What Any Organisation Can Learn From Great Alumni Programs

March 28, 2009

I just read an excellent article by John Sullivan about the power of corporate alumni programs. The title of the article is “Corporate Alumni and Boomerang Recruiting Programs Are Hot Due to Layoffs“.

I agree with the content of the article, but the title of the article should be “Corporate Alumni and Boomerang Recruiting Programs COULD BE Hot Due to Layoffs” because not many organisations give enough attention to them or understand the power of them.

The reasons why alumni programs can be so powerful is that it creates ambassadors. For example many people who have worked for a consulting company left that company to work somewhere else. If the “break up” happened in a positive and friendly atmosphere and if there are ways to keep in touch with them, these former employees could be formidable ambassadors.

This comes down to one of the fundamental principles that the real power of the network is in the second degree: here are many more opportunities in the network of your network (the second degree) than in your own network.

However, what many people and organisations forget is to give their first degree network the right input so they can spread the right message to their network.

In his article John Sullivan shares 14 factors that clearly differentiate great alumni programs from average ones. (And I also want to add to number 5 (Use Social Networks) to use a LinkedIn Group like I described in the Advanced Strategies for people who run a professional organisation in “How to REALLY use LinkedIn“)

Read the tips, even if you are not in charge of an alumni program since there are many great ideas for building a network of ambassadors for any profit and non-profit organisation in it.

Have a great networking week !


Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and Speaker about Networking and Referrals


The Single Most Important Benefit of LinkedIn

March 21, 2009

For me the most powerful concept behind LinkedIn is that it finds the right people AND the connections you have with them. It makes the networks of the people we know visible. LinkedIn shows us our second and third degree networks and the paths towards them. This has tremendous value.

Why? Many people already have difficulty keeping track of their own (first degree) network. It is impossible to know who our network knows. LinkedIn makes this visible. This is extremely powerful especially if you start with the end or goal in mind. Many people make the “mistake” to only look in their own network when they are looking for someone to help them. In this way they are limiting themselves tremendously.

What if we start with defining the best person, find them and then find out via whom we can get introduced to them?

For example let’s suppose you are looking for a job at Coca Cola in your country (or you want to do business with them as a supplier or partner).

What most people then do is think of who they might know at Coca Cola. Then they can’t think of anyone and give up. Or they call the front desk, ask for the HR Manager and are stalled by the receptionist. Or the HR Manager says she is going to call back, but never does. Frustration!

Let’s now start with the goal in mind. You define the HR Manager as the person who can help you best reaching your goal (a job, a contract or expertise). Then you use LinkedIn and do a search with “HR Manager, Coca Cola, and your country”. The result is that you don’t only find the exact name of the person, but also the connections you share with this person.

When you then look at the mutual connections you have, you might discover that this person is connected with your neighbor. You didn’t know this because Coca Cola never has come up in your conversations. He has never mentioned anything about it and you never told him that you were interested in working for or with Coca Cola. After discovering the connection on LinkedIn and talking to your neighbor about it, you find out that he has worked together with the HR Manager in the past. When he hears about your goal he agrees on writing an email to introduce you to the HR Manager. Five days later you are invited to have a talk with the HR Manager and land the job or contract.

Without LinkedIn you might never have known that they knew each other!


PS: this is an excerpt from my new book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn“. In Dutch it is called “Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken” (there are free light versions available)

Launch day for “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” with special launch package

March 17, 2009
How to REALLY use LinkedIn

How to REALLY use LinkedIn


Today, March 17, is the launch day of my new book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”.


The response has already been overwhelming in the first hours of the day with a huge climb in the Amazon rankings.

People who buy the book today receive a special launch package consisting of:


  • Book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”
  • LinkedIn Profile Self Assessment
  • Global Networking Group on LinkedIn Membership
  • LinkedIn Activity Self Assessment
  • List of tools that can help you be more effective and efficient in your networking activities
  • Access to bimonthly webinars where you can also ask questions (different from the free webinars):
    • What to pay attention to when you create or update your Profile (in depth, with examples)
    • Which Groups to join as a member, how to create more visibility using Groups and absolute don’ts when interacting in a Group
    • Advanced strategies to find more customers
    • Advanced strategies to find a new job
    • Advanced strategies to attract new employees
    • How to get your job done faster using LinkedIn + extra tools

Go to http://www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com/en-buy.html to see what is all about.

Please remember when you let the people from your network know about this special launch package that it is only today they can get it.

Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and author of “How to REALLY use LinkedIn

Tuesday is D-Day for “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”

March 15, 2009

On Tuesday March 17 my new book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” will be officially released.

People who buy the book on that day, receive  a special “launch package” which includes a LinkedIn Profile Self Assessment, a LinkedIn Activity Self Assessment, access to advanced webinars, a list with network and referral tools,…

For people who are not sure yet, there is a light version of the book in English and in Dutch.

Get it at the website of How to REALLY use LinkedIn!


Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and author of Let’s Connect and How to REALLY use LinkedIn

Networking Tip: Have a Host(ess) Attitude

March 7, 2009

Many people have a hard time making contact with other people at a cocktail drink, conference, reception or other networking event.

 One of the best tips to feel more comfortable is to adapt a host(ess) attitude.

 What do I mean by that?

 What do you do when you are throwing a birthday party and you are the host of the evening? You welcome people, you make them feel comfortable, you provide them with drinks and food and you introduce them to each other. You don’t wait for them to ask you for something, but you take an active approach. You focus on the well-being of others, not your own. And you feel great by doing this.

 Just as Donna Fisher advices in “Professional Networking for Dummies” I also recommend that you do the same at networking events, even when you are not the organiser. What you can do is radiate a “host(ess) attitude”. If you focus on playing an active role at the event, people will be grateful. You will have fun, be appreciated and feel valuable.

 So play the host(ess) at the next event by doing the following:

  • Greet people. Even if you don’t talk with them, nod and give them a genuine smile.
  • Make people feel comfortable. Give them your full attention and listen to their stories.
  • Get them something to drink or eat. Do this yourself or call the waiter.
  • Connect them with other people by introducing them in a way that is compelling for both of them.

To your networking success !


 Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and networking speaker.

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