How to get to know alumni for professional networking
Rose-Hulman alumni share a special bond with each other and also look back on their college days with fondness. They might remember alumni who went out of their way to make a difference for them during their college days, and now they'd like to do the same for current students. So how do you meet these willing alumni?
Making the contact
Once you have a list of alumni with whom you'd like to network, it will be up to you to make the first contact by phone or e-mail. You should ask for an appointment, either in person or by phone, to respect their time, but be prepared in case they want to talk to you on the spot. Here are some questions to consider asking:
- How did you get into this field? Where did you work before?
- What advice would you give someone just getting out of school who wants to be successful in your field?
- I have a copy of my resume. Could you look at it and let me know what you think?
- What is a typical career path in this field?
- I've developed a list of companies in your field. Can you tell me anything about them?
- Can you recommend others I could talk to?
- What are the names of other growing companies in your area I should talk to?
If your contacts prefer e-mail, that is a fine way to communicate. Don't do mass e-mails to your networking contacts, however. Write to just one person at a time.
Be sure to follow up with a written thank-you letter, including your resume if you haven't already sent one to this alum. Wait a month or so and then follow up with another letter explaining how you've followed that person's advice in the meantime. Keep your networking contacts updated on your progress.