You’re networking among friends, family, acquaintances, professionals in your industry and all your former colleagues. You’re on Linkedin and you attend frequent networking meetings, too. It may seem that you have all your job search networking bases covered, but you might not.
Most job seekers forget a major networking resource: their school alumni associations. Every college has a vast alumni community, and they are finding more and more ways to provide access to these networking goldmines. Both public and private high schools have alumni associations, too—and schools of every kind have Linkedin and Facebook groups. If you haven’t been in touch with your alma mater since you threw your graduation cap in the air, it’s time to reconnect.
At the college level, most alumnae associations are closely linked with college career planning centers. The career centers do their best with often limited resources—and the greatest focus is on graduating seniors and recent alums. Some colleges do have designated career coaches for older alumni—but much of what colleges offer are “do it yourself” resources. That’s not a negative…many colleges have very sophisticated online resources that offer vast networking connections.
Though people are generally open to networking, there is something magic about an alumni connection. Most schools foster lifelong goodwill among alumni—and part of that is feeling that you would always want to help out someone who shares your alma mater. This is especially true when you contact alumni who are older than you are: they take pride in guiding fellow alums and attaching more success to the overall alumni body.
Start with your college alumni association. Check out the career planning and networking resources they offer both online and in person. See how to zero in on alumni who are in your geographic area and industry. Then reach out to alumni with the confidence you’ll get a warm response—and the instant connection of a shared experience. –KAS
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