Hosting Social Media Boot Camp in June

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International Student Job Search Tips

I often get asked for job search advice from international students who want to stay and work in the United States. Karen Miller Russell at University of Georgia tapped a former student for these tips: Tips for international students who want to work in the United States.

My favorite and the one I might not have thought of off the top of my head:

2. Look for jobs in the want ads in the foreign language press and on Websites for people [from whatever country you’re originally from] now living in the U.S. If an organization is looking for a bilingual speaker, that’s where they’ll advertise.

Thanks Karen (and George!) for these great tips.

Sprint Should Do the Right Thing

Sprint is skeptical. A Tacoma family insists that their phones are being hijacked. They are getting death threats, someone is watching them through the cell phone camera and leaving terrifying voicemails on both cell and home lines. You can see the Today Show story here.

I’ve heard the story on a couple of news outlets, most recently on NPR. The NPR host characterized Sprint’s response as saying it was not possible to do what the family says was being done.

From the Tacoma News-Tribune: Complaints to their phone companies do no good – the families say they’ve been told what the stalkers are doing is impossible.

From KIRO-TV: “We are unaware of technology that would enable the activity portrayed in this story to occur, and we will support law enforcement as appropriate on investigating the issue,” Caroline Semerdijian with Sprint Nextel said.

Media have trotted out a series of experts that say, yeah, it’s possible. In fact, not only is it possible, it’s relatively easy (like teen-prank-easy).

According to James M. Atkinson, a Massachusetts-based expert in counterintelligence who has advised the U.S. Congress on security issues, it’s not that hard to take remote control of a wireless phone. “You do not have to have a strong technical background for someone to do this,” he said Tuesday. “They probably have a technically gifted kid who probably is in their neighborhood.”

An old story on MSNBC even has Sprint saying it’s possible to hack into a phone. So, it’s possible that Paris Hilton’s phone would get hacked, but not this regular person from Tacoma?

Others disagree, saying is possible, but very very unlikely. Many fingers seem to point at someone the family knows as behind this. And some are even pointing at the 16-year-old daughter.

The family matriarch was interviewed saying that they were going to take a break from cell phones for a while. She’d just received her disconnection notice from Sprint and told them she had no intention to pay the bill.

This is an opportunity for Sprint to step up and do the right thing – even if Sprint thinks the family is full of crap. The family is working with local law enforcement, the FBI and even Homeland Security. Clearly the threat is real to each of them.

Sprint should:

  • Provide new cell phones. New phones, new accounts, new numbers. They should ensure that the numbers are secure, locked, blocked and as anonymous as possible.
  • Comp the family’s service until this is worked out.
  • Be visibly cooperative with law enforcement.
  • Start and lead a new industry-wide “cell phone security” campaign to educate people and work to develop protections for its customers.

Sprint should not:

  • Discredit the experiences or feelings of customers. Any customers, much less those who are getting national media attention.
  • Make any kind of absolute statements saying this hijacking just isn’t possible.
  • Avoid commenting on any media story (you can tell Sprint is NOT doing the right thing because they are avoiding the spotlight. If they were being good corporate citizens, they would be talking.)

Any potential financial loss that Sprint would take here is going to be returned 100-fold in enhanced reputation. The wireless industry is cutthroat and if I were a Sprint customer, I’d be thinking twice about renewing my contract with them.

What are your thoughts?

Photo: Allison Yin/News Tribune

I’ve Become a (PowerPoint) Presentation Fanatic

I guess I give 30 – 40 “presentations” on average each term in my classes. Over the last six months, I’ve watched my lecture notes transform. I thank my Keynote program for helping me see the error of my cluttered, terrible-template ways. I also have great blogs like Presentation Zen to thank.

For example, my research presentation has gone from this:

To more like this:

I even do a lecture on creating good slide show decks, drawing liberally from the tips on Presentation Zen and Garr’s own site. I also look to Seth Godin and his e-book. I have to admit, though, I have a hard time with the “no more than six words” rule.

I think I’m as guilty as most people who lecture or present a lot of info on a regular basis – I use PowerPoint to organize my thoughts and provide an outline, but often don’t as much substance as I should to back it up.

So thank you, Keynote. Thank you Garr Reynolds. And thank you to my students who have had to endure slides like this for way too long.

Congratulations, Graduates!

On Saturday, our seniors walked across the stage in MacArthur Court to receive their diplomas. Well deserved.

Many of “my” seniors are going on to some great position with agencies. Here are a few:

Heron Calisch-Dolen: Gooby, Silverstein & Partners
Andrea Nowack, Marisa Olson and Peter Lytle: Waggener Edstrom
Julie Ma: Koopman Ostbo
Nicole Wasowski: LEWIS PR, San Francisco
Devon Ashbridge: Verve Northwest Communications
Kristin Hunt: Chevalier Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations
Maya Shaff: SZPR

I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting or haven’t heard about yet. If you’ve landed a job or internship, let me know!