The New Paltz Career Resource Center recently hosted a presentation by guest speaker Lindsey Pollak, who taught an audience how to use the internet to their advantage — in 140 characters or less.
“Leveraging Social Media in Your Job and Internship Search,” hosted on Thursday, Feb. 27, drew a crowd that flooded the auditorium of the Coykendall Science Building, creating a standing-room-only environment. From students to professors, all were tuned in to Pollak’s words of wisdom about the world wide web. A LinkedIn Ambassador and Spokesperson for The Hartford, Pollak has a consultation clientele that includes ESPN, General Electric and Ralph Lauren, and has had her work featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and on NPR.
“We invited Lindsey Pollak because I had seen her give a presentation last summer in New York City for a group of international students and I wanted the students at SUNY New Paltz to have the same unique opportunity to see her speak and meet her,” Senior Career Counselor at the Career Resource Center, Christine Daly, said. “She is a well-known keynote speaker who makes using LinkedIn a must for any job seeker in today’s employment market.”
A graduate of Yale University, Pollak spoke to the masses with a down-to-earth tone, sprinkling humor in with her presentation whenever the opportunity arose. After referring to this generation of students as history’s most technologically savvy, Pollak went bullet by bullet explaining how students can improve and manage their online image.
Pollak began by explaining “The Big Six” social media outlets: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr, and reminded audience members how important it is for job and internship seekers to know which social media outlets corporations in their field utilize the most.
“If a company you want to work for wants to talk to you, you need to be there to listen,” Pollak said. “Companies are pumping out information all the time, and you are going to stand out in the job hunt if you can tell them what you’ve learned about their company during a job interview or in a cover letter. You’re going to show that you’ve invested the time in them, which will make them more interested in hiring you in return. This is monumental.”
Pollak stressed the importance of researching a company students are interested in applying for a job or internship with in order to set themselves apart from other applicants.
“The night before a job interview or career fair, dig in deeper and know a lot about the company you’re interested in,” Pollak said. “Instead of asking what they’re doing at their company, you can talk about what they’re doing and suddenly, you are no longer a student wanting a job, you are a colleague and you will appear to be in a completely different category from all of the other people going for that same job. You will be lightyears ahead of everybody else. Know what’s important to the particular company you want to work for.”
Pollak ended the presentation by providing the audience with etiquette tips, including the advice to personalize messages to networking contacts, giving up when necessary and understanding the importance of thanking those who donate their time to help applicants with their job or internship search.
“Students are in a unique position of having high caliber speakers, such as Lindsey Pollak available on campus,” Daly said. “They don’t need to travel and the speakers are coming to discuss topics of particular interest to students. After graduating from college, these opportunities are rare.”