Undergrads can use LinkedIn, and other reminders

October 25, 2011 at 8:29 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Jyl McLaughlin

As a career services professional you probably find yourself regularly “parenting” students on etiquette this time of year for Career Fairs and On-campus Interviewing.   You may hear yourself in your sleep giving tips such as “be sure you shine your shoes and iron your shirt”; “be sure to get a good night’s sleep”; “ be sure to research the company” or EVEN “be sure to brush your teeth and wash your hands!”.  I know, I have had to do it myself-it does happen!

You may also be coaching on tips related to social media issues such as appropriate use or private access to Facebook pages, Tweets and Blogs.  It is important that students are regularly aware of their electronic footprint and what comes up under their name in a Google search.  And in “old technology” form, remind students to have a simple and mature email address for employers to use as well as a formal outgoing message on their voice mail.  I was working with a young college student this summer and when I called their voice mail it started first with a pause and noisy background, then went “ Hey guys, it’s me. I will get back to you when I can”.  Hey guys??…I have also had the experience of a student’s outgoing message with a recorded rap song including swear words.  Not good… be sure to test these areas.

Finally, and the focus of this blog post, is to encourage your students to start a professional LinkedIn profile.  Many undergrad age students do not have one, and they may feel they are not “old” enough for it. But in a search while writing this blog, I found over 500 intern positions posted of all kinds.  Some great contacts for students to make on LinkedIn are not just those of other friends, but those of parents, friends of parents, past co workers and bosses, etc.  These networking contacts may just lead to some internal networking at good companies with postings for  internships and co-ops.

Tips for your students on LinkedIn:

  1. Complete the profile with an updated resume, conservative “head” shot for a picture and recommendations from past supervisors , coaches, or even professors!
  2. Be sure they have an understanding of their preferred occupation and industry for use in the title and summary (Their major may not be a direct link to industry and occupation).
  3. Leadership roles:  Be sure students who have leadership roles in extracurricular groups or athletics, that this is noticeable on their profile.
  4. Skills: in the “other” section on LinkedIn is housed a Skill section that helps people identify skills and add them to their profile which also indicates others who have the same skill sets.  This could help students become more familiar with using the language that others are using in similar occupations and industries as well as develop the language for use in interviewing.

Keep up the Networking with these Summer Networking Tips

June 10, 2011 at 11:21 am | Posted in networking | Leave a comment
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Jyl McLaughlin

Students may be going home for the summer months and before they do, encourage them to network online and offline.  If students are working and doing internships they should maintain their motivation with networking for ongoing efforts to clarify their career path decisions or solidify contacts for the next opportunity.   Some tips for networking can be:


1)      LinkedIn:  With recent articles encouraging “young people” to use LinkedIn, students should develop and organize their LinkedIn profiles for a professional communication tool.  LinkedIn also updates and adds new features often such as a new beta Skills section that can show you contacts in fields related to your preferred skill sets.  Also, as others in one’s network adds contacts or makes profile changes updates are sent to your account.  This can keep you up-to-date on trends and changes with companies and industry.

2)      CareerAmp: A new feature that links Facebook connections and shows who you know in your Facebook network.  This system provides a variety of contacts that may not be on LinkedIn. When a friend joins CareerAmp , their friends become part of your network. This provides a more casual opportunity to find connections. HOWEVER, be sure your students are cleaning up their Facebook pages and keeping very social content under more private settings.

For Online Networking it is important to regularly remind your students of their “electronic footprint” and understand the importance of a “First Impression”.


On the note of “First Impressions” students may be working common summer jobs such as restaurant services, life guarding, golf caddying, etc.  These are great environments for students to meet professionals and make a positive impression with good communication skills and work ethic.  Remind students that “less is more” in their approach to meeting professional contacts in a casual setting. Simply introducing themselves and sharing where they go to school and what they are studying is a great way to open conversation.

Another way to network “OFFLINE” is seeking ONE DAY shadowing opportunities at a parent’s, neighbor’s, or friend’s work place.  When job shadowing it can not only help explore occupations but meet others in the workplace.  Think of a student going to their uncle’s Accounting firm but meeting the Marketing Director or IT Specialist.  They can collect business cards and request another meeting with those in other occupational areas.

Finally, another OFFLINE networking opportunity is through volunteering.  Many students have altruistic interests and employers are increasingly looking at candidates who give back to the community. When volunteering, students have opportunities to meet experienced professionals, board members and other mentoring figures from all occupational and industry backgrounds.  This is a great way to find balance in one’s career exploration while feeling good about giving back!

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