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.

Avoid these mistakes during the job search process

Check out Miriam Salpeter’s 10 Scary Mistakes Job Seekers Make for
10 things to absolutely avoid during the job search process. Especially relevant is Salpeter’s 8th point, which cautions job seekers from shying away from tapping into social media.

Having revolutionized the job search process, social media has narrowed the gap between job hunters and employers and is thus can be used as another vehicle for demonstrating what you have to offer.

A great first step is to create a LinkedIn account. With over 175 million users, LinkedIn serves as an excellent resource for researching companies, locating job postings, and structuring your personal brand around your skills and experiences that will draw recruiters to your profile. It is also a great resource for reviewing the resumes and profiles of either your interviewer or of others in the specific industry.  Just use the “Search” or “Company Profiles” feature to find others.

Studying how others have progressed in their careers and have ended up in your desired industry is not only a potential conversation starter but is extremely beneficial in positioning yourself for the job. Also, consider searching through the Dartmouth College Alumni Group on LinkedIn, which would allow you to view thousands of alumni who have opted to add themselves into this network. The power of engaging with and participating in these peer and alumni networks and affiliations is that those who join do so of their own volition and are therefore much more likely to be receptive to your questions.

Career Tip: Craft a Creative LinkedIn Profile Headline

Career Tip: Craft a Creative LinkedIn Profile Headline

By Jesse Wingate, Assistant Director, Dartmouth College Career Services

Two weeks ago, our office facilitated a workshop for students that addressed the benefits of using as a professional networking tool. That being said, if you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to start building one. For more information on how to get started, please visit:

The Career Tip this week is about crafting a creative LinkedIn profile headline. Your headline is one of the most important pieces of your LinkedIn profile, and you should spend a few moments thinking about what message you want viewers of your profile to receive about you. The default headline is not enough, so next time you are on your LinkedIn profile, spend the time to make the adjustment.

Rather than have “Student at Dartmouth College,” consider adjusting your profile to display something peculiar about who you are as a professional. For example, a stronger headline would read, “Dartmouth Senior Studying Computer Science Seeks Entry-Level Programming Role” or “Creative Dartmouth Junior Seeks Media Relations Internship for Fall.”

With a generic profile, you run the risk of being passed up. Make your headline unique and put yourself out there.



Career Tip: An Affair with LinkedIn!

Feeling lonely and fed up with your job or internship search? Maybe you should consider having a love affair with LinkedIn!

Job and internship searching takes much time, patience, and commitment. To be effective, it’s useful to be creative and strategic with your search; LinkedIn is a great example. About 120 million people now use LinkedIn. It’s a way to research and study companies, search job postings, and for recruiters to search and find you based on the skills and experiences you provide.

Read the following article “Start Your Love Affair with LinkedIn” on how to get started.