Should you open a LinkedIn account? YES!

I get a lot of questions from students about how to find out about potential careers of interest.  Talking to people in the field is a very helpful way to get more details, as a next step after reading about and exploring career fields online or in print publications.

And alumni are the perfect place to start for informational discussions.  There are two ways to find alumni.

First, use the online alumni directory found in the HC Alumni Online Community.   HC students and alumni can access the online alumni directory, allowing you to search alumni by field, geographic area, employer and more, and to obtain their email address, if available.  The HC online directory contains what the alumnus/a currently is doing.

Just as importantly, LinkedIn is an extremely beneficial way to connect with alumni and others, and to learn about career paths.   LinkedIn is a professional network with millions of members.  Think of it this way:  FB is for connecting with friends; LinkedIn helps to build and maintain a network of professionals, is a place to learn about companies, and can help you to learn about career paths even before you connect with or talk to contacts directly.

Create your profile, which includes your education, experiences, a summary, headline, and photo.  You can also have links to relevant presentations or website.  Profiles contain current and past experiences.

The benefit of the profiles in LinkedIn is that you get to see the entire work history of individuals when looking at their profiles.  Seeing the different positions someone has held is educational AND informative.  It gives you concrete examples of career paths of different people and helps you to learn that there are many different paths one can take.

Because of the great value of using LinkedIn, if you join CCPA’s Career Connections Group between February 20 and March 14, you are eligible to win an iPad mini:  one student will be randomly selected.  We will also have a LinkedIn Photo Booth at our not-for-profit career fair on 2/21/14 from 1 – 4 pm, taking a professional looking picture for you to upload to your Profile.                                                                  

After creating a profile, join some groups and start making some connections.  I did mention that millions of people are on LinkedIn; to make this more manageable, you should join some groups, both associated with the College and others.    Members of group post interesting discussions and sometimes even post jobs.  LinkedIn has company info and job listings as well.

CCPA has created a group to help students and alumni to make initial career connections:  so Join the Haverford College’s Official Career Connections Group. The purpose of our group is to provide an online community for current Haverford students and alumni to connect with one another to gather and share advice and information about career-related events, resources, and opportunities, and to serve as a forum for career-related discussion.

As you explore LinkedIn, there are other groups to join:  some are alumni focused, some will be career interest focused.

–>Join 2 alumni managed groups:

  • The Haverford College Worldwide Alumni, and
  • The Haverford and Bryn Mawr Bi-Co Alumni groups
  • In addition, there are numerous sub-groups to join as well, depending on your interests.

–>Join professional association or career focused groups

Visit the CCPA’s Networking and Mentoring page for tips on using LinkedIn and general networking advice.