It is often said that in order to advance in your career it’s not really what you know but rather who you know. One such case in which this adage is true is when you leverage your alma mater’s alumni network to find a job.
Let’s face it, people do have a tendency to help out fellow alumni if they can. It’s a point of pride for many and a great way for them to give back to their alma mater. If you were in a position to help someone from your alma mater you would probably do it in a heartbeat too, so why not tap into your college’s network to help you advance your career?
Fortunately LinkedIn has made it easier for you. Read on to learn about LinkedIn’s alumni features and how you can use them to advance your career.
Find out where alumni work.
If you visit http://linkedin.com/alumni while you’re logged in to LinkedIn, it will pull up all of the alumni they can find based on what the education section of your profile says. This nifty feature is a job seeker’s dream come true for getting your foot in at multiple companies.
For example, you probably already know that finding a job which requires relocation can be kind of tough. This is especially true if you don’t have a personal referral.
With LinkedIn’s alumni feature you pull up the cities where fellow alumni work, reach out to them personally and let them know you are interested in relocating and wanted to get to know some alumni in the area.
Find companies that already hire alumni.
While companies may not technically have allegiances with certain universities, they certainly sometimes have their preferences. As such you can use the alumni section to see which companies already hire people from your alma mater.
This gives you a clear advantage because you already know which companies may have an affinity for your college. Furthermore, you can probably bet that one of those alumni is involved in making hiring decisions so you may want to connect with them as you can.
As a side note, you can also see what kinds of jobs alumni hold. This can help you in finding the alumni that are already involved with the kind of job you’re looking for.
Personally connect with fellow alumni.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can use LinkedIn to actually connect with people who went to your college. As with any connection on LinkedIn make sure to tell them how you found them and offer to help them any way that you can.
The truth is the best way to leverage the “alumni connection” is to actually get in touch with alumni. Doing a little research on which companies would be likely to hire you based on your alma mater is great, but personal referrals go a very long way in making sure you get the job.
While relationships are built gradually over time, the common ground you share with alumni helps speed up the process a little. In other words, you may not have to wait as long (or feel as awkward) asking to meet up for coffee, chatting on the phone or eventually asking for a personal referral.
A quick note here to mention that while it may be tempting, try not to only speak to alumni you already know. Make sure to branch out a little and expand your network. Remember, the common ground makes it easier.
Lisa Rangel and the Chameleon Resumes team have helped over 6,000 executives and senior professionals land the 6-figure positions they deserve.
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