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  • Connecting Students With Alumni on LinkedIn

    May 18, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    An employer signs into LinkedIn.

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    The “Career Counselor's Guides to Social Media in the Job Search” were originally written and have been recently updated by Kevin Grubb of Villanova University, Shannon Conklin of Temple University, and Megan Wolleben of Bucknell University. The updated guides are available at www.naceweb.org/knowledge/social-media/career-counselors-guide.aspx. Following is an excerpt from “The Career Counselor's Guide to LinkedIn.”

    One often-cited tool on LinkedIn that can help students find connections is the “Alumni” tool.

    With this tool, any user of LinkedIn can search information about alumni from colleges and universities around the world. Although the search will default to use the college or university in the “Education” section of a user’s profile, the user can “Change university” using the button on the right-hand side of the page to search all alumni information available on LinkedIn. Searches can be done by any keyword or by the predetermined categories on LinkedIn, which include the following:

    • Where they live.
    • Where they work.
    • What they do.
    • What they studied.
    • Their skills.
    • How you are connected.

    If a student is interested in learning more about a potential connection found on this page, it’s a good practice to encourage the student to view the person’s full profile, which may explain more connection points and can provide detail that would be important to strengthen the relationship.

    It should be noted that when connecting with others on LinkedIn, a user will be prompted to describe how he or she knows the other person. There is also the option to include a personalized note along with the connection request, a message that the person will be able to see on the other end. It is essential to encourage students to customize this message to describe the nature of the intended connection. The message cannot be long, but including a brief note about how the student knows the other person will go a long way in facilitating the connection. Encourage students to consider including:

    • An introduction.
    • An explanation of the common ground or shared affiliation.
    • The “ask”—what they hope to learn or do.
    • Sincere thanks.