As mentioned in previous blog posts, I am a HUGE fan of networking. I am a firm believer that creating personal relationships with potential employers or industry peers is an incredibly powerful way to go through the job search process. One way to start networking is through LinkedIn, specifically using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool . Below is a quick lesson on how to search for and connect with Alumni in your field of interest. Before you start connecting with alumni it is important that you have an updated and professional profile.
If you need help conducting a search or have any questions regarding LinkedIn, make an appointment with a CPC Counselor… We are here to help!
STEP 1: Go to the “CONTACTS” tab and click on “Fairfield University”.
STEP 2: The Alumni Graph appears & it allows you to search for Fairfield Alumni based on location, Industry, and Company. Be creative… What do you want to do? Are you interested in Marketing? Do you want to work for an advertising agency? Make the search all about your interests and you will be surprised to find that Fairfield has Alumni in nearly every career field.
STEP 3: Next step, choose a company or area that you are interested in & search. For example, we chose GE Capital & Finance and there were 29 people who met the criteria… Pretty impressive, huh?
STEP 4: Now that you have the 29 people that meet the criteria you set, take some time to look through them. You will find people in various roles and at different points of their career. You might also find someone that you share a common connection with which could be a starting part to a conversation with them. Once you find the right person and you are ready to connect – press “Connect”.
STEP 5: When you connect with them a generic message will come up (see below). DO NOT USE THAT… This is your opportunity to make contact with this person and you probably have never talked to them, making this your FIRST impression. You only get to make that first impression once, so we encourage you to craft a thoughtful note. For example:
Dear Mr. Lucas S.,
My name is Sally Vatingforajob and I am a Junior from Fairfield University. I identified your LinkedIn profile through the Alumni LinkedIn Tool and would like to connect with you. I see that you have had a long career at GE Capital, a company that I aspire to work for. If willing, I would love the opportunity to talk with you either in person or over the phone to learn more about your career and to gather your advice and insight.
Thank you and I look forward to connecting.
We don’t want you to start wildly connecting with Alumni, rather use this as a tool to SELECTIVELY connect with people in fields that you are interested in. I had a student connect with me from my alma mater regarding my past jobs and he was thoughtful, articulate, and professional – so guess what I did… HELPED HIM OUT. Ultimately this tool works, so I encourage you to play with it and become comfortable with searching for people in different careers.
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center
My students often ask me, “Should I join LinkedIn?” and before they can even finish their sentence I respond – “ ABSOLUTELY!” LinkedIn is not Facebook and it is not Twitter. While Facebook allows you to stay connected with family and friends and Twitter provides you the opportunity to read, write and share pretty much anything within 140 characters, LinkedIn helps you meet people in your field, connect professionally with Fairfield alumni, and create a personal brand. LinkedIn is definitely still a “Social” network, but with a professional focus. Much like with any social network you have to actively participate (Connect with people, Join groups, etc) to really see the value in it. In a Forbes article entitled 6 Things You Must Do To Get Your First Job After College, they list creating a LinkedIn account as Step 1. See what they say below:
Create a LinkedIn profile.
Even if the profile is just a bare-bones list of where you attend high school, your extra-curricular activities, including awards or accolades, what you see as your skills, and a summary of the sort of career that may interest you, it’s a good idea to create this early. Do include jobs you’ve held, like working at a summer camp or babysitting; they show you’re enterprising and have shouldered responsibility. As you grow and accumulate more work experience, you can delete your early jobs and add new ones.
I’ll add one more LinkedIn strength: It can be extremely helpful to start building your list of connections early. Most adults you know have LinkedIn profiles with multiple contacts. Do connect to as many people as you can.
Schawbel says most students figure that because they already have a Facebook page, they are doing sufficient social networking. But most employers don’t troll Facebook looking for job candidates. “It looks good if employers can find you on LinkedIn,” insists Schawbel, who predicts it will remain the pre-eminent professional social networking site in the foreseeable future. Among college students, the survey showed that only a third have a presence on LinkedIn. You will stand out from the competition if you create a LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can help you make the transition from college student to working professional. Our alumni are using it, employers are using it, and now it is your turn. Come by and see us if you need help setting up an account. More LinkedIn to tips to come via our blog – so stay tuned!
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center