I recently had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with current students at Ithaca College, who are interning at the Office of Career Services. Our chat centered around marketing, social media and the lessons I’ve learned in “the real world” since graduating from Ithaca College and leaving South Hill for Rochester, NY. I enjoy giving back to my alma matter in this fashion, so when asked if I could spare 15-20 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon I didn’t hesitate to accept.
My favorite question that was asked by a student was, “What is the skill a graduating senior would need most in order to secure employment?” Since I didn’t know the questions in advance, my mind raced with possible answers. . . .
Communications: I majored in Communications, so this was an easy answer to give. Virtually all jobs require good communication skills! I dismissed that answer as something that should be a given.
Marketing: These are marketing interns, so a broad-based marketing skill set would be valuable. After all, marketing applies to all job seekers because they’re ultimately marketing themselves to prospective employers. So, I dismissed that answer too, since it should also be a given.
Networking: As a job seeker, it’s not just what you know. It’s also not just who you know. It’s who knows about you which is equally important. What’s the best way to make sure recruiters, employers and hiring managers know about you? Networking! I had my answer!
Whether in-person or via social media, networking is truly an important skill set that graduating seniors should possess. It’s also a skill that won’t be taught in most classrooms. Some colleges do, however, teach networking to their students (along with personal branding). I have first-hand experience that Ithaca College currently does this.
I was able to stress to these students that their networking efforts should begin immediately with fellow students, professors and other professionals. Two other important points about networking, especially for students who are likely to be new to networking:
- Make sure you practice a “give to get” philosophy. Seek out ways to help the person you’re networking with and/or what you can bring to your professional relationship. Effective networking is a two-way street.
- Emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to your network. It’s better to have a network that’s half the size but twice as effective.
If you were faced with that same question, what would be your advice to a graduating senior?
As to the title of this post? That refers to the current 4-year total of tuition/room/board at Ithaca College. 🙂