Tapping Into Alumni

By: Rachael David, Communications and Digital Strategy Committee Member

“The largest alumni association in the world.”

As students of Penn State University, we hear this title a lot, but with awards such as the “#1 Student Section in the Country,” “#1 for Job Recruiters,” and the many other exciting recognitions we boast, this one sometimes tends to get lost in the mix. Besides, does it really matter how many alumni we have?

Well, I’m here to tell you that the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, when it comes to your future career, it may very well be the most important one. How do I know this? As a student representative for the College of Communications AD/PR Alumni Board, I’ve had the privilege of working with alumni from all different backgrounds in the communications industry, and if there’s one thing that they all have in common, it’s their desire to help students. No matter how long ago they attended Penn State or how much the university may have changed since then, they were once in the exact same position as we are: desperately searching for that little thing they call a job.

larryfosterWhat’s even better? They’re everywhere. No matter what industry or which company you’d like to pursue, chances are, they have a hired a Penn State alumni at some point who would be more than happy to share their experience with you. So how do you find these people? It’s easy. Talk to your professors, ask your advisors and actually attend all those guest speaker sessions Bob Martin emails you about. Send them an email, connect with them on LinkedIn and initiate the conversation. And then, be patient. Give them time to respond and be sure that you aren’t constantly asking for favors. Offer them value and treat them as human beings, not resume-reading robots. They’re there to help, but they have lives, too. The bottom line is that Penn State pride runs deep and the fact that you have the same blue and white blood as they do already speaks volumes for your character. It’s your job to prove them right.

So next time you think you’ve found your dream job and don’t know where to begin, start by searching for alumni. It may be the difference between an unanswered email and a life-changing interview.

Image credit: Penn State News

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