This month at Gradifying it’s social media month. Our orientations to social media are varied; without outing any of us, I’ll say that some of us find it perfectly natural to tweet and others of us are at least mildly allergic to the idea of professionally compulsive “presencing” online. So that’s all to say that you won’t find here obligatory, boosterish bromides about how social media networking will make or break your career, but rather a series of brief analyses of the social media services Queen’s itself offers and how to use them.
So you may have noticed that there are institutional accounts for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and a host of other snappy digital-age mononyms. While these are about pushing an institutional “brand” through as many channels as possible, they’re also supposed to be resources for students looking for information, professional contacts, and certain kinds of materials.
Today I’m going to explain why you might want to use a LinkedIn group called Queen’s Connects Career Network for Students and Alumni and the Graduate Students and Alumni Subgroup of Queen’s Connects Career Network.
One tangible benefit to group members is that we’re able to message each other for free through LinkedIn.
Message each other about what?
The World Wide Web is a frontier, but LinkedIn is like a little county that does enforce its own laws, and one of those is that groups like these aren’t for asking for jobs. These groups are for helping you access people who are in careers you want to know about. For instance, I’ve been curious about what positions (or yet-unformalized needs) business and industry might have for a humanist like me, and I was able to find out that there is a category of position called “human factors” (the relationship between human beings and the systems with which they interact) and other positions dedicated to managing social and cultural dynamics (perhaps among staff, or with respect to service provision). Some participants use the group to reach out for such informational interviews, some share experiences, and some pose and answer specific questions about industries, fields, or roles. If you scroll through, you can see current students finding speakers for career planning events, switching career paths, looking to make connections in a field, seeking advice on application letters, etc.
The Graduate Students and Alumni Subgroup of Queen’s Connects Career Network is part of an initiative on Queen’s part to make “alumni” synonymous no longer with only undergraduate degrees. People who did graduate degrees at Queen’s should consider themselves alumni too, and may want to be in touch with other grad alumni because their professional paths will likely resemble our own closer than that of alumni without graduate or professional training. The whole purpose of this LinkedIn subgroup is facilitating peer-to-peer conversations about career experiences, aspirations and preparedness with a special focus on the interests of the graduate and professional population.
To find these groups, just search “Queen’s Connects” under “groups” at the top of the LinkedIn interface.
There’s lots more to say about using LinkedIn effectively – what kind of profile photo to post, how to write a dazzling “summary,” whom to add or recommend – but there is lots of literature on that available through a quick search. This post is just meant to introduce you to a Queen’s-specific LinkedIn tool and help you see how it could be useful in your own career activities.
For further assistance using LinkedIn for your career exploration, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are looking for further resources for career planning, here are some to explore:
Expanding Horizons and Annual Career Week : http://www.queensu.ca/exph/
Mitacs Step: http://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/step