LinkedIn: The Networking Social Network
With exams quickly approaching, the majority of students are busy studying, panicking, and questioning our life choices. Surviving the last few weeks of the term is our biggest priority, so thoughts of a summer job or that of a post-grad placement are unfortunately the last things on our over-stressed, over-tired, and over-worked minds. That said, with summer just around the corner, landing a job is worth worrying about and can be a lot easier than anticipated if you play your cards right. In an effort to offer guidance, a few business clubs offered at Glendon including; Lean In, GEIC, and NPSA-GL, organized an exciting educational event featuring a seminar on the topic of LinkedIn and how to use it effectively in order to make connections that may get you a job!
Hosted in the Skyroom (room A300), the event offered much more than just the free goodies that organizers had laid out to satiate their well-dressed, business attire-clad guests. First, attendees participated in mock interviews, conducted in either French or English, to help them brush-up on their interview skills, followed by a profile photoshoot with professional headshots. As the hour passed, the main event began: guest speakers Alan McLaren of Infinity Communications and Sulemaan Ahmed of Servo Annex gave a presentation all about the ins and outs of having a superstar LinkedIn account and more importantly, how to use it efficiently to help build the perfect network for you. Finally, all were invited to socialize and network face to face with organizers, special guest speakers, and with one another: a fitting ending to an event hosted in efforts to promote such skills.
For those that may not know, LinkedIn is a social network geared towards business professionals that allows connections between others based on common connections, search results, and similar backgrounds (i.e. having worked in similar fields, having attended the same university, etc.). With that in mind, McLaren and Ahmed demonstrated how to setup your profile to make it unique and easily accessible to professionals looking for individuals with your skill set and interests. They also gave great tips about networking through the site that work both online and face to face.
Never ask for a job; instead, ask for advice: McLaren explained that asking for advice will help make a good impression and possibly lead to a job, while asking for a job most certainly always leads to getting nothing but advice. Also, when connecting with someone, McLaren reminded us that although we are business professionals, we are first and foremost human and sending a message introducing yourself before connecting is a good way to “give before you get”. Even better, use the site to help you when networking in person. If you know you have a chance of meeting a certain person at an event, look them up on LinkedIn and read up on their company or field so you’ll stand out in a room of random faces; although you may be thinking this sounds scarily close to stalking, McLaren ensures that it is a great way to make a memorable first impression. As for proof, Ahmed stood as testament to how nurturing a relationship starting from a common connection can lead to bigger things. After meeting one individual and connecting with him on LinkedIn, while he was still a student, and remaining in touch for a few years afterwards he was luckily offered his first full-time job from that very same individual. Dreams do come true.
All in all, the seminar was entertaining, engaging, and enlightening. Connections were made, ideas were shared, and much was learned. Networking in any form is crucial to landing just about any job (only 30% of people get jobs from answering wanted ads alone according to McLaren) and after having had the opportunity to hone such a skill, I left the event feeling very inspired and with an urgent need to update my own LinkedIn account. Luckily, thanks to the organizers of this event and their special guest speakers, I feel confident that I will be able to do that wisely and efficiently so that I too may begin to build my own network. It’s a small world, and we’re all only human after all, but we all have something to offer and something to give if we only reach out and try.