LinkedIn and Loving It
Kennesaw State alumna helps job recruiters use a social network for professional gain Growing up in…
Georgia (Jun 9, 2014) —
Growing up in Marietta, Jodie Bennett (Communication, ’07) dreamed of one day living anywhere but here. The Kennesaw State alumna couldn’t wait to travel and explore new cultures. She’s now living out that dream, working in London for LinkedIn, the largest professional social network with more than 255 million members.
As an instructional designer, Bennett develops and designs tip sheets, self-paced tutorials and webinars that trainers deliver to LinkedIn Recruiter customers. LinkedIn Recruiter is a product for companies to help recruiters find and place the right people in the right roles.
DEFINING THE FUTURE
Bennett’s career path began two years before her May 2007 graduation. She landed a full-time job leasing apartments with Archstone-Smith, a company that operates luxury apartment communities in the U.S.
A Sprayberry High School graduate and a HOPE scholarship recipient, Bennett wasn’t sure what she wanted to study when she arrived at Kennesaw State. After she attended a weeklong training for new hires at Archstone-Smith, she knew what she aspired to do.
“I knew I wanted to be in the field of learning and development after that training,” she said. “The timing worked out perfectly since I was approaching the end of my second year at Kennesaw State. I knew an organizational communications degree would support that.”
THE ROAD AHEAD
One week before commencement, Bennett interviewed in California and accepted Archstone-Smith’s offer to transition to a position as a regional corporate trainer for 20-25 properties in the San Francisco Bay area. Her new job led her nearly 2,500 miles from home, and she was soon handling employee onboarding and traveling between communities to coach employees on their sales and customer service skills.
With a year under her career belt in California, Bennett began a master’s degree in instructional technology at San Francisco State University. She left her position at Archstone to work diligently on her degree, but landed part-time contract jobs by partnering with senior instructional designers whose clients included companies like Chevron and Microsoft.
“I pursued a master’s because I wanted to wear all of the hats in the field of learning and development, from designing and developing the training materials to facilitating classes to measuring results,” Bennett said.
She did small parts of bigger projects, helping to design training programs. Her first solo contract was for a six-month job for LinkedIn, her foray into the social networking company.
“In my current role with LinkedIn, I design and develop software training materials that can be consumed anywhere. This gives learners control and flexibility in where and how they learn,” Bennett said. Her job at LinkedIn includes creating a library of training materials for customers as well as coaching customer trainers in how to run effective online classes.
“Many of our trainers have never run an online course,” she said. “Part of my job is to work with our trainers on best practices when delivering a course online.”
A PERFECT FIT
In early 2013, Bennett transferred to the LinkedIn offices in London to join her fiance who took a position in business development with StubHub, an eBay company. While her position didn’t change, she jumped at the opportunity to move overseas and travel throughout Europe.
Bennett has visited more than a dozen European cities, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence and Edinburgh in the short time she’s been in London. She spent two weeks traveling around Italy, hiking between cities and staying in places “tucked away from the hustle of the modern world.”
Working in a global workforce has its challenges, but Bennett credits some great courses at Kennesaw State, as well as her favorite communications professor, Phillip Aust, for making a huge difference in her career path. Courses such as training and development, public speaking and interpersonal and intercultural communications had a significant impact on Bennett.
“I work with subject-matter experts globally and have to communicate with leadership,” Bennett said. “I apply many of the skills I learned in my undergraduate program, daily.”
Bennett said that her undergraduate degree was more business-oriented than technical, and she attributes those courses for helping her build a strong knowledge base.
“Now that I work for a technology company, where data is everything, I am always working with some kind of data,” Bennett explained. “I am thankful that I took the required research course at Kennesaw State, even though I hated it at the time. The research course gave me the foundation to appreciate validity of research and demand the source. Data-based decisions are where the world is going. I actually wish I had taken more [research classes].”
Bennett said that she is more keenly aware of the movement in jobs now that she’s working for LinkedIn. In her own educational and professional pursuits, she has used LinkedIn to connect with others.
“As a society, we are increasingly more connected,” she said. “Building professional relationships can open doors, and LinkedIn gives you a way to do exactly that.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.