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,
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.