By Matt Formica, NCA Assistant Director of Student Career Advising, serving the following populations: Medill, IMC certificate, Weinberg undeclared
When I ask students whether they’re on LinkedIn, they often say something like: “Yeah, I created an account but haven’t filled out too much information and I don’t really know how to use it. Can it actually help me get a job?” The short answer to this question is “yes”-LinkedIn can absolutely help with your career development. One of the main ways in which LinkedIn can be useful when looking for a job/internship or exploring careers is by giving you access to over 100,000 Northwestern alumni, otherwise known as the “Northwestern network.”
You might’ve heard the popular phrase “Northwestern network” tossed around in conversations with parents, professors, or advisers. But what does that really mean? How do you access the network? And how can you leverage it to facilitate networking and increase your success when looking for a job/internship? These are all questions that LinkedIn’s Find Alumni tool (My Network>Find Alumni) helps to address.
The Find Alumni tool turns the “Northwestern network” into a concrete, searchable database of 100,000+ Northwestern alumni to connect with and learn from. With the simple click of a button, you can identify alumni working in industries and at companies you’re interested in. You can also search alumni by where they live, what their major was, what their skills are, and keywords within their profiles.
For example, looking to connect with a Northwestern alum who works for Google (358 results), PwC (170), ESPN (56) or AbbVie (221)? LinkedIn’s got you covered. Regardless of your career interests, chances are there’s an alum who shares those interests and would be willing to speak with you. Northwestern alumni are generally eager to “pay it forward” and connect with students for informational interviews. Don’t be shy about reaching out to alumni you find using LinkedIn (remember to send a personalized and professional message-not the generic connection request). Talking to alumni about their jobs and career paths and hearing their advice can help you form an effective job/internship search strategy and build relationships with people who can let you know about opportunities and vouch for you in the future.
If you’d like help optimizing your LinkedIn profile and using it to network and find jobs/internships, feel free to schedule an appointment with your career adviser!