by Katie Kennedy, ’18

I recently posted about my nerve wracking, fruitful, informational networking experience with Beloit alum Laura Damon-Moore ’08. Following our conversation, I have emailed her and asked her some follow up questions about what networking is like from the other end. Here’s how it went:

As a graduate of Beloit College, how do you feel about responding to current students that reach out to you?  

I always enjoy talking with Beloit students, whether they find me on their own or through a faculty/staff member! 

Do you have any tips for students seeking connections with alumni?

Feel free to ask a faculty member or staff member to make the connection if you’re nervous about cold-calling or emailing; they’re there to help you be successful! Once you’ve connected with an alum, be specific in your asks, so that we know what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in having a conversation (in person or via Skype), go ahead and ask – and make sure you let the alum know why you’re interested in talking with them in particular (usually because you’re interested in their field, or in a graduate school program that they did, etc.) so that they know what to expect. And understand that not everyone will be able to respond to you promptly, and it’s not because we’re not interested – things just get busy!

How has your perception of networking shifted from your time at Beloit until now?

It feels a lot less awkward to be on the alum side of things! I can sit around and jabber about myself and my work for hours. Now I wish I had thought to talk to alumni in my field – it really didn’t occur to me at the time, or I perceived that networking was something that business majors do. When I was trying to figure out what would come after Beloit for me, I talked to my advisors and the staff that I worked with a lot, which was great, but in hindsight it would have been useful to talk to a couple of alumni in the fields I was considering to get additional perspectives and insight.  

What is the most effective way to follow up/ keep in touch with alumni? 
I think it’ll depend on the alum that you reach out to. For me, I’d definitely enjoy being in the loop on future plans and stuff like that, so I’d say it’s absolutely worth sending a quick email with an update. I’m not super into connecting on social media, but some alumni might be up for that. Some alumni will offer follow-up; others you may just want to ask straight-out if and how you can reach out to them in the future.

As you can see, alumni genuinely want to help you succeed. It’s both informational and fun to learn from them, and I’m sure they’d love the chance to talk to talk to you, too!  For more information on how to begin connecting with alum through the Beloit Career Network and LinkedIn, contact the Liberal Arts in Practice Center.

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