“Connect with professors on LinkedIn,” says former recruiter and current social media strategist, Rich DeMatteo.
The Benefits of Connecting with Professors on LinkedIn
Rich’s idea makes a ton of sense.
Why? Well, because many of your professors match Malcolm Gladwell’s definition of a Connector. Gladwell says that Connectors know lots of people and have a knack for bringing them together.
Your professors know lots of people. The longer they’ve been teaching, the more people they know.
Sweetly, your professors know many people who have the same training you do.
Because they’re alums of the same school and perhaps the same program, those people will be likely to :
- Give you informational interviews
- Refer you to jobs
- Hire you
So, connect with your professors.
BTW, be sure to check Ellen Bremen’s comment below for some great tips (she’s a professor).
Build Your Network via Your Professors’ Networks
After you’ve connected with your professors, check your 2nd-level connections for alums you might like to get to know.
Here’s a great “how-to” video:
Then, move ahead with invitations.
Nervous? Shy? Please realize that some of those people probably want to meet you as much you want to meet them.
They might be hiring managers looking for someone a lot like themselves to fill an open position.
Plus, they might be eligible for a referral bonus if they find the right person for an open job at their company.
Track Fellow Alums for Companies Who Hire People Like You
One final note, where your fellow alums have completed their LinkedIn profiles, you can also look at their work histories and find possibilities for your career.
What have they done with their training that you might do with yours? It’s a nice creative resource to have.
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Updated January 2022
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Thanks so much for this. Really great point you have in there on how teachers are connectors. I also thought it was great to mention the internal referral bonus.
Donna & Rich, great suggestion. I did this with undergrad but not as much as with grad school. I was fortunate to be part of a small specialized cohort in grad school so I received extra special attention and really was able to build strong relationships with professors.
I also worked as a graduate assistant for the department chair. That is another suggestion, if you are still in grad school. Really get to know your professors by helping them with their research projects.
When I graduated, they were ALL more than happy to offer recommendations, put me in contact with other alumni or executives, and even offer *honest* advice when I asked about a doctoral program.
They are my contacts on LinkedIn, but I am able to email or call them at any time to chat.
I love it so much when people comment on my posts and add to what I have written. The old two heads are better than one thing and all!
Thank you Diana.
Thanks for this great post! I think it is extremely important to connect with your professors on LinkedIn since they are experts in their industry and probably can be helpful in obtaining a job down the road. It’s just as important as keeping a connection with people after you meet them while networking.
Thank you for this important resource to connect students-professors in such a beneficial way. I am a prof (I teach undergrads) and wanted to add a couple of thoughts: I have often accepted students’ requests on LI, but only after the term is finished. It my mind, it is more appropriate to wait until that time. Secondly, there have been times that I have not accepted students’ requests, and I know that I am not alone in that, based on hearing same from my colleagues. The reasons vary: Not knowing the student well enough to open up my professional network, not feeling that I could comfortably recommend the student if asked, or not remembering the student because their relationship with me is too dated (This is rare, but has happened). My suggestion to students is that if you have some doubt as to whether you should ask your prof to connect with you via LI, drop an e-mail asking them if they are comfortable with it and say that you would appreciate the opportunity to stay connected professionally. Also, if the relationship is dated, tell the prof in the e-mail when you had his/her class, a little about what you are doing now, etc. If nothing else, this is important networking practice! I value the discussion in this article and am going to use it as a conversational springboard in several of my classes. Many thanks. Ellen Bremen, M.A. @chattyprof
Ellen, Thank you for sharing those guidelines. People, including myself, are always looking for information about the best way to navigate relationships on social media platforms. Donna
LinkedIn asks users to properly describe their connections to other people. But only a handful of options are available: “Colleague”, “Classmate”, “We’ve done business together”, “Friend”, “Other”, and “don’t know”. What would be the proper way to describe a student-professor relationship in LinkedIn? “Other”?
This seems so common it’s baffling how they wouldn’t think to provide a “Professor/Student” kind of relationship.
Augusto, That would make a lot of sense! Donna