This week I spoke to a number of college audiences. When I told them about that warm, fuzzy feeling people have for fellow alumni, many of them just didn’t get it. I guess it’s one of those things you need to experience and not just talk about. The first time they see a door open for them in the business world as a result of that common bond, they’ll probably say, Hey, Wayne was right!
LinkedIn’s recently enhanced Alumni feature is the perfect place to begin new relationships with people who have walked the same hallowed halls. You won’t believe the incredible things you can now do with this feature.
There are two ways to access this feature. Click Contacts on the top toolbar, and then scroll down and click the name of any school you have listed on your profile–or you can just click the name of a school on anyone’s profile. Yes, this means you now have access to the alumni of schools you didn’t even attend! And we’re not just talking colleges here. It works for high schools, specialty schools, etc.
Ca$h In On This Powerful Tool
Every school’s Alumni page includes an awesome filtering system that helps you find the perfect fellow alumns to reach out to. Click the right arrow to gain access to all the filters.
The filters include:
Once you have selected your filters, LinkedIn displays a mini profile for all individuals who meet your filtering criteria. Without leaving the page, you can send a message to any first-degree connections or use a personalized message to connect with anyone on the list. Pretty cool, don’t you think? I am amazed that this is still free.
Some of the searching capabilities have always been available through Advanced People Searching, but it is much easier to do it here.
Initially you will see fellow alums who attended the school during the same years you were there. For schools you didn’t attend, the default is 1900 to 2020. But you can put in any range you prefer.
If you’ve been looking for a way to sort people by age range, this is your ticket. If you sell products or services to a targeted age group, use the age range on the top right to find alumni who are probably in that age range. Granted, it isn’t exactly an age search because not everyone gets an undergrad degree at age 22, but it should still provide some valuable information.
Use the Search profiles keyword box to really zero in on the right alumns to reach out to.
Attention Recent or Soon-to-be Grads
Use the Alumni feature to figure out who you might want to network with to help you find that first great job. This feature, along with some of LinkedIn’s additional profile sections (Test Scores, Courses, Honors & Awards), will help you stand out from the crowd and discover the perfect job for you.
I think after you test drive the Alumni feature, it will become one of your favorites. And I love success stories. Let me know how reconnecting with fellow alums helps you and your business.
Does your new LinkedIn profile display your worldwide brand clearly and in a way that people would choose you over others of similar education, experience, and background?
If you cannot confidently say yes, then read on. This is Part 3 of my series on the new profile features and changes to the LinkedIn site. Be sure to check out Part 1 (Top Box) and Part 2 (Your Professional Gallery) for more great suggestions.
Note: When you are in “Edit Profile” mode, the up-down arrow (1) allows you to move that section to a different position in your profile. Moving a section closer to the top of your profile will indicate greater importance and improve the likelihood that people will see it.
To add videos, articles, slide shows, etc. to your Summary section, click the (2) icon and upload your media. Your media files will then be displayed in what LinkedIn now calls your Professional Gallery. Including media in your Professional Gallery will increase your credibility and differentiate you from your competitors.
For a more in-depth explanation of the Professional Gallery, see last week’s blog post.
Job Experience Section
In addition to the name of your employer, the company’s logo is now displayed (3). In your Job Experience section, list all jobs you have held. The company logo will appear next to each job entry, and this is a very visual way for people to quickly see the kinds of companies you have worked for.
To learn more about maximizing this important section, check out “Experience Section: Use Your Past Experience to Ensure Your Future Success.”
These sections are now much easier to access. Add any that are appropriate in your circumstances, describe them well, and add a link to a website if possible. Including information about your expertise and unique knowledge will greatly enhance your credibility. The graphic to the right displays all the available optional sections.
In addition to the basic descriptions of your education, you can now include videos, presentations, slide shows, etc. in this section to provide tangible evidence of your expertise. Think outside the box about what you might include here, like industry specific educational events, personal development workshops, etc.
Add several hobbies and interests that show a bit of your personal side (but remember–it’s not Facebook!). Any information included here will appear in a new section titled In Common With… In this new section you can move your cursor over the circles and see what you have in common with a particular person.
Advice for Contacting
Previously LinkedIn provided a standardized list of contact preferences. This has been replaced with a new section titled Advice for Contacting. Make it easy for people to contact you by sharing your preferred method of contact (email, phone, etc.)
I hope this overview has sparked some new ideas of ways you can improve your profile. Check out Part 1 (Top Box) and Part 2 (Your Professional Gallery) to learn more ways to spruce up your profile and ensure a prosperous new year.