Career Development Center
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the internet. A LinkedIn account allows you to:
- Develop your professional profile/brand that highlights your qualifications and accomplishments
- Network with professionals, alumni, and students
- Search for and apply to job/internship opportunities and be recognized by recruiters
- Provide and receive recommendations to better market yourself
- Stay-up-to-date on various topics by joining interest groups and following companies/agencies of interest
Check out the following pages from the Career Success Guide:
- Informational Interviewing/Career Conversation Questions and Sample Email
- Networking Brainstorm Worksheet
- 30-Second Commercial/Elevator Pitch Worksheet
You probably know more people than you think. Start by adding your friends and family. Then, add your peers and colleagues. To find alumni, search California State University, Fresno, and select Alumni. From there, you can filter alumni by where they work, what they do, and what they studied.
Expand your network by joining professional organizations and groups on LinkedIn. There may already be a LinkedIn group for your major or career interest. Finally, follow any target employers to stay updated on opportunities and relevant news.
1. Go to https://linkedin.com/alumni
2. Login using your LinkedIn email and password
3. Select the Alumni tab on the left once on the California State University, Fresno landing page
4. Use the search bar and type in keywords such as major, job title, organization, etc.
5. As you find alumni you’d like to connect with, request to add him/her and always add a note to your personalized message such as:
“Hi, my name is Ben Bulldog. I’m currently a junior at Fresno State studying computer science and noticed you were a recent alum of the program. I would love to connect with you as a fellow Bulldog.”
A career conversation is an arranged meeting or phone call with someone who works in an industry or company you are interested in. It can help you gather specific information about a job, industry, or company. Remember that you are not asking for a job.
Setting Up a Career Conversation
Before you contact someone, establish your objective. What is it you hope to gain? Who do you want to interview and why? Once you have an idea of your goal, determine who you want to contact. Using the Alumni feature, you can find alumni or other industry professionals to connect with.
Use the following sample to request a Career Conversation:
- “Hi, my name is Ben Bulldog. I’m currently a _____(class year) at Fresno State studying _____(major/degree) and noticed on LinkedIn that you were a recent alum of the program. Would you be willing to share wisdom about _______(career path/current job/previous jobs or internships)? I would love to meet you or chat over the phone/online for a quick 20-30 minute conversation. Hope to hear from you soon, and thank you for your time!”
Keep in mind that you are interacting in a professional capacity with someone who might be a future colleague or boss. See The Muse for tips on professional communication etiquette.
Preparing for a Career Conversation
Prepare questions ahead of time before meeting or calling the person. Below are some suggested questions:
- How did you get into your career?
- How did you get into this organization/industry?
- What is a typical day like?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What are the key skills that one needs to be successful in the field?
- What was the biggest challenge you had when transitioning from college to the world of work?
- Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students to prepare for the workforce?
- What professional organizations or resources would be helpful for me to know?
On the day of the meeting, dress professionally, and be on time. Close the meeting by thanking them for their time.
You may also ask a question such as, “Do you know of any current opportunities in the field?” to let the person know that you are currently looking for opportunities. This may lead to a referral; however, do not assume that the person will give you one. Be sure to follow up with a thank you note or email. If the alum/professional suggest tasks for you to work on or complete, keep them updated on your progress.