You’re a new university grad, or would be graduating in the next couple of years – one must-do on your job search plan is to know how to leverage the alumni network. Here are 5 tips that you must implement now to ensure a faster and effective job search.
Search the Alumni Directory – most universities offer access to the alumni directories to the students. That’s your best bet to find out those that you would like to connect or meet-up for an informational interview. Access these directories through your university website or ask the HR if you cannot find it online.
Are you on LinkedIn – if not, you should be. Search the LinkedIn groups to find out if there are any alumni groups of your institution. Send a request to join the list – identify yourself with credentials on your current student status of the Univ.
Now connect with the alumni on this list.
“Suppose you have 40 friends, and assume that each friend has 35 other friends of their own. If you do that math (40x35x45), that’s 54,000 people you can reach via an introduction. If you spend 30 minutes researching a person in your extended network, and tailor your request for an introduction to something you’ve learned, your request will stand out.” ~ Reid Hoffman in The start-up of YOU.
And while you’re at it, follow the companies you are interested in joining post-graduation. You can also find who in your network works there, but adding relevant contacts to your connections list right now, is the key to effective networking.
You will thank yourself for this prudence when the time comes. One of the keys to success is ‘right timing’, knowing someone now might give you an edge over another applicant when the desired position opens up and you already know someone “right” to forward your resume.
Join any local Alumni Club or Associations. You may not want to join the club but sure enough can attend some of their events to access networking one-on-one. Nothing beats an effective networking as an in-person one.
Find out the local events happening around your area on such alumni meets and it is your one-up opportunity to shake hands with your future employer or a referrer.
Other Social Media
Follow those on your list on Facebook, Google+ and/or Twitter. They might tweet in a new job at their place of work someday and knowing you might help them forward your resume in the right hands. Employee referral ranks high on hiring these days.
Find a Mentor
Not graduating this year? Don’t say there’s nothing I need to do now – you can and you must. Request someone within your alumni network to be your mentor. Their “been-there done-that” experience could be immensely valuable toward your career progression.
Respect their time and requirements and you can learn a lot on your future job search techniques. Approach them through your network or referrals from friends or professors and they would be more than willing to talk to you about job shadowing or internship opportunities.
A perfect way to get your foot through the door is to get hands-on, find opportunities to do so and your mentor can help you here in giving you the bigger picture before. Make personal contact with your mentor; a one hour lunch meeting request is what you can begin with.
Always be ready with an updated profile, online is desirable and preferable by most savvy employers. It doesn’t help much if you can build a good network but do not know how to use it well – or to present your skills in such a way that your connection would be glad to recommend you to his/her supervisor.
Preparedness is the key, be discovered for your creativity and diligence – it feels great to be sought after than to seek!
QUESTION: How have you approached your alumni network? What has worked for you?
An Infographic via univ of Illinois Alumni Association: