Networking: Depth vs. Breadth

By Mei Long

 Today’s social media and technology allow you to reach just about anyone. With QuakerNet (the Penn Alumni Database) and networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, thousands of alumni and professionals are just one click away. These networking sites are a great tool to identify and connect with people working in different fields and they provide an excellent opportunity to expand your network well beyond your direct social circle.

However the downside of the ease of these networking tools is that they can make networking a numbers game. But building a network is more than just growing the number of your connections.  In fact, the number of connections you have is meaningless if there is no depth in them, and depth starts from a genuine interest. If you are not interested in other people’s careers and you haven’t done enough research about them, chances are you are not likely to craft a personalized and compelling message, and they are not likely to respond to your request. So read their profiles and learn more about their careers and the fields before you reach out to them.

If they accept your request, this is just the beginning of the relationship. You can then ask for informational interviews to learn more about what they do and seek out advice.  Then show your appreciation by a hand-written note and a thank you email. But don’t let the relationship stop there. You want to continue to nurture it by keeping them posted on your progress once in a while – if people have invested time in your career, they want to see results. Besides, any long lasting relationship is a mutually beneficial one. So you don’t just talk about you and your career, you also show interest in their career advancement and personal well being.

Whenever it is possible, you should also give back. Ask what you can do for them. You may think because you are just a student, there is nothing you can offer. But trust me everyone can use a little bit of help here and there, as long as you are genuine in your offer. You can offer to write a recommendation for them on their LinkedIn profile. If they are Penn alumni, there may be opportunities for you to nominate them for an alumni award. If they are working on a very labor-intensive project, find out whether there is anything you can do to support. This list can go on and on, but the point I am trying to make is if you are mutually interested in each other’s careers and lives, chances are your relationship is going to blossom and your connections will look out for you just like they would do for their family and friends. Why? Because people tend to support those who care about them and whom they care about. This is simply human nature.


Organizations Use Social Media To Recruit? Yes.

social-media-resume-36077% of organizations today use social media to recruit. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), reported this growing trend in a recent survey. So, who are some organizations that partake in “social recruiting”? More publicly-owned organizations are leveraging these tools, like ExxonMobil, Apple, J.P. Morgan Chase. You may have heard of them, and if you’d like to work for them one day, you should consider how their social media presence can be used to your advantage.

At Career Services, we’re here to help take your social media presence beyond liking pictures of friends on Facebook, tweeting sarcastic comments on Twitter and being intimidated, perhaps, by LinkedIn.  If you want to take your social media use to a professional level, see what we have in store for you this year to make that happen:

1) LinkedIn Profile Reviews.  A LinkedIn profile is the new resume.  Just like resume/CV critiques, we’re offering LinkedIn profile critiques on a one-on-one basis. Connect with your school’s team of counselors to set up an appointment.

2) Social Media Workshops. We’re offering special programming to students this year on how to use social media, as well programs through Weigle Information Commons on setting up LinkedIn. Stay tuned for these programs through our various event calendars for grads/postdocs and undergrads.

3) Follow Us on Twitter.  Our main account is @PennCareerServ, but one gem in particular is our @PennCareerJobs account.  Employers who post on PennLink schedule tweets to promote their new listings – don’t miss out!

4) #Hashtags.  If you’re already active on social media, and given Facebook has rolled out use of hashtags, it’s time to put them to professional use.  Look for our hashtags: #penncsevent, #pennOCR. Beyond that, consider #career and #jobtips, as well as following an organization you’re interested in to see what tags they are using. Wondering what is a hashtag? Read this article from Twitter.

There are a LOT of opportunities out there to connect with organizations, learn about their internships and full-time jobs, as well as see if there is a Penn connection – all via social media.  Take advantage of the resources we have available to help you take your social media presence to the next level.

To see more resources, check out our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vimeo and Online Networking pages.

by Shannon C. Kelly

Examining and Defining Yourself Via Social Media

by Panxin Jiang, W’13

Every semester around the time OCR rolls around, I discover that suddenly, a portion of my friends start disappearing from my Facebook chats and messages and these new contacts appear. We always hear horror stories about how employers checked up on a person’s Facebook profile and decided to not hire them or to retract their offer as a result of what they find. As a result, a number of people modify their names so that prospective employers would be unable to find them using social media.

However, what people need to realize is that you aren’t only recruiting during recruiting season. Headhunters and companies are constantly taking names and reaching out to prospective employees. We all have friends working for other companies who might suggest your name when a position becomes available. Recruiting does not just occur when you are actively seeking a job, but also at times when you least expect it. Because of this, shouldn’t our online profiles reflect our best every day and not just days where we are actively seeking a job?

Our generation grew up in a world filled with social media. We are accustomed to posting photos on Facebook and tweeting our feelings on Twitter at our whim. In fact, it is difficult for me to imagine a time where we could not connect with friends via Facebook or Twitter. I often find myself deactivating from Facebook only to reactivate my profile a few hours later. And while there may be a number of benefits that social media brings into our lives, such as connecting with childhood friends who we haven’t seen in years and who live across the country, there are a number of disadvantages that we need to be wary of.

What you put on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, or any other form of social media will stay with you forever. You might put up a potentially risqué photo only to take it down a few seconds later because of the nature of the photo. However, in the time it took you to delete it, a person, maybe a prospective employer, may have downloaded that photo onto their computer. Once you upload a photo onto the internet, you lose control of who has access to that photo.

Privacy settings may help, but in a world where we all know someone who knows someone, all it takes is a favor and everything on your profile could be leaked out to a company. Because of this, the best way to avoid having potentially damaging photo appear on your profile on any other social media site is to not put it out there for the world to see.

So, the next time you log into any social media platform that you use, look at your profile and think about whether it really reflects who you are and whether your profile is what you want portrayed about you. Who knows, it might even impress someone and land you a job.

Panxin JiangPanxin Jiang is a senior at the Wharton School concentrating in Accounting, Finance, and Real Estate. Asides from social media, she enjoys shopping, cooking, baking, and exploring all that Philly has to offer. You can find her on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook.


The Pope has joined Twitter

Social media has forged new patterns of consumption that change how we connect to the world around us.  For better or for worse, this is our reality.  Technology is changing quickly and it can feel overwhelming and difficult to keep up, but that is not an excuse to simply throw up your hands and stay out of the game. Employers expect social media skills from recent graduates, and even the skills you have learned in an informal, personal context can become valuable in the workplace.  There are also major personal benefits to joining social media networks.  They offer unique ways to build and enhance professional networks that could eventually provide you with internships, job offers, and mentorship opportunities.  Moreover, as you build your network, social media can immediately serve as an incredible tool to stay up-to-date with the trends in your field.

Continue reading “The Pope has joined Twitter”

Let’s Go Social

by Anubha Kapur (SEAS ’13)

The weekend begins on a lazy Saturday morning at 11 o’clock. With all the troubles of college life hanging over you, the heart flutters to have a no-agenda moment. Like the leaves of fall strewn over, and amid the gentle Philly drizzle, the weather plays the same ambivalent tune like the one strumming your life.

A cream cheese bagel, a cup of steaming Dunkin, the DP in one hand….and that’s the kick start to the day we all have…Stereotypical, yet real!

Amidst all the randomness of life, there is another crucial factor that links all of us together. Yes, checking out what’s new on our Facebook page, or skimming through the tweets of last night’s party… Social media: that little flicker that makes the clockwork of mundane life come alive!

Continue reading “Let’s Go Social”