The Western New England University Alumni LinkedIn Group

linked_in_logo32509.gif

It’s no secret that networking is the key to finding a job, and it’s no secret that LinkedIn is the top professional networking site in the world, with more than 135 million members worldwide.

Now Western New England University alumni have their own LinkedIn group with more than 2,000 members, thanks to the efforts of Paul Coushaine G’95, a vendor manager for the Enterprise Sourcing Office at The Hartford Financial Services Group. Coushaine started the group in early 2008, with the blessing of the Office of Alumni Relations.

LinkedIn is fertile ground for job seekers because of its capacity to exponentially expand their networks in a short amount of time. Also, the service is free. Users create their own profiles of professional qualifications on LinkedIn and then they can then find colleagues, classmates, clients, and candidates. They can also post job listings and seek business opportunities.

“I saw seen a lot more people join our group when the economy worse and people were looking to connect,” he says. “It’s been interesting to watch it grow.”

LinkedIn is a nine-year-old service that, after a slow start, doubled its membership in 2004 to 8 million. Now it’s adding a million accounts a month. “People are getting a lot out of it,” says Coushaine. “It’s reached that critical mass.”

To join the Western New England University Alumni group, you must be a member of LinkedIn. Members can click here. Not a member? Click here to join LinkedIn, and then type in “Western New England University Alumni” under “groups.” Coushaine typically checks requests every few days.

There are also separate LinkedIn groups for alumni of the Western New England University School of Law and College of Business.

Coushaine has found his involvement with LinkedIn to be a world-shrinking experience. At The Hartford, he worked with a handful of people for the last few years without knowing they were fellow alumni. “Then they joined LinkedIn and their profiles came up. I said, ‘Holy cow, you went to Western New England University?’”

Many LinkedIn users, when applying for a job, see who in their network may have a connection at the company.

“It’s a great way to access people you would never have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise,” he says.