Career Services Twitter handle connects students to alumni job experiences

@WorkingOrange provides SU students with a glimpse into the lives of working alumni.

Any two people with a link to SU can connect over a thousand things. They've shivered through zero-degree days, spun orange bandanas over their heads in the Dome and wondered how it's possible for there to be snow flurries at an event called Mayfest.

They can also build a professional connection.

To provide a platform for conversation between working SU alumni and current SU students, SU Career Services launched the Twitter handle @WorkingOrange. Each day, a different SU alum takes charge of the handle and guest tweets a-day-in-the-life style. The handle launched on January 14, the first day of spring semester classes, and has hosted guest tweeters on various career paths, including public relations, social media, database administration and sports reporting. Throughout the day, students are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the guest tweeter.

“It's so easy in 140 characters. I think students get daunted by the thought of sending a networking email. This is such a cool, carefree way to go back and forth with an alum,” said Kim Brown, assistant director and alumni program coordinator at SU Career Services.

The idea for @WorkingOrange came about in late fall of last semester, while Brown was looking at the social media presence of Career Services and what it could be doing better. Brown's colleague, Shannon Feeney, employer relations coordinator for SU Career Services, suggested that NYU had an employer Twitter account and that SU could try that. “I was like, why don't we have our alumni do it?” said Brown.

To recruit guest tweeters, Brown put out a note on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The next 100 tweeters all reached out as volunteers, and no one was contacted directly. “There was no email, it's all been through social media,” she said.

Brown, who schedules the guest tweeters, said she has been very pleased with the variety of alumni who have volunteered to tweet. The handle kicked off with guest tweeter Sean Keeley, who writes one of the most popular SU sports blogs, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. Don McPherson, former SU football player and NFL quarterback, has also volunteered to guest tweet. Even though some of SU's most notable alums have volunteered, Brown wants to make sure the handle has balance. “I don't want it to be all the people with all the coolest jobs,” she said. 

Zack Molle, broadcast journalism sophomore said in an e-mail that while the diversity of the guest tweeters' backgrounds means that many of the tweets aren't relevant to him, it is still worth the follow. “The other day they had a sports TV guy in Houston, so I followed pretty closely that day," he said. "If you want a look into an actual job, it's right there."

Other students explain that having a place to talk to alumni who have volunteered their time will be beneficial. “It's kind of intimidating to just call or email someone you've never met to try and connect with them. If they're putting themselves out there, it's easier,” said television, radio and film junior Erika Sandoval. 

Lana Hijazi, a graduate student studying film in VPA, also said she would feel more comfortable connecting with alumni through @WorkingOrange. “Maybe some students don't know the value of talking to alumni,” she said. “But if I had a question, I would ask.” 

Guest tweeters for @WorkingOrange agree that the handle can be a valuable resource for students. “In this economy, networking is the best way to get a job,” said Megan Gielow, class of 2009 and owner of Lime Green Photography

“The stories that people who are on it now are sharing are so interesting, and I think students have a really unique opportunity here,” said Jenn Pedde, class of 2004 and community strategist for 2U, Inc

Brown advises that another way students can use Twitter and the SU alumni base to their advantage is to do a Twitter search for “Syracuse,” see who has Syracuse in their bios and reach out to them. “That's how I first started talking to Dennis Crowley, the founder of Foursquare, because he was mentioning @SyracuseU,” she said. 

Pedde said that last spring an SU student reached out to her through Twitter when her company was looking for interns. “He got the internship, and two months into the internship was offered a position and is now working here,” she said.  

Gielow agreed that she would not think getting a tweet from an SU student would be strange. “If they were like, 'Hey, can I get a job,' I'd think that was unprofessional,” she said. “If it's a positive comment like, 'Love your picture,' I think that's the best way to start building a connection with another person.”

Other ways students can begin to build a network with SU alumni are to join the CuseConnect group on LinkedIn and follow the hashtag #HireOrange.  

Brown agreed that although there are multiple ways for students to connect with alumni, students do not take advantage of them enough. “The worst thing that's going to happen is there's going to be silence, they're not going to get back to you. But nine times out of ten they will,” she said. “Our alumni love SU more than anything.”

To make the tweets and interactions from @WorkingOrange even more accessible and informative, Brown is thinking of doing a Storify for each guest tweeter. She is also excited about a new @WorkingOrange logo that is currently in the works and will feature SU's very own Otto the Orange. Students who want to check out the February schedule of guest tweeters can visit Career Services, and see the calendar of events.

Incorrect Twitter handle

Hi- great article! I really enjoy the Working Orange account.

A small correction- the Twitter handle for Syracuse University is @SyracuseU, not @Syracuse_U.

Keep the great content coming!

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.