Using LinkedIn to Network with Alumni
Typically, people who share a school in common on LinkedIn have an ongoing affinity, whether the school is an undergraduate or graduate college, or even a high school. You can rapidly increase the chance of someone considering your request if you and that person attended the same school. Therefore, take advantage of your alumni status and try to connect with people who went to the same school as you.
Here are some tips to help further this type of search by using LinkedIn:
Search for alumni association groups of any school you attended. Click Interests and then click Groups from the top navigation bar — and then go ahead and join those groups. This gives you access to the member list of that group, so you can see other alumni, regardless of graduation year, and communicate with them.
Connect as a former classmate and ask for information first, referral second. Your shared alumni status helps open the door, but don't expect a handout right away. Be ready to offer one of your contacts in exchange for the former classmate's help or consideration.
Check the connection list of any of your contacts who attended school with you. This is a good safety check to look for any classmates on your contacts’ lists who you might not have initially considered.
Try doing an Advanced People search with the school name as a keyword, and if necessary, try different variations of the school name. For example, try the school name with and without acronyms.
If your school has changed or updated its name, do an Advanced People search for both the old and new names as keywords. For example, because the department name at UCI has changed from the Graduate School of Management, or GSM, to the Paul Merage School of Business, you could search for the old and new search terms because classmates may have defined their educational listings differently.