If I could offer my fellow (former) UT ad grad classmates one piece of advice it would be keep your eyes and ears open.
While the program we went through was pretty special, it will all become null and void quickly if we don’t adapt. Everyone knows new media is sweeping advertising, PR, journalism and basically all communications fields. What can we do? Be flexible. Embrace change. It’s all we can do.
This topic has been address ad nauseum by myriad “millennials” “experts” and other knowledgeable bloggers, so I won’t bother to replicate it or rehash their points. But I will say, if you do nothing else, please use Twitter.
I’m not saying this because I want more followers or people to follow. I genuinely think it’s the best thing you can do in your career right now. If you don’t believe me, see what Adweek thinks. See what they say in AdAge. See what your own classmate says (in AdAge, no less)!
There are a million reasons why you should join, but I’ll just mention a few. Hear what other people in the industry are saying (CEOs, entry-level people, all types). Read timely, relevant articles and blog posts everyday. Get advice from others. Network painlessly. Be in the know. And it’s simple, not to mention free.
Mostly, just have your fingers on the pulse of the industry, or whatever industry you’d like to pursue.
Get your feet wet. You don’t have to publish a tweet every minute, every hour, or even every day. Despite what critics may lead you to believe, not all people on Twitter blabber about minutia. Just be patient. You’ll be surprised how quickly like-minded users will follow you first. Engage with others. Listen. Something somewhere will strike your interest. See who your friends are recommending on #followfriday and follow them yourself (or at least see their most recent page of posts to see if they’re someone with which you share interests). Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
You might still think I’m nuts, but here’s a few reasons why Twitter has worked for me:
- I’ve actually gotten interviews out of using it. Both informational and job interviews. Though I haven’t landed a job yet, it has worked for people before.
- I’ve asked questions, and gotten answers. Quickly. After all, I decided to move my blog to WordPress much in part to feedback from a question I asked on Twitter.
- People are willing to help. One of my favorite people on Twitter saw in my bio that I was looking for a job in DC and ended up passing my resume along to several of his friends in the industry. Even though none were looking to add to their staffs at the moment, I got my resume in a few more doors I wouldn’t have otherwise. This individual, of course, is a Twitter saint. But others have helped in other ways as well. Many have dispensed invaluable advice via email, due to the character limitations of Twitter. All you have to do is ask (nicely)! The worst that will happen is you’ll be ignored, but people will, in general, help how they can.
- When you think you’re alone, you aren’t. Do you think you’re the only one stressed out about finding a job? You aren’t. You’ll be surprised what like-minded people are out there. Even if it’s silly, I found out that I’m not the only glutton for punishment with a love-hate relationship for Trust Me. I know it’s bad and that I can’t stop watching. But because of Twitter I know I’m not the only one!
- There are some hilarious people on Twitter, almost guaranteed to make you laugh. In times like these, we all need to laugh. And if you like celebrities or athletes, there’s no shortage of them on there either. There are also CEOs, politicians, authors, broadcasters and a slew of others.
- Every day I’ve been almost bombarded by a wealth of helpful, interesting links. I never have time for them all, but I do try to favorite them to go back to later if they look particularly helpful or amusing. This may be the most important point of them all. If you follow a decent sized network of people, the smattering of intriguing, useful links is almost endless.
And if you need recommendations on who to follow, let me know in the comments. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but if there’s a subject matter you’re interested in, I may have suggestions. If you have other specific questions on how to use the service, I’d be happy to help however I can.
Hope to see you in Twitterville soon!