It's frequently mentioned during fraternity and sorority recruitment that alumni could hook members up with jobs, however it's rarely pursued. However, alumni can play an exceptional role in igniting a student's career plan and path.
Not every alumnus will respond to a request to make a donation or to volunteer or to attend an event. However, if properly approached, nearly every alum will provide information, resources, connections, and advice. Knowledge and experience is easy for chapter and university alumni to give and they love doing it.
Here are a few tips for you to leverage contacts with alumni.
- When alumni are on campus for games or events, like Homecoming, be sure to proactively greet them. A sincere and enthusiastic hello with handshake will set a positive tone. If you can, ask the alum to share information about himself...college experiences, family situation, career status, etc. Be sure to exchange information.
- Invite alumni to visit the chapter to talk about their careers. This can be done as a single presentation or a panel of alumni, representing different businesses or industries. Inevitably these turn into exceptional networking sessions.
- If you manage the whereabouts of alumni, make sure to collect employment information. Make sure to gather the alum's work email and phone number. If you don't currently collect alumni information or it's very outdated, contact us and we'll give you a simple solution.
- Ask alumni to become mentors to you and/or fellow chapter members. Don't hesitate to ask an alum, should your conversation go the right way. If his/her career, industry, or position don't match yours, encourage the alum to help mentor other chapter members. Mentoring can be as simple as phone calls, emails, and even texts. The value is in the exchange. Through mentoring, many doors of opportunity can open for both you and the mentor.
- Invite an alum to a chapter meal. Alums can visit the chapter for morning coffee and have a nice exchange with a handful of members or attend dinner, where all members are together. Invaluable camaraderie and discussions will take place. Naturally, conversations about careers will arise...or, simply ask career-oriented questions...to maximize the alum's visit. Alums will be pleasantly surprised by the invitation to visit for coffee or a meal and love to share experiences.
- Find and follow chapter and campus alumni on LinkedIn. Though it's always preferred to have met an alum before inviting to connect on LinkedIn, don't let that stop you. Be sure, however, to write a personalized invitation, as opposed to the stock invite provided.
- Once you've made a connection with an alum, don't let it go quiet or stop. Maintain regular contact with alumni. Each alum has many connections, which can be of extreme value to you, even if your career interests and paths don't match. You'll be surprised by the doors they can open for you.
- If an alum visits campus to present a workshop, recruit students, accept an award, or other special public and promoted situation, be sure to attend. The ripple-effect created by merely attending the event and, even better, by personally greeting the alum will be felt for quite some time.
Most every alumnus loves visiting his or her alma mater. Most love to talk about their experiences...crazy college stories, reflections of memories and fellow chapter members, old buildings, etc. They also enjoy talking about themselves...family, careers, charities, etc. They also want to know they're valued far beyond the money they donate or the special events they pay to attend. When you engage in a valuable conversation and, hopefully, meaningful new relationship, greatness will follow. It may not be immediate, such as a job offer or invitation to interview, but by keeping regular contact (emails, calls, mentoring exchanges), you'll be thankful you took the time with alumni.