Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2012

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Tapping the Power of the Network

Tapping the Power of the Network

What LinkedIn can do for your career

by Patricia Carey


Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool that is sometimes called “Facebook for professionals.” A free LinkedIn membership allows you to create a professional profile and then a worldwide network of professional contacts.

More than 10,000 Connecticut College alumni and students have already created LinkedIn profiles and are using them to find jobs, fill open positions, share expertise, attract clients, and connect with fellow alumni working in the same industry or geographic location.

“Every element of LinkedIn has helped me in some capacity,” says Ashley Ryall '09, an in-house social media consultant at John Leonard Employment Services in Boston. “I am constantly reaching out to people, nurturing relationships and networks in ways I hope will be mutually beneficial.”

As a corporate development and strategy analyst at KEC Holdings LLC, Brian Laung Aoaeh '01 researches start-up companies for investment by KEC. Like Ryall, he is a strong advocate of LinkedIn, which he has been using since 2005.

“I am in my current job because the recruiter saw my profile on LinkedIn in 2008 and emailed me to ask if I would be interested in having a discussion about this position,” he says. “As it turns out, this is my dream job.”

Aoaeh depends on LinkedIn to follow industry developments, stay in touch with his professional connections, and share his expertise and experience. “I think of it as a canvas on which you can paint a living picture of your professional career,” he says.

His personal canvas includes an MBA from New York University; hands-on research as a physics major at Connecticut College; and past jobs in actuarial consulting, diversity and inclusion, and accounting.

For Bonnie Rockoff Marcus '70, principal of Women's Success Coaching in Vineyard Haven, Mass., LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for attracting new clients and building her own brand. “I've been able to create visibility, exposure and credibility for my business,” she says. “You can get to know people and figure out what you have in common. It's about building relationships and leveraging those relationships.”

Marcus advises alumni to pay attention to the quality of their connections as well as the quantity. “It's important to set your intention for what you want to get out of meeting people,” she says. “Are you looking for a job? Are you looking for clients? Are you looking to collaborate? Be very strategic about it. Building your network is always worthwhile for the purpose of the relationships.”


GETTING STARTED

The College is actively working to support the growing alumni community on LinkedIn. “We want to help and encourage alumni to use this tool for their personal benefit and to strengthen the alumni network,” says Breanne Timura '12, assistant director of alumni relations and community manager for the newly created LinkedIn group Connecticut College Networking.

As the group administrator, Timura's job includes helping newcomers learn to use LinkedIn; posting useful information such as dates and locations of College-sponsored events and job opportunities; and encouraging interaction within the group.

Getting started is as easy as going to www.linkedin.com and following the step-by-step directions to build your profile.

Don't be intimidated by all the possible categories of information, Timura says. You can start with a basic profile and fill in more details later. Pay attention first to your summary description and be sure to upload a photo. “And fill in your Connecticut College education, so other alumni can find you easily,” she says.

Once you have a profile, you can start connecting with classmates and colleagues. Join the Connecticut College Networking group and seek out other groups related to your interests and affiliations.
Timura is actively seeking feedback from alumni on how to make the new group more effective and useful. Email her at btimura@conncoll.edu or post your comments and questions to the group.


TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

LinkedIn power user Christy Burke '93 offers tips to maximize the value of your LinkedIn presence.

• Keep your LinkedIn page up to date. If you change jobs or get your first job or even an internship, update your profile right away. If you win an award or earn an advanced degree or certificate, add that too.

• Build up your connections on LinkedIn to at least 50 or 100. If people go to your LinkedIn page and see you have very few connections, that does not make a good impression. I recently was told that a legal client decided not to work with a particular lawyer because the lawyer had very few LinkedIn contacts.

• If you're trying to connect with someone you don't know, send a LinkedIn message along with your connection request explaining how you heard of the person and why you want to connect.

• Ask for recommendations from clients and colleagues who will speak well of your work. Be sure to email or call before sending the request via LinkedIn. It's presumptuous to request an endorsement through LinkedIn without asking beforehand.

Burke is a Connecticut College trustee and the founder and president of Burke & Co. in New York City.


5 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CONNECTICUT COLLEGE NETWORK

A stronger alumni network raises the profile of Connecticut College and, with it, the value of every graduate's degree. Here's how you can help:

1. Develop your profile. As you add more details, it will be easier for other alumni to find you and create connections.

2. Join the Connecticut College Networking group and participate actively.

3. Become a mentor. Your advice and encouragement can be invaluable to a student or recent graduate.

4. Post job and internship opportunities from your company. You'll be helping fellow alumni and giving your employer access to a new pool of talent.

5. Recommend someone. Posting a LinkedIn recommendation is a great way to recognize and reward good work.


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