(Guest blog by John Wilpers, CEO of Degrees2Dreams, which teaches students to use social media to find and secure the career of their dreams.)
Wofford College graduates start their job search with an advantage: the reputation of a Wofford College degree. And yet, while that degree carries a lot of weight, it is not enough in the 21st century job market.
You’ve heard this warning ad nauseam: The job market is extremely tough. To get a job in your field, you have to stand out.
But, you ask, how can I do that from my dorm room?
As a senior at Wofford, there are several essential steps you can take right now — in your first semester — to ensure that key players in your professional field know your name and admire your work before you even apply for a job.
Most college students devalue themselves. They can’t see how they, as a “lowly college student,” can possibly stand out from the crowd, much less make connections with big names in their field.
Social media has leveled the playing field and opened up opportunities for anyone with drive and talent to make a mark on their field before they even enter it.
- Creating a professional blog about a niche in your field
- Building a compelling “Me Site”
- Constructing a robust LinkedIn Profile and updating it regularly
In Saturday’s Senior Experience, the Career Services pros in The Space to: Prepare will cover a “Me” site and LinkedIn. Here’s what you need to know about a professional blog.
The single most effective job-search tool is a professional blog about a niche in your field that gives you the opportunity to interview the big names in your profession about the hot topics in your field. As a result, those key decision-makers are meeting you for the first time as a fellow professional in their field, not as a snivelling supplicant begging for a job.
During the interview, you will impress the decision-makers with:
- Your skill sets
- Your industry knowledge
- Your organizational ability
- Your communication skills
- Your passion
After you write the blog post about them and promote it on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, etc.), those decision makers will see not only a flattering piece about them but also how prepared and committed you are to getting started in the field they’ve dedicated their lives to.
So, in the second semester of your senior year when you’re looking for that career-launching job, you will already have a network of powerful people who not only know your name but also respect your skills and knowledge.
Your classmates who have not started a blog will have nothing: no network, no track record, no advanced industry knowledge, no fans, no easily accessed collection of their best work. Most of them will send out resumes and make phone calls and get nowhere.
If your friends were to try to call the same executives who know you by your first name, they wouldn’t even get past those executive’s secretary! They’d get the brush-off: “I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, but my boss doesn’t know who you are. She recommends that you send your resume to our HR department where they’ll put it in the trash, oops, I mean they’ll put on file and contact you just as soon as we have an opening.” Yeah, right.
The bottom line?
Now is the time for you to get started. Start by building and regularly updating your LinkedIn profile. Then construct your “Me Site.” And don’t forget to attend Saturday’s Senior Experience to learn more about both.
But above all, launch your blog! Start interviewing, and you’ll be amazed how quickly the dread of the job search turns into the thrill of meeting cool people in your field who will begin caring about you and helping you advance your career.
(To read success stories of students using social media in their job search, check out what graduates of Degrees2Dreams have achieved. If you have any questions about how to use social media in your job search contact one of the Career Coaches at The Space and/or contact Degrees2Dreams CEO John Wilpers