When you are looking for work these days, you have to use every tool you can find. Years ago, physically printing 100 resumes on a nice, buff colored, watermarked paper, then mass-mailing was the state of the art.
Not any more.
Today, students at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU/WestConn) in Danbury learned that Social Media has moved into the forefront of employment searching.
HamletHub Danbury South Editor Tom Zarecki, Adjunct Professor in both the Communication and Business schools at WCSU, held a seminar on the WestSide Student Center this afternoon entitled "The Job Seekers Checklist: Using Social Media to Jumpstart Your Career".
The seminar was attended by a mix of soon-to-graduate students from various schools throughout the University, and sponsored by the university's growing Ancell School of Business.
After stressing the importance of starting promptly, because starting late is unfair to the people who come on time, the session began with the observation that "Your media presence is your personal brand".
If done indiscriminately, you can get lost in social media, because hours and hours can easily pass. "Social Media is a big time suck", said Zarecki, because "digital media is all about you", and accordingly, he adds, "digital data is very tasty, and people can't stop consuming it".
Zarecki was referring to the book, "Wisdom in the Age of Twitter" by David Ryan Polgar, who created the eye-opening parallel between eating too much food and eating (consuming) too much digital data. "The way Polgar put it,", says Zarecki, "is that because digital data is so 'tasty', we all 'overeat' it. We have not learned when to stop 'eating' or consuming digital data, as one might when eating food."
Continuing the parallel, those that "over-eat" digital media simply "don't know when we are so full we couldn't eat another bite" ...or, in this case, another byte.
So as someone who is looking to capitalize on their education and turn it into employment you have to know how to control your digital appetite.
Just as you would "schmooze" people at a party, says Zarecki, it's extremely similar in creating and building relationshops online. You should be varied and interesting. Social media sites are just tools to facilitate schmoozing. (Schmooze is a Yiddish term that roughly translates into talking to, meeting with and otherwise chatting up the people around you).
Professor Zarecki noted most college students do not have a LinkedIn presence, yet they should. Of all the popular social networks, LinkedIn is your digital resume. If you were to "Google" you own name in quotes the first entry would be your LinkedIn profile.
That is the site potential future employers look at to see your professional and educational record. After that, they may examine Facebook and Twitter to see what you're like as a person, something employers won't get from just your resume. And always have your profile on any social media site be meaningful, to explain who you are.
Zarecki provided many tips and tricks to make social media work for you, not against you. For example, limit negative comments. post meaningful thoughts, not all thoughts, and set up your posts as questions to engage your audience. For example, rather than saying "Here are my favorite pizza restaurants", you should ask your online friends, "What are your top 3 pizza places?".
Another tip: vary your content to be interesting, he said. A person who talks about only one subject is shunned at parties and un-friended on the web. Also, when you re-Tweet, edit the content for clarity and tone before sending to your followers. Make the comment fit your persona, but still give the person credit at the end, not the beginning of your tweet.
For that last one, Zarecki explained the term "give good face" was used by singer Madonna in her classic song "Vogue" where she sang, "Rita Hayworth gave good face", meaning she comunicated her message well in person, or in her case, in the movies, where she appealed to millions. "Giving good phone" simply means to communicate excellently on the phone, because it's a critical skill all up-and-coming students need when job-searching.
Professor Zarecki got both his undergraduate and masters' degrees from Western Connecticut State University, spent a lifetime in media, and now teaches communication and marketing courses there, and is advisor to campus radio WXCI-FM. In addition, Zarecki is also an editor of this Danbury South HamletHub. For Tom's bio, click here.
The Ancell School of Business hosts frequent seminars for students to support and enhance their classroom learning. To find out more about the business school's offerings, click here. click here.