Using LinkedIn to Plan Your Career

As an intern for the Center for Professional Development (formerly Career Services when I worked there),  I discovered the power of LinkedIn in helping to brainstorm my career progression and the skills needed for the careers I desire. Here are the 3 simple steps that I followed using LinkedIn to network, discover opportunities, and plan out my career:

1. Research before you write or connect.

LinkedIn Post Advanced Search Screen

Increase the relevancy of your search by making use of the advanced search tool (pictured above). Try using specific keywords that might highlight the people who share your interests. Always look for those who are members of the Dartmouth College Alumni Group, as they specifically chose to be a member and would likely be the most receptive to your inquiries. Be sure to also reference the Dartmouth Career Network, which contains over 23,000 alumni who have each volunteered to help. Check out our suggestions on how to best contact and start a conversation with alumni here.

Need help optimizing your professional presence? Don’t forget to sign up for the LinkedIn workshops to get a better idea of how you can use LinkedIn to better tell your story. The workshops highlight the differences between LinkedIn and traditional media and will empower you to both assess and showcase your skills and interests using LinkedIn’s tools.  We’ll teach you how to best structure your profile and how you can then use it to network and have conversations with either alumni or potential employers that go beyond the basics.

2. Investigate career paths of others with your interests.

One of LinkedIn’s most powerful uses—and probably its most basic one—is to simply gauge how others have both built upon and progressed in their experiences. Using the methods of research discussed above, locate potential new connections who share your interests and check out the track of their professional career path. This information will not only allow you to detect a shared interest between yourself and this person for a potential conversation starter but will also allow you to make more informed decisions about the companies to which you will apply.

3.Spot trends in these paths.

Let LinkedIn be an additional career consultant. When looking at the trajectory of someone’s career, be sure to make note of how his or her career has grown and notice any trends within the career path of this person you chose on the basis of mutual interest. In tracking his/her career progression, notice how he/she was able to use the skills he/she developed from one position in order to progress into another position. With this information, you will get a better idea of what types of skills will enable you to move toward your desired role.

How can I tell you this? I used this exact framework when I got the chicken pox during one of my off-terms. I used LinkedIn as a resource to find and reach out to people for informational interviews.

I then sent applications for approximately 20 listings I found both on DartBoard and other websites. I had many interviews, some rejections, and ultimately selected the internship that was right for me.

Alumni Stories: Charlie Stoebe ’08 on Entering the Media Industry

After graduating from Dartmouth in 2008 with a degree in Psychology, Charlie Stoebe immediately began a two-year Rotational Program at NBC Universal focused on digital media. Since completing the program, he’s spent the past three years working in the sales and marketing side of NBC Sports. We asked him to tell us a little bit more about what it is like to work in Advertising and how to best enter the field:

Position: Marketing Manager at NBC Universal (NBC Sports).

Two sentence description of what you do

Charlie Stoebe

The role of the Sales Marketing group is to generate revenue for NBC Sports through advertising. My specific role on the Marketing side is to come up with custom solutions for brands to execute on NBC Sports properties.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

I love how challenging and different each day is. On Monday I’ll be thinking of how to convince McDonald’s to spend money within Sunday Night Football, and then on Tuesday I’m working on an idea for Allstate within Premier League soccer. It’s the benefit of working in a fast paced environment for a large company.

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

I think the best way is to get a job within a large media company. I started in a rotational program where I got to see different sides of the organization (News Publishing, Ad Sales, & Digital Products) before settling down into my current role. Obviously that is not available everywhere but any exposure within a large media company will help you learn about the different skills needed within each department.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

I think the most important thing for Sales Marketing is writing. I have always loved writing – whether it be ridiculous emails to my fraternity or the infinite-page Psych papers each term. My job at its core is creative writing so having any background where writing is key will be extremely helpful.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

The NBC rotational program I started in came to campus for the Employer Connections Fair and that’s how I got my start. Luckily for me the head of the program was a Dartmouth ’97 and he was intent on having someone from Dartmouth get into the program – forever grateful to have been that someone.

Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

The media industry is definitely underrepresented at most (if not all) career fairs, but don’t let that fool you – there is a job for every passion and major. Check the careers section of the websites of all the major networks (NBC, CBS, ESPN, MTV, etc.) to see what’s available. There are an infinite number of entry-level jobs at these companies so just because they don’t come to campus does not mean they are not hiring.

Alumni Stories: Dr. Kimberly Rose Clark ’04 on Advertising & Consumer Neuroscience Research

Interested in using her understanding of human behavior in a business setting, Dr. Kimberly Rose Clark ’04 co-founded Merchant Mechanics, a market research firm that draws on the fields of behavioral psychology and neuroscience to observe how consumers respond to test elements in a real world context. Dr. Clark is an established author of research-based articles for prominent industry trade and academic journals with cover articles featured in both Chain Store Age Magazine and Neuron. She maintains a presence in academia as an educator, collaborator, consultant and mentor; she frequently serves as speaker or panelist at industry and academic events.

Check out how Dr. Clark describes her work and what advice she would give to current Dartmouth students:

Position: Chief Research Officer at Merchant Mechanics, Inc.

Short description of what you do: 


I oversee all aspects of research design, implementation and analysis for Merchant Mechanics’ national and international clients. In this role, I direct the development and execution of original qualitative and quantitative research initiatives for numerous blue-chip clients, including: United States Postal Service, Campbell’s Soup, Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Levi’s, McDonald’s, The Home Depot.

1. What is most satisfying about your current work?

Prior to co-founding Merchant Mechanics, my career path was aligned with academia. I’d hoped to become a professor with a focus on psychological and brain science research.  In coming to understand the vast disconnect between academic theories and real world use of those applications, I co-created the consumer research firm with a fellow grad student in the PBS Department. Application of knowledge from our team’s respective academic backgrounds enables us to apply a unique understanding to our client’s concepts, or prototypes, allowing us to successfully predict their efficacy in real world contexts. The best part of this job–five things come to mind:

1) Tackling each client’s specific question is very much like generating an academic dissertation.  A hypothesis must be generated, theories must be tested and findings must be explained. However, unlike the academic path, I’m afforded breadth in research topics by the very nature of our diverse client types.  In other words, I must become an expert in several realms.

2) I love serving as an ambassador of quality research, and I will always be indebted to my Doctoral advisor, George Wolford, for his emphasis on generating good data and questioning all data.

3) I still get my academic fix through ongoing collaborations and guest lecture spots with Dartmouth colleagues.

4) Our firm uses state of the art technology in consumer neuroscience (aka “neuromarketing”) research [note: I am *not* a fan of that word!] and I enjoy keeping comprehensively current in the field.

5) I am able to serve as an active mentor to many undergrad and grad students, which is of critical importance to me, as a caring business owner and one who has had wonderful life mentors of her own.

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Consumer Neuroscience, or “neuromarketing” as some call it, is currently in a state similar to the Wild West.  Many of the current “new” technologies of neuromarketing have actually been used for years in medical and academic applications of Psychology and Neuroscience. In those contexts, use of such methods is careful and bound by standards.  That isn’t the case at this time in the private sector.  That said, irrespective of the hardware/software used to answer a research question, I’d promote a firm understanding of statistics and research design to those who are interested in pursuing consumer neuroscience. A strong foundation in statistics is key to career success in this field.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Contact me!  I’d be happy to discuss case studies.  The paths to this field are so diverse, that there’s not a recipe of success that I could convey across students of different disciplines/areas of study.

4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

Mentorship. Friendship. Caring network of colleagues.

Alumni Stories: Yuki Kondo-Shah ’07 Gives Advice and Expectations for a Career as a Foreign Service Officer

At Dartmouth, Yuki Kondo-Shah ’07 pursued a double major in Government and Asian Middle Eastern Studies and used her junior summer to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo with a Dickey Center Grant. After moving on to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard, she began work for the U.S. State Department in September 2012 and will be starting her first post abroad in Bolivia come July 2013. We asked Yuki what it’s like to work as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department and how to go about obtaining a similar position. Take a look at what she has to say:

Position: Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat) at the U.S. State Department.

Two sentence description of what you do:


I am a diplomat representing the United States. I work at Embassies and Consulates abroad in the Public Affairs Section. This means that I work to explain U.S. policies to foreign audiences and learn about foreign cultures and policies to relate it back to our government.

1. What is most satisfying about your current work?

I get up every day excited to serve my country. I know that may sound cheesy, but I have benefited so much from the educational system in this country, and I hope that I can give back in a small way. I love working and living abroad, and learning about new people, histories, and cultures. Part of my job is to publicize U.S. higher education opportunities and scholarships to foreign audiences, what a gift! I am so happy! Come and join me at the State Department!

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

The Foreign Service Officer is a generalist position, so even though I studied Government at Dartmouth and know Japanese and Mandarin, many of my colleagues come from law, science, or media. That’s the best part about working at the State Department: there are so many interesting people with different professional backgrounds. You need to take the Foreign Service test and pass an interview to enter. There are also fellowships that will pay for your graduate studies and train you to pass these tests called the Pickering and Rangel Fellowships.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

I would pursue some other professional experiences first, and I also recommend graduate studies. It helps to have some work experience to bring into the field. Also, be open-minded because for your first two tours, the State Department tells you where to go. I was ready to work in Asia because of my language skills, but the Department decided to send me to Bolivia instead and pay me to learn Spanish. It’s been amazing so far, and I am really excited because I will work with youth and indigenous communities. I really enjoyed working with the Native American student community at Dartmouth during my undergrad years, so I am especially looking forward to working with Bolivian indigenous communities.

4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

I would not be here without Dartmouth. Professor Valentino in the Government Department helped me to secure an internship my junior summer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and I got funded through the Dickey Center. Dartmouth gave me scholarships to attend Harvard for graduate studies, and at each of my internships and jobs, Dartmouth alumni helped me as mentors. I am so thankful for my education and connections from Dartmouth.

5. Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

The State Department is FULL of Dartmouth grads! From the Assistant Secretary level to entry level officers, there are Dartmouth alumni at every stage of their career. We will help you and support you, so think about joining! Sure, public service doesn’t make you rich, but I know I will experience things in this career that will be impossible in other jobs. I want to encourage as many Dartmouth grads as possible to join the Foreign Service. We need you!

Alumni Stories: Tom Schenck ’89 on How to Break into Careers in Fundraising

Over the course of his career, Tom Schenck has worked in entertainment sales, served as a head of school, coached water polo and wrestling, and worked in Entertainment Marketing for Marvel — where he also played Spiderman for fundraising events. We asked him to share information on his current work in fundraising and education.

Position: Assistant Head of School for Advancement at Wasatch Academy.

Two sentence description of what you do:

Tom Schenck bow tie pic

I oversee the total landscape of marketing and fundraising to reach all development goals—from annual fund and planned giving to alumni relations and grants. I also work with major gifts  and money raising events.

1. What is most satisfying about your current work?

Connecting people with their passions to the right model of philanthropy, and achieving goals by being a life-long student.

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Start by volunteering in a local charity…I founded my own foundation and worked in admissions. You should enjoy helping people and enjoy competition. Don’t personalize rejection. You should have a diverse background of experiences. Be organized and be passionate about the cause you are promoting.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Call people at various charities and arrange an informational interview to see what they are looking for. Attend a conference of fundraisers. Do your online research.

4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

It has given me a sense of creating a big picture view of the world and its possibilities.

5. Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

I am interested in talking with people who are interested in learning more about working in development or education…life is about giving back.

Non-Profit Opportunity: POST-GRAD (2013-2014)

Interested in working at various non-profit organizations throughout the state of Vermont? Check out the Vermont Youth Tomorrow (VYT) A*VISTA Program for numerous year-long (2013-2014) opportunities to engage with and foster youth involvement in the community americorps_vista_jpgand to tackle social issues.

Vermont Youth Tomorrow A*VISTA Program (2013-2014)

AmeriCorps VISTA (A*VISTA) members serve at nonprofit agencies, schools, and municipalities that tackle important social issues to alleviate poverty. By focusing on mobilizing resources and building organizational capacity, VYT A*VISTA members help low-income youth succeed academically, develop job skills, receive healthy meals, learn about sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, and become actively involved in their communities.

VYT A*VISTA members serve a year long term (8/5/2013-8/8/2014) and receive a monthly living allowance: $1,069 for Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties (sites located in Burlington, Richmond, So. Burlington, Swanton, Williston, & Winooski); $946 for sites located in Vermont’s other counties.  Members may place qualified student loans into forbearance during service and receive a $5,550 education award or $1,500 cash stipend after successful completion of the program.  The program also offers a health plan as well as a child care subsidy, for those who are eligible.  For more information about the VYT A*VISTA program, please visit:

Anyone interested in applying can go to the main website at

On the right-hand side is the headline: Join AmeriCorps.

Click “Advanced Search”

For Program Type, Choose VISTA

For State, Choose VERMONT

For Program Name, type VYT

All VYT sites should appear.

Apply to all that interest you.

Use your time effectively and craft your personal pitch

Whether you’re graduating or still seeking an internship, check out Miriam Salpeter’s 10 Tips for New Grads Hoping to Score a Job. She provides good advice on how to use your careertips13-150x150time effectively both in applying to jobs and delivering your personal pitch.

For best results, apply to those jobs that best match your skills and interests. Use sites such as LinkedIn to learn more about the companies to which you are applying and the skills your desired position requires. You will then be able to better personalize and tailor each application and cover letter to the specific role you seek to fill.

Consider joining the Career Services LinkedIn Group and attending networking events to have conversations with those who can potentially refer you to an opportunity. When networking—and also during interviews—be sure to concisely tell the person what you’ve done and accomplished, what your interests are, and how these relate to your desired position. Practice focusing in on your most important and revealing interests and keep “your talking points down to a 30-second pitch.” Check out Arnie Fertig’s 7 Key Elements of a Great Personal Branding Statement for some tips on how to effectively communicate your pitch.

Leave Term Housing Resources (Check ’em out at the CPD)

Finally landed that summer internship but now wondering how to go about finding a place to live?

Come into the Center for Professional Development Office, located at 63 S. Main (2nd floor of the Bank of America building), and check out our housing binder for your all-inclusive guide to securing rental housing for your leave and/or summer term. The binder includes everything from approximate housing costs to the types of housing to consider to suggestions about how to find a roommate. It will also provide you with useful tips and resources for securing housing in specific cities and locations, including information on renting apartments abroad.

If your summer plans will bring you to New York City or Boston, make sure you check out options that will allow you to lease space without paying a broker’s fee. One website that provides this information is Educational Housing Services; but you can find other good resources in our office.

Don’t forget to reach out to family, friends, and alumni in your search for apartment rentals as well. Never hurts to say, “Hey, you were in Boston last summer? Where did you live and how did you find your place?”

Intern Stories: Catherine Treyz ’13 on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

Position: Summer Intern at NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
Location: New York City
Description of what you did: I was a broadcast intern at Nightly News during Summer 2012, where I worked directly with producers on news and feature pieces for the evening newscast.
Major at Dartmouth: English with concentrations on popular culture and British literature

1. What was the most satisfying about your work?

From the first day, I was relieved to realize that my internship would be different from those portrayed on television sitcoms — there were no coffee runs. Immediately, I became an active member of the newsroom team and was often responsible for meeting the same daily deadlines as producers, designers, writers, and reporters. During the first week, I was trained by media professionals on how to use specific video editing and logging programs. I further developed those skills throughout my internship, editing videos for and previewing footage for news and Olympics pieces.

Although I was completing basic production tasks, it was truly awesome seeing even seconds of footage I logged and highlighted for producers appear on the national evening newscast. Luckily for me, as an Olympics aficionado, many of my assignments were completed in preparation for the London 2012 Summer Games. I also assisted producers and crew on a couple of on-location shoots, including a day spent in the Bronx filming the New York Yankees at their HOPE Week charity events. At the end of the summer, I was hired as a “runner” for NBC and MSNBC at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the hands-on production experiences continued. Overall, I was introduced to the truly multi-faceted field that is news media. The career options are endless.

2. What’s the best way to enter the broadcast journalism field? Any essential elements of preparation?

First, you have to like news. Whether you prefer broadcast over print is not important, because there are skills, like writing, that overlap in both fields. But your job will be variably different each day given the nature of news. You have to embrace that nature and you have to like that nature. Secondly, some experience, whether it’s through a campus publication or previous internship(s), in news or media is certainly a plus. It makes the adjustment to a professional newsroom easier and exciting. Also, there will be certain takeaways: You can apply the skills you learn when you return to work with your campus groups or in future jobs.

With that being said, it’s also very important to have an open mind and thick skin. Professional producers and editors take the time to show you how they start and finish a piece. They also talk with you and review your own work, offering suggestions and edits to a web piece you’ve spent hours working on. Take those moments as learning experiences. Some of the more interesting conversations I had with producers were about just two seconds of footage we were considering.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking internships in this field?

Be willing to try something different. For instance, if you’re interested in an editorial internship but get a media design or business one, don’t necessarily turn it down. Your interests can change — and that’s a good thing. Chances are good that you’ll likely experience editorial aspects in a business or design environment as well, or vice versa. It’s an interdisciplinary field.

4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

At this internship, I noticed my liberal arts background come into play. Because of Dartmouth’s curriculum requirements and liberal arts emphasis, I have taken courses in many departments. I incorporated skills and knowledge from classes in several departments into my daily duties. Dartmouth classes and experiences have pushed me to think deeply, act resourcefully, and ask important questions. In July, when the Aurora, Colorado shootings occurred, the Nightly office was quickly reacting to the breaking news and changing reports. My coursework in media research, statistics, public policy, anthropology, and literature helped me efficiently assist producers and communicate with others throughout the country.

As I approach graduation, I also realize how important resources like Rauner Special Collections and Jones Media Center are in pursuing my career path. There you learn valuable research methods and how to use similar and sometimes the same software media and production companies use.

5. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Interning at NBC was a wonderful experience. In fact, I was sad to leave on my last day! I definitely suggest browsing the NBC Universal career site if you’re interested in news, entertainment, sports, business, marketing, law, and, well, just about anything! I met interns from different departments and we all only had positive things to say about our internships. Take a look and apply!

Intern Stories: Marina Villeneuve ’13 on Newsday Internships

Position: Reporting Intern at Newsday

Location: Melville, NY

Two sentence description of what you did: I reported and wrote breaking news, daily and enterprise articles about courts, crime and town politics for the Long Island desk.

Major at Dartmouth: Government

1. What was most satisfying about your internship?

I love journalism because I get the chance to learn something new every day. I’m never stuck behind a desk for long periods of time — instead, the bulk of my time is spent talking to people and learning about their stories and perspectives. When I am behind a desk, I’m investigating longer-term pieces or crafting cogent ledes. Being a breaking news intern at Newsday means that I come to work with little to no idea about what I’ll actually be doing, which is so exciting. What’s most personally satisfying is that “aha” moment when the story comes together, and does so in a way that breathes life into an otherwise dry or complex issue.

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Networking: The world of journalism is super small. Everyone knows each other, which means networking is essential to both finding and ultimately landing internships and jobs. But, before you network, you need to have the skills and experience to back you up. Google your favorite journalists and use LinkedIn to see how they got where they are, and what sorts of skills helped them get there. Use the Dartmouth Alumni Network to search for journalists and ask for career advice.

Multimedia skills: It’s also essential to be comfortable with photo/video/audio-editing software. That doesn’t mean you have to be a professional, but you should be able to produce a multimedia package. Jones Media Center often has workshops on Photoshop and other softwares, and you can also access free tutorials on HTML and what not through sites like Lynda.

Clips: Still, internships alone aren’t enough — it’s the clips that you get at those internships are what will ultimately set you apart from other candidates. Have a wide variety of clips, from breaking news, to features, to analytical pieces across a wide variety of subject matter. Most places ask for three to five clips.

Internships: Internships are so essential, and media outlets nowadays really expect you to have at least one journalism internship before they’d even consider hiring you. Don’t get hung up on “big name papers” — instead, look at the skills and experiences they picked up along their path and figure out ways to develop those skills yourself. Small papers/media outlets can often be even more formative experiences for young journalists as they often are able to help train journalists on a more personal level.

Applying to jobs/internships: Do your research before sending out your package of clips, cover letter, references and resume — think of it as your first assignment. Find out who are the recruiters at the media outlets you’d like to work for one day, and start working relationships with them. This means everything from sending them clips to updates on your career (but not constantly, of course). Keep in touch with editors at past papers you’ve worked at, as they can often give you good leads on jobs or let you know of a position opening up at that very paper! This is an example of ways that internships can lead to jobs. Send your package on — or preferably ahead of — deadline, figure out who to address it to, and make sure you have no awkward typos.

Job-training programs: Lastly, keep an eye out job training programs like the Los Angeles Times Metpro, NPR’s Fellowship programs, Gannett Talent Development Program, the Atlantic Media Company’s Fellowship program, etc. Also, think of journalism graduate school carefully. Think about what you want to get from J-school before you apply/enroll in a senior year haze.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

I’d highly recommend joining a journalism organization, like the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, etc. Joining an organization (at a discounted student rate!) shows that you’re seriously interested in becoming a better journalist. These groups host annual/biannual conferences featuring professional development workshops, mentoring programs, job fairs, etc.

These organizations also have chapters that offer get-togethers, student scholarships and internship opportunities, etc. I’d also recommend awesome journalism training programs like the Chips Quinn Scholars Program, The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Sports Journalism Institute, etc. While you’re in school, seek out freelancing and stringing opportunities to keep your skills polished.

And lastly, don’t be afraid to just ask questions and create your own opportunities. Last spring, I cold-called every D.C. news bureau and pitched myself. I landed an internship at a national wire service and developed several relationships with potential employers — including The Los Angeles Times, who hired me as a D.C. intern for this upcoming summer. You might feel like a weirdo, but as long as you know your goals for the internship and what you can contribute, you’re gold. In the meantime, check out some tips on landing an internship, learn some data and business reporting skills (here’s a list of bootcamps),  and make sure you have a professional social media presence. Oh, and seek Dartmouth funds to host unpaid journalistic opportunities.

Note: Want to learn more about internships in Communications? Don’t miss our panel February 21, 4:30 PM in Career Services. Sign up today!