Most college students are familiar with LinkedIn, but if you’re not, it is essential to start exploring the capabilities of LinkedIn, in order to get ahead in your career. 

LinkedIn provides a range of benefits, such as helping you discover job and internship openings, building professional relationships and having access to valuable knowledge and expertise for career advancement. 

Specifically, LinkedIn allows us to develop ourselves not only as employees but as individuals. To begin, LinkedIn offers thousands of courses in a variety of subjects, which allows one to develop new skills while staying up to date with what is trending in the industry you are looking to work in. 

LinkedIn allows you to personally brand yourself, and showcase your expertise to potential clients and employers. Your profile allows you to present your strengths and accomplishments in your career so far. 

With all LinkedIn can offer, I am specifically focusing on the relationships you are able to build, as these can lead to a variety of benefits. These benefits include referrals, mentorship, partnerships or even friendships. When you successfully create relationships with others on LinkedIn, you are able to build trust, credibility and a positive reputation, which can help you with your future professional career path. 

The Fairfield community strongly values being there for one another and supporting each other in achieving success. As a result, Fairfield provides various resources for students to find career opportunities and gain knowledge on how to be successful in the job search process. All members of the Fairfield community, including alumni and faculty, want the best for all students in their careers. 

Connecting with fellow alumni Stags on LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity for students to gain insights into their experiences and learn from their professional journey. There is never enough knowledge you can learn about the job field you are interested in. All fields are constantly evolving, and there is always new advice to be given. When specifically connecting with alumni, you can learn what clubs and activities at Fairfield aided them in being so successful in their career paths, and see what you may want to get involved in before your time at Fairfield ends. 

The way to connect with alumni Stags on LinkedIn is by writing them a personalized note explaining why you want to connect. You may be nervous about “bothering them,” however, alumni Stags actually love hearing from Fairfield students. Upon experience, I have learned this, as every alumni I have spoken to asks me questions about the school, and how everything is aside from discussing their career path. An example of a message I have sent on LinkedIn to an alumni, that successfully achieved a phone or Zoom call with this individual is: 

“Hi ____, 

I hope all is well. My name is Amy Magagnoli. I am a junior at Fairfield, with a Communication major, and minors in PR, Digital Journalism and Marketing. I would love to connect, and I was wondering if you have any time to chat soon as I really admire your career, and would love some guidance. 

Thank you so much.”

It is important to keep the message short and to the point. Do not ask for a referral in your initial message, just ask to chat with them and learn more about their career. Initially, you want to just focus on building a professional relationship with that individual, which may eventually make this person want to give you a referral if they have the power to do so. 

Recently, I started my summer internship search. Upon searching on LinkedIn and connecting with alumni, I was able to gain powerful tips of advice when learning about the marketing, communication, sales and media industry in all fields. I was also able to build friendships and make connections with Stags, which have helped me feel supported while on the job/internship search. Overall, communication with alumni Stags on LinkedIn has not only allowed me to gain knowledge and advice, but it has allowed me to gain confidence that everything will work out the way it is supposed to, as long as I keep trying my best and applying myself in as many ways possible. 

  1. Do not get Discouraged. Success and Opportunities Come with Time.

The career path is not linear. You may have to discover yourself in multiple different roles, in order to just simply gain experience, even though it may not be exactly what you would like to do. It is important to put yourself out there, apply yourself as much as you can and stay persistent, you will figure it out eventually. Success comes with time, and in the end, it will all end up working out. This conversation gave me a sense of relief, that if I keep doing the right things and trying my best, I will eventually achieve success, just with time. It is very important to stay patient during the job search, as a lot of times you will get rejected, you just have to keep reaching out to people until you are finally noticed. 

  1. Give Yourself Credit and Do Not Be Afraid to Work With Smaller Companies at Times. 

Staying persistent and focused is important—crediting yourself and staying positive overall. You need to be patient and do your research, and not get discouraged by how many “unanswered sent emails you end up with”. Lastly, create a reel of work you have completed and highlight a specific topic of work you are passionate about. This helps you differentiate yourself from others, which is very helpful in extremely competitive career paths. Overall, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, and do whatever you can to achieve growth. 

  1. Build Strong Relationships.

Building a strong relationship with the client is essential. I think this advice can be applied to all individuals you meet in your professional career path. It is important to create professional relationships in order to achieve growth in your career, not just for one company in general. Also, simply just relating to alumni that are very successful gives off a lot of reassurance that you are on the right track. Pro-tip: write about everything you have learned to alumni on LinkedIn, as networking on LinkedIn is crucial for success. 

  1. “Life is All About Discovery”

Discover your likes and dislikes through gaining experience. Your position is not forever, it’s always temporary. Get as much experience as you can, and make the most out of it, in order to discover yourself and what you truly want to work to end up doing. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the benefits of connecting and conversing with alumni from Fairfield on LinkedIn. Based on my experience, I strongly encourage my peers to do the same, as it can offer valuable guidance and support when searching for internships and jobs. 

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