Find More Job Leads By Networking On LinkedIn With Alumni

by JOHN MUSCARELLO / Follow Me on Twitter Here

Networking With Alumni 101_edited-1New research from Jobvite found that “Employees hired through referral are hired 55% faster than those who come from a career site.”

If you are frustrated searching job boards, sending resumes into black holes, and not getting responses from prospective employees, what I call “The Alumni Networking Solution” will help you.

I have personally used The Alumni Networking Solution to find leads and get interviews that lead to job offers.

What exactly is The Alumni Networking Solution?

The Alumni Networking Solution is a 5-step networking tool designed to introduce yourself to college alumni and develop relationships that lead to referrals. This means actually getting to know the person- and asking for his or her advice, instead of a job like everyone else. I used these five simple steps – in about 10 minutes per connection – to find a job in the worst job market in the last eighty years.

Below are just two of the many responses I received from my original LinkedIn message.

 Mike F LI Reponse PS_edited-2

Brian LI Response copy1_edited-2

Step 1: Update Your Career Materials

Make sure you have your resume and LinkedIn profile updated. Those are the two major career materials your alumni are going to want to see before they agree help you. The top three issues you want to avoid are:

  • An unprofessional LinkedIn profile picture: This will hurt your chances of having people even view your Linked profile
  • Having the usual generic headline: Every college grad has “Recent Major Looking For Entry Level Position”
  • A resume that has typos: Typos make you look sloppy and unpolished

If you need further guidance, read these networking event tips.

Step 2: Join Your Alumni Group on LinkedIn

Alumni are always willing to lend a helping because you have a lot in common: you stayed in the same dorms, had the same professors, and drank at the same local bar. Most importantly they remember how hard it was to get their career started.

  • Change the search setting found in the upper right hand corner of your home page to Groups
  • Enter the name of the college you attended and your alumni group should show up in the search results
  • Select the group
  • Click “Join Group”

An email confirmation will be sent to you confirming your membership to the group; once you receive that message you will be ready to network!

Step 3: Create an Introduction Letter

An engaging cover letter is your first – and perhaps only – first impression! For consistency and simplicity reasons, consider customizing the message below:

Subject: Hello! A quick question from fellow alumni

Dear ,

I graduated from in with a degree in . I see that you work in and was wondering if you would be willing chat on the phone, at your convenience of course.

As I am seeking an entry level opportunity at a dynamic organization, I would love to hear more about what you do and any insights or advice you might have on breaking into the industry.

Your help would be extremely appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your time,

Name
Email
Cell Number

Important: the purpose of this letter is NOT to ask for a job. “Hi! It’s nice to meet you. Want to hire me?” is not effective networking. Be discrete. Be patient!

Step 4: Send!

After carefully customizing, send you pitch email to members in your alumni group who are working in an industry of interest to you.

  • In the LinkedIn group, click the members tab
  • Find alumni who work in the industry in which you want to get a job as well as alumni in the city where you would like to work
  • When you find a good fit, send

It’s important to be flexible and consider reaching out to alumni who work for companies you would like to work at. Even if they don’t work in the same field that you are looking to get into they will probably know someone at the company they can introduce you to.

Step 5: Set up Informational Interviews

As replies begin to roll in, set up phone meetings, Skype calls and face-to-face meetings. These informational interviews will enable you to connect with the alumni – and allow you to demonstrate your passion to an influencer in your industry of choice.

Through the relationships you develop, you should soon start receiving leads for open positions… many of which aren’t even advertised!

Remember that networking IS NOT asking someone for a job. Networking is about building your professional network that could lead to referrals.

I want you to do three simple things.

  1. Use the LinkedIn Alumni Solution and send 5-10 customized LinkedIn message to your alumni. I guarantee you at least 2-3 people will respond willing to help you with your job search.
  2. Leave any questions below in the comments section. I am sure other people will benefit from the answers.
  3. Share this with any friends/young professionals you know who are struggling to find a job or internship.  It will take you less then a minute and could really make a difference to their career success.

I want to hear your success stories!  Please email me your results or leave a comment below using what I call The Alumni Networking Solution. John(at)endlessjoboffers(.) com.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • grant

    I want to reach out to alumni on Linkedin. When attempting to connect with them, I must send a “Personal Note” to say why I want to reach out to them. But the message MUST be less than 250 characters… Any ideas?

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Great question Grant. I just sent you a couple of suggestions to your Yahoo email address.

      Reply
  • Carolyn

    Hi John,
    I’m graduating from Villanova in just a few weeks and have been pretty unsuccessful in finding work so far. But your simple, encouraging words are helpful and motivating– I’m putting your plan into action and crossing my fingers for SOMETHING to work out. I really appreciate the advice. A lot of us out here need the pep talk! Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

    Reply
  • Ashley

    Great advice! I was aware of the value of networking and I do it regularly, but I hadn’t considered the value of alumni networking. And what better place to do that than LinkedIn! Thanks for this post. I’m going to try it.

    Reply
  • Shannon S.

    I’ve been working with a team to tap into their alumni networks more. There is already a connection and it’s nearly a warm lead from the beginning. I plan to share these tips with several colleagues. It will be interesting to track the percentage of people who respond! Thx for sharing this last night via #internpro.

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Thanks for the comment Shannon. I am glad that you found the article helpful and that you will plan on sharing the article with your colleagues. It was nice meeting you as well.

      Reply
  • Tom Dixon

    This is great advice – I have found alumni networking is much more effective than a wider net…but hadn’t viewed it as comprehensively as you have laid out here. I will be recommending as a networking solution for some of my career coaching clients. Thanks!

    Reply
    • John

      Thank you for your comment Tom. I appreciate you recommending the Alumni Networking Solution to your clients!

      Reply

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