You’ve spent a number of years at your college, graduated, and are asking yourself, “What now?” One of the perks of being a newly graduated student is to take advantage and network with other alumni to advance your career. In this guide, we’re detailing five ways to connect with your alumni network as the next step of your professional development.
Connect over social media
Social media sites serve as a great way to connect with alumni and engage with their job updates and achievements. Some school alumni associations have active LinkedIn and Facebook pages, which is a great way to start and maintain relationships with individuals in your desired industry. Commenting, liking, and sharing their posts can be the starting point of connecting and starting a conversation.
If you plan on using social media for networking, make sure that your profile is up to date with your latest experiences, recent works, and interests. You want to give yourself the best professional image to attract positive attention and demonstrate your value as a potential colleague or employee.
Join Alumni Associations
As a graduate, you can now become a member of your school’s alumni association or network. These associations sometimes have their own websites, but you can also find them on professional networking sites. These groups are meant to serve as a resource for learning about potential opportunities, so be sure to check on these resources often or subscribe to a mailing list about current news or events.
Alumni Associations are always in need of active members to volunteer! Although these associations are often led by full-time students – event planning, coordination, and other incentives are powered by alumni efforts. Not only would you be giving back to your school, but you’d also be participating and connecting with other alumni for meaningful connections.
Attend Alumni Events
Virtually connecting is a great start to finding your peers, but connecting in person is even better. As a member of alumni groups or associations, you’ll often receive information about the next coordinated event that can provide networking opportunities. It’s not necessary to go to every event, but attending a few each year can go a long way to reconnect with acquaintances or meet new people.
A few tips for attending events:
- Come up with goals in mind beforehand to set intentions for the event.
- Carry a set of business cards to share your contact information.
- Be prepared to have key talking points or questions.
- Remember to be yourself and allow things to flow naturally!
Help People Connect with Others
Professional networking isn’t just for growing your own social network; it can also be an act of service to give professional referrals and connections for others. The true value of social networking is for both sides to gain mutual benefit in making engagements. If you hear about opportunities in your job or elsewhere that align with one of your alumni connections, you can reach out and help make an introduction. This process helps both of you, as they gain an opportunity, and you demonstrate your social and interpersonal skills.
By practicing good connection methods, you’re building deeper relationships that can serve better results in the long run than growing superficial connections.
Network with your own College Connections
Keeping in touch with your close college friends and dormmates is the most casual way to network with college connections you already have. You can also connect with alumni from your extracurriculars, teams, fraternity/sororities, and clubs if they have their own alumni groups.
Plus, making use of your own network of college friends and acquaintances gives you the opportunity to collaborate on projects they may be working on, which allows you to showcase your own skills.
Now that you’ve made the first step towards getting in touch with alumni, it’s just as important to follow up on your new connections. Be sure to keep the conversation going by sending a thank you note for their time and advice. If you’ve connected with them on social media, you can use these platforms to stay updated on their recent news and announcements. Remember – social media is about mutual engagements, so be sure to comment and like their posts to show your support. Otherwise, stay in touch by keeping them in the loop of your career plans.