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How Social Media Can Help You Find A Mentor And A Job

This is a story of how a simple direct message on Twitter led to a dream job in NYC.

Hi, I'm Aliza Licht. It's great to meet you. Welcome to my career crash course.

As DKNY PR Girl, the voice behind @dkny on Twitter and the SVP of Global Communications at Donna Karan International, I have had the privilege of sharing my insider views on the glamorous, and sometimes not so glamorous, world of fashion in 140 characters or less

Whether I'm tweeting about Oscar gowns that have gone missing at LAX or the ridiculous fashion-show ticket requests that come into my inbox, my tweets offer a juicy, behind-the-scenes peek at fashion through the lens of public relations. But something interesting happened since I started DKNY PR Girl in 2009: Social media has also become a vehicle for me to mentor.

Take this example of a blogger named Jenna whom I got to know through Twitter. She direct messaged me one day asking if she could email a few questions. She told me that she worked at an artificial turf manufacturing company but she loved fashion. I responded by simply writing, "Call me."

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I had a lot of advice, and the bottom line was that if she wanted to break into fashion, she needed to be in New York. Sigh. I knew Jenna hung up the phone with a heavy heart and a swirling head.

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Months later when Jenna called again and told me she'd packed up and moved to New York, I couldn't help but be impressed. She had taken our conversation seriously. She was hungry.

Jenna had been working at a PR agency in New York for six months when I started a search for a new assistant. Since I was looking for someone socially savvy, I asked the applicants to apply on DKNY's Facebook page. We received 300 applications, including one from Jenna. People treated the process like they behave socially—very casually. But they shouldn't have. I wanted to see if the applicants were savvy enough to know how to switch between social talk and professional communication. Jenna intuitively knew the difference. After a long, drawn-out process, Jenna was the one. One tweet from a girl at an artificial turf company in Texas led to her dream job in fashion in New York City.

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Jenna's clear talent and instinct to behave in the professional way she did made me want to help her. And that brings me to the biggest secret I've learned: How you communicate and influence others weighs just as heavily on your success as your skills and ideas do. When you spend all day strategizing how to make people perceive a brand positively like I do, you start to realize that the same principles can be applied to people.


This article appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.