LinkedIn for Alumni

I’ve been telling trainees about the use of LinkedIn to reach out to alumni for a while now, and decided to “field test” my advice;-)

Would the alumni from your Alma Mater really be open to your contact?

Absolutely – read on…

“Are you willing to accept contact from fellow alumni?”

I posted this simple question in the discussion section of the LinkedIn group for the University of Buffalo – I spent the better part of the ’80s there – and was not surprised with the results.

A dozen replies over the next two days with uniform agreement – absolutely.

They’re on LinkedIn because they want to reach out

I won’t attempt to psycho-analyze my classmates, but it doesn’t take much to figure out.  People are expecting to use LinkedIn to reach out and in turn be contacted.  It’s not much of a step to listen when others actually use the system to reach out to you…

So start your note with an acknowledgment of that fine institution you both attended and let them know what you have in mind.

Offering value

It doesn’t mean that people want spam – Alumni are going to respond positively when your requests are modest, the situation reasonable, and you’re offering them something of value.

So that means they’ll open and read your introduction, but after that you’ve got to make it compelling – and that’s another story.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock


  1. Hi Steve.

    I work in the Career Services office at a liberal arts college in Indiana. We are preparing to create an alumni group on LinkedIn.

    Can you offer suggestions for how to effectively use (and manage) an alumni group? What are some realistic goals that we can have for the group? If we truly want an effective group where alumni can reconnect and network, how much time should we expect to spend managing the group?

    Thanks in advance for your comments!

  2. Megan,

    I’m glad to hear that – and you should have good success.

    You’re going to have to learn with your alumni how to use the group best.
    – post alumni events
    – poll alumni
    – encourage alumni to contact each other

    Alumni can help each other:
    – find employment
    – find employees
    – make business contacts
    – develop projects together

    It isn’t any different than using LinkedIn outside of the alumni group, but now alumni have ready access to each other – and you have access to them.

    I’d approve for membership only those that attended the college, but I’d expect you to be able to manage that easily – figure out how to check and make a process out of it. The time will depend on how busy your alumni get;-)

    Groups are too new to be able to compare progress. Try to get a core group of alumni on and active in the first 6 months. Seed discussions and ask for members to share successes (and promote the group to fellow alumni).

    I notice that there already is a group for your school – created by an individual – be sure to use your logo and name the group something like “XYZ College Alumni”. to claim your official status. Hopefully that will be enough to distinguish your group.

    Lastly – include the group in your alumni newsletter, and also promote it among current students – better to get them in before they leave!-)

    Best success,

    Steven Tylock

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