Within 24 hours, I’ve been given the impression that college students ask for jobs from alumni, without trying to start a relationship or at least network. I just got through speaking with one of my friends who is a freshman in college and we have a networking event today for our fraternity and he goes “its not gonna matter for me cuz no 1 looks for a frosh for a job or internship.”

First off, I had an internship when I was a freshman in college and even a senior in high school. There are simply no excuses and you must start early, at least by networking. Aside from this, I went to another college networking event earlier this week and I was one of the only alumni there because, let’s face it, alumni just don’t come back. They don’t come back for a simple reason and that is because they know they are going to be harassed for jobs from people who don’t care enough to learn about them. There is a perception among alumni (I conducted a survey with my network) that college students only set up these events to beg us for jobs. What’s even more frustrating is that when I go back for a social event, people are asking me for jobs!!! I’m obviously not there trying to hire students if I’m going to a social event.

Another item that turns alumni off is colleges that send numerous letters asking for donations. I believe they would never have to perform that task if they built stronger relationships with alumni when they were students. How are recent graduates going to donate money back when they are trying to get a job, and have expenses such as rent, gas, car insurance, etc. Entry-level jobs typically don’t extend more than salaries of $60,000. The average starting salary is about $35,000, which is hard to even live off of. If you’re looking for donations, then think five years from now and start building rapport with alumni when they first enter as a freshman.

Here are some tips for college students:

  • Be sincere when dealing with alumni.
  • Quit being so selfish and obvious when you confront us.
  • Demonstrate your “soft skills.”
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you already know one of us, meet someone else.
  • Have a business card on hand. There are no excuses anymore.
  • If it’s a casual environment, be casual.
  • Always follow-up with us afterward.
  • Don’t waste our time.
  • Resumes should be delivered after the event not during it. We are there to meet and communicate, not review resumes.
  • We recommend friends over acquaintances.
  • “What’s in it for us.”

Here are some tips for alumni

  • Give college students a chance.
  • You’re probably more successful than them, so give advice.
  • Move around and meet as many people as you can.
  • Don’t just speak with college students, go after other alumni. Alumni from your alma mater are more likely to help you succeed than from other colleges. Remember to network more outside of your company than within.
  • Be comfortable telling students that your company isn’t hiring or that you aren’t the point person and they should send their resume through HR (dead-end).