If you are looking for a job in Washington or even if you are simply new to the city and looking to make some professional connections, your school’s alumni base can be an excellent resource for networking.
Alumni networks exist primarily to build connections between former students no matter how far away from their alma mater they settle. Most large universities have alumni chapters in the D.C. area. A quick check with your school’s alumni office can help direct you to the closest chapter. You can also search for contacts of active chapter officers on the Capital Alumni Network Website at: www.dcalum.org.
Alumni chapters are not just limited to colleges and universities. Fraternities, sororities and academic honoraries also have strong alumni networks. These chapters can usually be found on the organization’s national website. Make sure to investigate all avenues for networking while you are in DC.
Here are a few ways alumni chapters can be helpful:
- Getting to Know D.C. – Moving to a new place (especially one as large as the nation’s capital) can be overwhelming. Alumni networks can be a great resource for getting to know a city. Who better to share recommendations on good neighborhoods to live in, restaurants to try or fun weekend adventures than a local?
- Networking Opportunities – In DC it’s not just what you know, but who you know! Whether it is a gathering to watch a sporting event, a planned activity or a happy hour, Alumni Chapters offer a wide variety of events that can help you connect to a large pool of working professionals. Meeting other professionals who share a common bond can come in handy if you are looking for job or career advice.
- Finding a Mentor – Did you meet a fellow alum at a networking event whose career path you admire? Don’t be afraid to ask for another opportunity to sit down and pick their brain. A one-on-one meeting or even a simple email exchange gives you the chance to ask the questions that you may not have had time for initially.
- Job Boards and Online Databases – Many employers would love to hire graduates from their alma mater. Find out if your school’s alumni office offers access to an online job board where alums can post job opportunities.