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Alumnus Lee Johnson Helps Fellow Microsoft Employees Leverage LinkedIn

July 2, 2019

Paine College Alumnus Lee Johnson on the True Value of Your LinkedIn Profile

It's always a pleasure to get an opportunity to touch base with our Paine College alumni, if only to hear about their current successes and plans for the future. We recently had a chance to hear from alumnus Lee Johnson, after he hosted a LinkedIn party for his current employer, Microsoft. He was gracious enough to answer our questions, recounting his own experience with that important platform and offering some advice for recent Paine College graduates and current students.

Could you tell us how LinkedIn has been for you and what it could do for recent grads?

LinkedIn has been an essential resource in my professional profile development. After I graduated from Paine College in 2010, I thought of LinkedIn as another social media channel, like Facebook and Instagram, and did not take it seriously. However, when I started applying for jobs, I noticed many companies recommended a LinkedIn profile upload instead of my resume. From there, I began investing in my future by expanding my LinkedIn awareness and understanding. Also, LinkedIn is a useful networking resource, which helps create connections for recent grads and business professionals with similar education, experience, and skills.

I would encourage recent grads to build a compelling profile and story to introduce who they are, create connections with alumni and classmates from different waves of matriculation, and sincerely outline what they plan to do in their future careers.

Are there things that students should be doing with the platform right now, even before they graduate?

Students can create a LinkedIn profile right now! It is important to research what it takes to create a strong LinkedIn profile because it will set the foundation for improvements as they progress. Getting involved with the community and volunteering is important for LinkedIn profiles. Although work experience may not be extensive immediately out of college, volunteer experience carries similar visibility as work experience. Explore LinkedIn jobs for internships and jobs in their field. It does not hurt to start exploring a career path before graduation because you have an idea of where you want to go in your future.

You were chosen to host a LinkedIn party for Microsoft. How did you get selected for that, and how does it make you feel?

I was selected to host the LinkedIn Party because of my initiative to support the planning process, passion to encourage career development for others, and comfortability with public speaking. I have worked at Microsoft for eight years, in which seven years have been with Microsoft Retail. I transitioned from Retail to Microsoft Cloud Operations + Innovation in 2018 as a Learning & Development Trainer in the Northern Virginia Datacenters.

I attribute my success to my family (both parents are alumni of Paine College and my older sister is an alumna of Howard University), my wife (alumna of Augusta State University), and my Paine College family. Paine provided me the tools to build my confidence with public speaking by serving in multiple capacities, ranging from Mr. Freshman to Mr. Paine College 2008-2009 and the Student Government Association Board.

I am a living example of our school's motto: "You can get there from here."

As members of Lee's Paine College family, we couldn't be prouder of his success, and are thankful that he could take time out of his busy schedule to offer insight and advice to current Paine students and recent grads. He is indeed a living example of our school's motto!

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