NACE15 Networking Tips

Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro
Website: http://chaimshapiro.com/
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro
Blogs from Chaim Shapiro.

We are almost there! NACE15 is so close that I can almost taste the salt-water air in Southern California.

The NACE Conference is the best time of the year for networking. All the leading professionals, both on the college and the employer side, will be in one place. Here are five tips to maximize your networking opportunities at NACE15.

  1. Start Tweeting using the official #NACE15 hashtag. Conference-related conversations have already begun. Get involved and show your expertise! The correct, official hashtag is #NACE15. Make sure to use that hashtag for all your Tweets so everyone can see them.
  2. Download the NACE15 attendees list and connect on LinkedIn. After you register for the NACE Conference, you can see the attendee list under “Events” on the “MyNACE” tab. I recommend downloading the list to a PDF so you can study it carefully. Make a list of your must-meet and network folks from that list and send them a personalized connection request mentioning that you would like to connect and meet with them at NACE15. Feel free to connect with me: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro
  3. Engage the NACE leadership. I learned very quickly at my first conference five years ago that the NACE leadership is very accessible and open to engaging with NACE members. Make a list of the NACE Board Members and former presidents and introduce yourself at the conference.
  4. Reach out to workshop presenters. I always make a list of the workshop sessions I plan to attend. Create that list and e-mail the presenters of those workshops to tell them that you are looking forward to their presentation. Make sure you introduce yourself and thank them after their presentation.
  5. The old standby—meet for coffee! Nothing beats a face-to-face! Choose the top five folks you must meet and invite them to coffee. I am a bit biased here, because my favorite coffee shop (The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) is an eight-minute walk from the conference hotel.

I look forward to seeing you at NACE15—and yes, I’d love to meet for coffee!

Chaim Shapiro will facilitate “Social Media Best Practices,” cone of the campfire conversations, 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., Thursday, June 4, Grand Ballroom J-H.

 

Apps to Keep You Sane!

James Marable

James Marable, Manager, Social Media (Executive & College Recruitment) @Macy’s Inc.
Twitter: @JMarable
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/james-marable/4/29a/93

Imagine living in a world without multiple deadlines, no crazy travel schedules, no back-to-back (to back) meetings, or a world where you don’t have to rush from work to your kid’s band practice because you forgot it was your turn to pick him or her up! Now imagine living in a world where your spontaneous ideas weren’t forgotten as fast as you came up with them, or a hard drive crash erases the presentation that you’ve been working over a month on because your hard drive crashed! Well keep dreaming because most of those things are still going to happen, but there are some great tools to help minimize all of this stress.

We live in a nonstop world—it’s almost a full-time job to keep up with everything going on. With the advent of the smartphone, we are armed with a device that allows us to be creative, informed, entertained, and productive. Although smartphones have great power, they can easily become another distraction without the right set of apps to keep you on track.

The first app that I recommend is Todoist, a productivity tool which allows one to detail project tasks in a very meticulous manner through a simple and direct interface. I was introduced to this program in 2013, and I can’t remember how I got by before it. I sometimes liken myself to the “absent-minded professor,” because I’m constantly working on something (whether it’s for my role as a social media manager or for one of the countless external activities I’m involved with) and it’s easy for me to forget a step or two (or three). It allows me to separate all of my projects, then break down individual tasks, and even share responsibilities/tasks with individuals I may be partnering with. The app is accessible on almost every device/platform you can think of; iOS, android, PC, Mac, Gmail, and Outlook, so you can access your lists whether you have your phone or not. Tasks can be flagged with “priority levels,” allowing one to decide what needs to be done and in what order. It’s very flexible—it allows one to mesh their own approach to productivity. If you want to gain greater control over defining what needs to be done Todoist is worth a look.

So you’re running a little late for a flight and after doing lap after lap of the parking lot, lugging all your (and/or someone else’s) bags, and making a mad dash to the terminal only to find out your flight has been delayed. Ever happen to you? Yeah, me too.

tripcaseTripCase is a great app for iOS and android devices (there’s a web version too), that lays out an overview of a full trip itinerary in chronological order, detailing flight information, hotel addresses, car rental reservation numbers, and more. It strips out all of the unnecessary information in those ridiculously long confirmation e-mails and just gives you the pertinent facts. TripCase also updates flight status in real time so you aren’t that guy racing through the airport (unless you’re really, really late)!

Inspiration strikes at a moment’s notice; when it hits, you want to be able to capture it completely to expand upon later, and Evernote is the app to facilitate this. One could evernotesimply write off Evernote as just a note taking app and question why one shouldn’t use the notepad on their phone. My pushback to that thinking is based on its flexibility and connectedness. Evernote lets you create all kinds of notes; text, photo, voice, and video, and gives you access to them on all of your devices (PC, Mac, android phone/tablet, iPhone/iPad/iPod). No matter where you capture your thought, it becomes accessible on any device that has the app. The interface is totally user friendly and everything is searchable via keywords and tags. All your notes are stored within digital notebooks that live in your personal cloud, so you don’t have to worry about your notes dying with a malfunctioning/lost device or misplaced piece of paper. Whether you’re in a team meeting and forgot paper and pen to capture everyone’s ideas, or you’re on an evening jog and the solution to world peace comes to you, Evernote allows you to compose your thoughts and store them in an archive you will always have access to no matter where you are.

These are just three of the apps that I use to bring a little order to my life from home to work to play and back again; give them a whirl and see if they don’t increase your productivity!

Lastly, here are a few other apps that I’d recommend you take a look at: FeedlyPocketCudaSign, and Google Drive —they are great time savers and make life on the go that much more bearable.

James Marable is the social media manager at Macy’s Executive Recruitment & College Relations. Macy’s is sponsoring the 2015 Conference TECHbar in the Expo Hall.

 

 

Dear Students, Don’t “Hey” Me

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, Employment Brand Director, Global Communications & Engagement Team, CEB
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad
Blogs from Shannon Smedstad.

I can recall my mother telling me, “Don’t ‘hey’ me,” when I was a teenager. This was her go-to response after I would start a statement or question with “Hey, Mom.” To her, it was too casual. “Hey” was something you said to your friends, not to your parents. Or it was something horses eat.

Many years later, I find myself thinking the same thing when college students begin job-related messages using the word “Hey.” During my time as a campus recruiter, I recall receiving too many e-mails beginning with “Hey, Shannon.” Now, in my work in employment branding and social media, I still receive the occasional, “Hey.” Recently, I received and responded to a direct message via Facebook that read:

“Hey. I’m an undergraduate management student. Looking for summer internship. How do I approach it?”

What I wanted to say was, “Let’s start the conversation by being a bit more professional, as this will help you greatly during the job-search and interview process.” But alas, I didn’t.

Are students too casual when writing to or engaging with recruiters? Is it OK to be casual or is this a pet peeve that we can collectively nip in the bud? My hope is for the latter. My simple request is that career center staff (and professors and parents) will coach their students not to address company representatives or people with corporate social media using “Hey.”

Job Seeker Tip! Don’t address your e-mails and cover letters with “Hey, Recruiter.” Be more professional. Up your game. #careeradvice

Job Search Tip of the Day: Do not begin e-mails, cover letters, and conversations with recruiters or hiring managers using “Hey.” It’s way too casual. Throughout your job search strive to be friendly, conversational, and professional.

Maybe this bit of advice is something that is shared during Job-Search 101 sessions or mock-interview days. Or, maybe I’m just getting old.

What do you think? Is it OK to address a recruiter with “Hey?” Share your thoughts in the comments.

LinkedIn Limitations

Vanessa NewtonVanessa Newton, program analyst, University of Kansas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vlnewt
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/vanessaliobanewton
Blog: www.wellnessblogging.com

I cannot tell you how many times I hear people chirping on about how great LinkedIn is and how useful it is to “up that knowledge rate” on your first-destination survey. And while I agree with that, I think it’s time we acknowledge some of the limitations of relying on LinkedIn for information. Blame it on my scientific research background, but I think discussing and acknowledging limitations is a good thing.

A lot of companies are selling their services to look up your graduates on LinkedIn. For just 50 cents per student or $5 per student, they do all the work and find information for you. That sounds great (sans all the money you could be spending if you have a large graduating class), until you think about it. Yes, these companies can find that information for you, but what if 60 percent of your graduating class doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile? What if everyone in the graduating class has a LinkedIn profile, but half of them made their profiles because they were required by a class two years ago—and they haven’t updated their information since? The data that you paid for could say (wrongly) this person is currently a Student IT Help Desk Worker!

And what about other data on the LinkedIn profile…how do you know that it is correct? How can you reasonably assume that the graduate is still a bartender? I have graduates who fill out the destination survey and indicate in the comments that the job that they are currently working is just to pay the bills and they are actively seeking a more professional position.

And then you get into the really fuzzy section—nontraditional graduates who appear to be working in the same position they held before they started working on their degree. Did they get the degree to move higher up in the company or did they just want to get the degree?

Then there are the graduates (I find this often with arts majors) who are working on building their businesses, but are also working multiple jobs to pay bills and make ends meet. How do you classify that information? Because I think the fashion designer who is working as a receptionist and a hostess might indicate on a destination survey that they are employed full time—and not mention the other two jobs.

LinkedIn is a hub for information, but it isn’t the end-all be-all source of information. Yes, we can educate students on how to use LinkedIn, and encourage them to use it, but when it comes to pulling destination survey data from LinkedIn, it should be used with caution and in conjunction with other methods of finding information.

Separating Millennial Myths From Reality

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, employment brand director, Global Communications & Engagement Team, CEB
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad
Blogs from Shannon Smedstad.

As organizations manage employee populations with increasing numbers of retirement-eligible workers, they are investing in hiring the future of the work force. In doing so, most everyone has realized that there’s one group that is particularly important—Millennials.

The competition for this demographic is stiff. Although Millennials participate in the same number of job interviews as candidates from other generations, they receive 12.5 percent more offers. Organizations are using a variety of tactics to attract and recruit the Millennial generation, but how can they sort the Millennial myths from reality?

Understanding the Millennial generation and their preferences is key. CEB recently researched the ways that Millennials undertake a job search and found a few ways that they differ from other generations, and some ways in which they aren’t different at all.
To attract and retain top talent from this generation, there are a few strategies that organizations should implement in their recruiting processes.

1. Use social media – but don’t overestimate it
Unsurprisingly, Millennials are more likely than any generation before them to use social media to learn about organizations. However, fewer than a third actually trust the information they receive through social channels. Job seekers across all generations place the most trust in friends and family when looking for jobs, so traditional channels such as referral programs and careers websites are still a decisive factor.

 2. Tell, don’t sell
Millennials spend less than half as much time as other generations learning about organizations before deciding whether to apply. To give this generation the information they need to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to apply, an organization’s employment brand needs to stand out by using messages that are consultative, not overly promotional.

 3. Emphasize career and personal development
Where their parents prized stability, the younger generation seeks new and varied opportunities—Millennials value career and individual development more than other generations. Because of this, they need to see the potential to learn quickly and make a difference as soon as they start a new role.

However, the top two most important factors in attracting candidates are the same across generations: compensation and work-life balance. As such, organizations should not overlook those attributes in their employment value proposition, but should actively seek ways to include the factors that matter to Millennials.

4. Optimize career websites for mobile devices
Millennials are more likely than other generations to use mobile devices to learn about employers. While the number of people looking at jobs and prospective employers on their smartphones and tablets will continue to grow, two-thirds of companies have yet to optimize their career sites for mobile devices. Ensure that information is easily available to candidates where they are looking for it.

The Bottom Line
Millennials are an important generation for organizations today—they are already quickly rising to be future leaders. While businesses have to compete more for Millennials’ interest than other generations, attracting top talent isn’t impossible. By understanding their preferences, organizations can successfully recruiting the Millennial talent they are looking for.

Four Lessons We Can Learn From Business Leaders

BlessVaiBless Vaidian, Pace University Career Services and Founder, Career Transitions Guide
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blessvaidian
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlessCareers
Blog: http://careertransitionsguide.com

1) The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder

Mark started Facebook in his Harvard dorm room. Was it risky to venture out as an entrepreneur? Yes! It’s risky to start or try anything new. Whether you are in college or a professional with years of experience, our career choices are often masked with uncertainty. Industry leaders will tell you that it’s because they were not afraid of taking risks, that they are successful today.

2) You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. – Walt Disney

A few months ago, Business Insider published an article with a list of 23 successful people who failed at first. “Learn from life’s lessons and move on” was the underlying theme in all their stories. Don’t let failure keep you down. Sometimes when we don’t get what we want, another door opens. A mistake young college students make is to think that successful people never hit a rough patch. In fact successful people hit many obstacles, but keep moving forward.

3) We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency…Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. Participate or fade into a lonely obscurity. – Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable

Those people that are well branded and popular on social media outlets, and those with a wide circle of connections get job offers. Have your circle built so that when the time comes, your job search will be much faster than those that live in “obscurity.” The clients and students I work with that have a wide list of connections, attend events, and have a well-loved personality find jobs much faster. I work with hundreds of recruiters every year. They attend events to target candidates for open positions and to keep resumes on file for when there is a vacancy. If you are not getting out of the house and if you are not networking online, be prepared for a longer job search.

4) Technology empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. – Steve Ballmer, Former CEO of Microsoft

When reading a job description, the skills required are clear. A college degree does not guarantee employment. But having all the skills required in a recruiter’s job posting does make you more marketable. Apply to jobs only after you acquire the skills. This way you will not waste the recruiter’s time or get discouraged when you don’t hear back from human resources. You can learn almost anything using online resources or by partnering with the right technology tools.

The Dreaded LinkedIn Summary…Some Tips for Students

Ross WadeRoss Wade, assistant director, Duke University Career Center
Personal blog: http://mrrosswade.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswade
Twitter: @rrwade
Blogs from Ross Wade.

Students understand more and more the power of LinkedIn, and the importance of not only being on LinkedIn, but also actually using it to successfully market themselves and connect with professionals. I feel like I’ve worked with a gazillion students on how to create an effective LinkedIn profile, and the one section that causes my students the most problems is that dang summary section! In advising sessions the following questions always come up: “Do I use first or third person?” “How long should it be?” “Should I discuss my passion for baking?” “Should I list skills…isn’t that redundant since there is that ‘Skills & Endorsements’ section already in my profile?” “Do I really even need a summary?”

Yes! Students should totally take advantage of the summary section!

Earlier this year I was talking to an employer representing an international management consulting firm, and I asked him on what criteria he selected students for on-campus interviews. He said something like, “Well…most of the resumes looked exactly the same—the same GPA’s, classes and projects, extracurricular activities, and degrees. So, I looked for athletes.”

Really? That was the deciding factor? It kind of blew my mind, as a non-athlete (I’ve always been a “husky” fella…and I was always kind of artsy) I knew, if I had been in the resume pool as an undergrad, I would have been out of the race. What I took from that conversation is that students need to leverage their “real life” and interests in the job search as well, and include them in their self-marketing documents and strategies (like their LinkedIn summary).

So, I’ve been trying to come up with a formula to help students construct their LinkedIn summaries (I work with a lot of engineers…and they LOVE formulas). My formula is basically strengths/skills + interests + tie-in to industry = a good LinkedIn summary. This technique allows students to show they have the skills required for an industry in a personalized way, making them unique from other candidates (like how the athletes were stand-outs for that management consulting employer). I also ask students to only write one sentence per topic (e.g., interests), to keep their summary concise.

I’ll use myself as an example. Currently I work with STEM students, but don’t have an ounce of STEM professional experience. My background is in documentary, TV, digital media, strategic communications…and counseling. How would this background inspire confidence in my STEM students? How could I leverage my past experience and skills to suit the career needs of STEM students? Let’s break it down with my formula, shall we?

Strengths/skills (hard and soft skills/strengths) – marketing, advertising, media, social media, telling stories, design, presenting, breaking down difficult information into digestible and understandable bits, advising/counseling, student development, motivating, inspiring, humor, strategic, empathic, activator. (Are you recognizing some of these StrengthsFinder terms? I love this assessment!)

Interests – design, music, photography, the history of my hometown (Durham, NC), Sci-Fi (Yes, I’m a nerd.), acting, documentary and hearing the stories of others, social justice, equality, anything vintage, learning/education, learning about other cultures.

Tie-in to industry (STEM students) – Storytelling is the underlying theme…teaching students to successfully tell their professional stories to employers. Education and social justice is another theme…especially in my work with international students and helping them find work in the United States.

Summary (with “Specialties”) – Storytelling is the heart of my career development and employer relations philosophy. Using my background in strategic communications and documentary, along with my experience in career services, I share the professional stories of my students with employers to create and grow meaningful relationships. I teach my students how to understand and share their stories with employers successfully to find careers they care about. I work with students from all over the world to help them better understand who they are, how they want to change the world, and how to create a strategy to make it happen. 

Specialties: Social media and job-search strategies, professional relationship development and maintenance, resume and cover letter writing, networking, job interview preparation, professional development, assessment application and review (StrengthsQuest, Strong Interest Inventory, MBTI), workshop facilitation, and assisting international students in navigating the American job-search process

See how that works? I maximize that non-traditional media/storytelling background to help me stand out from other career counselors.

My typical answers to student questions about the LinkedIn summary:

  • First or third person? Either one is fine. Students should decide based on what professionals in their chosen field are doing. A creative writing student’s summary will more than likely be written in the first person and more conversational, whereas the summary of a finance student may be in the third person and much more professional.
  • How long should the summary be? Not too long. I suggest four to six sentences (or fewer).
  • Discuss an outside passion (e.g., baking)? Sure, if your student can somehow tie it in to their chosen industry and prove it gives them a unique point of view, lens, or ability to do their job in an innovative way.
  • List specialties in the summary? Sure. Your students’ profiles are basically word banks, and we want to make sure it is peppered with as many industry key words as possible…we want employers to find our students as they search LinkedIn for talent.

What ideas do you have for creating killer LinkedIn summaries? Share your summary and expertise with us!

For more information on using social media in the job search, see the Social Media Guides on NACEWeb.