Strategies to Help Students Get the Most from Their LinkedIn Experience

Espie SantiagoEspie Santiago, NACE Guest Blogger, is an assistant director of career counseling at the Stanford University Career Development Center
Twitter: @espie_s
LinkedIn: Friday, August 23, my colleague Bev Principal and I will be conducting a session on “Strategies to Help Students Get the Most from Their LinkedIn Experience.” As career services professionals and employers, we all know that LinkedIn is a mandatory tool in today’s job market, but it can be challenging to convince students of its value without structured programs. It’s even more challenging when faculty and academic departments on your college campus don’t use LinkedIn themselves, and therefore don’t support or encourage students to use it. We’re excited to share with you how we, at the Stanford University Career Development Center, were able to successfully grow our LinkedIn program amongst students, faculty and staff, thereby helping students get the most from their LinkedIn experience. Ours is one such success story, but we’re also anxious to hear anecdotes from others on the do’s and don’ts of building social media programs at your respective organizations.

I am really looking forward to meeting fellow social media enthusiasts throughout #NACESocial!

NACE Social Media Mashup:
Pre-Event Online Networking

Espie SantiagoEspie Santiago, NACE Guest Blogger, is an assistant director of career counseling at the Stanford University Career Development Center
Twitter: @espie_s

Today I was fortunate to have participated in NACE’s Social Media Pre-Event, which was a live virtual speed-networking session. Working in university career services over the years, I’ve definitely overdosed on my share of in-person speed-networking events, but this was the first time I’ve ever joined one online. And boy did I enjoy using this type of technology to get connected to Mashup attendees prior to #NACESocial this Thursday and Friday – what a great way to engage some of us before the event even begins! Hosted by Brazen Careerist, I was able to easily chat with a handful of career services professionals and employers to learn about their specific interests in using social media today. I look forward to continuing our conversations in person at the Mashup. Special thanks to those I chatted with including Diana Wong, Dawn Carter, Glen Fowler, Alice Camuti and Ashley Hoffman.

Debrief of #NACE13: Day 1

Sarah MartinA post by Guest Blogger, Sarah Martin, College Relations and Social Media Recruiter, Garmin International
Twitter: @workatgarmin
LinkedIn: had the privilege to attend 3 workshops on Day 1: Setting Standards for the Candidate Experience, Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting, and Effectively Utilizing Mobile Technologies. Conferences tend to be information overload, so I’d like to share my quick take-a-ways from each workshop.

Setting Standards for the Candidate Experience:
• Build your own business case with numbers and dollars
• Audit yourself
• It’s critical to seek feedback from your candidates (and not just those you end up hiring)
• Match your medium to your audience
• Be truthful when answering candidate questions
• Deliver what you promise
*Presenter: Gerry Crispin, CareerXroads

Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting:
How many of you knew there were URR standards published in 1976? Did you realize those standards were recently updated for the first time?! Thank you #NACE13! The updated standards are currently available through the NACE13 app and will be on the NACE web site within the next couple of weeks. I’m impressed that 40+ individuals came together to “get it right.” This document is sure to help employers across the country assess the current state of their College Recruitment programs, as well as, provide guidance for a lasting, successful future. I’m eager to take a closer look at the details!
*Presenter: Jeff Goodman

Effectively Utilizing Mobile Technologies:
Not surprising: Nearly half of all 18-29 year-olds who access the Internet on their phones, do the majority of their online browsing on their mobile device. Surprising: Many companies utilize text messaging as a successful medium for recruitment. We have a list of avenues in which we intend to reach out to our candidates, but text messaging hasn’t even been on our radar. The numbers don’t lie, though. The case studies presented in this workshop provided insight to several successful campaigns. The biggest take-a-way for me: mobile is where the action is! If you don’t have your hat in the ring, you are missing out on quality candidates. When communicating with candidates through mobile technologies, it’s essential that you are concise, relevant, and professional. We are all aware that we have a very short period of time to make an impression on our candidates… and mobile technology shortens that timeframe even further. Now, time to strategize and get a plan in place.
*Presenters: Lindsay Stanton, Job Search Television Network and Jay Floersch, PeopleScout Inc.

Overall… a very impressive Day 1!

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


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.

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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 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!

ORL to PHL: Luggage, Knowledge, and Appreciation

kevin grubbA post by NACE Guest Blogger, Kevin Grubb.
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.

 Despite the tropical storm that made its way up the east coast on Friday, my plane arrived safely back in Philadelphia that afternoon.  What came with me on the flight from Orlando: luggage, knowledge, and appreciation – and I only had to check one of them at the gate, even though I’m sure the knowledge and appreciation weighed more.

In my previous two blog posts, I did my best to offer up what was learned in some of the sessions I attended at the NACE conference this year.  My goal was to bring you there, to save you a seat next to me and the power outlets.  For this last post, I wanted to step back from the sessions and talk a little bit “bigger picture” about the conference itself.  So, pull up a seat one more time and let’s talk.  (As I write this, I am picturing Linda Richman from “Coffee Talk” on Saturday Night Live.  “Placement Surveys are not ‘placement’ and not always ‘surveys’… Discuss.”)

For me, the NACE conference this year was about three things: bravery in uncertainty, solidifying relationships, and planning for randomness.

Bravery in Uncertainty

In my other two posts, covering the future of career services and first destination surveys, I tried to capture not only the content but the essence of those sessions: higher education & career services are changing.  That change of pace is rapid and is continuing to grow due to pressures from many of our constituents.  There are still unanswered questions and uncertain times ahead.  That is, admittedly, nerve-wracking and exciting all at once.

I am choosing to acknowledge both sides of that coin, and in the category of “practicing what I preach,” I am reminded of counseling students who are about to graduate and are not sure what lies ahead for them.  They know they are about to leave a whole world they created for themselves, and they’re not sure how much of it they can take with them.  They know change is coming swiftly, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.  They take it head on.  And so must we.  At the NACE conference this year, it was clear to see the profession taking this change head on, and I look forward to seeing more of it in the months and years ahead.

Solidifying Relationships

It took place on plane rides, in hotel restaurants, on ottomans in the lobby, at coffee shops – everywhere there were conversations with great people.  If we’re talking MBTI types, I am almost completely an “E” for extravert (pause for stunned response), and so a conference center full of people is energizing for me.  Besides the opportunity to learn in the sessions, the greatest benefit of attending the NACE conference is the opportunity to build relationships with people.  I enjoyed the chance to connect with both career services and recruiting colleagues, new and old.  I remember at last year’s conference, a veteran in the field told me that she’s met not only great colleagues but great friends in this field.  I see why.

For me, the connections weren’t always made in the most “buttoned up” situations.  Some of the most memorable connections I made were over the following: a somewhat problematic yet hilarious story about leaky hotel rooms, the best mobile apps to help you stay in shape, whether you’d consider yourself an appetizer or dessert person (dessert all the way), and more.  By allowing ourselves to get a little more personal, we deepened the relationship.  Building trust and bonding over even silly things can translate to better business and working together.  While of course it’s important to keep things appropriate, I try to keep the personal side in mind throughout the year.  We’re professionals, yes. We have a job to do, absolutely.  But, we’re people, too.

Planning for Randomness

Back to the MBTI talk for a second, I am also quite strongly a “J” for judging.  Not to be mistaken for judgmental, the “J” translates to someone who likes structure and to make decisions.  In fact, my first guest post for the NACE blog was on how I was preparing for the conference.  So, planning ahead is a part of me, and I say this with admiration and respect for all of my “P” for perceiving friends (those who are often described as spontaneous or more flexible).

One thing I should have mentioned in that post is to make plans, but also to allow for something in the moment to change your course.  You just never know whom you’ll bump into at the conference or when a lunch conversation turns into a best practice discussion session.  I’ve heard it said and said it myself: some of the best moments of a conference are those that occur between sessions.  Perhaps there’s a professional lesson nestled in there, too.  Some days, plan for randomness.  Have lunch with someone and don’t fill the agenda.  Have a meeting with yourself and let it be your creative time.  Take a different turn or two in a walk around your building or campus.  That’s at least some of how I’m interpreting it.  Making room for chance.

And so, with empty bags, a retired out of office email auto response, and much gratitude, I say thank you to everyone who organized the NACE conference this year and everyone who was a part of it.  This includes you, blog readers.  Here’s to San Antonio in 2014!

Fixated on “First Destinations”

kevin grubbA post by NACE Guest Blogger, Kevin Grubb.
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.

 That’s my official meditation for today at the NACE conference.  This morning, I attended a session hosted by the NACE First Destination Task Force where we discussed what’s been happening at the association and beyond with our increasingly critical surveys about where our graduates go after they leave our institutions.  With national attention being paid to these data and the numbers in the spotlight more often than ever, there’s no doubt this is a hot topic for career services attendees at the conference.  Here’s a breakdown of the session and some commentary by one of your faithful bloggers.

NACE has already released a position statement about these First Destinations surveys in July 2012, and we kicked off the session with a review of the principles laid out in this statement.  The short version of that is:

  • Post graduate success is the mission of entire institution, not just career services
  • All graduates of institutions should be tracked in these surveys
  • Career services should have central role in collecting this information
  • Outcomes should be inclusive, not just about immediate employment
  • Human subject & institutional research protocols should be observed when collecting information
  • Data may come from various reliable sources
  • Data collection should be on-going, with the final collection efforts completed by 6-9 months from graduation
  • Data should be reported in aggregate and should protect individual confidentiality
  • Outcome data should consider: response rates, academic program breakdown of data, job titles, employers, salary data, further academic study (what program and what institution)

The NACE Task Force is working on a version of a standardized first destination survey which can be used by all institutions.  The Task Force’s plan is to have all institutions be using this survey for the graduating class of 2014.  So, with that in mind, the Task Force needed to do quite a bit more beyond what has been set forth in the position statement.  Namely:

  • There would need to be a core set of questions to be asked universally and consistently
  • There would need to be establish definitions for standard measures (i.e. defining what “full-time employment” really means)
  • There would need to be an agreed upon appropriate time frame for data collection
  • There would need to be suggested response rate requirements to ensure that the data reported is statistically valid and reliable

This is all no small order.  What about entrepreneurs?  What about graduates in the summer, the fall, or schools on different academic calendars?  How can we standardize all of this?  Questions about the intricacies of this are abundant, and rightfully so.

The Task Force was ready to share a bit about where they are in the process, so here’s what was learned.

New Language for First Destination Surveys

  • Perhaps we can lay the “p” word to rest?  The suggestion is to call it “career outcomes” rather than “placement.”
  • Recognizing that information about post graduate career outcomes comes from various sources (not just our surveys), the suggestion is to consider “knowledge rates” rather than “response rates.”  For instance, say a faculty member or employer lets a career services office know a student was hired and reports job title & employer information.  That’s knowledge, not a “response.”
  • When the data collection period ends, we can “close the books.”  Ongoing data collection can and should happen after graduation, and the profession should consider counting early, mid and later in academic year graduates (not just traditional “Spring” grads).  However, knowing that spring graduation is the largest for a majority of institutions, we can consider closing the books six months after that date, which is approximately December 1.  NACE would consider reaching out for information by the end of December, and then could share aggregate data in January to legislators, those involved in public policy, and those in trends reporting.

Suggestions for type and amount of information to collect

  • The Task Force suggested a knowledge rate range between 65% and 85%.  This is to serve as an initial guidepost for us, and should help us find a workable range that is achievable, valid, and reliable.  Over time as we develop this, the suggested knowledge rate range may increase
  • The outcome measures to be provided include information such as (this is not the whole picture here): percentage of graduates employed full-time, those pursuing further study, those still seeking employment, and those not seeking employment.  While information should be collected for graduate and undergraduate students, there should also be separate information for the undergraduate and graduate levels as well
  • For the employment category, examples of information to collect include: job title, employer, salary (both base salary & guaranteed first year compensation, which includes signing bonuses)
  • For the further study category, the name of the academic program and institution name should be collected
  • If a student is working and pursuing further study, it is suggested that the data be categorized by the graduate’s primary pursuit.

A few more dimensions the Task Force is considering:

  • A way to measure a graduate’s satisfaction with their outcome?  Meaning: is this where they wanted to be?
  • For those who are reported as being employed full-time, is the employment related to their degree?
  • For now, the further study category is intended for those who are pursuing a graduate degree.  What about other types of study?  Certification programs?  Those who want to earn another undergraduate degree?

Suffice it to say, there are still many questions about this process yet to be answered.  But, I think I can safely say there is agreement that this is important work which needs doing.  It’s a challenge, no doubt.  Life doesn’t fit into defined categories easily, and so it follows that neither does one’s career plans.  At a time when many want to know, “is college worth it?,” these first destination data points can be key indicators of a piece of the puzzle that is an answer to that question.

UNC Chapel Hill’s Innovation in Career Services: Climate, Leadership, and Process!

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen


UNC Chapel Hill never ceases to amaze me. They remain on the cutting edge with social media and innovation, and I am always excited to hear what they have to say. Gary Alan Miller and Katherine Nobles’s workshop shed light on fascinating data about what either fosters or impedes innovation in career services offices. With the increased emphasis on ROI in higher education, it is even more crucial that career services professionals consider the  factors that produce innovation. UNC Chapel Hill took the assessment method that PricewaterhouseCoopers uses, and looked at what makes an organization MORE likely to be innovative.

Climate, Leadership, and Process were the factors considered.

Gary and Katherine showed that 79% of offices who think they are innovative, also feel comfortable taking bold action. The majority also agree or strongly agree that they feel comfortable being bold because leadership supports them. More about leadership in a bit. Not surprisingly, lack of time and lack of budget are reasons that the innovation process was stifled. I highlighted some of the main ideas that came out of the small group discussions that took place throughout the workshop.


Hiring the right people Let’s not mess around with our talent. From the very beginning, make sure that you are hiring people with not only a vision, but an ability to enact their vision and yield concrete results. My favorite interviewing question to ask potential hires is, “Tell me about a time you had an idea, brought it into fruition, and it yielded positive results.” Feel free to steal that.

Freedom – with boundaries and mentoring Young talent often come in bright eyed and bushy tailed – fearless of failure. As managers its important to let them initiate their ideas, but with guidance. Don’t be a dream killer. Rather, ask them questions that force them to see where there might be holes in their ideas. Support them in finding the right strategy. It takes a bit more time, but the long term investment is worthwhile. You never know, it might just result in a NACE Excellence Award.

Talking to outside constituents about their strategies Sharing ideas and best practices is so crucial to success. That’s why I love conferences like NACE. However, even if you can’t swing going to a large conference, simply reaching out to individuals who are doing work you are inspired by is a great way to build your network, and to find out how others overcame challenges you currently face.


The data shared definitely showed that leadership is instrumental in whether or not an office innovates. Those who felt supported, also felt comfortable innovating. It is important as leaders to make sure these ideas are fostered so our offices can continue to grow, and our students are exposed to the most cutting edge resources possible.

During the small group discussion, we brainstormed leadership tactics to create an innovative office.

Provide alternate forms of communication I definitely related to the “introvert’s nightmare” comment during the NACE awards. Introverted staff members might feel awkward bringing up ideas in large meetings. Being open to an email or other online discussion to get the conversation going can generate a wider range of ideas.

Take the time to cultivate new leadership I don’t mean to brag, but my boss is pretty awesome. I have worked for her over the course of five years, starting out as an entry level employee, and now as an Associate Director and senior member of her staff. My ideas have literally never been shot down. As a result, our social media presence has grown exponentially, and the office continues to innovate.

Empathize It gets harder to relate to the day-to-day activities of your staff. Taking the time to see what’s going on with their projects and empathizing with their stress will help them feel supported and cared for within the office.


Gary and Katherine discussed the most utilized resources career services use to innovate. Some of these were pretty surprising.

Top 5 Resources Used 



Career Services

Professional Associations


Top 5 Resources Not Used


Social media

Other service organizations

News media



Entrepreneurship Program Partnerships

Mobile Apps

Kiosks on campus to search jobs

Virtual fairs


“You don’t want to be blind to routine things that we are blind to making things better.”

“Sometimes we might live in the iterative. I can make this better by stapling it on the left side instead of the right.”


Gary’s Recommendation:

10 Faces of Innovation byTom Kelley

My Recommendation

Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field by Manny Contomanolis and Trudy Steinfeld

That’s all for this fabulous session! I hope everyone is enjoying the rest of their time at NACE! Stay tuned for my next blog!