Last week I wrote about how submitting your resume and cover letter online carries a low probability of success.  This week we talk about what gives you the highest probability of success to land that dream job. Effective networking online with LinkedIn is the #1 job search tool. (No, I don’t get paid by LinkedIn to say this, but I should!)

Part 1 of this blog series covers connecting on LinkedIn with college/university alumni and requesting a coffee or conversation.

Parts 2 and 3 will cover linking in with others whom you share additional bonds.

The strongest bond online you can have with someone is a common college/university.  Even if you graduated last year and they graduated 30 years ago, you share a bond.  No matter if you graduated with a philosophy degree and they graduated with a JD, you share a bond.

For those who went to a small school or did not grow up in the USA, you can “borrow” a school from a friend or a career coach (email me at for more details).

From my own experience and that of my clients searching for jobs, our statistics show:

  • Between 30%-70% of those alumni you invite to connect will connect
  • Whether you are closer to 30% or 70% depends upon what school you attended
  • No other variable seemed significant

After requesting connections with over 500 Wharton alumni over the last 6 months, I connected with about 40%.  Whether I connected over Labor Day or on a Tuesday when Elon Musk launched another rocket, I get about 40%.

Only George Costanza, when asked by Jerry if everyone has to like him, said “Yes”.  Sorry George, 40% is still great!

If you email me the correct Seinfeld episode I am referring to above, you get a free resume screening! Send to

Why the large range? I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just some alumni feel closer to their Alma Mater than others.

After connecting with alumni, use best practices to ask for a coffee or phone conversation for career advice.  Career advice, not a job.  Informational interview, not formal interview.

Do not send your resume and cover letter now.  However, make sure your LinkedIn profile is top notch since they most likely will check you out before you speak.

If you then have a great, opened ended conversation (and follow up with that contact on a regular basis), you probably have earned yourself an internal advocate for your dream job.

Since 75% of all jobs are never posted, having an internal advocate is essential for getting interviews and insider tips.  Better yet, having 5-10 internal advocates at the same company looking out for you will speed your job search by months.

Next week: The #1 Job Search Tool Part 2…