Not only is LinkedIn an avenue for establishing a strong network, it’s a tool for job searching, researching companies and learning about a particular career field. It’s also a great tool for mapping out a career plan. As a Career Counselor I often get asked the following question, “how do people get to where they are?” This is often an overwhelming thing for students to consider. One way to help answer that question for yourself is to use LinkedIn.
So, how would you use LinkedIn to map out your career plan? Before you get started you need to have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, learn about building your LinkedIn profile.
Once you’ve signed onto your LinkedIn account you’re going to view profiles of professionals within your area of interest. If your area of interest is broad, that’s fine, cast a wide net and see what you come up with!
Start by searching for “people who studied at the University of Connecticut”. Once you’ve done that narrow your search by selecting different industries, companies, etc. Identify alumni at companies and in jobs that are of interest to you and review their profiles to identify and record things such as:
- Their Major
- What internships they did
- What kind of research they did
- What campus organizations they belonged to
- The groups they’ve joined on LinkedIn
- The companies they follow on LinkedIn
- What jobs they’ve held and at what companies
If you feel as though you have a professional connection, request to connect with the person in order to further establish your professional network. At this point you should now have for yourself a list of:
- Internship and job titles that are of interest to you
- Possible internships that relate to your interests
- Campus organizations that you could join to help you develop as professional
- A list of companies to network and research for job opportunities
- New connections in your field of interest
Utilize all of this information to start mapping out your own career plan, taking pieces of information from each profile you viewed. Of course your career path needs to be your own, however, there’s nothing wrong with replicating parts of what others have successfully done before you.