If you’re like me, you probably wish that LinkedIn had been around when you started your career. Think about how many Connections you’d have by now! Thousands at least! (Yes, I realize that I’m dating myself a bit here!).
One reason I wish I’d had LinkedIn a long time ago is because I’d probably be connected to a lot of my former colleagues, many of whom have become highly respected and successful business professionals.
Former colleagues are ideal Connections because they’re familiar with your work and are thus more likely to recommend you for a position or contract based on your work.
NOTE: If you don’t remember who you worked with, check to see if you saved a phone book or document that lists people you worked with. This is a trick I give my Coaching clients: always keep the phone book or contact database from each job you have).
Fortunately, if for some reason you don’t have a list of who you worked with at a former company, or if you’re having trouble finding them on LinkedIn, you can find people in your Network who might be linked with your target connection(s) (e.g., a mutual colleague or organization member). Then, review their connections to see if you find your target connection(s).
Another way to find former colleagues on LinkedIn is to search for the company you both worked at. This requires a ”Company” search:
From the search bar, select “Companies” from the drop-down menu:
Then, type in the company you want to search for:
Once you’re on the company page, look to the far right of the screen where you’ll see how many employees the company has on LinkedIn. In this case, Google has 57,688 employees on LinkedIn. Click on the number (as indicated by the red arrow) to see the full list:
Once you’re on the full list of employees, you can Connect to the people you know.
If the Company search doesn’t work, or if there are too many employees to search through, you can also use an Advanced “People” Search. You will put the Company name into the Advanced People Search and you will be able to narrow down the search with the years worked with your target connection. And you can narrow the search even further by adding keywords like the department they worked in or the job title they had.
Using these methods, I’ve been able to Connect on LinkedIn with people I worked with as long as 30 years ago. I worked on the Television show “That’s Incredible!” with John Davidson and Fran Tarkenton in 1983 and I was able to find several of my colleagues from there. These connections and some other business connections from years ago have generated some interesting business opportunities and Coaching Client leads.
For more help with Advanced “People” Searches to help you find colleagues from the past, try my “6 Weeks to More Success Through LinkedIn” Video E-Course. My videos and e-book walk you through the more complicated – but necessary – steps required to build a quality network on LinkedIn. Click here to learn more!