Independent Minds, Working Together

LinkedIn Serves as Platform for Development of the Scots Career Network

Students have an opportunity to make connections with recruiters, alumni, and parents

13 March, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster's Career Planning Office, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations, is looking to give its students an edge in the job-search process by expanding network opportunities and encouraging them to become more intentional in their planning.

Lisa Kastor, director of career planning at Wooster, has reached out to alumni, parents, and recruiters, and invited them to become career mentors or field experts in an effort to help current students formulate plans for their career paths. The key component is the establishment of the Scots Career Network (SCN), which uses the LinkedIn platform to help students make connections with alumni, parents, and recruiters. "We meet with each student and make sure that his or her profile is properly structured," says Kastor. "I can't image any student leaving here without using this professional platform."

After developing a comprehensive profile — vetted by Kastor — students are able to connect with a variety of groups, including alumni, parents, recruiters, and other professionals in the field. "It's a win-win situation all the way around," says Kastor. "It requires students to create a professional profile that will be seen and read by other SCN members. This provides much more information than one would get by just offering a resumé attached to an e-mail, and the information can be continually updated."

Most importantly the process teaches students to network professionally. "Students must contact members who match up with their career interests," says Kastor. "This helps them to build personalized networking skills with others who have signed up to help. It will give students a strong foundation to build upon for the future. When they graduate and land a position, they can rejoin the group to serve as a mentor or field expert."

There are also special endeavors, including "Engagement Wanted" events, in which different student groups are permitted to send "Asks" to the entire group to get feedback on their career-related questions. The purpose is for everyone in the network to learn about what students are requesting, as well as the feedback students receive from the membership.

"The reason we are doing this is to help students as they consider career-planning decisions," says Kastor. "Whether they are ready to launch into a career or still figuring out what they want to do, we are here to help.

"We want to provide a way for students to network by teaching them how to do it effectively," adds Kastor. "We see this as an essential life skill for this generation."