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How helpful is your school’s alumni network in finding a job after graduation?

I can take the proper courses to prepare myself for the job I want. I can get experience. But how do I get set on the proper path? Will the school help me find a good job? Are schools’ alumni more open to hiring recent graduates of their alma mater?
#social-networking #networking #business-networking #buildingrelationships


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11 answers


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Carol’s Answer

Businesses often form relationships with a specific college or university, and can offer internships or jobs to candidates from that school. As in all business hiring, relationships and personal connections can be a help, so reaching out to an alumni can be a good way to get the opportunity to interview. After that - its up to you to do your research, show up and give a great resume, and land the position.

Carol recommends the following next steps:

Follow your Alumni group on LinkedIn or other social media.
Reach out to your college's Alumni Office.

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John’s Answer

The most effective job searches today rely on building a dynamic network of people who believe in you, are willing to assist you and are interested in creating opportunities for you to explore. Quality educational institutions create structures which help you build your network by linking your educational experiences with alumni and friends of the institution for mentoring, internships, networking and employment opportunities.


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Mona’s Answer

I used to work for a university alumni association and we had a mentor network. Alumni are great to help get used to "informational interviewing" and most will try to be helpful, even if it is simply to introduce you to someone else. They may send your resume along to someone to stay in touch or, some day, you may apply for a position where someone in the organization knows your alumni connection and that personal referral will be helpful. The key is to know how to do informational interviewing==short time request, prepare your 'tell me about yourself and what you want to do' answer, ask questions/let them know you are open to their advice, send a thank you note. Check back in, in 60-90 days and particularly if they helped you get a job or made an introduction. Connect on Linked In. It is one source and most effective in the first year after graduation and, after that, meet them at events and get/stay connected.


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David’s Answer

Great points above, but another thing when looking into an Alumni network, is where you think you might want to work after school. I had planned to stay in Pennsylvania after my undergrad, and the University of Pittsburgh did a great job of bringing in local companies. However, when I decided to go back to school for my MBA, I wanted a school with a Global brand. So the University of North Carolina was a great opportunity for me. Using resources like The Princeton Review and the U.S. News & World Report can identify which schools have great Alumni networks.

David recommends the following next steps:

Think about where you want to work after school
Think about the industry too
Research alumni networks on-line, like the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report

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Josie’s Answer

Hi David,

The better network is to leverage people that know you already including family friends, colleagues, and others that have known you for a while. While a school's alumni are great, these people do not know you personally unless you have worked with them or spent time with them. Internships are another great way of building your resume, trying out some career paths, and getting hiring managers to learn the kind of worker you will be within their organization.

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Neil’s Answer

I think alumni of your school may be willing to be helpful in accepting a short “informational interview” with you.

Yes, this can include other employees at an organization where you’re applying for a job or internship.

Some examples are specific or general questions about a field, community, relocation, job, training, organization or company of your interest, etc.

One of my favorite questions is “If you had the opportunity to start again, what would you do?”

But please remember if you want a reference you must ask someone who really knows you - in other words don’t expect a stranger to agree to do more than give advice and suggestions of others (non-alumni, too)

They can’t “recommend” you if they don’t know you. They may know people who already know you.

But real references are for faculty and others who know you.

Is this helpful?

Regards,
Neil Wilson Career Coach - 25 years +

Neil recommends the following next steps:

LinkedIn

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Marvin’s Answer

Developing and maintaining these relationships has been critical to my success. Studies show that almost 80% of all opportunities come from building the right professional relationships but only a few take the time to develop this talent. Career development centers have lists of business leaders that you can add to your mentorship roster or advisory council even if they can't give you a job right now. It's important to build these relationships before you need them and to nurture them well until you do.

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Alexandra’s Answer

My school alumni network has been priceless for me since the time I graduated from college until now, when I already have a law degree. I started off as a paralegal in a firm where another alumna of my college worked. I learned more in that firm for a year than I did in all 3 years of law school after that. I formed great personal connections and got career advice. This was my first job after college and it took me on the career path that I am now following. However, even during graduate school I kept receiving advice from my former professors from college and from alumnae as well.

To keep up with a great alumnae network, I would suggest the following steps:

Alexandra recommends the following next steps:

Attend alumnae events
Find a mentor in a professor or someone who graduated from college before you did
Add professionals from your college on LinkedIn
Keep in touch (even when you don't need career advice)
Give advice to the students who come after you as well, so you can become a mentor.

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Angela’s Answer

The University Alumni can be just the additional assistance a graduate needs to move forward and in the direction they want to go in their career. Oftentimes, it is up to each individual person to be a good communicator and people person that networks and gets to know their community and surroundings.

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Melissa’s Answer

Hi David, it doesn’t hurt to have a quality network to help land a decent job. If you’re on LinkedIn, LinkedIn notes who in your LinkedIn network are working for a company, which can help in putting your name towards the top of the interviewer list.


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Kathleen’s Answer

My college alumni was very helpful in my job search, because I went to a large university and immediately joined the alumni association. My school (University of Pittsburgh - Pitt) has regular alumni meetings and game watching parties in major cities, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Dallas, New York and Washington DC. During these informal events, I have made numerous contacts, some of which helped me get introduced to hiring managers. BUT you have to do the work of contacting people and making phone calls to get people to take you to the next steps. The contacts can get you an introduction or maybe an interview, but after that, you must prove yourself to the hiring manager in order to get the job.


I have friends that went to other schools who have benefited from a large alumni network as well. Columbia, Penn State, University of Texas, to name a few. These schools also appear to have a very close, friendly alumni who are willing to help other alumni.

Kathleen recommends the following next steps:

Us News and World Reports (usnews.com) does a great publication that talks about the top Universities in the United States. They rank them for different majors and based on small vs. large size. They articles will also tell you what the requirements are to get accepted to a particular school. This is a great resource to help you decide where you might go to school.
Some universities offer free tests, that help you narrow down what you should major in. These are offered free to high school students as a way to help them decide on going to college. Go online and google a couple of these tests and take them (the FREE ones only). Try https://www.goshen.edu/admissions/2018/01/03/major-quiz/

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