"The most successful people are those that have built and continue to build contacts," said Doctor Lisa Orbe-Austin, of the STARR Career Development Center (SCDC),
In order to find a job and to grow professionally, one needs to build a solid network of contacts.
One way to do this is through LinkedIn.
Simply put, LinkedIn is a professional version of Facebook. If you have a Facebook account, you will find LinkedIn easy to use.
If a considerable amount of time is spent using Facebook every week, you may want to dedicate some of the time spent on social networking to use LinkedIn.
Orbe-Austin believes students don't network enough. Moreover, she thinks those of us that have LinkedIn accounts don't use it as often needed.
"You can't be passive, you need to get active," reaffirmed Orbe-Austin, who advocates active networking.
Below are some ways to get more active on LinkedIn and make it more advantageous for us.
First, if you don't have a LinkedIn account, it is time to create one. Once a profile is created connect with the people you already know — friends, colleagues from internships and professors is a good place to start.
Having identified your first degree connections, it is time to see who they know.
For example, one of your contacts on LinkedIn could know a professional that works for your dream company. In that case, ask the common contact to "introduce" you to that professional via LinkedIn.
Additionally, perform reverse searches by filtering on a company that is of interest and then seeing the people you know who work at that company.
Having identified people with whom you would like to connect, reach out to them, ask them for informational interviews or for a cup of coffee. Both are great ways to network!
Another way to get involved on LinkedIn is by joining groups.
To use groups effectively it is important to participate. Remember to participate in the dialogue by posting comments and leading an ongoing discussion.
It can be a good idea to limit your membership to three to five groups in order to be actively involved.
Three groups that the SCDC encourages to join are The Baruch Alumni Group, The Baruch College STARR Career Development Center LinkedIn group for external events and The STARR Career Development Center Baruch College Online Mentor Program.
The latter group is restricted to current Baruch students and alumni only, which makes it an excellent source to get in touch with Baruch graduates who can help.
To learn more about the Mentor Program, the Media section of the STARR Career Development Center website has tutorials on LinkedIn for mentors and mentees.
LinkedIn can also help in company research. Many Fortune 500 Companies have a profile on LinkedIn.
By choosing to follow a company, there will be information on recently posted jobs, lists of employees who work there and other news about the company. The information companies provide can vary but it should not be overlooked.
Here are some ways to enhance your LinkedIn profile.
• Put up a professional profile picture; don't include photo of a group or one where you are wearing casual attire.
• Include volunteer experience and extracurricular activities.
• Include a summary section which describes your skills, interests, who you are and what kind of professional opportunity you are seeking.
• Provide a short description for every job and internship you held.
• Connect with all the people from whom you have received business cards via LinkedIn.
• Look at other people's profiles to get ideas.
• Include your personal website to showcase your portfolio of work.
(You can create your own website through Optimal Resume.)
• Spell check your entire profile.
• Ask for recommendations from people who will say good things. Past or current supervisors will be especially important to have.
• Review and post your most recent resume on LinkedIn. When creating your profile, it is very easy to upload it.
• Add your twitter account on LinkedIn because all your tweets will be seen on your profile.
• Post any personal information such as birthdays, cell phone numbers, etc.
• Leave your profile incomplete and/or empty.