Since I’m being interviewed for a book written on career advice for recent college graduates, I called my sister Ashley this morning to see what she had to say. My sister is a junior at the University of Missouri where she is double majoring in Women’s/Gender Studies and Journalism.
We talked about outdated career advice and what advice is more realistic for the college graduates of 2009. We also talked about Ashley’s upcoming internship search and how she could get started. Talking to her made me realize how much has changed since I graduated only a few years ago in 2006. Here is some of the advice my career center gave me:
1. Take yourself off all social networking sites and never blog because it is unprofessional and could ruin your chances of getting a job and hurt your reputation.
2. Work at a very large company right out of school so that you have a big name on your resume. “You will be able to work anywhere once your next employer sees that name on your resume.”
3. You should stay at your first job for at least 3 years.
4. You will start out in your first job as being a just a number, your individualism, personal strengths and ideas do not matter so keep them to yourself.
This advice is total garbage for the graduates of 2009 and I completely disagree with all four points!
For this post, I am going to focus on correcting point #1: You MUST use social networking sites and the Internet to let others know about your skills, talents and passions. If you aren’t positioning yourself for others to see online, you are really missing out on great opportunities. How could someone offer you a great job or internship if they don’t know you exist?
I bought my sister her own domain name, ashleycrimaldi.com, for Christmas this morning and suggested that she put a bio, professional picture, resume, sites she likes, a blog and a portfolio of work she has done on her site. I also urged her to start using Twitter to connect with people who shared her interests and career goals. It is amazing how much Twitter “friends” are willing to help each other out in any way they can.
When joining first joining Twitter, use search.twitter.com to search for people who are “tweeting” about things that you care about and then “follow” them so you can read what they have to say on a daily basis. It is also important to send out valuable tweets regularly on your area of interest or expertise and post interesting links so others can read them and share information.
Also, if you like someone’s blog, website, or tweets TELL THEM! Compliments go a long way in making connections and mentors.
Long gone are the days of finding an internship through the classified section of your local paper or even scoring a great opportunity through a huge career site. If you are looking to pursue an internship or job that is in line with your individual strengths, ideas and talents you will have to go get it on your own by reaching out to people like you online.
P.S.- Follow me on Twitter: ExecutiveVision and let me know what you think about this post!