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.

How to End a Conversation

Have you even been standing during a conversation and thought to yourself, “now how am I going to get out of this one…”  It is always nice to have a list of phrases that you can pull out if the situation ever arises. The Culture and Manners Institute came up with a great list of lines that you can use to politely (and quickly) end a conversation in almost any situation.

Aftecareertips13-150x150r shaking the hand of whomever you are speaking with, end the conversation with:
“It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“I enjoyed speaking to you.”
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.”
“Thank you for your time”
“You have an impressive background and I enjoyed hearing about it.”
“Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
These are all quick and easy ways to end a conversation on a polite note. Not all conversations will be slam dunks, but all conversations are a way to build (and keep) a good reputation out there.

 

This is my first post for the Center for Professional Development’s blog. I’m looking forward to starting new conversations with you. If you have ideas or any topic that you want to discuss let me know. …..

 

Thank you for your time,
Jennifer McGrew ’13
#youngalumnichronicles

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.

Stats on Job Hunting (& Why Networking is Important)

If you’re heading out into the full-time job market, this infographic provides a quick overview of why networking — and informational interviews — are so important. If you’d like to learn some new networking strategies, sign up for our LinkedIn workshop series on April 30 and May 7th. Learn more about these and other programs from our website — and please stop by for a Drop-In meeting with a career advisor, available Monday through Friday, 1:30 to 4:00 pm in Career Services.

Infographic courtesy of InterviewSuccessFormula.

Luke Antal ’07: Research Employers for Cover Letters & Interviews.

Recently we interviewed Luke Antal ’07, Sr. V.P. of Finance & Operations for Pavé Life; an e-commerce company that facilitates the sale of tickets for high-end cultural events.  Luke provided us with many words of wisdom which we will be highlighting over the next few weeks.  As the December interim period begins Luke highlighted the importance of employer research in creating compelling cover letters and preparing for interviews.

LA: … at Pavé Life over the last year, we have relied heavily on Dartmouth interns to help our company here. So, this summer here, we had 5 or 6 ‘13s intern here.  And so over the summer and this fall, those guys with advice “How are you best prepared for interviews and job applications?” What I told them is what I learned at school and what I know from the hiring side; is that you need to; obviously … put your work in on your resume.  Everybody does that, it’s standard.  Where you need to really shine is on the cover letter and put the extra time into networking and talking with folks to get a feel for what’s important in the mind of the company. I know what helped me get the job at IGS is that I did that. They really value their collegial atmosphere at IGS;  I referenced that in my cover letter and I referenced that in my job interviews and that helped them understand that I had done my research and that I would be a good culture fit. And then from the hiring side, you know assuming that the resume is a qualified resume, what differentiates job applicants is really the cover letter.  You can learn a lot from seeing somebody write, and seeing how they understand that a cover letter is meant to describe things that can’t be found on a resume; it’s meant to augment the resume, not just reference it and repeat what can already be found in two seconds by looking at it. So I really put a lot of emphasis on the cover letter.  … the last step that I don’t think a lot of people do but I think is most important, is actually doing that preparation face-to-face with a friend or somebody who can be sitting across the table from you to try to mimic what it’s going to be like in the interview; if that’s possible.  It’s not effective enough to just rehearse in your head or write down your answers in a Word document, it’s not effective enough to speak them out loud in front of a mirror.  The only really effective way is to do it face to face with somebody, because at that point you realize “Wow! I am saying UHM a lot”; or “I don’t have a good answer for that question”; or “I need to focus on my eye contact”.  You really have to go the full nine yards in the interview prep as far as the face to face stuff goes.

CS:  We actually now do Mock Interviews in our office with staff.  We do have the Tuck students help us with the finance and consulting interviews because they have the work experience. But it’s been really helpful and well received here. 

LA: Great!

CS:  that’s great advice. And it sounds like researching the employer and knowing what is important to the employer is key to that, too.

LA:  Yes! You have to research what the employer wants to hear.  … So, research what is going to perk their ears up when they hear you say it and surprise them if (you)  know that about (their) company, that’s what employers are going to remember once you leave the room.

The December break is a perfect time to reach out to alumni and to put that extra effort into researching the employers that interest you.  Research includes the workplace dynamics/culture, as well as what tasks they assign interns and entry-level workers, and put that information into the cover letter.  Rashelle, an intern at Career Services, also listened to Luke speak and reflected:  “Use the cover letter to convey that you know the company’s objectives and projects as well as the culture and how you would fit in”.

Please note:  Luke and his firm, Pavé Life, are seeking spring and summer marketing interns; interested students should view the internship description in DartBoard and apply by Jan. 15, 2013.

Andrew Kintner ’05, Jamie Gumpper ’06, Luke Antal ’07

 

 

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.

Networking: Is it better to have 200 acquaintances or 10 steadfast advocates?

More is certainly not always better when it comes to networking. Check out Stephanie Berenbaum’s “Is Networking Working Against You?” for a simple lesson in etiquette. Although networking properly will not necessarily guarantee you a job, these networking blunders will almost undoubtedly hurt your chances of getting an offer.

The ultimate goal of connecting with individuals and developing a circle of professional associations is to build and maintain relationships with people who can offer advice about how to pursue a specific career, present information about hiring, lifestyle/culture, and challenges within a specific industry or company, or point you in the direction of an opportunity.

Remember to be positive, well-mannered, professional, and articulate and to not immediately ask new contacts for a job. Networking does not mean applying for a job, but it can definitely lead to one! It is important to do it right. Maintaining relationships that hinge upon trust and professionalism rather than aggressive perseverance and pushiness is crucial. When it comes down to it, you can have a laundry list of accolades and a 4.0 to top it off, but employers will only hire those whom they find easiest and most enjoyable to be around.

Want an easy rule of thumb to judge the strength of your network? It’s not who you know that matters, it’s the people who are willing to call you back — and speak on your behalf!

Making Connections ‘Round the Girdled Earth over Homecoming

It’s that time of year again! The annual Dartmouth Night and Homecoming weekend celebration lights up campus—literally—with its traditions, ceremonies, athletic events, and numerous educational and social activities to “display Dartmouth at its best,” as described by Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson. No tradition carries more symbolic weight than the burning of the bonfire, which brings together current students and the many visiting alumni in celebration of class unity and the Dartmouth experience.

What better time is there to introduce yourself to alumni? These former Dartmouth students felt a strong enough connection to their Alma Mater and to the Dartmouth community that they have returned to Hanover to participate in the Homecoming festivities. This group of alumni, who share a love for Dartmouth and its traditions, will probably be the most receptive and willing to give you valuable advice.

Here’s what you need to do: Visit the Alumni and Student Pre-Parade Gathering tent on Alumni Gym Lawn at 5pm on Friday and introduce yourself to alumni in this informal setting. Start a conversation, ask interesting questions and not job inquiries, and answer in a positive and polite manner. It’s never too early to make a good impression, which can permanently place you in a positive role in the mind of the alumni you met.

Be on the lookout for all activities in which both current students and alumni can participate, as networking with these accomplished alumni can prove to be a highly valuable resource for your job search process.

A full list of events is posted here. If you haven’t had a chance to tour the new Black Center for Visual Arts or Life Sciences Center, consider visiting the new facilities with alums. (Or, if you have a related major, go to the events and share your experiences with alumni!)

Photograph courtesy of Susan Simon.

Do You Like to Work with Open Doors or Closed Ones?

As summer terms exams end and we prepare for the fall term to start, there’s a bit more time available than usual to pause and reflect on recent experience: What did you like? And what did you not like?

During the rush of internship and job applications, it’s easy to forget that the job search process is actually one of mutual selection: You get to pick your employer just as your employer gets to pick you.

What are you looking for in a company culture? Would you prefer to work for a company that keeps a hawkish focus on keeping proprietary information confidential, or a company with an open door policy known for transparent leadership?

Want real-life examples of both? On the privacy side, take a look at the Apple-Samsung battle over intellectual property. Apple’s super strict privacy policies are legendary — many of their employees learn about new products at the same time consumers do!

On the more open door side, take a look at this Forbes profile of 10 Leaders (and Companies) Who Aren’t Afraid to Be Transparent. (Note: Most of these companies aren’t giving away proprietary secrets, either.)

Something to think about as you think about your next move?

Marketing/Branding Internship – OPEN ‘TIL FILLED

Dates:  Fall 2012 – Spring 2013  (Must be on campus Fall, Winter, and Spring)

Location:  Dartmouth College Career Services, 63 South Main Street, Suite 200 (Bank of America Building)

 

 

Requirements:

  • 10 hours/week, flexible schedule
  • Able to work evenings and weekends as required
  • Organizational and planning skills
  • Able to handle multiple priorities
  • Customer Service Orientation
  • Previous Brand and/or Marketing experience, an asset
  • Demonstrated computer skills (Adobe & MS Publisher)

Internship Description

The Marketing/Branding Intern will:

  • Design and implement innovative communication strategies
  • Initiate strategic plan for showcasing Career Services resources and student usage of such by
    • Providing student ‘voice’/experience for journalistic or feature publicity
    • Preparing materials for informational tables, special workshops/events and programs
    • Representing Career Services at events and programs
    • Managing and creating content for Career Services’ Facebook page, and other online media.
  • Design advertising and marketing materials to promote workshops, special events, unique opportunities (internships, jobs, grad programs) and services
  • Assess communication technologies and actively engages in Office-wide reviews of web content/presentation and online media.
  • Assist Outreach/Public Relations Intern to offer First-Time User Tutorials and Internship Search Tutorials
  • Prepare reports on a regular basis for supervisor
  • Collaborate with the Outreach/Public Relations Intern to present a cohesive message
  • Other duties as assigned

The ideal candidate should possess open-minded creativity and imagination, a good ear for authentic, persuasive language and a good eye for compelling visual design. As well, possess strong organizational skills, be a self-starter, communicate effectively through verbal, written & creative channels. Furthermore, experience with design technologies (such as Adobe Photoshop and MS Publisher) and social media is essential and familiarity with Dartmouth Career Services would be an asset.

*Please submit a résumé, cover letter, and contact information of two (2) references to kate yee at kate.yee@dartmouth.edu  the position will remain open until filled.  Review of applications will be done on a rolling basis. Get them in soon!