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Making your Career Center Insta-Awesome

Making you Career Center Insta-Awesome

EACE Blog contribution by Megan Wolleben, Assistant Director, Bucknell University’s Career Development Center

January 11, 2013. That is the date of our first Instagram picture from the Bucknell Career profile. And while I’m not quite sure it is a day that will live in infamy I am quite sure that Instagram will. In an ever-changing landscape of social media it is often hard to decide – and discern – where to focus your efforts as a career center.  We don’t want to encounter “death by a thousand tactics,” (to borrow a phrase from Eva Kubu of Princeton Career Services).  But there are times you cannot ignore the changing face of social media and with Facebook’s latest algorithm changes perhaps it’s time to move away from something old and try something new – like Instagram! What I love about Instagram is there is no mincing what it is. It’s a platform to post images. That’s it.

InstagramInstagram is very easy to set up. It’s even more basic than Twitter.  Here are the elements of a profile:

  1. Profile picture: I would recommend this be consistent with your picture on other platforms.
  2. Username: Again I would try to keep it consistent with your name on other platforms – specifically Twitter.
  3. One link: you get one link, that is it.
  4. Info paragraph: here you only get 150 characters so it needs to be short and sweet.

Once you’ve filled out those sections you are good to go and the fun begins!

The original intent behind our Instagram account was to show what our events look like and that students show up, as well as give a sense of who we are and what we do. In posting these images my goal is to make our office more open and accessible to students. I hear a lot of students hesitate to stop by our office so, through pictures, I’m trying to fight this tendency.

I’ve tried to use our account to:

  • Show people at events talking to students and networking to illustrate that,  yes, it really does happen!
  • Around our fairs; before, during, and after present great photo ops.
  • Students dressed well for networking events. I love doing this idea because it accomplishes two things: First it makes the student feel great that they are dressed well and gives them more confidence and secondly it serves as peer to peer education.
  • And what Instagram account would be complete without food! Yes, I do post occasional pictures of the enticing food we have at events – especially alumni panels. If they come for the food and stay for the panel I’m okay with that.

More Ideas:

  • Get help: Don’t be the only one taking pictures – ask your student workers to snap some photos and send them to you to post to the account.
  • Memes and motivational quotes
  • Run a contest around a hashtag
  • Alumni and student video tips – University of Pennsylvania is a good account to check for examples
  • Networking video tips – Check out University of Maryland for some great examples

A Few Drawbacks:

  • For those using Instagram both professionally and personally on the same device you can only link one account to Facebook.
  • Links do not work within posts.
  • And perhaps my biggest gripe: There is no easy toggle between accounts using the app like there is for Twitter, which means you will have to log in and log out of each account.

Resources:

  • Shannon Kelly, my EACE Tech Committee co-chair, will be hosting The Career Counselor’s Guide: Instagram and Pinterest webinar through NACE on April 24th. While the focus will be on students using Instagram and Pinterest in the job search I guarantee it will be filled with great insight and ideas for the platforms in general.
  • The EACE Tech Committee hosted chat on December 11th discussing using Instagram for your career center. If you missed the chat you can still read the storify. It is full of great ideas and examples. This was part of the #EACE Twitter Chat series which occurs on the second Tuesday of every month; hosted by members of the EACE Tech Committee (next chat is March 11th on maintaining job search motivation in students).
  • I encourage you to look at other career centers on Instagram to get ideas. A few more career centers to check out include: Syracuse University, University of Florida, Alfred State, College of Coastal Georgia
Megan Wolleben

Megan Wolleben

Megan Wolleben has worked at the Bucknell University Career Development Center since 2007, where she is currently an Assistant Director. She is responsible for the marketing and communications of the office, as well as manages the department’s social media presence. She is the co-chair for EACE’s Technology Committee and a contributing writer to the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) “Tech Talk” column as well as co-author of the “Career Counselor’s Guide to Social Media”. Megan earned her B.A. and Master’s in Communication from Fordham University. Feel free to connect with Megan on LinkedIn and Twitter

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