Saturday, February 4, 2012

We can't teach you everything you need to know. But...

I was working with a student yesterday who wasn't a major, but somehow ended  up in my office; she needed some help with her resume and someone to talk with about the job hunt. She was looking for a corporate job that combined marketing, maybe a little public relations, and sales.

We looked at her resume and changed some of the wording, re-arranged things so that her skills were up top, in the way that I advise people to do (see my tips handout on the right hand column of this blog), and then we did a few job searched on Indeed and the Career Services website.

The skills that a lot of companies were looking for were nowhere to be found on her resume. And she didn't have them. We could get into a whole back and forth about the value of a college degree and the state of higher education, but the the fact is, technology and the economy is changing the way we do...basically, everything.

It drove home something that came to mind in my Intro to Multimedia class earlier in the week:

There is no way we can teach you folks everything you'll need to know.

So what do you do? First, you need to take responsibility for your own education around technology and its impact. Luckily, there are lots of ways to do that, most of them for free. (Google it.)  One relatively new job title is "community manager." This person runs the social media for companies and organizations. But it's way more than just running a Twitter feed. It's knowing how to analyze traffic, begin able to report who's interacting and, to some degree, why, on the social platforms.

This is true even if you're going to be a reporter/writer. The first of each month, I get a little email from EBauer at boston.com. I don't know EBauer, but he's important to me because he sends me the readout of my pageviews on my fiftyshift blog at boston.com. This report tells me exactly how many people read my post about xxxxxxx. And if my numbers get too low, guess what, they stop running my work.

NYU's Jay Rosen recently posted an update on where his grad students are working. It's worth a read, just to see what they do during their workdays.

This stuff is just the beginning. Where do you get caught up? Websites like readwriteweb, Mashable, AllFacebook and AllTwitter cover technology. You should be reading them every day, and following them on Twitter. Subscribe to them on Facebook. The Poynter Institute and the Nieman Journalism Lab cover the intersection of journalism and technology. The Times' Bits blog often has some interesting takes. Let's see, there's Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg over at AllThingsD. And there's Om Malik over at GigaOm. 

Are you catching my drift?

And while you're at UMass, take advantage of the resources you are paying for.

The single best resource out there is Books 24x7, on the DuBois Library Database website. This site offers an astounding array of books about technology, software, business, marketing, all of the areas that you as a journalism or comm major need to get up to speed.

Second: Atomic Learning, which you can also reach for free via the library database listing. Video tutorials on all kinds of software.

So what are you waiting for? You're still here?  Get clicking!

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