So, it seems that my last post on LinkedIn continues to be a particularly popular one. I'm not sure why but it's great to see so many people discovering, and taking advantage of, all the benefits the site has to offer. Among them are the LIONs and alumni who are readily accessible to you.
I have to admit. When I first saw the LION acronym included in someone's name or title, I squinched. (I totally thought I made that squint/scrunched hybrid up in my head but turns out it's legit.) I learned though that a LION is a LinkedIn Open Networker. Remember when I said never send a connection request to someone you don’t know without explaining in the message why you’d like to connect with them? Well, LIONs (usually recruiters or some other type of professional networkers) want to rack up as many people in their network as possible. They don't care who you are or how you found them. They will never reject, ignore, or report your request as spam. They will never click the "I don't know" button. You know those Facebookers who collect a bazillion "friends" for no good reason? LIONs want a kajillion contacts in order to help them expand their own recruiting reach and to help everyone get closer. By closer, I mean that there may be someone you're genuinely interested in learning more about but he is a 3rd degree connection for you and all of his info is hidden. If you were connected to a LION who is also connected to that person, he'd now be a 2nd degree connection and now all of his info is available to you and you can more easily connect with him yourself. You can do a People search on LinkedIn for LIONs in your city of interest and send all the connection requests you want.
I'm loving LinkedIn's alumni search page. Once you get there it will be pretty explanatory and easy to navigate but you start by selecting a school to search and the years of attendance. All the applicable alumni will show up and you can further narrow your search. You can see below what it looks like when I search for alumnae (women's college) of my undergrad alma mater who attended between 2000 and 2010.
Watch what happens when I narrow my search to those living in Atlanta and working at the CDC.
It shows me the 16 that fit the bill. From there I can contact who I need to in whatever way suits my goal or strategy. This is just another way LinkedIn makes it easier for us to expand and leverage our network. There are lots of people out there willing to help us achieve our professional best. Why not start with alumni?