Today LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Classmates, a way to tap into the power of alumni networks without calling your school's alumni office. This new tool gives you access to what your fellow alums are doing in their post-school lives, highlighting what they've accomplished since graduating, an opportunity to reconnect with alums in your field and a way to find alums who are interested in helping you.

LinkedIn Classmates also gives you the opportunity to track career trends based on where your school's alumni work, what they do and where they live now. Maybe you'll discover an alumni working at a company you're interested in applying to, or perhaps you'll notice alumni working somewhere you used to work. LinkedIn Classmates gives you access to that data quickly and easily, making it an ideal tool for gathering insights and reconnecting with individuals.

You can also find out what you have in common with those people now through graphs that chart specific interests. LinkedIn Classmates is not limited to college - it includes all of the schools you've entered into your LinkedIn profile. There's also an option to see people who attended during specific years, and those who graduated in a specific year. The least automated feature here is the option to join your alumni group - but you've already done that, right?

Alumni groups are an important part of the LinkedIn ecosystem, and are more geared toward conversation.

Some alumni prefer not to list the year they graduated, but that doesn't mean you can't find them. Using an easy toggle feature, you can grab a list of everyone who attended your school, regardless of graduation date.

To use the new feature, go to http://www.linkedin.com/classmates.

LinkedIn Classmates comes on the heels of status updates from companies, which lets administrators of company pages post short updates, just like users.