Networking is important to your job search. Using on-line platforms such as LinkedIn can help you build a robust network from both inner and outer connections. Inner connections are people you know well, like mentors, friends, close peers and colleagues. Outer connections are people you would like to get to know better. Both sets of connections are really important, but how do you appropriately and effectively approach an outer connection? Gently!
Start with a compliment, something you may have read or researched online about them or their company. Make the connection between your common background if there is one to be made. For example, you both went to Brandeis to get your MBA degree at different times or maybe you are interested in the same industry or field, such as consulting or marketing.
Make it short and succinct and DON’T ask for a job, but do end with a question so there is an action item. The connection is not a recruiter, they are a stop on the path to finding opportunities. A good example is: “Hi Alice, thank you for connecting. I admire the career path you have taken since graduating from Brandeis two years ago. I am looking forward to finishing my degree this year. I am excited to find work that I love! Would you have time to chat for a few minutes about the steps you took after Brandeis to reach your employment goals? I can try to be free anytime that works for you.”
Wait and see how they respond. Be patient. Not everyone checks LI every day. Building relationships takes time and reaching out politely and gently is a great way to start.
In addition to LinkedIn, I also encourage you to join the Brandeis community platform, B Connect, for direct access to alumni who have offered to help Brandeis students!