We recently came across an article called “Postgraduate Careers: The Hunt for Elusive Alumni”, in which, a report published by the US council of Graduate Schools in Washington DC “Understanding Ph.D. Career Pathways for Program Improvement” called for a better measurement of postgraduate career outcomes, for which there is a massive need. There is no problem with the article itself, just one word… Elusive. Alumni departments the world over are coming up with innovative and new ways of tracking their elusive alumni, in order to gain a deeper understanding of their career paths and choices, the solution here is the old saying ” Prevention is better than Cure”.
Here are some tips on how to not allow for your alumna/e to become elusive:
It is so important that before your students become unavailable or uncontactable alumni, that we engage them during their time at university. So, in order to engage your alumni of tomorrow, today, make sure they know you are there and have some amazing things to offer them. Obviously, your alumni owe you nothing, nada, nil. It is, therefore, your job to ensure they want something from you, whether it is simply advice or the services you offer. [image: Johann Dréo]
2. Merge, Integrate, Share…
In this ever-advancing world, it seems to be inevitable that the merging of certain departments (i.e. alumni, careers, advancement, development) is on the cards. The reason why may surprise you, it is not through lack of available resources but the overlapping and the developing need for more, more contacts, more technology more advancements. And not just in regards to sheer quantity, as the amount of alumna/e within an Alumni association’s responsibilities rise, the need for high quality, meaningful and professional connections is paramount, and the means of getting those connections needs to be available. The merging of careers and alumni services may eradicate the need for so many separate resources, hence a saving of money in the long term with additional career and alumni services/ programs/ resources being available to both students and alumni. Remember, sharing is caring! [Image: Josh Harper]
3. Raise your Standards…
It is not about being the biggest or the best- simply doing the best you can. It is not within every department’s means, to offer every single technology or solution in regards to career development for their alumni. But there are many options out there that can be utilized and may reduce your need for so many resources, for example, alumni networking platforms and mentoring platforms may reduce the need for staff members to be delegated certain responsibilities within those areas. There is a certain trend that is arising among institutions and that trend is accessibility. The need for access to resources and professional connections has never been so high amongst students and alumni, as their professional network upon leaving university tends to be very small. Here are some technologies that may help to lighten the load:
– VineUp “VineUp works with you to create your ideal private online community, connecting your members for mentoring and career development opportunities. Through their integration with leading social networks (including Facebook and LinkedIn) and various other technologies VineUp is able to provide you with the most recent and up-to-date information on your graduates.”
– YourMembership “YourMembership is a software company that provides membership software that seamlessly integrates with social networking. Connect your students, students parents, teachers, and alumni with an engaging and integrated online community and website.”
– Alum.ni “Alum.ni is designed for alumni communities, be it academic, professional or corporate alumni communities, where members share a sense of kinship and trust.”
– EverTrue “EverTrue creates SaaS mobile solutions for institutional advancement that are geared to strengthen relationships through the intersection of institutional knowledge and insights from social media.”
Do you have any experience in losing contact with your alumni? Or success in keeping in contact? We would love to hear from you, comment below! Don’t forget to subscribe to receive weekly updates on articles, blogs, jobs in education and technologies!
[featured image: Niklas Morberg]