Monday October 31, 2016

Networking and LinkedIn: Part 1

The School of Law's Career Services Office (CSO) recently presented a session on Utilizing LinkedIn Effectively for Networking. The presenters, both of whom stated to have networked their way into their current positions, were Kevin Conner '13, chief legal officer at Focus Care Enterprises Inc., and Drew Rossow '15, an attorney with Gregory M. Gantt Co. L.P.A. "Don’t underestimate the importance of networking," Conner said. "It’s how you should be job searching, through your connections, especially online."

Making connections while still in law school is the foundation of a strong network.

"There are so many opportunities to connect with professionals in today’s legal community while you’re at school that can lead you to your dream job," Conner added. "Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to attend an event or a lecture or meet new people. They are there to talk. The job offer I had on graduation day was a direct result of the network connections I made at Dayton Law."

Conner stressed the importance of utilizing the resources already available to students, like their local bar association, as well as, classmates and fellow members of student organizations.

"One of the most often neglected areas of networking is student-to-student connections," he said.

The presentation then focused on using the social media platform, LinkedIn, for creating the professional connections that can lead to career opportunities.

"LinkedIn should be your professional online presence," said Conner. "This is where the people you want to connect to are at, without the middleman. It’s a fantastic job board."

Rossow explained the rules of networking using LinkedIn — "Rule #1 is to set up your profile correctly." He said it should include your name, using keywords as headlines, the importance of using a professional photo, adding volunteer service and joining the platform’s professional groups.

Conner added, "Build your resume online and add your experience. Start with help from the CSO — it’s an amazing resource you can use even after you graduate — and tailor your resume to each opportunity. And don’t ever forget a cover letter if you are sending it."

"You can use all of your past experience going forward," said Rossow. "Just think in terms of keywords like customer service or marketing. You also want to get references from past employers, professors, externship mentors and classmates. These are your online recommendations and they give employers an idea of your work."

After establishing a profile, Rossow said learning job search function should be next.

After that Rossow advised students to be selective about with whom they connect on LinkedIn.

"You have to ask yourself, 'Can this person help me achieve my goals, and what can I provide them in return?,'" Conner said. "If they aren’t part of your professional group, you may not need to add them. This is your professional presence, not your personal site."

Finally, Rossow said, "Start publishing."

"Keep it relevant and engaging. Don’t share your personal opinions unless it’s relevant to the topic of course. Post often. This helps builds credibility."

Conner and Rossow will return Nov. 16 for Part 2 of the presentation to discuss how to get online endorsements and recommendations, as well as, turning connections into colleagues.


Contact the Career Services Office (CSO) by phone at 937-229-3215 or by email at CSO@udayton.edu

For more information, contact Denise Baker, assistant director of communications at the University of Dayton School of Law, at lawcomm@udayton.edu.

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