Using LinkedIn to Network with Alumni
LinkedIn can help you with your job search by keeping you connected with alumni. Typically, people who share a school in common 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 LinkedIn request if you and that person are alumni of the same school.
Therefore, take advantage of your alumni status and try to connect and work with people who went to one of the same schools 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 Groups and Groups Directory 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 will help open the door, but don’t expect a golden handout right away. Be ready to offer one of your contacts in exchange for the former classmate’s help or consideration.
Use the Find Classmates function available in Add Connections (that link at the top right corner of any LinkedIn page) to look for classmates from the schools in your profile. You should expand your range of graduation years to include some years before and after your graduation date.
This allows you to find classmates you might have met who were in different grades or levels in their study but might have shared classes or study time with you.
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 in your search.
For example, because the department name at the University of California, Irvine has changed from the Graduate School of Management, or GSM, to the Paul Merage School of Business. Search for the old and new search terms because classmates may have defined their educational listings differently.