We want to help! How to approach alumni in your job search - by Polina Segalova '06 & Yrinee Michaelidis '07



Olin alums recruiting for their new employers


When we were students at Olin, people would often ask why we chose to attend a tiny school no one has heard of. There are, of course, many reasons for choosing Olin, but if we had to pick one it would be the people. The top-notch faculty, the caring staff and the talented students all make Olin an incredible institution. Unlike us, you current Olin students can now add a fourth group,  Olin alumni, to that list!   As another class graduates this spring, you will have more than 500 accomplished and multi-faceted individuals who will most likely be interested in helping you, talking about next steps, or finding a way to follow your passion.

Current Olin students stand to benefit greatly by connecting with the alumni network. Alumni can help you explore different post-graduate options or even find a job. If you already have an offer of employment or an acceptance letter to graduate school, they can serve as mentors in the field and help build your career.  Aside from the practical benefits of networking with alumni, they also happen to be very interesting people who are more than happy to talk to current students, as long as they can find the time. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when reaching out to Olin alumni. 

  • The best way to initiate a conversation with an alumnus is through email. Keep your message short but informative and offer to set up a call or meet in person, if the person is local.  

  • Social media, such as Facebook, is often a poor choice for initiating contact with an alumnus.

  • If you don't immediately receive a response, be patient and persistent. It's O.K. to send a follow up email two weeks after the initial message, but it is not O.K. to email again after two days.

  • When you do get a response, be sure to follow up in a timely and thoughtful manner.

  • Even if you're looking for a job, don't immediately ask for one. Instead, ask the alumnus about what they do. If it seems like there might be a good fit with their company, mention that you are looking for a position.

  • A fair number of alumni live in the Boston area and remain very active with Olin. Keep your eye out at recruiting events, networking programs or the next Expo and see if you can chat them up.

  • Alumni are often interested in what you decide to do after talking with them, sending a follow-up email months later with an update is welcome!  Often we hear, "Yes I spent a lot of time with that person, then never heard from them again..."



Alumni_Helping3.jpgNetworking is a scary word to a lot of people.  They don't want to do it, don't feel they should have to do it, don't understand why they would ever want to do it.  Networking means TALKING TO PEOPLE!  Learning from those who have traveled similar paths to you in the past, had the same questions, tried the same or different things,  and have learned through a lot of trial and error. 


Networking is about building relationships and, above all else, should be done with care. Finding the right alumni to talk to is an important place to start, and we suggest you contact Sally Phelps or a professor related to the field who will be able to provide suggestions. Asking alumni if they can refer you to one of their former classmates is a good idea as well.


We encourage you to keep these points in mind when reaching out to alumni.  Honest, we want to hear from you, and to help you out if we can!  We also hope that you get in touch with at least one new alumnus before graduating from Olin - we have a feeling you won't regret it and may even end up with a new friend.

Posted in: Alumni Speak