Tag Archives: internet

The Heartbleed Bug takes over your internets!

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Mashable Article: The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

Another craze has hit the web, and this time it looks bad for users of a LOT of common websites. The Hearbleed bug is the newest cyberthreat, or so says news outlets like the BBC (my go-to even for US news). This new cyber-threat has resulted in a breach of security of many major websites, resulting in news outlets to recommend a mass change in passwords. Check out the above article to see if any website account you have has been affected (most likely that’s a yes).

My advice: If you’re like me and don’t change your passwords that often (I do really like having them memorized…), then it’s probably about time you change your passwords anyway. As daunting and tedious as it sounds, spend a couple of hours going through all your accounts and making new passwords. I understand that it’ll take a long time, I did it this morning. What did I get out of it? Other than a major headache (or possibly my first migraine?) and a bunch of websites that I can’t remember my password to, I now am content to know that (at least for today.. probably) my secure accounts will remain secure.

Don’t know how to make a secure password? Google it. Or just click here: Tips for creating a strong password– Microsoft.com

If you’re like me and want to have a little more information about this cyber heart-breaker, check out these BBC* articles about the Heartbleed Bug:

Heartbleed Bug: What you need to know

Heartbleed Bug creates confusion on the internet

*I shamelessly promote using the BBC as your new source, even in the US. It’s got great international news that covers worldwide, and is a very reliable, fairly unbiased and well-written source. Here’s there homepage, check it out.

The Cover Letter

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I’m no expert on writing a perfect cover letter. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m doing it right at all, when other times I’m amazed at the brilliance that is my cover letter (probably not that brilliant). I’ve done my research, I’ve gotten advice from my university’s career center, and I’ve had my dad read over my cover letter. As far as I can tell, it’s been effective. While I won’t claim to be an expert or have a brilliant cover letter, I can at least pass on what I’ve learned about writing a cover letter.

(Rule #1) KEEP A ‘STANDARD COVER LETTER’ DOCUMENT. In your computer’s document files (hopefully organized into work files, then a separate cover letter folder), save a standardized cover letter document. This should be a skeleton document with the basic points/paragraphs you want to have in all your cover letters, as well as all formatting done. This way, when you’re writing a cover letter for a new job, you can save a ton of time and mental anguish by having an pre-made document that you can modify for the specifics of the job, the company, and the type of employment. Of course you need to change things up; at the very least you have to change the date, the company name, and the job title. At the most, you’ll want to add in things you want to emphasize and take out things that might be unimportant.

(Rule #2) DO YOUR RESEARCH. Not just for the job to fill in the job title, but also for the industry you’re looking at. You don’t want to emphasize something that isn’t important. That space is important, use it well! Look through the job description for what the specific job entails and what the company values. Your cover letter should be like a cheat-sheet for your resume, pulling out what the employer wants to know and giving some additional details. Do a Google search for the industry and see what is valued, that way you can emphasize those qualities. Just like with the resume, make yourself stand out!

For some good help with formatting and ideas of what should go into your cover letter, check out About.com’s cover letter help pages.

(Rule #3) SAVING IS AS IMPORTANT AS CREATING. It’s happened to us all; we type up something mind-blowingly awesome, only to accidentally close out of Word and be left with nothing. Luckily, once you have your standard cover letter saved, you shouldn’t need to change a significant amount with each job, maybe a paragraph or set of skills here and there. Once you’ve typed up your modified cover letter, remember to SAVE AS, not save or you’ll lose your awesome standard document. The advice I always got on saving is to always save it with your name, the type of document, and the company/job. So if I applied to Georgia Tech, I’d save it as “FIRST AND LAST NAME Cover Letter Georgia Tech”. This helps employers to identify who the document pertains to and what it is (the company name is mostly for you to be able to find it in your ever-expanding cover letter document folder). This rule is the same for resumes as well. Unless the company you’re applying to has a specific way they want you to name your files, putting them in this format will make you look organized and professional, and help you know what’s what in your files.

Another aspect of saving the document is file format. Microsoft Word (for us PC users) automatically saves as a word document (.doc, .docx, etc). I’m not sure how Macs operate but I know it’s a standard document file. If you do have a Mac, consider that a lot of business use PC, so you might want to save your documents as a Word document if possible. Another alternative, which I prefer, is saving as a PDF in addition to your .doc. Not only does this help with formatting and viewing on the employer’s side, when the computer creates the PDF it pulls it up for a final viewing, which can help you correct mistakes.

As I’ve been told by many sources, many places don’t ask for a cover letter specifically. This doesn’t mean that you submitting just a resume can get you a job. Cover letters are a cheat-sheet for your resume, so you want to include it whenever possible. The best way to do this is to merge your cover letter and resume into one document and submit them together. It makes you look organized and professional to have both in the same document, and then you can ‘force’ the employer to read your cover letter.  The easiest way I’ve found to do this merge is to open up both the resume and the cover letter documents in Word, then copy/paste your cover letter to the top of your resume (you want the cover letter to be the first thing the employer views!). It may take some work to get the formatting to match right, but once you do make sure you save your standard cover letter and resume documents accordingly. Make sure your cover letter stays on one page, your resume starts on page to and is only a page long as well. Then save this as a PDF (or Word document if that’s all the employer accepts, make sure to check on file formats when applying). This keeps your resume and cover letter together, looking clean and organized to the employer. Make sure to name the new document accordingly (“Name Cover Letter and Resume Job/Company”)

Good luck creating your cover letter. Make yourself undeniable!

For some additional advice on your cover letter, I’ve found some great articles from TechCareers.com. I got one of these via an email I get from the website (a great reason to sign up with several career finders– they send emails with not only job posting updates, but also advice on job hunting!). Like I said before, take all advice with a grain of salt, but make sure you actually let yourself hear (read, observe, etc) the advice and think it through. Here’s a list of the articles I found:

Four Strategies for Writing a Powerful Cover Letter

Your First Cover Letter: What to Say.

How to Write a Super Cover Letter

How to Overcome Obstacles in a Cover Letter

7 Cover Letter No-Nos

Technology: Know it, Use it, Love it

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Technology is a growing industry. Almost every person in the US owns a cell phone and a computer, we’ve all watched TV if not own one (or several) ourselves. I’ve seen toddlers know how to use a tablet better than me, my parents use Facebook more often than I do, and my boyfriends grandparents use Skype regularly. Knowing how to use technology in your daily life is an ongoing education. Knowing how to use it for job search, and for job activities, is imperative.

Thanks to AnntheGran.com for the image

(Rule #1) Use your resources. Technology has significantly improved the job search process. As my dad tells it, when he was fresh out of college and searching for a job, he had to search through newspaper want ads, etc. and then physically type (as in with a typewriter) and mail his resume and cover letter to the company. Lots of work, lots of wasted resources. Now, the wonderful Google machine makes things so much easier! With the help of job search websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and many more, you can create a profile, search, and apply for jobs all in one place. You can get email updates about specific companies, job descriptions that match your profile, and see who has taken an interest in you based on profile visits. You can save jobs for later applications, you can search by job type, salary, location, or employer. If you haven’t tried these websites, do it. It’s definitely worth your time.

(Rule #2) Keep up to date on new technology. If you’re looking into a technology field, this is probably second nature to you. But for people like me who can’t even remember which if a GB or a MG is bigger… then you may need to spend some time learning and playing with things. For example: I had a phone interview a few weeks back with a software company. The job would have been with customer service, full training, so it didn’t matter that my software knowledge is extremely lacking. However, during the interview, I was asked on question that surprised me: “tell me about the newest technology you’ve used”. Luckily for me, I had just gotten a Chromebook for graduation (thanks Mom and Dad!), so I talked about how I’d been learning to use that and the differences between it and a PC, and all the benefits, etc. I may not be able to answer my boyfriend when he asks what the storage capacity is… but I know how to use it and the pros and cons of a Chromebook vs. a PC laptop.

(Rule #3) Use social media, but be careful! Facebook is great for talking to your friends, but there is always a chance that your Facebook activity, especially in college, can reflect negatively against you if an employer or perspective employer looks you up. According to gradspot.com’s “Guide to Life After College” do a self-Google to check and see what is out there on you. If there is anything questionable, while you may not be able to delete it, you can be prepared to explain it. That being said, check out your Facebook security settings as well. If you don’t mind being found, like me, great. If you want to keep certain things private, it’s easy enough to do so.

In addition to your social profiles, look into career-focused profiles. Like I said before, having a well-made profile on LinkedIn or Glassdoor can really help with finding jobs.

(Rule #4) Develop your social media skills. Especially if you’re interested in sales, marketing, business, communications, and advertising, social media knowledge is in demand. If you can create a half-decent blog or website, you’ll be a commodity. My suggestion is to look at free blog sites (shout out to WordPress!, but also Blogspot, etc. There are thousands) and maybe play around with a blog. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or anything meaningful, just get yourself used to how you use it. It does look really good to have an established blog on your resume (I use my travel blog, mytinytravels, but will soon add this blog as well). Also, website builders can make websites as easy as blogs– I have used Weebly for school projects (see my website for a Psychology project and for a seminar paper), and it’s both easy and fun to create your own full website!

Visit my LinkedIn profile and create your own!

**Citation: Schonberger, Chris, Stuart Schultz, Tory Hoen, and David J. Klein. Gradspot.com’s Guide to Life after College. New York: MG Prep, 2010. Print.**