Networking is essential for success as a college student and as an alum. A lot of grads quickly learn after walking across the stage to pick up their FIU degree, it’s not just about WHAT you know but WHO you know is also very important. Although the importance of networking has stayed the same since FIU’s inception the methods of networking have evolved thanks to social media and when it comes to professional networking with social media no other platform delivers the results that LinkedIn can. However, many alumni are still unaware or confused of exactly how to use LinkedIn to develop business relationships, no worries in this post I will share with you 3 of the hottest LinkedIn networking tips that you can use to start leveraging the power of your FIU Alumni network.
Here they are:
1) Check out your FIU LinkedIn Alumni Portal.
You can also see a screenshot below. The portal is very useful for networking because it shows you a breakdown of your fellow grads by major, by graduation year, even by the company where they are currently employed. This is a one stop shop for building your FIU alumni network. I recommend connecting with former classmates, alum that work at a company that you would like to work at and take a look at some of the most successful alum from your school under the Notables section. While you’re networking away also stop by the Recommendations tab so that you can leave a couple kind words about your Alma Mater.
2) Join & Particpate in the LinkedIn FIU Alumni Group
Click here to see the Official FIU LinkedIn Group.
There is a ton of great discussion going on in the FIU Alumni group. You can find career postings, interesting articles, relevant announcements of networking events, fundraisers and other great content that is being shared by our fellow FIU alumni group members. There are 11,000 members of this group and lots of potential connections that you can make if you invest time in getting involved in the group discussions and reaching out directly to members. You never know, you can find your next partnership, client or job in this group. I know it’s true because one of the best internships I ever while at FIU was one that I found in this group.
3) Connect and Accept Invites from Current FIU Students
Pay it forward to the next generation of FIU Panthers.
I understand that some of you seasoned professionals might have doubts about accepting an invite from a young fresh face. You might not understand why they want to connect with you or even know how they would be able to help you. Please don’t be selfish with your connections, time and expertise. You and I are here today because there were people along our path that invested in us. Professors, former bosses, mentors took time out of their day to help us get to where we are at today, never forget to pay it forward ESPECIALLY to our fellow alum. You never know that young FIU student that just sent you an invite could be the next entrepreneur, CEO or President of the United States. No matter what, extend a hand and help, I promise you they won’t forget what you did for them. When we help other Panthers succeed, we all end up winning.
P.S: Here’s a chance to start paying it forward. I know that one of you FIU Panthers has connections to help this fellow graduate out. Christian R. Gonzalez just graduated from FIU and finished a very competitive internship in our Nation’s capital. He’s now looking to start his career and needs our help. Click the picture below to see his LinkedIn profile and while you are there send him an invite. Let’s start connecting with our fellow FIU alum…young and young at heart to take our FIU network to an unprecedented level. Working together and helping each other out…anything is possible, we are FIU Panthers forever!
About The Author:
Jeff Zelaya is a professional public speaker & entrepreneur. He’s the founder of Miami Public Speakers and is also the Sales Leader for the recently funded startup Triblio. Jeff is considered a leading expert on the topics of LinkedIn and Social Selling. Jeff, his wife Emma (MST ’09) and his son Elijah (a future Panther) currently reside in the Washington D.C. area.
Jeff’s LinkedIn Story:
I remember falling in love with LinkedIn back in my Junior year at FIU. My Sales professor in one class suggested that we take a look at this new professional networking site that had popped up. She told the class that she felt this might be important for our future careers. For some reason a bright light shined in that room when she said that but it was probably from the light bulb clicking on in my head. That night I went home, glued myself to a chair and my eye on to the computer screen, I then proceeded to research, learn and analyze everything that I could about LinkedIn. Within one week of using the platform I had secured a paid summer internship with ADP in major accounts. I had found the announcement for the opportunity in the FIU Alumni group, the recruiter later shared with me that I was the only student that had applied through LinkedIn and it made me automatically stand out as a savvy professional social media user, she was impressed. I however was pretty disappointed that no other college students were using this platform to it’s full potential. LinkedIn if used properly can help you get internships, find a job, grow your business, connect with influencers and so much more. I then made it my personal mission to start teaching students about how they can reap the benefits from this tool, that then evolved into teaching business professionals, specifically those in sales about how to use LinkedIn and other Sales 2.0 tools. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn for Sales check out my Social Selling Blog.