The last several years I have spoken at the Oklahoma Association for Career and Employers Conference called OkACE. It’s a conference specifically for the college, career services, and for companies who aggressively recruit college students. And this year, I’m a Lead Sponsor for the event on April 8th in Oklahoma City.
Organizations like OkACE and NACE provide career services and employers insights into trends and topics for our upcoming and new college grads. As someone who has worked with college students, recent grads, and student athletes, they are often surprised at the openness of social media and its use by employers as a form of a social media employment background check. It is because of this, that I believe colleges & career service departments have an opportunity to educate our youth on both the benefits of social medias as well as the perils and potential personal branding pitfalls.
In college, I sat through a ridiculous 2 credit hour course for college life skills as a freshman. It was there that I learned about college degree requirements and how to calculate my GPA. I learned nothing that could benefit me outside of the university or that couldn’t be read or watched via podcast on the college career site.
Social Media for Colleges & Career Services
If colleges and career services really want to so value to their students and help prepare them for the realities of the workforce, they must do the following:
- Become Experts on Social Media. In order to properly train students, staff, and community members, career services needs to embrace social media. Learn about the nuances of Twitter and how it differs from Facebook. How are companies using social media and what does it mean for our future business leaders?
- Train Our Students on the Effective Use of Social Media. Social media is a online water cooler where people talk business as well as personal. Provide our students insights, information, and ways to use social media to help not hurt them in their professional careers.
- Build Communities. Whether it’s a Facebook Group exclusively for your college career services team or a LinkedIn Group for employers, take advantage of building communities that benefit different audiences, generate discussion, and provide value. Consider joining already established communities, called Affinity Networks where you can reach different audience channels and further your message.
- Set the Example. This means taking risks to be able to speak to business and college students about trends, benefits, and potential pitfalls. Reach your intended audience in different ways leveraging texting, smartphone apps, blogs, and even video to provide your audience information and resources in different ways. Because students are always on the go, special attention should be paid to the mobile phone.
- Stay on the Pulse of Business. In career services, you essentially have three clients to serve — the students, the college, and companies who hire your graduates. This means keeping abreast of industry changes and trends (including social media) that benefit every audience and finding ways to communicate these in a way that appeals to different ages and demographics. Maybe this means the use of multiple blogs, email newsletters, or mediums that appeal for different reasons and different ways.