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A popular saying related to getting noticed with your potential employer(s), “Getting Your Foot in the Door” is easier now than ever before. How you ask? Well, through Social Media (i.e. Linkedin.com and Twitter.com)- that’s how!

Here’s how to get started (for this online lesson I’m going to focus on LinkedIn):

  1. Create an account and profile on www.linkedin.com (free version)
  2. Complete your error-free and super interesting/relevant profile
  3. Search for connections you know who are already on LinkedIn and request them to be in your network. (Note: LinkedIn will pre-load a message for you to send to your potential connection- erase that and start from scratch mentioning why you’d like to connect. Trust me people RARELY do this and you will be perceived as a thoughtful and genuine person if you write your own message)
  4. Click the section on LinkedIn labeled “Companies” 
  5. Once in the “Companies” section search for companies you are interested in working for by typing the name in the search box or browsing by industries

After searching for a company, and when you have a sufficient amount of connections made on LinkedIn, you’ll find that LinkedIn will tell you if you know people who work or have worked at the company you searched for. Once you have found connections at companies that are at least 2nd degree connections you can send a message to these individuals  (note: in the case you have a 2nd degree- you will need to contact the person that connects the two of you first) to start forming a professional relationship (also known as networking). A great first contact message includes:

  • How you found their name/information
  • Who you are (major, other relevant information)
  • Why you are interested in talking to them
  • What you want

The “What you want” part in my opinion should not be too aggressive. In other words avoid saying “Can you get me a job/internship with your company?” (Probably not the best way to start). But do say “I am interested in finding out more about you and how you got to where you are in your career. Would you have about 20 minutes to talk over the phone so I could ask you a few questions?” Once you’ve talked over the phone and things went well your ultimate goal should be to meet this person… in person. This can be achieved through meeting for coffee, meeting for lunch, asking if you could shadow them for a day or half a day, etc.

So all you job seekers and internship seekers stay positive. Use social media to “Get Your Foot in the Door” and become someone that people know and respect. If you have any questions about this process please contact Northwestern University Career Services at 847-491-3700 to schedule an appointment (note: Appointments are only available to NU students and alumni).

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