“Networking” may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. I like to think of it as research! And all college students are comfortable with research, right?! It can look different based on your current goals for the conversations. To start, think of it as just chatting with folks whose work sounds interesting to you. What are you curious about? Did you learn something in a class, club, athletics or volunteering this past academic year that piqued your interest? See if there is an Alumni Council member who has life experience or skills in that area. Then, reach out to them to learn more about their experiences. Click here to access Handshake Resources: Alumni Council Career Conversations. The alum may be able to share insight that could help you decide on next steps for your career exploration, academic choices, extracurricular participation, skills to build this summer, and more. Go into the conversation curious and open-minded – you never know how a single conversation will influence your journey.
Some things you might want to ask about include the daily activities of their work, what qualifications are needed to enter that field, the future they predict for the field, which courses and activities at Swat could be helpful to you if you’d like to follow a similar path, who are the thought leaders in the field, etc.
To reach out, connect with them on LinkedIn with a short message such as: Hello. I see that you are an Alumni Council member willing to chat with students about your career path. I am curious about __ and would like to learn more about your work to help inform my future choices. Would you be able to chat via phone, zoom or email?
After the conversation, write a thank you message. And, plan to keep in touch with the alum to update them on your thoughts and actions related to the insight they gave you.