College students learn to connect with the business world with LinkedIn

DCBA students help others build professional networks

By Carlos Bilan, Staff Writer

On October 26, the Douglas College Business Association (DCBA) held a LinkedIn workshop, featuring special guest speaker Marie J. Gonzales, the college’s HR Manager of Operations and Recruitment.

Gonzales talked about the importance of LinkedIn, and She covered how it facilitates network development among co-workers and peers providing a platform for recruiters to see more than what can be found on a standard résumé. Since many recruiters look at LinkedIn during the hiring process, having a well-maintained and up-to-date professional profile can really make one stand out.

Gonzales also shared tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, such as utilizing the features that highlight one’s skills, work, and volunteer experience. The website allows one to keep up-to-date with the industry and specific companies that one would like to work for by following their LinkedIn pages. It allows a candidate the opportunity to reach out to recruiters and industry professionals, and for users to take online courses.

With regards to what employers look for on a LinkedIn profile, Gonzales emphasised how the website is not Facebook because completeness and professionalism are significant elements. Employers will be verifying if the information on a candidate’s profile matches what is on the résumé submitted, so it is important to keep them both up to date. Employers will also be checking the skills a candidate has on their profile and if many of their connections have endorsed skills that the employer thinks are significant.

The event had a turn-out of 52 attendees, which was considered a 100 per cent increase according to the event planners when compared to the last LinkedIn event in Fall 2015. The event this month was spearheaded by Neil Calder and Jitesh Sachdeva.

Calder, who is on his final semester studying PDD Accounting, said: “Having completed the Burnaby Board of Trade Access Program last year, I have a greater appreciation for the need to develop and practice soft-business skills and planning an event seemed like an ideal way to do that.”

“This is one event that everyone, not just business students, can take advantage of.”

Sachdeva, who is studying Accounting Management, said: “I am always interested in participating more and more in school events. I thought taking on this event would be ideal for me. […] I wanted to enhance my leadership and planning skills. I am also interested in technological stuff, so that caught me to go for this event.”

Calder and Sachdeve mentioned that they began planning for it at the beginning of the semester.

“Booking the speaker, room, and promotional booths all needed to be done in advance, so time management is very important,” Calder said. “We also had to find a photographer, work with a graphics designer to create a poster, plan catering, and coordinate help from other DCBA members. We also had help and support from both staff and faculty. Jitesh and I could not have done it without everyone that was involved.”

The workshop also made it possible for the attendees to get their headshots taken for free before the presentation. The attendees were instructed to dress professionally. Gonzales mentioned that a professional headshot allows a recruiter to put a face to the information provided.

When asked about future events, the event leaders said that the DCBA will be hosting a CPA information session on November 8. A guest speaker from CPA BC and speakers from MNP will be talking about the CPA program.