Author: Lavie Margolin, Career Coach
With alumni networking, similar to any type of networking, it is what you put in that you will get back. To have the most success with alumni networking, one should be visible and be seen as a helpful resource for other alumni. A person who volunteers to speak regarding their expertise at alumni events or to help organize programs will become known to other alumni. When that person needs help, they are likely to hear back from other alumni as opposed to someone no one else has heard from. There are many different ways to connect with alumni:
1) In person events- During cocktail hours and dinner portions of the event, you have the chance to speak to many different people and share your experiences. If one can be a guest speaker at the event, people will come over afterwards and it will be a good opportunity to network.
2) Alumni email groups- An example would be the Big Red Group for Cornell alumni. People post on these groups all of the time looking for advice, suggestions or help. Respond to these postings regularly in order to get help when you need it.
3) Facebook group- In most cases, alumni office employees are the only ones who can post on the group wall but it will allow you to stay up to date on information and also see who the other members are. Many members will list their profession in their profile and are open to speaking to other alumni.
4) Linkedin.com- There are dedicated alumni groups on linkedin in order to connect with fellow alumni as well as the ability to search profiles that list your school with a keyword search. If you do not know a particular person of interest, it is possible another former classmate would be connected to them and help to facilitate a connection.
5) Chance meetings- When you wear the colors of your University/College, people who also went there will come over no matter the circumstance- airport, wedding, sporting event. Once you have an ‘in’ to begin a conversation, professional networking could occur.
The value of an alumni network is how closely other alumni connect to the school. If someone had a positive experience, they are more likely to want to help fellow alumni than if someone had a negative experience.
About the Author: Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Lion Cub Job Search:www.Lioncubjobsearch.com