By Guest Blogger Liesel Schwarz, ’11, Sustainability Planning and Development, Sustainability Planner for SWBR Architects who will be at Student-Alumni Networking Night Thursday, October 11.
Student-Alumni nights are a great way to improve your networking skills, a valuable skill to have in this job climate. More often than not I hear about people who get jobs not because of their perfected resume or colorfully crafted cover letter, but because of who they know. In this job market networking is king.
Events, such as student-alumni nights, are helpful because they provide a friendly environment to practice networking. Alumni were all students at one time and understand the stress students go through, especially at the University of Rochester. We come because we want to talk with you, and hear about what you are doing. We want to help answer your questions, and hopefully give you advice or help you make the connections you need for your career path.
That being said, their are a few pointers that are good to remember in going into an event like this:
• Attendance is noticed: simply coming to a student-alumni night gives you a leg up in respect from the alumni. We realize students are very busy and have little spare time, and are pleased you took the time to get advice from us.
• Share your interests and we will share ours: in part, alumni’s reasons for coming to these events is to learn about what you are doing on campus. We are inspired by your enthusiasm and enjoy hearing your ideas for the future. And like you we hope that by sharing our experiences you may walk away with something equally as valuable.
• Ask questions: networking is all about acquiring valuable information that may lead you to a job opportunity. Asking intelligent and thoughtful questions is the best way to do this. This is not hard considering alumni love to give advice. Asking us questions about our experiences or the challenges you currently face helps us get a better understanding of you and where we may be able to help.
• Dress for success: yes alumni enjoy meeting with students, but we also like to feel respected. Taking the time to put on a clean shirt, or better yet an ironed shirt, and nice pants makes a difference in how we view your sincerity towards the above mentioned points.
• Don’t ask for a job: This is the last and most important point. If we have a job available we will make it known prior to the event. An ask for a job makes alumni feel like you were only using us for a paycheck, not advice and guidance. There is always the potential an alumni might know of an opportunity for you after the fact, which is why it is always good to exchange contact information. Bringing a few copies of your resume is not a bad idea either in case something does come up during the conversation, but wait for alumni to ask for it before giving your resume out.
The most important thing to remember is just be yourself and that we are hear to help you. I look forward to meeting with you in a few days.
Related Post: “Tips for Student-Alumni Networking Night Success”