What to do while you’re living in your parents’ basement

By Tim Pate

What NOT to do as a job-seeker

Graduation is looming, and you don’t have a job in line yet. No need to fret; you’re not alone. Plenty of college students spend a little time unemployed before finding that elusive position. Graduates who find success in their job search aggressively seek opportunities and make the connections that others miss. So instead of becoming a master video-gamer during your time off, here are some tips for finding that job as quickly as possible. You and your parents will thank me.

1. Improve your social media presence.

Facebook and Twitter have been fun channels through which we have interacted with friends throughout college, but now it’s time to use these platforms and more to your advantage. First, clean up your personal sites: take down your party pics, commit yourself to clean and sophisticated language, use a professional photograph for your profiles, and sculpt your biographies so that they reflect the best version of yourself.

Then start posting content that is relevant to your interests and the career you want to pursue. Employers want to see that you actually care about your career – demonstrate your passion over social media.

Once you’ve done that, think about exploring other social media sites and learn how they can further serve you in your job hunt. Use LinkedIn as an online resume. Post pictures relevant to your career goals on Pinterest. Showcase your photography on Instagram. Keep a blog that documents your job-seeking activities. Do whatever you think might help you stand out in the eye of a recruiter.

2. Continue self-educating.

Just because you’re done with college does not mean you’ve finished learning. No matter how great your education, remember there is a world of information waiting to be discovered. Read industry magazines and blogs (and share and comment – see advice above!). You can also read up on fields that are only peripherally related to your focus – you may end up diversifying your knowledge and skills.

Another great way to learn and stay fresh on what you learned at Colorado State University is to pass your knowledge along. Offer to tutor students studying what you studied and you’ll retain that information. Tutoring also gives you experience to add to your resume, thereby making you a more desirable candidate for recruiters.

3. Freelance or volunteer – it’s all about networking!

You can also add experience by doing freelance work or volunteering in your desired industry. Say, for example, you’re a marketing graduate but you haven’t found a full-time marketing gig. Who’s to say that new restaurant in your hometown couldn’t use some discounted marketing work? There’s no harm in offering to work a freelance job, and you might even make a few dollars while you’re at it.

More importantly, you continue to build that ever-important “Experience” section of your resume. Doing freelance work shows initiative to employers. You may even make a connection through your freelance work that leads to the full-time job of your dreams.

4. Make applying a full-time job.

As I said at the beginning of this post, jobs come to those who work for them. If you are not actively and determinedly reaching out to employers, they won’t notice you. While some people are lucky enough to find a job with the first company to which they apply, it takes others dozens of applications and interviews before opportunity knocks. Don’t get discouraged. Your hard work and your investment in an education are on your side. Being patient can be hard, but complacency won’t make the time pass any faster. Go find the job you want and don’t stop proving why you deserve it.

Remember that the College of Business has resources to help you find your first job. The Career Management Center is a great place to find job postings and other tools to help you showcase yourself for employers.

How is your job search going, graduating seniors? What are you doing to prepare for the real world? Do you have any advice for underclassmen that you wish someone would have told you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

The AP Twitter Hack: Technological glitches and their effects on business

By Annie Burnham

There is now no question about the effect that social media has on business. This week the US saw firsthand that Twitter can create chaos for the economy. Tuesday, around 1 p.m. EST, the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked and sent out a tweet that said, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” The tweet remained up for almost three minutes and was retweeted more than 1850 times.

Drop in the DOW in Tuesday Image Credit: CNN Money

Drop in the DOW in Tuesday
Image Credit: CNN Money

The Syrian Electronic Army, the group claiming responsibility for the @AP hack, is also suspected of hacking @60minutes and @CBSDenver. We have heard more and more about Twitter accounts being hacked and causing mayhem in the last few months. What long-term impacts will this have on business use of the social media site?

These most recent hacks bring to light several questions. The first one is why hasn’t Twitter found a way to beef up security for Twitter accounts – especially of prominent organizations in society? One must also ask what potential threats do fake tweets pose for the economy? We saw the DOW drop 144 points in seconds, all based on a fake tweet!

One article from The Telegraph in the UK commented on the fact that this issue isn’t with the account getting hacked so much as it is about humanity as a whole relying too much on technology. The computers that run the stock exchange move so fast that stock brokers cannot possibly keep up with the constantly changing pace. Another major concern is that if something is online, it can be hacked. In 2010, during the “flash crash,” a rogue algorithm wiped one trillion dollars from the stock shares.

With the constant developments in social media, companies are going to have to be more careful with monitoring their accounts. This occurrence on Tuesday has left businesses wondering if the business world has become too dependent on social media.

Jeff Hancock, a professor of communication and of computer and information science at Cornell University, says the AP Twitter hack is the latest evidence that social media has grown up.

Wall Street Stock Exchange Image Credit: US Defense Department

Wall Street Stock Exchange
Image Credit: US Defense Department

USA Today interviewed Hancock about the drop in the market this week after the Twitter hack. “Our trust of social media has reached new levels. It’s amazing that things like social media have gone from something the ‘kids do’ to affecting how the market operates,” said Hancock. “This response also highlights that humans have a built in [sic] truth bias to believe what others say. Although there is a lot of suspicion about the Internet in general, the truth bias is alive and well with social media.”

Millennials don’t deserve their negative reputation

by Tim Pate

Some business leaders are scared of hiring Generation Y employees. That is the unfortunate truth. Many companies have been led to believe that the Millennial generation – that age group ranging from approximately 18 to 34 – is composed of unreliable, lazy, naïve workers, too incompetent, too care free, or too self-interested to do an effective job.

Take, for example, this article by Hollis Thomases on Inc.com: “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” A post that garnered much feedback on both sides of the debate, Thomases’ piece paints a picture of Generation Y that is anything but appealing to an employer. This pervasive conception and regard of Millennials is not only detrimental to the success of members of Generation Y, but also to the potential of the companies unwilling to hire the youngest members of the workforce.

Image credit: Calita Kabir, Flickr.com

With our (and yes, I am among the ranks of the Millennials) strange, fleeting trends, our deep involvement in social media, and our love for music that sounds more akin to the belching of a robot than the artwork of a master composer, I can sympathize to an extent with the apprehension displayed on behalf of experienced managers of the older generations. After all, we tend to fear that which we don’t understand.

However, I believe that it’s time that recruiters and interviewers stopped judging applicants based on a preconceived notion of what it means to be a Millennial and instead evaluated prospects by their merits. As part of my position with the College of Business Department of Communications, I get to profile exceptional students at Colorado State University who absolutely shatter the image of a typical Millennial as proposed by people such as Thomases.

One need only look as far as the News & Events section of our website, where these students are highlighted each month for their extraordinary work – academic, professional, and humanitarian. Click the link for the story about Collin Brown, and you will discover a young man exploring the intricacies of the Internet Protocol system, a highly technical concept foreign to many people across generations. Brown’s youthful curiosity and dedication to discovering the latest in technology bolstered his academic and professional success – it did not hinder it.

Or you can browse the work of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program in the College of Business, where young entrepreneurs are developing sustainable business ideas to improve lives through ingenious business ventures. The work of these students crosses boarders, brings communities and cultures together, and creates opportunity to address global issues in innovative ways.

Thankfully, there are people out there (of Generation Y and outside of it) who are defending the integrity of the Millennials. Publications such as Forbes and Ragan’s PR Daily have published articles reinforcing the ability and aptitude of young workers, and I speak on behalf of most Millennials in saying that I appreciate their efforts.

In CSU’s own College of Business and across the country, young, aspiring students and professionals are looking for the chance to demonstrate the impressive feats of which they are capable. They have been equipped with skill-sets that prepare them to face challenges that doubters say they are incapable of conquering. I say it’s time to give Millennials the chance to prove themselves – I hypothesize that the results could surprise us all.

What are your thoughts? Do some businesses underestimate the abilities of Generation Y? Or are people justified in being cautious about hiring Millennials? Submit your opinions in the comments below. 

Popularity vs. Exclusivity

by Tim Pate

Yesterday, the popular photo-sharing application Instagram was released to Android users. The app had formerly been exclusively available on the Apple App Store but is now available for free on the Google Play store as well.

Instagram’s decision proved popular, as more than 1 million copies of the app were downloaded in less than 24 hours.

“Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The New York Times that the app was seeing 2,000 signups each minute,” reports Angela Moscaritolo of PCMag.com.

However, the now wide availability of the app sparked some very serious outrage on behalf of iPhone users who had enjoyed the fact that Instagram was only available on the Apple App Store.

Thus, the question is raised: Though Instagram enjoyed tremendous success in the Android market, will the decision alienate iPhone users who reveled in the app’s exclusivity? And if the strategy does alienate these customers, was the decision still worth it?