LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for professionals of all ages (including first year students in college) and across all industries (including the non-profit sector). I highly recommend all Albers students utilize this free social media platform to connect with other professionals and expand your network.
Something that typically remains unnoticed among Albers undergraduate students is the size and quality of the Albers alumni base. There are tens of thousands of alumni all over the world working at all types of companies in every occupation imaginable. And they’re almost always willing to help current undergraduate students connect with the professional world. So how can we get in contact with them?
When you log into your LinkedIn account, hover your mouse over the tab named “My Network”. From the drop down menu that appears, select the tab titled “Find Alumni”. You will be taken to a page that lists all 39,473 alumni of Seattle University. Use the filters in the center of the page to find an alumnus that works at a company you would love to work for in an occupation you aspire to attain. If you click the arrow on the right side of the filters window, you will see there are three more filter options for finding alumni. The “What they studied” filter is especially helpful if you are not sure what you want to do with your education because it allows you to see how alumni have used their degrees to get where they are today.
Once you’ve found an alumnus who works at a company you would like to work for in a position you would love to have, connect with them and send them a message. I recommend connecting with more recent graduates as they can relate more to your efforts of finding the right career path, but older graduates have great insights as well. In your message, ask if the alumnus would be available to meet for an informational interview. The Albers Placement Center has a great pamphlet for informational interviews that you can pick up whenever. Remember that people simply might not have the time to meet depending on their job or the time of year, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t reply or reject the invitation. If they accept, find a time you can both meet over coffee to discuss their company, their career path, their goals, and even internships. Be sure to share your own interests and goals as well. It is always courteous to find a location that is close to the alumnus’ workplace. Be sure to follow up with a thank you card or email, and try to stay in contact with the alumnus.
This has served as a great way for me to expand my network, learn more about different occupations and companies, and land the exact job I’ve been looking for. I know it can work for you too! Alumni are a great way to connect with the professional world, which makes the “Find Alumni” tab the most important tab in LinkedIn.
Please also remember that for these connections to work, you must return the favor when you are a graduate. So don’t forget to help undergraduate students find the right career path when you are an alumnus!