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Job Magician Your College's Alumni Are a Great Network  

  • Everyone with a college degree has a ready-made network comprised of their college's alumni, many who will go out of their way to help fellow alumni who are job hunting.
  • With online alumni directories, reaching out to them for help has never been easier.

There’s a club you belong to with numerous high-placed members, many of whom will be happy to talk to you during your job search.

That club is the alumni of your alma mater.  Regardless of whether you have a Wharton degree or went to Northeast Nowhere State, there are going to be alumni of your college (or MBA program, prep school, PhD program, etc.) in prominent positions.

Unlike pursing people you don’t know or who are friends of your friends’ friends, this is a group with whom you instantly have something in common.

Most colleges have online alumni directories now. Many are searchable by industry parameters. They’re giving you a networking directory.

Best to contact these people by printed snail mail. Some people have told me that they’ve also been successful with emails with alumni contacts. A follow-up phone call can’t hurt, as well.

Before you launch your alumni contact campaign, make sure you’re current about what’s going on at your school.  Even if you hate sports, make sure you know what’s happening with the school’s key athletic teams. Learn the president’s name, the latest campus news, and send in a donation, even a $10 one, to get yourself listed on that donors list that many colleges mail out or post on the internet (that donor’s list is also worth checking – if the person you want to connect with is on the big donors list, he or she is even more likely to meet a fellow alum.

The alum you meet may want to talk about the time he and his friends stole a campus police car and tried to drive it in the lake (no, I didn’t do this, but three of my friends did), the time they pushed a piano out the window of the student center, or he may bore you with talk about the new Physics building. Provide intelligence – about your alma mater, and even better, about his industry, assuming that you two come from the same one, and eventually, the meeting could lead to a job lead.

Don't stop with your schools' alumni. What other groups are you a member of that have alumni networks? Consulting and accounting firms often publish alumni directories. If you spent the first eight years of your career with Price Waterhouse Coopers, a CFO who earned her spurs with PWC will probably figure you were well-trained, and will often be happy to meet with you. Fraternities and sororoties have alumni networks as well, and the theta delta chi alumni network could connect you with fellow alums who are in your backyard, even if  you live in Louisiana and went to a small college in Oregon. Write down any organizations in which you are or have been a member, and then think hard about how you can reach out to other members of these groups.



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