Job Search Tip
Alumni organizations are great networking resources for you, which means they are also great resources to help you find a job.
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so I have attended many OU alumni functions in Dallas. (Most alumni organizations have groups in different cities.) Because of that I landed at least one business contract that was very profitable for me, and I also had a speaking gig at the OU School of Business MBA program for years because of my association and participation in that alumni organization. I built relationships within the organization because I showed up and talked to people, and it paid off.
I got a lot of exposure for my business from those relationships in my alumni organization, and I could have easily gotten several jobs over the years. If I could do it, then you can, too. Anyone can.
So how can you build relationships and leverage that membership in your alumni organization?
First, go to functions. They are so important.
You just never know who you might get a chance to speak with…people with specific skill sets, people with very extensive networks, people who know just the person you should talk to. You never know what connections they have outside that organization, and your connection with them through your alumni association is your ticket to those connections.
Alumni organizations also provide you with the opportunity to get to know people very high up on the food chain that you would otherwise never get the chance to speak to. You could get the chance to sit down and have dinner next to a CEO who happens to be in your group when there would be no other avenue for you to do that.
You don’t even always have to physically show up at an alumni function (although I always recommend that you do, for the reasons above). For example, I knew someone who graduated from Georgetown, and he was able to get internships, job shadows, and all kinds of opportunities just by tapping that Georgetown Alumni Association on LinkedIn. Alumni groups are even easier to access on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook.
You can also leverage that membership in other ways. If you’re a subject matter expert, let your alumni organization know. You can give back to them by being a speaker for their functions or events, like I did with OU’s business school. That gives you exposure (plus very valuable public speaking experience) and gets people to thinking about you. You never know where that might lead.
Alumni organizations are very valuable. There’s a lot of opportunity in them and they should never be overlooked.