Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LinkedIn 101

LinkedIn is an excellent tool for all professionals to build their network and maintain professional connections. Today, there are over 90 million users and staying active is important. So if you do not have a LinkedIn account (it’s free!) or are not active, follow these tips on getting started!

The first place you need to start is your profile. You should fill out as much information as possible. Think of your profile as your online resume so it needs to be complete and up to date. Here are the things you need to include on your profile:
  •  Professional looking photo
  • Your current position
  • Past experience
  • Your education (both undergraduate and graduate)

When updating your profile, you can add as much information as you like. LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile with information including coursework, projects, and more.

Customize Your URL
Now that you have updated your profile with all of your experience and skills, you should consider creating a customized URL. Having your name in your LinkedIn URL will make employers and potential connections able to find you easier. To customize your URL, you will need to do the following:
  • Click “Edit Profile” when you’re on profile
  • Look at the bottom of your basic information, click “Edit” next to the URL
  • On the right toolbar, click “Customize Your Public Profile”
  • Then set your custom URL

Use the LinkedIn App
Stay up to date with LinkedIn by downloading the free app for your phone. It is available on  Apple and Android phones.

Often employers use LinkedIn to research potential employees to find out about their previous and current experience. Having positive recommendations from your past experiences is excellent way to stand out to employers.

You should take the time to reach out to your previous and current employers to seek recommendations. Sending a personalized message to employers asking them to recommend your work is the first step. Ask them to be specific and highlight certain attributes you would like highlighted. You can also drop key words you would like to be included in your recommendation. The more recommendations you have the more likely employers will believe you are the best candidate for the position.

Active Participation
You should join the professional groups on LinkedIn. These groups often have discussion boards and job postings. Actively participating in the group discussion by starting conversations, commenting on postings, and liking posts is a great way to get noticed by potential employers. The more you put into the group the more you will get out of it. The groups are an excellent way to keep in contact with other professionals and keep up to date on your field.

If you have any question on LinkedIn, you contact us by setting up an appointment on Connections!

*The links provided are helpful tips to enhance your LinkedIn experience!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Networking Series Part III: Juggling Plates & Small Talk

Missed yesterday’s Networking Series Part II: Juggling Plates and Small Talk? We learned a lot of great tips on how to network effectively at networking events. Check out these tips from Karen Litzinger. The tips will be especially helpful if you are going on the DC Trip over spring break.

Power Mingling:  Network with Ease and Effectiveness
  • Relationship building, listening, information sharing
  • Not schoozing or asking directly for a job or internship
  • Warch not to only talk to people you already know
First Impressions Count
  • Albert Mehrabian study about the impact of communication shows 7% Words, 38% Tone, 55% Non-Verbal Behavior
  • Tone: Have good energy in your voice and project, not monotone
  • Nonverbals: Good posture, eye contact, smile, appropriate handshake, nod
Exhibit Host Behaviors
  • Start conversations
  • Introduce people to each other; introduce yourself to someone alone
  • Invite people to food and beverages
The Art of Small Talk
  • Establishes rapport, helps people feel comfortable
  • Positive and upbeat, not negative or complaining
  • Includes: current events, sports, music, business, city, weather
  • Avoid: health, gossip, religion, money, politics, misfortunes
  • Watch not to interrupt; paraphrase and ask follow-up questions
  • Read the newspaper before the event for news of the day
Opening Lines
  • Upbeat observation: It’s nice to see so many at this event
  • Open-ended question” What did you think of the program?
  • Pleasant self-revelation: This is one of my favorite foods.
  • Other-focused question: What is new at XYZ agency?

Networking Questions
  • Do you know anyone in XYZ career field I am considering so I can talk to them about their career?
  • What strategy advice can you give for getting an internship or job?
  • How did you get your first job?
  • Do you have any suggestions for electives of extracurricular activities that could help a candidate have an edge?
ABC’s of Introductions
  • Authority: Introduce the more important person to the less so
  • Business-like: Use complete sentences
  • Clarify: Give some background information if possible
  • Example: Mr. Alumnus, I’d like to introduce you to Sue Student, a junior in psychology. Sue, Mr. Alumnus is Director of Marketing at ABC Company.
  • Start with name of most important person. A customer or visitor is always considered the most important person. Rehearse in your mind.
  • If in doubt, don’t use first names, rather Mr. or Ms.
  • Shake hands and repeat name to help you remember
  • Initiate when arriving and if someone forgets to make an introduction
  • “Hi, I’m Sue Student, from XYZ University. I don’t believe we’ve met yet.”
Eating Etiquette
  • The focus should be on relationships not the food
  • Always keep your right hand free to be approachable and for handshakes
  • Keep both your plate and drink in your left hand or alternate eating and drinking separately.
  • Choose easy to eat foods and takes small bites after you have finished talking to avoid being caught with your mouthful.
Moving In
  • Best to approach groups of three of more
  • Position self nearby and participate nonverbally with eye contact and nod until invited in or a pause in which feel comfortable to make a comment, not immediately after someone just finished talking.
30 Second Commercial/Elevator Speech
  • Brief background about yourself after small talk, usually after someone asks you a question.
  • Include your major or what you are considering, relevant work or activities.
  • It can be helpful to end with a question, such as asking about the other party or asking for insightful or advice.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guest Post - Daya: International Consultants for Peace Initiatives

Today, we have a guest blog post from one of the GSPIA student organizations, Daya: International Consultants for Peace Initiatives. GSPIA student organizations are an excellent way for students to gain skills outside of the classroom that will benefit their career goals. We highly encourage students to get involved! 


Daya Center for Peace is an NGO based in Hyderabad, India working for peace and conflict transformation. The staff members of Daya have extensive training and a long history of working with an extensive network of partners from all over India.  They have built up the trust and respect necessary to provide peace building work in conflict affected regions of India. The Mission of Daya Center for Peace is to promote a culture of peace in schools and enable schools to impart transformative education. Through leadership training and other programs, Daya aims to help children, youth, teachers and civil society organizations become agents of non-violence and social change.

Although the staff of Daya has a long history of working for peace in the region, Daya as an organization is young, understaffed, and underfunded. It provides a great opportunity for NGO minded GSPIA students  to put into action the skills and knowledge they gain in the classroom. So Daya: International Consultants for Peace Initiatives (I.C.P.I) collaborates with Daya Center for Peace to support them in their goals and missions from the heart of Pittsburgh – GSPIA! We have many opportunities for you to get involved and and make an impact nationally and internationally in India. Daya Center for Peace works in many states within India, working with and influencing a wide audience. Check out our map!
We had our first information session of the spring term last week! We would like to thank all those in attendance and look forward to all the help we can get. Membership is also not just limited to GSPIANs. We highly encourage participants from other Pitt professional programs and undergraduate students.

In case you missed our meeting here are a few way that you can get involved!
  • Writing grants
  • Researching Foundations
  • Consulting Daya: Center for Peace
  • Planning the peace building conference
  • Calling specific scholars that are involved in ethnic violence and conflict transformation
  • Interning in Hyderabad, India

GSPIA students previously have interned at Daya: Center for Peace, and so we launched the summer application for the internship program. We have several internship positions including:
  • Teaching in School
  • Fund Raising/Writing project proposals
  • Helping/Co-facilitating peace and leadership workshops and determining when the workshops are conducted
  • Designing for Daya Magazines
  • Tech related work
  • Website updates
  • Writing articles based on interviews conducted
  • Video documentary
  • Blog updates
  • Working on creative projects
If you have questions or concerns about any one of these aspects of our organization, Daya: I.C.P.I, or Daya: Center for Peace, in India, please contact us on You can also visit the Facebook Group or Website.

You could also contact any of the executive members or past interns below!
  • Yuman Rathore: Co-President (
  • Galata Tona: Co-President (
  • Janet Guo: Treasurer (
  • Sree Kodavatiganti: Secretary (
  • Camille Gockowski: Events Coordinator (
  • Dan Shetler: Founder of Daya I.C.P.I and Past Intern (