Classmates is a new LinkedIn tool that could prove to be invaluable for both job seekers and businesses looking to break into new corporate accounts.
You can use it to enhance your relationship with current connections that share an association with the colleges or universities you attended, connect with companies that are especially friendly with your school, and expand your network in the process.
#1 – Enhance Your Relationships with Classmates
When you log into Classmates it serves up a dashboard for each of the schools you attended. Since both my undergraduate and MBA degrees are from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, that is my only choice from the drop-down menu.
The first thing I noticed is that LinkedIn needs to fine-tune their algorithm. It’s highly unlikely that a great many Miami University grads decided to migrate from southern Ohio to the Florida area.
You can see from the yellow arrow at the top that you can sort by the range you choose. Whatever timeframe you do choose, Classmates will still provide results with most recent graduates or current students listed first.
You can see that I can readily send a message to my Miami connections. I can also drill down into their connections to encourage new relationships by association – and expand my network.
The left column lists the top companies where Miami grads have landed. LinkedIn allows you expand that list to several dozen.
#2 – Learn Which Companies Like Your Specialty and Your School
When you click on your area of specialty the results LinkedIn gives you are adjusted accordingly. Notice that Proctor and Gamble recruits Miami marketing grads heavily, as well as other local companies such as Cintas – given the CEO that built the company happens to be a Miami grad.
In tough job markets like this one, college or university associations can make a difference. I know it did for me when I was seeking my first professional marketing position.
This works just as well for experienced practitioners as new graduates.
#3 – Discover Companies by Location that Like Your School
Let’s say you have a marketing degree from Miami University and want to work in the Chicago area.
To learn which companies are ideal candidates for a Miami graduate, you simply click on Marketing and Greater Chicago Area.
The column on the left ranks those companies in the Chicago area where Miami grads are employed. Knowing that, you have something to work with to get your foot in the door.
#4 – Learn About Company Positions and Locations
The image below is a snapshot for Chicago-based marketing research giant Nielsen.
They have Miami graduates working in a number of disciplines – ranging from Marketing to IT.
When I was interviewing for a postion out of college, a common question was: “Are you willing to relocate?”
The answer naturally is dependent upon where.
If you are a marketing graduate that wants to work in the Midwest, or overseas in China or the UK, you can see that Nielsen may be the company for you.
The information shared here may be mostly beneficial for those seeking a position in a corporation.
However, there are many corporations that serve small businesses – as you and and I do.
Thanks to LinkedIn Classmates, I now have a means for exploring partnerships with some of those companies.
Classmates isn’t just about connecting with your college or university alumni – it’s about business.
How do you plan to use it?
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Until tomorrow, Jeff