If you’ve been feeling the urge lately to buy fresh pencils and open the first page of a crisp new notebook, you’re not alone. Whether you graduated two years ago or 20, September always feels like the beginning of a new school year.
For job seekers, this sense of a new beginning can inspire you to inject new energy into your hunt. In particular, the fall season is a nice time of year to reconnect with members of your college or university alumni community, who may be feeling nostalgic for their school days as well (particularly if you have a good football team!).
Here are some tips for connecting and reconnecting with fellow graduates of your alma mater:
1. Join your alumni community. The first essential step is to become a member of your university’s alumni group on LinkedIn. Virtually every college and university in the world has one or more, as do many high schools as well. Go to the Groups Directory and search for the name of any educational institutions you attended. You’ll find that some schools have multiple groups, so join as many as appeal to you.
Once you’re a member, scan the group’s Discussions, Members and Jobs for networking opportunities. For instance, join a discussion of fellow alums talking about your industry, comment on an article someone has posted or introduce yourself to the Group Manager, who is often a representative of the Alumni Association (often a very connected and helpful person).
You can also start your own discussion, perhaps posting an article with a few personal comments or posing a question to group members. Or, you can introduce yourself and your goals: “Hi fellow Tigers: I’m new to the group and excited to connect with fellow alums. I’m currently looking for a job as a graphic designer and eager to connect with any other job seekers or design folks. Happy to help anyone I can. Thanks!”
Remember also that LinkedIn permits you to send a message or connection request to anyone with whom you share a group on LinkedIn (as long as that person has opted to accept such messages), which will help you build one-on-one relationships with individual group members.
Image: Trinity University