computing are sometimes describes as “digital natives” who intuitively understand how to use and communicate via digital and social media. What do you think of this description? Does everyone have equal access to such tools from an early age? Does simply having access to such tools result in enhanced digital literacy?

Many of us are unaware of the extent of literacy problems in the US and mistakenly assume the US has among the highest literacy rates in the world. While reported statistics vary depending on the survey and organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey indicates the U.S. ranks “16th out of 23 countries in literacy proficiency, 21st in numeracy proficiency, and 14th in problem solving in technology-rich environments” (Rogers, 2013). Who’s ahead of the US in literacy proficiency? A number of countries, including (in order) Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Canada, Korea, UK, Denmark, and Germany (OECD, p. 29). Continue reading Blog # 4: Workers and Literacy

Blog # 3: Beyond the Resume

This week, everyone will post in response to this prompt by midnight Sunday, September 13. Make sure to identify your post with the category “Beyond the Resume.”Do organizations still want a traditional resume? What about alternative resumes? What about social media profiles? Leslie Stevens-Huffman (2014) reports that a recent survey indicates “although a great majority of companies use platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn to source candidates, 77 percent always ask for a resume before scheduling an interview and 19 percent request one most of the time.”Simply put, we’re in a transition period, so as a job applicant, you need to be prepared to provide prospective employers with a traditional resume and a presentation of your qualifications in several other formats.

These alternative formats include:

  1. an alternative resume (some creative version of your professional presence, which might be as slight a change as a use of job annotations or as dramatic as a video resume)
  2. a social media presence (some combination of a website, LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook)
  3. two versions of a prose biography, one a max of 50 words and a second one 100 words (“Prose versions” of your resume are narrative descriptions of your qualifications and experience, the sort of thing you would include in a cover letter, or an “About Me” page on a social media profile or website. So you should have a longer prose narrative of 100 words, and a shorter version of 50 words.)

For Project 2, you will create a professional website, using a public hosting solution, so that it can become part of your professional presence outside of the university.

This blog post is an opportunity to begin creating or updating alternative presentations of your qualifications, so that you have them available when opportunity presents itself and so that you can integrate them with your online professional profile.

What constitutes an alternative resume? Changing the design or medium. Changing the selection or emphasis of content. Changing the examples.  These are some possible alternative formats (and you can find more by goggling images of alternative resumes):

In your blog post, discuss your choices about your professional presence—and your thoughtful decisions about how to depict yourself. For example, what image do you want to create? What about your experience and strategic knowledge do you want to emphasize? How do you want to distinguish yourself from others with a similar background? How can you use the basic principles of information design to help create strong, effective resumes.

In your post, provide or link to examples of two alternative resume formats (from the bulleted list of alternative/creative resume formats above) for presenting your experience and qualifications that you would like to use when creating your own online professional profile. You don’t actually have to create an alternative resume presentation of your skills, experience, and qualifications, just provide examples of two formats you would like to use when you do create the revised version of your professional profile for submission. In your discussion, provide your rationale for why you think these alternative formats would be appropriate and effective in helping you stand out from the crowd.

Posting: Groups 1 &  2 (by Sunday at midnight)

Commenting: No comments unless you’re doing so for extra credit

Category: Beyond the Resume

References (Use these to generate ideas and learn strategies for alternatives to supplement your traditional resume)

Diaz, Charlsye Smith. (2013). Updating best practices: applying on-screen reading strategies to résumé writing. Business Communication Quarterly, 76(4), 427–445.

Dockweiler Scott. (2014, January 22). The key to answering “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” The Daily Muse. Retrieved from http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/the-key-to-answering-where-do-you-see-yourself-in-5-years/

Lauby, Sharlyn. (2010, Oct 05). 4 digital alternatives to the traditional resume. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/10/05/digital-resumes/

Laya, Patricia. (2011, June 11). 13 insanely cool resumes that landed interviews at Google and other top jobs. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/insanely-creative-resumes-2011-6  [NB: And links to more. A good idea? It depends.]

Lipman, Victor. (2013, June 6). Is the traditional resume dying? Forbes. Retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/06/06/is-the-traditional-resume-dying/

Manovich, Lev. (2012, February 26). 5 minute guide: Graphic design principles for information visualization. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVbRgxAby5AdS6ERCmAde69v7_gXSWoK-YcJZzs-KKY/edit

NHS Designs. (n.d.). Graphic designs: Principles of layout. Retrieved from http://www.nhsdesigns.com/graphic/layout/principles.php (NB: The four graphic design principles are important for you to know and use regularly, including in this assignment; the examples, however, are amateurish.)

Nixon, Barbara B. (2009). Principles of effective design: Joshua tree epiphany and CRAP. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bnixon/principles-of-effective-design (NB: These 10 PPT slides offer a useful, illustrated review of Robin Williams’ graphic design principles. Borrow the Williams’ book from the WCP intern office for a more in-depth review.)

Stevens-Huffman, Leslie. (2014, January 22). Are traditional resumes passé? Dice. Retrieved from http://news.dice.com/2014/01/22/traditional-resumes-passe/

Weber, Lauren. (2014, January 23). In a tough job market applicants try résumé gimmicks. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://on.wsj.com/KRvJQR

Blog # 2: The Ethics of Resume Writing

Although one might tend to think of the resume as a relatively stable genre of business communication, research shows resume writing practices–like all communication practices–are influenced by a variety of contextual factors.

This resume departs substantially from a conventional format that emphasizes text and narrative, in favor of a more visual presentation of information. Considering that it appears to be targeting to graphic design professionals, however, that departure from the norm is possibly a strategically effective one. (Image “Resume Infographics” used courtesy of a CC license by Bart Claeys on Flickr)
For example, discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, and age are all illegal in the U.S. pursuant to federal law. Employers are, therefore, prohibited from requiring disclosure of such information on a job seeker’s resume or application. In addition, job applicants themselves may go to great lengths to avoid voluntarily disclosing any of these traits to potential employers. Because of the history of discrimination in the U.S. against people of color, women, religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, older applicants, and the disabled, many applicants feel–with some justification–that intentional and unintentional discrimination still persists in hiring practices in spite of the law. Thus, for instance, research shows minority applicants might use a relative’s address instead of their own in order to avoid an employer’s potentially negative views of a “racially identifiable” neighborhood, or they may omit “affiliations with organizations known for pursuing social and civil rights goals because those could hint at activism and undermine the team-player image of predominately white corporations” (Davis, Muir 41).

In contrast, in China a different set of cultural variables has given rise to a very different set of resume writing practices. Thus, as recently as 2011, Chinese job applicants regularly included “detailed personal information, including gender, date of birth, hukou, and more” in their resumes. Research also confirmed a rising trend among applicants to include a photograph in their resumes or applications, as well as a “self-evaluation section which deviates from the traditional Chinese practice and the popular American practice.” (Li 275). Within a single culture, the resume form can vary from industry to industry or profession to profession. So, where a one or two page resume is the standard for most non-academic job applicants, for those seeking a faculty appointment at a college or university, submitting a CV (“curriculum vitae”) of five pages or more is not at all unusual.

Understanding how resume writing has evolved to fit particular contexts can be useful when one is attempting to follow suggested best practices and “target the content” of a resume to fit a particular job description (Willmer 7). While resume templates can be a helpful place to start, they should not be used as a “one size fits all” solution for what is in fact a complex rhetorical problem. Using the language of a job description to identify and describe one’s qualifications is arguably becoming even more important as non-human readers increasingly perform a screening function in corporate HR departments and in web searches of online profiles (Amare, Manning 35-36). Consequently, current textbooks often advise “students, essentially, to copy job ad language directly into the résumé as a list of keywords and also to construe their résumé as a marketing tool, where no account is given of the difference between ethical and unethical marketing strategies” (Amare, Manning 36).

As important as it may be to ensure one’s resume gets a good look from prospective employers, representing one’s accomplishments and qualifications truthfully is arguably just as important. Research suggests, however, that applicants often tend to suppress or overlook ethical considerations about truthfulness in favor of “selling” their qualifications. In a survey of 357 students to which 211 responded, Amare and Manning discovered “there is widespread acceptance of an ethically questionable use of keywording, although how many students actually commit résumé fraud in any form is debatable.” Of the students who completed the survey, “[m]ore than 50% (n = 107) of the respondents stated that they would use keywords in their résumés to hit the robot’s eye, even if those keywords did not necessarily reflect their actual job skills and experience.” Amare and Manning go on to cite additional evidence suggesting the incidence of fraud may actually be much higher, including one 1996 study that found 95% of recent graduates were willing to engage in at least one factually false statement in order to get a job, and 41 per cent had already done so” (41).

Posting: Group 2

Commenting: Group 1

Categories: Resume Writing, Ethics

For this blog post, consider how ethical and contextual considerations should influence your self-representation in a resume or job application. You could take a position on what obligations an applicant owes to a prospective employer and to the other applicants against whom she may be competing. You could offer an argument about how resume writing conventions need to adapt to conditions in the current marketplace, or discuss how and why resume or job application conventions that are normal in one professional context–the performing arts, for example–might be inappropriate in another professional context–such as the law. You might also discuss issues relevant to U.S. citizens seeking jobs abroad, or to international applicants seeking jobs in the U.S. Consider the questions below (or similar ones you create) as starting places as you craft your post:

  • Given the current highly competitive job market, is it OK to “bend” or “stretch” the truth, if you know you will do a good job, even if you lack the requisite experience or credential?
  • Who is harmed in a situation where an applicant lies to get a job, but nevertheless turns out to be a great employee?
  • Is it dishonest for a woman to use her initials or a nickname and omit other markers of gender in order to avoid discrimination on account of her sex?
  • Do employers have a responsibility to verify an applicant’s qualifications or credentials before inviting her to interview, or should the applicant bear the sole responsibility for ensuring her resume accurately reflects her qualifications and experience?
  • Is it fair for U.S. employers to apply U.S. standards and conventions when evaluating international job applicants?
  • Is it fair for international employers to apply their own local standards and conventions when evaluating job applicants from the U.S.?
  • Should international corporations doing business in the U.S. be required to adhere to U.S. non-discrimination policies when hiring international workers who will be staffing offices, warehouses, or manufacturing facilities located in the U.S.? What about when they’re hiring U.S. workers who will be staffing offices, warehouses, or manufacturing facilities located outside the U.S.?

In your Blog #2 post, you need to take a focused position about the role ethics and context should play in your technical communication process rather than taking a scattered approach (which would happen if you simply wrote a few sentences in response to each question). Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog. You can quote from additional articles you read as support for your position. You should include specific workplace examples to further support your argument. Make sure to document your sources.

Sources Cited

Amare, N., & Manning, A. (2009). WRITING FOR THE ROBOT: HOW EMPLOYER SEARCH TOOLS HAVE INFLUENCED RÉSUMÉ RHETORIC AND ETHICS. Business Communication Quarterly, 72(1), 35-60. http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=36366031&site=ehost-live

Davis, B. D., & Muir, C. (2003). Resume Writing and the Minority Student. Business Communication Quarterly, 66(3), 39-51. http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=10811798&site=ehost-live

Li, X. (2011). A Genre in the Making—A Grounded Theory Explanation of the Cultural Factors in Current Resume Writing in China. IEEE Transactions On Professional Communication, 54(3), 263-278. doi:10.1109/TPC.2011.2163354. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.ezproxy.gsu.edu/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5985497

Willmer, D. (2009). Writing a Resume That Stands Out. Certification Magazine, 11(9), 7. http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=44201871&site=ehost-live

 

Blog #1: Blogs and Social Media in the Workplace

Blogs and other forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, etc.) can be useful tools for communicating in the workplace. They provide important outlets for marketing, public health and safety campaigns, and customer support, just to name a few uses. To put it in rhetorical terms, social media connect workplace authors with existing and new audiences, to accomplish a variety of communication purposes.

Using social media appropriately can be the key to getting hired or promoted in a competitive job market. Using social media inappropriately can get you fired. Continue reading Blog #1: Blogs and Social Media in the Workplace

Dr. Robin Wharton | 25 Park Place #2434 | Office Hours: M/W 9:30 to 10:30, T/Th 2:30 to 3:30

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