How your alumni community can support new graduates
The graduation season is upon us and it usually brings with itself, accompanying feelings of nostalgia and happiness. As graduates move towards a new chapter in their lives with the blessings of their beloved teachers, graduation is one of the happiest moments in a student’s life.
But, is the world still the same place since the last graduation season?
The upcoming batch of graduates is being deprived of once-in-a-lifetime moments like dancing the night away at their senior prom, walking across the stage to receive the diploma that they spent countless hours of hard work on, and even a chance to simply say goodbye to the people that have been an important part of their lives - friends, mentors, and beloved teachers.
On top of this, these young graduates find themselves thrust into the worst job market in modern history. Many of them have lost their on-campus jobs, internships, and are already witnessing dwindling job opportunities.
Now more than ever, the graduates need to know that their alma mater and alumni have their back. In a post-pandemic world, it is imperative that the university community join hands to help soon-to-be graduates, and eliminate the risk of a lost connection with them.
Here are 5 ways in which alumni can get involved and help the next batch of graduates overcome their unique challenges during these testing times.
Offer one-on-one support to graduates
The post-pandemic world keeps throwing oddballs at all of us, and it’s only natural that your graduates need some additional help. Whether it’s emotional support from a friendly alum or an alum that can offer career guidance, your graduates need all the support they can get to power through this crisis. As the situation at hand is unique, encourage your alumni to go the extra mile and offer one-on-one support to your graduates.
Facilitate direct conversations between alumni and graduates via emails or social media, or create an affinity group to connect graduates with alumni who can cater to their needs. While enabling group conversations is a good approach, in these challenging times, a little one-on-one treatment might go a long way in building deeper connections and imbibing a greater sense of loyalty in your new alumni.
Barcelona Graduate School of Economics facilitates a unique one-on-one chat experience to help graduates, students, and candidates applying to the institution via an online chat platform. Read more here.
Share job and internship opportunities from their companies
Your alumni network is a valuable resource for your upcoming graduates who are currently on the lookout for job and internship opportunities. These networks also serve exclusive job and internship listings in cases where they’re not widely published elsewhere, giving graduates first dibs. Additionally, having an alum guide these graduates with their job search and provide an endorsement at their companies greatly improves the chances of the latter landing a job offer.
Welcome your future alums with heartfelt video messages
In case your graduates have to miss their traditional end-of-year programming and brace themselves for a plethora of challenges coming their way, it is all the more important that they hear encouraging words of wisdom from their seniors. Urge your alumni community to create short video messages, offering words of encouragement, praises, and congratulations to the young graduates.
Add an element of surprise by getting a star alum to make an appearance on the video.
Read how Carnegie Mellon University roped in 13 high-profile alumni to surprise their Class of 2020 graduates during their virtual conferral of degrees ceremony. Head over to CMU’s website to read more.
Provide virtual job shadowing services
Job shadowing plays a pivotal role in career development and discovery as it helps a graduate gauge and identify their field of interest, assess if they are the right fit for a particular position or industry, learn skills via hands-on experience, network and build relationships with relevant professionals, and receive invaluable career advice from experienced alumni. Give your graduates the opportunity to explore different career-fields and gain real-world experience in the field of their choice by matching them with alumni hosts interested in job shadowing.
You can facilitate job shadowing by using an online network that automatically matches alumni and graduates based on their needs, interests, and other relevant criteria.
Boston College’s Eagle Exchange Job Shadowing Program is an exclusive online platform that matches students with college alumni who serve as hosts for one-day shadowing experiences. Alumni hosts represent diverse industries and job functions. Read more about the Eagle Exchange program here.
Host AMAs on specific topics
As your graduates come to terms with a hostile job market and mourn loss of traditions, there’s so many questions that these new graduates need answered. Provide value to your new graduates by organizing an Ask Me Anything session by roping in expert alumni to answer specific questions. If your graduates are concerned about getting a job in this bad economy, get career specialists in your alumni community on board and schedule an open AMA session to allow your graduates to ask away.
Washington State University Alumni Association’s hosting weekly AMA sessions with alumni employers who are ready to talk to all majors in the fields of arts, science, and health. Head over to WSU’s alumni website to read more.
To the next batch of graduates, hang in there, as this is only the ending of the first chapter of a grand adventure. And to all our incredible partners who are going above and beyond to help and support their young graduates, we stand with you and promise to continue delivering the best ideas and strategies to make your job easier.