How to Build a Strong Network on LinkedIn (While Still in College)

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LinkedIn can help you get into your dream job after college by helping you find and network with professionals who work in career fields youre interested in.

You see, the stronger your network, the more reach youll have to connect with others at key organizations you want to work at. Youll also have the ability to request introductions to those you dont know by asking someone in your network to introduce you.

Here are three powerful ways to build a strong network while in college:

1. Join your college alumni group on LinkedIn to connect with professionals in careers youre interested in.
If you havent joined an LinkedIn college alumni group, youre missing out. There are often dozens of alumni groups for each college based on:

  • School (Engineering, Business, Economics, Law)
  • Region (Cities where grads live now)
  • Career field (Alumni who work in specific career fields)
  • Athletics

I just did a quick search to see how many alumni groups existed for UCLA and see 665 at the moment. This means UCLA alumni can probably build a very strong network very quickly by spending time engaging in a number of relevant groups.

Simply by joining relevant college alumni groups on LinkedIn, youll get a chance to meet and build relevant connects with dozens if not hundreds of alumni. Take the time to build connections especially with those that work in career fields youre interested in.

These groups can be a great place to ask your career questions and get advice from those who work at companies where you want to work.

2. Use LinkedIn College Alumni Search to learn where alumni are working and how many live close to you (so you can possibly meet up for coffee).

Many people dont know that LinkedIn has a college alumni section to help you quickly find professionals who attended your college. This search tool is a great way to find alumni based on location, career field, and companies they work at.

In seconds, I found out there are 1,091 alumni that live close to me and 393 of them work in a similar career field as me.

This college alumni tool is a gold mine for helping you connect and find alumni that you can relate with on many levels. Take advantage of this tool and start building some key business relationships.

Tip: Focus on building relationships with alumni who live close to you so that you might have opportunities to meet-up at some point.

3. Connect with consultants and professionals who write articles that help you learn more about your targeted industry.

Its important to be strategic in how you connect with others on LinkedIn. You might find value in connecting with anyone (to increase your reach), but its most important to connect with those professionals that bring you value and those that you might be able to help as well.

If youre focused on getting into a specific career field, make sure youre reading blogs and articles from those professionals who work in it. Read their articles and leave thoughtful comments regularly so that he/she gets to know a little bit about you. So when you finally do reach out to connect on LinkedIn, he/she knows who you are and a connection will be made.

Tip: Make sure to always write a thoughtful note when making an introduction. You could thank the person for their articles and/or help with your future career plans.

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