With the fierce competition in the career market, finding a job seems a daunting task for many students. But a few are exploring creative ways to secure a job, for instance, turning to their alumni.
Cherry Yang, a journalism major at Shanghai International Studies University got a job from Shanghai Media Group (SMG) this year after her alumnus's recommendation.
"Some of our schoolmates have already been promoted to management level, which means they may have a big say in recruitment," Yang explained.
Friends in high places
"If you know some alumni, and they recognize your ability, then you will get through quite smoothly."
Actually, many companies have started referral schemes to recruit new blood because they're cheaper compared with traditional recruitment methods. The schemes mean students have more chance of being hired through their alumni networks.
Edelman, an international PR company, has recruited a couple of employees in this way, according to Tracy Wu, senior HR manager of Edelman China.
"The best part of it is: We are aware of these students' capabilities, because our employees know their alumni; and these candidates understand our corporate culture well, because their alumni [our employees] have already told them all about it," said Tracy.
"Actually, these people [who work for Edelman after alumni recommendation] settle in well here. They merge with the team and work quite quickly," Tracy added. But before they are recruited, these people are usually asked to serve an internship at Edelman.
In the US and the UK, students seeking jobs through alumni is common. Most students can find their schoolmates through the university alumni association, which plays a crucial role in networking. For example, students from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania can look for advice and information, or look for job opportunities, through the Wharton Global Alumni Network.
How to network with alumni
■ Join the students' union and other student clubs, from your freshman year. This will allow you to get acquainted with more alumni and increase your contacts.
■ Your college's BBS is a GREat source for networking with alumni. Many past students post articles in the careers section. Don't be too shy to ask them questions. They know how difficult it can be to find a job. They'll be generous and offer to help if possible.
■ Make good use of xiaonei.com. Search your university's name and a lot of registered alumni will show up. Find alumni who are working in a company that you want to work for, add them to your friend's list and talk to them.