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Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Observer

Students network for job openings using LinkedIn

Social networking has become an integral part of the job search, Career Center Associate Director Kevin Monahan said.

"Social networks have helped us connect alumni and students, as well as provide timely career advice," he said. "It's a great experience for us to be able to connect with students and put information in front of them."

Students have been using LinkedIn, a popular job search and professional networking website, to make those connections, Monahan said. Members can create a free profile and add "connections" to people they know or those in fields they wish to network in.

"About four years ago, I created a group on LinkedIn for Notre Dame alumni," Monahan said. "It's called the ‘Notre Dame Alumni Network,' and it has more than 24,000 members today. It's the 10th largest university network on LinkedIn."

Students have used the website to network for internships and job opportunities, he said. The Career Center has also been useful in connecting young alumni with job postings and career opportunities.

"It's great to be able to see someone's biography and be able to reach out to them," Monahan said. "It's helpful for a lot of students — especially those in non-traditional work fields. It's a tool to use. I've seen it used most successfully before office visits, where students can talk to young alums at the company."

Monahan cited a recent exchange with a public relations firm in Chicago as evidence for the effectiveness of online networking.

"They had 600 resumes for six spots," he said. "The candidates they decided to interview were the ones that current employees passed forward. The Notre Dame students who reached out to current employees through LinkedIn were the ones who got interviews."

Another student who has used LinkedIn to its fullest is senior Cate Hefele who used it to increase lead generation on LinkedIn. Hefele, who majors in marketing and minors in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, will be in the NFL's Junior Rotational Program after graduation.

"It helped," she said. "I used it to follow up on people that I didn't have other contact information for. You can take a look at their credentials and send messages."

Hefele said the biggest advantage of the website is the use of networking groups.

"The groups provide business opportunities," she said. "I didn't like creating a profile very much, but once it's done it's easy to update."

Hefele said the approach to online professional networking is different than the job-hunting of the past.

"You need to outline your profile differently than your resume," she said. "You need to take a look at the formatting — they're not interviewing you right then, like how you'd use a resume."

Monahan said students need to be cautious of online activity, however, if they choose to use digital networking.

"During the job search, students need to conduct themselves with a level of professionalism online," he said. "You still have to remember that you have to be professional at all times. Always use good judgment — once you put something online, it's out there forever."

If students aren't using LinkedIn, they can also turn to other sources, Monahan said.

"LinkedIn is just one option," he said. "We use blogs as well. The information is in a searchable form."