13 Jul

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If you ask any WVU alumni what their favorite thing about being an alum, you will get many different answers. Some will point to the lucrative sports program, while others will claim it’s the kinship and family bond that comes with being a part of something so important to the state of WV.

Whatever your answer is, we can all agree that there are many great things about being a graduate of WVU. One thing that many alumni do not realize, especially young ones, is how far a fellow graduate will go to help you advance your career. I’m sure that while at WVU many of you were told that networking is a great way to meet potential employers. However, if you are like most people, you still hit the job boards and applied to random positions when looking for a job.

As someone who works with hiring managers on a daily basis, I can attest that most people will go the extra distance for someone who went to his/her alma mater. It is not out of the ordinary to hear a hiring manger say something like, “He went to XX School? So did I! Let’s bring him in for an interview.” It’s the fact that they immediately have something in common with you that makes you so much more attractive to fellow WVU alumni. They relate to you because you can talk about WVU football, the Mountainlair, the PRT, and the many other things that make Morgantown special.

One of the best ways to network with fellow Mountaineers is to be involved with not only your local WVU alumni chapter, but also by joining the WVU Alumni Association. By being a part of your local Chapter and the Alumni Association, you will be able to attend many different events where fellow grads of all ages and career levels will gather. Even if you are not currently in the job market, it never hurts to build personal and professional contacts as you never know when you or a friend may need them.

There are many WVU alumni who have worked their way up in some of the nation’s largest and well known companies. For example, there are WVU graduates who are top executives in companies like Frito Lay, GE, and Cisco. One thing worth noting about large companies is that they do not typically post their jobs on the internet; they instead rely on their own employees to refer people they have met through friends, family, and most importantly their own respective alumni associations. This is one reason why it is a good idea to network in the local and national alumni groups. Even if they have nothing to do with the hiring process, there is a chance they will know who to get your resume to, and if they are a trusted and respected person in their company, you already have an upper hand over many other applicants.

There are many young alumni that I know of who have taken advantage of networking with successful alumni to find their next job. Jason Colson, for example, has landed his past two positions by networking with fellow Mountaineers. Jason first met Verl Purdy while he was an intern at the WVU Alumni Association. Jason built a relationship with him and when it came time for him to start looking for a job, Verl helped him land a position with AGDATA. Jason, who continues to be an active WVU alumnus, also found his current position by networking at the Parents Club Freshmen send off in Charlotte, NC. It was through building a relationship with Steve Carpenter that Jason was able to get a job with Crothall Healthcare. This is just one example of how being an involved grad can help you to build a successful career, where hopefully one day you will be able to help the future generation of WVU graduates achieve their dreams.

So whether you are looking for a job or just keeping your options open, use those fun WVU alumni events (ranging from golf tournaments to crab feasts) to not only make new friends, but also to build your professional network.

Keshama Horton (‘08, ‘09) lives in Charlotte, NC, where she is a staffing specialist for MISource.

23 May

Young Alums Vital to Future of WVU

Lauren | May 23rd, 2011
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Thank you for taking time to check out the new WVU Alumni Association Young Alumni website. On behalf of our more than 180,000 graduates worldwide, congratulations to the Class of 2011! We welcome you as the newest members of the alumni family!

Our young alums are vital to the ongoing success of the University, and so we wanted to try to provide you with a resource where you can keep up to date on happenings at WVU. It’s also a great way to stay in contact with WVU alumni across the country through networking, social events, and other avenues. I hope this is a great resource for you, and, as always, we appreciate any feedback, so feel free to contact us.

We want to use this space to talk about staying connected with your alma mater. I certainly understand how telling alumni to “stay connected” is very cliché and used by several other schools and colleges across the country. If you Google the words “stay connected” the eighth entry down is the Harvard Business School alumni page. So yes it’s over used, but clichés are usually overused because there is some truth in them.

When I left WVU and moved away it was kind of a letdown for me to realize I was no longer a college student. My undergraduate days in Morgantown were the best 4.5 years of my life! I know several of you share that sentiment and are wondering, now what?

Everyone has some connection they will miss the most, whether it’s your sorority or fraternity, Mountaineer Maniacs, or watching Woodburn light up in December. You had four years of great traditions and now it’s coming to an end. So how can you stay connected? The best way to stay in touch with your alma mater and stay involved is through local alumni chapters throughout the country. We have more than 100 active chapters/groups as close as Morgantown to as far away as Seattle or Malaysia. So no matter where you are moving, you will be able to find a familiar face. If you are moving somewhere that does not have an active chapter, I guarantee there are still WVU alums in the area looking to get together with other Mountaineers and maybe in the future you can start a new chapter!

I assure you if you are wearing your Flying WV around town, someone will stop you and say “Let’s go” waiting for you to say “Mountaineers” and you’ll have made a new friend for life. Or you might just meet your next boss! With such a competitive job market, resumes are all starting to look the same as far as education and experience. So it now helps to have that “X-Factor” to help you stand out. I can assure you that if a fellow WVU alum picks up your resume and you are qualified, they are much more likely to reach out to you first. And if you are active in your local chapter, you may have already met this person. WVU alum Holly Metz is a great example of this. Holly is a member of the National Capital Area Chapter of the WVU Alumni Association located in the Washington, D.C., area. She started her own company, Key Staffing Solutions, a permanent placement, career-oriented recruiting firm that specializes in matching qualified people with rewarding career opportunities. Holly loves using her position to help alumni find careers. This is just one example of thousands of great alums we have throughout the country that are willing to help you, if you are willing to let them!

And, you can continue to take advantage of great resources like the WVU Alumni LinkedIn group and MountaineerTRAK. Please continue to read our blog – we hope to include some guest bloggers on topics/information that matter in the world of a young alumni. And if you have any topics you would like to see us discuss please feel free to let us know. Also feel free to use the comments section below or join us on Facebook to have open discussions with other young alums across the country. The idea of this group is to help WVU’s younger alums feel connected and stay connected, so we need all of you to help make this successful!

Let’s Go Mountaineers!
Casey Quinlan