I’ve been working with a gentleman who is interested in enhancing his LinkedIn strategy, and one of the questions he had for me was with whom should he connect. I suggested that he connect with those in his occupation and industry, as well as lateral industries, and then I pointed him to Find Alumni.
Alumni? you may wonder. Yes, alumni. It makes perfect sense. Think about the bond you have with the people you went to school with, even if you never met them. There are things you probably experienced during the four years of your education, such as frequenting the same sports bar, getting chased by the white swans from the campus pond, cheering for your school’s basketball team, surviving the blizzard of ’87.
If you haven’t taken a look at Find Alumni, which is in the Network drop down, you should see what kind of information you can gather and the potential of connecting with your alumni. I’ve gathered some telling information about my alumni (1st and 2nd degrees, and group members), for the years I attended my alma mater, UMass, Amherst .
LinkedIn allows me to filter my alumni by six categories:
1. Where they live
In the United States the majority of my alumni live in the Greater Boston area (5,416), which makes sense. I also live in the Greater Boston area. What’s this? Twenty of my alumni connections live in the United Kingdom. This info can be useful if I find myself in their neck of the woods and am in the mood for tea…networking.
2. Where they work
If I’m wondering where my alumni work, I see that they haven’t strayed far from home. Most of them work at my alma mater, while the fewest work at Boston Scientific. When I click on UMass Amherst, LinkedIn tells me the occupations my alumni hold at the university, as well as facts under the following filters.
3. What they do
Of my alumni connections 1,404 are in sales. And at the bottom are the 126 accountants. I’m surprised to see that I’m connected to so many engineers, even if they’re only 2nd degrees. This seems odd to me, as I’m in career development. My father, who was an engineer, would have been proud.
4. What they studied
Business, management, marketing, and related support services seem to be the choices of majors at my university. My discipline, English Languages, is seventh on the list. Engineering is fourth. Dad always told me not to be an engineer. Not because it’s a lousy occupation; but because I’d make a lousy engineer.
5. What they’re skilled at
My alumni are more skilled at leadership (1,532) than sales (707). If I fashion myself skilled at public speaking, I’m in the company of 1,145 others who share this skill. I’m disappointed that social media is at the bottom at the list at 556, as I dabble in this skill.
6. How you’re connected
My 1st degree connections in the United States number a mere 32, yet I have 4,521 2nd degree alumni connections and 7,691 group members. I feel justified in connecting with any alum who can be of mutual assistance, but this means I have a lot of work to do if I want to turn those 2nd degrees and group members into 1st degrees.
What does this all mean?
This has been a fun exercise for me in terms of discovering where my alma mater live, where they work, what they do, etc.; but the power of this feature lies in identifying specific people with whom you’d like to connect. Using the following criteria, I’m going to see how many of my alumni with whom I’m connected.
- Where they live: Greater New York City.
- What they do: Marketing.
- What they’re skilled at: Social Media Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Public Relations, Marketing Communications, Social Networking, and Blogging.
Although the criteria are vast, this gives me a list of 34 2nd degree alumni connections and 111 group members, all of whom I can justify sending an invite to or at the very least communicating with them through our common groups. I think I’ll challenge my client to connect with more of his alumni than I do. This shouldn’t be much of a challenge, as he’s just two years out of college.
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