One Team, One Goal – Reaching Out to Elon Alumni

By Katie Franck

Elon alumni can be an extremely valuable resource for as you look to expand your professional network or seek advice from someone who has “been through it all.”  However, it can be extremely tricky to figure out how to approach an alum… where do you find them and what do you say? LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with alumni.  When you form a connection with an alumni on LinkedIn, you can (and should) send them a message introducing yourself and asking if they would be willing to talk with you for about 5 to 10 minutes.  This is a good way to ask ask questions about their company or learn about their experience. Some Elon alumni have even designated themselves as “Elon Mentors”, which simply means they have chosen to be a resource for you and are ready and able to help.  

Communications alum Zach Bocian ‘17 said that the motto “one team, one goal” is “very applicable to life after college and more so in staying connected with alumni and present students.”  If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account or if you are unsure how to use it, this article can provide some excellent tips and guidelines to creating a noteworthy profile.  

So you’ve searched LinkedIn and found some alumni who you’d like to reach out to… now what?  Always start by introducing yourself and telling the person why you want to connect with them.  Just like with other social media platforms, if someone requests to follow you, you’re immediately going to look for the “Elon University” on their profile or some other factor you have in common before you follow them back.  A simple way to message someone may be,

“Hi Nicole!

I see that we both attend(ed) Elon University and that you currently work in PR.  I am a current student and PR is my intended field, I would love to connect with you to learn more about your experience. Thanks so much!

Katie Franck, Elon University Class of 2022”

If you have specific questions, use your initial connection to ask if they would be willing to answer them.  Additionally, this article has some great advice and templates for how to write an appropriate message to anyone you may want to connect with, alumni or not. 

When messaging alumni (or any professional) it is important to remember that they are busy and may not be checking their LinkedIn account on a regular basis.  Always be patient, and you can send a follow-up message. As always, professional language is expected and appreciated, and you should always keep in mind that they are taking time out of their day to help you.  While most Elon alumni (especially Elon Mentors) are excited and willing to talk with students, you should always thank them for their time and for any help they give you.

Good luck!

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A Story: Successfully Networking

Internships are about learning, networking and great experiences. Jillian Jacobson, who is interning in Maine this winter is taking full advantage of every opportunity.

She recently attended the Maine Biz Forum as part of her internship with Spurwink, a nationally accredited non-profit with behavioral health and education services for children, adolescents, adults & families. While networking may be difficult, Jillian took a courageous step in setting herself apart from the rest. Just by asking a question, she was able to start conversations and successfully network. This is what Jillian had to say about her experience at the Maine Biz Forum.

“I was able to network with lots of professionals in the industry and make some connections. Attendees ranged from business professionals to communications professionals in Maine. The speaker was an economist from The Fed who spoke about economic predictions in the next year. The panel then spoke about how this could impact their local businesses in Maine. There was also a Q&A section and so I went up the microphone in front of 300+ people and introduced myself and asked why I should get my first job in Maine after graduation. The room seemed to be very impressed by my question as I was given many business cards after and many people came up and talked to me. It was a great experience even though I was intimidated being the youngest one there by many years.”

Networking paid off for Jillian because she stepped out of her comfort zone and took a chance!

 

Networking with LinkedIn

By Arielle Berlinksy

Applying to internships and jobs can be easily quite stressful and overwhelming. At times, you will catch yourself wondering where to even begin. One thing I can recommend is LinkedIn. Starting a profile is super easy to do! Plus, it’s like filling out a fun quiz that is all about the subject you know most about…YOU! Before you know it, you will be able to build up a network quite simply by adding professors, internship co-workers and more. Also, don’t forget to join professional groups on LinkedIn and you can connect with their members. Then, you can put up a copy of your resume and any relevant information about your latest activities for everyone to see. Companies also search LinkedIn for students who match their interests and needs.  On top of all of this, you have the privilege to network with people in companies all over the world! Plus, now you can connect with alumni who want to help you. Networking is a huge key to getting your foot in the door for that dream position, so why not start today? You are just a few clicks away from starting the path towards your dream career. Good luck!