12 ways to tap into the networking power of alumni groups
From deciding on a career path to learning from your peers, here are the 12 answers to the questions, “How has your alumni group benefited you post-graduation, and can you give your best tips on how others can tap into the power of their alumni groups?”
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- Help Me Decide on a Career Path
- Find the Right Mentor
- Access a Great Recruiting Pool
- Create a Database of Your Alumni Group
- Stay on Top of Industry Trends
- Find a Source of Guidance
- Generate Easy Recommendations
- Develop Your Skills
- Gain Exclusive Benefits and Perks
- Make Friends for Life
- Provide Volunteer Opportunities
- Match Relevant Knowledge to Grow Your Career
Help With Career Path Decisions
After graduating, I quickly tried to make sense of what exactly I was meant to do with the rest of my life. I stumbled upon my alumni group when searching for job postings and other opportunities.
After connecting with some members, I found more information about certain companies and learned about the different paths that graduates had taken before me. My alumni group helped me choose a career path and stay connected in meaningful ways.
My best tip for tapping into powerful alumni groups is to make sure you’re getting involved from both sides! Reach out and make connections with members but also be available for offering advice, help, or resources. When everyone can take part, the network really shines!
Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer
Find the Right Mentor
Your alums group is an exceptional place to look for the right mentor if you plan a career pivot. This network is home to experts, professionals, and experienced individuals across different industries. If switching to a different niche has crossed your mind, you can leverage your alums group for resources, advice, and stories to help you decide and navigate an alternative career path.
Conversely, you can also share your experience with your alumni network if they are interested in your industry. It’s always a fulfilling experience to help others and share what you’re passionate about with former peers.
Nunzio Ross, Owner & Head Director, Majesty Coffee
Access a Great Recruiting Pool
As a business owner, I’m constantly looking to hire talented, driven young professionals. However, the difficulty is in finding them. The normal channels work alright, but I’ve actually had a ton of success recruiting directly through my alumni channels at San Diego State.
There is always some eager, hardworking new college grad entering the alumni group that is looking for a job. And in my experience, those you connect with directly through a common connection, like an alumni group, always pan out better than random hires.
So for others out there struggling to hire in this labor market, try checking out your alumni network for fresh talent.
John Ross, CEO, Test Prep Insight
Create a Database of Your Alumni Group
Your alumni group is a network of valuable sources waiting to be tapped, so keep in touch with your former classmates even after graduation. Through them, you can easily find products, suppliers, and services you or your business needs.
It could be challenging and confusing to keep tabs on your college peers, so make a database that you regularly update with a list of your former university classmates, their contact details, their industry, and their profession. It will be quick to find if you are looking for something like legal services. Of course, make sure you also offer value to your alumni group.
Kevin Huang, Founder & CEO, Ambient Home US
Stay on Top of Industry Trends
A great way to stay on top of industry trends is by checking the alumni group, discussing topics, and following industry professionals on LinkedIn to always be aware of any changes, obstacles, struggles, or trends that are facing the industry and help you stay up-to-date with different points of discussions related to your industry.
Jenna Nye, CEO, On the Strip
Find a Source of Guidance
From playing the role of a career coach to a startup advisor, a highly talented alumni group is all you need to find your success pathway.
In the corporate world, all you need is a connection, and you never know how and when an old connection might help you bring new success in life. My alumni group has been a source of experience and guidance for me, which I appreciate.
Kurt Uhlir, Chief Marketing Officer, Kurt Uhlir
Generate Easy Recommendations
If you need a good recommendation letter or want to be recommended by a company by someone, you can take the help of your alumni group and get in easily. I have done this for many of my juniors and if I need it in the future; I know my alumni group will definitely help me out.
In reputed companies, people do not get easily hired through direct recruitment, and there are many preliminary criteria and competition you need to get over with. Getting recommended by a good company is a great way to start a good job as a fresher.
Connie Glover, GM, Product & Market Development, BFX Furniture
Develop Your Skills
One of the best takeaways from your seniors can be how to move forward professionally. You can learn all the latest updates, and where to develop your skills, which I benefited from a lot.
Sessions of Knowledge Sharing are quite popular in our alumni association. It acts as an excellent platform to develop our leadership skills from top industry professionals. Since you get to be part of a diverse crowd, you could also find out any new interests and their scope in it.
But, for all of this to work, your college needs to instill two elements. This is pride in being part of the institution and loyalty towards students.
Preston Powell, CEO, Webserv
Gain Exclusive Benefits and Perks
I would say that alumni groups can provide a variety of premium benefits besides educational and employment prospects.
Some organizations provide financial perks like credit cards, banking, and even credit union services, or reduced rates on various insurance policies, including home, auto, and travel insurance.
Travel incentives, such as exclusive alumni travel destination programs, discounts, or free admission to local attractions or events, are some examples of benefits. Some groups provide savings on continuing education courses and even gym memberships through the institution.
Salim Benadel, Director, Storm Internet
Make Friends for Life
It’s tough to see the longevity of your alumni association at the time of graduation. Your career can very well be a priority for a long time, but over time you could start missing your college friends.
Regardless of the experiences you had, sharing a bond brought you all closer, both personally and professionally. If a junior in your same college reaches out, you would always help them. The same applies to you asking for guidance from your seniors. Especially with today’s social media connectivity, you could reach out anywhere and anytime. This kind of shared understanding and willingness to help only comes with an Alumni Group.
Cynthia Hamilton, Marketing Director, OGLF
Provide Volunteer Opportunities
I’ve been able to take part in a variety of volunteer opportunities post-graduation through my alumni group. This has provided valuable opportunities to give back to my community, as well as establish pivotal leadership and communication skills.
The beauty of alumni groups is that many of them offer a wide variety of worthwhile opportunities. Check with your network to see if they offer virtual volunteering events, invite alumni volunteers to guest lectures, or allow volunteers to staff committees.
Volunteering is an excellent way to give back, while also preparing you for your professional career, and alumni groups can provide you with these fruitful opportunities for growth.
Dakota McDaniels, Chief Product Officer, Pluto
Match Relevant Knowledge to Grow Your Career
My experience with my alumni group after graduating has been incredibly beneficial. One of the most helpful resources I had access to was the diverse networks of current and former alumni who helped me out in any way they could. I used this network to help build my two successful websites.
I specifically reached out to alumni in UX/UI design, web development, and digital marketing. Everyone I reached out to was more than willing to offer advice, insight, and resources in order to help me get my projects up and running. From this group, I made a few connections that helped me to build relationships that would lead to opportunities and advice in the future.
My best advice for tapping into the power of an alumni group would first be to take the time to get to know the people in the group and build relationships with them and then don’t forget to give back.
Dan Troha, Founder, Trivia Bliss