Live from New York: A JMU Alum Question & Answer

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WHO:        Kristen Malzone
JOB:         Social Media Analyst
WHERE:   HENRY SCHEIN, Melville, NY
                  www.henryschein.com
TWEET:   @kzone7
1.     Can you describe what your role and responsibilities are as a Social Media Analyst?
The Social Media Analyst position at Henry Schein is brand new, therefore, my roles and responsibilities change frequently to adapt to the needs of each department. I work for the corporate office and I am responsible for implementing social media strategy into our marketing and communications plans. As the internal social media expert, I am also responsible for training TSMs (Team Schein Members) who are incorporating social media into their own jobs. This channel of communication is unchartered territory for many businesses today, especially business to business corporations like us, and it is my job to navigate.
2.     How did your academics and experiences at JMU prepare you for your   current role?
As a COB graduate, I am able to apply the knowledge I obtained at JMU to my current job responsibilities. For example, it is important to continually perform “SWOT” analyses, identifying opportunities on the social web and monitoring our competitors’ activity on Facebook and Twitter. I learned about social media specifically after taking an Internet Marketing course during my senior year. The professor covered social media briefly, and that was the first time I learned about Twitter. It opened my eyes to the social media revolution and inspired me to explore opportunities these platforms presented to businesses of all scales. As an undergrad, I was actively involved in 1787 Orientation and SafeRides. My relationships with both organizations presented me with the opportunity to communicate with the student body via social media on a larger scale. I did not realize it at the time, but those experiences provided me with the knowledge and understanding to break into the social media industry post-graduation.
3.     Social media plays a large part in both the personal and professional lives of students.  What recommendations do you have for students using social media in the job search process and also in their personal lives?
Do you have a secret, hidden profile on Facebook? Think again. There are multiple ways that recruiters can find you on Facebook. Searching for your name is just one of the ways. Did you suspend your Facebook account in order to save face during your job search? Bad idea. You would be hard pressed to find a college student in the United States who has never maintained a profile on Facebook. If a recruiter cannot find you on Facebook, they might assume you are hiding something. My advice is put yourself out there, but be an active filter. Here are some tips:
1.     Think twice before you post a status update. Is this something you would want a recruiter to read? If you hesitate at all, just do not post it.
2.     Go through your photo albums and tagged photos. Delete/untag photos that might hurt your professional image. Facebook now gives you the option to download all of your information (photos and videos included) to your computer. Do this before you start deleting/untagging, so that you have those precious college memories saved somewhere more secure.
3.     Create secret groups on Facebook for friends and family. Groups are more secure than your wall and you can easily control who sees what; whether it’s a photo from last night’s beer pong tournament or 10 reasons why you hate Aunt Sally’s new boyfriend.
4.     After taking these measures, open up your profile a little bit under your privacy settings. Use your Facebook profile as a personal resume. When a company hires you, they are not hiring your resume; they are hiring YOU! Facebook shows them who you really are.
4.     What social media tools would you recommend to students for networking?
If you are looking for a job, GET ON TWITTER! It is the most powerful networking tool ever created. In a nutshell, Twitter breaks down communication barriers that other channels have yet to hurdle; even Facebook. I landed my first job after graduation from JMU because of Twitter. It’s a long story, but it involves a great non-profit (www.DoSomething.org), a celebrity (Ashton Kutcher), and a CEO (my former boss). Tweet me (@kzone7) if you want to learn more! Without Twitter, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Reach out to CEOs, celebrities, recruiters, industry leaders, bloggers…anyone! You never know which connection might lead to your dream job.
5.     What are your recommendations to students who wish to pursue a career in the field of social media?
Social media is changing every day and keeping up is a full-time job, in itself. Follow the blogs (Mashable, TechCrunch, All Facebook, etc.) and comment on topics of interest. Follow your favorite brands, celebrities, and musicians and engage in their communities. Start a blog focused around a few of your interests. I recommend Tumblr. It’s simple and growing rapidly. Also, get some experience. If you can’t find a social media internship, volunteer to help a local charity set up a Facebook Page or a Twitter account. This will help you start building a social media portfolio. It is a fast-paced industry to get into, but as college students, you have the upper-hand. Facebook, in the earlier days, was made for you. College students just “get it.” Social media expertise is an extremely valuable skill in today’s job market. If you dedicate yourself to it, you will succeed.
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