The Social Media-Enhanced Job Search: Creepy or Courageous?

kevin grubb NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Associate Director, Digital Media & Assessment at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.
Blogs from Kevin Grubb.

At the 2014 NACE conference, I heard lots of conversations about social media, recruiting, and job searching. That’s not surprising; social media is still influencing our work and changing it with exponential speed. I found myself often reflecting on the class that I teach at Villanova on social media and creating a professional identity online and whether all that we can do with technology now is creepy or courageous.

In my class, I have every student read the privacy policy of Facebook or Twitter and write a reflection on what they found. If we were taking live polls of my ratings as a professor, I can tell you my scores would drop like a lead bucket as soon as that assignment goes out. Doesn’t everybody just click on “I agree to (insert website name) privacy policy and terms of use” right away and start the sharing? Ugh!

Facebook Terms of Use

Have you ever read this entire thing?

But, when I read the resulting papers and talk with students afterward, there’s always been only gratitude. What they learned was a mixture of “creepy” and empowering: they’re now aware of what information is out there and start confidently making decisions to be smart online.

“Creepy” is a word I hear often when I talk with groups of students and professionals about social media. I hear it especially in conversations about LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature, which shows you just what it says it will. Conversely, when you view the profiles of others, they would be able to know that, too. You can change your visibility in this feature via privacy settings, though I will say I think users should remain visible in almost every case. I’ve heard many good stories about connections getting made and even an interview being offered when two people realized they stumbled on each other’s profiles.

Are there elements of social media that feel creepy? I won’t argue that it can create uncomfortable moments. However, social media can also be empowering, as the students in my class find out together. To get active, to share your goals and your ideas (without “oversharing”—either emotionally or just by posting too often), and to connect with people about those ideas: that’s a powerful possibility social media creates.

It’s a big, big stage we’re on when we talk about sharing ourselves and our stuff on social media. Anyone who realizes the magnitude of reaching thousands or millions of people with a few taps on the keyboard and a mouse click is right to say, “I should really think carefully about this.” In my experience talking with people, that also scares the heck out of them. What if I share some things that really matter to me and nobody cares? What if someone bashes my ideas? Do I have anything worthy enough to share?

For students, being active on social media in a professional manner takes courage. It’s trying something new. Just like putting on a business suit for the first time felt strange, so does putting on your digital suit when you interact on social media. Did it take them a little courage to make the first introduction to someone at a networking event or career fair? So, too, does it take courage to ask for help from alumni on LinkedIn, to tweet to professionals they think are doing great work or to write a blog post?

Perhaps the social media-enhanced job search is part creepy and part courageous. For now, I’m in the courageous camp. NACE blog readers: What do you think?

Using Facebook to Easily Connect Students and Employers

Smedstad-Headshot

Shannon Smedstad, Employer Branding & HR Social Media, Geico
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I’ve got a few initial questions for you …

EMPLOYERS: Does your company have a career-related Facebook page?

CAREER CENTERS: Do you have a Facebook page?

BOTH: Could you be doing more with your page?

If you answered “yes” to two out of three of these questions, please keep reading.

Most people know that Facebook is good for sharing photos and status updates. But, what if we could use Facebook as a virtual career fair platform? How exactly would that work?

facebook_logoThe Magic of Facebook for College Recruiting

You can access Facebook from anywhere: desktop, phone, dorm room, or in-between classes. You can chat with an individual or group. You can share information and link to jobs. Some recruiters already use Facebook to connect with job-seeking students.

As the manager of a corporate career page on Facebook, I have now successfully led three virtual career fairs … right on Facebook!

  • June 2013: More than 230 people engaged with recruiters over a two-day virtual career fair. Hires were made!
  • November 2013: We took a more targeted approach and attracted 75 students to our page during a one-day fair. It cost us less than $50.
  • April 2014: Co-hosted a virtual career fair with a collegiate honor society and grew our followers by 3 percent in one day and organic reach was the highest it’s been year-to-date. It’s still too early to know if we’ve made any hires—my fingers are crossed!

Advice and Lessons Learned

When it comes to social media, you have to be willing to take some calculated risks and try new things. Social platforms are designed for real time communication; we just have to be creative in our thinking to create opportunities to do just that.

To me, these Facebook career fairs fall into the low risk/low cost/potential high reward category. It’s all about the planning, promotion, human resources, and execution of the plan, not how much it costs. Here are some of my top tips for anyone interested in hosting your own virtual event:

  • Determine your audience and whether you have any existing partners that will work through this idea with you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to create a targeted, multi-channel promotional plan.
  • Visual imagery is important in attracting talent and sharing details of the event.
  • Schedule a pre-fair call with the recruiters to talk through what to expect and how you might want to handle certain requests or situations.
  • Make sure that your page (booth) is properly manned during the allotted career fair time, and for a day or two after (questions continue to trickle in).
  • Measure results using Facebook Insights, ATS data, and feedback from the entire team to determine whether the event was successful and worth doing again.

Since our most recent event, we’ve had two student organizations reach out with interest to our team. When you can bring people, technology, and opportunities together for the greater good … it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks, Facebook.

Facebook: The One Place Organic Is Not a Selling Point

Megan WollebenMegan Wolleben, Assistant Director, Career Development Center, Bucknell University
Twitter: @MeganWolleben LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/meganwolleben

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach by Social@Ogilvy

When I first saw the above article on Twitter I favorited it; not because it was my favorite piece of news but because I wanted to keep my eye on it. It’s been in the back of my mind rattling around since and I was thankful for the reminder, and thoughts it provoked, when I saw a friend and colleague (the ever-awesome Shannon Kelly of UPenn) start it as a conversation in a LinkedIn group of which I am a member.

The news about the “end of organic reach,” made me feel a little better about myself. Until it was spoken aloud I was left wondering if it was just me. As our post reach numbers hit all-time lows I thought, “Was it something I said?” And while it’s always nice to know it’s not only you, the outcome is still not ideal. We all noticed the changes and probably, in some small way, knew (or feared) what it meant, what was coming.

As the article points out:

In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more.

But destination zero? The conversation on LinkedIn mentions the concern for smaller businesses and non-profits which touches on one of my major issues: Facebook treats all pages as the same. And by the same, I mean as big brands: GM, Coke, Nike – brands with BIG budgets and BIG agencies behind them. Regardless of what side of the table you are coming from, big business or career services, I think we should be upset about the fact that what “destination zero” essentially does is blocks your content to existing fans unless you pay. “Your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach Is About to Plummet,” article from Social Media Today raise a very poignant question: couldn’t Facebook somehow allow existing fans to be reached via organic means, and worked out a way that businesses pay to reach new fans? We all worked hard to get these fans. At my career center we paid for ads on Facebook to attract fans to our page. Now we are essential being forced to pay to communicate with existing fans, and any new ones, ad infinitum.

I keep asking myself, should we just leave Facebook? Or should we pony-up and pay for reach? When we created our Facebook page it was not driven by organic reach or ROI. It was about having a presence in a space where our students were (and still are) active. That is the same reason we hang up posters outside of the cafeteria. Facebook allowed our office a space for quick updates on an easy to navigate platform that students check frequently.

I found it so easy to jump in to using Facebook but I’m hesitant to jump out and I’m not sure why. If you asked me yesterday, in a fit of frustration, I would have said I wanted to give up and delete our page once and for all. Is anyone considering this? I know what’s pushing me out but I’m not sure I know what’s keeping me. What’s keeping you (and your career center) there?

 

NACE Flash Poll: Will Social Media Replace the Resume?

kevin grubbNACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”

The use of social media in recruiting is a hot topic that’s not cooling down anytime soon. College recruiters consider a candidate’s online presence carefully, and college students use social media to learn about and connect with employers of choice.

A 2012 Forbes article, Facebook Can Tell You if A Person is Worth Hiring, cites research from Northern Illinois University which “suggests a person’s Facebook page can predict job performance and academic success.” This PCMag article discusses Klout’s possible influence on hiring decisions. And, of course, we all know how influential LinkedIn has been in recruiting lately. All of this talk has many speculating that “social media is the new resume.”

So, NACE blog readers, weigh in: do you think social media will replace the resume? Vote in the poll and share your thoughts on the future in a comment!

Career Coaching Notes: Social Networks Beyond Networking

Rayna AndersonRayna A. Anderson, Career Advisor at Elon University
Twitter: @Rayna_Anderson
LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/in/RaynaA
Blog: RaynaAnderson.wordpress.com

We are currently living in the instant information age: a time when we can learn anything with the simple click of a button. But with this more accessible knowledge comes the increased expectation for everyone to actively participate in information sharing. Social media users have become reporters, commentators, and critics of the most recent advances, so it’s no wonder why more and more people are taking to their social network accounts to learn the latest news. 

Not only has technology changed with way we communicate but it has changed the future of the U.S. workforce.  So much so, that it has been estimated as many as 65 percent of grade schoolers will go on to have jobs that do not yet exist. So what better way for college students to stay abreast of industry changes than by engaging in online career conversation! How many photographers would have been better prepared had they known that cell phones would someday include quality cameras? How about social media’s impact on news stations, magazines, and even the hospitality industry?

Beyond the celebrity stalking, hometown gossip, or superficial brown-nosing, social media can greatly impact a student’s chance to kick-start their career. These outlets provide, not only access to professional contacts, but also great opportunities to establish oneself as a knowledgeable and invested professional. Additionally, companies have come to value visionaries that can help keep their businesses afloat in changing tides. Participating in Twitter chats, sharing articles via Facebook, contributing to LinkedIn group discussions, and even blogging can be great ways for students to collect and contribute to useful information.

How often do you encourage students to use social media for career/industry education?

New Millennial Attitudes on Technology and Their Future

kevin grubbA post by NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.

Working in the field of college career services and college recruiting fascinates me. There are many reasons why, but one of the foremost is that speaking with college students keeps me on my toes. With every new class comes a new set of trends to consider.

The "New Millennials"

The “New Millennials” are the next to enter higher education. What trends will they bring with them?

For the past several years and in the next several to come, many of the trends center around Millennials. Viacom, parent company of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and more, recently released some insightful information about the “New Millennials” – the younger set of Millennials, now ages 13-17. As many of them are the college students of tomorrow, I considered reading this as future-minded professional development for myself. Here are my five most interesting facts from the report:

  1. A large majority of New Millennials are worried that the economy of today will have a negative impact on their future. I see anxiety about getting a job in the “real world” in current students frequently, and this finding makes me wonder what concerns and emotions New Millennials will bring to the table.
  2. The percentage of New Millennials who agree that “My parents are like a best friend to me” is up 10 percent (now to 68 percent) since 2010. I am reminded instantly of the “Bring Your Parents to Work” day idea discussed already on the NACE blog.
  3. 70 percent of New Millennials report that “I learn how to do things on YouTube” or “I go to YouTube for DIY videos.” Confession: YouTube helped me learn how to tie a necktie. So, maybe this goes for us “old Millennials,” too. The finding also makes me glad we’ve already been working on our YouTube presence in our office.
  4. 80 percent of New Millennials say that “Sometimes I just need to unplug and enjoy the simple things.” This just makes me happy. I have a group of Millennial friends that I get together with on Sundays for breakfast. All of us are in education, whether primary, secondary, or higher, and we often talk about how we hope students will break from technology from time to time. I hope this continues.
  5. A key finding of the report is that New Millennials are increasingly finding private ways to share things on social media. On the flip side, I read recently that Facebook is now requiring all users to be available in a Facebook search. I hear discontent with Facebook often from students and friends. Will this shift be another notch against the world’s largest social network?

NACE blog readers, what’s your take on Millennials and trends in our work?

Image credit: flickr.com

The Importance of Social Media and Measuring ROI in Career Services Practices

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertranen

 

 

Social media continues to grow in scope and power. There are so many platforms out there, and our students are all over them. To this generation, it’s almost as if things don’t actually happen unless they are filming, photographing, tweeting or status updating it.Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 7.40.15 PM.png

Gen Y overshares and hyperconsumes content in the online space. They feel like things aren’t actually happening unless it’s happening on social media.

“They take technology for granted. They live through social media. They want the world their way, and they want it now.” – Forbs on Gen Y

As career services professionals, we need to navigate our communication strategies to both speak their language, and teach them to become fluent in the language of the professional world. Through social media, we can engage students in the space they are comfortable with, and then lure them into our office to connect to the tangible resources they need to be successful after college – a bait and switch of sorts.

These days, most understand that social media is here to stay. However, whether or not there is value in it remains questionable by many. Therefore, measuring ROI is crucial. Knowing the difference between vanity and actionable metrics is extremely important!

Vanity Metrics: It’s always nice to have a large following and fans to make us feel super important and liked. These vanity metrics are often how supervisors judge whether we are doing a good job. Yes, these are important. However, who are these individuals following or liking us? Are they strangers, or actually connections who are engaging and utilizing our resources?

Actionable Metrics: What really matters is whether our campaign translated into “performance” outcomes. Who retweeted us, who became more aware of our resources and came to the office to utilize them? These are the questions we should all ask when engaging with students in the social media space.

Metrics and ROI are becoming increasingly important in higher education.  I recommend looking at platforms like Hootsuite, Twitonomy, Klout, and Facebook admin pages to help you gather a valuable measurement of your engagement in the online space. Correlating the timing of your social media messaging with spikes in attendance or counseling requests also serves as a more abstract way of showing the impact of your social media practices, and proving you are social media all-stars!

Social Media Bridges the Gap in Communication and Engages Constituents in NYU Wasserman Center’s Award-winning #iamlimitless campaign

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertranen

 

What do President Obama, Spike Lee, Macy’s College Recruiting, and Italy have in common? They were all an integral part of NYU Wasserman Center’s  NACE Innovation Excellence Award-winning#iamlimitless global social media student engagement campaign (don’t try saying that ten times fast).

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We were all excited about our big win at the awards ceremony, but I was still nervous about people actually showing up to the presentation the following day. I figured maybe 30 people would show up – half of which would hail from our own institution. When the room filled up and people were lined up outside of the door, I thought maybe everyone would leave once they realized Justin Bieber wasn’t performing.

A few awkward jokes and flubbed video showing later, the crowd still remained to hear myself and Sneh share NYU’s #iamlimitless campaign. No pressure, right?

Nerves aside, it was incredibly exciting to see so many people interested in what our campaign offered students and other constituents. This blog post serves to provide an overview of the campaign and share the resources and best practices you can adopt to create a campaign of your own.

What is #iamlimitless?

Sneh asked the audience.

“I am limitless. Say it out loud. It Feels good, right?”

And it does. #iamlimitless empowers students to tell their career story to their peers through the powerful tool of social media.

Through the #iamlimitless campaign, the Wasserman Center saw a drastic increase in student and employer engagement. Our previous, primarily email and print-centric campaigns left a large portion of the Gen Y student population disconnected from career events and services relevant to their needs. The #iamlimitless campaign bridged the communication gap through a targeted, incentive based initiative. The campaign brought to life the Wasserman’s “limitless” opportunities motto, encouraged students across the globe to tell their global career stories, and morphed the intimidating notion of career development into a friendly, accessible entity. Additionally, the campaign served as a brand building opportunity for employers and local businesses. Organizations ranging from Macy’s to small cafes in the Greenwich Village area sponsored our raffle prizes. At the end of each week of the fall semester, those who   used  #iamlimitless to share their career stories across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram were entered into a raffle and winners were announced via Twitter and Facebook.

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 2.20.00 PM.pngScreen Shot 2013-06-07 at 2.18.07 PM.pngScreen Shot 2013-06-07 at 2.43.23 PM.png

Why Social Media?

There are so many platforms out there, and our students are all over them. To this generation, it’s almost as if things don’t actually happen unless they are filming, photographing, tweeting or status updating it. Gen Y overshares and hyperconsumes content in the online space.

“They take technology for granted. They live through social media. They want the world their way, and they want it now.” – Forbs on Gen Y

As professionals we need to navigate our communication strategies to both speak their language, and teach them the language of the professional world. The #iamlimitless campaign served as a way to engage students in the space they are comfortable with, and then lure them into our office to connect to the tangible resources they need to be successful after college – a bait and switch of sorts.

ROI: Vanity vs. Actionable Metrics

Vanity Metrics: It’s always nice to have a large following and fans to make us feel super important and liked. These vanity metrics are often how supervisors judge whether we are doing a good job. Yes, these are important. However, who are these individuals following or liking us? Are they strangers, or actually connections who are engaging and utilizing our resources?

Actionable Metrics: What really matters is whether our campaign translated into “performance” outcomes. Who retweeted us, who became more aware of our resources and came to the office to utilize them? These are the questions we should all ask when engaging with students in the social media space.

Did it work? You be the judge!

#iamlimitless was used 133% times more than the second highest hashtag used by the Wasserman Center

#iamlimitless was cited over 100 times across the Wasserman Center’s social media platforms

@NYUWasserman was mentioned 150% times more in the campaign launch month of September 2012

@NYUWasserman’s Klout score increased by 10 points!

Participation in events like our career fair and applications for our Funded Internship Award increased exponentially.

We caught the attention of the Washington Square News and an article in support of the campaign was published and disseminated to its 100k subscribers.

NEXT for NYU Wasserman Center and #iamlimitless

The Wasserman Center will launch it’s #iamlimitless Socializer campaign this fall. It will further engage a broader audience by incentivizing students who get the most likes, repins, and retweets on posts that connect their peers to the Wasserman Center’s resources. Stay tuned for the results of it!

DIY Social Media Campaigning

Start Small:  Don’t feel like you need to throw a rager for your first social media party. Think about starting small with a one-time incentive to complement an individual event.

Operate on One Platform: Use one established platform that you are comfortable with before you expand to a multi-platform approach. Our first experience with a campaign was with a Macy’s event hosted using Foursquare specials. Those who checked in during the time of the event were entered into a raffle to win prizes donated by Macy’s.

Build Buzz and Engage All Constituents: Build buzz both online leading up to the launch of your campaign, but also in person by engaging all constituents. We engaged student affairs offices, faculty, alumni and local organizations to help support the campaign.

Provide  Affordable: Incentives: You also don’t have to break the bank. Incentives don’t need to be expensive. Students love swag, but the majority of our incentives were provided by employer sponsorships, or members of the NYU surrounding businesess. You can even think of non-monetary incentives like an informational interview with one of your employer partners.

Track Impact: Using your Facebook page’s admin metrics, Hootsuite ow.ly clicks, Twitonomy metrics, and Klout score are just a few ways to see what’s working, what needs tweaking, and how effectively your office is engaging with your constituents.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the #iamlimitless campaign, and who came to our presentation and asked insightful questions. Twitter was also ablaze with #iamlimitless chatter. You can check out our Storify for more on what #NACE13 folks had to say about the #iamlimitless presentation! NACE 2013 was such an awesome experience and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s conference! If anyone is interested in continuing the social media conversation, hit me up on Twitter at @HTranen!