As well as help you get a job by giving you access to all those vacancies that are not advertised in the traditional way, networking helps you learn more about the day-to-day tasks and routines of the role you want to pursue, by helping you connect with the people that are actually doing the job you aspire to do.
LinkedIn’s Alumni tool is a great way to find out who those people are. It helps you explore Alumni career paths from more than 22,000 colleges and universities worldwide, using its database of more than 300 million members. It not only lets you easily find other Alumni that have attended the same University, or studied the same subject, but it lets you connect with them in a trusted and meaningful way. You can use the tool to find graduates of your university who currently work at a company you might be targeting. Or you might use it to find out where graduates of your university, that have studied the same subjects as you, actually went on to do, or the companies they went on to work for. You can then reach out to for advice, or for an insider’s perspective about the job or company.
If you haven’t set up your LinkedIn profile yet, do it now. Apart from the very obvious reasons why you should have a profile (here’s a few), this tool won’t work without one. First of all make sure are logged in to your LinkedIn profile. After that, by navigating to www.linkedin.com/alumni to start, your university will automatically be selected, assuming you attended one and that you included it in your profile. At the top of your Alumni page you’ll see three sections: ‘Where they live’, ‘Where they work’, and ‘What they do’. This will break down in very fine detail where in the world the Alumni of your university live, the companies they are working for, and the jobs they are doing. You can also click the arrow to the right to view additional categories, which lets you explore alumni careers based on ‘What they studied’, ‘What they’re skilled at’ (great to check what your CV is missing in terms of skills needed for the job you want to do) and ‘How you are connected’.
To refine your search, just click any of the blue bars to drill down into more detail. By clicking on ‘show more’ LinkedIn will display the rest of the results. If these are too many, use the ‘lens ‘ icon to search for certain companies, or locations. Not sure when somebody attended your university? You can also narrow searches by refining the attendance dates, found at the top. Once you have found a relevant profile you can ask to connect by sending them a message.
Make sure you personalise it, especially if you haven’t been in contact with the person you are reaching out to in a while, or not at all. While Alumni are more likely to reply to a networking request from somebody they have shared a common experience with, if not personalised your email risks ending up in the trash can. Avoid asking for help about a specific job – they probably won’t be able to help. Instead ask for something that they can help you with, and that’s far more valuable to you – advice.
The LinkedIn Alumni tool is probably the easiest and fastest way to search for and get in touch with Alumni of your university, but there are other ways in which your Alumni network can help you find a job. Make sure you explore them all.
Last year alone we recruited from over 50 different UK universities, so chances are that if you join us on our graduate programme you might find a fellow Alumnus of your university. Browse all our graduate opportunities here.