“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I’ve heard it my whole life. The funny thing about that quote is that you can hear it everyday but if that day ends and you still don’t know anyone it hasn’t really gotten you far, and when you’re a young college student with a busy schedule it doesn’t feel like you can really go door to door and introduce yourself to business owners. The thing that seems most unrealistic? That any business owners will take a college student seriously.
Can you see me now? I’ve made an appointment with your secretary and I’m eager to meet with you, but to say what? You’re going to ask me about my accomplishments and I’m going to tell you the truth: I have none. Most college students can’t afford to be at the school they’re at so they’re working part-time jobs that rule out the possibility of networking and others like me are competing in athletics to help pay for school. Which let’s be honest, is only turning into a career for less that 1% of us. So here’s the scenario, I graduate and I hand out a carbon copied resume of things I think are important. Mine says something along the lines of “I’m an academic and athletic all-american. I have a high GPA. I worked at some summer jobs and my bosses liked me a lot. Oh and here were the classes I took, but I don’t know anybody important.” Now what? It’s start to feel for a lot of us like graduating is just the step before being unemployed. And it’s scary.
The best I feel like I can do is try to market myself. Social media is huge with my generation and if you’re anybody you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, FourSquare, etc. So I did what any kid in my situation should do. I created an online portfolio. If we don’t have time to go door to door maybe CEO’s surfing the web have time to come to us. Maybe our network that consists of mostly college students we’ll end up competing against can develop and transform into a professional atmosphere. Maybe if we get some help. So check it out and see what you think: jaclynjmk.wordpress.com
Today’s post was written by Jaclyn Luscomb, a junior at the University of Indianapolis. She is majoring in communications with a double emphasis in journalism and human communications. She is pretty smart cookie according to her GPA. Current member of PRSSA [Public Relations Student Society of America]. I’m also a repeat NCAA all-american in swimming.
As a 24-year-old who had seven communications internships in college and now had two jobs as a communications director for companies at a communications turning point, I can say that having a flashy social media presence doesn't make up for professional and academic merits. It still takes hard, tedious, old-fashioned elbow grease to effect real change — not just a Facebook profile or a clever flow of tweets.
Putting yourself out there via social media is a must, obviously, but you ignore other traditional means of "getting your foot in the door" and proving yourself at your own peril (and unemployment). Internships, I believe, are still the best way to prove yourself not only to potential future employers, but to establish a pattern of doing excellent, innovative work — including work with social media. It doesn't have to be a "cool" or "hip" internship, either, just something that gives you a chance to test yourself.
Traditional business people who had to claw themselves into their positions still make up the majority of people who hire jobs. They look at social media as something that they'll eventually have to accept as a professional tool, but they'd rather know you can do the parts of the job that have kept product moving and established customers/members satisfied for years. This is what pays their bills. Simply creating a sleek social media presence for yourself (like every other jobseeker this day in age has already done) isn't enough.
It does help to investigate the social networks of the people who will be hiring you, and the people who work with that person. Do you have common friends? Any common interests or past experiences? Do any people in your intentionally established network know people at the company where you want to work? I believe such workarounds lead to jobs much more quickly than being an astute Twitterer. I would rather hire someone my most trusted professional contact recommends than someone whose Facebook is cool.
I completely agree with you! Please don't think that I do not plan on taking more of a traditional route as well; right now I'm in the active process of setting up internships for this summer and my senior year. Everything you said is true. I just feel the need for people to know that it's scary as hell for a college student to hear that they have to know someone to get their foot in the door.. it's like, where do we start? We know it's more than "having a cool Facebook"
And I totally didn't mean to sound like a snot hahhaa. I totally think social media is the key to moving communications forward. It's just most young people are so scared to cold-call someone and pitch themselves — and, God forbid, set up a meeting and attempt to have a conversation about the profession and get advice. I guess I just want people who read this to know it takes way more than social media to get a job. Because I want our generation to find work and lead the way. You rock!
I understand where you're coming from and while I do have respect for the traditional means of finding employment, I understand how difficult it would be for someone that expects to work in the field of Social Media, but does not have a a strong online presence. This article caught my eye because I was joking with someone while watching midterm election campaigns that I should make a "campaign" video for an internship. Best of luck to you. I'm a forty-something student returning to college to complete a degree in Communications. While I have kept up with technology since the time of manual typewriters, I've found that I fall into the stereotypical role of not knowing what's going on because of my age.
I think the campaign video is an awesome idea, break the mold! Best of luck to you as well 🙂