Career Advice for New Grads in 140 Characters (more or less)

09 May

Has another year really gone by so quickly?  This post first appeared on May 14, 2010, but the advice still applies to 2011 grads.  If you contributed in 2010 and would like to update your advice, tweet at me using #Advice4Grads or leave your comment here.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed last year and best of luck to the Class of 2011!

The class of 2010 is graduating on Sunday. In their honor and in the spirit of true alumni networking, I asked many of the alums I interact with on Twitter to tweet me their best career advice for 2010 grads, in 140 characters or less.  

I got a great response and each is a little bit different.  Some of the alums couldn’t stop at just one,  and I included them all.   Us twitter folks are very good at writing concisely, and that is evident as you read through these snippets of advice.  Obviously, 140 characters of advice is not going to land you a job, but it can help you tweak what you are doing in your job search or how you behave in the workplace, to make that experience more successful.

Instead of providing the names, grad years and majors of these alums, I offer their twitter handles.  If you are interested in hearing more of what they have to say, follow them on Twitter; the vast majority have a link on their bio to a LinkedIn profile, website or blog.

You will also see a couple of longer bits here from a couple of alums who e-mailed me their advice, and a few more from some Non-SU alums, but nonetheless great people who I know from Twitter and wanted to help out.

Many thanks to all my Twitter friends who contributed to make this possible!  Many of the alums quoted here I have met on campus or at one of the SUccess in the City events, or spoken with on the phone.  Some I only know through Twitter.  All are wonderfully giving people who wanted to share what they have learned with you.  I would love to have your feedback in the comments section ~ let me know what your favorite bit of advice is and why.    (you’ll probably be able to guess what my favorite is 🙂

@ChrisNBC13HD:   Get email/LinkedIn address 4 every biz contact u meet & stay in touch. U’ll get more job leads from friends/assoc than from ads.

@Ryan_Messick:   Make personal connections w/ people in & out of your field & it will pay off. Always keep learning.

@gwenmoran:    Stay intellectually curious about everything and everyone. Devote resources to relationships and staying in touch

@gwenmoran:    Give, give, give, and pay forward. Help and connect others, even when there’s nothing in it for you. It comes bk 2 u.

@gwenmoran:    Don’t let new media ruin your ability to write. It’s an important skill that will take you far.

@cindykrenek:    Be PATIENT & PERSISTENT.  Network, volunteer or intern if you can’t get a paying position right away

@DaneLopes: Work with good people. When selecting a job associate yourself with the best & the brightest. You’ll learn more

@jess1219:   Keep in touch with employers from internships! That’s how I got my job.

@kimincuse:    Save ALL the business cards you get from all the people you’ll meet…you’ll be glad you did and amazed at how often you use them.

@korymello:   NETWORK! Hunt down alumni at companies where u want to work (via CDC database or LinkedIn); show em your best and expect to intern

@MarlaMeredith:     Find ur passion & embrace it.  A career should b driven out of love. Set mini goals, before u know it BIG goals r met. Keep Focus

@AmeliaDeCesare:    Don’t burn bridges!!! Sometimes you have to stick it out for a better future!

@justinistired:    IMO, grads should look to alums people 4-8 years out of school; they know the market for jobs you want & hear about openings.

@JessWillz:   Stay on top of your game. Develop AND maintain relationships and remember to be FLEXIBLE. Sorry for the caps but it’s necessary

@kmburnham:   Seek a mentor in ur industry & maintain a relationship. Use them as a sounding board. Bounce q’s off them. Poll them for advice.

@Area224:   don’t be afraid to do something that is beneath your perceived skill level. Insight from this work is invaluable.

@MeganCassidy:   Your resume isn’t everything. Connecting with someone-phone, in person, online-is the best way to impress employers.

@nicole_hering:   best advice I can give is show that you’re passionate! Reach out 2 professionals 2 learn more about the industry, not just 4 a job

@JPedde:   Keep a complete open mind, and everything will seem like an opportunity.    Build bridges & try not to burn them for later.

@mrek212:   to #SU grads. GO BACK TO SCHOOL…BUT NO MORE ATTORNEYS !!

@LvM: Keep an open mind.   Surround yourself w/ incredible ppl. Use the #SU alumni network. Do what you love, $$ will follow.

@omgitsamr:   my advice: network, network, network! It actually works!

@andrespatino:   Always keep a positive attitude and NETWORK! You never know if you brother’s roomate’s sister’s dentist knows a guy in your field.

@kaleighsimmons:   Don’t be pigeonholed by your major. Think in terms of skills you can bring to the table

@BriHoffman:   “your first job is not your last,” & send out a million resume’s, and when u think its enough, send a million more!

@akknotek:    get to know everyone you meet. a nice woman i chatted w/ on the train had a daughter who worked at macy’s and got me an interview

@MegV44:   Don’t get frustrated when friends are interviewing for or taking jobs & you’re not.Stay focused on what you want&how to get there.

@sarcasminc:   new grads shouldn’t be afraid to change their minds about their careers. Not many things worse than spending your time doing something you truly dislike.

@PaigeHolden:   Be openminded, patient. It can take years to realize your professional identity, which will ultimately influence your career path.

@KatieKrames:   Always remember to send a thank you note after an interview. Future employers tend to remember the person who does that.

@sjflynn:   go the extra mile-network! it will pay off! never know who or what will land you your dream job. good to be fresh in ppls minds

@orangechris:   Know your one-sheet (resume) inside & out. Every interview ? should tie back to your experience. Be the 1 to drive the interview.

@amedmunds:     Be prepared before making contact with a company. Do more than just read Wikipedia

@amedmunds:   Be Polite and professional when calling and writing follow-up emails. You don’t know who is reading or forwarding.

@amedmunds:   Let your social presence (& personal seo) be an asset to you when looking for a job, not a detractor

@HofTroy:    Test out ur dream industry- Now’s the best time 4 trial by fire. If miserable, move on. BUT, @ least u’ll never regret not trying!

@HilaryShecter:    Best advice is to stay in touch with @KellyLux!

A little longer than 140 characters….

Allison Nawoj ’05, Corporate Communications Manager at CareerBuilder  (Allison tweets under @allisonnawoj and @careerbuilderPR)

When searching for a job, you really do have to use all resources available to you – in every way possible. There isn’t one single tactic that will help you land that great job, but rather, it’s finding the right mix of tactics that will work you, your industry and your location. Combine social and professional networking (both online and offline), searching online job boards, Twitter, career fairs, recruiters and anything else you can think of to cast a wide net, especially in a challenging job market. Positivity and persistence will pay off!

Jason Malikow ’03, Instructor at Northwestern University

– When you’re back in school, it’s going to take more effort to maintain contact with your former colleagues. Use LinkedIn, it’s an excellent tool.

– Have a personal card with your name and email address. When you meet someone you want to connect with, you can write your phone number on the card as you’re giving it to them.

– Write a couple of email templates for updating your professors and former colleagues on your recent activities. Email them when you change jobs, graduate from new schools, or at least once a year to update them on your activity.


Non-SU Tweeps – Great follows on Twitter:

@catherineellen  don’t go into credit card debt. First impressions are everything. A smile goes a long way!

@katedavids    new grads should network! I graduated Dec 2009 and got my job through networking.


If you are a 2010 grad or SU alum who would like to write a guest post for this blog on a career-related topic, I’d love to hear from you!



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