A group of students received an award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for creating a program that teaches students how to maintain a professional presence on social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Future Alumni Association at Grand Valley received the 2012 District 5 Outstanding External Program Award for “Brand Yourself.” FAA partnered with Grand Valley Career Services to plan the event that took place in November of 2011 and attracted more than 70 students.
Senior Rachel Wion, president of the FAA and leader of the project, said there was a significant need for an event like this at Grand Valley where students could learn how to use social media in a professional manner. “‘Brand Yourself’ strived to inform students about what is appropriate to put on their social media sites and also what information will make them stand out to potential employers,” she said.
Keynote speakers at the event included alumnus Brent Swisher, Web developer for Grand Valley and owner of The Web Counts, a web service that helps people manage and improve their online reputation, and Jon Brickner, consultant and strategist with Amway’s Early Career Talent group. Brickner discussed the type of characteristics he looks for on an applicant’s social media account when hiring new employees.
Erin Rutgers, Alumni Relations assistant at Grand Valley, said “Brand Yourself” is an important step to help students become successful alumni. “A professional presence on social media is crucial for students when they are trying to be successful in the career field today,” she said. “It is expected that any potential employer will research you on the Internet and you need to be prepared for that.”
This was the first time FAA won a CASE award and Wion said this was a great achievement for the chapter. “The ‘Brand Yourself’ program was a new, novel and creative idea which is what the association was looking for,” she said. “It’s a great achievement that one of our events was recognized on the district level since FAA is still a new organization at Grand Valley.”
Rutgers said FAA is currently working with Career Services to develop the Student to Professional Conference that will take place in January 2013. The conference will include several sessions about branding yourself online as well as other important career topics.