One of the many benefits of attending UGA is the strong bond to the university. FACS alumni are also very loyal and excited to help each other and help students – our future alums - for career-related purposes.
Networking is about making contacts and building relationships, it is easiest to start networking with individuals that you know or with people with whom you have an existing connection.
Many alumni feel a strong enough connection to UGA and FACS to be willing to speak with students. This will allow you to begin building relationships in your industry of choice, ask for new contacts, and gather information and tips about the industry. Remember, alumni have volunteered to serve as a resource. They are not there to “give” you a job. Use them appropriately by making the building of a relationship your priority.
How to Find Alumni:
Most alumni prefer that the initial contact be through email. Do background research to understand who they are and what they have accomplished in the workplace. Also set expectations for your informational interview or networking opportunity – outline what you want to learn or to gain from the email correspondence beforehand. Your initial email should be brief and contain the following information:
Do not attach your resume to your initial email – it will look as if you are asking for a job. Bring it with you when you meet with alumni, and ask for industry specific feedback on it.
The goal of a networking reception with alumni is to enable you to easily make contacts for future use. It provides a natural setting for professional conversation and exchange of information. It is not, however, a chance to collect as many business cards as possible or an opportunity to conduct a full informational interview.
Walk up to someone who might be standing alone, or feel free to join a group already engaged in conversation. Be ready to engage in small talk as well as provide a brief background about yourself and why you are there.
At the end of your conversation, if you would like to speak with this alumnus/a further, ask for a business card. You can comfortably do this by saying how much you have enjoyed the conversation and inquiring whether it is possible to continue the conversation in an informational interview at a convenient time for him/her. If the alumnus/a says yes, request a business card.
It is important to follow up with alumni after your contact with them. Send a thank you note within 24 hours of your meeting or conversation.
Additional follow-up is appropriate after you have taken their advice and have an outcome to report. Examples might be contacting someone they recommended, joining a professional association, reading an article they suggested, etc. At this time, it is appropriate to contact and update them.
How to find alumni: