“LinkedIn really helps students bring their resume to life,” career counselor Megan Fisher said.
If anyone knows about LinkedIn, it is Fisher from Hope College’s Career Development Center. Fisher regularly works with students who want to connect with Hope alumni in a field he or she is interested in.
Used by many employers and job-seekers alike, LinkedIn is changing the way the game of the career hunt is played. Through networking, informal interviews and building confidence in the work force, this newer platform has sparked many career opportunities.
At its core, LinkedIn is a social media site used to help connect professionals and their accomplishments, therefore building a personal brand.
Fisher encourages initiating informal interviews with these alumni, in order to learn a bit more about what they do and how they got there.
One of Fisher’s key tools to connecting students and alumni is LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn can be whatever a user wants, it is easy to build his or her personal brand and then reach out to relevant contacts.
“We have got alumni in really high profile positions and the value of just reaching out and seeing if they would say yes I think is really huge,” Fisher said. “They can connect you with other people and that is the beauty of a really strong platform like LinkedIn. I think it is just the matter of getting yourself out of your comfort zone and seeing the doors it could open.”
A student who knows just what this feels like is Amanda Shepherd (’17). After being contacted via LinkedIn, Shepherd already has a job lined up with a large recruiting firm post-graduation.
“LinkedIn is great because it helps me organize all of my resume options,” Shepherd said. “I also like it because it is a social networking tool, of course, but it is also geared more toward business. You do not want to be connecting on Facebook with a potential employer, so it is great to have that connection but still be able to keep work and play separate.”
Aside from simply connecting with people, it is recommended that LinkedIn users should follow companies, as well. Oftentimes large organizations will post job openings and other important information, such as happenings in their workplace. This is a good way to get a feel for a company’s culture.
This is great news for Mikaila Bisson (’17), who is still on the hunt. While post-grad life is quickly approaching, Bisson is determined to not loose her cool or her individuality in the process.
“A cool thing about LinkedIn is that in addition to just having your résumé there you can really personalize your page and have a brand for yourself,” Bisson said, “It showcases myself and my accomplishments really well.”
Building that personal brand is key for professional confidence. The professional world does not have to be as intimidating as it seems. By personalizing his or her LinkedIn profile and connecting with alumni through informal interviews, students can learn to sell themselves well to future employers.
Take the time to contact the Career and Development Center and make a appointment today.