OCCC graduate Jason Kimball returned to campus March 3 to deliver lessons on how to use technology to stand out in a crowded job market and also illustrated how students can effectively market themselves to potential employers.
Speaking before a class of journalism students, Kimball used the death of the paper résumé and advent of the social networking revolution to provide the main theme for his presentation.
“You have to have a certain flexibility when pursuing your first job,” he said. “You may not get the exact job you want but if you see it leading you where you’d like to go you’re better off taking it—it might actually end up being what you wanted.”
Kimball described how, upon his graduation from OU in May 2009, he was thrown into a world that was rapidly changing before him, where the interview process was becoming increasingly impersonal and applications were becoming accessible almost exclusively online.
“I bought a suit specifically for job interviews and I didn’t go to one face-to-face interview,” he said, laughing.
Kimball said separating yourself from the multitudes of other potential employees is a must and an ability to illustrate to employers the talents you have is a great way for them to focus on you.
“Create a website that shows potential employers what you can do,” he said. “The more time they spend on you—the more likely they are to interview you. Illustrating your strengths gives credibility to your claims of proficiency.”
“I have eight separate websites and I tailored each website to go toward each job I was applying for.”
Kimball said a student’s ability to aggressively pursue their career through networking, attending professional functions, and putting in effort early will help them immeasurably down the road.
“You have to be aggressive, be open, and always look to improve your resume,” he said.
Kimball went on to say that there was no “secret” to job-hunting.
“If there were a secret to job hunting, then the people selling it would be employed and wouldn’t be selling you something. There is a strategy, though, and you have to develop your strategy and then start your hunt.”
He said that the recent emergence of online networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be invaluable to students and graduates pursuing jobs and careers.
“I have two [Twitter] accounts, a business and a personal. Recruiters have turned to Twitter as of late. Every day in my business stream I have a minimum of three job postings from people who need applicants,” Kimball said.
He stressed that using contacts and keeping in touch with them can often be the thing that secures you the job you want.
Applicants should never be afraid to contact companies and ask them why they didn’t get the job they applied for, Kimball said.
“You would be surprised how many people are there to tell you what you did wrong and they are there to help you adjust,” he said.
Kimball graduated from OCCC with an associate degree in journalism and later graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor degree in administrative leadership.
He is currently Curriculum Developer for VIPdesk, a nationwide multimedia site that provides Premium Virtual Customer Service. He works from home, as do most of the company’s employees.