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The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Need another reason to dust off your old college t-shirts? Networking perks aside, some alumni associations offer purely recreational benefits. Here are some of the coolest ones we found.
College may be a fond (and increasingly distant) memory, but it can be more if you know how to work your degree. Take advantage of alumni networking opportunities to make new contacts and expand your career prospects—particularly if you're fresh out of the gate.
Join the club. There's a good chance you became a member of your school's alumni association just by graduating. A small membership fee or donation can snag you invites to social events in your area, use of the alumni directory, and much more.
Reach out. Think of how you perk up when you hear that someone went to your alma mater. Aren’t you instantly more willing to help them out? Search your school's alumni website by career, interest, or location to find potentially useful contacts. Send an email or message to a few people in your new geographical area. Say that you’re relocating and don't know anyone, and set up a time to meet for coffee or lunch—even a phone appointment.
Rub elbows. Many schools hold events to connect alumni by interest or location. Sign up to receive email notifications about gatherings in your area. Then go to them! As with any networking, you never know how you might be able help someone—or how they might be able to help you. Maybe you’re trying to break into a new industry or need support getting your start-up off the ground. Look for others who have establish themselves doing similar work, and seek their advice.
Give back. Sure, you'd love to stop ignoring those letters asking you to donate to the alumni fund. If you can spare the cash, giving money is a great way to contribute to the activities and departments you valued as a student. But also look for ways to volunteer your time. Perhaps you could confuct interviews with prospective applicants, or serve as a mentor to a current undergraduate.
Stay in touch. You can take the girl out of college, but you can't take the college out of the girl. Keep up with what's new on campus by reading the alumni magazine, visiting the website, and following updates on Twitter and Facebook. You never know what opportunities might arise or how you might be able to contribute!