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LinkedIn can recruit students, connect them with alumni

LinkedIn’s University Pages add powerful networking platform for current and future alumni
University Business, October 2013

Higher ed has a new recruitment tool available with LinkedIn’s University Pages, which not only promote a school, but add a powerful networking platform for current and future alumni.

“A LinkedIn University Page includes all the things that touch a university in one space,” says John Hill, LinkedIn’s higher education evangelist. “It’s rich media, so it can have videos, imagery, blog posts, and so on.”

Most interesting, however, is the contextual Alumni Tool. “A student at, say, the University of Colorado who is interested in living in Chicago after graduation can easily see how many alumni live there,” Hill says. “If I’m interested in going into a specific field, or working for a specific company, I can see how many alumni work there, who they are, what they do, and how I relate to them.”

Students can reach out to alumni to do informational interviewing and potentially create opportunities for themselves.

Rather than recreate the wheel, the social network uses its existing resources to power the Alumni Tool. LinkedIn users list their education and employment histories when they sign up for an account. And, with an estimated 225 million current users in more than 200 countries, the Alumni Tool is built on a rich and detailed foundation.

University Pages launched last month with a pilot group of 200 participating schools. Their effectiveness as a recruitment tool will likely be enhanced by LinkedIn’s decision in mid-September to lower its membership age to 14.

“This is a game changer for younger universities,” says Brandon Buzbee, director of outreach and engagement at the University of California, San Diego. “Imagine a 16-year-old who is passionate about computer science. He knows he wants to attend a university with a strong engineering program but also wants to know where he might end up working once he gets his degree.

"That student can see that Google is our third largest alumni employer. He will also see that seven of our top 20 employers of alumni are major software companies,” Buzbee says. “University Pages enables prospective students to have access to precise knowledge about the companies that have found our graduates to be a perfect fit for their business.”