Welcome to BizComBuzz, the blog with weekly posts dedicated to providing business communication instructors with useful content to bring right into the classroom!

The Scoop contains short, timely blurbs you can discuss with students and colleagues.

Featured Articles explores issues affecting pedagogy, business communication, and classroom technology in more depth. 

News You Can Use condenses timely business-related news items and provides questions to generate lively classroom discussions.

Classroom Exercises offers case studies and writing technique assignments ready to download.

Join the discussion with The Guffey team and share your thoughts on BizComBuzz. We want to hear from you! E-mail us at info(a)bizcombuzz.com

The Business Card Gets Creative… Here’s Why Workers are Unhappy…

The Business Card Gets Creative

Like wearing gloves to a cocktail party, the standard rectangular business card has had its day, at least in some industries. Instead, odd-shaped cards that stand out are breathing new life into the old business convention.

(from oddstuffmagazine.com)

People who want to make a statement with their cards are getting creative. The owner of a business development firm hands out a version of a Rubik’s cube with his name on it. A security-training firm’s card is metal and contains lock-picking tools. From odd sizes such as trapezoids to surprising materials like plastic, these unusual marketing tools have one thing in common: the attempt to make the recipient remember the person handing them out.

Although some are irritated by smaller than usual cards or cards so thick they won’t fit into a wallet, proponents of the oddball leave-behinds claim that most receiving the cards hold onto them, which is, of course, the point.

Cultures outside of the U.S. and some industries such as law and finance show no signs of giving up the traditional rectangle, and experts warn young job seekers to stick to the standard.

From the Wall Street Journal

Here’s Why Workers are Unhappy

Americans are not happy, at least at work, according to a new survey conducted by Mental Health America. The research found that fewer than one-third of U.S. workers say they are happy in their jobs, costing American businesses billions of dollars in productivity.

The results from the survey, which measured attitudes of over 17,000 employees, found that only 25 percent of workers felt they were adequately paid. Seventy percent were actively seeking new employment. Other reasons for worker misery included insufficient recognition, tight deadlines, cranky colleagues, and demanding bosses.

The key factors that influenced happiness were perks and flexible workplaces. Of those employees who reported being happy at work, 52 percent said they had flexible arrangements, and three-fourths noted a relaxed work environment. In a surprising finding, happy employees preferred professional recognition over salary.

The industries with the worst records for having happy employees included manufacturing, retail, and food and beverage. The industries with the best records were healthcare, financial services, and non-profits.

From mentalhealthamerica.net

LinkedIn Profiles à la 2018

With 90 percent of employers using LinkedIn to find and vet new employees, it pays to keep your LinkedIn bio updated. Below are some tips geared to catch an employer’s eye.

Must haves

  • Education details
  • Professional-looking photo
  • Creative headline
  • Compelling 40-word summary statement

Must dos

  • Engage with contacts regularly.
  • Personalize messages to unknown new contacts.
  • Hit the right tone by adding personality to your bio.
  • Avoid rehashing your résumé as a narrative.
  • Update often with examples of work.

    From Business Insider

The Zen of Interviewing

No matter how perfect your résumé is, you won’t land the job without also nailing an interview. Experts offer advice about how to answer some of the most common interview questions you’re likely to encounter.

Tell me about yourself. This interview favorite is open-ended by design to test the interviewee’s ability to communicate well. Career coach Donald Walsh cautions job candidates to avoid the typical answer, I am a hard worker, noting that no organization would want to hire a lazy worker. Nor should you interpret the open-ended question as an invitation to tell your life story or to rehash your résumé. Walsh advises going beyond buzzwords and clichéd answers to instead summarize talents and skills without delving too deeply into your personal life. He suggests using a “listicle” that melds skills related to the job with witty responses: I was the fourth of four children, so I learned early how solve problems.

What are your weaknesses? Experts call this tricky question a landmine. To say you have no weaknesses is ridiculous; to offer up deal-killers (I’m massively disorganized) is also unwise. Still, honesty is the best policy. For example, if you have trouble organizing yourself, talk about the ways you compensate for the issue (adhering to your Google calendar or the like.) However, if you are indeed massively disorganized and a key component of the position requires organizational skills, why are you wasting your time and the interviewer’s? Finally, know that you won’t fool a hiring manager if you take a strength and try to masquerade it as a weakness (I work too hard.)

Where do you see yourself in five years? Job search mavens suggest approaching this question by preparing well thought-out answers while offering up some responses to avoid. Think twice about the wisdom of telling a hiring manager that you want her job. Why would someone hire you to unseat her? In the same vein, no company wants new-hires who just want to learn on the company’s time before starting their own businesses. The best approach, experts suggest, is to use your past experiences to tie into your future with the company: My past jobs have allowed me to progress and grow, and I hope my next role will allow me to do that over the next five years.

Why this company? This one is easy. Discuss the company’s values (which you’ve researched ahead of time!) and how your skill set will add to the organization’s mission. Don’t talk about money, perks, prestige, or the ability to bring your dog to the workplace. Similarly, if you tell a hiring manager you’re unclear about your future want and this job because it caught your eye, you will have killed any chance you had with the firm.

Curveball questions. Sometimes, you’ll get an oddball question such as, Is it better to turn in a project that’s perfect and late, or one that’s good and on time? There’s no wrong answer, says Obed Louissant, the VP of HR for IBM Watson. An organization looking for a team member would need both types of people.


  1. Why do experts tell job seekers to not complain about past jobs or managers?
  2. How could you describe your accomplishments without appearing arrogant?
  3. What can inappropriate attire—either too casual or too formal—say about you to a hiring manager?

Stress Management 101: Preparing Students for the Job Search

[Instructors: Download a PDF of the advice in this article here.]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that no matter how well we teach students to write cover letters and résumés and prepare them to interview, they will likely experience anxiety when they begin their job search. It’s only natural—they are new at the process, which is inherently fraught with fear. So how can we best prepare students for what lies ahead? Below is advice you can pass along to your neophyte job hunters.

Acknowledge the reality of situation. Looking for a job is one of the most difficult and stressful tasks we undertake, and money concerns are just one reason—it’s also disconcerting to have little control over the hiring process. Everything from unanswered applications to not receiving feedback on interviews to uncontrollable events that affect the hiring process contribute to the anxiety-provoking experience. For these reasons, experts suggest that job seekers go into the process being aware that everyone faces these hurdles and that eventually you will find work.

Be realistic. It doesn’t make sense to apply for jobs that ask for specific requirements you do not possess. Likewise, understand your own personal deal breakers when it comes to who you will work for and what you will do. On the other hand, experts suggest remaining open to situations that may be less than your ideal position. Remember your first job is just that—your first job. It may not be perfect, but you can learn something from every position you hold.

Keep focused. Have a goal and move toward it. Chart out your primary objective and then create specific steps to achieving it. Commit your proposed actions to paper—they will become more real. Hold yourself accountable by putting in time and adhering to a schedule for your job search. Learn to enjoy the rewarding feeling of finishing tasks on the path toward your goal.

 Know yourself. A career takes careful consideration and planning, so it makes sense to think about what you want out of yours. Do you enjoy working alone or in groups? Are you willing to move to take a job or travel regularly once you have one? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? Are you attracted to small or large firms? Then conduct a self-analysis: What are you good at? Not so good at? Define your hard and soft skills, your values, and other strengths and weaknesses. Understanding yourself and what you can bring to an organization is the first step to finding the right fit.

Learn to handle rejection. There’s no getting around the fact that you will face rejection, and it’s normal to feel down sometimes. Remember that failure is temporary. Face the emotion, process it, and then move on: Do not let setbacks put you in the doldrums. Use positive thinking, reach out to family and friends for support, and develop grit and resilience. Job hunting is a part of life, so take the long view.

Reassess.  If you are feeling hopeless because nothing is panning out, reassess your strategy. Perhaps you can talk to a career counselor or mentor. Perhaps you need to rethink your tactics or goals. Don’t let too much time go by before you take action to change what is holding you back.

 Take care of yourself. A job search can be overwhelming, so it’s important to keep yourself fit, mentally and physically. Eat well, get enough sleep, and don’t forget to exercise. Make sure to keep up social relationships and stay busy with activities unrelated to hunting for a job.

Instructors: What advice do you offer your career-bound students? We’d love to hear from you!