Employers hope to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates from the Class of 2016 than over the previous year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and graduates who have positioned themselves as a brand and made wide use of social media websites, internships, and the benefits of career centers, such as the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center, stand a better chance of finding a job.
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Gone are the days when job searching only meant sending out dozens of resumes and attending job fairs. Recent graduates still build up their resumes, but concurrently build their brands through social media or videos to get the attention of employers.
“Students receive a lot of messages to be careful on social media,” said Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director of the Toppel Career Center. “We think this is obvious and focus our efforts instead on helping students build their personal brand through a social media presence. We encourage them to showcase not only their skills and interests but also, more importantly, who they are as individuals.”
Joseph Esstman will graduate May 6 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a major in business analytics and minors in sports administration and finance. Attracted to numbers, he knew early on that he wanted a job in analytics. In his freshman year, he walked into the Toppel Career Center and through its internship program was able to work with the UM basketball team, providing analytics to the staff.
Esstman credits LinkedIn with helping him build contacts that eventually led to another internship with the Miami Dolphins organization, where he sharpened his skills in the finance department.
“LinkedIn helped me build a diverse network that was helpful in my job search,” Esstman said. “I have always been careful of what I post in social media because I am aware that I am the brand.”
After graduation, Esstman will be an associate at the National Basketball Association in New York City, where for 12 months he will be exposed to various facets of the business, including marketing, retail, finance and communications.
Likewise, Vinessa Burnett, who also graduates May 6 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, majoring in communications studies and minoring in mathematics and management, has used social media to position herself for the job market. During her freshman year, she bought a URL with her name and started to blog about a learning trip to Sydney, Australia. Her posts highlighted what she learned and how she handled all the cultural experiences.
Burnett always knew she wanted to work with people and eventually enter the field of human resources. She found several internships, including one as an operations coordinator for Teach for America, and a summer analyst for Goldman Sachs. The internships introduced her to the intricacies of each organization and how each division contributes to the success of the whole, she said.
During the past five months, Burnett has worked as a peer advisor at the Toppel Career Center and helped students get ready to find a job. All her human resources training nabbed her a full internship at Southwest Airlines in Dallas this summer, when she will work in recruitment, talent development, and retention. In the fall, she will attend Ohio State University to pursue a Master of Human Resource Management at the Fisher College of Business.