5 easy ways to network with alumni

By Hillary Mantis

Fall On Campus Interviewing is winding down. Job postings often slow down as we approach the holiday season. You are still looking for a job. What else can you do now?

There is a semi-secret source of job listings you may not have tapped into yet — the alumni of your school.

Every year I see students land internships, and sometimes full-time jobs, that came about as a result of networking—with their own school’s alumni. Most alumni will feel a connection to you, as a student of their alma mater. Whether they attend every reunion, or rarely return to campus, they are still more likely to want to connect with you than with others who may approach them for networking.

Here are five easy ways to meet them:

1. LinkedIn: Through LinkedIn, you can easily search for alumni of your school. Most schools have a school group. As a student, you may not have a LinkedIn account yet. I recommend that you start one. Networking with alumni is easy through LinkedIn, and LinkedIn also has other benefits.

2. Alumni Mentor Programs: Many schools have formal alumni programs where you will be matched with an alumnus of the school. The alum will then mentor you in your job search. This is often advertised either through the school’s career services office, or their alumni relations office. Give it a try—I have seen these mentor programs lead to relationships which build over time.

3. Lunch with A Lawyer: Many schools have programs via Career Services where a small group of students can have lunch on campus with an alumni. Small group networking is a great opportunity—and you get a nice free lunch.

4. Attend Alumni Events: Whether it’s volunteering to check people in at a class reunion, attending a football game, or hearing an alum speak at a panel at your school, it’s a great idea to attend events where alumni will be present. These are often fun—and may lead to some great connections. Many students overlook these built in opportunities, which don’t even require leaving campus.

5. Invite Alumni to Campus: If you are in a club, think about planning a panel where you can invite alumni to speak to your club. If you need judges for a competition, entries for a blog, or another campus activity that alumni could be helpful with—invite them to campus. It will benefit both of you. Networking is a two way street, and you never know when you may be bringing an alum back to campus—where they can also make connections!

 


Hillary Mantis works with pre-law students, law students and lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University. You can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com