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College networking forum boasts 1000+ members

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Unbeknowst to her, Lynea Castillo helped the USF College of Public Health reach a major milestone. In November, the undergraduate student became the 1000th member to join the college’s group on LinkedIn, a professional networking site with more than 187 million members in 200 countries and territories.

A recent search on LinkedIn resulted in more than 79,000 USF Bulls and 3,100 COPHers—of whom1,059 elected to connect with the University of South Florida College of Public Health.  Formed in 2008, the USF COPH group includes current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, and public health professionals interested in the college. The site features an active jobs board with training, fellowship, and employment opportunities; news stories from the college; and a discussion forum.

“LinkedIn strengthens and extends your existing network of trusted contacts,” said Brian Creel, a career advisor in the college and manager of the day-to-day activities for the group. “With more than 1000 folks in the COPH group, that is a lot of people who are able to assist with your career and professional development. When you figure in acquaintances from school and interest organizations the number of resources is endless!”

Aside from connecting with professionals, the site also allows members to post a virtual resume, share links to publications, join professional and special interest organizations, link to a blog, and seek recommendations from peers.

“Consider LinkedIn to be a professional version of facebook,” said Natalie D. Preston-Washington, manager of field experience and career development. She created the group and finds the site to be a valuable resource.  “I have located lost alumni, researched the employment history of preceptors, and discovered public health resources that I didn’t know existed.”

She recalls an occasion when a student posed a familiar question … How does he gain experience when most jobs want to hire people with experience? Within 24 hours, the student received numerous responses from seasoned professionals in all facets of industry. Not only did he receive great input to assist with his job search, but his question triggered respondents to view his profile/e-resume furthering his ability to network—that’s the power of LinkedIn!

Membership on LinkedIn is free, but the value is priceless. Join the USF COPH group today.