Networking with Alumni

Posted on: October 23rd, 2012 by Brynley Nadziejka No Comments

The Lawrence alumni network is one of the university’s greatest assets. Unfortunately, it also seems to be one of the best-kept secrets. I say “unfortunately” because it shouldn’t be a secret! We have alumni in almost any field and location you can think of. This provides an amazing resource for current students who would like to learn more about a specific industry or hear how past LU students have used their liberal arts degree.

Okay, you might be thinking, I agree having an active alumni network is great, but how do I get in touch with alumni that are doing something I’m interested in?

There are two primary ways of getting in touch with alumni: reaching out via email, or meeting face-to-face at an alumni networking reception or similar event hosted by Lawrence.

Here are some tips that will help make your alumni interactions successful in each situation:

Emailing Alumni:

  • Email is usually the best way to contact alumni in order to set up an informational interview.
  • You can find alumni contact information through the “Find Alumni” link on the Voyager homepage.
  • This email should be brief. The purpose is to introduce yourself and request an informational interview−­you are not asking for a job!
  • Here is some information you want to be sure to include in your first email:
    • Who you are and where you go to school
    • How you found the alumnus’ contact information
    • Your currents status (deciding on a major, exploring careers, job searching)
    • What you hope to learn from them
    • Indicate how and when you will follow up
  • If you have a LinkedIn profile, joining the Lawrence University group is another great way to connect with alumni.

Networking Reception:

  • The key to networking receptions is DON’T BE SHY! It is absolutely normal to feel awkward, especially if you have never attended a networking event before, but it is important to break out of your bubble and make connections. That’s why you’re there!
  • An easy way to start conversations is to introduce yourself, and then ask that person a question about what they do. People love to tell you about themselves!
  • If at the end of your conversation you still want to hear more, ask the alumnus/a if you could conduct an informational interview with them at a later date. If they say yes, ask for one of their business cards.

In the end, it is important to remember that alumni are excited to talk with current students! They were all once in our shoes and understand our nerves and concerns about life after Lawrence, so go ahead and make that first connection!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Career Services!

 

This article was written referencing the following articles:

http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/resources/tipsheets/skills-networking-with-alumni

http://www.theladders.com/career-advice/alumni-networking-rules

 

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