Alumni aren’t merely a ghost of the college past; they are a diverse community passing through various phases of their careers where assistance from their fellow peers could become an invaluable addition. The bond forged during the graduation years extends far beyond college life, forming a close-knit community whose experiences may come in handy to others at any time. Alumni will carry the sense of belonging instilled in them during their college years throughout their lives, which becomes an integral part of extending a helping hand to their fellow alumni when needed. From job referrals to skill-building workshops to entrepreneurial assistance, the alumni have a wide range of arsenals in their inventory, which, if used effectively, can alter and enrich the lives of the members of the alumni. You, as an institution, can be the perfect medium to deliver that. Let’s dive deep into this article, where you can find techniques to utilize your alumni’s potential to the maximum.
Mentorship Programs for the Alumni
As an institution, you must have conducted mentorship programs where the alma mater guided students in various aspects of their lives. What if you do the same for the alumni? Yes, you guessed it right, holding mentoring sessions where the experienced alumni can navigate their younger counterparts through career shifts, upskilling, etc. The millennials (21–25 year old alumni) would love to hear from the vagabonds (26–34 year old alumni) who went through the same phase when they were younger. The insights the senior alumni provide could steer them in the right direction. The mentoring program can be beneficial to the vagabonds, as they can strengthen their profiles by being mentors to the millennials.
While we are at it, try hosting informal events such as alumni mixers, reunions, and theme-based social interactions, which will wake up the dormant brotherhood camaraderie, and the relationship will go beyond the professional space and become personal. They may reconnect with someone they never had the privilege of meeting during their graduation, and this may open up new avenues!
Professional Networking & Placement Assistance
Networking is a much-needed tool for anyone in the industry to upscale, know current trends, get new job offers, and much more. It is the web that sprawls over the industry, bringing everything under its wing and providing room for people to explore. Provide a platform or medium for the alumni where they can list new job opportunities and referrals, share insights, connect, and collaborate. Integrate your alumni portal with professional networking platforms where alumni can register using their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. This gives the alumni all the information they need to engage with each other. Online support is all good, but nothing beats the in-person touch. Conduct events featuring alumni speakers who are distinguished in their respective fields.
Not only students applying for placements but also recent graduates require assistance as well. Offering placement assistance featuring resume review sessions, mock interview preparation, and skill-building workshops is advised. The alumni who get placed using the resources you offer will never forget the push they’ve received. It etches into their minds, and they will strive to repay the gratitude in the future.
Establishing and running a successful start-up is the dream of every aspiring entrepreneur. As their alma mater, you can encourage them to pursue their aspirations by providing them with the right mentorship from the senior alumni entrepreneurs who run successful businesses. The senior alumni can provide the aspirants with tips and techniques to nudge them in the right direction. You can also maintain an updated directory of entrepreneurs and encourage other alumni to update the status of their start-ups.
Many institutions, such as IITs, IIITs, and many other private institutions, take upon themselves the task of providing incubator opportunities for the start-ups that take birth on their premises. They provide a platform for the new businesses where they can strengthen them. This could also extend to alumni entrepreneurs as well. Encourage them to set up their own business in the institution. The captains (35–54-year-old alumni) will be seeking to invest their money in successful start-ups, and the vagabonds will be searching for angel investors to do the same. Encouraging collaborations between ventures of alumni entrepreneurs can also lead to the success of the start-ups.
Higher and Continued Education Opportunities
Recently graduated alumni often prefer pursuing post-graduation in the homeland or overseas. Fresh out of college, the process of filtering out the best colleges and universities and the exams they have to prepare for can be a bit overwhelming to them. Their senior counterparts can be of much help to them. You can help them by carving out a section in your alumni portal where both groups can interact. Provide section-wise spaces or chat rooms where the younger alumni can post their doubts and the older ones who went through the same process can answer them. This would even lead to fostering a sense of community among them.
Some industries require continuous learning owing to their rapidly evolving nature. Many would often find it difficult to find, learn, and apply it to their work. Motivate the alumni to share details about the same and, even better, host technical seminars and skill-building workshops by the qualified alumni.
Transitions can be challenging, especially when you’re opting for a dynamic career shift. Challenges can encounter us when we are unprepared. The struggle that a person goes through will affect their mental health profoundly. Acknowledge the problems your alumni are going through and create a safe space for them to deal with them courageously. Act as a bridge where the seasoned alumni, such as Patriarchs (35–54 year old alumni) and captains, can volunteer as counselors where the persons in need can talk their hearts out. Many younger alumni will reach out to have a balanced life, and the patriarchs know the value of providing a service like this to their younger versions. This instills a sense of belonging and leads to even stronger connections, transcending their professional and personal spaces.
To make the whole alumni experience more meaningful, let the students engage with the alumni from their graduation years. The collaborative spirit not only benefits individuals in general but also reinforces the whole alumni network, complementing the alma mater as well. Carry the alma mater’s legacy forward by paving the way for newer generations to evolve and make an impression on the world.