Tag Archives: University of North Texas

College Alumni

I have said from time to time that the best place to start networking via LinkedIn is with the alumni groups for the colleges you attended. Almost every university of any size has a LinkedIn group. If you attended more than one university (whether you received a degree or not) you should join the group. This will increase your ability to connect with people outside your immediate field of experience.

Keep something in mind. LinkedIn wants to prevent spammers. It would ruin LinkedIn if it became nothing more than a resource for every on-line pharmacy or insurance company or ponzi scheme to blast members with endless emails. LinkedIn safeguards this pretty well by making sure that only people who have a common interest can connect with you. Either they worked at the same company you did (as is determined by their LinkedIn profile), went to the same school, belong to the same group or they know your email address.

This is great at keeping you relatively free of spam but it is also a barrier if you are trying build a new network outside your realm of experience. If you are tired of writing test software for missiles and want to write test software for wind turbines, all your contacts at Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are not going to be very useful in getting you connected to people at Siemens and GE. That is where memberships in groups will be helpful and college alumni groups are among the most inclined to accept an invitation from a complete stranger.

To a certain extent, having gone to a large university has an advantage by having a larger LinkedIn group, but that is not always the case. Both the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have current student bodies of approximately 50,000 students. The Texas Exes LinkedIn group as 35,000 members but the Texas A&M Association of Former Students has 14,000 members. You will also need to join the Texas A&M University Alumni group with almost 10,000 members. Considering the rabid school spirit of the Aggies, you would just assume that their LinkedIn group would be one of the largest, but it is not.

My other Alma Mater is the University of North Texas in Denton with a current enrollment of 36,000 students. Once again, another big school, however, they have two LinkedIn groups with only 9,000 and 4,000 members. UNT is largely a commuter school with little school spirit. Despite the fact that they have a significant number of distinguished alumni including Don Henley (The Eagles) and Nora Jones (we can skip the fact that Dr. Phil also went there) plus Pat Boone and Roy Orbison (if you are a bit older), people just do not feel a kinship with other UNT grads. Therefore, you would not expect a large LinkedIn group.

On the other hand, tiny Trinity University in San Antonio has around 2,500 students but a LinkedIn group of 3,500.

You may have attended a community college and feel reluctant to highlight that on your LinkedIn profile. I received 6 hours of credit in Photography from Tarrant County College (back when it was called Tarrant County Jr College or TCJC…or Taco Jaco…) but I did not mention it on anything. In reality, TCC is a large school with 38,000 students in enrollment. However,  their LinkedIn Group contains only 231 members.

In this instance, LinkedIn might not be much help. If you do a keyword search on “Tarrant County College,” you will get over 18,000 results. These are people who took some classes there, mentioned it on their LinkedIn profile, even if they did not care to join the group. My guess is, you are not going to get much of a response if you try to get someone to LinkIn with you based on the fact that you both attended Taco Jaco back in the 1970s.

There are plenty of judgment calls to be made here. You have to size up if there is any benefit to reaching out to someone based on having gone to the same school. In some cases, it will help you a lot. You will find that classmate who is involved in wind turbines at GE and will be able to connect with them. In other instance, you are going to just have to dig a little deeper.

We will get into “deeper digging” in my next post.

Good Luck and Godspeed!

James Snider
Engstrom Trading, LLC
VP Business Development, TFX Nonstick!

What I learned from the Royal Wedding

As a job seeker, do you feel like you are always the bridesmaid and never the bride? The Royal Wedding last Friday has given me some food for thought as I considered the elegant bride and striking bridesmaid.

In the current job market, it is not enough to be excellent. You must be perfect. And even then, sometimes, that is not enough. Let’s look at Kate and Pippa.

Both were impressive during the wedding. The bride was not getting all the attention. As a matter of fact, there were several headlines asking if perhaps the bridesmaid had outshone the bride. This unknown Middleton daughter was getting more Twitter traffic than anything else in the wedding. Facebook Fan pages for Pippa started popping up. UK gossip magazines were having a field day.

Kate was nearly flawless in her role as bride of the prince. She was beautiful, elegant and poised. She never looked hesitant or uncertain during her long walk down the aisle. She appeared to have genuine affection for the throngs of adoring onlookers. She looked at ease and happy.

In the televised interviews with school friends, her perfect reputation remained in tact. She was a strong student, great athlete and rule follower. She never “snuck up to the roof for a smoke” or dabbled in underage drinking. Her former headmaster said, “If she ever broke any rules, we never caught her.”

Pippa, who did a splendid job as bridesmaid, has not fared as well. When the press dug into her past, a reputation as a party girl emerged. She was characterized as the more aggressive of the two sisters.  When one looks at the two of them, one might tend to believe the stories. Kate just looks fresher and a bit more genteel than her younger sister.

Kate acts as if she has been groomed her whole life for the role she is now playing. We forget that the beloved Diana had to grow into it. Kate is already there.

Can anyone be this perfect for the job?

How about you as that “perfect match” for a job? I’ve been perfect for several jobs and came in second. One such job had lengthy requirements.  I matched them all, right down to the MBA. The candidate, who was eventually hired, had an MBA from Harvard. My MBA from the University of North Texas was no match.

Perfect, but not perfect enough.

I was a nearly perfect match for another job and I had an ace in the hole. Only on one point was my experience a bit “iffy.” On that one point, I had the experience but it was an inch deep and a mile wide. However, my brother-in-law worked for the company and was well respected. Additionally, he knew the hiring manager and got along well with him.

Despite his best efforts, he had to tell me that I was not in the running. The hiring manager had a dozen perfect candidates with years of perfect experience. Any one of these candidates would have been an automatic hire under normal circumstances. In today’s job market, the hiring manger has more perfect candidates than he can interview.

The thought occurred to me, “There will be several people wondering what went wrong. They were perfect matches and didn’t even get interviewed.”

As you know, this job of getting hired is serious business.

Check your social media profile. Not only should there be no “party girl” information but you need to concentrate your efforts toward a goal. Kate was that perfect match, but that was almost not good enough. At one time, William dropped her. Pippa plotted to get them back together. It was the younger sister who made sure that Kate was seen in clubs with other men. A ploy to get the paparazzi to snap photos which William was sure to see.

It worked.

Have that single mindedness. If you want to work in the medical field (for example), concentrate your tweets about medical things. Follow medical professionals on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Study medical articles and make your updates about them. Informational interview people at target organizations. Seek out speaking engagements where medical professionals will be. Do not shotgun your job search. Focus.

Even perfect Kate had to make sure she remained visible to William.

You are not going to get a job by accident.

You have to be perfect.

You have to be visible.

In my next post, we will discuss Princess Beatrice’s hat.  

James Snider
Business Development Director

Corporate Marketing Department…one hour at a time

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Only kidding about the Beatrice post

Well…maybe a brief note. As you may know, Beatrice and her sister, Eugenie, are the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York (the former Sarah Ferguson). Sarah was out of favor with the royal family even before her divorce from Prince Andrew. She was not invited to the wedding of William and Katherine. As the rumor goes, she conspired with her two daughters to get even with the royal family by having them wear outlandish hats. It was known that Beatrice and Eugenie would be seated right behind the Queen. Mission accomplished.

And for some added irony,  pictures from the 1950 Disney Classic, Cinderella … compared to the recent royal wedding.  Actually, the last image was Photoshopped…but funny all the same…

Who Controls Your On-Line Reputation?

Is “being invisible” hurting your career?  “Yes, it is”…and as much as you try to resist it, you are NOT invisible on the internet.  There is something out there on you.  If you are not building a web presence, your reputation is in the hands of others.

See great blog on this topic: “Is Invisibility Killing Your Career?”  http://bit.ly/9U0LYr

I recently covered this topic in a UNT Alumni Career Workshop Series presentation (Wednesday, March 24).  I gave practical tips with real-life examples on building your on-line presence.

I have a rough video of my presentation on my Facebook account:  http://www.facebook.com/james.snider.TX

This presentation is for anyone looking for a job or looking to advance their career.  Practical tips on using social media to build your web presence.  No “jump on the social media bandwagon” hype.   Recruiters are looking for information on you.  You can not make yourself invisible.  Make it easy for them to find all the good things you have done and not those embarrassing moments your old college roommate decided to post on MySpace.