Category Archives: LinkedIn

2 recent LinkedIn changes: one good, the other MEH

I consider myself to be a fair guy. When LinkedIn does right, I complement them. When they do wrong, I criticize them.

linkedin-alone

This time LinkedIn made a smart move by joining multiple job titles to fit under one company icon (see below). But in the same fell swoop, LinkedIn truncating each position. More on this later.

New experience2

Good move: joining positions

GOOD WORLDWIDE LLC LOGO

Previously, if you wanted to list all your positions at one company, you  entered a “new position” and your company’s icon appeared for each position. This got confusing, because at quick glance it appeared as if you worked at two, three, four, or more companies.

Note: the process is still the same in terms of entering your titles, but LinkedIn shows the line joining the positions, displaying the company icon only once.

My solution to the multiple-icon fiasco for one company was to write another positions within the original entry and separate them with a line. Unfortunately, it limited how many characters I could use for each entry.

Another problem with showing multiple positions under one entry was diminishing SEO. (Titles are weighed among the heaviest of the areas on your profile.) So it was to one’s benefit to enter as many job titles for each company. Still, it looked confusing and and disorganized.

MEH: truncating positions…again

MEH3

Remember when LinkedIn showed a person’s first position and truncated the rest of them? I do, and I thought it was a terrible move. Here’s what it looked like below the full first job description:

truncated-experience

Well this brilliant move more than a year ago must have disappointed LinkedIn members, because LinkedIn went back to expanding all but a few positions, which I loved. I just couldn’t look at a profile which only displayed titles, companies, and tenure of employment.

When LinkedIn reversed its decision, I wrote this in a post:

The good news is that LinkedIn has reversed it’s decision of showing only the first position in its entirety and truncating the previous ones. On May 26th, 2017, I noticed that LinkedIn corrected this faux pas. Now we can see most of the positions expanded.

LinkedIn meets its users halfway

Currently LinkedIn has decided to truncate people’s positions to a point (approximately 60 words). This includes your first position, as well. Visitors to your profile can still see the rich media areas, but there’s still that thing about clicking to “See more” that leaves me sour.

Note: these 60 words have to be grabbers. I suggest they’re written in first person point of view, contain a value statement, and are kept to three lines at most. Three lines at most because you should show a bulleted accomplishment. An excerpt of my first job description reads:

I’m more than a workshop facilitator & designer; I’m a career and LinkedIn strategist who constantly thinks of ways to better market my customers in their job search. Through disseminating trending job-search strategies, I increase our customers’ chances of finding jobs.

HIGHLIGHTS

► To meet the needs of my customers, I have developed more advanced workshops that have garnered high praise

I get it. LinkedIn wants a streamlined profile that doesn’t take up too much space. And the nice move it made by joining positions might not look as appealing if the position are expanded. I guess I’m a traditionalist who likes to see a profile that resembles a resume outline.


What do you think about these two changes? I’d love to hear your opinions, even if you disagree with me. Especially if you disagree with me.

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Part 2: How to Optimize Your Network

In Part 1, we looked at a checklist you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile. This post will address optimizing your LinkedIn network; how to connect, with whom to connect, and connecting etiquette.

linkedin-alone

As we address the three stages of optimizing your network, check off the ones you feel you are succeeding at.

Why Connecting with LinkedIn Members is Important

It’s not evident to enough people that the foundation LinkedIn is built on is making connections and nurturing relationships. Yes, creating a strong profile is important, as is engaging with others (which we’ll address in part 3); but building your LinkedIn network is essential.

There are approximately 560 million LinkedIn users worldwide. You are allowed to connect with 30,000 LinkedIn members. Am I suggesting that you build you network to 30,000 people? No. What I am suggesting is that you reach out to an amount of people you’re comfortable with. Most important is that you reach out to the right people.

1. How NOT to Connect

The number one rule when connecting with LinkedIn members is to send a personalized invitation. There is no deviating from this rule. To click “Send now” lacks creativity and is lazy. Instead, always choose “Add a note.”

Invite box

We’ll get into writing the proper invitation note later in the post. Let’s first look at the improper ways of connecting with LinkedIn members.

The following ways to connect will not give you the opportunity to send a personalized invitation; rather it will simply state your name and give the recipient of your invitation the option to Ignore or Accept (see below). When I receive invites like these, I click “Ignore” with no remorse.

Invite without message

Number one on the list of connecting improperly is through the feature, “Your contact import is ready” and then choosing to send mass invites to your email contacts. You’ll find this option under “My Network” on the top navigation bar.

Connecting through email

Second on the list is, “People you may know.” This option is also under “My network.” When you click Connect, your invite goes straight through to the recipient. No chance to write a personal invitation.

People you may know

Finally is connecting with someone on your mobile app by simply hitting the connect button. This, like the aforementioned ways to connect will send along the default message.

2. The Correct Ways to Connect

Connecting correctly means taking the time to read a potential connection’s LinkedIn profile, and then writing a personalized invitation. Following is an example of a personalized invite.

Personalized invite

You can connect with second and third degree contacts. For third degree contacts, LinkedIn hides the connect request under the three horizontal boxes beside the message box. (See below.)

Connecting with 3rd degrees

Contrary to what many believe, you can connect with the LinkedIn mobile app and still send a personalized invite. It’s tempting to simply click “Connect,” but open the person’s profile first and then select the drop-down box (seen below).

phone-invite

3. With Whom to Connect

Your LinkedIn network is your life blood. Without a strong network of people, you will not be successful on LinkedIn. If you are weary of reaching out to people you don’t know, you’ll have to get over it. I tell my clients that the only way they’ll get to know people is by inviting them to their network, or vise versa.

How Many is Enough?

LinkedIn members have opinions on how many people should be in one’s network. Some believe a smaller, more focused network is better; whereas others believe the more the better. How many people you have in your network is your prerogative.

Note: If you have less than 400 connections, you might not be taken seriously by some recruiters.

Regardless of how many people you would like to connect with, there are tiers of people you will want to approach. In the pyramid below the more important or relevant people ascend from the bottom to the top.

pyramid of connections 2

1st tier: Your former colleagues and supervisors, as well as vendors, partners, etc. Connecting with these people first makes the most sense, as they know your work and can vouch for you.

2nd tier: Same occupation, same industry. As an example, you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry. You will search for other accountants in your industry.

3rd tier: Same occupation but different industry. They have less in common with you, but can also be of assistance. An accountant in the information technology industry may know accountants in manufacturing, and therefore can introduce you to them.

4th tier: Recruiters are an important group of people for many job seekers. I always suggest to my clients that they reach out to recruiters, as they have a pipeline of employers job seekers are unaware of.

5th tier: Target companies. People at your target companies are your quickest way to get to know important employees who work for companies for which you’d like to work. Try to connect with people at your level or a someone who might supervise you.

6th tier: Your alumni can be beneficial to you because of the bond you share. This tier of people is particularly helpful to post grads entering the workforce who need connections to certain companies.

4. Finding Potential Connections

LinkedIn is a powerful database of professionals throughout the world. Finding people will not be difficult if you know how to use LinkedIn’s features. The most obvious way to look for someone by occupation is to use “Search.” A search for Program Manager garners 1,974,989 people. (See below.)

 

People search, program manager

However, to conduct a more focused search, you’ll use “All Filters.

All Filters

From the diagram below, you can see I’ve searched for program managers using the following filters:

  • Title: Program Manager
  • Degree of Connection: 2nd
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
  • Company: IBM

search for program manager

This garnered 37 results to match the criteria. This is a manageable amount of people to consider connecting with.

5. How to Write Proper Invite Messages

The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of messages:

The cold message: This is the most difficult to write successfully. In your message you need to provide a reason why your desired connection should join your network.

Using a reference: This message should garner success as long as the person you reference is well known and trusted by your desired connection. It’s important that your reference agrees to being mentioned in your invite message.

Asking for an introduction. A separate message, or email, from a trusted reference must be sent to the intended person. The person making the introduction must be a first degree connection with you and the recipient.

For the full article on how to send connection invites, read 3 Proper Ways for Job Seekers to Send Invites to Potential LinkedIn Connections

Read part 3 of this series.


 

The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Part 1: How to Optimize Your Profile

This article is the first part of a three-part series that will guide you through LinkedIn.

In today’s article, we’ll look at how to optimize every section of your profile. Next week, we’ll discuss connecting with LinkedIn members. In the third and final part, we’ll examine ways to engage with your network connections.

linkedin-alone

Consider this article a checklist that can help you stay on track when crafting a great LinkedIn profile. This article contains all the same checklist items I use when guiding my own clients through the process.

Brand or Message

This is more important than many people realize. If you don’t create your profile with a clear brand or message in mind, you’ll have an unfocused profile. Consider the following sections components of your branding strategy.

Optimizing Your Profile

Although keywords are not enough to raise your profile to the top of a recruiter’s search results, they are still important. Keep in mind that some areas of your profile are weighed more heavily than others when it comes to keywords — specifically, your headline and job titles.

Major Profile Sections

As we go through each section below, check off the ones you feel are strong. If you can’t check off some of the sections, read about how to make them stronger.

1. Background Image

Your background image is your first chance to brand yourself on your profile. It is important to use a photo that is relevant to your work or what you enjoy doing. Your image should be sized at 1,584 by 396 pixels for the best results.

2. Profile Photo

If you think a photo is unnecessary, you are sadly mistaken. A profile sans photo gives the impression you can’t be trusted. In addition, people won’t recognize and remember you. LinkedIn says profiles with photos are 21 times more likely to be viewed than those without.

Your photo is a huge part of your brand. You don’t have to necessarily dress to the nines for it. Just look professional and presentable.

3. Headline

Perhaps the most critical component of your branding, your headline tells readers your title and areas of expertise. Don’t scrimp on this one — it carries a lot of weight when optimizing your profile. You have 120 characters to use — make them count.

4. Hyperlinked Information

Fairly new on the scene, this is a welcome change. (See boxed section of photo below.) When they click on the information in this box, readers are brought to your place of employment, education, contact info, and/or your connections.

Hyperlink area

5. Summary

Much has been written about LinkedIn summaries, so I’m going to spare you the verbiage and simply say your summary must tell your story. It needs to articulate your passion for what you do, how well you do it, and a call to action (how you can be reached). You have 2,000 characters, so I would use them all.

6. Dashboard

The dashboard area contains a lot of handy information: views of your profile, views of your latest post, and the number of searches you’ve appeared in. In addition, you can ask for career advice, turn on “career interests,” and check out the salary range for your position.

dashboard2

7. Articles and Activities

This area below your dashboard is visible to everyone who visits your profile. Visitors will see how many articles you’ve written and the number of posts you’ve shared. When I see very little info in the activities section, that means you haven’t made an effort to engage with your network. (More on this in the third part of this series.)

8. Experience

Too often, people skimp on the details in their experience section. This is particularly the case with C-level job seekers. You don’t need to include everything, but your major accomplishments are required. Note: Your job titles carry significant weight in terms of keywords.

9. Education

Don’t be afraid to add a little more character here than you would on your resume. Were you a D1 athlete? Mention that under “Activities and Societies.” Did you complete your degree while working full-time? Mention that in the “Description” area.

10. Volunteer

Don’t neglect this area. Employers appreciate people who give to their communities. This is also a section where you can showcase your personality. Your volunteerism doesn’t have to be job-related. If it is, list it in your experience section.

11. Skills and Endorsements

You can list a total of 50 skills, and others can endorse you for those skills. Take advantage of this section, as recruiters pay attention to the number and types of skills you have. When you apply for a job through LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” feature, the number of skills you have for the job are counted.

New Skills and Recommendations Section

12. Recommendations

Once considered one of the top features, recommendations have been relegated to the basement of your profile. Should you continue to ask for and write recommendations in light of this change? In my opinion, yes. Recruiters will continue to read them.

13. Accomplishments

One of the major blunders LinkedIn has committed is anchoring this section in the basement of the profile. I say this because important information lies within, including lists of projects, organizations, publications, and patents.

14. Interests

This section shows visitors your interests in influencers, companies, groups, and schools. Recruiters might glean some information about you, based on the groups you’ve joined and the companies and schools you follow.

Profile Extras

15. Rich Media Areas

Rich media areas reside in your summary (shown below), experience, and education sections. Here, you can post videos, audio files, documents, and PowerPoint presentations. See this as your online portfolio.

Media Area

16. LinkedIn Publishing

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to blog on topics of interest and share the posts with your connections. If you’re consistent in blogging, you’ll develop a following. Promoting your blog is entirely up to you. In the past, whenever you published, your connections would receive notification of your posts. Not so anymore.

17. Video

Video is becoming more important to standing out on social media. A good video must contain content that is relevant to your network. Small technical things like smiling, proper lighting and sound, and a steady camera are important. This video from Steph Cartwright is a good example of what your videos should look like, if you choose to make any.


If you are diligent about completing the sections of your profile covered here, you will be a third of the way toward a great LinkedIn campaign. Next read part 2 of this series!

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.

Should Candidates Send a LinkedIn Invite after the First Interview?

A client of mine recently asked if she should send an invitation to a recruiter to join her LinkedIn network. After the first interview. I thought for a moment and said, “Why don’t you wait until the process is complete. If you get the job, send an invite. If you don’t get the job, still send an invite.”

laptop

To confirm the advice I gave my client was sound, I thought of asking recruiters what they thought. So I turned to the Facebook group, Recruiters Online. What I expected was a firm “nay” on candidates sending a LinkedIn invite after the first interview.

What I got was the exact opposite. In fact approximately 98% of the recruiters were in favor of candidates sending them a LinkedIn invite after the first interview. One recruiter wrote, “What’s the problem?” As if saying, “This is a dumb question.” Dumb as it may be, I was a bit taken aback.

These recruiters reminded me that what’s important in any situation is building one’s LinkedIn network. Here are just a few of the answers I received from approximately 70 recruiters who weighed in.

Kendra Saddler,I usually sign off a promising screening call with, ‘Hey good talk, whatever happens, let’s keep in touch, I’d be honored to accept your Linked invitation.”

Michele Vincent, “If I was interviewing candidates other than skilled trades workers, I would expect [a candidate sending me an invite] and appreciate this — especially if I was interviewing for a marketing or sales position.”

Wendy Donohue Mazurk, “Obviously [I appreciate an invite] as I am interested in them or we wouldn’t be speaking. I also would send them one. Isn’t that the point of LinkedIn?”

Glenn Gutmacher, “If I’m interested in a candidate and we’ve gotten to the interview stage, that candidate wants as much insight as possible into 1) my company (e.g., see which relevant hiring managers I know) and 2) in case it doesn’t work out, [I can refer them to] outside companies who may have similar roles.

“Conversely, I’m appreciative because that candidate’s network should be chock-full of relevant talent for similar roles, and I’ll get a lot more potential candidates by perusing their network.”

Scott Axel, “Yes, and I find it professional and a good sign to indicate actual interest in the role.”

Nick Livingston,I consider it the modern ‘Thank you, our conversation was worth the time and regardless of what transpires in the short term, you’re someone worth keeping in touch with’.”

Julie Lynn, “I definitely connect with people that are interviewing with my clients whether or not they get the job.”

A Leigh Johnson, “They can invite but I probably won’t accept it until our business concludes, positive or negative.”
Jennifer Sherrard,I would expect it if I haven’t already connected with them.”

Steve LowiszAccepting a LinkedIn invite from a candidate you interview shows you are actually interested in people and not just going through the motions. If the candidate gives you the time to interview the least you can do is show some level of gratitude and accept their invitation—even if the are not the right fit. It’s a small world and people know other people.”


These are just some of the comments I received from my innocuous question, so I thought. Some of the respondents were polite in their answers, while others considered the question “crazy,” as one person wrote.

From now on when my clients ask me if they should send a LinkedIn invite to a recruiter after the first interview, I’ll confidently tell them that more than 70 recruiters I polled said to do it. What more proof do I need?

Photo: recruiter.com

 

 

5 reasons why LinkedIn Recommendations should get more respect

In my house the basement is designated for the stuff we barely use or bicycles that my kids ride in warm weather. It’s not the type of basement that is a furnished “man cave.” I give it no thought until the furnace or water heater need repair, or I have to retrieve the lawnmower to cut the grass.

basement

So when I consider the LinkedIn profile and how you can no longer move certain sections around at will, I think about one important section that is, as I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees, buried in the basement like my furnace and water heater.

LinkedIn has made a statement. Like my forgotten stuff and rarely used bicycles, recommendations have lost the value they once had. We encourage business people and job seekers to ask for recommendations, but given that they’ve are shunned by LinkedIn, why should we talk about them as if they’re a valuable piece of the profile?

What we talk about now are endorsements. But recommendations, to many, are more substantive than endorsements; they mean more.  (Read about my love/hate relationship with endorsements here.)

Do you remember when recommendations were required to meet 100% completion or All Star status? No longer is that the case. That’s right, you must have at least five endorsements on your way to stardom.

Below are five reasons why recommendations should get more respect.

1. Once considered one of the most important sections of the profile. Recommendations were once the rave of the LinkedIn profile; some considered them the profile’s best feature. Recruiters only had to read them to see your excellence. They could make a quick decision on whether to contact you or not.

But recommendations are more difficult to write than endorsements are to give. So eventually we’ve seen the number of recommendations decrease in favor of the all popular endorsements, which promote engagement and…laziness.

2. Say more about the recipient. This argument is so old that I’m tired of saying it, but I will. A recommendation is a testament, in the words of others, of your excellence. And we know the words of others say more about you than what you say about yourself. If written with thoughtfulness, a recommendation can be gold.

A three-year-old article (to this day) from FastCompany,  Is this part of you LinkedIn profile hurting your job search?, describes the virtues of recommendations. But it also warns against accepting recommendations that are fluffy.

3. Say something about the writer. People who supervised you are demonstrating their authority and the values they hold in an employee. When asked to write a recommendation for you without any guidance, they are going to think about what makes you a great employee. If they value teamwork, communication skills, expertise, problem solving; these values will show in their writing.

I always advise my clients to take care when they write recommendations for others. In other words, produce well-written recommendations. The reason is obvious; visitors are going to make judgments on your content, as well as how you write.

4. They are testimonials for business owners. When LinkedIn delegated recommendations to the basement, I heard a collective grown from business owners who relied not on their supervisors’ praise, but on the most important people, their customers. The reason for their disappointment was obvious; recommendations were great advertisement; they were testimonies of the greatness of their work.

One self-employed résumé writer had approximately 70 recommendations which he proudly displayed after his Summary section. In fact, he made a point of mentioning his recommendations in the Summary. He knew the importance of recommendations to his business. But one day poof they went, landing in the basement.

5. Can be used as excerpts for quotes on your résumé. Many of my clients have used excerpts from their LinkedIn recommendations as such. And it makes sense. If you are in an industry where quotes are acceptable as résumé fodder, go for it. The proof is there; the recommendations are on your profile.


Recommendations are valued by recruiters, so why are they designated to the basement? What can those of us do about the disrespect LinkedIn has shown recommendations?

We can write occasional updates expressing our concern or outrage. We can begin discussions in “official” LinkedIn groups. Finally, we can write long posts like this one, hoping that others will feel the outrage that I feel.

Photo: Flickr, Wm

 

5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section

So your LinkedIn profile Summary is personalized with first-person point of view and shows accomplishments to pack a powerful punch. You tell a story that includes who you are, why you do what you do, and how well you do it. Your Summary kicks ass.

linkedin-alone

Having a stunning Summary is great, but when your Experience section consists only of bare essentials, such as your titles, company names, and years of employment; your LinkedIn profile lacks the punch that propels you to the top of the list. It is incomplete

Many Recruiters see your Experience section as the most important part of your profile. They’re looking for your years of experience, the companies for which you worked, and accomplishments with quantified results. In addition, you must include keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).

So here are five reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn Experience section.

1. Start utilizing SEO by expanding your title. Did you know that the titles of your positions are weighed heavily in terms of keywords? This is a simple fix. Instead of simply listing your title and where you work, e.g., CEO at ABC Company; add some of your areas of expertise.

Better, CEO at ABC Company ~ New Business Development | Global Strategic Relationships | Marketing and Sales

If you are currently looking for work and have decided to list an end date for your previous position, simply leave out the company name.

Note: you are limited to 100 words.

2. Your experience section needs to tell a better story. A quick fix of copying the content of your résumé to your profile is the first step in building your Experience section; however, you’re not done yet. You still have to modify your profile to make it more personal, a networking document. This means your point of view should be first person and, of course, include quantified results.

Take, for example, an accomplishment statement from a résumé: Volunteered to training  5 office staff on new database software. All team members were more productive, increasing the team’s output by 75%.

Better: I extended my training expertise by volunteering to train 5 office staff on our new database software. All members of the team were more productive as a result of my patient training style, increasing the team’s output by 75%.

3. Your position doesn’t tell it all.  You’re a director, CEO, or CFO, so you think that says it all. Wrong! Executive Résumé Writer, Laura Smith-Proulx believes the more relevant information, the better; particularly when you’re trying to differentiate yourself from other executives. She writes:

The key to a strategic message in your CFO résumé is to do MORE with the details – taking the hard facts of budgets managed, teams directed, or cost savings achieved to fold in personal brand messages.

At the very least, your leadership as a director of an organization plays an essential role in its success. What is the scope of your authority? How have you helped the organization grow? Have you contributed to the community or charities? Have you turned around failing companies and made them more profitable? Remember, you’re representing the organization. Or perhaps you’re passively looking for another job.

4. The power of LinkedIn is greater than you think. LinkedIn’s search engine is extremely powerful. If you have the proper, and numerous, skills (keywords), your chances of being found by recruiters are great. Don’t forget to emphasize the quantified accomplishments!

Businesses are looking to connect or employ people with expertise; and although you have what they need, without the skills listed your message isn’t crystal clear.

A recruiter would like to read how you developed a fund-raising process that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars, but your Experience section is nothing more than company names, titles, and years of employment. Lost opportunity.

Suppose you find yourself out of a job and suddenly need to connect with others who can help you in a big way. Rushing to create an Experience section that warrants the assistance you need is a bit late and will lengthen your job search.

5. Finally, more isn’t always better. There are two ways you can look at your position descriptions; you can stick with the accomplishments, or you can mimic your résumé. I’m in the opinion that your accomplishments alone would impress recruiters more than all your duties and a few accomplishments.

You’re probably proud of those duties and don’t want to let them go. Here’s the thing, accomplishments speak much louder than duties. Unless you can turn those duties into accomplishments with quantified results (or perhaps qualify them), I suggest you ditch them.


These are five reasons why you require an Experience section that is strong and worthy of your greatness. Your Summary is a great start; now you need to follow it with an Experience section to support it.

Use “See Alumni” to connect with your alumni with 3 steps

Every year, I have the honor of critiquing my fellow alumni’s LinkedIn profiles. The event takes place on the 32nd floor of a building that overlooks Boston, where the alumni and current students of my alma mater come dressed to the nines and ready to get their profiles critiqued.

caps

One thing that immediately grabs my attention is the size of a person’s LinkedIn network. In many cases, the number is quite low. When I ask the participants why, most say it’s because they have just started using LinkedIn. They ask with whom they should connect and how.

In a previous post, I explained the who and the how of connecting on LinkedIn, in which I stated your fellow alumni were at the top of the pyramid of connections — meaning this was the lowest tier of potential connections. But for current students or recent grads, the alumni network can actually be the key to building a successful network on LinkedIn.

To help you connect with other alumni from your school, LinkedIn has a neat feature called “See Alumni” (formerly “Find Alumni”) which is located on your alma mater’s page.

Here is the process of getting to this feature when you need it:

  1. Type your school’s name into LinkedIn’s search field.
  2. Select your school.
  3. Click “See Alumni.”

1. Using the ‘See Alumni’ Feature

Assuming you haven’t made any connections with alumni from your school, you’ll want to change that right away. Your fellow alumni are probably currently employed, and they may know of opportunities — or at least people with whom you can connect. Don’t ignore older alumni who may have attended your alma mater before you!

When you first use the “See Alumni” feature, you’ll land on a page that looks like this:

See Alumni 1

Click “Next” on the right-hand side of the page to go to a screen that looks like this:

See Alumni 2

Now, look at the section titled “How you are connected” on the right-hand side of the screen. You will most likely see that you have few, if any, first-degree connections. That’s alright — we’re going to focus on your second-degree connections.

Select your second degrees by clicking on the appropriate bar. The screen will shift to only show you information about your second-degree connections.

You can narrow down the results even further by using the other categories — “What they are skilled at,” “What they studied,” “Where they work,” etc. (See above screenshots.) For example, I have 7,774 alumni in my second-degree connections, but I can narrow my results down to a much more manageable five people if I set each category to the following:

– What they are skilled at: Social media
– What they studied: Marketing
– What they do: Media and communications
– Where they work: Boston Ballet
– Where they live: Greater Boston Area

2. Connecting With Fellow Alumni

One of the advantages you have when connecting with fellow alumni is the common bond you share through going to the same school. You’ll want to mention this when you personalize your invitation.

Under no circumstances should you send the default LinkedIn invite; that’s plain laziness. Instead, you should write the kind of personalized, professional note LinkedIn members expect from each other. To write a truly personalized note, be sure to read through a person’s profile before sending off your invitation!

Here’s an example invitation:

Dear Mr. Schmidt,

As you’re an alumnus at the University of Virginia and are in the field of marketing communications, I’d like to take this time to reach out and invite you to my network. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

3. Completing the Process

Your new invite accepts your personalized invitation because both of you share an interest in social media and, most importantly, are alumni of the same school.

Where many people fall down in the process is not following through. In your message, you offered assistance, so stay true to your word by contacting Mr. Schmidt via email when he accepts your invite.

Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask Mr. Schmidt regarding the line of work he does. Make them intelligent questions — don’t waste his time. Ask him if he might know of anyone with whom you could also speak.


As I explain to the alumni and current students of my alma mater, the process of building relationships can be a long one, but developing long-lasting relationships is the key to their future success. Your fellow alumni can definitely be a secret weapon for networking on LinkedIn, so be sure to utilize the “See Alumni” feature!

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com

Photo: recruiter.com