Networking workshop prepares students for career fair on Thursday

Focused on helping students gain business experience, Sonoma State University’s Career Services Center held a workshop Feb. 17 on using the business networking website LinkedIn to stand out among career prospects. The workshop was part of a week-long series of business workshops and demonstrated how using the networking website can help students connect with recruiters at the career fair happening on Thursday.

“Over 80 percent of job openings are never advertised,” said Kimberly Jones, an assistant with the Career Services Center and student at Sonoma State.

With around 15 students in attendance and an hour in length, the networking workshop primarily covered how to build a profile on the business networking website. Subtopics on business networking using LinkedIn included how to maximize a profile’s networking effectiveness by differentiating a profile from others, five heavy weighted parts of a profile,  four factors that bring a profile to the top of a search, the do’s and don’ts of maintaining a profile that’sinteresting to recruiters and a 5 Minute LinkedIn Marketing Plan.”

The marketing plan is an infographic put together by a company named Bluewire Media and is found on the Career Services Pinterest page. The slide presentation used during the networking workshop is also found on the Sonoma State Career Services web page under online resources at sonoma.edu/career/student_services/.

During the workshop, Career Services stressedusing LinkedIn to network will help students stand out at the career fair. “We are giving students the skills to connect with employers that they’ll be meeting at the fair,” said Jones. “It will broaden their career opportunities.”
The workshop also demonstrated how using the business networking website can increase a student’s chances at finding connections even if an organization is not looking for the positions that students are interested in getting into.

“Maybe they’re not recruiting for the department you are looking for, but the recruiters would know someone that is, that is why networking is important,” said Carrie Klaphake, a Career Services adviser. “We encourage students to connect with those employers so they can introduce them to their fellow colleagues at that company.”

Career Services also elaborated on how using LinkedIn as a networking tool can help students meet recruiters at the upcoming career fair.

“LinkedIn provides opportunities to engage and connect that students would not have been engaged to before,” said Klaphake.
One hundred and twelve companies want to recruit and hire Sonoma State students at the career fair on Feb. 25.

“I’m hoping to meet some people and find out what opportunities are out there,” said Christina Blount, a senior who attendedthe workshop. “My LinkedIn profile is very sparse and I wanted to know how to use it.”

Students who attended the workshop are hoping to use LinkedIn and its networking tools in order to help their future career prospects.

“I thought it would be a valuable lesson on networking,” said Justin Nathanson, a senioratthe workshop. “Im looking to get knowledge to advance my LinkedIn profile for when I graduate in the spring.”

The networking workshop was part of a week long series of career oriented programs designed to help students maximize their career assets called Professional Development week.
Other workshops that Career Services covered during Professional Development week include resume building, proper business etiquette and “Resumania!”, a workshop in which industry professionals give feedback to students on their resume.

The Career Fair is scheduled to be held on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.