By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications
Elon’s iMedia Class of 2016 is 3 months into the 10 month program and they are doing everything they can to make the most of their “sandbox time” as advised by iMedia alum, Conor Britain earlier in the year.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Amber McCraw and I am the new Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. My role on this blog is to offer career advice to our students as they progress through their time here. So, it’s only fitting with Homecoming upon us that I offer some words of wisdom about how to make the most of a nostalgic weekend.
Homecoming means throngs of alums will be returning to campus for football, tailgating, and reunions of all kinds. While they may primarily be back on campus to catch-up with old friends, share updates with former professors, and take in all of the changes the campus has experienced since they last returned, they are also here to give back. So, what is my key piece of advice to you before the weekend is over?
Network, network, network!
From a football game to shared meals, a 5K and many impromptu gatherings, take advantage of the opportunities to interact with iMedia and COM alums throughout the weekend. The School of Communications will be hosting several events designed for this opportunity and you don’t want to miss out. Don’t be afraid to step up, introduce yourself, and strike up a conversation because you never know where it may lead. They’ve been in your shoes before, so who better to talk to about your experiences.
If you’re feeling anxious, use the tips below to make your networking experience a success:
- Find a reason to strike up a conversation. You both have something in common as an alum and current student, so finding something in common shouldn’t be hard. Compliment them, bring up the weather, or crack a joke if you have a sense of humor.
- Having trouble finding someone to talk to? Find someone standing alone – chances are they are looking for someone to talk to as well. Or, find a group of people where you know at least one person already.
- Have business cards ready to go when the conversation turns to professional interests. (And don’t forget to ask for theirs in return).
- Connect on LinkedIn and send a personalized message. Thank them for talking with you and follow-up on any requests.
- Continue the conversation and keep in touch.
Have any other networking tips that you’ve found helpful? Feel free to share.