Thursday, June 23, 2016

5 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Your Job Search

According to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, only 4% of recruiters DON’T use social media in the recruiting process and 87% of those surveyed use LinkedIn for recruiting.  Why?  LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world with over 400 million users across the globe including executives from all fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn is an easy way to meet new people, network with others in your field, and promote yourself as a polished professional.

Here are 5 ways you can use LinkedIn to reach your career goals:

1. Create an effective profile: Thoroughly complete all of your profile, add a professional photo, include important skills, and get recommendations!  Check out the LinkedIn Profile Checklist on our website to create your strong and professional profile.

2. Find and connect with alumni: Use the LinkedIn Alumni tool to get information about where your fellow alums work, what they do, and where they live. Reach out to alums with jobs you’re interested in and get ideas on organizations to target.  Review the blog Networking: Leverage LinkedIn's Alumni Tool for more information.

3. Join Groups: LinkedIn Groups are virtual meeting rooms where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about.  Join groups related to your industry, show off your expertise around a subject, reach out to individuals within a group, and grow relationships with like-minded people. Don’t forget to join your alma maters’ groups and alumni groups like WGU’s Alumni & Students Group! Learn how to find and join groups here.

4. Research Companies, Employees, and Jobs: Search for a company on LinkedIn to conduct research, view job opportunities under the company’s Career tab, and see if you’re connected to anyone who works or has worked there.  Research the career paths of people at that organization, find related companies, and see what recent topic trends are in the company’s updates.  Also use the Jobs section of LinkedIn to keyword search jobs in any region.  Read LinkedIn in 30 Minutes’ tips on How to Use LinkedIn to Research Companies.

5. Stay Active: Frequently share status updates, upload photos, or publish a post from your home tab to keep your LinkedIn network engaged and your name fresh in their minds!  This strategy improves your LinkedIn profile’s visibility in search engine results and showcases your knowledge, passion, and goals related to your field of work.  Just remember to keep the content professional and carefully edit grammar and spelling.   Read LinkedIn’s helpful article on Sharing an Update vs. Publishing a Post.

For help with LinkedIn, be sure to review the LinkedIn Resources on the WGU Career & Professional Development website. For personalized assistance, contact your WGU Career & Professional Development Specialist.

Give it a try, make it a habit, and creatively expand your job search today with LinkedIn!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Four Important Things You Need to Know About Thank-You Notes

The job search is a blur of information exchange: e-mailed resumes, online applications, interviews via video conferences. Don’t let the fast pace fool you. Common sense and courtesy still apply, including taking the time to say thank you.

Could your thank-you letter make or break a job offer? Consider this: If your application and interview are equal to that of another candidate, the person sending the thank-you letter gets the recruiter’s attention one more time.

Like cover letters, thank-you letters are concise and personalized. The key is making a connection to the person and reiterating an idea discussed during the interview.

  1. Send a thank-you e-mail or letter within 24 hours of your interview. Consider the company culture. Because recruiters travel extensively, e-mail may be the best route. A follow-up business letter sent through the post office is a nice touch.
  2. Take time to take notes. Immediately following each interview, write down the information discussed while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you are meeting with multiple people, find time to note each specific conversation. When you write your thank-you note(s), use this information to remind the interviewer of an idea or discussion that came up during your interview.
  3. Who receives a thank-you note? Anyone who interviews you gets a note. The notes may only vary by a sentence or two—make sure you reference specific conversations.
  4. Ask each interviewer for his or her business card. You’ll walk away with important information. You’ll have the recruiter’s full name, spelled correctly, e-mail address, street address, and other contact information.

Sample Thank-You Letter

Ms. Nina McVay
Recruiter – XYZ Financial Services
500 5th Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28066

Dear Ms. McVay,

Thank you very much for speaking with me yesterday about the financial planner position currently available at MAR Financial. Our conversation confirmed my interest in this position.

As we discussed during the interview, a successful financial planner must possess a solid understanding of the industry as well as strong communication skills to discuss options with clients. The internship I completed with NMO Bank this past summer afforded me the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge I can bring to XYZ Financial Services. The insight you provided about XYZ Financial’s focus on customer service helped me understand your company’s commitment to its clients. This is the type of company I hope to work for.

Please let me know if I can provide further information. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you.


Ashley Ingalls

by Kelli Robinson
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

For more interview tips or individual career assistance, contact WGU Career & Professional Development.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Networking: Leverage LinkedIn's Alumni Tool

You often hear about the importance of networking, but networking can seem vague and challenging to do. Luckily, you are part of an extensive network of WGU students and alumni and LinkedIn has created a great tool for you to use to tap into that network.

LinkedIn's Alumni Tool

LinkedIn's Alumni Tool helps you explore student and alumni career paths from colleges and universities worldwide and build relationships that can help you along the way. Review the steps below to connect with WGU Students and Alumni today.

Find: Navigate to to start. The school you will see will automatically default to Western Governors University if you have Western Governors University on your LinkedIn profile as your most recent education.

Explore: There are almost 60,000 WGU students and alumni on LinkedIn! You can narrow down the profile results in a variety of ways. At the top of the Alumni page you will see three subheads: "Where they live," "Where they work," and "What they do."  You can also click the arrow to the right to view additional categories, which include "What they studied," "What they're skilled at" and "How you are connected."

Research: Say you are a current information technology student living in Austin, TX and you would like to see where other WGU students and alumni in Austin are working and the positions they hold within IT. Click on the magnify glass by “Where they live” and type in Austin, Texas in the search bar. Select Austin, Texas Area. Next, click on the blue bar that says “Informational Technology” under “What they do” and you have a list of where students and alumni in the Austin area are working in IT. This is just one example, the search options are endless!

Connect: Most individuals want to help out fellow students and alumni and are happy to have a conversation and exchange information. If you find someone who is working at a company of interest and/or in a position of interest, request to connect. Keep the request simple, for example:

I am a fellow WGU IT student in the Austin area. Thanks for considering my request to connect.

If they accept your request to connect, consider reaching out to schedule an informational interview. You are not asking for a job but rather gathering information to explore career options and learn more about an organization, their needs and the requirements for a particular job.  Your initial outreach could be something like:

Thanks in advance for your time. It is great to connect with a fellow WGU student/alum. I am reaching out because I would like to learn a little more about your company and career path.

I am currently employed as a (position title) with (xyz company) while pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. I am exploring options for the next stage of my career.  

If you could spare 15 minutes out of your busy schedule, I would welcome the opportunity to ask you a few questions on an informational basis.  

Follow-up: After conducting an informational interview, make sure to send a thank you note. You can also ask if they have other connections that they would recommend with whom you speak. Keep your new connection informed of any career updates and, if appropriate, let them know if you find a position within their company to which you would like to apply. They may be able to provide you with a name to address your application materials or offer to share your resume with the recruiter or hiring manager.

Before reaching out, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and is focused on your career goals. WGU Career & Professional Development provides great resources for strengthening your profile. We are also available to provide one-on-one assistance to make sure all your LinkedIn questions are answered