N.E.T. Saturday guides students to employment

Isaac Brown, Staff Writer

On April 18, a sunny Saturday morning, students gathered in the Atrium. Wearing skirts, slacks, and collared shirts, we sat leaning forward, awaiting the nuggets of professional wisdom that will land us the job. They delivered.

Not many people cling to the delusion that simply getting a degree will land us our dream job. It takes careful planning and “soft skills” that are difficult to attain without guidance.

The day began with professional headshots and a keynote speaker. From there the experience was customizable. Three sets of breakout sessions empowered students to build the event to most effectively enrich their own professional development.

The overall theme of the event gravitated towards how technology has changed the hiring process. Kristin Uttech, Marketing Faculty, was the first keynote speaker. She enlightened us on nine nuggets on the importance of our digital footprint. Here are three of them:

First, why do we care?

Uttech said, “93 percent of employers today look at you online, and 53 percent reconsider hiring based off of what they find.”

Personality is becoming just as valuable as other credentials when seeking employment, she said.

Second, pay attention to your online reputation.

“Be positive and respectful” she said. Uttech pointed out that it is likely, “everything we write online will be taken out of context.”

We live in an age where someone can insensitively tweet before boarding a plane and get fired before they land. As a guideline, Uttech said to consider if “you want your grandmother or mother seeing it” before leaving statements or images online for the world to see.

Third is to be “authentic, you, responsible, and honest.”

Uttech explained that employers will quickly spot inconsistencies if you are not genuine, and be turned off to the idea of hiring you.

The breakouts covered a range of topics, from dining etiquette and salary negotiation, to developing your own digital brand for prospective employers to discover. There were also opportunities to hone newly acquired skills at a social lunch in the middle of the event, and a networking reception at the very end.  Both events had actual employers looking to hire students in attendance.

We work hard to get our degree, but it takes more than that to get hired. Job-seekers spend hundreds, if not thousands to attend an event like N.E.T. Saturday. This event is free for Madison College students.  It feels good to be attending a college that looks beyond the diploma and genuinely wants us to be successful.