As students approach the end of the spring semester, many are actively seeking summer internships or full-time employment.

One way to search for employment opportunities is through LinkedIn, one of today’s most popular social media networks. On Thursday, March 19, Fairfield’s Career Planning Center held an advanced LinkedIn workshop that was designed to explain the power of connecting with others and utilizing LinkedIn’s Alumni Finder tool.

Associate Director of the Career Planning Center Stephanie Gallo began the event by reviewing the basics of LinkedIn, such as having a professional photo and up-to-date profile.

Gallo then explained how LinkedIn connections are crucial when a student is interested in a specific company. By searching for a specific company, students can tap into their network of connections and use it to their advantage.

When a student finds a second-degree connection they would like to reach out to, they should ask the first-degree connection to introduce them.

“Using second degree connections is huge. And you don’t get second-degree connections without first-degree connections,” said Gallo, who advised students to connect with professors, coworkers and fellow students.

Students should also join Fairfield’s various groups on LinkedIn, such as Fairfield U Alumni and industry-specific groups.

“There’s no loss in asking to join a group. You join a group, you have access,” said Gallo.

After Gallo told students how to send a brief, professional connection request, she began to review the Alumni Finder tool.

The Alumni Finder tool can be found under the “Connections” tab on LinkedIn, and helps users search for alumni connections by location, major, job type and skills.

After making a connection, Gallo encouraged students to follow-up with a short message demonstrating an interest in meeting for an informational interview.

“One of the challenges when you’re interested in a field is just knowing the big names,” Gallo said. “If you’re interested in an industry, there are going to be companies that you have never heard of that you’ll most likely work for some day.”

Gallo suggested that students familiarize themselves with the names of companies in their desired industry, and explained how to use LinkedIn’s Company search tool to do so. Using the Company search tool helps students find their ideal companies and recommended companies.

“The other thing that is awesome about Company pages is that there is even a Career section,” said Gallo. “You can apply for jobs on LinkedIn.”

When applying for jobs on LinkedIn, users can see how many people have applied for a specific job posting. Additionally, there is a small section of the webpage that recommends similar jobs.

After reviewing all of LinkedIn’s advanced tools, Gallo helped students reach out to potential connections.

Despite the low attendance the workshop received, those students who were in attendance found it to be very informative.

Junior Tracy León felt she gained valuable insights from the workshop, specifically noting the Alumni Finder tool.

“It was highly impressive,” said León. “It was everything I needed and more.”

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