Leverage Your Marist Alumni Network for Success

Whether you're looking for a job or looking to make contacts in your field, networking is a great way to connect to others and advance your professional development.  Here are 5 ways to leverage your Marist network: 

While this article was written specifically for Marist College students and alumni, the tips should be applicable to any college or university alumni community. 

 1) Use the Marist Alumni Career Network

Most Marist graduates are happy to help fellow alumni with their careers.  This is especially true of Marist grads who are members of the Alumni Career Network, who have agreed to assist Marist students and alumni with the job search process, give feedback on your resume, give advice as to where to look for openings, provide information about industry trends and give suggestions as to how you can become successful in careers similar to their own.  If you're not already a member, contact Career Services to find out how to join. 

2) Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn makes it easier to build your network. 

  • Make sure you have a complete and updated LinkedIn profile
  • Use LinkedIn's search feature to search by college and look for other Marist alumni, as well as faculty, staff and administration
  • Invite them to connect - do not use the standard LinkedIn language, but instead, customize your invitation by highlighting that you're a fellow alum looking to connect with other Marist grads
  • You can also search by location or company 

3) Be Clear About What You're Asking

Assume that the people you're reaching out to are busy.  So be specific about the logistics and content of what you're asking:

  • Do you want a 15-minute phone call? To meet in person or virtually for coffee?
  • Do you want to know about the culture of their company? Are you looking for a job? Do you want to transition into their industry?

And don't forget to prepare a clear and concise message about yourself, your strengths and career history. 

4) Understand that Networking is a Process 

  • Plan and prepare to network - you can't just "wing it" and expect to be successful 
  • Network - via online outreach, in-person networking event, phone conversation, etc. 
  • Follow up - Following up takes time, so people often skip this step, thus missing a critical opportunity to nurture their network.  If someone has taken time to speak or meet with you, be sure to thank them and also keep them posted as to what's happening with you.   An occasional email or phone call is a great way to keep the connection alive and makes it more likely they will remember you. 

5) Be Generous

Networking is not all about getting - you also have to be willing to give.  Join the Marist Alumni Career Network and offer to help other alumni with career questions, information about what it's like to work in your field, internships at your company, etc. While you might think you don't have a lot to offer those with more career experience than you, there are often areas where you can provide help, such as your familiarity with social media, your ease with digital tools and your generational perspective as a consumer. 

Networking is a crucial communication skill for professional success.  Building this skill takes time, but it's worth it.  In the past year, nurturing my Marist network has yielded me lasting professional relationships, plus an executive coaching client and two speaking engagements! What can your Marist network do for you?


Gilda's Bio

Gilda Bonanno gave her first major speech as valedictorian of Marist College, where she shared the stage with commencement speaker James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader and CNN) on Leonidoff Field, in the days before the Campus Green was built.

She is now a professional speaker, trainer and coach who helps people transform their communication, presentation and leadership skills so they can have more confidence, influence and success.   She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has run a successful business that reaches countless people globally. She has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

In addition to her Marist degree, Gilda holds a master’s degree in history from Fordham University and an Advanced Business Certificate in Management from the Uconn School of Business.

To find out more about Gilda, please visit: www.gildabonanno.com                             

To find out more about Marist  please visit:www.marist.edu                       

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