Students are urged to “LinkIn” at college hour


Melissa Fish, right, and students attending the event discuss future job opportunities and how LinkedIn could play a strategic part in job hunting.

Lena DoBynes and Lena DoBynes

An event discussing the value of social networking in order to achieve career success was held on March 25 by the Career Center in community room 167, covering topics such as using the social network LinkedIn to present oneself to potential employers, networking and developing one’s brand.

Thirty-one students sat in the audience and listened to Professor Melissa Fish, who teaches business technology and business management on campus, discuss ways to improve one’s profile on LinkedIn, which acts like a resumé to all who see the page, as well as various methods in which students can use the site to his or her advantage.

“Today’s economy is rough, tough, and competitive, and – in some areas – sparse,” said Fish.

According to Fish, students should develop necessary skills for each specific job, understand current employment trends, so that one knows what to expect of the job market, and connect to valuable resources, which is the ultimate goal of LinkedIn.

Networking was one of the main topic of discussion at the event.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” Fish said, quoting a well-known saying.

Fish attributed the reason for most job positions being filled to networking and making and maintaining professional connections.

LinkedIn is convenient and easy to use, according to Fish, and allows one to communicate and stay connected to the professional world.

The user’s profile is a “reflection of oneself” and is used to display one’s skills and knowledge to potential employers.

“Figure out a way to create an identity for employers to see,” said Fish. “Show skills and knowledge that will have employers come looking for you.”

Fish urged students to consider his or her brand and asked them to take a minute to think of one, prompting them with the question: “what do you have to offer – can you stand behind (your brand)?”

Fish continued the discussion by offering the audience ways in which they could further develop their brand and make their profiles more appealing.

The business professor said that having a concept is the first step in the development process, which is then followed by creating a professional image.

Adding a picture increases the likelihood of your profile being viewed by 11 percent, according to Fish.

Portrait style pictures that show a little personality and confidence are prefered over the “selfie”, being that the picture is a visual representation one is putting forth to potential employers.

Some in the audience were concerned that adding an image to their profile could turn employers away because of prejudice, to which student personnel assistant Eva Bell offered a solution.

“It is optional to add a photo to your profile, but all other information must knock the employer out of their chair,” said Bell.

Using keywords and presentation of content also helps to make a profile more interesting and susceptible to being viewed.

The third step to the development of a LinkedIn profile is to identify one’s brand; give goals in order to provide a better sense of future objectives and what can be brought to the organization if hired.

“People look at a profile longer if there is more to the page,” said Fish.

Fish provided additional tips on how to make one’s profile more “tantalizing” to others, including giving detailed descriptions of the duties and responsibilities performed at previous jobs as well as providing an educational background and miscellaneous information like certifications, honors and awards received and publications created by the profile user.

Fish suggested that the audience show their work if the work better displays the tasks required of a job or if one’s work experience is limited. However, she reminded all to be careful of copyright and trademark infringements.

Providing updated professional contact information on the website was also encouraged at the event, however Fish advised students to be cautious and professional with the information posted.

“Don’t divulge information you are not comfortable with being out there, like phone numbers and addresses,” said Fish. “If you are giving out a phone number remember that your voicemail should be professional as well.”

The presentation was well-received by the audience, who found the information to be helpful. Bell even described it as being “the most comprehensive and best LinkedIn presentation ever given”.

Career counselor Janice Klar, who attended the event to see what would be said, thought the audience was engaged and responsive throughout the event, being as the discussion was a “hot topic”.

Felipe Gomez, a student personnel assistant for the Journey program, described the site, LinkedIn, as the “resumé of the future”.

“(I attended this event) to get more information (on LinkedIn); I want to encourage students in my program to get LinkedIn and start early to get involved so that they have a head start when they transfer out to another college or career,” said Gomez.

Art new media student Debbie Marques, who attended the event to meet a requirement of her art new media portfolio class, also found the information provided at the event to be beneficial.

“I appreciated that the event was a live interaction and not just watching a video,” said Marques, a returning student from “the old school generation”.

“I will pass (the information) on to others that LinkedIn is a valuable social media tool to market oneself professionally and connect with other professionals,” added Marques.

Fish ended her presentation by wishing luck to the audience in their pursuit of future employment.

“Hopefully we’ll be connected soon,” said Fish.