By Ashwini Natarajan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 11, 2013
Awkwardly hinting that you want a summer internship is much easier than it would have been just a few years ago thanks to online tools that connect prospective employers and job seekers.
John Hill, LinkedIn’s higher-education “evangelist”, lectured to 150 University students at the Alumni Center Monday about networking and building a personal brand through LinkedIn. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a professional networking site with approximately 200 million users.
In his presentation, Hill discussed the importance of creating a compelling and effective network, establishing quality relationships and taking risks in utilizing LinkedIn as a professional resource. Hill emphasized that reaching out to alumni to build networks and create meaningful professional relationships is vital to students’ success during and after college.
“I think in the U.S. there’s an emotional connection back to the institution; there’s a lot of school spirit,” Hill said. “(This leads) to that emotional connection back to an institution and that opens up the door for one Wolverine to connect with another Wolverine.”
Hill encouraged students to be adventurous in their professional pursuits, reminding his audience that the University’s alumni network can help along the way.
“What I’m asking of you is to dream big,” Hill said. “Go out for the opportunities that are there for you … I will show you the pathways of U of M, where you can get to where you want to go.”
According to a Harvard Business School study, 65 to 85 percent of jobs are found not through formal searches, but rather through networking and personal connections.
Laura Turner, the Alumni Association’s senior career services manager, said she coordinated this event to educate students about LinkedIn as a vital professional resource and about the University’s network on LinkedIn. According to Turner, there are more than 190,000 University alumni on the networking site.
“I can’t underestimate the power of leveraging the power of the U of M network, and Wolverines helping Wolverines,” Turner said. “And LinkedIn is the perfect platform for making that happen.”
The strong alumni presence on LinkedIn has been extremely beneficial to students’ professional endeavors, Turner added.
“Certainly, students whom I’ve worked with in the past have gone on to do fantastic things, and a lot of them can attribute it to the groundwork that they’ve laid with LinkedIn,” Turner said.
LSA junior Lauryn Hong said she attended the event to learn more about online networking.
“I think that we have a really good sense of network that many of us don’t really know about,” Hong said. “So just coming to events like this really helps gain more perspective in how we can be using that and how we can be engaging more with that community.”
LSA senior Abra Guo added that she also wants to further educate herself on how to engage recruiters and alumni.
“Being able to connect with people, (and) connect with an alumni base is important,” Guo said. “I want to find out more on how I can use (LinkedIn) to the best of my ability and take advantage of it.”