Stand Up And Be Heard!
With graduation coming up soon for a lot of students, I am always floored when I talk to some that have no job prospects in mind. I know that the economy is hurting right now and jobs are scarce, but when I ask them what they are doing to find a job, the answer is a little sad. Most of them have never done an internship, and I understand that a lot can’t do internships because they don’t have the luxury of not getting paid to work. If that is the case then those students should be heavily involved in a student group, and trying to do things that they can put on their résumé to help leverage an interview.
I then ask them what they are doing in lieu of internships and student groups. The answer is again startling, they are not doing anything, most of them are hoping that an opportunity will fall into their laps, and that having an undergraduate degree is good enough to land them a job. Being in the marketing and advertising field for my schooling and future career goals it amazes me that these students are not doing everything that they can to make themselves known. I can kind of understand students in other fields, but advertising and marketing students are taught specifically about branding, networking, and using tools available to make companies and products known. How is it that they have not figured out they can do these same things to brand, and network themselves.
So I say stand up and be heard! Make yourself known in any possible way that you can, it is never too late to start networking. People then ask how do you network, and I reply, by talking to people. Seriously talk to people in your classes, talk to your professors, and talk to other people who you might know in the marketing or advertising fields. I got my first internship, which is now my part-time marketing consultant job simply by approaching one of my professors and asking them for advice on positioning myself to get a career when I am done with school. Since then I have used Twitter and LinkedIn like a champ. I have gained more contacts and people who I can network with on Twitter than I could in real life. When I get closer to my graduation date this coming December I fully plan to use those contacts that I have made by setting up informational interviews and talking to them about their jobs, and what I can do more to position myself for a good job. My hope is that when it comes time to graduate I won’t need to look for a job, and that my current marketing position will turn into a full-time position.
My point to this sort of rant is that there are tools and ways for students to better position themselves for a job in the future. Students, put your ears to the ground and your nose in the wind, and find people to network with, find ways to make yourself known and get your voice heard. Get in on the Twitter action, start blogging, talk to your professors, connect with professionals already in the fields. A good case in point is my experience approaching my professor for advice on my career. Another instance I was simply talking to a fellow student about what I thought I wanted to do when I grew up, and it just so happened that she knew another professor that I had not had a class with, whose wife was working for an advertising agency here in town, doing the same things that I thought I might want to do in the future. As our talk progressed the professor told me about an advertising agency that he wanted to start with a group of students. It was yet again another internship opportunity for me, something else to give me experience and put on my résumé. I applied and was hired, and it has been one of the best experiences that I have had during my schooling. Another case in point is some of the contacts that I have gained both here locally and across the United States and even into other parts of the world, because of my blog or my Twitter.
Students it is never too late to start networking, it can even be kind of fun. I always love it when my networking efforts either through talking to people or through blogging and Twitter gain me more contacts that I can network with. And it really gets me pumped when an important person starts following my blog or my Twitter account, and then starts interacting with me and carrying on conversations with me. That tells me that I am doing something right. So students get a Twitter and LinkedIn account, start blogging, and clean up your Facebook profiles, it really is that easy. Will these things result in a job in the future? Who really knows, I can only hope it will.
The Green Guerilla