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Monthly Archives: June 2010

3 Simple Lessons learned from Two Years in Career Services

As I start down a new avenue along my ever-changing career path, I think it’s a good time to reflect on where I’ve just been.

In June 2008 I started work at Syracuse University’s Career Services office.  And when I took the job, I knew literally NOTHING about the field of career services.  Sure, I had the right mix of experience for the my job working with alumni, but the only experience I had in terms of career was managing my own, and somewhat poorly at that.

So two years down the line, I feel like a know a little bit about careers and job search and interviewing, and especially networking….all those mysterious things that every job seeker wants to know about.  I’m going to share with you a few of the most important things I’ve learned.

1.  It’s not Rocket Science. If I can do this, so can you.  Meaning, if I can learn how to connect with the right people, learn about job opportunities and market myself, so can you.  How did I do it?  Listen and observe. The best places to do that right now are on Twitter and LinkedIn.  You can follow the most amazing people, and they are giving away FREE advice every day of the week!  It’s there for the taking!

2.  Degree/Major ≠ Career. Having managed a database with 1,700+ mentors for the past two years, I can assure you of this fact. Rarely, do you run across someone who is 5+ years out of college who is doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE DOING.  The thing is, most kids growing up are only exposed to a handful of careers.  There is no way of knowing everything that exists out there, and on top of that, new career fields are being created all the time.  So when people get out of college they tend to go for the types of jobs they have *heard about*.  And that’s all well and good until they start getting exposure to the world of work and realize all the different things they could be doing.  At that point, it becomes essential that you follow what interests you, regardless of degree.  People do it all the time.  Take me for example, I have degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education.  Do I seem to you like someone who is pining away for a nice bulletin board covered with construction paper?  At one time I was…but the fantasy was better than the reality and I had to change gears.

3.  Most people are fundamentally nice. You know, it could be that there was some aberration and I was just handed the nicest people on the planet to work with, but I don’t think that’s the case.  From day one of my job in career services, I was able to interact with and assist and learn from some amazing people — students, alumni, recruiters, employers, faculty, you name it.  I could not believe my good fortune.  It seems that when you are in a position to help people, it works in your favor. People see *helpers* (for the most part) as being good.  Therefore, when they interact with helpers, they come in with their defenses down and their niceness up.  That’s a great way to interact with the world…so if you can position yourself as a helper, no matter what your career field or job title, you will be setting yourself up for success.

There’s lots more where this came from, but suffice it to say that grasping these three really simple concepts will take you places you never dreamed.

As I move into the new and exciting world of social media and become a communications professional, I will still continue to hone my skills in career and helping others find their dreams.  I will just be helping different people and using different platforms.  I hope you will come along with me on this journey and see what else we can discover and share.

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Posted by on June 20, 2010 in Career, Networking, Uncategorized

 

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Is #FF worth it?

Is Follow Friday a Waste of Time?

Last Friday, as I spent what seemed an inordinate amount of time working on my ‘Follow Friday ritual’, I had to ask myself (with a nod to Carrie Bradshaw), is #FF worth it?

Follow Friday, or the now more popular #FF, started out as a way to help newbies on twitter find interesting people to follow.  If I follow someone who I think you might also like to follow, I post an #FF and let you know how great they are.   However, what I have seen evolve over time is an ever-increasing love fest that really doesn’t yield many new people to follow at all.

When I was first on Twitter, I was super-excited to receive a Follow Friday from anyone.  I would wake up on Friday morning and check my @’s and seeing my #FFs would make my day.  The more followers I have gotten, the more #FF’s I have received.  And while I am still thankful for the mentions (and still checking for them), I’m starting to wonder if the effort is worth the return, for either party.

You may ask yourself, what effort is involved in #FollowFriday?  Well, I’ll take you through the steps of my Follow Friday.

1.  Track @ mentions on Tweetdeck for who is giving me props via an #FF.  Separate #FF’s from RTs and other mentions and conversations.

2.  Near the end of the day, write down all the twitter handles of the people who have #FF’ed me, not including the ones who have RT’ed the #FF from someone else.  (This seems to be the latest fad ~ and the quickest way for you to receive another mention).  Last Friday I received 23 #FFs.

3.  Thank all the people who #FF’d me.  I like to do this in one fell swoop, instead of RTing to all my followers every time someone #FF’s me.  This gets kind of redundant.

4.  Figure out who I am going to #FF.  I usually like to do a couple special lists, ie West Coast Tweeps, Tweeps Wearing Shades in Their Avatars, Media Companies I Love, etc.  After that I usually do a list of Syracuse University tweeps (can be colleagues, alums, students) and then some locals (Syracuse/CNY).  I usually put a star next to, and #FF, people who have #FF’ed me for the first time that day, or tweeps of particular interest (ie w/large followings) or people who I want to build relationships with.  I also take a scan through what I have favorited for the week , and see who shows up there.  (Those are valuable tweeps)  For me, this takes time, effort and thought.

So that’s the ritual.  What is the ROI?  I know social media people don’t like that question.  But I tell you what.  I have seen the ROI of #FF go down in direct relation to its popularity.

In my estimation, what began as a good way to introduce your friends to each other has just become a bit of a nuisance, and something that a lot of people scroll right through.  The ONLY time I start following someone new based on an #FF is when a particular name catches my eye…and there’s no rhyme or reason.  And those are usually based on #FFs in which I am included in the list. I figure if someone likes me, they must like other people LIKE me.  So I will click on their name and see if I like their bio.  If that passes muster, I check out their profile page.  If all they have is a continuous stream of FF’s, I’m probably not going to be dying to follow.  So that’s not very effective for them, is it?

The other thing (and this one is probably going to get me in trouble) is that when the same people #FF all the same friends every week, who is that really reaching out to?  Why not throw a few new people in the mix and let us see who else is out there?  That’s what Twitter is all about, right…building relationships?  I already have a relationship with you…if you want to do something nice for me, retweet a blog post or give me a #FF once in a while.  I will appreciate it more, and I think it will be more effective for both of us.

I know we will all continue to #FollowFriday and it does have some value.  If you’re new to Twitter, I think it can be really valuable in terms of finding people to fill out your tweetstream.  For me, in addition to the *fun* aspect of it, I always do find a couple interesting new tweeps to follow, and get a few new followers as well.  But that usually happens organically, on a daily basis, without going through the #FF Ritual.

So what do you think about #FollowFriday?  Have you found interesting new people?  Do you have your own #FF ritual?  Do you think it’s become overkill?  Share….

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Social Media

 

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@rotolo meets @biz




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Originally uploaded by LuxBellaVita

The highlight of attending this past weeks Mirror Awards,was when I snapped this picture of Anthony Rotolo, Social Media Strategist for Syracuse University, meeting Biz Stone, founder of Twitter. Biz was graciously posing for photographs after the luncheon ended and then slipped into the crowds of Manhattan unnoticed. The man who helped changed the world was unassisted and unable to hail a cab in front of The Plaza.

One more thing of note. The AT&T coverage in New York City is notoriously awful, and proved itself again to be so during the Mirror Awards. An award for Twitter, and we were unable to Tweet.

There is a huge Apple store right across the street from The Plaza too. And guess, what — my phone said ‘no network coverage’ right there in front of the home of the iPhone & iPad.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2010 in Uncategorized