Monthly Archives: January 2014

How to Make Use of Alumni Connections

Career counselors often suggest networking with alumni from your college or university as a way to find job leads. Many alumni have fond memories of their days at school that can work to a job applicant’s advantage, and they may be more likely to offer advice and mentorship to someone from their alma mater than to a cold-calling stranger. Like other forms of networking, reaching out to alumni has limits and unwritten rules of conduct, and following them is an important step toward making the most of your alumni connections.

For starters, take advantage of alumni associations and established mentoring and networking events. It may be tempting to directly contact someone working for a company with which you hope to get a job, but if you can arrange to meet them when they expect to be approached by other alums, you may have more luck in getting their attention. Many schools will partner current students with alumni, and many alumni associations regularly host events with the express purpose of facilitating alumni networking.

If you do decide to reach out directly to an alum, try asking for an informational interview rather than approaching them about help finding a job. You may want to write them and describe your background and plans, then ask if you can meet with them to learn more about their field, their job, or their company. Requests for informational interviews also make good follow-ups to introductions at networking events. Go to any meetings you do schedule well prepared with questions, and carry resumes and business cards any time you expect to be networking face-to-face.

Alumni networking also has its pitfalls. If you lean too hard on a tenuous alumni connection, it may hurt your chances of landing a job or make you appear less qualified in the eyes of your co-workers when you do get a job. Avoid approaching high-ranking executives at companies directly and asking for help landing a job. Additionally, avoid putting too much faith in the strength of an alumni connection with a stranger, as not everyone will respond to a common educational background.

How to Think Like a Recruiter

Whether you’re writing your resume or going in for a job interview, you can maximize your chances of landing a great job by getting inside the head of the person from which you are seeking a job. Thinking like a recruiter helps you understand the needs of the person on the other side of the… Read More…

Ways to Make a Resume Pop

Most employers only spend a few seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether it merits further attention. Making the most of that first scan can mean the difference between landing a job and your resume landing in a pile with those of other rejected applicants. Employing elements of creative design and language can help… Read More…

Networking Tips for Job Seekers

In the modern job market, finding a position through networking can often be easier than finding one in classified ads or on websites; most jobs are filled through word of mouth before being listed publicly. To the uninitiated, the idea of approaching other people and asking for help finding a job can be a little… Read More…

How to Find a Job in Today’s Market

The foundational practices of job seeking have been around for a long time. Everyone is familiar with the common advice: use your network, write a great resume, take care of your appearance during an interview, etc. However, in the modern world, success in a job search can require a few new steps. To maximize your… Read More…