Choosing your school is a big decision. From the degree programs offered to the extracurricular activities to the overall feel of the campus, your school can greatly affect your life for four years. But did you know that your school experiences can keep working for you long after you graduate? Alumni networks are often overlooked, but they could be the key to getting your next job. Here’s how to tap into your alumni network and put it to work for you.
How Can Networking with Alumni Help You Get a Job?
If you haven’t been in touch with your alumni association for a while, now is the time to make sure your details are current. Update your email address, home address, and phone number. Also search for the association on social media, as more and more networking is now done online.
If you have time, consider volunteering with your alumni association. Planning reunions and other events help other alumni recognize your name and face. It also provides easy conversation starters that can ultimately lead to stronger connections. Besides, giving back can help boost both your mood and your confidence.
Whether or not you volunteer, be sure to attend at least a couple of events each year. You might find dedicated networking events, but even football games or fundraisers provide valuable opportunities for face-to-face connections. Be sure to follow up with a one-on-one meeting if you meet someone interesting.
If a fellow alum works at a company that interests you, don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t ask for a referral right off the bat, though! Instead, focus on making an authentic human connection. Asking questions about their work is fine, but save the direct requests until you get to know each other. You can also search for alumni on LinkedIn and invite them to make a connection.
Stay in Touch
Networking is about developing a group of people that you genuinely like. Don’t be that person who only shows up when you need something. Instead, make a regular habit of touching base. Send an email when someone changes jobs or gets a promotion. Issue a coffee invitation to someone you recently met in person.
Be a Good Member of the Network
Networking is a two-way street. If someone in your alumni network would be perfect for the position that just opened at your company, let them know. If someone needs a photographer, and someone else is talented with a camera, offer to connect them. The more proactive you are about helping people connect, the more they are likely to think of you when a great opportunity arises.