Using LinkedIn to Set Up Informational Interviews: A Presidio Graduate School Case Study


By Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs

Published 12.14.12

You’ve heard me talk about LinkedIn’s potential for helping you in efforts to find internships and jobs.  Here’s an example of how I worked with one current student in her ongoing campaign to identify employment opportunities after she graduates.

This MBA student started by identifying several organizations involved in the kind of work that represented a good fit for skills and the interests she had cultivated during her time at Presidio Graduate School and through prior jobs.  Her campaign involves monitoring these organizations to see if they post relevant job opportunities, as well as initiating contact with individuals who work there to learn more about their culture.  As part of this latter effort, she sent me a handful of names from her list with a request for me to connect her with individuals at these organizations who might be willing to speak with her about their work and, ideally, the organization’s hiring plans in areas that interest her.

I immediately turned to LinkedIn to see who I knew at each of these organizations, and which of these individuals (if any) would be worth her time and energy to connect with given her career interests.  When receiving requests to connect with a specific person, I also consider how well I know the individual; their role in an organization; and their receptivity to such networking requests (especially from graduate students).  In this case, I didn’t know anyone at one organization but did have a handful of second degree contacts—that is, people who knew people at the organization.  None of these contacts seemed too promising save for one—an individual who worked at the organization for two years several years ago and reported directly to the founder.  More importantly, my direct contact to this individual was a Presidio graduate who responded enthusiastically to my note requesting assistance.

This Presidio alumnus, in turn, introduced the current student to his contact.  They met in person during the student’s trip to the city where the organization is located, and she now feels much more confident in terms of her knowledge of that organization and the opportunities it might offer when she graduates next June.

I relish the opportunity to help you use LinkedIn in this fashion, among others. Please  contact me to set up a time to discuss your use of this social networking tool in internship and job search efforts.

Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs

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