Calling Your Alma Mater: Tips for Effective Alumni Networking

Ah, the alumni network. It’s robust, it’s vast and often times it’s overlooked. We like to think of it as a golden nugget or the winning ticket in Powerball, if you will.

If you haven’t tapped into your alumni network, don’t kick yourself but make a vow to start leveraging it. As in right now. (Okay, you can wait until Monday but promise us you’ll reach out then, okay?)

It may sound basic but you’ll need to contact the right alumni to help you. Of course, LinkedIn naturally comes to mind but every single alum probably hasn’t registered on the site yet. 

Reach out to your career center and explain who you want to contact. And by that we mean categories. Do you want to met folks in the media who live in the greater region of Boston? Television producers in L.A.? Graphic designers in Miami?

Be specific with your search! Target specific companies or industries and really drill down. Once you have the names and basic information to reach out, go ahead and do it! Quickly proceed to the next step when you have momentum and request an informational interview. Whether it’s a phone call or a cup of coffee, its’ all good. Make an indelible first impression and tap into their knowledge and more importantly, their network. Let them get to know you as a person and start off by drawing upon the one thing you already have in common: Your school.

As you begin to sparkle by talking about your accomplishments, find out about theirs as well. You never know when you can help a fellow alumni out either!

Eyes over here. And by that we mean back to you.

Always, always, always ask who they know. Who is in their network? Who can they introduce you to in HR at their company? We know you’ll connect with them via LinkedIn and send a thank-you note but you’ll need to keep going.

Don’t stop at just one alum and don’t stop at just one of their contact recommendations. Continue the swirl and ask that contact for an informational interview, too. Ask for help! Build relationships, build trust and you’ll start seeing results.