Leveraging LinkedIn During a Job/Internship Search
A LinkedIn page is a great way to provide employers with additional experience, skills or examples of your work. You can share a profile link on your resume and utilize the job board to expand your job or internship search. But the most powerful way to use the platform is to connect to people.
One of my favorite things about LinkedIn is the Lehigh University Career Insights page where linkedin has complied every profile that lists Lehigh as its alma mater. From this page you can sort from more than 50,000 profiles to identify alum working in position, company or field of interest. Use keywords, job titles, company names, locations, industry, skills, etc to narrow the list to people who are working your dream jobs.
But then what?
Do your research. Read their profile carefully, click any company icons to review more details about the company and explore open jobs, and visit company websites. Learn what you can about their role, their company (past and present), and their professional details.
Ask to connect and include a note with your request. If you don’t see a “Connect” button on their profile, clicking the 3 dots next to their name to reveal a hidden menu.
In your note you only have 300 characters to write your message– use them well!
1st – add information related to how you are connected/why they should care
2nd – Ask them something most people can say “Yes” to.
Hello! I found your profile through Lehigh’s alumni page. I am currently studying _____ and would love to learn more about how you leveraged your Lehigh education as a (add job title). Could we speak/meet so I could ask questions about your work and learn more about your career field?
Don't lead with a request for a job or internship, few will be able to help or will respond when you start the conversation this way. Instead, simply ask for advice, request to pick their brain, or show interest in learning more about them and their career; most people can easily provide that information.
Hopefully, Lehigh alum will accept your connection request and respond. Have a list of questions to ask that will assist you in your career exploration or job/internship search.
One of my top questions suggestions: Tell me about entry level job postings and hiring timelines for ____ positions? Do they typically post positions for new hires/interns in the fall or spring?
Take it off line.
LinkedIn messaging and emails are fine, especially if the alum is not local, but when possible ask to meet. Set up a 30 minutes - 1 hour meeting in their office, schedule a lunch meeting or coffee meet up, and request to job shadow or tour their company. Meeting face to face is a much better way to develop a relationship and establish a professional first impression.
It’s acceptable to ask about a job or internship after you have established a relationship but even if they are unable to hire you could ask:
For a referral to anyone they know who is hiring
Suggestions for companies to check out or job boards they recommend
Request to use them as reference for future applications
For resume feedback
For a mock interview
To share your resume with their contacts
To keep you in mind if they have an opening in the future
To job shadow during winter break/spring break
To continue serving as your mentor
Don't overlook your own profile.
If you are using LinkedIn to reach out to industry professional, keep in mind they will evaluate your profile as a way to decide if they want to be professionally associate with you. Be sure you have a professional picture, education and work experience details listed, industry related skills and a headline and summary that help others get to know you. Use the LinkedIn Quick Guide and example Mountain Hawk student profile link from the Handshake resource page/LinkedIn tile to get more information on how to develop your own LinkedIn profile.
Use linkedIn as a tool to connect you to industry professionals, with the goal of leading you to jobs but also collect valuable information that will make a job or internship search easier.