Your college selection process probably began with a large stack of pamphlets and a copy of U.S. News’ Best Colleges report and ended with a small stack of envelopes, some thick and some thin. Four years (or more) later, you started the work of turning your major into a career.
LinkedIn has created an Alumni tool for mapping your college connections that may answer the question, where are they now?
The tool shows where your fellow graduates live, which companies they work for, what they studied in school, what types of jobs they have now and what their skills are. (My fellow alumni at Pepperdine University and Cal State Fullerton were largely still in Southern California, working in two of the area’s hottest industries: aerospace and entertainment.)
“We’ve found that most people want to help out fellow students and alumni, and are open to informational interviews,” wrote Christina Allen, director of product manager at LinkedIn, in a blog post. “It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.”
But what if you picked the wrong school?
Most colleges will send along a magazine filled with success stories and other news from notable graduates. The difference with LinkedIn is that you can see the alumni statistics of 200 million people from 22,000 colleges and universities around the world, not just your own.
Like magic, the alumni tool returns the stack of college pamphlets to your room, where you can gaze at people you’ve never met and feel like there’s still time to explore your options. And instead of the acceptance or rejection letters, you’ll find at the end of your search a small list of first, second, and third degree connections in your network.
LinkedIn’s tool is part of a wave of professional networks like Identified and meritful that are finding new ways to bring higher education into the job search. But the only way for them to work is for people to fill out their profiles and start making connections.
College-bound students might want to take a look at the job placement statistics of their first-choice schools while they’re touring campuses and deciding what they want to be when they grow up. For everyone else, it’s not too late too look up your connections’ alumni groups or your own and see if there’s someone in there who can help you land a job at Facebook or NASA.
Image by Bronson Chang.