When I was in college, I was very involved in community organizations, tutoring, mentoring, and leading study groups. I was part of the larger community and enjoyed knowing people on campus, what causes friends where supporting, and what special events were coming up.
When I first moved to Washington D.C I knew 4 people while moving into the historic Woodward Building, a skip around the corner from the White House.
I really missed that community feeling when you move to a new location. I realized that there were other University of California, Los Angeles Alumni and decided to take advantage of connecting, networking, and seeking out opportunities to stay involved even though I was no longer on campus.
Most universities have alumni groups in major cities across the United States as well as internationally. It’s certainly worth your time to get involved. Not only is it a great place to network, you will meet a diverse group of every age and every industry but you will all share one key link- You all went to the same college.
A great start to connect with other Alumni is social media. Search in Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your schools Alumni Association and discover your local group. This is a great way to find out of upcoming events, social gatherings, and career opportunities.
I learned that these Alumni Networks provide an incredible amount of opportunity. However the first step, starts with you! Going to your first event is the step in the right direction. Seasoned Alumni will share the in’s and out’s of the city, great opportunities, restaurants, and other details of the city that have been really helpful.
Some of you are contemplating moving to a new city for a great opportunity that just opened up!
Start Making Contacts Now
Everyone you know and everyone you meet is a potential source of career advice and referrals to other individuals. Before you know it, your list of connections will have grown by leaps and bounds. Certainly, mine did.
Enjoy The Journey
Try to have fun with your Alumni networking activities and don’t discuss work all of the time. Get to know what your professional acquaintances like to do in their spare time. Do they have a special interest? Do they volunteer for a cause? Ask questions, listen carefully and become well versed in their areas of interest and expertise.
Networking Alumni groups are a two way street. So whether you want to help others, or need some help, your alumni network is a great community to get involved in.– Go out there and share your stories and connect with your Alumni Family it will make a world of a difference moving into a new city.
Now, I can gladly say that friends exist in Washington D.C, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Madrid, Peru, Russia, Qatar, Germany and all over the world- but it started with one small step.
Go out there and leverage your alumni network. Most importantly, go out for coffee be yourself, be genuine, and enjoy the process of meeting new people. It does not matter if you just graduated this year, or you graduated 30 years ago- ALL are welcome from different graduating classes to different academic departments. Go out there and network with your Alumni family after college and great things will follow.