Darden alumni Rachel Becker (MBA ’18), Ben Leiner (MBA ’19) and Russ Wilson (MBA ’19) all found their way to full-time roles at LinkedIn through LinkedIn. Recruiters for the professional networking and social media platform contacted Russ and Rachel, who now respectively work at LinkedIn as a monetization strategy and operations manager, and a client advisor. Ben’s trajectory, on the other hand, looked a little different.

Viral LinkedIn post



Like some MBA students and others currently on the job market, Ben’s post-graduation plans changed suddenly when he had an employment offer rescinded. So, he decided to make a LinkedIn post about his experience.

The post ended up going viral, and Ben fittingly ended up as a product marketing manager for LinkedIn.

In a recent workshop for First Year and Second Year Darden students, Ben, Rachel and Russ shared these tips for using LinkedIn in today’s virtual job search market.



1. Don’t be afraid to post in your news feed.

“What do you have to lose?” Ben asked listeners. Posting in your news feed, Ben said, gives LinkedIn users greater awareness on the platform, a variety of potential job or internship leads, and helps you convey the value you’d add to a company. But be specific, Rachel suggested, in order to sort through the noise in the number of leads you might receive.

“Specificity shows that you’re excited about certain roles,” Rachel said. “Express an interest in one or two different industries, functions or locations.”

2. Buy LinkedIn Premium to gain search functionality.

Assuring listeners that he wasn’t making a sales pitch, Ben emphasized Premium’s capability to give seekers unlimited people searches than can be sorted through a variety of filters. On the free LinkedIn version, Ben explained, there is a limit to how many people searches users can run – which ultimately limits the number of new networking connections job seekers can make.

3. Reach out with a friendly message.

Once you’ve identified new individuals with whom you have something in common, such as an undergraduate institution or graduate school like Darden, Ben encouraged students to contact these individuals with a personal message.

“There is always someone within the Darden community who does what you want to do and wants to connect with you,” Russ said. “Understand where your connections are now and where they need to be.”

4. After the initial introduction, connect via email.

Once seekers receive a LinkedIn message in response to their initial inquiry, Ben encouraged the conversation to continue over email. On an individual’s LinkedIn profile, users can typically find “Contact info” that includes a person’s email address, providing a more frequently-checked avenue to continue the discussion.

5. Lather, rinse and repeat.

“You have to shoot your shot and know that you’ll miss a bunch,” Ben said, and emphasized that students be proactive in order to dissuade feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

“People are social beings and want to help, as we’re learning through these times. Trust the goodwill of strangers.”