How I used my College Network to Land a Job (Plus: Advice on how to reach out to Alumni!)

With summer officially here, it’s time for our Tigers think about what opportunities are available through LSU. Tiger alumni stretch from local to worldwide, so it is important that students use their connections in the right ways in order to land a job. In today’s society, networking is the best way to get your foot in the door. The experiences and professionalism student’s gain from LSU is what will land them the job! Check out some tips below to share with your student to encourage them to network their way to a great first impression.

  1. Evaluate what you’ve accomplished and create a strong resume. Resources at the LSU Olinde Career Center can help you impress your potential employer with a great resume. Professional development classes, such as HRE 3331 here on campus, will help you kick start your resume to look its best. According to Michelle Sprawls, a student at LSU, “Your resume is the first thing that employers look at. So, if it is not absolutely perfect, you don’t have a chance of getting an interview.” Upload your resume to Handshake to have it reviewed for feedback from the LSU Olinde Career Center staff before applying for that dream job.
  2. Consider Informational Interviews. Informational Interviews can be very helpful for individuals looking to learn more about a potential field. It also shows employers that you are willing to take time out of your day to gather more information before rushing into a new job. Students can apply online or even email individuals/companies directly to set these interviews up. They do not always lead to a job in that moment, but they open the door for follow up and future opportunities. Click here for a list of questions to consider asking during an informational interview.
  3. Create a LinkedIn account, or update if necessary. You want to make sure your LinkedIn account is ready to be looked at by potential employers, same as your resume. Having a clear, organized and up-to-date LinkedIn account will help you make a great first impression when you connect to LSU Alumni through the LSU Alumni database! To access the database just go to Louisiana State University’s LinkedIn, and click See Alumni. You can then search by location, company or job title! Ms. Sprawls notes that it is an extremely useful resource that many students at LSU are not aware of. She adds, “A common misconception is that you shouldn’t add people you don’t know, but I’ve had a lot of success doing this.” By connecting with people you don’t know you are able to create new connections for future networking opportunities, as well as learn more about their field if you are interested. Pages 32-33 of the Student Career Guide provide an overview of how to make the most of your LinkedIn networking experience.
  4. Join student organizations professional associations. Joining different organizations and associations while on campus is vital to finding a job once you graduate. Employers are interested in students who have extracurricular activities and are active throughout campus. Mayilyn Weller, another student at LSU, has acquired an internship through a fellow sorority sister. Not only are these groups fun to be a part of, but they create strong ties and provide great networking pools for your future.
  5. Stop by the LSU Olinde Career Center! The LSU Olinde Career Center offers a variety of resources to assist students in every step of their career journey; from career exploration and choosing a major, to preparing for networking, a job search, or application to professional schools. In addition, LSU students and alumni have access to Handshake, an online career platform for job searching, learning about career events, and accessing career resources. Handshake uniquely tailors information to each LSU student and alumni, and houses employers who are specifically interested in hiring Tigers. Handshake boasts thousands of available jobs and internships on any given day and recommends these opportunities to students based on their interests and skills. The LSU Olinde Career Center is conveniently located in 158 LSU Student Union, next to the ATMs.

Tips on Reaching Out to Alumni:

  • Business Card Program: Students can request and print up to 20 free cards through the LSU Olinde Career Center to have on hand when networking. The Business Card Program is generously sponsored by LSU Student Government.
  • Alumni and Networking Events: “If I’ve learned anything from job searching, it’s that LSU alumni want to help other LSU students/alumni.” – Michelle Sprawls. Use the opportunities LSU has given you to make your connections today!
  • Other
    • LinkedIn Messaging: Don’t miss out on messaging potential leads!
    • Calling Professionals: It is always nice to hear an individual over the phone, let them know you are serious!
    • Emailing Professionals Directly: If you don’t have a direct number for them, make sure to email them. Don’t forget to always email, or send a letter, after they take the time to speak with you.
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