Best Practices: Using Snapchat in Career Services

As the Digital Media Assistant at Career and Professional Development at St. Edward’s University, I am responsible for creating social media content and developing strategies for long-term growth and increased participation among students and alumni. Before this semester, we focused our social media efforts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so Snapchat is one platform that our department has not taken full advantage of. Therefore, when my boss Sally informed me about this webinar, I was intrigued to participate and gain insight on how we could effectively use Snapchat to inform and entertain our audience. I was always aware that Snapchat is a popular social platform for our target market, but it was difficult to justify spending time on a platform whose content disappears in 24 hours. This webinar gave me an opportunity to learn why it is important for us to have a presence on this social platform and demonstrated some strategies we could implement.

As a student, I often use Snapchat to share photos and stay updated with friends and family. However, learning about Snapchat for businesses is a completely different ball game and is something that I’m very interested in as a Digital Media Management major.

The University of Southern Florida webinar provided me with valuable information I was not aware of before and inspired me to develop creative ideas for St. Edward’s University Career and Professional Development. For example, after listening to this webinar, I decided to create a Snapchat filter for our Spring Job & Internship Fair using some ideas from the examples shown in the webinar. One of the best tips provided was to include ways for students to interact with the geofilter, so I added an element for students to include their major when using the geofilter. It also turned out to be a fun way to feature employers’ majors so students could see how their majors may or may not be directly related to their future career.

I also learned about how to define the area in which you would like to have your geofilter appear and was surprised by how affordable geofilters are, depending on the duration and location you choose.

This webinar also highlighted the importance of businesses having a Snapchat presence and showed that it is easy to reach our target market because students are the majority of Snapchat’s audience. The whole point of being active on social media is to be where your audience is, and we would be missing out on a critical opportunity if we ignored Snapchat as a social media platform.

Throughout my college career, I have had several experiences in digital and social media in addition to leadership, so my goal is to merge these interests together to help businesses reach their full potential. Immediately after I graduate, I will participate in the Disney College Program and engage in weekly professional seminars focused on Marketing & Sales and Leadership. During this six-month program, I believe I will gain valuable experience and knowledge that will prepare me to work in a leadership position at a marketing agency, likely in their digital strategy or branding departments. I hope to use my creativity, passion, and drive to provide a company with innovative solutions while focusing on enhancing interpersonal relationships.

Lisa Machado, class of 2017, works as Digital Media Assistant in the Career and Professional Development office at St. Edward’s University.

 

Introducing a Series of Webinars at Texas Tech University Career Center

Donna Srader, Lead Counselor at the Texas Tech University Career Center, contributed this blog post about their experience introducing a webinar series at the Career Center. The Center found that utilizing webinars was an effective method of reaching students in a format that was easily accessible and reformatted materials already in use by the Center. For more information, feel free to reach out to Donna at donna.srader@ttu.edu. If you have a topic you’d like to see as part of the Advising KG blog or want to contribute, please reach out to Jen Harlan, Career & Internship Advisor, Kennesaw State University at jharlan5@kennesaw.edu.

Problem Identification and Resolution

As career counselors, we are always looking for new ways to reach students and provide them with relevant information. At the Texas Tech University Career Center, we noticed that our in-person workshops were not being well attended, and we wanted to create a new feature that allowed us to present relevant information in a format that was easily accessible to students. Webinars fit that bill perfectly because we could utilize our existing presentations while reaching local and distance students and alumni in one presentation.

As we brainstormed the possibility of webinars, we tasked one of our student ambassadors, Elo, with the project of identifying possible webinar platforms, with the attendant advantages and disadvantages. Elo came through with flying colors, taking such ownership of the project that he came to work on his day off to make sure that we would be successful in setting up and presenting our webinar. So my first suggestion for any career office seeking to introduce webinars is to have a student as dedicated and tech savvy as Elo! Second, you might also contact your IT department to see what knowledge and help they can provide.

Nuts and Bolts

  • We chose GoToWebinar as our platform because it allowed us to use the service for 30 days free of charge and present multiple webinars. Within that timeframe, we saw exactly how successful the webinars were and proceeded to subscribe to the service annually.
  • We identified a volunteer staff member who manages the scheduling and organizational details of the GoToWebinar software and ensures that all the details are correctly presented on our website and in our promotional materials. Thank you, Nicole!
  • Every staff member was invited to create webinars, including our counseling interns. With the depth and breadth of interests among our staff, we have been able to present a number of basic informational webinars about how to write a resume or cover letter, as well as more in-depth topics such as Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace and a six-part series called The First Year Student’s Survival Kit that covers such topics as how to talk to professors and social media responsibility.
  • Many of the webinars utilize PowerPoint and, recently, we have been incorporating Canva into the presentations to increase the visual appeal and professional look and feel. Canva is a free image-creating software with more advanced features for purchase. We urge webinar developers to limit the amount of text in the slides and incorporate visuals and graphs where possible.
  • At this time, we project only the PowerPoint/Canva presentation. We are exploring more interactive options such as utilizing cameras to include real-time video of the presenter.
  • Webinars are not complete until a complete, word-for-word script is written. In this way, we ensure that the webinar can be presented if the original developer is not available. Generally, we read the script, but interact with attendees in normal conversation to answer questions.
  • For students requesting accommodation, we provide a PDF of the presentation slides, including the script. Many presenters are happy to share the PDF version of the presentation with all attendees when requested.
  • We utilize the Listen-Only mode in GoToWebinar so we can control the interaction between presenters and attendees. Instead of the chat section, we use the questions section for listeners’ questions and comments and usually address questions at the end of the webinar. We leave our contact information slide up on screen as we discuss questions.
  • To help students feel more at ease, we have some starter questions that we answer while students are thinking up questions and typing them in. We have found that if we say, “Our first question is . . . .” and use one of our starter questions, the students are much more likely to type in their questions.
  • Most of our webinars are 20 to 30 minutes in length – although we block an entire hour in GoToWebinar. This strategy allows us to answer questions for as long as the attendees continue to ask. We have found student attendance increases substantially with the smaller time commitment of 20 to 30 minutes compared to an hour webinar.
  • Several professors support the Career Center efforts by offering extra credit and the TTU Graduate School accepts our webinars as professional development for their students. For extra credit, the students must identify themselves at the beginning of the webinar with the name of the course and their professor. After the webinar, we utilize the Attendee Report from GoToWebinar to identify students asking for extra credit and email the appropriate professor.
  • We also utilize the GoToWebinar reports to identify the webinars that are highly attended and learn more about attendee engagement during the webinars. With these reports we continually improve the information and the visual presentation to connect with more students and alumni.

We have found that our numbers have increased substantially and we are reaching students who would not generally attend in-person workshops. We have expanded our webinar topics and have reached out to professors of online courses and distance students to provide webinars at times that meet their needs. We are always seeking new ways to provide engaging and relevant information to all our students and alumni and the webinars have been a successful strategy in those efforts.

Webinars have not replaced class and organization presentations – we continue to provide services to any group who requests a presentation. However, we expect to expand our webinar topics and introduce new technologies such as podcasts in the future.

Mingle Like You Mean It

Mingle Like You Mean It

Mingle like you mean it in 2016!

Are you preparing for a career fair reception during Spring Semester? An event at a state, regional or national conference? Some other occasion? Here are a few tips taken from a presentation we give to students to help you mingle like you mean it at your next networking event.

What’s your goal? For example, at previous conferences, I’ve set a goal to meet at least two college members who work with engineering students or with helping students articulate their global experiences. Those are two of my areas of responsibility and I want to hear best practices others may have to share.

Network

Trialogue. Huh? Let’s say I meet an employer at a career fair reception who is trying to find liberal arts students for a current opening. I go looking for my colleague who works with students in that college on our campus so she can point the employer in the right direction. That’s a trialogue. You find out what someone you meet is seeking and connect them to a contact you know or just met who could help them.

Who can you to talk to? Do you see any loners? They are good people to walk up to and start a conversation. Or join a group and wait for a break in the conversation. And, if you notice someone joining your group, be sure you invite that person into the discussion. If you see a couple in conversation, keep walking, as their discussion might be private.

mingle

Good-bye. Know when to say it. Remember, you are trying to mingle, so after you’ve visited with someone for about ten minutes, ask for a business card, explaining you’re departing TO: try the food, find a colleague, get a drink, find the rest room or make a phone call. Be sure you do whatever you say.

Follow up. A major benefit of attending a conference, reception or other event is the contacts we make whom we can call in a month or two to find out more about the majors a particular employer seeks or about that great product students really like that your office is considering.

Try these suggestions at your next event and watch your mingling improve.

These tips are based on information shared from the following sources:

Judith Bowman. Don’t Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette.

Deborah H. Jacobs. How to work a room like you own the place. http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/02/29/how-to-work-a-room-like-you-own-the-place/

Alex Mandossian. How to Network At Business Events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBOTqM1KFWw&feature=player_detailpage

Susan RoAne. How to Work a Room: A Guide to Successfully Managing the Mingling. Newest book: How to Work a Room, 25th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections–In Person and Online

Devora Zack. Networking for People Who Hate Networking.


 

Claire Childress, Senior Assistant Director, Career Services AuxiliaryClaire Childress, Virginia Tech Career Services Senior Assistant Director for Job Search and Graduate School Preparation advises students and leads a team of advisors and a portfolio of services and programs. Prior to over 19 years at Virginia Tech, she worked in distance education and as an adjunct faculty member at New River Community College, as a healthcare marketer and as a banker. A former President of the Virginia Association of Colleges and Employers, Claire currently serves as SoACE Director of Professional Development. She writes regularly for her career advising blog,CareerChasse. Connect with Clair at childrec@vt.edu or on LinkedIn.