Job searches take students into a tech-savvy world

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UA student on library computer searching for LinkedIn website to log and update their account. (Photo by Cindy Zavaleta)


By Cindy Zavaleta

The Razorback Reporter

As December graduation approaches, students are looking for ways to market themselves and get noticed in a competitive job market. Technology is essential to the job search, officials in the UA Career Development Center said during interviews.

Job-seeking students need a platform to showcase their personal brand to potential employers and establish their online presence. Knowing what popular outlets and resources job recruiters use is vital information for graduating students.

Researching careers that interest students will give them insight to a company’s atmosphere and tell them what a typical day entails.

“You can begin modeling yourself after the research that you’re doing,” said Erica Estes, director of employer relations for Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “For resumes, for cover letters, for your LinkedIn profile, other social media sites, and then that will also give you a better sense of what social media sites you should be on.”

“It is helpful that you get to actually socially network in a professional context,” UA senior Zak Tamijani said.

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“Connect with professionals,” Estes said. “Do that in a lot of different ways. Connect with them on social media. Connect with them at career events that are on campus.  Connect with them at their own locations.”

“Networking plays a huge role that I don’t think is sold as well as it needs to be,” Tamijani said. “People need to know that your network is going to be one of the heavier things you’re going to lean on.”

As technology has grown, LinkedIn has gained popularity in the professional world. In a recent survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, about 60 percent of graduates in 2015 said they used LinkedIn in their search to find a job.

“A lot of employers are leaning towards that,” said Shelby Pieper, graduate career coordinator. “Even if you apply they’ll go out and look at your LinkedIn profile.”

According to the Career preparation guide published by General Mills, “linkedin.com can be to your professional life what Facebook has been for your social life.”

“To apply for jobs or to even find job listings you relied on newspaper ads or signs posted on businesses windows,” said Tina Flinchum, a professional with 24 years of work experience. “Applications were on paper only and required that you go in person to turn it in or fill it out.

“Computers were not used a whole lot during that time so everything was filed in folders and required much more time for the employer to assess and for the employee to complete,” Flinchum said when asked about the Internet’s impact on job searches. “The area that people could search for jobs was much more limited to their surrounding area also.”

Students can use LinkedIn as a platform to connect with professionals to let them know they’re interested in certain careers and show their skills and experience. Connecting with professionals can lead to building new relationships in that industry and expanding social networks.

“You don’t want to present yourself as foolish, but you want to present yourself, period,” Tamijani said.

Having an online presence is required to get noticed by recruiters.

Officials in the Career Development Center said it’s never too early to start an online presence. Students should create and continuously update their LinkedIn profiles in hopes that it will get them noticed by a potential employer.

More than 91 percent of recruiters say that branding is either “very important” or “extremely important,” according to a study done by NACE.

LinkedIn is just one way for future professionals to brand and network themselves in a technology-based society.

Having a great “90-second pitch,” a term used by professionals in the work force, is another way for applicants to brand and set themselves apart. This can be done through a resume or during an interview, when they can pitch themselves to recruiters and express why they are the perfect choice for a position. A pitch should include strengths, skills, experiences and accomplishments.