I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way to give meaningful career advice in 140 characters. I generally agree with you. But Heather Huhman’s new book, #EntryLevelTweet, defies the norm. Broken up into six sections, the book packs actionable tips into simple, 140-character blurbs. It’s perfect for a college junior or senior embarking on a job search.
It’s even more perfect if the student has a short attention span, because this book takes only about 30 minutes to read. In #EntryLevelTweet, Heather boils down advice on a broad range of relevant topics (from identifying your strengths to networking to rejecting job offers) into poignant, tweet-sized capsules.
I will highlight a few of Heather’s particularly insightful suggestions and add my own commentary.
#6: Listen to yourself, to your needs and wants rather than those of the people around you.
This is so true. Especially if you’re approaching the end of your college career, you’re going to have some decisions to make. Do you move home? Should you follow a significant other to his/her desired post-college location? What type of job should you pursue? Are you torn between two drastically different career fields? Maybe you’re contemplating an outside-the-box job option like the Peace Corps, or teaching English in a foreign country. You’re probably going to have all sorts of people exerting influence and offering their well-intentioned advice. Do whatever you can to weigh this advice, but ultimately make decisions that are best for you. (This is easier said than done.)
#58: Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so choose your words wisely. Also, consider carefully whether or not to abbreviate.
In reference to using Twitter in your job search, Heather suggests careful consideration of words. I agree. If you’re going to use Twitter for job search purposes, it better be a good representation of your professional knowledge and communication skills. Don’t tweet abbrevs on the regs. “Wndring how 2 find a list of cmpanies 4 commz majors, r u 2?” — this type of thing scares some hiring managers, because they worry that if you write like this on Twitter, perhaps you’ll write professional e-mails the same way.
#85: Ask your intended references what they would say about you if called by a hiring manager. You don’t want surprises!
First off, make sure your references know that they’re your references! You don’t want them to be caught off-guard. Second, select your references based on their ability to give strong, positive, and specific feedback on your work. It doesn’t help to list the Senior Vice-President as a reference if she can’t comment on your work besides, “He was a pleasure to have around and seemed to always be on-task…the two times that we met.” Furthermore, you can coach your references a bit. Keep them up-to-date on your latest achievements and goals so they can be more informed and target their comments. Finally, as Heather suggests, ask them directly what they’ll say.
#104: If you didn’t have much internship experience in college, I recommend applying for internships after graduation.
In this economy, a job search can take six to nine months. During that time, your skills stagnate, the experience on your resume looks less fresh, and you lose appeal as a job candidate. When you sense that your job search is going to be a long, difficult one, it’s best to take an internship or pursue part-time employment in your desired field. This way, you keep yourself current. A post-college internship is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can be a very useful stepping stone.
I will definitely be recomending #EntryLevelTweet as a guide for students getting started with their job search. Though I would have liked to see more real-life stories to illustrate the principles in the book, it would be awfully difficult to do that in 140 characters! This book’s strength is its concise, easily digestable nature. I’m glad to see such a helpful resource for today’s students and recent grads, incorporating advice on social media with the more traditional (yet still important) job seeking strategies. Well done, Heather!
Dan Klamm is the Outreach & Marketing Coordinator for Syracuse University Career Services. In his position, he is responsible for student engagement with Career Services. This includes managing the marketing campaigns for events and programs, leading social media initiatives, and fostering relationships with people across campus to build awareness of the office. Connect with him on Twitter @DanKlamm and LinkedIn.