Using Insta-Language to Connect with Students

By Andrew Kohls, Assistant Director, Kansas State University Career Center

As an aging millennial, the drive to conquer all available social media apps is real! This is especially true with student affairs professionals, as we see our students effortlessly switch back and forth between platforms. For me, the big push came when I realized more and more students were dropping Facebook or not creating an account at all. I wanted to get away from Facebook and place my efforts on beefing up my Instagram account, where I could better connect with the “younger” world!

Looking back, I think I was forced to create an Instagram account to connect to a website or another app; I honestly can’t remember. I knew it was there, but I rarely touched it. (Kind of like some of our students and their LinkedIn accounts!) Like every “big” decision in my life, I wanted to seek input from experts who were familiar with the topics I was not. For my Insta-overhaul, I consulted only the best: my high school cousins and one of my faithful student workers! ☺

As I was looking through other Instagram accounts, I noticed that most people had a little blurb about them underneath their profile name. To be consistent, I realized that I also needed something! I texted my experts right away and said,

“Hey! I need a catchy, cool blurb for my Instagram! Can you help?”

Their responses…

“What does that even mean?”
“Like the part that goes under your name?”
“You mean, a bio?”

Obviously I needed a lesson on Insta-language! Once the experts finally understood what I was talking about, the A-HA moment happened!

They responded…
“What do you want viewers to know about you?”
“What do you want it to encompass?”

MIND.BLOWN! Suddenly, I felt as if I were the student and they were the professionals (which in this case, they were!). As a career advisor, my mind immediately went to cover letter and resume development. The questions these students had just asked me are the same questions I ask my students daily! I’m always looking for parallels between my students’ worlds and how they can apply their skills to university careers, and THIS.WAS.IT!

Since my breakthrough, I’ve started using Insta-language with all of my students, particularly my first-year students. Of course, I still use the Instagram “bio” (not blurb!) example to discuss tailoring documents to their intended audiences, but I’ve also started using “Finstas” to discuss personal branding and specific content that may not be appropriate for employers to see. (P.S. “Finstas” are Instagram accounts that students set up, in addition to their regular Instagram accounts, to post certain content they may not want everyone to see!) I’ve also used Instagram “followers” to discuss networking, which enables students to look at their own accounts, explain why they follow certain people, and how they can apply that same concept with networking for their careers.

Overall, my students have reacted very positively to my use of “ Insta-language connections.” The key is to keep the convos light. Be mindful that some students DO NOT want you to know anything about their social media presence, and that’s ok. But above all, stay positive, make clear connections, and HAVE FUN!

This article was originally published by the author at


Andrew Kohls received a B.S. in Psychology from Kansas Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. He is currently an Assistant Director in the Career Center at Kansas State University, working with the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design, as well as graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kohls also serves as an instructor, working with first-year students every fall as part of the K-State First Program. He has been working in higher education since 2010, having previous experience in immigration advising, orientation programming, and admissions. Connect with him at: LinkedIn: Instagram: @andkoh52


KG Update: Career Advising Knowledge Group


The SoACE Career Advising Knowledge Group (KG) is off to a great start in 2016. We will be having are first webinar of the year this Friday, April 8th. Also, we are introducing a virtual case discussion group which had their first meeting on March 30th.


Discover Instagram: How You Should Be Using This Platform to Promote Your Brand and Drive Office/Company Engagement

In an ever-changing landscape of social media, it is often hard to decide where to focus your efforts as a career center or recruiter. Statistics show that students are leaving Facebook in droves for a new friend called, ‘Instagram’. As the fastest growing social media platform, Instagram is now one of the best places to engage millenniums. In this session, you will understand the value of a reputable Instagram presence and learn how the UGA Career Center increased its Instagram following and engagement by 435% in just three months. Whether you are familiar with the platform or not, walk away with practical tips and tricks to get you well on your way to Instagram success.

Presented by: Whitney Prescott, Terry College of Business, UGA
Date: Friday, 4/8/16 | Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm EST
Register HERE


Virtual Case Discussion Group

Date: Tuesday, April 26 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Central)/12:30-1:30 p.m. (Eastern)

  • Log into join the conference call using your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended.  Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting or, call in using your telephone to +1 (312) 757-3121; use the Access Code: 705-660-237 | Meeting ID: 705-660-237

We will be conducting additional webinars and discussion groups throughout the year. If you have any questions about these events or upcoming events in 2016 please let us know.


Mason Murphy ( & Alex Anderson (


Keeping Information Secure: Easy Steps for Non-Experts

Post by Addye Buckley-Burnell, Assistant Director of Career Development, Auburn University Career Center

may15_b.5Protecting our identity and private information is nothing new and we tell our students to be careful every day. With the influx of reports of system wide hacking/breaches in every industry costing in the millions to correct, universities and employers alike need to do more to keep our information secure. As a counselor, I follow ACA guidelines to protect client files, but these standards are often more complicated when it comes to working in a university career center. Also, the guidelines do not adapt as quickly as technology advances. Let’s face it; we all can do more to prevent private information from getting into the wrong hands while protecting our own behinds as well. Here are a few easy things that have been suggested by the Auburn University Office of Information Technology and additional security training. Now I am no tech guru, but even I can follow these simple steps.


Edward Snowden advised in a recent interview with John Oliver to be very careful with passwords. We all know how difficult it is to come up with passwords that meet the requirements of many of the systems…ahem, Symplicity, ahem…but some general rules will make it more difficult for someone/a program, to determine your password.

  • Use a pass phrase instead of a single word to make it easier to remember but difficult to guess – example: Auburnstudentsare100%awesome
  • Essential to be over 8 characters in length
  • Should contain at least one uppercase letter, one number and one symbol if possible and not just at the end


I am sure we all know not to send private information via email, but sometimes there is some grey area here. Anything pertaining to personal identifiable information that could be used in any malicious way should be sent in an encrypted document and attached to the email. You will want to send the password used for the encryption in a separate email to be extra careful.

This is easy to do using Microsoft Office products by using the File tab > Info> Protect Document > Encrypt with Password. CAUTION: you will be asked to enter a password twice which is not retrievable if forgotten so write it down!


Your university/company is likely backing up all email to the server on a routine basis, so it is best to erase any emails containing private or personal information after reading them.


Lock your computers when you leave your desk to avoid any malicious attempts at accessing your files and student data. The shortcut to do this on a PC is Windows Key + L and on Mac is Control + Shift + Power.

Avoid saving private information to your computers and empty your recycling bin on your computer regularly as well since these items are also able to be accessed if hacked.

Love it or hate it, we all have constant access to information at the palm of our hand. This is a prime place for security breaches so be sure to use a password/finger print to protect all devices that have access to your work emails. When you stop using the device or if it is stolen, wipe the device to avoid this information getting in the wrong hands. This can be done without the phone for Outlook using the web-based site by:


Also, avoid using public access WIFI when inputting any passwords or accessing sensitive information. All devices should also have an active antivirus software in place.

Sessions via distance:

We all know how popular it has become to offer services via distance and how tempting it is to use Skype for these services. Unfortunately, Skype saves records of all recordings and these records are readily handed over when requested by officials. To maintain confidentiality it has been recommended to use either FaceTime for Mac users or VSee to host these sessions as they do not save records of the sessions.

These are just a few of the many ways to protect student privacy and our own personal information. If you have any others tips, please share them in the comments section.

contributor_abuckleyburnell Addye Buckley-Burnell serves as the Assistant Director of Career Development for the Auburn University Career Center, leading a team of highly skilled and motivated career counselors and is charged with the formal assessment of the office. Addye is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and Distance Credentialed Counselor with experience in a variety of counseling areas including mental health, academic and career. In addition to her work with individual students, Addye teaches a variety of courses including a job search/career-life planning class both on-campus and via distance education.