The Power of Alumni Connections

LinkedIn Profile Optimization

PURSUE EMPLOYERS WHO PREFER TO HIRE GRADUATES OF YOUR ALMA MATER.

Being a graduate from a certain school can have many advantages. Graduating from MIT, Stanford, or Harvard (and other schools of similar reputation) easily opens doors just because you graduated from that school. Did you know applying at a company where lots of other graduates from the same school work, might help you to land a job – even if the school name does not carry as much weight as the ones mentioned above?! Alumni connections – no matter the school – are key.

You’re in luck because LinkedIn’s “Find Alumni” feature is your friend, helping you to identify companies with lots of alumni from your school on the payroll. But how do you find these companies?

Make sure to enter all your college education (even if you didn’t graduate) intothe Education section of your profile. Then, use the drop-down menu under “My Network” to click on “Find Alumni”. By default LinkedIn will present the results from your latest school experience, but you can switch to other schools where applicable on the right hand side of the screen.

 

Unfortunately, in my case there are not many results due to my education being from Germany. LinkedIn is not the market leader in Germany and most people over there use probably Xing ( a European competitor of LinkedIn – less established (if at all) in the USA). In addition, I am using the English name for my school’s name and not the German name as I am living in the US. I would probably see more results using the German name accordingly, but then it would be more difficult for US-based employers to “understand” my school education. 

But overall you get the idea of how powerful this tool is. You can see the location and company names of other Alumni from your school. You can also see (to a certain degree) of what they do. A more significant example is shown below towards the end of the page.

 

Above, LinkedIn provides you with more detailed information about the individuals who list the same school they graduated from as me.

If you wanted to see more detailed information about individuals from this list, you either need to be part of their network (I think, not sure – 2nd degree minimum) or you need to have a LinkedIn Premium Account.

 

Extra Tip: Instead of looking at the individual graduates, selecting any company from the company list will immediately show you what these classmates/Alumni do, and where they live (if it is a US-based school and company). This feature comes in handy when the list of alumni is very long. See below an example where I selected Harvard Law School as the graduating school and the “U.S. Department of Justice” as the employer.

 

Now, a good next step would be to find out if there are any alumni networking events in your area. Attending those is a great step to network and to form a connection that eventually leads to employment. You could also reach out with a customized connection request (based on school / Alumni status) and see if you can connect with people that way. Overall, your goal is to increase your network and to eventually receive job leads that way.