BC Launches a ‘Career Community’ to Link Students, Alumni
LinkedIn has long been the industry standard for professionals to market themselves online. Now, for the first time, Boston College students can get advice directly from BC alumni on the social media platform.
This month, the Boston College Career Community launched on LinkedIn. Spearheaded by the BC Career Center and supported by the Office of News & Public Affairs and University Advancement, the exclusive group is a unique networking opportunity for BC students and alumni. With nearly 4,500 members already, the group promises to be a resource to build professional relationships and share helpful advice.
“We know that students want access to alumni and the industry-specific, customized career advice they have to offer,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs of Career Services Joseph Du Pont. “Alumni, in turn, are seeking to give back to the BC community and engage with students around career issues in very specific ways. There is tremendous value in creating an environment that brings together students and alumni to have conversations about a specific career path, the power of the liberal arts and the role that community and serendipity play in one’s career.
“Moreover, this type of initiative is very much aligned with our Jesuit ideology of creating an environment that fosters community, service to others and meaningful connections between people,” he said.
Students have already taken advantage of the opportunity. Carroll School of Management junior Raven Rankine asked alumni how best to utilize downtime over winter break to secure a summer internship. Within hours, several alumni answered with thoughtful responses. One alumnus suggested seeking information interviews with alumni in her area and learning software to improve marketability. Another called for a personal assessment of social media to ensure a professional appearance for potential employers.
"I was extremely overwhelmed with the responses to my post. I did not expect for the alum to go into such depth with their advice or to even receive so many responses," said Rankine. "I utilized their advice and spent my winter break re-branding my social media image and learning new marketing tools to help myself stand out."
One alumni respondent, Jordy Clements ’06 of Oracle, said he is in a place in his career where he can give guidance, something that he could have benefitted from as a student.
“On a personal level, I enjoy connecting with people, whether through social media, or more directly through something like the recent BC externship day when I hosted a student at my office,” he said. “If I can help, I try to help. I got my current job via LinkedIn. More than ever, jobs are being posted in non-traditional forums. Applying through the ‘front door’ simply isn’t as effective as leveraging your personal network. Why not take advantage of all the resources available?”
Career Center Assistant Director Laura Perrigo, the LinkedIn group moderator, pointed to this interaction as a way for the BC community to establish meaningful connections.
“This post makes it clear how willing BC alumni are to give back to students and how great of a resource the BC community can be for fellow Eagles. I am excited to see the future conversations,” said Perrigo.
“As students and new professionals are exploring different career paths, we want them to utilize this group to reach out to others with experience in a field of interest, ask questions, and gather information, so that they are making informed decisions and ultimately choose a fulfilling career.”
“BC alumni have a long history of providing support to students exploring majors and career fields. The Boston College Career Community makes it easy to virtually mentor and connect with the next generation of BC alumni,” said Joy Moore ’81, H’10, associate vice president for alumni relations.
News & Public Affairs Social Media Manager Melissa Beecher said the Boston College Career Community represents the first time the University has established an official LinkedIn group open to both students and alumni.
“We have seen the Boston College university page grow to more than 100,000 followers in just over a year, so we know that there is tremendous interest in LinkedIn among the BC community,” said Beecher. “The Career Community aims to fill a void that existed on social media where BC students and alumni could connect and network.”
“Technology and social media, tools like LinkedIn, are having a tremendous impact on how we accomplish our work as career service professionals both here at Boston College and around the country,” said Du Pont. “These tools enable us to expand career services for students beyond the physical space of the career center and involve the entire BC community wherever they are in the world. We can now better broker connections, for example, between an alumnus working at an NGO in Africa and a student interested in that type of work. We are excited to help facilitate those connections.”
Currently, only students and alumni can join the group. Before being approved into the community, students are asked to review the LinkedIn guide.