The Millennial’s Guide to Social Media Week

Because of the way Social Media Week is set up this year, it can be tough to justify the expense of a campus pass if you are a recent post-grad with a laughable bank account balance. From one millennial to another, here are a few reasons why it’s worth it to shell out to come to SMW this year. It’s actually quite the steal for access to these amazing sessions and more.

  1. Beyond LinkedIn: Using Niche Social Media Platforms in the Job Hunt
    If you already have a job and aren’t living on your parent’s couch, you might not be a millennial. Jokes aside, landing your first “real job” is not an easy task, event if you did all the things you were told to- like go to a good school and get good grades. It takes a multi-lateral effort to get your foot in the door and this is a good place to start.
  2. 7×7 Mentor Session: Industry Leaders Share Career Advice on Getting Ahead
    And when we do finally get that job, how can we make sure that we are staying on the right track? Through mentorship. All good millennials have a copy of Lean In and know we need a mentor who can help us talk through the difficult situations in that life throws us as well as how we want to move in our careers.
  3. Secrets of Not-For-Profit Tech Success: Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something and Charles Best, Founder & CEO of DonorsChoose
    Having grown up hearing stories and watching documentaries about how terrible the education system is in the US, it is difficult to know how to respond. When the only option is to turn to the political system, it can feel like your small voice has no impact. I love Charles Best’s work to connect people who want to help directly with educators who need resources to continue their amazing work.
  4. The New Frontier of (Un)Branded Content: A Screening and Discussion of Farmed and Dangerous, Hosted by Chipotle
    With the unbelievable increase in connection through social media, how is it that we are still so disconnected with the sources of our food? I barely even buy groceries, and when I do I don’t have a good idea of where they are coming from and what the worker conditions were like. Though this web series is a humorous take on the idea of disconnection from our food, it is good that Chipotle is asking us think more critically about where our food is actually coming from.
  5. Hood to Hipster: Silicon Alley’s Impact on NYC’s Underserved Communities
    Not just because it has the word hipster in the title, but as wealth is created through innovation, how do we prevent this wealth from merely circulating through pre-existing networks of privilege? I’d definitely be interested in hearing about this- plus the title is great.

There’s only a few more days to go before the event so register now!

LinkedIn Advice from a Career Coach

Melissa Llarena has been coaching entry-level, mid-level and seasoned professionals for more than 10 years. In 2012, she decided to officially incorporate Career Outcomes Matter LLC (i.e., the firm), which is headquartered in Astoria, NY, and certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. Her client base has included professionals across a variety of sectors who were ready to change roles, explore new sectors, or work in new countries to accelerate their careers. As coach, Melissa has often championed “least likely” candidates as best contenders for the exact stretch roles that changed their career paths.

Melissa earned an undergraduate psychology degree from NYU and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She received more than $200K in scholarships to fully fund both degrees. Melissa started her career at JPMorgan Chase working in HR, and then continued at Reuters as a trainer. She later successfully transitioned into internet marketing, which positioned her well for her subsequent roles promoting mega brands such as American Express, IBM and Charmin. Parallel with her business ventures, Melissa has successfully coached peers since 1997, including as a student at Tuck working as a career development fellow. Her interest in professional development education led her to develop and conduct an interviewing workshop for Harvard University, helping undergraduates and graduates interested in finance careers. She also created and delivered the “Emergency Kit for Thought Leaders” seminar for MBA students at Baruch College in NYC.

Melissa, many of today’s job seekers are not prolific social media users, how should they begin to incorporate this practice more into their process of landing a job?

ML: Start by assessing your Google footprint. Google yourself. This will help you prioritize where you need to clean up your image and then you can start introducing the best social media vehicles into your job search. LinkedIn is the clear winner (for now) when it comes to the one tool you must incorporate immediately into your job search process because recruiters are there and actively seeking candidates 24/7. Spend time completing your profile with an emphasis on your headline. Your headline is what everyone can see (including folks not connected to you) so spruce it up by making it clear what you do and if space allows include your point of differentiation e.g. Remarkably Collaborative GAAP Accounting Director at Citicorp.

How can job seekers resolve the conflict of social media’s very public platform with the need for confidentiality while searching for a job?

ML: There are different solutions to staying private during a job search depending on the platforms in which you are operating. In Facebook, create a group and invite only folks that can help you land your next role. This allows you to keep your job hunt talks within an intimate group of people whom you trust. In LinkedIn, change your privacy controls. Turn off your activity broadcasts so that your current boss does not see in their newsfeed that you connected with 15+ recruiters or are now following a peer company. While using Twitter, you can control who sees your tweets. The big lesson here is make adjust these settings before embarking on any social media campaign. Learn how you can remain as anonymous as you need to be to retain your current job yet be findable so that you can attract the right opportunities; there are ways to accomplish this balance — It just takes homework.

What are some general best practices in using social media when looking for employment?

ML: Use social media to…

– Get to know your audience firsthand (i.e. from the horse’s mouth) before chatting with them to have richer and more successful conversations.

– Learn about prospective organizations to identify the areas of opportunities where you can best contribute your skills (e.g. consumer discussion boards, Facebook comments).

– Position your experiences, interests, and skills in light of the jobs that you desire. Blogging is a great way to start repositioning yourself for a new field.

– Garner brand advocates during your job search by highlighting your strengths, viewpoints, etc. via social media so that your network can confidently endorse your candidacy.

– Accelerate a job search by updating your status to efficiently reach a wider net of people more quickly than having to call all 500 of your contacts (of course, be aware who can see that status update).

Does social media level the field for people trying to get jobs in completely different geographic locations?

ML: Yes, social media opens the world to job applicants. However, I wouldn’t say social media levels the playing field completely. Instead, social media facilitates a job hunt for people seeking opportunities in completely different geographic locations. For instance, if you want to work in Argentina then you can leverage your social networks to learn about the opportunities there as well as what an Argentine CV looks like.

However, just as you can use social media to find great jobs and prepare for them, so can others around the world (of course, those with internet access) because they are also on social media. As a result, social media has also made the job search process more competitive because applicants can come from a wider geographic footprint. At the same time, there are still very real hindrances that social media does not resolve including the need for work authorization in relevant countries and oftentimes the need to conduct in person interviews. In terms of the latter, there are both US firms as well as non-US firms that will not accept a Skype video interview as a substitution for an in person interview– They still want to meet a job candidate in person before making an employment decision.

Please tell us how to leverage groups on LinkedIn.

ML: Join up to 50 groups then prioritize your top three LinkedIn groups and actively start or join in on discussions within these three groups at least once a week. LinkedIn groups enable you to demonstrate your thought leadership amongst seasoned professionals in your desired field. However, it only works if you are more than just a passive LinkedIn group member. Instead, rise to the top and become an influencer. Share compelling articles, provide your viewpoint and make suggestions. Once you are an influential contributor then you can connect with group members and they will accept your invitations based on your credibility as an influential group member. With regards to your other 47 LinkedIn groups, keep an eye on them by receiving weekly emails that outline new discussions, comments, jobs, etc. Engage in those other 47 groups as appropriate and read suitable content to increase your sector expertise. To learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn groups going forward read my blog that talks about how to avoid missing out on the weekly opportunities LinkedIn Groups present to job seekers:

Do you have other advice on using LinkedIn?

ML: Credible LinkedIn recommendations are critical yet underutilized. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to showcase endorsements from your colleagues, former bosses, and clients. Here are some best practices to consider when thinking about LinkedIn recommendations.

A great recommendation is:

Specific. When asking for recommendations give your endorser ammunition i.e. relevant information to make it easy for them to write a specific recommendation.

Strategic. Think about the gaps in your candidacy for your desired job. For instance, if you’ve never had a direct report then ask for a recommendation from a team member within a team that you led — Have them highlight a skill you exhibited, a skill associated with managing a direct report e.g. giving clear directions.

It validates your greatest strengths. Be wary of accepting and displaying a recommendation that contradicts your greatest strengths.

Reciprocated. If someone recommends you and you have great things to say about them, volunteer to write a recommendation for them. This strengthens existing bonds.

Is Facebook useful at all for job seeking? Do you know anyone who landed a job using Facebook?

ML: You can never tell where you’ll hear about an opportunity and Facebook could just be the medium in which an opening is announced by one of your friends or even a company. Think about the sector in which you’d like to work and then consider if they are looking for a social media savvy hire. If the answer to that question is YES then expect to find information about jobs across social media platforms including Twitter. For example, if you desired a job at Gary Vaynerchuk’s media firm then expect to learn about the opening on Facebook amongst other channels.

Alternatively, there are appropriate pages including Mashable – Jobs which you can “like” to receive work information via your newsfeed including real opportunities. Also, be aware that there are rumors of an up and coming Facebook Jobs Board. According to Mashable, if such a job board is available via Facebook then you’ll need to include Facebook as a job hunting resource. Read more about this here. Lastly, I do know someone that launched her business because a friend put a request on Facebook: A request for a caterer to cook for a bridal shower she was hosting – This strictly a Facebook opportunity that she would not have known about if it were not for Facebook.

How does Twitter help break past gatekeepers?

ML: Aside from the situations in which a PR firm is handling a Twitter handle, there are some top executives that actually like tweeting on their own such as Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos as well as Dan Kim, Founder and Chief Concept Officer at Red Mango. You can follow them, engage in their conversations, retweet their messages and eventually you may find yourself engaging in a 1-on-1conversation with a top executive at a firm you’d like to work for, thereby making it past gatekeepers. Yes, this strategy takes time, however, if you really respect a leader you should be following him.

Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater.  She has also been published in US News & Forbes.  Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business.  Follow her on Twitter.

Public v. Private

I love social media and I’ve been tracking the growth of Web 2.0 since its inception. My independent study in graduate school focused on blogging when many people still considered it a wasteland of angsty teenagers, geeky technophiles and middle-aged women posting updates about their cat(s).

Although, companies have slowly– and reluctantly– embraced social media in recent years, we’re still in a pivotal transition period. Industry leaders are still tripping over themselves to keep up with the competition while trying to fully understand why their Fortune 500 companies need social media strategists in the first place.

We are at a watershed moment.

Part of the reason I value social media is because it expands my professional presence beyond my title, beyond my desk. I’m not just a number cruncher; I’m not just the logistics manager. I have traveled around the world; my squash game needs [a lot] of improvement; I enjoy the humour of How I Met Your Mother.  Nonetheless, wait for it- there is a line, and that is where management is should be paying attention.

The question is not if we should incorporate social media into business. We’re way past that point. The question we need to ask is how?

Simply arming the staff with corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts is simply careless. Guidelines need to be put into place so employees understand what is in/appropriate and expected. What employees write publicly reflects on the companies which employ them. Even if their bios read, “My thoughts my own.” As Dorie Clark wrote in “It’s Not a Job Search, It’s a Permanent Campaign” (HBR): [Everyone] is also now expected to perform round-the-clock personal brand maintenance, and most people don’t even realize it.

As we move forward into the next phase of business conduct, we need to educate not only veterans of industry, but also newly minted graduates who have not known a world without the internet. I recall being shocked by a Wall Street article years after business casual dress codes had been adopted across the board. Apparently, some of the self-selecting audience of the newspaper did not realize that they ought not dress for work as if they were undergraduates ready for a hedonistic night in fraternity basements. Even as recent as two days ago, the newspaper ran an article titled, “Yes, Mark Zuckerberg Does Wear Ties Sometimes”. The Facebook CEO substituted his signature hoodie for a suit jacket and tie to meet President Obama.

I am definitely not saying, don’t have fun or don’t be yourself. I love fun and think there should be much more of it in the office. Just be mindful of your audience. Impressions count. Do your clients really need to see you dressed as a pirate dinosaur and chugging a bottle of vodka while riding a mechanical bull? Is it worth possibly losing a million dollar account or contract? (In both cases, probably not.)

Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. You can follow her on Twitter.

Photo courtesy Doug Woods.

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Presence

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you? Maybe not.

If all your friends joined Facebook, would you? Maybe not.

But, if all the companies you wanted to work for are using LinkedIn to recruit, would you complete a profile? Probably.

Thus, began my 36-hour marathon of finally rounding out the LinkedIn profile I abandoned 5 years ago.

Conceptually, LinkedIn is great. It allows me to:

1. Share my resume with employers without attaching documents to my cover letter. No more worrying about viruses or document/ program compatibility.

2. Keep a live inventory of my professional experience. The link to my profile is permanent, but the information can be updated as often as necessary.

3. Collect endorsements from connections who have been vetted and recommended by others. I don’t make human resource departments do any more work than necessary to verify my profile.

Practically, LinkedIn has a few areas for improvement. I’ve encountered or heard about from my connections these problems:

1. It can be difficult for people to leave recommendations. People who run multi-million dollar departments / companies / investments can have a hard time figuring out how to leave me a recommendation. Yes, I am certain they are not just making excuses not to endorse me since I spent hours instructing about half a dozen people through the process.

2. Some people have two accounts and are not able to merge them. For these people, LinkedIn’s technical support group hasn’t been able to resolve the conflict. One person’s problem is attributed to having two emails with different middle initials; another has two accounts but only one email.

3. The algorithms aren’t always accurate. For example, LinkedIn suggested to one person they join the Dartmouth Class of 1987 group — She wasn’t even born, yet, in 1987!

LinkedIn was founded in December 2002, and launched in May 2003, and it’s growing faster than ever. And regardless of what problems some users might encounter, it is becoming more and more necessary to have a professional presence on LinkedIn. Here are some tips to maximizing your profile:

The Basics:

  • Include a professional but inviting photo of yourself. You should be neatly dressed in front of a plain background. Smile.
  • Provide a comprehensive outline of your work. Your resume should be up-to-date, with a focused summary.


Recommendations are the most powerful piece of your virtual ecosystem. They will also take the most time and patience to cultivate. However, the reward is work the effort.

First and foremost, use these 2 rules when soliciting recommendations:

  • Always be polite. Even if you don’t get the recommendation.
  • Understand that people are busy. They are doing you a favor when they write you a public endorsement. If you don’t get a response after 2 reminders, move on to the next connection.

Try to get recommendations from people you reported to, people who report to you, and peers. Ideally, get three recommendations per position that you have held.

I have found that the best time to ask for an endorsement is at the time of initial contact- when you ask to connect. After the person has agreed to write something for you, use LinkedIn’s built-in tool for your request. The system auto-generates a link for your connection to follow and complete their testimonial of you.

Always make the process as easy as possible for the other person.

That said, the best method to help yourself is to help the other person.

1. Write a sincere and unique (Don’t call everyone a “rock star”. Be specific!) recommendation for the other person. This will give them an idea of what you expect them to write for you. It will also make them feel good.

2. Provide your connection with information they will need in writing your endorsement, like how and when did you meet, the kind of work you did together and what you’d like to have emphasized.

3. Offer to write a draft.

Make sure you know your way around LinkedIn enough to help your connections complete the process. Approximately one out of every three people I contacted needed some sort of further assistance.

Good luck, and let us know what tips work best for you!

Lisa Chau has been involved  with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. You can follow her on Twitter.