Professional social network LinkedIn today announced a new feature designed to give you insights into your college or university's alumni and help you connect and network with them.
Called LinkedIn Classmates, the tool gives you high-level information about your fellow alumni: the most popular companies they work for, in what area they're working, where they live, and more.
Here's a rundown of its key features.
LinkedIn Classmates: What You Need to Know
Whether you're looking for a job at a particular company, in a particular industry or in a specific location -- or just curious about where your college friends are now working -- LinkedIn Classmates makes finding those people easy.
At the top of your Classmates page you'll see three subheads: "Where they work," "What they do," and "Where they live." Click "Show more" at the bottom of each category to view a longer list of popular workplaces, industries or locations. To preview a list of alumni who work or live in a particular location, click one of the options.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]
Clicking on multiple results will narrow your college or university's alumni pool down to those specifications, which you'll see at the bottom of the page.
To connect with or learn more about someone, click on their name to preview an abridged version of their profile. You'll see when they graduated, where they currently work, past positions they've held and which, if any, connections you have in common. You can then either send an invitation to connect, or view their full profile.
As a default, you'll have access to the colleges or universities that you list on your LinkedIn profile. Additionally, the window of alumni is automatically set to the years that you attended the school. To choose a different school, select it from the drop-down menu next to the heading "Your school." Or, choose a different span of time from the drop-down menu on the right to either broaden or narrow your search results.
Finally, because some LinkedIn members choose not to list the dates of when they attended the college or university, LinkedIn gives you the option to search for alumni without dates. For this option, choose the option "Graduated" from the drop-down menu next to "Attended."
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at email@example.com