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Networking for Recent Grads: How to Find and Connect with Alumni on Linkedin

LinkedIn is one of the most valuable networking tools available to professionals. Use its many features to connect with other graduates from your alma mater that are in your choice industry, that work for your target company, or that can offer advice related to your career.

For new 2012 graduates its key to have a 100% complete LinkedIn profile. Don’t reach out to anyone before you know ‘what you have to offer’.  Create a branded profile message with a great tag line, summary, and the core competencies you want to share with the professional world.  A part of having this complete profile is to list your college, degree and graduation date.  This will help you build your connections and network your way to job leads. Once your profile is complete you are ready to build your alumni network by utilizing just two of LinkedIn’s many features.

1) Go to www.linkedin.com/college/ to see a list of where other alumni from your college reside, the companies they work for, and what they do.  You can go into LinkedIn’s “Advanced” search feature in the people tab to find an exact match for all three of your criteria.  LinkedIn has made it quite easy to find established alumni and then outreach to them directly.

2) Join several LinkedIn Groups related to your industry and your career interests. Once a member, see who from your College is also a member by clicking on the ‘Members” tab within the group, and then putting in the school under ‘’Search Members’’ on the left.  In addition to joining groups related to your career goals, join your University’s alumni group(s) on LinkedIn to get information on events and share your articles or ask your questions.

ALWAYS use a personal message in your invitation to connect with alumni or any other professional on LinkedIn. Unless you give people a reason, no one will want to respond to you. There is an art to networking, and it’s about building relationships. Never ask for a job.  Job leads follow those that are effective connectors.

LinkedIn lets you connect with alumni and other key people that can assist you in your career journey. I just listed two easy ways to increase your contacts and your outreach power. Its up to you to form relationships on LinkedIn with these graduates from your University. There are many other ways to network. Just remember a key piece to effective networking is ‘giving’. Offer your advice, volunteer your services, and offer your job leads to individuals that reach out to you as well.

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