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Pre-professional Identity Formation Through Connections with Alumni and the Use of LinkedIn

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Abstract

This chapter considers the concept of pre-professional identity as a relatively new addition to the employability agenda. In moving away from a traditional skills-based approach to work-readiness, undergraduates’ pre-professional identity formation is viewed as a means by which students preparing for the workplace can navigate and understand the culture of their intended profession. In times of austerity and economic uncertainty, many students focus on the end goal of securing a job but may overlook the importance of developing their employability in general. Focusing on students’ pre-professional identities encourages them to take responsibility for their own state of work-readiness. One way of achieving this is by considering alumni as a community of practice with which students can connect and engage: LinkedIn in particular is a tool for supporting development of the pre-professional identity. In this chapter we draw upon a targeted project where participants were introduced to the concept of the pre-professional identity and the value of connecting with alumni within their chosen field. LinkedIn was used as a valuable tool both for career exploration and understanding the graduate attributes sought by employers. Participants’ attitudes towards using the platform changed as a result: for some this led to highly positive outcomes such as securing work and building new professional networks (6562).

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Fowlie, J., Forder, C. (2019). Pre-professional Identity Formation Through Connections with Alumni and the Use of LinkedIn. In: Diver, A. (eds) Employability via Higher Education: Sustainability as Scholarship. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26342-3_22

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