First Contact – What Your Professors Can Teach You after Graduation

It’s the tenth time this week you’ve looked at the Internet job search site. No new postings in your field; all the job descriptions are starting to sound alike; and none of them suit you. Has the market stagnated? Is your search hopeless? You may simply be looking in the wrong place.

80% of the work is not posted on sites or news papers

Did you know that up to 80% of the work available in any given profession is not posted on sites or advertised in the newspaper? Word of mouth rules. But what word and whose mouth? If you are a recent graduate you probably do not yet have a network of business contacts. But you know somebody who might.

Excellent source of information, guidance and referrals

The college professors who taught courses in your major can be an excellent source of information, guidance and referrals. Single appointments and conversations are helpful, but surely that is not all the advice you’re ever going to need. The key to tapping into resources is maintaining contact.

Choose a professor who will remember you

Let’s talk about the first meeting. Choose a professor who will remember you. Was there one teacher whom you especially liked or from whom you feel you learned a great deal? Call that person, introduce yourself politely, explain your situation briefly and make an appointment. If you are easily flustered on the phone, you might write down what you want to say so that you don’t get off track or forget something. Most professors are happy to help out students.

At your appointment, greet the person warmly; again outline briefly your situation and your professional goals; then be quiet and listen without interrupting. Answer questions without wandering from the point. Wait until the person is done speaking before you ask questions. Bring pad and pencil and write down relevant points. Ask if they know of anyone else in your industry that might be able to advise you.

Talk to more than one professor

If you can, talk to more than one professor, especially those older and more experienced. You may be more comfortable with those closer to your own age, but older people generally know more. Knowledge is what you need along with as many referrals as you can get.

That is step one. Step two is keeping the contacts current. Send a thank-you note by snail mail. It takes time and trouble, but that’s the point. Your professor will be impressed that you bothered. Keep an eye out for articles and information that might be of interest to your contacts. Someone in communications, for example, might find an article on a new and relevant FCC rule to be helpful.Click here to read more about graduate philosophy.

Subscribe to your school’s alumni magazine

Subscribe to your school’s alumni magazine. Check its pages for news of accomplishments in your field by your professors or classmates. Send congratulations.

Senior executive business man

If one of the professors is giving a public lecture or participating in a seminar, attend. Think of a question to ask, or come up to him or her briefly at the close of the event to greet them. If you can do so sincerely, mention a point made in the lecture that particularly impressed you. Don’t try to “butter up” the person with compliments. You know how obvious and annoying it is when someone is insincere? It looks just as phony when you do it.

Keep track of alumni events

Keep track of alumni events, especially those related to your major. They are usually held in the spring or fall. Members of your class as well as professors often show up at teas and cocktail parties. You may gain as much or more information from casual conversation as you would from formal meetings.

Don’t overdo it

Don’t overdo it. This is a professional relationship, not a stalking. Four contacts a year for each person is enough (plus thank-you notes), unless you have some specific question or a piece of information that is particularly worthy of note to share. Remember this is a two-way street. No one likes a leech. learn here about how to make relationship with your professors.

Be sure to inform those who have helped you of any success or progress you attain. They want to be proud of you! Express your gratitude, simply.

There is much more to learn in any profession than what is taught in the classroom. Allow your professors to share their experience with you. Both of you will benefit.

Edgar @ Degrees and Debt

AuthorEdgar @ Degrees and Debt

Founder of Degrees and Debt. Edgar just wrapped up his MS in Project Management with a focus on Information Security Management. Battling back to even from student loans, mortgage and credit card debt is an art Edgar is learning to master. This is his journey.