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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Online Resume Building

The spring semester is winding down at Champlain, and many of our senior student employees here at the EMC are knee-deep in job searches, compiling portfolios to showcase all the work they have produced over the last four years.

With the portfolio, potential employers also require a resume, and more and more people are looking to online resume builders to ensure they produce a professional representation of their skill set and prior work experience. The problem is that there are so many sites to choose from, each boasting templates and phrasing that will be sure to help the user create a resume that is a step above all the rest. 

But the thing is, not all those sites are everything they seem, and many charge for their services even if they don't explicitly say so. That means building a resume can easily become an added strain in the already stressful search for a job.

Never fear—this site details some things to look for in your search for a resume template, and at the bottom there is a list of free resume builders to choose from. 

Even if a site appears to be free, many charge you for printing, so before you start inputting your information into the template, make sure you'll actually get a free printable resume when you're done.

These builders are actually really innovative in that you answer questions—typically your name, address, employers, education, etc.—and then the site compiles that information and formats it, but that doesn't mean you should leave it all up to the site. Edit your information thoroughly before printing it, and make sure the template you've chosen fits with the job(s) you are applying for. A resume is a huge part of your first impression, so make it as professional as you possibly can.

That said, a recent article emphasizes that in an interview or on a resume, the things you do not say are just as important as the things you do, and then lists nine words and phrases to leave off your resume.

Stay away from clichés—words like "innovative," "team player," and "results-oriented" are so overused that they no longer have an impact, so instead focus on detailing your specific accomplishments. Take your high school work experience off the resume, because using that make it look like you're reaching for things to include. Don't list an objective, because by submitting a resume, the objective is, obviously, to get a job. It appears redundant to a hiring manager, and realistically they do not really care. 

In summary, here is the list of words and phrases to leave off your resume: 

1. Try
2. Clichés
3. References Available Upon Request
4. Irrelevant and Outdated Experience
5. Objective
6. Responsibilities Include 
7. Vague Claims
8. Love
9. Qualitative Descriptions 

Good luck to all graduates of the class of 2013, and best of luck in your job searches! 


Written by Jillian Casey '15

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Games for Change on Facebook

More than three hundred million people play Facebook games each month—Farmville 2, Words With Friends and Candy Crush Saga are some of the most popular games on the social networking site. Sheryl WuDunn, author of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” has turned her Pulitzer Prize-winning book into a Facebook game of the same name.

In an effort to take advantage of a global audience, turning the book into a Facebook game raises awareness and funds for girls and women across the world.

“It is probably the most ambitious social impact game ever,” the author said in an interview on The Today Show, “sort of the Farmville for social change.”

The game follows a woman living in a fictional village in India, who goes on various quests with a lot of obstacle, and it is up to the player to help her navigate those quests. There are a number of partners and causes along the way that can be supported with monetary donations, but the most important aspect of the game is its ability to raise awareness of the issues women and girls face in the developing world.  “Half the Sky Movement- The Game” debuted on Facebook on March 4th, and already has more than five thousand followers.

Here at the EMC, games like BREAKAWAY are similarly designed to raise awareness on modern social issues, but the idea of designing and marketing them specifically for Facebook users is a relatively innovative idea—why not try and take advantage of the amount of people utilizing Facebook in a given day to make a difference?

Do you think games for change like “Half the Sky” will be successful on social media networks?

Written by Jillian Casey '15

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Augmented Reality

In the past three decades, more and more young people have been turning to videogames for entertainment, for the opportunity to interact with other gamers in a virtual sphere. A recent evolution in gaming promises to pull graphics out of a computer display and integrate them into the real world, a new technology called augmented reality.

Hold on, you’re probably saying. Isn’t that what virtual reality already does?

Not quite, but that question is definitely a fair one.

Mashable defines virtual reality as a technology that replaces the real world with a simulated one, whereas augmented reality occurs in real time and enhances current perception of reality—information about the real world becomes interactive and malleable. With augmented reality, artificial information can be overlaid in the real world.

It almost sounds too good to be true, this idea that a person could use his or her iPhone to overlay a map of downtown Burlington in the late 1800s atop the modern city structure. But it’s happening. And it’s pretty cool, too.

A Business2Community article from early 2012 detailed ten augmented reality campaigns circling the web: one details how consumers can look inside a box before making a purchase where another enhances print media by enabling a reader to use an iPhone app to see the consequences of domestic violence.

Beyond the interesting videos, the Business2Community article expertly illustrates the versatility of augmented reality, that it can be used for advertisements and non-profit promotions, for education and consumerism, not just for videogames. 

In many ways it seems like a concept we would expect Doc and Marty to deal with in a Back to the Future movie, but it will likely be a reality of our digital lives very soon.

How would you like to see consumers using augmented reality?  


Written by Jillian Casey '15 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tech Tuesday: The Purpose of Games

When most people think of gaming, they think of SimCity or Halo, games that are primarily designed for recreational use. An older generation of gamers will remember Mario and PacMan, arcade games that are in many ways responsible for the popularity of gaming today.

A lot of people really enjoy playing videogames. But if you ask them why, the answer is usually really simple.

“I like to play videogames. They’re a lot of fun.”

That answer doesn’t satisfy a lot of people, especially adults that aren’t technology natives. They see a generation invested in virtual realities and lament all that videogames are taking from society.

What about all the things gaming gives to society?

Like it or not, we live in a technological world, and that technology has a direct effect on our interactions with one another. Studies have shown that gaming has an overall positive effect on social development, especially in young people with autism- videogames can teach those children how to respond to visual and verbal cues. Many gamers play online with collaborative communities, so they are actively socializing in a new way, connecting with people with similar interests.

Games have been proven to help develop critical thinking skills, as players are tasked with connecting events throughout the game and determining how to move through each level or episode. As a result, gamers are able to concentrate for long periods of time, an essential skill in education and the workforce.

A recent Huffington Post article details how gaming has become a scapegoat for violence when in fact studies have shown that players of violent videogames are aggressive only in relation to the game they are playing. In fact, games are good sources of stress relief and personal escape. They improve hand-eye coordination and various cognitive functions, from multi-tasking to decision making.

Gaming is slowly becoming an avenue for change, with websites like Gaming For a Cause raising money for cancer through gaming. Here at the EMC, we have created games like BREAKAWAY, which addresses the issue of violence against women, and Breath Biofeedback to reach out to children with Cystic Fibrosis and encourage the adoption of breathing exercises. The purpose of gaming is evolving into so much more than what it once was—in many ways it has become a platform for positive change.

What in your mind is the purpose of gaming?

Written by Jillian Casey '15 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Social Media and the Job Search

Everyone knows the story of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg, a young all-American boy admitted to Harvard University who, with the help of a few friends, created and maintained this social network from his dorm room. He dropped out at the end of his sophomore year to continue building what would become a site boasting over one billion active users by the end of 2012.

We as members of the Technological Generation consider ourselves to be fluent in social media, but our professors and parents constantly talk about how detrimental it can be when searching for a job. Facebook and Twitter eliminate anonymity, but neither is going away, so our mission then becomes determining how to use social media to promote ourselves to potential employers.

A recent U.S. News Money article details ten ways to use social media in your job search, most notably of which is the notion of networking in order to create connections, and while that is without a doubt a crucial part of the post-graduation job search process, it is easy to overlook the connections that have been fostered through social media. The article states that Facebook can in some ways be more useful in job hunting than LinkedIn, because people you have a personal relationship with have more of a state in helping you, so use that to your advantage.

You should also make sure your Facebook profile is set to private. Really, go check—many things on your page are set to public by default, and you don’t want a potential employer going through your old pictures and posts. It doesn’t matter if your albums are full of wholesome family photographs. Take the time to check your privacy settings, and Facebook makes that really simple. According to a recent USA Today article, you can click on the lock icon in the tool bar, which brings up the Privacy Shortcuts menu, where you can manage who can see your stuff (pictures, posts, information, etc.), who can contact you, and how you can stop someone from bothering you. The article offers a myriad of other options to ensure privacy, and spending a few minutes reviewing those suggestions is critical in the job search process.

Also learn how to use social media for your own research purposes—perform a quick LinkedIn or Twitter search on the person you are interviewing with or a big-name person within a company. You can never have too much information going into an interview. Plus taking the time to do that emphasizes how important an opportunity this is for you, and interviewers enjoy speaking with people like that.

In summary, here is a list of the ten ways to utilize social media in your search mentioned in the article:

1. Let people know you're looking.
2. Don't be afraid to network on Facebook.
3. Make sure your Facebook profile is private. 
4. Find information about hiring managers.
5. Hyperlink your resume.
6. Be strategic with Facebook lists.
7. Create connections you need to get the job.
8. Get Google on your side.
9. Join industry chats on Twitter.
10. Seek out job-search advice. 

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