Posted on: November 2018 Lara Edgcombe
As a recent or soon to be grad, opportunities are often difficult to come by. Simply finding a way in can be the hardest step to take when you’re looking to kickstart your career.
For this reason, it’s vital that you use every tool in your box to open up as many doors as you possibly can. Unfortunately, knowing where to start and where to focus your efforts can be confusing.
LinkedIn’s Alumni tool could be the key to gaining new connections in the places that really make the difference. So if you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall, here’s how to use LinkedIn’s Alumni tool to smash it down.
Why the Alumni Tool is So Powerful
LinkedIn is a fantastic place to build your connections and create a strong network of allies. Despite this, the people that you know aren’t always the best placed to help you.
Maybe you’re looking to follow a particular career path that none of your connections have any insight on. Or perhaps you’re searching for a contact in a specific company that you’re desperate to work for. Either way, the likelihood is that someone within your alumni network can help.
Trying to make a contact of this nature completely out of the blue will usually fall flat. Most people don’t like unsolicited invites from complete strangers and will simply ignore them.
However, through having attended the same university as a potential contact, you instantly have something in common. As university is such a formative part of most people’s lives, it’s actually a stronger link than you might imagine.
No matter how recently or long ago they graduated, people are always inclined to help their fellow alumni. This potentially opens up your network to hundreds of thousands of contacts you wouldn’t otherwise have any hope of making.
Where to Find the Alumni Tool
Firstly you’ll need to search for your university by typing its name into the search box. Once you’ve clicked on the institution and navigated to the front page, you’ll see two options in the top box.
One will be to follow the page, and the other is to “See alumni”. Clicking this button will take you to the Career Insights page, otherwise known as the Alumni tool.
How to Filter the Alumni Tool
Depending on the university, the number of your alumni on LinkedIn is likely to stretch well into the six figures. But rather than aimlessly trawling through tens of thousands of users, you’re able to easily narrow it down.
Using the 6 filters towards the top of the career insights page, narrow it down by relevant parameters. Where they live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, what they’re skilled at, and how you are connected.
You can also further reduce the result by inputting dates when they studied, or simply using the search box. What’s left will be a list of the most relevant alumni according to your filter selections. A neat tip is to always start as specific as possible and widen it out as necessary.
How to Make Connections Through the Alumni Tool
Now it’s time to get strategic and make the most of this perfectly targeted list. The key is to make sure you have a plan for every action you make on it.
If you’re looking for an in at a company or a discussion with a current employee then you will need to add them to your network. Don’t just click connect, you’ll be losing the advantage you have of being an alumni. Write them a personalised message detailing that you went to the same university and exactly why you’re getting in contact. Don’t be afraid to be direct.
Another useful way to utilise the Alumni tool is to research how and where people have progressed their careers. By clicking on someone’s name you’ll be able to see their full profile including their work experience, previous companies, and job titles. This will give you a good idea of where their promotions and opportunities arose.
Very few people take advantage of LinkedIn’s Alumni tool. Understanding how to use it could give you the edge both in finding your next opportunity and taking your career to the next level. So give it a go, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
*If your profile needs some polishing or your network could do with a boost, head back to the first post in this LinkedIn series here. Or if you’re ready to learn how to use LinkedIn to engage with potential employers check out this article instead
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