This post is written for www.enidhi.net If you're reading this on other sites, the site is copying my content.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Social Media for Students: My Talk at CII Event

10 days ago I got a chance to speak at a CII event held in Chennai. The event was aimed at encouraging students to innovate and consider entrepreneurship path in their life.

Because one of the original speakers, Mr Kiruba Shankar couldn’t make it to the event due to his US trip, I got a chance to replace him with less than 24 hours notice. Thankfully folks at office granted necessary permission and I prepared myself to talk for 15-20 minutes to the audience which primarily consisted of college students.

I was supposed to talk about “How students can Leverage Social Networks”. This post shares a brief summary of my talk, edited and improvised a bit now, for the benefit of those who might find it useful/interesting.
 shrinidhi-at-cii
How can students benefit from Social media? When session moderator Kumar did a quick pole before start of session as to how many among the audience wanted be be entrepreneurs, about 5 out of 50 had raised their hands. Rest would be primarily looking for a good job in reputed company and few would go for higher studies (after which they’ll again look for a job or take self employment path)

If a student gets placed at campus interview his/her life will be at relative ease compared to other freshers who hunt for their first job in a fiercely competitive world. (Same applies to entrepreneurs who seek VC funding). For any entry level job opening in a reputed company, about 500 resumes would pour in from all over. Close to 400 of these will get filtered out during initial screening, either due to poor academic records or non-matching skills and other fundamental shortfalls. Assuming a student clears initial screening and is now in shortlisted 100. How can he ensure that he’ll get shortlisted further to next 15-20 candidates who’ll be called for an interview?

I suggested that Social media can help students get an edge over their peers (with other fundamentals like marks etc being equal). How does that work? Let us see some possibilities:

If a student has an active blog where he is writing in detail about his passion (let us consider example of an automobile enthusiast, who blogs about new launches, comparisons, features, upcoming launches, races, tips and so on) If the job opening is for a post related to automobiles, a quick look at one’s blog will give confidence to selector that this guy knows about the industry and increases his/her chances of getting shortlisted vis-a-vis another candidate whose resume may not state his/her passion towards automobiles.
But then creating a blog won’t get you a job. Building a decent blog takes several months and dedicated efforts. Without actual interest and passion, it is difficult to fake it. But once the blog gets some visibility, returns will be worth the efforts.

For entry level jobs, what recruiters look for in a fresh out of college candidate is passion, interest, commitment and ability to learn a new thing and attitude. These things can’t be stated effectively in a resume, but an active social media profile can surely get lot of brownie points.

Many students thought linkedIn is only for professionals. It is equally useful for students. Typically, by the time you prepare a resume,upload it to job site, some agency picks it up, sends to a company, someone in the company reviews it- there could be a time gap of 3-6 months and your resume won’t be reflecting your progress in past 6 months. Having an updated linkedIn profile will make it easy for recruiters to know more about you (if you’re still looking for a job, any recent certifications and skills, updated contact info, etc)
Similarly each social tool has its potential uses and advantages, which students can easily master and use for their advantage.

10 years ago it was difficult to know what other entrepreneurs are doing. Today, thanks to social media, a wannable entrepreneur can learn from others’ mistakes and get lot of ideas, tips and support through social media channels

Having an email id like yourname@yourname.com will instantly get you a recognition compared to others who use web emails. This and other online personal branding techniques can help a candidate gain some leverage over his competition and get noticed by prospective recruiters/investors. But again, this can only complement core skills and not to be treated as a replacement.

A student asked how they can get in touch with industry people who are generally not accessible or too busy. This can be achieved in multiple ways:
1. Meeting them in person, during events , 2. following their social media activities closely and building a relationship over a time or 3. get introduced through a mutual contact. (I gave only 2nd answer during the talk, 2 others struck me later)

When checked how many students were active on social media, we found out that less than 5% had blogs, very few were active on linkedin, few more were active on orkut, facebook and twitter. Students didn’t have much questions to ask, probably because they’re not yet familiar with the social platforms.

What not to do in Social Media?
Many think Social networking is waste of time. If used in wrong way, it is indeed waste of time and productivity. Also how you project yourself to others is critical. Using fowl language might get you some likes, RTs and fanfare, but will instantly turn off a prospective employer (I don’t want the guy I’m hiring to use all bad words in his regular communications with colleagues, clients etc)

I hope my talk made some sense and would be put to use by at least few students.

It was nice to be meeting my fellow speakers. I was a minnow in front of them, but made an attempt to put up a brave face. The panel included Vijay Anand, better known as the Startup guy, Kumar S, who heads Innovations at Cognizant, Sharath Babu- IIT-IIM graduate who now runs a multi crore Food Kings business, A Balachandran,who heads incubation facility at VIT
cii-grp-pic-fullsize
Photo Courtesy: CII
My other talks:
1. Talk at Loyoa College about relevance of blogging
2. Talk at MSRIT Bangalore during Blogging workshop
3. Talk at MMSC, Manipal Institute of Communication

14 comments:

Team G Square said...

Wow , Great .

Mridula said...

Great going Shrinidhi. But no tie?

Lakshmi Rajan said...

wonderful opportunity and experience that came your way! and a nice topic too. Social media is a tool that a student can leverage to his advantage. Though, most tend to think it as a time pass or time killer.

Anu said...

Good one! I am forwarding this to my sis. I keep telling her to use the net and social media for her advantage, but could never have put it as well as you!

Kishore said...

Excellent Shri..This reminds me of one famous tag line "Its your life. MAKE IT LARGE". Congratulations and good wishes for many more to come!!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

TGS: Thnks

Mridula:
No, I'm not used to tie. None of the other speakers had one too...

LR:
Thanks.

Anu: Hope your sister finds it useful

Kishore sir:
Thanks for your wishes and support

ಸುಬ್ರಮಣ್ಯ ಮಾಚಿಕೊಪ್ಪ said...

good

prasanna raghavan said...

Nidhi,

This is a great information. I am going to send this link to my daughter who is already employed. I believe it will help both employed and unemployed, employed will be helped to move up the ladder.
thanks

Shrinidhi Hande said...

SM: Thanks

PR:
Yes, if properly used, SM has its advantages

Dhineshkumar S K said...

Good morning sir,
I was one of the participant in CII Event. And i listened to your speech at CII. It was awesome. Really inspired me. Also helped me a lot. Thanks you very much sir.

Dhineshkumar S K said...

Good afternoon sir,
I had participated in the CII Innovator 2010 event. Also i had listened to your talk. It was awesome. Really inspiring. Helped me a lot. Thank you very much.!!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Dinesh

Good to know it was useful

Sankara Subramanian C said...

Great speech Shri! You did great! You have covered all the important points. I totally agree with you that today's students don't leverage the social media world. Hopefully, folks will look up to you and look to correct themselves. You set a great example.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the kind words Sankara

LinkWithin