Career/Cover Letter Event Blog

As a 4th year student without a summer internship set up I assumed attending a resume and cover letter building instruction course would be the correct event for me. I currently have a resume and cover that I update and use but I figured it could use a revamp and I could utilize the information for the rest of my life. I first found out a little bit more about the new update Cal Poly career services has begun using called handshake. Handshake updates users with a variety of current job and career related opportunities as well as incorporating career services tips and advice.


Extensive information on how to create or improve a resume was provided during the early half of the event. Going in, I was looking to see if I should use a graphics software in order to make my resume flash a little more to employers. I was relieved when we were told that the concept of a resume does not need showy features. Rather, it should stick to a more traditional approach of demonstrating qualifications one has as an applicant. Each time a person is applying for a new job it is important to tailor a resume to what the company’s job description entails. Expand on what separates you as a candidate from other potential hires. For example, conducting background research is important for knowing what experience to list. Experience is not limited to jobs or internships that you have been a part. Experience can also encompass school projects you have created or labs you have been a part of if you are a more technical major. For a resume, it is best to separate experience by subject starting with what is more applicable to the business being applied to. The resume needs to be consistent in formatting without any grammatical errors. When listing actions performed in experiences it is important to use short phrases with action verbs. For example, “facilitated intern communication” is a great deal more effective than “very adaptable”. When listing skills, it is important to stick to technical skills and capabilities rather than soft skills. It is great to show employers that you can step in on day one and be ready to work.


The second half of this event was dedicated to cover letters. The cover letter’s role in the application process cannot be understated. Much like resumes, people generally have a standard cover letter that they use on a consistent basis. A cover letter should be used to communicate one’s connection and personality with the company they are applying to. It should consist of 3-4 paragraphs with an opening and conclusion. Background research on the company and the job description are imperative. Only through this research can you modify your cover letter to become one worthy of catching the company’s attention. Address the person evaluating the cover letter if it they are known. The opening paragraph should explain why the company caught your interest and what they have to offer. The middle paragraph(s) should explain why you are qualified for the job and what you bring to the table. In these paragraphs touching on and going into more depth about the experiences on your resume is a good idea. A cover letter shows the strength of your communication skills and creates an idea of your personality to a prospective employer. It develops the personal brand that you are attempting to create. The event concluded with a question and answer section.

This resume/cover letter event is exactly what I needed to have confidence in the coming month as I will be applying to several job openings and attending an upcoming marketing career fair. It really made me consider my own personal brand and what I wanted to portray to a company I am applying too. It also made me think of what a company will look for in someone they are hiring. This event and time in my life really reminded me of the anticipatory socialization stage in the socialization process. I have been pursuing my degree from Cal Poly my entire life and now that I am finally almost at that there it is kind of surreal. I am nervous to attempt to enter the workforce but am also positive and hopeful for potential jobs out there that suit me. I will make sure to balance what I want out of a company with the opportunities I am offered to decide what is right for me going forward. Right now, I am near the end in my own personal final stage of the anticipatory socialization process and am just trying to enjoy every minute of college I have left before I graduate. I am sure by the time the encounter stage of the socialization process comes around I will be more than prepared to because of the things I have learned in my time at Cal Poly.



The Pay for Play Predicament

Should college athletes be considered employees of the Universities they play for? This hot topic around the world of sports has compelling arguments on both sides. The growing number of lawsuits such as Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA or the first college athlete union NCPA vs. NCAA have brought this topic to the forefront. Many former and current student athletes are fed up with the NCAA for the profit the organization receives because of them. The NCAA has very strict policies regarding student athletes receiving benefits of any kind while enrolled. In this post, I will provide a short look into both sides so that you can come to your own conclusion on this very controversial topic along with relating it back to concepts of organizational communication.


Argument for the Payment of Student Athletes

The pattern in many of the legal cases is that college athletes are dedicating so much to their college; they feel they deserve compensation for doing so. Any form of compensation could technically land a student athlete in hot water. This means if a head coach takes a player to McDonald’s for a Big Mac it is considered to be an NCAA rules violation. It can be something that minor. This could seem pretty unfair from an athlete’s perspective considering the NCAA made nearly $1 billion in 2014-2015 (USA Today). A student athlete does not have the time to maintain a job while putting in the effort it takes to deal with school, practice, and competitions. A large number of student athletes come from an impoverished background and could desperately use the money. For many athletes this will be the peak of their personal brand. Opportunities for endorsements are high, yet athletes cannot accept deals due to the notion of amateurism in intercollegiate sport. As I have learned in my sport management classes, only 1.1% of players make it professionally in men’s basketball and it is not much better at 1.6% for the NFL. Similar statistics are seen in other collegiate sports. The majority will not have the opportunity to receive some sort of an endorsement deal at the next level.


The other prospective option for student athlete employment is the concept of applying a minimum wage for all student athletes. The potential for this is ongoing and is displayed in a lawsuit case Dawson vs. NCAA case. Lamar Dawson played as a linebacker for USC from 2011 to 2015. His complaint states “he was denied full pay for all hours worked, including overtime pay, and was frequently permitted to work without receiving required minimum wage payments.” (LA Times). He was putting in as much, if not more, work than a job that another college student would likely have but was not compensated for doing so. The argument on the college athletes side is clear, they are putting the school in the headlines deserve a piece of the profits. With many prolific college football and basketball coaches bringing in multi-million dollar deals it is easy to see why this thinking exists.


I can understand how students feel they are treated as part of the machine metaphor presented in classical management. In terms of specialization, each individual athlete has a part on each team and has a role to fill. Whether you are the quarterback or the kicker each individual plays an important role in the process of each game. This goes for every sport. Individuals are chosen for the special skills they possess that fit exactly what the coach who recruited them was looking for. This usually applies to them as an athlete and a person. Sadly athletes must feel a sort of replaceability. Most athletes are on a year-to-year scholarship that must be renewed. If that athlete does not play up to par it is entirely feasible that they will not have their scholarship renewed at their coaches’ discretion. If an athlete is not playing up to par or if they are not pulling the grades that a coach expects then they run that possibility of not being renewed. Finally, players are expected to be predictable. They must regiment their time correctly in order to accomplish everything they are expected to do both academically and athletically. Consistency, in play and in the classroom, is a trait that athletic programs desire in the recruitment process of athletes. I definitely recognize why the desire for some sort of compensation to feel like they are more than just a part in the college athletics machine.


NCAA argument Against the Payment of Student Athletes

From a business perspective, at this time paying college athletes does not make fiscal sense for the NCAA. Despite the association making close to $1 billion a year, there are only 20 schools that actually generate a profit from their perspective athletics programs (Politifact). This is out of over 1,100 programs that currently boast athletic programs. Paying athletes would go into effect for all sports not only the “money-makers” football and basketball. A national powerhouse like the University of Alabama may be able to fund all university programs through boosters and royalty fees, but there is absolutely no way a smaller school like its state neighbor Alabama A&M could afford such an expenditure.

The NCAA also cherishes the nature of amateurism. This perception is what the current system provides. The argument that the athletes are already having their education paid for is also a common theme in pro NCAA arguments. After all, college athletes are students first and foremost and the NCAA expects them to value their education more than the sport they play. Education, not profits, is what the NCAA says is the true benefit of participation in college sports. That sort of connection that the players on the field or court are just like those in the stands is part of what creates the passion you see from college sport fans. The court system recently ruled in favor of the NCAA. In a December 2016 ruling in a case involving the University of Pennsylvania women’s track team, the Supreme Court ruled that there is, “revered tradition of amateurism in college sports” (IndyStar). It appears at least for the time being college athletes will remain unpaid. The only possible scenario where they could be paid in the future entails a complicated system of collective bargaining in which the upper echelon teams pool money together to bring lower level teams to the same fiscal status. This goes beyond my current knowledge.


From the NCAA’s perspective, the current organization structure must remain intact. There is a clear hierarchy in place and while college athletes do remain at the bottom, they also provide a ton of value for universities in terms of culture and community. The NCAA needs athletes just as badly as need players need the association. This organizational structure is much different than the topics traditionally covered in organizational communication because at this point, student athletes are not considered employees. There are aspects of Fayol’s six principles of organizational structure present but at the end of the day it is still complicated since the “employee” in this case is actually a student.


I hope this blog has improved your knowledge on the complicated predicament facing the NCAA and its participants. Only time will tell whether student athletes will eventually be paid for the work they put in or the traditional system will remain in place.