The numbers paint a depressing picture. The rate of youth unemployment in the US is at 8.9%. Moreover, reports show that 80% of jobs are not advertised and more than 70% of them are usually found through networking. So, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the typical process of finding a job isn’t as effective anymore.

What are your options, then? How can you get the most out of your hard-earned degree and start building your career?

You may find the answer by connecting with your Alumni network.

Why You Should Start Paying Attention to Your Alumni Network?

 If your college has a large alumni network, then you should take advantage. Reach out to your alumni association or career service advisor and ask for their help. These associations tend to use a sophisticated career service platform that might help you find potential opportunities in the job market that is of interest to you.

In addition to the tools they have, alumni students already had their first contact with the job market. They know what employers are expecting, what skills are relevant, and how you need to present yourself to maximize your chances of success. You can benefit from their advice and experience and build a successful career.

 How to Connect with Your Alumni Network and Find Mentor

 Most alumni students are happy to help graduates find their path. However, you have to understand that you are reaching out to a stranger and ask them to mentor you. Sending a two-sentence email and expecting them to jump and help you might not be the best approach. For your alumni connect strategy to work, you need to build a relationship with them first.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start Networking in Your Freshman Years

Building relationships take time. You can’t expect to connect with someone on a deep level and benefit from their full support over a cup of coffee. Begin reaching out to your alumni organization from the first or second year of college. Sure, you may not know what career path you want to follow, but talking with alumni from different industries could help you find your passion.

  • Find Your Mentor

Reach out to your alumni associations and ask them if they have a mentorship program. That way, you will benefit not only from the tools they have, such as a career service platform but also the full attention of a mentor.

  • Be Strategic

 Think long and hard about the questions you will ask alumni students. Try to leverage their experience as much as possible and get any insights you can into how the industry works and how you can access it. Don’t be afraid to ask personal questions, such as why did they choose that career.

Don’t assume that your school won’t be able to help you find your career the moment you graduate. Alumni programs are put in place for this very reason. So make sure to take full advantage of them.