Ways to Leverage Your Alumni Network for Professional Growth

Networking is an art that not everyone has mastered. However, a good networker knows that the foundation of a long-term relationship is built on common interests and goals, and what better start than your alumni network. After all, sharing your alma mater gives you common ground, which is a perfect reason to connect with knowledgeable and fascinating people.

Reaching out to your alumni is usually a straightforward process. Most colleges and schools have an accessible alumni committee. Connecting socially with them is a great place to strike up a conversation. Social media platforms and events, virtual and on the ground, can all act as catalysts. Given the current situation, these interactions are likely to occur online. In such cases, breaking the ice is imperative. When meeting in person, engaging in small talk before starting deeper conversations is usually the norm. Therefore, one needs to be more proactive in digitally creating similar ice-breaking moments. Spending time asking questions about their life will undoubtedly result in a better connection. Finding common ground in the middle of these conversations is also a plus. Coming from the same university or college makes this part of networking relatively easy since you already have some common ground to stand on.

Every alumni circuit has people who can support your professional growth. The best way to take advantage of these connections is to attend events and keep the equation going by staying in touch. New age virtual event platforms are designed to facilitate these networking opportunities.

When these encounters take place virtually, you don’t lose the opportunity to interact and collaborate with your peers due to logistical limitations. In addition, the dynamic interface of these events will allow you to directly build 1:1 relationships with people in your alumni network, create recall and thus improve your prospects. The ability to leverage your alumni networks is a great approach to building and maintaining contacts, expanding your professional reach, and gaining excellent career prospects.

Here are some ways to get the most out of socializing online with your alumni:

Connect your school and university

Contact your institution before you leave school or after you graduate. Many schools, colleges, and universities offer formal alumni clubs, groups, or networks where you can join for benefits, frequent communication, and support after you graduate.

Many colleges or universities have an alumni section on their website where you can sign up for email mailing lists or subscribe to alumni magazines. Others will have active groups on social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook where you can network. So connect with your school on the platforms you prefer to stay up to date and start enjoying the alumni network.

Participate in alumni events

One of the benefits of participating in alumni networks is the opportunity to attend special events, both in person and virtually, that are attended by successful people who could become a gateway to a wonderful profession, advancement or opportunity. In advance, you may need to prepare a list of people you want to connect with.

Break the ice

When meeting graduates, especially for the first time, it is essential to maintain a professional attitude. Hopefully these are the contacts that will help you advance your career. Of course, you can act more relaxed after your first interaction and get to know them on a more personal level. Take note of family members, birthdays, hobbies, etc., and build a conversation around that. Having a few talking points drafted ahead of time can help ease the conversation, allowing all parties to get comfortable. Relationships built on strong initial discussions tend to last longer

Micro-interactions

They are considered a superpower when they connect to your alumni network. They enhance the user experience by creating a top-notch recall and grabbing user attention. It helps to interact with attendees, improve networking and stay connected.

Participate in chat, polls and Q&A: This unique feature of virtual events helps communicate, share and bring value to your audience. For example, you can encourage your audience, including alumni, students, and experts, to share their experiences by inviting them on stage and participating in in-session discussions. These elements break the monotony of staring at a screen and actively inspire individuals to engage with the event at hand. Plus, it will put you in touch with other graduates who share the same passion as yours and help you build strong bonds.

Get creative with features: Different platforms offer unique features that meet the needs of your event when hosted virtually. For example, many virtual event platforms offer features like “invite on stage,” allowing attendees to actively participate and feel valued. Therefore, hosting events on platforms designed to build communities will allow you to take advantage of unique features like social rooms, speed networking, and more. This will further improve the prospects for long-term relationship building.

Networking via social networks: Social media allows you to network and expand your professional influence. Indeed, social media might be the most exemplary method to network digitally. Connecting on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can open up the conversation and help you stay up to date with developments in each other’s lives, both personally and professionally.

Stay connected: All that matters is that you stay in touch with people in your alumni network and show up to events, whether virtual or in-person. Keeping each other informed of new developments in your career, staying on top of them will help maintain contact for future opportunities.



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Warning

The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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