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Tips for Connecting with Alumni

Before reaching out to alumni for your internship or job search, be sure to keep the following tips in mind to ensure that you are representing yourself and DePauw University to the best of your ability!

Networking is NOT asking for a job! Instead, it is articulating how the alumnus can help you in terms of offering their professional and personal advice as it pertains to your career exploration.

Why you should connect with alumni:

  • Alumni can assist you in determining career or graduate school goals by providing information on their job, industry, career path, and any other advice they have regarding transitioning to life after DePauw.
  • Starting to connect as early as possible will ensure that you have a strong alumni network by the time you graduate, which you will most likely continue to use for the rest of your life.
  • Vast majority of jobs and internships are found via networking versus applying directly online to opportunities, so it is a skill you want to master long before you graduate!

Ways to Connect

Office of Alumni Engagement

  • Regional chapters serve to connect alumni to each other and the university, but students can also utilize them. This resource will allow you to search for alumni who live in various cities all over the United States in order to learn more about their career path or tips for moving to the city in which they live.
  • The online database allows you to search for recent and seasoned alumni in virtually every industry you can imagine.

LinkedIn

  • Join the DePauw University Alumni Association group as soon as possible to engage in discussions and get more connected.
  • Do an advanced search to find an alumnus with a certain job title, in a particular industry or company, or who lives in a city that you are interested in.
  • Always write a personal message when connecting with someone explaining why you would like to connect.
  • Start growing your network by first connecting with other students, former supervisors, professors, and anyone else you already have an established relationship with.
  • It’s about quality, not quantity – be sure that you are making meaningful connections!

Networking Events and Career Fairs

The  Office of Alumni Engagement and Hubbard Center for Student Engagement have events all year long which provide amazing opportunities to network in person with alumni! Just some of these events include career fairs, info sessions, on-campus interviews, and informational interviewing events.


 Before you connect, keep in mind

  • Networking is about quality, not quantity. Do not reach out to anyone that you do not intend on maintaining a professional relationship with, as it is a waste of everyone’s time.
  • Proofread everything you send out to alumni. Typos or grammatical errors of any kind may negatively represent yourself and DePauw University, and could severely limit your chances of receiving ample professional support from your contacts.
  • Prepare for your meeting by thinking of questions in advance, researching their LinkedIn profile, and learning as much as possible about their job or industry. This will ensure you have a productive meeting, and they may be more impressed by your effort.
  • Bring a pad and paper to take notes, as well as a resume just in case they offer to take a look at it (but do not assume they will).
  • Keep meetings with alumni to 30 minutes or less – their time is very valuable!

final thoughts

  • Remember that you are doing most of the work, not the alumni. Always be willing to meet on their terms, whether it’s via email, over the phone, or at a location that is most convenient for them.
  • Alumni are very busy. If you do not hear back within a week or two of contacting, follow up once. If you still do not hear back, consider reaching out to someone else.
  • Always follow up with a thank you of some kind and let the alumni know how their advice has helped your progress!