Career Ecology: Linking Students to Professionals

Career Ecology 2017
A blog by Lisa Johnson | Interior Architecture ’17

As a student, we have all been told a million times about the power of networking and how crucial it is when starting a career. Well as a second semester senior going into Career Ecology, I thought that I had so far built a solid network and had put a significant amount of effort into creating my LinkedIn profile. However, as I soon found out I was wrong in my assumptions!

Great Tips from a LinkedIn Expert

This year’s keynote speaker was Wayne Breitbarth, aka a LinkedIn guru. He had many great and easy tips to improve our profiles that would increase our odds in finding an internship or job. One of the major points he kept repeating was to emphasis keywords and stories. LinkedIn is a platform in which you can expand on your experience in contrast to a one page resume. This is so true, I had never thought of using it in this way before and simply just copied everything from my resume onto LinkedIn and called that good. As he also stressed, there is really no such thing as bad experience and that there are valuable skills that you can take away from any job. Furthermore, the more job experiences you add in, the more it will help explain your story. Whereas if you did not include your summer job than an employer may question what you did during those three months off.

Another helpful tip that Wayne emphasized was to include those keywords that employers often use to search for people in several sections on your LinkedIn profile. The first being your headline which should be simple and to the point. A good example was, “Aspiring Interior Designer with a passion for Humans in the built environment. Graduating in May 2017”. That one sentence was able to hit on a few key words such as designer, passion, humans, environment while being direct and providing employers with a clear time frame of when you are available to start work full-time. Job Titles are also another great place to sneak in some of those keywords as big headers. In addition, keywords can be used in the skills section in which people can then endorse specific skills that you have listed. In general, the more keywords you have on your page, the higher up your profile will be placed when employers are searching for potential employees. I was amazed by how simple these tricks were and how these little changes could significantly improve my chances!

LinkedIn Red Flags

Next, Wayne discussed some of the biggest red flags when it comes to your profile. First, it is highly advised that you have an image of yourself and not one where you obviously have cropped out your friend. First impressions are huge and your profile picture is a good start! After seeing your photo, a potential recruiter will start to read through your description and job experiences in which it is crucial to ensure that your writing is typo free. Write out your descriptions in Microsoft Word where there is spellcheck and then have 5 or more people read over your work, just do whatever it takes to ensure that there are no typos because all it will take is one error and your chances will go significantly down. The last red flag is your number of connections. The more you have the better it will look and it will show more effort on your part. Overall, Wayne had a lot of great advice that I have now used to!

Breakout Sessions

At the end of the night we had breakout sessions that were more specific to our majors, I attended the Interior Architecture small group! This was one of my favorite parts of the evening as there were three panelist who all took different career paths. One ended up going into more of the sales side of the industry, another went into event planning, and the last panelist took a more traditional route of starting out in a large firm but then ended up working with the company Trek! Her story was the most interesting to me as it was more in line of what I would like to do with my career. As she mentioned, bike stores used to be an intimidating environment as all of the equipment and products could look very technical and intimidating to the everyday consumer. Therefore she worked with Trek to change their stores and make it more inviting and an interactive space that would as a result attract more customers. As a student soon to be entering the professional world, it was great to hear from alumni who are succeeding in their profession but were once sitting in the same position I am in today.


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