The value of networking in the search for an internship cannot be overestimated. Whether it’s finding out about an internship through an established professional relationship or creating an internship by connecting with a new professional contact, networking should be a component of a successful search process.
With homecoming upon us, let’s focus on a key networking resource: alumni. I’ve heard alumni called “warm contacts.” You already share something in common with alumni – your university, their alma mater. Whether you get it now or not, your alma mater often becomes a large part of your identity, and when you graduate, you maintain warm feelings for the institution where you completed your undergraduate work. As a result, alumni want to give back, and a great way of doing so is by helping out students who are studying where they did.
How do you access this excellent resource? Here are a few ways:
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn has always been a great resource for connecting with alumni. While it might seem counterintuitive, join the group “Alumni of UWW.” You might not be an alum (yet), but you can start making connections with them now. LinkedIn’s power to connect you with alumni just got better with their launch of Classmates. This new tool allows you to make a professional connection with your fellow Warhawks.
- Professional Associations – There are a lot of UW-Whitewater alumni working in Southeastern Wisconsin. By connecting with professional organizations (at the non-student level), you are bound to run into a few.
- Campus Events – Even though they graduated, alumni often return to campus. Homecoming events will bring some back to UW-Whitewater. Alumni are invited into classes (like our Career Information classes) and the classroom environment can be prime for making a professional connection. These are just a couple of examples of where you might encounter alumni around campus.