Find fellow Frogs on LinkedIn to leap ahead.
by John Thompson
Utilize the power of online networks while hunting for jobs.
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Topics: Career Advice
by John Thompson
Tired of the same old, same old? Been downsized, right-sized or laid off? Curious about what is out there for your next career step? Not the same person you were five years ago? Welcome to today’s career development tool — LinkedIn.
Hopefully, you are one of those fantastic TCU students and alumni who are thinking beyond job to job and more about a real career strategy. If so, you have a friend.
John Thompson, aka Mr. T.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003 as a professional networking site. In the past five years, LinkedIn has become the go-to source for employers and employees to get together. Anyone thinking about getting a new job must pay attention to his or her “living” résumé on LinkedIn. It is an essential tool in your overall career development strategy.
Why? Employers are beginning to bypass the big job boards such as Glassdoor, Indeed and Monster. The more sophisticated employers — the ones you want to work for — have developed their strategies for mining LinkedIn for candidates. They can sort by specific job titles, keywords on experience, geographic specifics, degrees, etc.
From your perspective, you can search in the same manner, but most important, you can look for TCU alumni. We have all heard how some schools have developed successful networks for hiring their fellow alumni. Well, TCU alumni are developing the same mentality. We are receiving more requests from Horned Frogs to hire Horned Frogs than ever before.
So how do we make this work? Two things are essential. First, it starts with your profile. This is where you have to throw out everything you have heard about talking about yourself and résumé writing. Do not write a job description, either for your profile or your résumé.
What does that mean? Most people still list all of their tasks so it looks like they are doing a lot. No one cares about all of your tasks and responsibilities. What they want to see is how and what you accomplished doing those tasks. “Developed a sales plan to increase sales” is a dead task. “Developed a sales plan that engaged 25 salespeople in a five-state region and increased sales by $3 million” shows what you accomplished. Quantify, quantify, quantify. If you can’t quantify it, compare it to something that is meaningful.
Good buzzwords for your profile, résumé and cover letters are “accomplished” and “made a significant contribution.” It is all about what you bring to the table and can do for the employer.
To connect with potential alumni employers, go to the Texas Christian University LinkedIn page. There you can start sorting alumni by year of graduation, company name, industry, job title and location. Connecting with alumni is easy through their LinkedIn addresses or e-mail addresses, which might be included in their profiles. Also, join the TCU Career Center Networking Lounge, where you can network with students, alumni and employers on career topics and opportunities. Nothing works better than “Good morning from a TCU alum.” Take it from there.
Q: I have been out of the workforce for 10 years, and now I’m ready to enter the land of the employed. What’s next?
A: What do you want to do? What can you bring to an employer? These are the two questions you must answer to start your new career. Answering these questions will be your hardest task. The third most difficult task will be to develop a résumé, and next on the list is how to interview. To get an answer to the first question, What Color Is Your Parachute is still around and still the leading book for helping career decisions. You can also take an assessment such as the Strong or MBTI to help. The Center for Career and Professional Development can help you with these questions, as well as the assessment. Alumni can receive the same service we provide our undergraduates at no cost. Our consultants are assigned to colleges, so if you call for an appointment, we need to know your college and major.
Send your career questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @CareerGuyMrT
John Thompson is executive director of TCU’s Center for Career and Professional Development. For more information, visit www.careers.tcu.edu.
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