Use Alumni Connections to Prospect on LinkedIn

LinkedIn gives you boundless ways to prospect by contacting people through shared LinkedInconnections. One of my favorite lesser-known LinkedIn features is the ability to connect via shared classmates. This is a LinkedIn Gem, which is my term for tools with great utility that few people know about.

How to find classmates

To find classmates, start at the profile page of the person you’re trying to contact. Navigate down to the “Education” section and note the colleges and years attended. Undergraduate experience is a good place to start, since that’s the time people are most likely to live on campus and engage socially with other students. Click on the college to go to that institution’s page on LinkedIn. Then click on the “Explore Careers” link to open the database of members who attended that school.


LinkedIn gives you a variety of ways to filter this database. Enter the years that your prospect attended school in the appropriate box at the top. Uncheck the “Include people with no dates” option. This will give you a list of people who were at the college at the same time as your prospect.

You can then use the three filtering options at the top of the page to refine your results further. Filtering by “What they do” is usually your best bet for finding classmates who were in the same field of study. You can also filter by employer and location.

The results list below shows the number of shared connections you have with each classmate. Click on the person’s tile to get a summary profile that shows if you’re a first- or second-level connection.

Once you’ve narrowed down your results to people you know – or would like to know – get busy prospecting!


About Paul Gillin

Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker, online marketing consultant and social media coach with Profitecture. Since 2005, he has helped business-to-business marketers at companies of all sizes and in many industries use social media and quality content to reach and engage with customers. He is also a prolific writer who has published more than 200 articles on the subject of new media. His books include: "The New Influencers" (2007), "Secrets of Social Media Marketing" (2008), "The Joy of Geocaching" (2010) and "Social Marketing to the Business Customer" (2011) and "Attack of the Customers" (2013). He has written the monthly New Channels column for BtoB magazine since 2006. Paul is a veteran technology journalist with more than 25 years of editorial leadership experience. His website is and he blogs at and Newspaper Death Watch.