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Expanding your network on LinkedIn

Written by Sam Gross, Alumni & Advancement Partner, College of Business, Government and Law

Do you know what business and law graduate Daniel Ajak’s closing words were at his leadership session to Flinders students?

‘Thanks for coming, and, hey, connect with me on LinkedIn!’

I do alumni relations for graduates of the Colleges of Business, Government and Law, and Science and Engineering. My role is about keeping alumni involved in the life of the University, and most prefer to stay involved by supporting students.

For anything you’re uncertain about or challenged by in your career, there are alumni who want to help you with it. They tell me, ‘anything I can do to help students.’ One of their biggest barriers is knowing how they can help.

Speaking of barriers, here’s what I’ve heard from students about connecting with alumni for career progression:

“I don’t know any alumni”

“I think in the right setting [I’d be comfortable] but not sort of just out of the blue in an e-mail”

The key points that alumni (and I) want students to know is to use LinkedIn now to expand your professional network and get doors opened for you. Don’t just collect connections, though. Connect with alumni and ask them:

  • To have a coffee so you can learn more about their career progression

  • To discuss if mentoring would be a good fit

  • To job shadow them for a day

  • What it’s like to work for ‘x’ company

So, for those of you willing to give it a go, here’s how to use LinkedIn to find people willing to talk to you.

Principles

  • The worst you’ll hear is ‘no’

  • Utilise commonalities (i.e., “shared connections” or Flinders University)

  • Remember that when using commonalities, you’ll be trading under their name

Finding the right people

1. Go to LinkedIn and search “Flinders University”

2. Click the Alumni tab.

3. Filter to make it applicable to you

- Where they work

- What they studied

4. Connect with a note

1. Briefly introduce yourself

2. Explain your connection

3. Include a call to action

4. Thank people for their time (buy them a coffee, write a thank you note).

What this looks like:



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