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#IOLchat Report: Connecting with Employers

Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, advisors, counselors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers. Join us!

Online students often enter their academic programs with career goals in mind, and add coursework to already busy work and family schedules. How can students enhance their professional networks and lay the groundwork for career advancement and transition while in school?

This week we were thrilled to have guest host Mark Babbitt from YouTern leading the discussion! Here’s what the group had to say:

How can students balance their approach to the job search process (online and offline)?

  • Consider the 70-20-10 rule: 70% of your time is spent on networking, 20% on research, and 10% on job boards. “It’s a great way to measure what is working and what is not.” Job seekers need to consider ROI, too.
  • Do more than submit applications – “far too many job seekers believe that clicking the ‘apply now’ button is a job search strategy.”
  • Online and face-to-face efforts are required. “Don’t hide behind your computer – get out there!”

Are employers having a hard time finding qualified employees despite current unemployment rates or is the skills gap a myth?

  • “The talent gap appears to be real. Education is not matching up with expectations of employers.”
  • This can be more evident in specific industries, such as aviation where government regulations are creating an “experience gap.”
  • But in some cases, the gap has more to do with job seekers’ lack of job search experience or ability to convey the value they add to an organization. Job seekers must take the time to proofread their resumes, target their communication to specific employers, etc.

How do social media platforms play a role in online networking?

  • “It’s HUGE!” Social media networking via Twitter, Facebook, etc. allows you “to meet employers and influencers you would have never met otherwise.”
  • Social media networking must be a “consistent effort and MUST involve relationships … not ‘Hi! Want to Hire Me?'”
  • Remember that your online profiles need to be as complete and perfect (i.e., no typos) as your resume.
  • Focus on LinkedIn (at least for now) “that’s where the recruiters are looking.” But the new Facebook job board app has potential … keep an eye on it.
  • “There’s no doubt that recruiters are screening applicants via social media. Probably 9 out of 10,” so make sure your profiles are ready to be seen!
  • Students aren’t taking advantage of LinkedIn: “less than 1 in 3 students and recent grads, even those in career transition, have a complete profile.” Those who are using LinkedIn well “will stand out!”
  • LinkedIn Headline Tip: state what you do and who you are, followed by “currently looking for my next opportunity in…”

What are best practices for networking, especially during a career transition?

  • Know what you want and what you can do before you begin networking and branding activities. “What is your unique value proposition?”
  • You need to build relationships before you ask about jobs. You “can’t just take, take, take. Build the human connection first and help will follow.”
  • Don’t wait to start networking when you need a job. “Network regularly even if you’re employed.”
  • Offline and online “have your elevator pitch ready, but don’t just talk about your job search.”
  • Consider how you can “help others first.” It’s amazing how well this works! “Share great content, contribute to conversations” and make introductions.
  • Stay positive and “never forget the Golden Rule.”
  • Professional networking can be intimidating. Focus on sharing “how you can provide value” instead of just reaching out.
  • For local information and insight, don’t forget your local library, a great place for job search resources.

How can students and job seekers improve their “online presence” with career development in mind?

  • Be active in LinkedIn Groups, targeted Facebook Groups, and career-related Twitter chats.
  • “Share more content online.” Suggested places include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Quora, a blog. Start with one or two options that are relevant to your niche and that you can keep up-to-date, then try others. “LinkedIn has got to be #1.”
  • Put your LinkedIn profile URL on your business cards. It’s the equivalent of “handing your resume to potential employers.”
  • “Connect with companies online and regularly interact. Comment on posts, etc.”
  • Consider your online presence as a “long term commitment.”
  • “Want to catch the eye of an employer” Go back to basics: humble confidence, sincerity, passion, being positive.”

“The REAL key to connecting with employers is to HAVE A PLAN! How are you going to help fix the problem they need to solve.”

Thanks to Mark Babbitt for guest hosting the chat and to @jshamsy, @2PositiveTweets, @markvanbaale, @kcjobseekers, @YouTern, @The_Raheel, @bplkirstein, @DavidSmooke, and @Engagingbrand for participating in the live event!

For more from the most recent live session, review the chat feed below. Our past chats can be found on the archives page.

Follow us (@OC_org) and plan to attend our next chat. We meet on Wednesdays at 12pm ET and look forward to hearing your perspective.

This week’s read-aheads:

Online and Offline Job Search

Employed in 2013: The 7 New Job Search Basics

How to Get Noticed by Recruiters on LinkedIn

Best Practices in Networking

How I Got 13 Interviews in 10 Weeks (Without Submitting a Single Application)

9 Rookie Networking Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

Online Presence and Branding

Personal Branding with Social Media [Infographic]

Retweet, +1, and Share Your Way to a Personal Brand

This week’s chat feed:

Image credit: acerin, stock.xchng

November 29th, 2012 written by (learn more about our authors)

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