We are in the middle of internship and job searching season, and one of the most frequent questions I get from students is how to best connect with University of Richmond alumni. Connecting with alumni is a great way to learn more about your industry and organizations of interest. In addition, they always have some great career advice that will be helpful for years to come and can become a part of your personal network.
When reaching out alumni for career advice, I direct students to University of Richmond’s Career Connections group on LinkedIn. (For some basic info on LinkedIn, see this post, and register via SpiderConnect for the upcoming LinkedIn Workshop on February 11).
There are various ways to leverage LinkedIn for connecting with alumni:
This is a LinkedIn group that was established for students and alumni to have a safe virtual space to network and connect with one another. We even have subgroups focused on different industries and profession to allow more focused engagement. With 1500+ members, joining this group will provide you with a great environment to connect with alumni.
- LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search
Next to the search box at the top right hand corner, if you have “People” selected as the filter you should see a small link for “Advanced Search”. Using this feature will allow you to run specific searches in order to find alumni of interest. Enter University of Richmond into the school field and then use the keyword, geographic, company and industry filters to find specific alumni.
For example: Enter “2005” into the zip code filter and enter “Red Cross” in the company box to find people associated with UR working at that organization in the greater Washington DC area.
- Properly Connect
LinkedIn has its own set of etiquette rules. Just because you find an alum you’d like to network with, you shouldn’t automatically ask to “connect” with them. There are proper channels to become introduced to people on LinkedIn, and this video from the LinkedIn Learning Center will assist you with understanding how to connect and grow your professional network.
In addition, don’t forget that Career Services has many events and programs that are designed to facilitate networking with alumni. We invite alumni to our etiquette presentations once a semester (we have one coming up on February 12 check out SpiderConnect for details!), have started a Spider in the Spotlight series where students can have lunch with an established alumni (next up is Alex Stutlz ’94 on February 20) and often invite alumni to speak on panels and at other industry specific programming.
If you’re nervous about reaching out, or you’re not sure what you could potentially ask alumni about, career advisors are here to help! Schedule an appointment at (804) 289-8547 or come see us 2-4pm daily for walk in hours.
For a full list of Career Services programming please look under events on SpiderConnect to RSVP and get further details.