Bridging the Gap between Social and Distanced
Especially because of the restrictions placed on face-to-face meetings, virtual networking — using digital platforms — had become the only way to do so throughout the past year. And, surprisingly, online networking can be quite empowering. It’s safe. You get to enjoy your counterpart’s full visage without a restrictive mask or a muffled voice. And meeting someone one-on-one in a Zoom can actually be intimate; far more intimate and less distracting than trying to command their attention in a crowded room.
LinkedIn is a big part of the answer to virtual networking, but it’s not always the best tool for health care professionals. Look at the numbers: More than half the Duquesne alumni population is on the platform — about 54,000. But of those, only 1,200 are registered nurses — that’s 2% — and only 200 are in nursing administration. This is where the combined support of the Duquesne Center for Career Development and the Office of Alumni Engagement can help connect Nursing students and alumni.
DukesConnect, a Duquesne-specific joint undertaking by those two offices, is a new networking platform that already has 1,400 alums on it, all of whom have pledged to provide assistance to current students.
The resource offers:
- A home page feed where you can view latest updates on the platform.
- A directory where you can search for students and alumni to connect with.
- A job board in which students and alumni can search for opportunities. Alumni are also encouraged to share openings.
- An event board to help you keep track of different events across the University — including networking events.
- A designated School of Nursing group which already has more than 50 nursing alumni members.
Health Care Networking Event
Recently, our two offices held a networking event specifically for students and alumni in health care fields. Participating students not only had a chance to meet with Nursing alumni, but they also could connect with alumni professionals in Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
“Participating in the networking night for health care students broadened my perspective of the nursing field, and it was a great opportunity for me to have conversations with alumni in the health care field and get realistic advice from them,” said Jiwon, a sophomore BSN student.
Ivy, a junior, shared, “As a nursing student, my biggest takeaway was the fact that nursing is a very wide and diverse field with many specialties to choose from. I also learned that being a Duquesne nursing student is something to be more than proud of. From the alumni present, one thing they all had in common was the fact that Duquesne, through all the resources provided, really helped them, and prepared them well even after graduation. The supportive faculty and staff were there every step of the way. This encouraged me to be more confident as I look forward to graduation.”
According to one of the participating alums, Angel, “The students were amazingly engaged and had great questions that I don’t think would have been answered without this opportunity. They asked about my career path and how I got to where I am today. (They got to see that it is a journey, not a long weekend.) I offered non-traditional career paths that students might not have thought about. I think speaking with us gave them a real perspective of what it will be like once they graduate. I also loved the small groups…it encouraged and gave students the opportunity to ask what was on their mind.”
Connecting Post-Event via DukesConnect
The best part about using DukesConnect after these networking events is that it takes the difficulty out of following up. Once the contact has been made, you can find each other on the platform. And while viewing their profile and background, you can use the platform to customize your outreach because you’re able to view the ways in which they are willing to help. Then, you can message them with a request tailored to their ability to support you.
So how do you sign up? Navigate to www.DukesConnect.com and log on in one of three ways via:
- Your Multi-pass
- Your LinkedIn account
- Your personal email account
Our recommendation? If you have LinkedIn, make it work for you: Sign in that way, and your profile is pulled directly onto the new platform, saving you a lot of typing. Once you’ve been approved, you can start surfing the platform in search of a mentor, a one-off piece of job interview advice, an event, or a classmate’s name and email address so you can message them about next week’s assignment.
You can also use the platform to connect with the university at large. The platform brings together some 14 different social media accounts. You can use filters to find individuals who have studied abroad, belong to fraternities or sororities, or come from your part of the globe — there’s a whole world out there to discover.
Finally, the Career Center’s career consultant for the School of Nursing, Deb Saffer, spends time every day thinking of ways to make DukesConnect more relevant to our nursing students. Reach out!
We hope to see you on the platform!
Associate Director, Alumni Career Networks
Duquesne Center for Career Development