How did you get your current job? I’m teaching at my school because when my CSUN professor became aware of the position, she thought of me. Due to the power of my network, I was offered this dream job; a placement at this beautiful elementary school that reflected my passion for the arts and science. Many of us can think back to a time where we were offered an amazing opportunity or referred for employment because of our network.

Yet our network goes deeper than that.

Benefits of a Connected Life

In his TED Talk, Dr. Nicholas Christakis shared how social networks have more effect on the outcome of our lives than we are aware. He states,

“The benefits of a connected life out weight the costs. If we truly understand how valuable social networks are, we’d spend more time nourishing them and sustaining them. Networks have value. They are a kind of social capital. Our experience of the world depends on the actual structure of the networks on which we are residing and of all the kind of information that ripple and flow through the network.”

Networks are valuable and critical to our advancement and life success. Look around you. Nature itself teaches us that you cannot survive with connection and relationship. Networks matter.

This is why Alumni360 launched its first LinkedIn Day.

What is Linkedin?

LinkedIn is an online platform originally used for professional networking, including employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their resumes and curriculum vitae’s. Since its 2002 inception, it has grown to a massive community hub where professionals and creatives share ideas, movements and observations throughout different industries. It’s also a place where you can ‘connect’ with other people. You can see how many connections you have with people you may not know directly.

Alumni360 wanted our young students to know the power of LinkedIn, as well as the advantages of having a solid profile with a strong LinkedIn headshot as they started their adult journey.

In one day, we did just that.

Linkedin to Success

Our day started with a special treat. The CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, sent a special direct message to our students encouraging them to leverage the LinkedIn platform to help open new doors leading into this next phase of their journey. They were all surprised to hear from him and it was the perfect kickoff to a productive line up.

Following Jeff, our executive director, Genein Letford, spoke about using LinkedIn to connect with people you would not be able to meet in normal everyday situations. She used the example of meeting Halleemah Nash, Chief Partnership Officer at The Academy Group in Chicago. Wanting to connect with her and learn more about The Academy Group, which offers mentorship and financial education to youth, Genein noticed that they both knew Charles Best, CEO of She offered that information while making an introduction. The degrees of separation come alive and are more apparent within the LinkedIn structure. If someone you know, knows a person you would like to connect with, you can utilize that information while introducing yourself to increase commonality between both parties.

Next, Alex Bryant, the top social media expert and Oprah’s OWN ambassador, spoke to our students about their media footprint. What you post is permanent. Alex encouraged our students to post with a purpose. He shared the amazing -and some wildly unexpected – opportunities that arose in his career from posting with purpose and having an optimistic view on events. His posts even caught the attention of Oprah herself!

Since storytelling is essential for building businesses and brands, John Murray, Toastmaster Division Leader, captivated the students with tips on how to tell their story effectively. One main goal of Alumni360 is to equip students with strategies to win scholarships for college in order to combat the debilitating effects of student loans. In order to be successful in this, one has to be able to tell a captivating story.

How does this transfer into creating a powerful bio for your LinkedIn page? Be authentic, speak with clarity and close with your end vision. John gave some great tips to implement right away and the students felt they had tools to help them put their best foot forward as they get ready to start their adult lives and college careers.

Make the Connection

We are so pleased with our first LinkedIn day to prepare our students to be proactive professionals and utilize their network for opportunity and contribution. But this is not just for our young people but for you as well. As we continue on with our lives, our work and our purpose, don’t forget to leverage tools like LinkedIn to connect with others in and out of your field. Across disciplinary connections are critical. For instance, even though Genein is an educator, she meets and learns from people in an array of other fields such as finance, sciences, marketing and entrepreneurship. Reach out and learn from people in all areas while contributing about the advancements in your own arena.

Alumni360 strives to offer our students the tools, experiences and life skills not offered in traditional school but are needed to be successful in creating the best version of themselves. These tools include financial literacy, entrepreneurship training as well as creating a strategic network of relationships.

Relationships are one of your greatest resources.

Use them wisely. Use them well.

Use them to help others while creating a foundation for success!

Photography and headshots by Aurturo Vazquez @visualavenues

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