Your LinkedIn and alumni networks can be a jackpot when it comes to professional networking. You’ve got an instant connection, one that can open the door to seasoned insider advice on your career plan and industry insight or, if things go well, a job lead or a referral.
A ‘cold email’ introduction or LinkedIn message is usually the best way to get the conversation rolling with people you don't know yet. A good place to start is your alumni, including those you don’t know well - a similarity . can significantly improve your response rates.
Your alumni network isn't just for recent grads either - you can leverage your university and college connections at any career stage. LinkedIn is also your go-to search tool. Universities and colleges have an alumni page on LinkedIn where you can find out who’s working in your industry.
While it might be tempting to ask for a job directly, you should build a relationship first.
A few quick tips when sending a cold email or LinkedIn request:
Don’t feel stalkerish dropping someone you’ve never met an email or message. It’s a common practice and many of your successful peers did exactly the same thing.
Some connections may be brief but others could last for years. Nurture your relationships - they could play a key role in taking your career to the next level!