How Confident are You in Finding a Job After Graduation?
There are no guarantees of employment for new college graduates or current students in today's brutal economy. A college diploma is now a minimum requirement. This November 2011 New York Times direct quote describes the current situation:
"A bachelor's degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence or capability."
A Professional Online Presence Provides Differentiation Among a Sea of College Graduates
A Resume and Diploma are NOT Enough. Recent graduates (and current undergraduates) need more to catch a company recruiter's attention. LinkedIn Grad Guide Video #2: Building Your Professional Brand revolves around this concept. Here's a key fact about how company recruiters now evaluate future employees (particularly college graduates and current students):
"It's no longer enough to simply have a resume. Students now need a professional online presence." -- Holly Paul, former US Recruiting Leader, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (now Chief Human Resources Officer, Vocus).
Do You have a Professional Online Presence? Is Your Professional Online Presence Differentiating? If you said no to either of these questions, I hope you'll continue reading a little longer. Developing a professional brand / presence requires work, time, patience, and discipline. If you make the commitment, this investment increases the probability a company recruiter (or your first boss) will:
- Find you online
- Select you for that crucial first interview
Seeking a Job in Marketing, Public Relations, or Communications? Majoring in these Fields)? If you nodded "yes," the authors / books described in this two-part post are MUST READ content. These gurus are driving the future landscape of digital marketing, public relations, and communications.
Note: I am not an Amazon Affiliate Program Member. I tremendously respect the following authors because of their invaluable guidance in developing a professional online presence.
Turn Your Non-Working Time Into a Competitive Advantage
These authors share creative ideas to show a potential employer "you're more than a resume and the grades on a college transcript". Their teachings provide suggestions in maximizing the Internet's global reach and leveraging search engines to your advantage.
Read. Read. Read. The following suggested authors / books are not "cookie cutter" or "10 easy steps on how-to land your first job out of college / summer internship in a lousy economy" resources.
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Read The Start-Up of YOU First.
1. You were born an entrepreneur.
2. Succeding professionally in today's economy means people of all ages need to adopt the same strategies of successful entrepreneurs.
Why? Successful entrepreneurs excel at:
- Adapting all the time (e.g., permanent beta and pivoting)
- Dealing with uncertainty and information gaps
- Understanding their competitive advantage(s) (plus identifying quickly what is not)
- Building and nurturing lifelong networks and relationships (both personal and professional)
- Asking their lifelong networks and relationships for advice when confronting problems
- Managing risks intelligently
Why The Start-Up of YOU Matters
So what does entrepreneurship have to do with building a professional presence (and ultimately in landing that first job out of college)? Here are some direct quotes referencing Ronald Brownstein's NationalJournal.com article, "Children of the Great Recession:"
"For the last sixty or so years, the job market for educated workers worked like an escalator. So long as you played nice and well, you moved steadily up the escalator, and each step brought with it more power, income, and job security."
"But now the escalator is jammed at every level. Many young people even the most highly educated, are stuck at the bottom, underemployed, or jobless."
The Start-Up of YOU's principles describe the entrepreneurial strategies and career tactics traditional liberal arts undergraduate classes overlook. Understanding and applying these entrepreneurial strategies and career tactics can guide you in the current job market.
I published a series on The Start-Up of YOU when the book rolled out last year. The second post, Start-Up of YOU Book Review, Part 2: Five Game Changers in Career Competitive Advantage highlights several key takeaways.
Here are a few more helpful links to The Start-Up of YOU Resources Page to get started:
If you have difficulty with these links, please email me at tony[dot]faustino[at]gmail[dot]com, and I'll send you the PDFs.
The Start-Up of YOU Resources Page also contains this SlideShare presentation: Start-Up of YOU Visual Summary:
Dan Schawbel wrote Me 2.0 and Promote Yourself. The New York Post selected Me 2.0 as 2009's Number 1 career book. Promote Yourself (his latest book) is a current New York Times bestseller. Dan's also the Managing Partner of Millenial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the personal branding authority for millenials.
Great Insights Relevant to All Professional Ages. In my opinion, Dan's professional branding teachings apply to ALL professionals and job seekers. I studied the 2009 first edition in my early-forties.
Why Me 2.0 Matters
Me 2.0 provides easy-to-understand suggestions for creating a professional brand online by:
- Evaluating blog hosting options (if I could go back, I would select WordPress)
- Starting, writing, and marketing a personal blog
- Participating wisely in social networks
- Developing relationships with influential bloggers in your targeted industries
- Understanding search engine optimization's (SEO) impact on your professional career
Dan published this free PDF presentation, Blogging Your Brand: A Complete Guide to Your Success, to support the book's launch. It's a great primer for seriously publishing a personal blog and creating a professional brand.Stay tuned for a future review of Promote Yourself (it's on my reading to-do list). Here's Dan's blog post, Promote Yourself Excerpt - Chapter 10: Start Your Own Business While on the Job, if you'd like to learn more. I am a HUGE Mitch Joel Fan. Mitch is President of Twist Image - one of the largest independent Digital Marketing Agencies in North America. When Google educates the top global brands about digital marketing, they call Mitch to speak at the Googleplex.
Why Six Pixels of Separation Matters
Chapter 7: You Are Media and Chapter 10: From Mass Media to "Me" Media. These Six Pixels of Separation chapters, along with Tom Peters' classic Fast Company article, The Brand Called YOU, explain best why cultivating a professional online presence should be a career priority.
Key content generously shared in these chapters include:
- A Personal Brand Questionnaire (for evaluating your personal brand and how well you are digitally communicating it)
- The Essential Components in Building a 3D Personal Brand: Giving Abundantly, Helping Others, and Building Relationships
- A Personal Brand Audit of Online Tools (such as a personal blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Search, and Google Alerts)
- Building and Targeting a Niche for Your Professional Online Presence
Mitch framed his insight within the context of the following quote cited in Six Pixels of Separation from Michael S. Malone's May 2008 Wall Street Journal article, "The Next American Frontier:"
"The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own company, according to a Gallup poll."
(from Mitch a few paragraphs later):
"Here's what he's really saying (e.g., Mr. Malone): Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.
Mitch Joel's Latest Book is Ctrl Alt Delete. My biggest personal mistakes/regrets in understanding and building a professional online presence are:
- Not publishing this personal blog at least 10 years earlier.
- Not reading Six Pixels of Separation upon its initial release.
Mitch recently published Ctrl Alt Delete. I'm studying it now (and I love it). The lifelong career advice is invaluable. To preview Ctrl Alt Delete, please watch this thoughtful conversation between Jonathan Fields and the humble maestro:
This concludes post three on helping recent college graduates and current undergraduates build a professonal online presence. I hope you'll return for post four (e.g., Part 2) sharing six (6) more authors and their respective books. Post 4 should be published in two weeks.
Your Turn: Have you read any of these books? If so, how useful do you think they are to recent college graduates and current undergraduates. Are there other books you think would be helpful? Please let me know in the comments.
Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist. He writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy for organizations and individuals in his marketing strategy blog, Social Media ReInvention. Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.
Note: This is post three in a series sharing resources to help new college graduates and current students land full-time jobs or internships. If interested, here are links to other posts in this series: