Alumni aren’t just the folks you see at Homecoming games and Founders’ Day on campus. They can be helpful in making connections and securing jobs for students.
While they might be older and sometimes out of touch with college culture, they are your future. For one thing, you will someday graduate, so you will someday be out of touch with campus life, too, and secondly, these are the people who will be hiring when you graduate—so be nice!
College graduates often complain about having no contacts or experience when they receive their diplomas. Well, alumni can be a built-in network available to you after graduation—and beyond—if you know how to make use of such a valuable resource.
Here are ways you can utilize your school’s alumni for job opportunities:
- Contact alumni in your field via a list from Career Services/Alumni Relations. Send alumni a friendly email to say hello from a fellow fill-in-the-blank mascot. This is the best way to start informational interviewing, or asking people how they got to where they are in their field. If you start early with this connection, these alumni may remember you when they hear of job opportunities related to your pursuits.
- Attend events where you know alumni will be. Alumni always like talking to the young bucks at the school, finding out what’s the same and what’s changed since they’ve graduated. These are also excellent opportunities to make connections, especially at events tailored to your major.
- Be active in your school’s Alumni Association. Whether it’s through volunteering at events or having a work-study job, being involved with this office can be very beneficial, as this is the direct link to the school’s graduates.
- Use LinkedIn. Alumni are all over the place on this network, and often the site will show you possible contacts through suggested connections (it does the work for you!). You can also join LinkedIn alumni groups and let the networking magic flow, as discussions often take place, with postings that advertise positions.
- In a sorority or frat? You’ve got sisters and brothers all over the world. Some students join Greek organizations for the social aspects, but sometimes it’s a clincher when it comes to jobs. Ask the president of your organization for information about alumni/sisters/brothers in your field, as sisters and brothers look out for each other. The same goes for Greek honor societies and clubs.
So maybe you already graduated, are looking for a job, and did none of the above to get a head start on the job search. Relax! Your alumni network is always available to you through these tips. The best thing about graduating is that you’re always an alumnus, which means the school will always encourage you to come back and visit—especially if you throw a few bucks its way.