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Marist College Official Provides Job Help to Grads via Twitter

Timmian C. Massie, chief public-affairs officer for Marist College, in New York, gave a recent graduate a glowing job recommendation, and it only took about 140 characters and less than five minutes.

Jim Urso, a recent Marist graduate, was offered a job last week with Hofstra University after Mr. Massie introduced the former intern to the university’s media-relations department via Twitter, the popular microblogging service that limits updates to just 140 characters.

“There’s an air of authenticity through social media where you can really see what someone is about,” said Mr. Urso, who communicated directly with several recruiters via tweets and private messages on Twitter.

Mr. Urso said it was Mr. Massie’s personal Twitter recommendation that led to his coming position as an assistant director of public relations at the university.

Mr. Massie, who also teaches public relations as a part-time lecturer, often uses his personal Twitter account to directly connect students with employers. He helped Alyssa Bronander, another recent Marist graduate, in her job search by tagging her in a tweet asking why no one had hired her. Within minutes, she got a résumé request from a Marist alumnus trying to fill an open position.

Outside of class, Mr. Massie provides students with an informal crash course in social media by using himself as an example. “Follow me for 48 hours and you’ll know all about me,” he tells his students. And by “follow” he means on Twitter, where he has nearly 2,000 followers and tweets several dozen times a day.

As a blogger, he encourages students to build a smart online presence by commenting on blogs related to their field of study because it’s what employers have come to expect. “This group of college grads—they’re called digital natives,” Mr. Massie said. “They’re expected to be fully aware of the applications of social media.”

But he knows of several students who don’t know how to exploit the professional side of social networks, even though they’re good at posting pictures to Facebook from last night’s party. “Your online presence is a reflection of you,” Mr. Massie said, stressing that social media is all about following and being followed by the right people.

Mr. Urso explained that Mr. Massie sets up a primer for promising students, but that it is ultimately a two-way street. “He educates people on how to use social networks, puts them in contact [with prospective employers] through social media, and the students do the rest of the work,” he said.

For promoting recent graduates with limited experience, Mr. Massie suggested Twitter and Facebook over résumé-sharing sites like LinkedIn because professors can more easily vouch for students.

The Marist social-networking guru attends public-relations conferences throughout the year and said that universities should use social media to help students in their job searches.

“Every college and university should be doing this as another form of outreach,” he said. “If you’re not on social media—particularly if you’re in the communications field—you’re behind the times.”

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