Tag Archive | "Alumni"

Mining Alumni Organizations

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Not only does a college education provide you with some vocational training, knowledge, social skills, personal maturity and maybe even some vague direction for the years following commencement, it can also function as training wheels for your first job search – in the form of alumni organizations.

Alumni organizations can be invaluable for any recent grad. They provide that sense of community most grads miss terribly after school ends, and lend members a much-needed sympathetic ear, a support group and a well of empathetic career advice, and, best of all, reliable connections to the world.

The world of alumni organizations is packed with people who have been through the ordeals you’re experiencing, sympathize, and want to help you along. A shared alma mater lends an air of familiarity and kinship that you won’t find through other career-oriented organizations, and is thus inestimably more reliable. Your fellow alumnus can connect you to friends and colleagues for interviews, information and guidance. They can give you honest, unselfish feedback on your possibilities. Some may even be able to get you a job.

In other words, they’re an “in:” a preexisting network for recent grads whose greatest hindrance in the job hunt isn’t necessarily a lack of experience, but a lack of connections. Alumni organizations assuage the anonymity of the average green grad and delight in inserting grads’ feet in various doors, in various industries worldwide, simply for the sake of school spirit, and out of a desire to help fellow alumni attain the level they themselves have attained.

These organizations can come in many forms. There is the standard one: a broad association for anyone who has graduated from a particular institution, but there may also be others bound together by a city, graduation date or area of study.

The first order of business is to find out what is out there. Proceed to (or call) your alma mater’s alumni office, give your grad date, city of residence and career plans. They’ll be able to give you a comprehensive list of every organization available that may be of interest to you. Go through the list, make some calls, and see which ones will better serve your needs.

Finally, and this is important given the sense of isolation many grads feel after their collegial social groups disband, bear in mind that alumni organizations can be valuable not only as career connections, but also as social connections. You’ll make new friends with shared interests – or perhaps get back in touch with old ones – and have a sympathetic group with which to watch football games or just reminisce about old times.