I presented at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Technology Day this month, I’ve added my presentation to this post.
Part of the day included a Q&A with a student panel, made up of 4 students from various courses. The comment that hit hardest was that the panel was barely aware of the careers service and the support it offered. This is a situation you will find at most universities, but how on earth are careers services supposed to build their reputation with every student when resources and budgets are so tight? Well, I’ll run through the other points raised by the students and, hopefully, some quick fixes showing how careers services can use social media to work towards building their reputation amongst students.
When asked what the best way of reaching them (students), they all replyed that email is probably the best channel
Although currently this is the case, owing to a slow uptake with Linkedin and Twitter, I think that this provides the perfect opportunity for careers services to act as educators in social media. If you, as a careers service, teach someone how to use a tool that they will use for the foreseeable future, you will be engrained in their conciousness forever. Considering that the panel had bearly heard of the careers service until this point, this would be of massive benefit. This is further supported by the following point…
We (students) would attend sessions or view online how to videos showing how social media can be used to search for jobs
A member of the audience raised the point that they don’t have the time for this sort of activity, which is a fair point. But consider this; in one afternoon you could either see up to 6 students in one-to-one sessions, which is useful. Or you could download some free screen capture video software, which records your on-screen activity, plug in your webcam to record your voice and record a video commentary showing how to set up a Twitter account and search for job opportunities. There is an interest in the student and graduate market for this type of information and, along with some promotion, it will reach thousands of students and graduates. Include a link to your careers services pages at the end of the video and it will act as a traffic driver to raise awareness of your careers service.
All panel members use YouTube and Facebook
Once you have created your video as outlined above, you can upload it to YouTube and post the link on Facebook. This is where the concept of waterholes comes into play, i.e. be where your audience is. Also insure that your video is posted to the main university Facebook page and any other pages associated to the university (including the Student Union). After all, the one thing all of these page users have in common is that at some point they will be searching for jobs! Get creative with this, maybe record a ‘How to tie your tie for an interview’ video, or run a competition on campus for the funniest careers related video. User generated content such as this will give your Facebook and YouTube channels a personal touch that will make them extremely shareable. At every careers event, get your camera and video camera out there and create some content!
A member of the audience asked the one question that everyone, including myself at one point, asks about social media. ‘How can I justify allocating the time to tweeting or updating Facebook?!’. I believe that the extra investment of time is worthwhile because it amplies the effort that you put into each task and provides a soundboard for your service. If we’re honest, whatever we have been doing thus far to promote on-campus career services has not worked as well as it could have. So, let’s change it up and try something different. Try commiting some time over the next 3 months and I am sure that you will see the benefits.