I’ve been working with a gentleman who is interested in enhancing his LinkedIn strategy. One 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 people in companies for which he’d like to work, and then I pointed him to See 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 See Alumni, which you accesse by typing your school’s name in the Search field, 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. I’m focusing on my 2nd degree connections.
LinkedIn allows me to filter my alumni by six categories. Below is the first of two pages of See Alumni:
1. Where they live
In the United States the majority of my alumni live in the Greater Boston area (4,821), which makes sense. I also live in the Greater Boston area and choose to connect with people who are local. Only 671 of my alumni live in the Springfield, Massachusetts area. This also tells me there’s more industry in eastern Massachusetts.
2. Where they work
If I’m wondering where my alumni work, I see that 201 of them haven’t strayed far from home. Most of them work at my alma mater, while the 46 work at Fidelity. I pointed out to my client that if he clicks “See More,” he’ll see many more companies, along with other filters.
I also tell him that this filter is a great source of information, especially if he has some companies in mind. His alumni can be allies in his job search.
3. What they do
Of my alumni connections 1,649 are in business development. And at the bottom of the truncated view are 886 people in Entrepreneurship. I recall looking through my See Alumni feature and noticing that I’m connected to many engineers, even if they’re 2nd degrees. This filter can be a good indication of the relevance of your network.
The second page of See Alumni provides the following information.
4. What they studied
Economics, Psychology, and Business Administration seem to be the choices of majors of my 2nd degree connections at my alma mater. My discipline, English Languages, is seventh on the list. Mechanical Engineering is seventh. 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 (2,831) than business development, which is hidden, (1,342). If I fashion myself skilled at public speaking, I’m in the company of 2,194 others who share this skill. Social Media stands at 1,902. Four years ago it was at the bottom at the list at 556. This is an indicator that social media is exploding.
6. How you’re connected
Four years ago my 1st degree connections stood at a mere 32. Now I have 159. My second degrees have grown from 4,521 to 7,311 in that time frame.
What does this all mean?
This has been a fun exercise for me in terms of discovering where my alma mater live and work, what they do, etc; but the power of this feature lies in identifying specific people with whom you’d like to connect. No matter what your age is, this is a feature you should be using.
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Photo: UMass.edu Almuni