Gini Dietrich

Preparing Students and Young Professionals for the Business World

By: Gini Dietrich | September 15, 2010 | 
33

During the summer I fell off the InsidePR bandwagon. Not in terms of recording, but in terms of talking about it here. But I’m baaack! And this week, Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and I discuss preparing students and young professionals for the business world.

We’ve talked here before about using the social web to find a job, but this discussion is a bit different. With school back in session, these tips are really for those who need to be figuring out how to begin looking for internships or for a full-time job by summer.

1. Remember your personal brand and that online doesn’t forget. The things you put on the web right now create the person that will follow you around for the rest of your life. You’ve likely already heard it’s a bad idea to not let your friends tag you in photos of you doing body shots, but also think about what you say and what others say about you. As employers, we look at everything about you online to determine what kind of employee you might be and whether or not you might fit our culture. Google sees everything so be cautious.

2. I guest lectured at DePaul a few weeks ago and part of the discussion we had there was about creating a blog. Create a blog! Share what you know professionally (either from internships or the job you’ve already begun) and what you’re learning in school. You don’t have to be an expert in your field to write. Becky Johns is a great example of that. She is a young professional, yet she does a great job writing about her experience working, about her interests in photography and (hopefully) skydiving, and about the influencers she meets. Check out I’m Working On It to see what I mean…we all read her blog and most of us have more experience than she does. So don’t be scared by not having experience.

3. This is the one I cannot stress enough. Engage, engage, engage! You have tools available to you that allow you access not only to the people who work at the companies where you think you might like to work, but to their executives. Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs to build online relationships with these people. Comment on their blogs. You don’t alway have to agree. Give you opinion, throw in new information, and get them to pay attention to you. It’s funny what happens when someone feels like they know you because you’ve taken an interest in their work…if they can’t hire you, they’ll find someone who can!

4. One of the questions we ask when we interview is, “What was the last book you read?” If you can’t answer that or “what magazines, newspapers, or blogs do you subscribe to?” we’re likely not going to hire you. I have a friend who asked that question of a candidate just the other day and the person said, “Oh I don’t have time to read.” Guess what? No job offer for you! Read, read, read, and subscribe. Not only does a job offer depend on it, your job (once you get it) depends on it. Reading makes you smarter, more open-minded, and a better writer. Get in the habit now.

5. Don’t be negative. You would think this goes without saying, but you’d be amazed at how many people complain non-stop online. I am connected with people who complain daily about their jobs, about their bosses, about the fact that they can’t find a job, about everything. Trust me when I say, some of these people are really good friends, but I would never hire them nor recommend them to be hired because they’re so negative. Be a person people want to be around…online and off.

For more tips, listen to today’s episode of InsidePR (or listen just to hear me screw up at the end). For those of you who’ve been in the business world for a bit, what advice do you have for students and young professionals?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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33 Comments on "Preparing Students and Young Professionals for the Business World"

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Roger Wohlner
5 years 10 months ago

Great post Gini. I’m going to forward this to my kids.

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Roger, from what I understand, you have pretty grounded kids, but hope one little tip from this helps in some way.

Kristen Klucas
5 years 10 months ago

As a young professional myself, it’s also important to be a part of the scene. Go to the monthly meetings held by professional organizations in your community. These meetings are a great way to learn what’s going on in the industry and network with your peers and potential employers.

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Kristen, GREAT point about getting out and networking in person! I guess we assumed people already knew that. Thanks for adding the tip!

Andy Donovan
5 years 10 months ago
Funny you should “pen” this today Gini since I had a recent conversation with a friend who had had a student painting company in to do some work for her this past summer. She was less than satisfied with the quality and was surprised to hear from the Manager that any “touch ups” or miscues made by his crew would be on her dime. When she mentioned her disatisfaction and the fact that she’d be sharing her experience – not only with his head office by word of mouth but online as well – his retort was “I don’t care…I’ve… Read more »
Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Andy, I am SHOCKED about this person’s retort! You’re absolutely right…it’s not just the way we behave online. Offline counts, too. And people have gigantic networks to spread the word about how unprofessional someone is being in their summer job.

Patti Knight
5 years 10 months ago

I too am amazed at the complaining that happens on the social networks. If I can see so can anyone on-line.

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Patti, during a speaking engagement I did last month, we did some searching to see what people think are not online, but I was able to find. They were really surprised to see what Google finds.

Tom Miesen
5 years 10 months ago
These are all great points. I think the biggest hurdle I’ve had to get over is networking. I went through college thinking networking was an evil thing; that it was just a lot of fake people looking to use each other to advance in business. So I avoided it at all costs. But I’m starting to realize that networking is just a way of creating professional relationships. That it’s not evil. I think participating in social media woke me up to this idea, because I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of businesspeople on Twitter, and to my surprise, they… Read more »
Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Tom, I had the exact same view about networking that you did! Thanks for sharing the tip. I think there are evil networking groups, just like anything else. So focus on your industry organizations until you’re comfortable deciding what makes evil and what makes good.

Kat Skull
5 years 10 months ago

This is an excellent article and I will keep these tips in mind!

Thanks,
Kat

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Great, Kat! Glad it was helpful.

Jeannie Andresen
Jeannie Andresen
5 years 10 months ago

Gini, great post! Extremely happy I opened it with your teaser headline of “I’m not going to tell you what this is about!”
Great advice, and love how you mentioned the DePaul lecture I was a part of 🙂

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Jeannie, I was thinking about how hard you guys worked to make that guest lecture. Blog about tree frogs!! 🙂

KarenRussell (KarenRussell)
5 years 10 months ago

Must-listen podcast for PR students! http://tinyurl.com/2dmv6em

scott
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks Gini. All good suggestions. Have you heard of a website called CareerScribe.com? It’s a personal career support solution with a big focus on college students and universities. I recommend it for my college students for all the reasons you mentioned. Keep up the great posts. Scott

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks for the tip on CareerScribe, Scott.

Jon Buscall
5 years 10 months ago

This SO hit the spot. I’m teaching a course on Online Communications this year to a bunch of 19 year olds. Suddenly I have another podcast to add to the “reading” list.

Loved this discussion.

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks Jon! I hope the podcast is helpful for your students.

Erin Adler
Erin Adler
5 years 10 months ago
I’m a recent graduate that was able to have so many wonderful opportunities come by with some work and a little luck. One thing I would recommend is to contact previous work or intern supervisors. A simple hello and asking the person about them while you let them know you are graduating soon and are job searching. They might have advice, contacts, or an opportunity for you. Another thing is to not be afraid to ask questions and talk with your parent’s friends or your neighbors. Maybe even go to that neighborhood block party or Christmas party, you would usually… Read more »
Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Erin, GREAT tips! And I always tell the story about you when I speak. I’m speaking at an event with 300 or so people there and you walk up to me, introduce yourself, and start a conversation as if it were just the two of us in the room. I’ve always been super impressed by that and it’s a great lesson for everyone!

Barry Silver
5 years 10 months ago

Gini,

Any particular reason the title limits post to students and young professionals? This stuff is good for anyone not already converted. Never too late to learn something.

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Barry, very good point. I positioned this toward young professionals because that’s what we discussed during the podcast. But you’re right – it works for any professional.

Dustin Plett
5 years 10 months ago
Great post. I was wondering if you had looked into schools that are doing things right in preparing students for the business world that awaits? If not, I’d look into the program I went to back in Winnipeg (Martin’s home town) at Red River College called Creative Communications. This joint program with the U of W is designed to provide a foundation in marketing, advertising, PR, journalism, and broadcast. This program has embraced social media and the fully understands the benefits outlined in the article above and I belief they are doing a great job of communicating that to the… Read more »
Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Dustin, the genesis of our recording this certain segment of InsidePR is because Martin is teaching his social media class and wanted some ideas. So we know he’s doing something right!

classycareergirl
5 years 10 months ago

Great tips for young professionals! I also started a blog to document my experiences at work and school and I am loving it! Documenting my experiences actually makes me learn so much more and I am so glad I started to blog!

Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Everyone should check out http://classycareergirl.com. LOVE the blog!

Beth @ RightUK
5 years 10 months ago
Hi Gini Really pleased I stumbled upon this article – you have some great points really valuable to new Uni leavers. I am managing a blog (http://therightgradguide.blogspot.com) which has a focus on supporting (UK) graduates entering the job market during these tough market conditions. Your post would be an excellent addition! Would you mind very mcuh if we took the main body of this and posted it – obviously accredited to you plus with a link directly back to here? I’d be intersted to hear your thoughts. Also, completely agree about networking on and offline. This all builds your reputation… Read more »
Gini Dietrich
5 years 10 months ago

Beth, I would love it if you use this post in your blog! And thanks for telling me you came here from StumbleUpon. That means our master plan is beginning to work!!

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5 years 10 months ago
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4 years 10 months ago

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4 years 10 months ago

This is really helpful tips for graduating students. It’s like words of wisdom for us. Thanks!

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