What criteria determine the top colleges and universities on your prospective schools list? Chances are, you've considered their reputation, degree programs, and student life offerings. But many students forget to check out the school's alumni network.
Why Does an Alumni Network Matter?
Being part of an active alumni network can make the difference in landing a job after graduation. Members of the alumni association are great resources for learning about job opportunities in your field, and those members may even be in a position to hire qualified students. You could potentially land an interview and go into it already with a common interest—your alma mater.
It's also pretty common for hiring managers to spread the word to employees about job openings at their company. If one of those employees is an alumni connection, they could very well reach out to let you know about the opportunity. When the time comes to apply, the hiring manager will have been given your name and referral by someone who works there. Your chances of landing an interview are much higher than applicants who don't have that connection.
Alumni networks also sponsor events that college students can attend to learn from members about their work experiences in a specific industry. That offers students a chance to ask a professional in their desired field questions that apply to the job they want.
After graduation, events sponsored by the alumni association can offer opportunities to grow professionally, motivate, and inspire. Being part of that network will keep you in the loop with events that could help advance your career and learn something new.
A lot of their events are just for fun, too! Alumni networks are always hosting pre-game parties or tailgates with discounted game-day tickets, family-friendly events, and opportunities to get out into the community. It's a great way to stay connected with your college or university after graduation.
How to Identify a Valuable Alumni Network
Where are alumni working? Contact the school's alumni relations team to find out how many members work in the field you want to work in someday. It's also a good idea to find out where their members live. Do they have alumni with careers in other countries? These are numbers that most alumni associations track and can provide.
Take a look at the university page on LinkedIn. There you will see an easy-to-read chart that shows what companies their graduates are working for, as well as what cities or countries they live in. You can even drill down to find out what kinds of positions these graduates hold—do any of them have executive-level experience? If so, it could be a sign that the school does a good job of setting up its graduates for success in that industry.
In fact, social media can do you a lot of good in researching other things about an alumni network. For example, its Facebook page will probably promote all of its events. By scrolling through their timeline, you will see what kind of programming they offer current students and alumni throughout the year.
Next Steps: Download the IPFW Viewbook
As Indiana’s only Multisystem Metropolitan University, IPFW combines the global prestige of two prominent institutions—Indiana University and Purdue University—our beautiful nearly 700-acre campus, all at an affordable rate and right here in Fort Wayne.
We offer a variety of opportunities with more than 200 academic programs, tons of scholarship and financial aid options, and an incredible student experience with luxury housing options, 14 NCAA Division I athletics programs, and more than 120 student organizations—and so much more.