After the degree: 'In the end it's all about people with their own story'

Florian de Roo van Alderwerelt: "LinkedIn takes good care of its employees". Photos: Robin Alysha Clemens

How did you choose your study programme? Was it a quick choice?
"I actually wanted to become a sports journalist and study Media & Communication in Rotterdam, but I didn't get a good feeling about it during Open Day, so I went for a gap year in Spain, where I found out I wanted to do something international. That’s how I ended up at the European Law School in Maastricht, after which I went to Utrecht to study Law & Economics because I wanted to diversify my curriculum. Currently, I work as Associate Customer Success Manager at LinkedIn, so I actually don't do much with my studies at the moment.”

How did you end up at LinkedIn?
"I did a few internships at law firms, but I didn't like it very much. The colleagues were nice, but it was mainly about the big money. That does not suit me. During my master's, one subject stood out: European competition law. It was about big technology companies like Facebook and Google, how they work and how they are perceived. I found that very interesting, so I decided to look for a job in that world. I started out as Client Happiness Manager at Media Distillery, a small company in Amsterdam where I acquired enough experience to work at LinkedIn.”

What connections helped you to get this job?
"My girlfriend already worked at Google in Dublin, so that was an important reason to look for a job there. I also had an old classmate who worked at LinkedIn was handy. But LinkedIn also helped me enormously. They literally took me by the hand to open a bank account and register with the municipality. The fact that my employer had so much confidence in me and wanted to invest in me made it a lot easier to take this step.”

What do you like most about your work?
"LinkedIn takes good care of their employees. For example, there is a barista in the office, but there are also all kinds of events and workshops to socialise and develop yourself. It's a great place to work. I also think it's important that I can be valuable to others. I help companies to find the right employees with our digital tools and, indirectly, I also help people find a job that suits them. I always tell my clients that it’s not about vacancies, but rather about people with their own story. Maybe someone has been looking for work for months and an offer changes their life. Especially now that many people are losing their jobs due to the corona crisis, a good digital network can really mean a lot.”

How did you build up your professional network?
"Funnily enough, mostly via LinkedIn. After secondary school I made a profile to stay in touch with my schoolmates. Then I added more and more people  over the years, people I met during my studies or in other places. Everyone is moving in a different direction and I like to see where others end up. So I didn't really start it on purpose, but in the end I did build up a fairly large and varied network.”

What new skills have you acquired in this job?
"Being flexible. My job requires me to always deal with new people, teams, and product modifications. I really underestimated how challenging that is. I also learned to listen well. You don't just want to hear what a customer is telling you, you also want to know what they mean or what they don't say, so you can really help them move forward. In order to do that, I've learned to be more assertive and sometimes diverge from people or ask critical questions.”

What do you miss the most from your time as a student?
"The relationships you build with your fellow students. That goes a lot deeper than with colleagues. It is more difficult to share your personal life in the workplace. That's a pity.”

What do you hope to achieve in the next ten years?
"That’s a difficult question, because so far I have always ended up on a different path than I had expected. If possible, I would like to move up the ladder within LinkedIn, perhaps manage a team. I find it a fantastic idea to achieve things together, as a group, while also acknowledging the talents and interests of the team members, allowing them to enjoy their work as much as possible. But I don't know if I will still be working at LinkedIn in ten years. Let’s see what will come my way in the future.”

What about now?
"I hope I can stay at LinkedIn for the time being, because it is a very nice company with a lot of room to grow. For now, I am especially looking forward to a bit more stability, after the uncertainty of the past months. I would also like to see if I can do something positive with my law degree, such as volunteering. For example, through voluntary work in the social sector. I hope to soon be able to make a real start on that, instead of just thinking about it.”


Florian de Roo van Alderwerelt studied law at the European Law School in Maastricht from 2012 to 2015 and graduated cum laude from Utrecht University in 2017 with a master's degree in Law and Economics. He now works in Dublin as Associate Customer Success Manager at LinkedIn.

This article was created in collaboration with alumni magazine Illuster