How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups? Graham Campbell Kenny Soto

How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups?

This question was one I asked via Quora in August of 2015, where several business professionals graced me with their insights. Below is the featured answer to my question that every college student needs to read:

Answer by Graham Campbell, Owner of Moose Media Management specializing in Social Media Services & Training. 

 

As the owner of a Social Media startup & someone that has interviewed & appointed dozens, if not hundreds of people in the past I would say ‘leveraging’ Social Media is going to be an advantage, but not necessarily in ways you would expect. You still need to make sure you apply for any available position using the official channels. If no position is advertised & you are just speculating, I would still consider the following points:

Social Media Across the Board

Make sure your social media profiles are complete, current, interesting & relevant. Concentrate on your big 3 - Facebook, Twitter & most importantly LinkedIn. If you do make direct contact with a potential employer then do it solely via LinkedIn & email. I want to see your professional portfolio & networks; the other channels really just add colour for me at this stage & perhaps give me a better insight into the type of person you are - For example it may jump out of your Facebook profile that you’re dedicated to your family, your Twitter may tell me you are engaging & responsive & Instagram tells me you love going climbing with your mates. That sort of ‘colour’ is very valuable to any potential employer so I’d suggest not having too many closed networks at this stage.

General Rules

Also don’t try & focus all your platforms on ‘leveraging’ your new role. Let LinkedIn be LinkedIn & Facebook be Facebook. I’d be interested in a well-rounded person & an understanding that you utilise these networks in different ways - presenting different ‘faces’ within them is key. Obviously if you need to clean them up - then do it - no-one needs to see your bare heinie on Facebook, not your mates, not your parents & certainly not any potential employer. Don’t be boring, though, if there are pics from the same night which just show that everyone was having a great time then - there’s no harm in that!

It would be good to see Social Media projects you’ve been involved in linked to you, but this isn’t essential. It’s that sort of stuff that would come out at an interview. Therefore don’t flatter yourself too much that any potential employer, even within Social Media, is going to spend more than 5-10 minutes looking at your profiles for an entry level job. You just need to grab attention with your Bios, we aren’t going to trawl for nuggets hidden in the depths of your feeds.

Direct Contact

Most important to me if you contacted me directly (especially if unsolicited) is that you’ve taken the time to find out about the company, you can show that you are genuinely interested in the work that we do (don’t over-use the word passionate, it drives me wild) & that you are aligned with my company’s values & ethos. If you can reference particular projects we’ve been involved in (not always easy I know) that you genuinely found engaging, then all the better, let us know. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic, however, walk the line between enthusiasm & obsequiousness [inclined or disposed to please], I still want to see a bit of ‘edge’ or spirit.

If you want to do something different think about a video. You must make sure you are good on camera, though, know what you want to say, how to say it concisely & generally be engaging. Practise. Otherwise, it would backfire.

If presentations are a strength then what about:

Follow all the right prospective employers/people on Periscope, create some buzz about your upcoming 5-minute pitch to be their companies next stand-out employee, then nail your live ‘performance’! Hey presto you’ve just effectively interviewed for all the companies you want to work for in one go & got a jump on your fellow graduates (anyone reading this that actually follows this through please let me know & also credit me in your interview) you can have it for free! I suppose the real key is to play to your strengths & align those to the interests of your prospective employers. In other words: don’t be someone or something you’re not in Social Media as in life. It’s never a recipe that succeeds - trust me!

Whatever you do, don’t bombard the company with unsolicited requests & I would certainly advise against using social media ads to ‘get yourself out there’ - I don’t think they are suitable for your situation.

What about a handwritten letter?

Regarding [a] handwritten letter - that’s fine but I’ve seen too many terrible ones, it has to be spot on. If your writing is illegible or even too neat, if you are dyslexic or just rubbish at spelling then don’t do it. To be honest, a well constructed electronic letter may give me some insight into your design proclivities. I’ll judge you by the fonts you use, line spacing, kerning & general design. Sorry, but it’s the truth! Clue - most ‘creatives’ like simplicity (I’m sure you know that).

So I have rambled a bit, it’s been a long week but, I want to leave you with this: it’s a bit of life advice really, but allies to this situation. Live by this & you will go far. It’s a conflict resolution model by Don Miguel Ruiz & it’s at the heart of who I am & the ideals of my company:

  1. Be IMPECCABLE with your word
  2. Don’t make assumptions
  3. Don’t take things personally
  4. ALWAYS do your best

Best of luck in your search.

 

Author’s note: Hopefully this answer gives you some hope in your job search. Always try new things, you never know until you do it.

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CCNY Class of 2019 Freshman Convocation Speech by Kenny Soto

CCNY Freshman Convocation Speech: Class of 2019


Introduction

Hello there everybody.

My name’s Kenny Soto and today I’m gonna give a little speech about what City College has to offer and what student government can do for you.

So I am gonna start off with a little story. I was born in the Castle Hill projects of the Bronx and at the age of six years old I was constantly told that I’d never succeed. I was even in special education for the first four years because I, “wasn’t fit for a classroom setting.” And now I’m here speaking to all of you.

Background at CCNY

You’re gonna constantly hear about the great resources, successful alumni, and all of the classes that you can take here at City College. But, I want to also remind you that you will be challenged and with challenges can come some doubts.

When I first started here I was a biology major, and I was studying biology to become a doctor; to make my parents happy. And then I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay and learn from this experience here at City College. So now I’m a music major and I couldn’t be any more (nervous much??? haha) happier.

Some of you may even think that college is not for you and you might want to drop out…I too thought the same. My sophomore year I was deeply considering this until I realized that there’s so much more outside of your courses. You are not here simply to get an amazing GPA. I joined a fraternity, got involved in club life, and even joined student government and everything completely shifted.

What CCNY & student government can offer you

Your purpose here besides getting a degree is to learn. And this does not mean simply going to class and then going to work or hanging out with friends. This means as VP Reina said, look to your left and look to your right and realizing you can learn from your fellow student body as well.

Discover the amazing people that are here. Interact with faculty outside of classrooms, go to some events, and interact with student government. Because this is what we are here to do; we are here to represent you as the student body. If you ever need or feel the need to speak to student government about any issues you may have or any improvements you see that should happen, feel free to come to us in the North Academic Center and reach out to us (or just hang out).

Takeaway

Now there’s one thing that I want to say from a philosopher by the name of J. Krishnamurti who states, “The purpose of education is not to add accolades to your name or further your position in society. The purpose of true education is to enrich the experiences and relationships that you have with the universe and with yourself.”

Thank you.

Personal Website Kenny Soto

The 6 Steps to Building a Personal Website

You have to market yourself.


You already understand the importance of a 
personal website if you clicked to read this article (or you’re curious). Minda Zetlin from Inc.com comments on a survey of 300 HR professionals that shows that 30% of them see a personal website as a key advantage for job applicants however, less than 1% actually have one. If you want a leg up on your competition, it’s time to invest in a website.

1. Buying a domain

When setting up your website the first thing the you need to do is compare the pricing options on different domain extensions attached to your first & last name. The best domain extensions to use are .com, .me, or .info for a personal website (the complete list can be found here). Once you’ve decided which extension you’ll be using the next best course of action is to choose from the large list of domain name providers. My suggestion is to either use godaddy.com, namecheap.com or bluehost.com. It is advised that you make your first purchase for owning the website for 2 years because people with your name can bid for your site and put it on hold until your subscription expires and if you mistakenly forget to renew they will grab it.

2. Hosting to go with your domain

After carefully choosing your domain name the next thing you need to purchase is a hosting package. The best ones provide these services:

  • 24/7 Customer service Monthly or Bi-monthly discounts
  • Server space packages
  • Migration services (just in case you need to switch an already owned domain to another provider)
  • Security Services

The main reason why these four aspects should be prioritized over all others is because without these aspects you will have a longer process in setting up your site and you want to avoid as many hiccups as possible to save your time.

3. Can’t code? Use a CMS!

The easiest way to build a unique & well-designed website is to use a content management system such as WordPress & SquareSpace  (these are all in one packages that also provide hosting and domain purchasing). The best one is my opinion is WordPress for its ability to easily manage and customize the backend aspects of your website. For this article, I will be mainly referencing WordPress for adding your plugins and pages to your website.

There really is no reason for anyone not to have a website, regardless of your skills in coding. If you do however want to learn to code from scratch, you can use CodeAcademy for free. For a personal website all you need to know is HTML & CSS.

4. Who are you building it for?

There multiple reasons for you to have a personal website. One thing you must consider is who you are building it for, and not only why. The best thing you can do before beginning the overall design & structure for your site you need to develop a content marketing plan for your intended audience. For example, if you are a law student creating a blog based on general law knowledge you believe people should know, you can then market yourself to law firms (it’s great to have graduate from a great school but, if you don’t graduate from Harvard or Yale, you should consider increasing your edge). If you want to get into creating infographics for your blog, services such as Canva or Vengage can help. Building the website is half of the battle, marketing it is just as important.

5. Essential pages your site should have (after choosing a theme)

You can have multiple web pages on your site however, there are four that you must consider carefully. To save yourself time, make sure all the design planning is done using wireframe and then you implement everything you had in mind about the pages that you want.

The first and most important page is your home page, the one thing that can kill your bounce rate (tips for understanding that here). If you want your visitors to stay, make sure your homepage has content including your current blog posts, site news, or even your social media news feeds. After that, make sure you have a blog page. It is up to you whether you only want your posts or a sidebar/footer for your widgets. Don’t forget that in addition to these pages you should include a professional resume/portfolio. It can be the same information that you provide on your LinkedIn profile. Finally, don’t forget a contact page so people can reach you (you’re doing this to promote yourself after all).

6. Other key elements

You want people to follow you  so social media buttons are vital to your promotional success. If your WordPress theme doesn’t provide this functionality you can use the plugin Shareoholic or AddThis. Having a newsletter to keep people who are interested in you updated is also very important. After creating an opt-in button (could be labeled subscribe here), utilize services such as MailChimp or ConstantContact to design your newsletter emails.

Finally, to truly manage your website effectively I highly recommend learning Google Analytics. Google Analytics will help you to:

  • Manage where people are putting your links
  • Understanding how people interact with your site
  • Know where your audience is located and where they are coming from
  • Know what sites are bringing the most referrals

It will also help you to understand what website elements are working, what colors are working, where you’re not getting clicks, where you are getting clicks, etc. Keep in mind that this is a tool to focus on after building your website; once you begin content development and promotion.

If you have around $50 you can certainly get started today. So many of us use the internet however, we do not use it to truly promote ourselves and gain opportunities to further our success. If you want to continue to learn more about marketing yourself effectively online make sure to subscribe for more articles.

Recommended articles:

  1. Do Job Candidates With Personal Websites Have An Edge?
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  3. 99 Sites That Every Professional Should Know About and Use
Kenny Soto Photography

Daily Meditation September 6th, 2015

Often times I condemn this place: New York City. Why did I have to born here? What’s the point of struggling in this dump? I have the habit of always being surprised by how much I complain about living here after experiencing the beauty that is New York. Over the weekend, I took time out of my day to explore Coney Island after 4 years and I have to say there shouldn’t be much to complain about. Although our city does have its problems I find it that no place is perfect. We just need to accept our surroundings for what they are, appreciate them, and then consider how to change them for the better. Complaining about it doesn’t solve anything.

 

Cost Of College

The Cost of College: 4 Things You Should Be Doing So You Don’t Waste Your Money

The College Journey…

Here’s a familiar story. You just finished high school and you’re excited to begin the next part of your journey. The majority of your peers have all gone to different colleges so you’ll be entering this new stage of your life on your own (or maybe with at least another friend). As a college freshman, all of us barely knew what was going on when we started our new journey and we needed to cram a lot of information into our heads before we started our classes.

The cost of college is tremendous. Here are four pieces of advice every college student (especially freshman) should know so they don’t waste their money and most importantly their time:

1. Meet People & Leverage Relationships

I have heard this line countless times during freshman year, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.” This may be true but, only to a certain extent. What is truly important is who knows you. You can know a countless number of people before graduating college but, if none of those people are truly valuable connections who can’t remember who you are, you can’t leverage any of the opportunities they might be able to offer. It is absolutely essential for you to make sure you are making your mark on campus. When meeting someone always ask yourself. How can I bring value to this person? Doing this will help solidify that you’re not only thinking about yourself but that you actually care about the other person. Only after you’ve created value for the person should you then ask them for a favor (the usual one being a connection to a job or some other opportunity).

2. Join a Club or Organization

I believe the majority of valuable information anyone can attain from their college experiences doesn’t just come from their professors, it comes from peers. Once you graduate and join the workforce, no matter what your career choice may be, you will begin to work as a member of a team. The best way to gain prior experience in working in a team (outside of college sports) is to join a club or organization. You will gain invaluable knowledge in how effective (or ineffective) teams are run. Associating the experiences you get from being a club leader to what your intended career path may be can also help you tremendously. My desired path in life after college is to start my own company and as Richard Branson says, “A company is a group of people.” If you don’t know how to work with people now, clubs are a great starting point outside of the classroom. They also have the added bonus of extending your network.

3. Do An Internship.

The best opportunity I had to learn about the practical uses of what I was gaining from my courses came from an internship. The ideal internship (which has nothing to do with getting someone coffee) allows to learn as you do the job. As a music major, there aren’t many internship opportunities available for me so I had to leverage my network to take on another path: digital marketing. From my experience, I learned that the best way to truly know if what you’re studying is right for you, you need to do it. Sitting in a classroom learning theories will never give you the value of actual experience. And if you’re like me who’s constantly trying to learn new things, do an internship that is completely outside of your field. If it wasn’t for the eight-month internship I had you wouldn’t be reading this (because this website wouldn’t even exist). Consider an internship (paid or free) as the best college course you’ll ever take and not pay for.

Note: Student research is a good substitute for internships.

4. Figure Out What Are Your Strengths & Focus Your Studies On Enhancing Them.

Don’t focus on getting a job that can get you into your desired tax bracket. The cost of college is extremely high today and no one should be wasting their money. The main reason you should be going to college is to learn how to learn and to become an observer of the universe. We are entering an era in which employers are caring less about the degree you have and more about how you showcase what you know. It definitely helps if you’ve gained experience via an internship or research opportunity  and if you’ve developed friendships that you can utilize to help advance your career.

If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out. - Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

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