How to Gain New Professional Contacts via Your Alumni Network

Nancy Anderson
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Most of us are proud of our scholarly accomplishments and the school that we graduated from. That said, belonging to an alumni association can ultimately help your professional career in a number of ways. Read on to learn about you should go about “tapping into the power” of your school’s alumni association.


Attend Alumni Networking Events

One great way to meet and mingle with fellow alumni is by going to alumni events. While initially it may seem difficult to conjure up a conversation with complete strangers, you may be surprised at all that you do have in common. If you are looking for icebreakers, some good questions to ask fellow alumni include what program they graduated from, what year they graduated, where their on-campus “hang outs” were, what residence building they lived in and what clubs they belonged to while they were in college. Following these conversations, you should exchange business cards and remain in touch.


Unleash the Power of Social Networking Sites

Another great way to network with alumni is via social networking sites. However, before you contact any members of your alumni community, it is important to be somewhat tactical when it comes to your actual approach. For instance, if you are interested in furthering your finance-related career, it does not make much sense to contact someone that specializes in music theory. Instead, you should make connections with people who have more business-related interests.


However, as some people may be “turned off” by direct requests for help, it is better to have a referral from a mutual acquaintance. If you do not have these types of connections though, do not fret as you can still use social networking sites such as Twitter to connect. In fact, Twitter is the optimal platform for this type of contact as it is not expected that you have a previous connection with that particular person like for instance.


That said, once you do establish a connection with an alumnus, it is vital that you work at developing an online relationship with that person. You should never ask for a favor without providing the relationship groundwork. In the best case scenario then, you should establish a friendship “before” you actually need these connections.


To conclude then, networking with fellow alumni is an excellent way to gain new professional contacts.


Larisa Redins is a full time writer and editor with degrees in both Arts and Biological Science. She writes about career issues for and other topics for a variety of international websites and magazines. Please visit her other blogs at and view job postings at


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