By: Jennifer Devitt on August 27th, 2013
The Necessity of Technological Fluency for College Graduates
As a recent college graduate, I was frustrated when my lack of technological knowledge figured into my problems finding a job. I graduated college without a smart phone or tablet, barely being able to use a computer for anything other than Word, and not knowing anything about twitter or related services. Sure, I have a Facebook but I only use it as a glorified email to keep in touch with geographically distant friends.
So many employers are starting to hire again after having a hiring freeze or cutting employees. Every job I was looking for I did not possess the experience desired. I got so frustrated that I took a job delivering pizza with my bachelor's degree and decided I would spend the time working on personal projects like losing some weight and finishing a novel I had started writing. Only through personal networking connections was I able to find this job, a position that uses my degree and directly utilizes my skills.
This lack of field experience is a problem that I know is shared by many. Seemingly everyone I have talked to about it has felt the same frustrations. So what is a new area that nearly every company is starting to think seriously about, and who has the most knowledge and fluency with said area? Social media and recent college graduates. Businesses are now realizing the importance of having an online presence and making that presence felt through not only their website, but social media as well. Want to alert potential customers about your product and how it can help with a current problem or situation? Tweet about it. Ad space on billboards, radio, internet, or television is expensive and generally ineffective. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and blog posts are free avenues for businesses to advertise in and have more of a word-of-mouth trust factor because the messages are immediate and more specific.
While college is generally filled with studying and (for some) partying, it is one of the most unique times in your life. Never again will you be part of such a large peer community. Use that opportunity to develop connections with those around you. Be involved on your campus and keep in touch with those you meet through social media. Develop your talents and gain an understanding of the workplace with an internship. Keep in touch with those you meet by utilizing the current trends in technology. Not only will you have a larger personal network, you will be more attractive to employers because of your experience and ability.
The lingo being tossed around businesses today still involves the age-old areas of hitting quota, driving revenue and marketing; it has now evolved with how important and prevalent technology is in the workplace. Finding a job right now is hard enough. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by ignoring the current trends in business and technology. Growing up with this technology and being fluent in its language and use distinguishes you from others that may have more field experience than you. It also eliminates an area of training for the employer. When they look at your resume and see that you are familiar with areas like teleconferencing or social media use, they can save money and time when they hire you because they don't need to teach you how to use these things.
If you are having trouble finding a job in your specific field, experience with social media and internet marketing gives you insight into another industry to perhaps help you find employment while you continue to look for work along your degree path. Who knows, you may find a new passion or discover a talent with that job you took handling a law firm's twitter account.
This is the first installment in a multi-part blog series that will address my personal evolution in terms of technology through my position at SYDCON. I look forward to you reading along as I outline this educational journey! Let me know in the comments any specifics you are interested in or any questions you have for me, and come back on Monday for the next installment.