During the last week of April, LiveAlumni sat down with a panel of four industry experts to discuss Supporting Alumni Remotely in the Age of COVID-19. Panelists, Karen Armstrong, Career Counselor at Penn State University, Michael Iris, AVP Alumni Relations & Career Service at Berkeley College, Tiffany Manning, Team Lead of Employee Partnerships at Purdue University Global, and Christine Muncy, AVP Career Services at American Public University System provided their best insight and tips on how to improve alumni and career services in the world we live in now.
The panel took part in an interactive Q&A for 200+ attendees from colleges and universities around the world. With their collective experience in serving large populations of online students and connecting remotely with their alumni, the four experts covered some very important issues.
Want to learn more? Continue reading below!
How to Support Alumni Seeking Remote Opportunities
As Higher Ed institutions adapt to the virtual shift in their work, the panel discussed how to provide remote support to alumni seeking opportunities.
Below are some of the key take-aways.
- The Job Seeking Climate has Changed: Whilst this is true, traditional resources remain indispensable. Strong cover letters and resumes are as effective as ever in this virtual environment. Consider offering virtual resume and cover letter building sessions for your alumni.
- A Healthy Mindset is Important: Karen from Penn State says she tells her alumni to “go into this [job seeking] process as mentally and emotionally healthy as possible.” These are unprecedented times, and it’s easy for candidates to get discouraged. But confidence is key to making a good impression in interviews. Remind your alums that calm and confident candidates present better!
- Networking Remains Crucial: In fact, it’s even more important for alumni to be building their networks now. How? Maybe by making connections on LinkedIn. Or reconnecting with professional organizations they were previously involved with. A strong network will give them access to more opportunities and more insight into the job market.
How to Use Technology to Your Benefit
If you’re scrambling to find the best technologies to work remotely, don’t worry. Our panelists have already done work for you.
Below are some of the best technologies and resources they recommend.
- Video Conferencing Platforms: Move your traditional events online. Use platforms like Zoom.us to host virtual career fairs, alumni coffee chats, employer talks, and more! Move your traditional events online.
- LiveAlumni: Open up new opportunities for your alumni by using our employment data to identify your top employers and alumni in HR positions. Michael from Berkeley College says LiveAlumni has helped to seamlessly connect his school’s Career Services and Alumni Relations.
- Not a client? Not a problem: Request a free list of alumni who have recently changed jobs using the contact form at the end of this blog.
- Your Institutional Research Department: See what resources you already have available at your institution. With many schools facing restricted or frozen budgets, checking in with your IS department can reveal resources you already have that you didn’t know about!
- Insider tip: If you want all our teams to have access to LiveAlumni we currently provide unlimited user & support.
How to Host Virtual Career Fairs
While you may have mastered the traditional career fair, our experts have some tips about going virtual.
- Free for Alumni! Make your event free. This could be the key to a great event turnout. COVID-19 means many alumni and students are short on funds so it might be best not to charge for an event.
- Free for Employers! If you traditionally charge employers to be a part of your career fairs, consider waiving the fees. In lieu of payment, you can request that employers report their numbers of interviews and/or hires. That way, you get more employers and more data to measure the success of the fair.
- Think Smaller: If you’re accustomed to the larger career fair model, now is the perfect time to think smaller. Set up one-on-one interviews because they may lead to better hiring results. Intimate meetings with employers are usually better at helping alumni get their foot in the door.
Want more details on the specific virtual events our panelists are working on? Request a recording of our webinar below.
How to Keep your Alumni Motivated
Job prospects may look bleak as unemployment rises but that’s not the whole story. It’s important to let your alumni know that there ARE obs available and that they may be the perfect candidates for many positions.
- Organize Employer Talks: Using a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom, offer employer talks for your alumni to attend. Hearing directly from employers gives alums valuable insight into what they’re looking for when hiring. The goal is for your alumni to realize that they already possess marketable skills that employers still value.
- Have Fun! Employers everywhere are currently using Zoom to interview candidates. Provide a stress-free Zoom Happy Hour or Zoom Coffee Chat to give your alums the opportunity to learn the platform before their interviews. This great for engagement and keeping morale high. It also means your alumni are going to be more confident using this essential tool.
How to Educate Alumni About Your Services
You offer so many great services for your alumni, but how do you market that? Our panel discussed how you can make sure your alumni are taking advantage of what you provide.
- Cater to Their Needs: Alumni feedback is fundamental. When you send your alumni a form to see where they’re at, include a section for feedback. Offer options and see what new/existing services are of most interest to them. Use this information to revamp your services and you’ll see a marked increase engagement.
- Assess Alumni Behavior: How are your alumni are finding you now? Look at your website analytics to discover where marketing to your alumni would be most effective. If traffic on your university webpage is high, add an informational banner there. Or maybe it’s more beneficial to advertise on your blog. Or consider advertising on third-party platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Target Specific Demographics: Vary your marketing strategies based on the demographic. For older alumni it may be more effective to advertise on Facebook. But younger alums may be more prevalent on Instagram or Twitter. Consider who you’re targeting as well as what and where you’re sharing your message.
That’s all for the recap – request a recording for all the details.
A big thank you to our four wonderful panelists for sharing their time and knowledge with us!
Request Webinar Recording or Your Free Alumni List
Since our recap only covers some of the insight shared during the webinar, request the recording below.
You can also request a free list of your alumni who have recently changed jobs. Just let us know using the form below.
Want more advice? We’re here to help. We’ve been working closely with partner institutions to discuss COVID-19 recovery plans. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.