It’s Not What You Know or Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You…

Mark Babbitt, owner of YouTern and The Savvy Intern served as our guest on Help Desk Live episode 10. YouTern is one of the world’s first online recruiting companies dedicated to helping young talent leverage social media to build their personal brands. Part of the company’s mission is to help young talent “become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships and mentors.” The Savvy Intern is YouTern’s nationally recognized blog and offers excellent, contemporary career advice to high school and college students, recent graduates, and young professionals. During the episode, Mark gave students a variety of valuable career tips and advice. Student learned first-hand how they can use social networking tools including Twitter, blogging, and LinkedIn to establish a positive and professional online presence. According to Mark, “it’s never too early to get onto LinkedIn.”

Mark went on to explain the difference between technical skills versus soft skills. Technical skills include everything a person needs to do her job, while soft skills include the skills needed to do the job well including the ability to get along well with others, collaborate effectively in a team environment, the ability to both lead and follow, active listening skills, problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing. To give students a taste of the real-world of recruiting, Mark walked students through a typical hiring scenario and explained what employers and hiring managers look for when vetting applicants. The process goes something like this:

First the recruiter receives the application, hopefully from a referral rather than a job board, indicating there is some type of personal connection. Next, the recruiter will read the resume and cover letter. If they like what they read, the next thing they do is head to social media to start “checking you out.” First recruiters go to LinkedIn. After LinkedIn, recruiters will turn to Facebook and Twitter. If 3 out of 10 applicants pass those tests, meaning the recruiter is impressed by what he or she finds via social media, the next thing recruiters look for is an applicant’s voice, or his or her passion. What better way to show your passion and develop your unique voice than through blogging? Mark stressed that blogging isn’t just about writing.

“It’s about sticking your neck out, even if it’s going to get chopped off once in a while. A willingness to put yourself out there. A propensity to leave your comfort zone, which employers love.”

Mark encouraged my students to continue blogging throughout the rest of their high school years and throughout college. By the time students are ready to begin their job search, they will have been blogging for five to seven years and that, according to Mark, is a “huge track record that’s going to attract almost any employer on the planet.” He even gave students tips on how they can use their blog to make extra money! Mark went on to discuss how students can use Twitter to meet industry experts and build their own personal learning networks. And when it comes to networking, Mark stated that at YouTern they believe, “it’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s who knows you. We live in a referral economy. The way you get jobs and build your business is to be known for being so good at what you do that other people will refer you.”

This is an episode of Help Desk Live that all graduating seniors would benefit from watching, whether they are heading off to college or entering the workforce. Additionally, the advice Mark gives during this episode further supports the need for students to be able to access social media tools in school. Creating a professional and appropriate online presence, with the support and supervision of a knowledgeable teacher, will ensure students are able to articulate their skills, talents, and strengths to college admission representatives and ultimately impress future potential employers.

You can catch any of our past episodes on our Help Desk Live YouTube channel.

We hope you will join us this Friday at 9:00 a.m.EST for Help Desk Live Episode 11. We’ll be talking with Richard Byrne, author of the award-winning blog Free Technology Tools for Teachers.

Featured Image Credit: mkhmarketing via Flickr

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