University of South Carolina :: Darla Moore School of Business   the Competitive Edge

with Viveka von Rosen

One of the best things that you can do when you're looking for a job is to connect with alumni on LinkedIn. This presentation covers the 5 simple steps to find, connect and engage with the right people through LinkedIn's alumni search.

Follow these 5 simple steps to find your alumni contacts:

  1. Go to LinkedIn and click on the School in the Search
  2. Go to the School homepage. Find the Alumni link.
  3. Search the Alumni, sort through the different fields. Find good contacts.
  4. Reach out either through an invitation to connect or through a message
  5. Engage with the right people by requesting an informational interview (not a job interview) by phone or face-to-face to learn about their work, company and other connections.

1. Go to LinkedIn Search and click on School
  • Type the name of your school in the search box.
  • Choose school from the drop-down menu or use the magnifying glass.
  • From LinkedIn Search, select 'Schools' to refine your search.

2. Go to the school homepage. Find the Alumni

Select the university/campus to get to the homepage of the school.

3. Search the Alumni, sort through the different fields. Find relevant contacts.
  • Click on 'See Alumni'
  • From the alumni search, click on “Attended” icon. Now you can put in either dates that you might have attended or the date range alumni has graduated.
  • Scroll down and go to the Keyword Search. Put in keywords and areas of expertise that you are looking for (e.g. Marketing, Sales)
  • For more contact names, click on 'See More'
    • Select 'Next' icon. It will show you what they have studied and what they are skilled at. Refine your search including: where they live (e.g. US), where they work (e.g. Google, Amazon, Facebook) and what they do.
  • For the Search results, scroll down to see the Alumni
    To Find who you're looking for:
    • See the alumni's profile.
    • Click on alumni's profile that you're interested in.
    • For an introduction, read their Summary section they have written. Also, you can see the connections you have in common and the Groups have you common.
    • Follow the person's activity that gives you a lot more information to include in your first message or invitation to connect.
    • When you find an alumni who you want to connect to, hit Connect.

4. Reach out with messages or invitations to alumni.
Some different scripts for invitations to connect based on your current level of connection are:
  • If you have a first-level connection (meaning you're already connected):
    • just send them a message: "Hi- it's been ages. I just found you on LinkedIn. What have you been to in the past XX years?"
    • Since you already are connected, you can include your email address and other relevant links in your message
    • After your message gets their attention, try to arrange a phone call with them. If that doesn't work, then you might let them know that you're looking for a job.
    • Your messages are limited to 300 characters.
  • If it's someone that you're not yet connected to but you do know them:
    • just click on the connect button and add a personalized note to the invitation. You can say something like: “It's been a long time. I was just on LinkedIn and saw your profile - do you want to connect?” Also add your name and phone number. Remember: You cannot use your email in an initial invitation, but once you are connected, you can include your email address and other links. Your messages are limited to 300 characters.
  • If it's someone that you went to school with, but you don't know them
    • say something like: “I see you were at Harvard at the same time I was, but I don't think we ever met. I just found you on LinkedIn and I was hoping you were open to connecting here.” Or even more simply: “I see we're both alumni of Harvard circa 1998 to 2008. I was hoping you were open to connecting here.” Again add your name and phone number.
  • If it's someone from another school that you didn't go to, you can still invite them to connect.
    • Say something like: “I was checking out the Harvard alumni – I see you were there from 1999 to 2002. Would you like to connect?” You're not saying you're not alumni or you're not saying you are alumni. You're just saying that you saw them there.
6. Request an informational meeting by phone or face-to-face
  • Ask for a short meeting to learn about their work, company and ideally other connections who can open doors.

These are the five simple steps that will help you to find, connect and engage with exactly the right people who can help open doors for you.

Expert BIO
with Viveka von Rosen

Viveka is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Networking Expert.” Author of “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day” for John Wiley & Sons, she is also a regular source on LinkedIn for prestigious news outlets such as Forbes, Money Magazine,,,, CNN and The Miami Herald.

Viveka is the host of the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter: #LinkedInChat (Ranked by Mashable as one of the top 10 business blogs) and co-moderator of LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn. She is distinguished among the elite in social media:

  • Forbes 20 Most Influential Women in Social Media (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Forbes 50 Most Influential People in Social Media (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • TopRank’s 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in (2011, 2012, 2013)