LinkedIn seminar stresses the importance of networking

Madina Seytmuradova

Staff Writer

Sven Aelterman, the information technology (IT) director at Troy, presented on networking through LinkedIn to the Information Technology Society students on Tuesday.

“It’s all about…? Come on, people,” asked Aelterman, to which the students responded, “It’s all about networking.”

Aelterman distributed brochures and went through his own LinkedIn profile’s key points.

“It’s a way for you to take your experience, your education, your skills and put that out there on a professional social network that, probably in the IT industry, 95 percent of the people are also using,” Aelterman said. “And that’s where the strength comes in. When you’re thinking about networking, the power is in the numbers.”

Among other things, Aelterman highlighted the importance of a recruiter’s first impression, saying it was formed by what they see on the candidate’s profile in the first 20 seconds.

Aelterman highlighted the importance of a professional headshot.

“Two of my pet peeves: not putting a picture at all and secondly –  ‘Sandy T.’” said Mary Rouse, a lecturer in information systems and adviser for the IT society, referencing when people just use their last initial instead of their full name. “You have more in your last name than ‘T.’

“Are you ashamed of who you are? Put your whole name out there.”

According to Aelterman, a common mistake students make is putting “higher education” in the industry section. Instead, he suggested putting the intended industry, like IT, marketing, entertainment, etc.

Aelterman recommended using Grammarly for clarity, GitHub to upload examples of work listing skills and to get a shorter URL.

Beyond the first page, he encouraged profile holders to list their skills — including soft skills like public speaking. He also recommended using endorsements (a LinkedIn feature that allows your colleagues to confirm the listed skills) and stating your accomplishments rather than occupations.

“So if you’ve been a staff writer at Tropolitan, that sounds like a cost center,” he said. “But if you’ve written the most successful or the most-read story of 2016, that sounds like a success story that somebody can make money off.”

Sweety Chupani, a graduate of computer science from Surut, India, said that she is not the most active LinkedIn user, but she enjoyed finding out more about it.

“I found so many things interesting, and I got to know new stuff about it,” she said.

According to Aelterman, the hard truth of the matter is that companies hire the person who will get the work done and generate the most revenue for the least cost.

“What you have to show the organization that you’re interviewing with is that you are going to make them more money than what you’re costing them,” he said. “That is the bottom line, people.

“That is the simple bottom line, and mostly networking people usually say it’s all about who you know. That’s not true; it’s about who knows you.”

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