How Corporate Relations Can Help Young Alumni Find The Jobs They Want
With Millennials forecasted to make up 50% of the American workforce by 2020, colleges need to know where their alumni and present students are going to be needed. Just as important, we need to know where our alumni and present students want to take their skills. It’s up to us to make sure that our corporate relations model is working towards connecting our students with those desirable employers.
Many smaller companies are attracting young alumni with benefits that the big corporations can’t offer recent grads. These include:
Distinct responsibility from the start of employment
Reporting directly to organizational leadership
Recognition of contributions
Unique company culture
Fast career progression
With our youngest alumni looking for meaningful ways to contribute and grow in the workplace many of them are avoiding the Fortune 500 companies and planting roots in smaller companies and even startups. According to a 2017 SBDC (Small Business Development Center) survey, 38% of millennials have been a part of a startup company when it began.
So, what can schools do to help showcase the skills of our students to these smaller corporations? The answer to that question is closer than you might think! Lucky for us, several of our young alumni are already working for these smaller employers, so we have insiders that can help us promote today’s enrolled students.
Listen To Your Young Alumni
In the past, it’s been natural to pay close attention to the young alumni who were recruited by the biggest names in the recruiting game: Ernst & Young, Amazon, Accenture, and so on. But even if a single school has 250 alumni presently working for one of these Goliaths, that percentage of their employee base doesn’t really mean very much to an employer with hundreds of thousands of employees. On the other hand, a company that employs 250 people with 25 of those employees from a single school is much more inclined to notice the value that educational experience has provided to their employee pool.
As your young alumni stay engaged with the school, take note of who they are working for and what they are doing. LinkedIn is a great tool for seeing what other alumni are working with them. Don’t be shy when you notice a pattern of a few of your recent grads working together. Reach out and find out what they like about their present employer.
Many young alumni are happy to open the doors for students from their alma maters. They can share internship opportunities, they can connect college career centers with the gatekeepers in recruiting functions, they can even serve as mentors to currently enrolled students. Let the alumni who are already working in these smaller, desirable companies tell you what that company needs in their talent pool.
Does your school offer niche curriculum that pairs nicely with companies in a specific industry? Are you known for cutting-edge AI development? Where are your recent alumni bringing the skills they developed as students? Does your school offer a sought-after Nonprofit Management curriculum? Which community engagement partners are making an impact in the surrounding area?
Invite representatives from large and small companies with ideas that are compatible with your curriculum and culture to participate in and present at school events. Let them engage your presently enrolled students in the environment where they’re honing their skills. While the students are gaining insights from industry professionals, the professionals from these companies will be noticing the creativity and personality of your school’s learners. Campus relationships are vital to recruiters at companies of every size, don’t wait for them to come to you – invite them to become a part of your campus!
Relationships Are Key
There have always been occasions where hiring decisions have come down to “who you know.” This concept includes present students and young alumni, not just long-standing members of the workforce. Giving your school’s most recent grads a common ground to start a relationship with a potential hiring manager allows them a distinct advantage.
According to a recent study by Zippia, a California-based career search and employment services company, Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA) is presently the highest rated college in the US for getting a job. LVC’s placement rate exceeds 96%. LVC offers students and companies multiple networking opportunities on and off campus, in person and through digital means. These networking efforts are part of a corporate relations strategy that has helped this school gain national attention for their efforts to place their students and alumni in the workforce.
Sources & Additional Reading:
 America´s Voice On Small Business; Americassbdc.org
 The Best College In Each State For Getting A Job 2018; Zippia.com
 Resources For Employers, lVC.edu