Whether you’re a new graduate or someone with many years of experience under your belt, networking can improve the results of your job search. It’s a known fact that networking has a significantly greater effectiveness rate over using job boards and recruiters (for some experience levels). Even if you don’t have a well-established network, there are ways to start building one.
One of the easiest places to start building your professional network to help with job searching is at your school. Even if it’s been 20 years since you attended the educational institution, there’s no limit to when you can start building your network with alumni.
Here’s some of the easiest ways to network with alumni:
We’ve said this many times before, but if you’re job searching you can’t afford to NOT be on LinkedIn. A well-established LinkedIn profile will include the educational institution(s) which you have attended. From the college or university’s LinkedIn profile page, there is the option to ‘Follow’ and ‘See alumni.’ If you click on ‘See alumni,’ you’ll be brought to a page where you can search alumni by job title, keywords, or company. Use this valuable resource to find opportunities to connect with others through an introduction with people you already know or by making direct contact. You’ll want to personalize your message and find a shared experience when making an introduction in the attempt to connect with others. For more tips on connecting with others on LinkedIn, read: “5 Tips to Personalizing the LinkedIn Invitation to Connect.”
The other wonderful perk of the ‘See alumni’ feature is that job seekers can see where alumni are located. You can find out if there are alumni that live in the same town as you, or if you’re looking to relocate, it can help find alumni located in the city of relocation. The feature also breaks down where alumni are working, the specific industry they are working in, what they studied, and what they are skilled at. So, by using this feature, you can easily connect with other professionals working in the same industry as well as those with a similar professional skill-set.
To help refine your search even further, use the filter to search alumni by the year they attended the school or the year they graduated.
The educational institution you attended wants to see all its students and graduates rise to success. Contact the Career Services department at your school and ask them about options available to help with job searching. They may have an established list of alumni who have indicated they are willing to talk to others in need of help during the job search. This is a great outlet to secure informational interviews. The informational interview may be used to seek advice and have questions answered as it relates to careers, job searching, professional development, and more. Many times, the informational interview may also lead to introductions with important contacts that put you on the path to finding your next job. For more on informational interviewing, read: “5 Rules to Remember For An Informational Interview.”
Alumni of Other Educational Institutions
Just because you attended a certain educational institution doesn’t mean the opportunity to network with alumni is limited to that institution. With the help of LinkedIn, networking opportunities with alumni are limitless (even at educational institutions you didn’t attend). You’re free to go to the profile page of other colleges and universities to look at their list of alumni contacts. Clicking on ‘See alumni,’ you can freely view alumni by job title, keywords, or company, and filter results by when alumni attended the school, graduated from the school, and search by specific industry and skills.
Before you know it, what may have seemed like a difficult job search becomes an opportunity to meet with other credible professionals. There are more resources available to assist in your job hunt than you may think. Not to mention, it’s not only about help with finding job opportunities, but the opportunity to receive valuable professional advice as it relates to your career. Remember: Networking is about building strong and lasting relationships with others where there is mutual benefit. You are there to receive help and advice, but equally, you are there to also offer help to others whenever possible. For more on networking, read: “Networking Groups Are a Must When Job Searching.”