College Grads: Effective Outreach to Alumni

I am getting my annual rush of panic calls from parents, grandparents and soon-to-be college graduates about how to find a good job. And just when I think the level of sophistication about how to use social media has grown, the same bad practices show up as frequently now as the ever have. I am talking about postings with various on-line alumni groups where students in need of employment ask for help driven usually be their desired work location and/or industry.

Those who reach out in this manner have the process backwards. They want help from otherwise perfect strangers as if their alumni relationships will serve as a call to action. The strategy can work, but not often enough to be reliable. Here are 5 proven job search suggestions that can make your alumni outreach more effective.

1.Go through all of your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites and provide them with an update on your graduation and job search status. For most contacts it’s “out of sight-out of mind.” They will likely be glad to hear what you are up to and learn how they might help. Be sure and ask them for any contacts they may have with others in your industry and/or geography of interest. Then follow up.

2.Establish a separate network of parents of friends, relatives, and university-related contacts. Provide them with the same update and make the same request. You will be surprised how responsive they can be.

3.Identify companies you are particularly interested in working for and determine if they have entry level openings. Through LinkedIn you can determine who you are connected to inside each company. Reach out and ask for advice about employment and career opportunities. Be sure and ask who they think are the appropriate people get in to see.

4.Visit the on-campus career services office to get the latest scoop on who is still recruiting and/or what alumni in your target companies or geographies may be available for consultation.

5.Now you can reach out to alumni groups in your social network. Share with other job seekers what you have learned and ask them to do the same with you. This approach establishes you as someone who has something to offer and is worth staying in touch with.
Until you are an established contributor, you are simply like every other college graduate looking for a job.

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