High schools and colleges often provide you access to an alumni network. It’s easy to see these as nothing more than a way to arrange reunions. In reality, though, these networks can prove a source of job leads, advice and even direct mentorship. In other words, they can help you get your next job.
Career Changes Are Common
As it turns out, millennials not only switch jobs but often entire career fields by the time they hit their 30s. That means it’s entirely possible that someone who graduated eight years ago in an entirely different discipline from yours might be able to give you an in at the place they work now. While less frequent, older workers often change career fields as well.
Takeaway: You might find not only your next job, but your next boss in your alumni network.
Unless you had truly terrible relationships with high school or college classmates, you have a set of existing relationships. Those existing relationships make it more likely that those people will help, even if only for nostalgia’s sake. They may point you at a job that isn’t advertised, yet. They may even write you a letter of recommendation.
Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone more experienced in your field or the field you want to go into. Even if they don’t get you a job, they can absolutely help you secure a job. For example, they can offer some real talk about what you need on a resume as opposed to what appears in job descriptions. Alumni networks can help you find experienced people in a field, many who would like to mentor someone.
Takeaway: A mentor’s experience lets you dodge a lot of bullets that slow down your early career.
Social Media Is Your Friend
You can often find alumni network groups on social media sites. Join them and participate in threads that relate to your interests. Interact with people already in your current or desired career field. They can often point you to good groups focused on that career field. Join those and make friends with people. Why? Employers and staffing firms often use social media for active and passive recruitment.
Colleges often host alumni events with a networking or career theme. If you live close enough to attend, these events can provide you with an opportunity to make a good first impression on someone who can help your career. You may even make a connection that opens the door for an opportunity you never considered before.
Takeaway: This kind of networking can offer actual benefits.
Use Your Resources
Don’t overlook an alumni network as a potential source for a new job. Alumni networks can connect you with employers, open positions and events. Just remember to approach the network with an open mind, since it can yield opportunities you don’t expect.
Struggling with your jobs search despite your alumni networking? A staffing agency like GPS can serve as another potential source for open positions.