16.5 LinkedIn & Handshake

Bryan Rose

Some of you may know that 70% of all jobs & internships are attained through a referral. If they’re so important, what is a referral? It’s when someone you know already or someone you intentionally develop a relationship with speaks well on your behalf for a job or internship opportunity. That referral heavily increases the likelihood you get an interview, and that interview gets you the job.

So what do we do in order to get referrals? Develop relationships with faculty, staff, peers, and supervisors and join clubs & organizations that relate to our field of interest? Yes! Network with VCU alumni on LinkedIn? Yes!

There are 130,000+ VCU alumni on LinkedIn. Want to move to Seattle and get into the marketing field there? Send a LinkedIn message to a few alumni that live in Seattle and learn about their background and how they broke into the marketing industry in that city. Facilitate what is called an “informational interview” to learn from their background. Ultimately, in the hopes that they will be inspired to refer you to open opportunities and/or connect you with their network & friends that could help too!

Throw out the phrase, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” That makes it sound like your ceiling & opportunities are limited to the circle you currently have. Understand that the real phrase is, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who knows you.” You have power & agency in this digital age to utilize LinkedIn, BizConnect, and Handshake to develop a professional presence and create professional allies.


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16.5 LinkedIn & Handshake by Bryan Rose is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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