Whether you graduated 2 weeks ago or 20 years ago, the sky is the limit when it comes to how your alumni network can help you. It can help both recent and older college grads with their job searches, career changes, and continuing education, as well as provide bountiful opportunities to serve the community. Alumni networks are the proxy to harnessing the power of your college degree beyond graduation.
Alumni networks also provide amazing discounts, practical perks, and fun stuff that helps you save money while building a sense of community and alma mater pride. Moving to a new city? No problem. Your alumni network has you covered. The bottom line is that alumni networks should not be underestimated!
As recent college graduates begin their new journeys and transitions out of college, NerdScholar names our favorite alumni networks below to showcase the diversity of various alumni networks as well as to remind future and recent graduates that you must make the most of it!
NerdScholar names our favorite alumni networks in three major categories, including those that have:
- Continued career coaching;
- Alumni networks with regional programs; and
- Fun alumni network perks
Continued Career Coaching – Our favorite alumni networks that help former students navigate the job search and career change process
1. Virginia Tech Alumni Career Resources Program
At Virginia Tech you are taught to invent the future. That is why they always make sure that alumni are providing young graduates and other alumni with information about how they built their careers. Unlike other alumni network career resources, Virginia Tech alumni go a step beyond and serve as “career coaches” to their younger counterparts so they learn how they could excel in various fields of work. For example, Michael Rihani, who is a current career coach, co-founded his own company Koofers out of his Virginia Tech dorm and today he continues to serve as a resource to VT students and alumni. He advises to learn how to work within a timeframe, get work done, and keep the humility to know that things can’t be perfect and that someone behind you can always do things better than you.
They also facilitate networking via their own online alumni directory and their 94,000 Hokies on LinkedIn. Virginia Tech is willing to be there for their alumni by providing them with the resources necessary to build successful careers after graduation. Another example is their speaker series designed to prepare students for obstacles that will pop up after graduation and during your career. Topics cover personal finances to the top tips for success in life led by VT professors and alumni.
2. Indiana University Alumni Association (IUAA)
If you are part of the Indiana University Alumni Association, you receive a free career coaching appointment every year as a benefit. You can do it by phone, Skype, or email. This is especially useful to recent graduates who are searching for jobs. Additionally, the Association provides online tools such as their resume and cover letter builder, industry and company research, and unlimited networking through their vast IUAA alumni directory. Erin Erwin, Alumni Program Officer for Career Services, had this to say about their great program, “At the Indiana University Alumni Association, we believe career development is a lifelong process. Therefore, we want to help support our alumni at any point in their career, whether they are just starting out, looking to advance to the next level, or considering a complete change in career path. Our career coaching is customized to each alumnus’ need.”
Indiana University recommends doing an effective job search by uncovering hidden job markets via networking, informational interviews, and social media like LinkedIn. Alumni also have the opportunity to try their Bridge Membership if they find themselves unemployed, which gives them a free one-year trial access to their vast set of resources. New graduates can opt in for one free year and thereafter receive a discount to join. Although you have to pay dues, this useful resource has the potential to yield high returns on your investment.
3. Bucknell University’s B-Link
At Bucknell University, they want students to build their careers continually so they help alumni in a number of ways. From making dedicated career counselors available to alumni to directly helping manage a career transition, Bucknell alumni have the resources beyond graduation to continue exploring their career potential. Once students graduate they have access to individual career counseling and can attend Bucknell sponsored career workshops across the country. But even before students graduate Bucknell aims to prepare college seniors by providing their “Life After Bucknell Program”, which educates them on personal finance, online presence, global cultural awareness, health care options, and much more.
Their career resources also includes access to the Bucknell network that gives them the ability to contact alumni in their industries of interest. This resource helps them reach out for informational interviews and get the advice necessary when contemplating new jobs and career changes. Plus, the Alumni Career Services commonly taps into the talent of alumni and staff to deliver webinars on relevant career topics. This upcoming weekend, Bucknell will have their 2013 reunion to celebrate alumni and families’ return to campus. Young alumni can look forward to great networking opportunities and much more.
Alumni Networks with Regional Programs- Our favorite alumni networks with regional clubs and associations that encourage community service and networking
1. Elon University Alumni Association
Elon University has over twelve chapters and clubs across the country. Among one of their missions is to serve their community via their Young Alumni Council through out their regional locations. For example, this past April, the Atlanta chapter ran a 10-mile charity run to benefit the Children’s Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The council also focuses on building a community of young alumni to help ease student’s transitions into the work world. Not only do regional programs serve as an automatic network for students moving into a new city but also many serve as mentors to current students and young alumni.
2. Bowdoin Alumni Gateway
Bowdoin’s alumni have 25 active clubs across the country, which focus on social, educational, and community events each year. Young alumni have the direct chance to serve their community and build relationships with each other.
This upcoming weekend of May 30, alumni will gather for their 2013 reunion on campus. Former students will have the chance to reconnect with old friends and professors. There will be opportunities to attend lectures, open houses, and to check out exhibitions at the college’s museums. More importantly, passions and expertise will be shared through out the weekend during the Back to School Speaker Series where industries from Banking and Communications to Urban Planning and Entertainment will be represented.
3. Temple Alumni
Temple’s more than 285,000 alumni all over the U.S. and abroad enjoy the benefits of their regional chapters. To engage all members of the Temple family, alumni host events everywhere from Washington, DC to Chicago or San Diego. Christine Brady, Director of Volunteers, said “Regional chapters are the foundation of the global Temple University Alumni Association. They are organized by geographic area and provide a great way to connect alumni, parents, and friends worldwide in the name of Temple. Hard working volunteers– along with the Alumni Engagement Team– plan and implement a full calendar of purposeful and meaningful events for programming for each established chapter.
Another really amazing feature of their regional network is the Temple Idea, a program in which Temple’s renowned faculty members discuss society patterns and the issues of the day. It is essentially the opportunity to go to lectures without the exams and papers to write.
This upcoming June 19th, the new Baltimore chapter will be launched and will host an event to educate Temple alumni about how they can connect and build stronger connections with their fellow Owl alumni. Young Temple alumni will learn how to take advantage of the networking opportunities via regional chapter happy hours, learn how alumni use Temple’s career resources like keeping access to directory and library databases.
4. Rutgers University Alumni Association
The over 400,000 graduates of Rutgers have maintained strong connections via their 106 chartered organizations across the country. As the Rutgers University Alumni Association Board Chair, Christine M. Tiritilli put it, “It will always be important to me, to the entire RUAA’s mission, to continue to connect them with Rutgers and with each other.”
They are working hard to expand the scope of the association’s service projects, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities for young Rutgers alumni to connect and build relationships with old and new alumni. Specifically Ms. Tiritilli wants to expand the leadership resources alumni can leverage so that the Rutgers network’s positive influence on the community grows.
Fun Alumni Network Perks- Our favorite alumni network perks
1. Montclair State University
As Montclair University conferred their record high of 4,320 degrees this year, their recent grads have a lot of perks to look forward to. All grads receive an alumni card that gives them access to their PerksConnect program, which is a service discount program they can use at local restaurants, movie theatres, vacations, or even insurance discounts. From shopping online to planning vacations being a Montclair alumni can help you save some money.
Moreover, alumni are granted access to the Sprague Library and career services. This awesome perk can help students do research using Jstor and other library databases about whether they want to go back to school for example or just need some intellectual stimulation.
2. Norfolk State University Alumni Association
Norfolk State University’s alumni network gets the opportunity to take alumni trips around the country and globally that ultimately supports the Norfolk State University Scholarship Fund.
In addition to traveling, alumni can get discounts to athletic events, car rental discounts, and discounts to all their homecoming festivities. All these perks are a result of Norfolk’s corporate partnerships and mission to engage their alumni. Involvement pays off because it helps the university provide affordable high quality education for a diverse body of students.
3. University of Cincinnati Alumni Association
The University of Cincinnati’s 247,000+ alumni across the country have the option of having a customized Bearcats themed wedding for those tying the knot. Everything from discounted block hotel rooms for family to the rental of an authentic UC football helmet to use during the reception, this is one of the most fun perks to get.
Not only that, but the University of Cincinnati seeks to help their alumni stay connected through their worldwide travel program at affordable prices. Last September, a group of alumni took a trip to Spain for a full week giving them the adventure of a lifetime and bond building time.