How to Access and Use Your Not-So-Secret Weapon: Your Alumni Network

We know this may sound unbelievable, but trust us on this – There are a lot of people out there who want to help you find your first job. When we work with our clients, one of the early steps in our process is to start building and working on a strong network of supporters. A great place to find help, connections and mentors is through your college’s alumni network. People remember their own college experiences and are often willing to help out their future and fellow alums.

Calling your alumni office is a great way to get a personal connection to professionals in the field(s) that are of interest to you. There will be someone on staff whose job, in part, is to make these connections.  Linkedin also offers a fantastic search function under “My Network” for finding your college’s alumni network.

Here is the template for reaching out to an alum that you’ve never met.

  1. Your Name
  2. How you are connected (School, Greek Life, Sports Team, etc.)
  3. Tell them you could use some help
  4. Add the most relevant information (School, major/minor, places you’ve worked)
  5. Why you want to connect with them (you’d like to learn about their career, where they work, you’d like to apply for a job in their company, etc.)
  6. Make “the ask” (phone call, meeting, introduction, etc.)
  7. Thank them for their time

We understand that networking can feel uncomfortable, but with practice it will become much easier and feel more natural. Here is some more reading on networking, and feel free to contact us to learn more about working with a career coach.