UM-Flint Communication faculty are using social platforms to help their students think more strategically about their time on campus and their careers after graduation.
Said department chair Marcus Paroske, “The Communication faculty recognized we had this network of over 1,000 graduates out there, and new students every semester looking for internships and employment. It made perfect sense to connect the two through our own LinkedIn group. We hope the UM-Flint Communication LinkedIn group will strengthen our own ties with our alumni, and over time generate a massive network that will benefit students for years to come.”
To prepare their current communication students for this project, Assistant Professor Dr. Dan Lair held a workshop titled, LinkedIn as a Platform to Promote Your Professional Self. He noted, “Whether you like it or not, employers are taking advantage of the internet to piece together a story about you as a potential employee. LinkedIn offer students an opportunity to put those pieces together for them and tell your professional story the way you want it told.”
Throughout the short presentation, Lair focused on the idea of each student balancing their personal self with their professional brand. He encouraged them to consider their time at UM-Flint as their current “career” if they weren’t otherwise working. He mentioned the importance of including volunteer work, group activities, and leadership opportunities in addition to making notes of particularly useful or applicable classes. He added that LinkedIn can be viewed as “a resume without limitations” and that it should be used as “one tool among many, one that you can control.”
Lair advised that, at the bare minimum, the students should keep an active profile that can be viewed by potential internship providers and employers. He noted a few key areas that anyone with a LinkedIn should pay attention to:
- Profile Pic: first, have one! But aim for a professional looking shot that shows your head and shoulders. Avoid selfies, pictures with others, or extreme close-up or faraway shots.
- Summary: this is the distinguishing feature of your page and the key advantage of LinkedIn. Use it to show your personality, voice, and story. Demonstrate your unique value.
- Customized URL: take advantage of this feature to have a clean, memorable, URL that reflects your name or personal story.
- Keep things updated: work histories, certifications, activities, and qualifications should be regularly updated to reflect the current YOU.
After the formal presentation Lair and other faculty members worked with the individual students to get started on their profiles.
Looking forward, the communication faculty hope to keep the LinkedIn group growing and adapting to the needs and strengths of their students and graduates.
Already nearly 100 alumni from the program have connected with their former faculty members and have been added to the group. They are sharing job postings, news, and updates about the department.
For more information, or to request to be included in the Communication LinkedIn Group, contact department chair Marcus Paroske at firstname.lastname@example.org.