Become an Active Alum and Jumpstart Your Career

You might think of your alumni network as just another opportunity to be social and share nostalgic memories of your alma mater. However, alumni are excellent sources of career information, advice and opportunities, even those that may have been your fellow classmates. Up-and-coming graduates have an excellent opportunity to start taking advantage of alumni experience before graduation. Even if you are already a member of the working world, it is not too late to connect with your alumni network.

Alumni are valuable contacts because they have industry experience, a solid professional network, and can confidently vouch for your educational background. Also, most of them love connecting with current students and fellow graduates. You share an automatic bond — you belong to the same club. As a member of that club, you will find that alumni are willing and eager to connect you to other people or opportunities that might help you in your career.

Here are few steps to getting connected:

  •  Join Your Alumni Association Now: No matter what stage in life, there is no time like the present. Don’t waste time joining your alumni association. Whether you’re getting ready to graduate or your diploma is already getting dusty, you can usually sign up for your alumni association online. You’re likely to find databases of alumni that actually want to be contacted by fellow graduates, which should alleviate your fear of cold-calling perfect strangers!
  • Participate in Annual Phone Banks: Most schools enlist students to call graduates for donations once or twice a year. Take advantage of these opportunities to connect with alumni who will very likely be excited to hear from the University. Your shared experience also means they will probably be more than happy to talk to you about your plans for life after school. If you’re already an alumnus, connect with the university to learn what other volunteer opportunities there are that will allow you to connect with other alumni.
  • Attend Annual Reunions: Universities are always looking for students to volunteer for alumni events, reunions and homecomings, which are great opportunities to network. They are tons of fun and great opportunities to meet with those alumni that want to stay connected with the University and its mission. As a working professional, plan to attend the next alumni event at your alma mater. See some old faces and learn about the successes of your classmates. You never know what doors might open for you.

Networking doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are a graduating student, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do before graduation. Nevertheless, taking the time to connect with working alumni is worth the time and effort. As a seasoned professional, it might seem that it is too late to plug in to your alumni network in an effort to redirect or accelerate your career. Luckily, it is never too late. Connect with those with whom you have a common ground and history. Discussing your school memories is a great way to build rapport and break the ice. Have some fun while making valuable connections — connections that just might help you land a great job.

Lauren Randa Hasson, President & Founder
The Résumé Girl - Landing a job requires more than credentials alone!

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