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Posted on: Friday, February 01 2013 |
By Ingrid Hu Dahl, Director of Next Generation Programs
Last week, twenty-seven of BAVC's Bridges students visited the downtown San Francisco office of Twitter for a presentation about how to use Twitter as a tool for network building and job searching.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, BAVC's Bridges program selects up to 40 low-income and underrepresented young adults between the ages of 18-24 annually as program participants. Students are alumni of BAVC's Next Gen youth program as well as City College students who are currently in a media or tech-related major.
Focused on career readiness and college retention, the Bridges program offers participants workshops and career panels, paid summer externships at companies and organizations across the Bay Area, and a team of peer mentors. Students have the opportunity to meet staff at companies within the local tech sector -- like Twitter-- and interact with employers to find out first-hand the sort of skills that hiring managers find desirable in new hires and interns.
At Twitter, the Bridges students learned about the company's history, along with basic etiquette tips for Tweeting ("don't just talk about yourself"). Students also learned how they can use Twitter to identify industry influencers and engage them in conversation. Rick Cerf and Laura Harrison, our guides for the day, also emphasized the importance of soft skills to job-hunting: eye contact, how you speak and interact with others, and even your social media presence can all have an impact on finding work. Nonetheless, "Don't be picky right off the bat," our staff guides explained. "Get any work experience you can because what you learn can lead to your ultimate goal."
In surveys after the presentation Bridges students said found the presentation to be "really useful" and "interesting to see what the inside of the company looks like, how staff got their position (all via networking) and how important industry connections are." Another student expressed relief that her major, "doesn't necessarily dictate what job [they] can get in the future." As another student put it, visiting Twitter was a "one-time, lifetime opportunity," but there wasn't a higher endorsement of the afternoon than the exclamation from another student that they were "creating an account tonight!".
For more information about Next Gen and to gain more career tips for young job seekers wanting to work in tech, please come to Next Gen's Career Panel on Wednesday, March 13 at 4:30pm at City College of San Francisco's Ocean Campus.