Success in a multitude of industries relies heavily on who you know and what you can do with those connections. Connections can be built many ways, such as friends of friends, internships, and professors. But perhaps the most crucial way to network and build professional connections is through your college alumni- they are often more than happy to support their alma mater!
It can be intimidating to figure out how to start building alumni connections, where to find alumni that can help you, and the best way to start a conversation toward career mentorship. However, The Lala is here to help you through this important process!
1. Apply for alumni academic scholarships
Not only do you get some money to relieve the burden of tuition, but also often times you’ll attend a banquet to actually receive the scholarship, which provides ample opportunity to mingle. Use this time to introduce yourself and share what you’re hoping to do upon graduation.
2. Join the Facebook page for your university and your specific graduating class
An easy way to find out who you have mutual friends with and a little less intimidating than LinkedIn, Facebook allows you to see people from your class, organization, and maybe even your major at school. Also, once you graduate your classmates might share job openings on the page!
3. Use alumni databases
Almost every college has one- if you’re unsure of how yours works, your best bet is to get in touch with career services at your school to get the exact details. This allows for you to search through different industries and see where your alumni are working. This also allows for an easy way to contact them- they clearly want to help since they got themselves on the database.
4. Attend college fairs
Often, companies send alumni back to their alma mater to connect with undergrads and promote applying to their company. These are so incredibly important and you should definitely be sure to attend. Remember to wear a suit and bring a resume!
5. Get involved with your student alumni association
No other situation will get you working as closely with alumni before you even graduate, allowing you to plan events on campus to promote exactly what you’re trying to do- connect with alumni!
6. “Follow” your university on LinkedIn
This will allow you to find more people in your industry easier, and make it easier for professionals to follow you.
Figuring out how to meet alumni is half the battle! Once you establish a connection, it’s important to then make a good impression. When introducing yourself, be confident- with a great handshake! Ask them about their experience on campus, how college prepared them for their career, and if they have advice for you moving forward.
Image via Irina Puchkova