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4 Reasons You Should Be On LinkedIn

Answering the Why's and How's of this online networking platform.

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While LinkedIn might sound like a boring website for 40-year-olds, there's actually 87 million millennials on LinkedIn with 11 million in decision-making positions. So whether you're a recent graduate looking for a job, a current college student considering applying for internships, or just a curious freshman who wants to explore future career paths, there's a place for you.

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Why?

1. You can learn what's out there.

If you feel like you don't know exactly what you're going to be doing post-graduation, you're not alone. As a communications student, I have such a broad range of options that it can be hard to narrow down what kinds of jobs I'm going to be looking for in four years. But on LinkedIn, I can simply type in "Public Relations" and a whole list of positions from all over the country pop up, with their descriptions and necessary qualifications. Yes, it really is that easy.

2. It's not about who you know, it's who knows you.

Even as a freshman, there are already meaningful connections to be made. Connect with classmates, upperclassmen, and professors. Beginning to network early on can only help you. Who knows, one day you may need a recommendation from someone and you'll be thankful you can reference your contacts list on LinkedIn to send them a message. There is also a section on your personal page where people can write public recommendations for you.

3. You can add it to your resume.

In today's digital world, having a positive online professional presence is vital. LinkedIn is basically a live version of your resume - it's like building your own personal brand. But it's more than your resume... it can highlight details that you couldn't include in a traditional resume. This is your chance for your personality to come through, as it can be more personal and engaging. Have connections endorse certain skills you have such as "public speaking" or "teamwork" to further validate the strengths outlined on your resume. If it applies, upload or link examples of your work.

4. You can get a job.

According to Jobvite's 2016 Recruiter Nation Report, 90 percent of recruiters valued LinkedIn as a vetting source for candidates under age 45. If you're looking to be hired, having an updated profile is a must. Once you have landed an interview, it's a good idea to research the company you could potentially work for. Read through their page, see what kinds of employees they look for, and check to see if you have any mutual connections that work there and could put in a good word for you.

What now?

Stop scrolling through Instagram, and spend a few minutes to check out what LinkedIn has to offer. Get started on that profile: Start with your basic contact info and a profile picture (preferably a headshot or if you don't have one, the most professional photo you have). Write a summary to introduce yourself and what kind of worker you are. Add experiences to your page, both employment and volunteer work. Using images and videos to create a visual portfolio creates a unique and personal touch to your standard resume information.

From there, start connecting! It's always smart to check in regularly and stay active, both to see what's happening in your industry and to keep up with your own profile. If you find yourself at a loss and realizing that you have nothing to put down for any experiences, don't worry. Take this as a challenge to be more involved and seek those experiences that you will be proud to write about. If you're already a LinkedIn expert, please feel free to leave your tips in the comment section below.

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8 Things To Know About The 911 Dispatcher In Your Life

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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For the first 18 years of my life, all I knew about 911 dispatchers was that they were the voice that came after the tone, from inside the pager on my dad's hip. The voice telling him where to go and for what. I had no idea after I turned 19 that I would soon become one of those voices. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this year is the week of April 14th-20th. I felt it appropriate to write my article this week focused on that, considering it is such a huge part of my life. For the rest of the world, it is just another week. For us, this is the one week out of the whole year that the focus is on the dispatcher, the one week where we don't feel so self-absorbed about saying what we do is nothing short of heroic. Here are some important things to know about the 911 dispatcher in your life.

1. We worry about you constantly

My biggest fear in this job is picking up the phone and hearing my loved one on the other end. No matter what the circumstance. The map zooms to the area of the county where my family and I reside, and my heart always sinks. I get a giant pit in my stomach because the very real reality is it may be someone I know and love. Don't be annoyed when we call you twice in one day or overly remind you to be safe. We are just always worried about our loved ones.

2. Our attention spans can be short

We are trained to get the pertinent information and details all within a matter of seconds. I can't speak for everyone on this, but I struggle a lot with paying attention when someone is talking to me, please forgive me if it feels as though I've stopped listening after a few minutes. I probably have. I've noticed that I listen very intently to the first couple minutes of a conversation and then my mind trails off. Nothing personal, just habit.

3. We have great hearing and multitasking skills

Most of us anyways. We can hear the person on the phone, the officer on one radio channel and the firefighter on the other, all at once. I have found that this skill comes in handy when trying to eavesdrop, also not as handy when you go out to dinner and can hear all five conversations going on around you. I have yet to master shutting that off when I am not at work.

4. We are hilarious

It could be a combination of using humor to deal with bad situations and spending twelve hours at a time in a little room together. But I think it’s that we are just freaking hilarious, nothing else to it. If you go the whole 12 hours without laughing, you're doing something wrong.

5. We have a very complicated love-hate relationship with our jobs

I love what I do, and I truly believe I was meant to put on that headset. Everything happens for a reason and my education plans out of high school didn't work out because I was supposed to be here doing this instead. I love what I do. I hate it sometimes too though. I remember specifically once taking a phone call about an hour before my shift was done. As soon as I got into my vehicle to go home, I bawled my eyes out and swore to myself that I was never stepping back into a comm center again. I hated my job with a burning passion that day. My next scheduled shift, I went back to work because I love it too. See, it doesn't even make sense it's just complicated.

6. We are tired

Believe it or not, this career can be incredibly exhausting. Someone once told me "You just sit at a desk for twelve hours, that can't be that hard." Physically that's right, we just sit there. Mentally and emotionally the first phone call of the shift can drain you and then you still have a little over 11 hours to go. I won't go into details on that but trust us when we say it was a bad call. We are tired. Some of my days off I just sleep all day not because I'm physically exhausted but because my mind needs that much time to recharge.

7. We are crazy

I really have nothing more to say other than no sane person would be a 911 dispatcher. We are all a little 10-96 in the best way possible.

8. We love harder than most

We love strangers we have never met, we love our officers that piss us off daily over the radio (we piss them off too) and we love our co-workers that drive us nuts sometimes. It takes someone incredibly strong to save a life through the phone and someone even stronger to go back after they didn't. With that strength comes a weakness of vulnerability, we know our hearts will break more often than others, and we still continue to put on that headset to help others. The people with the biggest hearts work in a dispatch center. If you are lucky enough to be loved by one don't take them for granted.

The list could go on and on. Dispatchers possess so many skills and qualities that most people will never acquire in their lifetime. People think 911 and picture the police officer, the firefighter, the paramedic often completely forgetting the 911 dispatcher. For us, that's okay because other than this one week out of the year, we don't expect praise or thank you. When it comes down to it, we love what we do and we would do it no matter what.

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It's Time To Delete Cyberbullying

Let's use the internet the right way.

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It's 2019 and we all know how big of an impact the internet and social media has in today's world. These days, young kids are given some kind of smartphone or smart device. I've seen 5-year-olds out here with iPads or tablets.

Technology and social media are great things, but only when they're used properly. the keyword being PROPERLY. When it's given to someone with poor intentions, things can go south very quickly. This is where cyberbullying comes in.

At some point in our lives, most of us have been cyberbullied in some shape or form. Unfortunately, it's so easy to be cyberbullied these days because everyone has access to the internet and the ability to hide behind their computer screen. It can also go completely unnoticed.

Being a victim of cyberbullying, I know what it's like to see things about you that aren't true, but there's just nothing you can do about it.

Cyberbullying is one of those things that sticks with you for a long time and always kind of sits in the back of your mind. One of the worst things about it is that there are so many ways for people to do it from literally anywhere in the world. Honestly, I think this is why people seem to be so drawn to it because it is so much easier to get away with it. They're posting from their own account so there's no way to get them to stop or take down whatever they're posting.

There have been some legal changes over the years to help prevent it from happening, but it definitely hasn't stopped people from doing it.

The part that I don't understand is why people even do it. What do you get from hiding behind a social media account, harassing someone else? Does it make you feel better to tear down other people? I just truly don't understand why people intentionally hurt other people.

If I'm being honest, cyberbullying is just something that cowards participate in.

Nothing about sitting behind a screen tormenting someone for no reason shows any ounce of strength or courage. Posting stupid and unnecessary things online about someone else is just rude, uncalled for, and only make YOU look ridiculous.

The end results of cyberbullying are very bleak. For some of us, our hearts just hurt for a little whole, and it can just negatively affect you for a while. Sadly, for others, it's the last thing they'll ever think.

The bullies don't think about these kinds of things when they're terrorizing other people online. They don't think about the consequences. They don't think about the weight some people will carry because they were cyberbullied. They don't think about the horrible things people might do to themselves to deal with that pain.

As a society, everyone is consumed with themselves 9 times out of 10 so everyone only thinks about themselves and what will benefit them. No one thinks about all of the consequences of their actions.

It really all comes down to a personal decision. A decision to stoop low enough to hurt someone from behind a screen or be the bigger person and stop spreading rumors.

Bullying in ANY form is unnecessary and will NEVER be okay. It is time that we do something about it and become better, stronger people.

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