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Alan Katzman ’84 says that there is no such thing as privacy when it comes to social media, but neglecting it as a marketing tool is the wrong career move.
As founder and managing member of Social Assurity LLC, Katzman has seen firsthand how the traditional hiring and college acceptance process has evolved.
“Interviews and reference checks were once the sole domain of determining whether a candidate is likeable,” he said. “Social media has since encroached onto this domain and now provides employers with an efficient and inexpensive way to assess a candidate before spending the time and money on an interview and background screening.”
More than 25 percent of school officials said they had looked up applicants on Facebook or Google, Katzman wrote in a Business Insider article titled “Why Ivy League Admissions Officers Have No Choice But to Google Applicants.” Of those officers screening applicants' social media profiles, he noted, 35 percent said they found something that negatively impacted an applicant's chances of getting in, nearly tripling from the year before.
He encourages clients to be visible, but be smart.
“If you are hidden from view or unidentifiable, you are missing out on the opportunity to be found,” he noted. “A balanced, thoughtful social media presence across networks can help candidates stand out in a crowded field.”
His company, Social Assurity, assesses the online
profile of college applicants and helps them prepare the profile for
admissions officers. The company provides similar services for athletes
and recent graduates moving into the job market. Services range from a
review of public social media activities from an employer's or
admissions officer's perspective, to helping the client create a
personal social media presence.
Katzman says that “as with any
new business concept, there is the inherent challenge of educating our
potential clients about the problem and the value proposition of the
solution. Without a large marketing budget, we have relied on social
media to raise awareness.”
As a 1984 graduate of Albany Law School, Katzman served as general counsel for several start up technology companies.
believe that more than anything else, my legal education provided a
sound foundation for effective problem solving across disciplines,” he
said. “The ability to apply the same fundamental principles independent
of the subject matter has been a valuable skill throughout my career.”
He credits several mentors over the years who have helped him hone his financial and business skills.
to the startup of Social Assurity, Katzman was Chief Compliance Officer
and SVP at SolutionPoint International, Inc., where he developed core
ethics policies and Codes of Conduct, designed and delivered essential
ethics training programs and managed subsequent investigations. He has
also managed the legal and administrative functions for Avaya and i3
Mobile Inc., and has significant experience implementing global
Advice he offers to Albany Law School
students and applicants is: “Students must embrace their social media
presence and view it as an asset as opposed to a liability. If they’re
going to be looking for you, then give them something to see. Social
media networking is not a passive activity. Begin to actively engage
with alumni and leading experts on LinkedIn and Twitter.”
By Dana Bergmann ’15