6 Steps to an “In” for Your Next Job Application

By: Glen

This discussion started from a question I heard asked, “Why did someone less qualified land the job I applied for?” This is a tough question that most of us will probably ask at some point in our lives. Before answering, I want to get something out there: It is nearly impossible to land every job that you apply for. To not have an offer extended to you for a job you tried hard to get is not the end of the world. Keep your chin up, and use the opportunity to learn! Since nobody is perfect, it is always important to try and understand what you can do better to land the next job you apply for. There could be many reasons for not landing a job, but out of the many things that people can do to improve, there is only one fact I want to talk about today.

There is a saying that you may have heard at one time or another: It is not what you know, it’s who you know. Often, employees are hired because they have had experience with the employer, or with the people making the hire. In fact, a large portion of people still say networking is how they landed their job.

I raise this point because it may be that a job offer was not extended your way because someone else had an “in.” Having an “in” can put your resume and your interview on the top of the list. Luckily, there are things you can do to try and get that “in.”

  1. If there is a networking event that you think an employer you are interested in working for is attending, go attend that event.
  2. Have a nice conversation with the employer.
  3. Find more employers and have nice conversations with them as well. If you leave the networking event having got to know 3-4 employers, you are doing really well! You never know when an opportunity will open with those employers, even if you are not looking there just yet.
  4. Connect with these employers on LinkedIn. (Not just the companies, but the people you talked to!)
  5. If you end up wishing to apply for a position in one of these companies, contact the people you connected with on LinkedIn and ask about the position.
  6. Bingo, you have your “in.”

There are other things you can do to build your network, like talking to friends of friends, but the instructions above focus on opportunities that are open to quite a number of people, especially college students and recent graduates. Always stay on the lookout, or the opportunities may just pass by you!

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Social Media in the Job Search

Social media. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. As a student or young professional, you can harness the power of social media to find opportunities, stay connected with contacts, find new contacts, research organizations, and learn about current events in your industry. How you use social media can create a picture of who you are to perspective employers. Make sure it’s an awesome one!

Digital Stamp: per Erik Qualman (the founder of Socialnomics) your digital stamp is a combination of what you post yourself (digital footprint) and what other people post about you (digital shadow). Here’s the easy equation:

Digital Footprint + Digital Shadow = Digital Stamp

I highly encourage you to check out Erik’s TEDx Talk My Digital Stamp for more information on the topic.

SoMe in Job Search

General Resources


Twitter – “140 characters of awesome” – Eric Stoller


LinkedIn Pulse

By: Zach

In today’s job world, now more than ever, it is important to be active and relevant online. It is no longer enough just to have a LinkedIn profile with minimal education and experience information about yourself, but it is crucial to have an online presence in order to be noticed and reach personal career goals.

How do you do this, you ask? It’s easy! LinkedIn Pulse.

This is an application that can not only be found at the top of your news feed on LinkedIn, but it can also be downloaded as an application on your phone or tablet. LinkedIn Pulse is an integrated news application that is tailored to your personal preferences. When first setting up your Pulse preferences, you can select from a wide variety of news and industry topics such as: Accounting, Business Travel, Big Ideas 2014, Design, Education, Entrepreneurship, Media, Oil & Energy, Professional Women, Technology, or even Things I Carrey. The point is, the list is endless! Once you have selected your top news and industry sources, updated information on these topics is fed to you on your news feed.

Now I know what you are thinking. How does this help with my online professional presence, and more importantly, what does this have to do with advancing my career? The answer is everything! LinkedIn Pulse can help you stay relevant in your industry, and more importantly, it gives your great conversation topics to share with other connections and groups. On LinkedIn, it is important to share topics and contribute to conversations, not only because it gives you more visibility, but also because it is important to remain “human” while our society continues to move towards online platforms as a means of connectivity.

Here are some quick tips to remember while conversing on LinkedIn!

Think Local

  • It is sometimes difficult to find good articles that may add value to someone’s day, as national news is already front page. Dig for news that is from your local area! These stories tend to get more response from personal connections.

Have Depth

  • It can be easy to hit the share button on anything that seems interesting, but remember to put some thought behind it. By sharing more interesting topics, you will engage more people.

Start Conversations

  • Who else may want to see what you would like to share and why? Directly involve them in the conversation, and ask for their opinion.

Stay Relevant

  • If it is not professionally appropriate, or does not necessarily apply to the professional persona you want to have, maybe save it for facebook. It sounds like it is tough, but many times people can still see through sharing articles and news just for sharing sake.

Overall, LinkedIn Pulse is an amazing resource to use as it can help to create conversation and engage deeper thought through news and industry articles. Take a look around this application and see how you may be able to use it to its full potential! Stop by our office, SCC 22, for more information or help with the application or anything else LinkedIn.

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Mapping Your Network

By: Andrew

Typically, when I write these posts for our blog I feel like I have a firm understanding of what I am talking about. In saying that, this will be a learning process for you and me, but do not worry because I am a trained pre-professional, especially with LinkedIn. I discovered this tool on LinkedIn a month ago and realized it was not brand new, just not very visible or highly used at the time I found it. The tool I am referring to is LinkedIn’s In Maps. So, without any further waiting, let’s learn all about In Maps.

Screen shot 2014-03-28 at 9.14.36 PM

What I have found with In Maps is that it is giving the visual learner the perfect way to understand their network. As you can see, with my In Map the map is color-coded and branched out all over the place. The purpose of the color on the map is to show you that the connections in your network have commonalities. These commonalities can be many different things depending on what the most prominent or relevant items for you and them on LinkedIn are. For me, as you can see in the second image, they are labeled as what you see in the bottom right-hand corner of the image. Those labels were solely based off of what I felt my connection to them was at the time I labeled them. As you can see from my In Map, there is a mess of colors everywhere. So, here is how to clean that up.

Screen shot 2014-03-28 at 9.23.33 PM

If you are thinking that you have too “messy” of a network, there is a fairly easy and productive fix. The solution is to hone in on specific people that will help define your network to what you want it to be. For me, I do not mind having a lot of different labels. However if you want to only have a few labels you need to define what you want your future to look like. The In Map does a nice job of forcing you to figure out how you want to build your network and helping you understand where your network could use bolstering.

You may be saying to yourself, “this map thing looks absolutely pointless”, and do not worry, because I initially said that too! Need not worry; you did not just waste three minutes of your day, because the feature is quite helpful and easy to access. Just follow this link and you will have your Map in a few minutes. Now, I realize that I have basically left you with a bit of discovering to do, but that is the fun part. It is your network, your LinkedIn account, and your future to build and mold. Give this not so new feature a shot and let me know what you think of it in the comment section below.

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Developing Your Online Presence

By: Megan

We all have a presence online. Whether you made an account to comment on an article one time or you are constantly posting on every site you have, you’re visible. Employers know that, so the problem then becomes what they see. Having an active online presence can help or hurt you in so many ways. Here are a couple of tricks for 3 of the sites that tend to trip people up.

Developing Online Presence


Privacy settings are always changing, so it’s important to check back in. They occasionally send out emails to let you know: read those. You’re probably already censoring what you put on Facebook for your family, but remember that what your friends post can be seen too. Set it so you have to approve tags, that way pictures that may be interpreted the wrong way don’t get to see the light of day-at least attached to your name. Your privacy settings should enable you to block an employer from seeing what’s here, but remember: this is still public.


Twitter is a quick way to connect with people. Say what you want, and be done with it. But in being short and sweet, you have to remember that gets lost quickly. With Twitter, you have to be constantly updating, replying, retweeting, and commenting. Set your accounts on news sites to tweet when you comment (and then make sure you comment what you want seen).

On Twitter, you can get quick updates on anything. This is an awesome place to make your voice heard. You can talk about your causes or what really makes you you. Connect with people in your field, or from your school. This is a great way to get some superficial connections to role models. Once you’ve gotten there, you can find them on another site.


This is like the professional Facebook. You get to write everything you wanted to about every position you’ve ever held, and people can look through it at their leisure. The groups are a good place to talk to people about topics you’d like to know more about, or just to expand your ideas. Remember, employers can definitely see this. This is a place to put your best foot foreword. If Facebook is a day out with friends, LinkedIn is a suit and tie. We’ve written quite a bit about LinkedIn, go take a look! You can also stop in to our LinkedIn Drop-ins Thursdays from 2-4pm to get some help.

Final tips for being online:

  • Know your audience (and your privacy settings).
  • Be active! Don’t let your account go dormant forever. That’ll undo all your work.
  • Remember: this is print. It doesn’t go away.

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LinkedIn vs LinkedIn Premium

By: Andrew

You have probably seen it before when you have been on your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn Premium is the step-up from your free and basic LinkedIn account. I currently use the basic LinkedIn account, but have also used the Linked Premium account a couple of times because they offered a free monthly trial. I am not going to say that you should upgrade, but I will let you decide for yourself by the end of this post.

If you are familiar with LinkedIn, there is the free and basic account and the Premium account. Chances are you have been invited to upgrade, seen the gold “in” on someone’s profile, or taken advantage of a free upgrade. Of course, we all like free so it may be hard to justify upgrading when you are content with the free account. Allow me to lay out a few reasons why you should upgrade and then you can decide if it is worth it for you! DISCLAIMER: I am not being paid by LinkedIn to promote this feature.

Getting in touch with connections and other business professionals is key to finding a great starting point in your career. The Premium feature gives you access to InMail Messages, which allows you to send a message to anyone on LinkedIn. This puts you at an advantage to anyone using the basic account, because you can contact the contacts and recruiters that they cannot. Another great feature of Premium is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature. With the basic account you can only see the five most recent people that have viewed your profile, but with Premium you can see who has viewed your profile over the past 90 days. This allows you to follow-up with possible connections without having to worry about them moving to far down your list of who viewed your profile.

Getting noticed could easily be just as important as getting in touch with someone; the difference is that getting in touch typically relies on you taking initiative. It should be noted that employers like a person with initiative. I personally have not used this feature, but the “Featured Applicant” feature is one that will put you at the top of a list of 10 applicants or 100 applicants. Either way, you are going to get seen before other applicants and you will also get to see what other type of people are applying for the position. The other simple, but effective way of getting noticed is that you will have the gold “in” next to your name on your profile. Everyone will see that and interpret it differently, but to me it would signal that the person is seeking a job or has a high interest in using LinkedIn to its fullest.

The cost may sound a bit pricey, but allow me to put it into perspective. If you graduate in 4 years, which not everyone does, college will cost you at least $80,000. Now, if you look at the graphic below, you will see that the highlighted feature is $30. That $30 sounds like a lot, but even if you used that for a full year you would only add $360 to the cost of college, or a .45% increase. Being a college student I know full well that an extra $30 every month is not easy to come by, but I think we can all think of a few things that could be dropped from the budget, or at least reduced.

LI Premium Pricing

The LinkedIn Premium feature is great and I personally feel that all students could benefit from upgrading to it. It allows you to reach more people, let more people see you, and it puts you at the top of recruiters’ lists when they are hiring. The increased insights and visibility make the upgrade a logical choice for any job seeker, but I will let you be the decider of that. Thanks for reading and best of luck in your job search!

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LinkedIn in the Job Search

By: Andrew

There are many ways you could go about navigating LinkedIn to find the perfect connection to a job you are seeking or even directly find your dream job. Instead of overwhelming you with multiple ways of using LinkedIn for job searching I am going to share my favorite feature with you. The feature that I cannot get enough of is the Alumni feature. The screenshots below are how to get to this awesome feature.

LI Top Bar

LI Interest tab

LI Education Bar

LI Finding UMD

LI Duluth

What I have found over the years as I have used LinkedIn is that you can always find the person you want, but the catch is how do you know who you are looking for? So, let’s take a look at that final screenshot and soak in the number of UMD alumni on LinkedIn, because that is a lot of people. Nearly 28,000 UMD graduates are on LinkedIn, which gives you almost 28,000 people to reach out to. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I am responsible for inviting speakers into the club I am a part of, so where did I go when I needed speakers? If you guessed the alumni feature, you are correct. I messaged 4 people and received 3 responses. The 3 responses…all of them were an excited “Yes”. At this point, I would say ditch reading this and go try for yourself, but if you want a little for context behind this feature stay put!

When you get to the feature you will have 6 different things to determine for your search, however you do not have to select responses for all 6 questions. What is nice about this part is that you are quickly able to narrow down 28,000 people to a comfortable 50 or so, depending on how you filter your search. How you work through your search results next is completely up to you. Do you want a recent graduate? Do you want someone established in the field you are looking to dive into? Or maybe you already know someone that is a 1st degree connection, which would be an easy person to talk to since you are already connected. And lastly, maybe you got bored and ditched the search altogether. Hopefully you didn’t.

These results quite honestly may not have what you are looking for. If that is the case, don’t worry, because this is how you start learning what companies and organizations you want to work for. Even if you are not finding that perfect connection you can, and should, connect with alumni whom you have shared interests with or possible career goals. As always, send them a personalized note when you connect. Never send them the generic invitation that LinkedIn prompts you to use, unless you know the person well and they know you equally as well. It is not that it is a terrible thing to do, but it immediately shows the person how much interest you have in connecting with them. I have found in my experiences that the personalized message is very well received and also gets a lot of nice responses from the new connection.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn in the Job Search, Ellen (my boss and a Career Counselor in our office) and I will be presenting on Wednesday of this week from 10-11 AM in Ballroom A. Our presentation is called “Social Media in the Job Search” and will cover LinkedIn and Twitter specifically. If you would like to attend our presentation or any others, you should follow this link and register for the Annual Student Leadership Conference in the Ballroom.

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