Join us on LinkedIn

More than 19,000 Bristol graduates are members of our alumni LinkedIn group, making it a great platform for acquiring careers advice, hearing about new opportunities and sharing your own experience and knowledge with alumni of all ages and professions.

Members of the University Careers Service also belong to the group, and often post relevant internal and external careers resources that can help you gain professional skills, perfect your interview technique and write a stand-out CV.

You’ll also find a wealth of information about how to use LinkedIn effectively for networking and career advancement elsewhere on the web. LinkedIn’s own introductory video 'What is LinkedIn?' can be a good place to start. 

Creating your profile

Your LinkedIn profile is like a public version of your CV, so remember that anything you add can be viewed by potential employers. You can use your profile to outline your career ambitions as well as your previous experience, but make sure you’re truthful about your knowledge and skills, and take the time to proofread for spelling and grammar.

Adding a photo to your profile will make a difference too – recruiters faced with a long list of search results are much more likely to click on profiles with pictures than those without.

Make your profile as detailed possible, and don’t be shy about asking previous employers for recommendations. Personal endorsements lend weight to the experience and skills you list on your profile, and will help you stand out from the crowd.

Make sure that you use key words that illustrate your preferred career direction throughout your profile too, particularly in the text that appears under your name, as this has an impact on which searches you will appear in.

Watch LinkedIn’s 'Building your professional brand' video to find out more.

Find other Bristol alumni

We personally check every request to join our group, so you can be sure every member is connected to the University in some way – whether they’re a graduate, member of staff or current student.

You can use the 'Members' section to search for people by name, or occupation. For example, type ‘journalist’ in the search box, and you’ll see a list of people working in a variety of media professions. From this list, you can view their profiles, follow them (which allows you to read what they share publicly on LinkedIn), send them a message or invite them to connect with you.

You can also use the Search function (on the top menu) to find relevant discussions within the group. These may also be a useful starting point for finding like-minded alumni, who may be willing to share their knowledge and experience.

As well as Bristol alumni 'closed' group, you can also use the public University page to search for other alumni working in different sectors, and even specific companies (for example, Pricewaterhouse Coopers or Deloitte).

Sending messages

You can send a message to anyone within our LinkedIn group, and most of our alumni are happy to share their knowledge or experience of particular professions.

Remember to keep all your messages polite and professional – people are much more likely to respond if your questions are clear and courteous.

That said, don’t be disheartened if someone doesn’t respond – there’ll always be others who’ll be willing to help.

Even better, why not post a discussion within the group? Your post will be visible to everyone within the group (not just one individual) so you may receive more replies from a wider range of people.

Try to avoid direct emails and discussion posts like ’I’m looking for work‘. This may be true but another way to phrase it could be: ‘I recently read the following article about the importance of social media in marketing campaigns as I am interested in working in this field, and I wondered whether anyone had any advice about how to develop my skills and experiences in this area’.

Making connections

When you ask to connect with someone, spend time customising your message to make your note more personal. If you haven’t already forged a connection with them in real life, explain why you’d like to connect so they know you have a genuine interest in them professionally (rather than just trying to boost your connection numbers).

LinkedIn also offers you the chance to be introduced to members in your extended network through connections you have in common. Again, taking the time to personalise your messages (both to the person you’re asking to act as an intermediary, and to the person to whom you’d like to be introduced) means you’re more likely to get a positive response to your request.

Starting discussions

Posting a question within the group may seem daunting, but chances are there’ll be others who’ll thank you for taking the initiative.

Make your question as clear as possible, so it’s easy for people to respond.

Of course, you don’t need us to tell you that frequent, repetitive messages (spamming) either on the discussion board or to individuals are a big no-no. Remember the number one rule of LinkedIn – act professional at all times!

More information

LinkedIn regularly update their own blog with guides on how to make the most of the different profile functions, as well as information and tips for best practice. You can also find answers to any technical questions you may have in their comprehensive help centre.

You may also find the following LinkedIn videos helpful too: