I still remember my first week as a freshman at the Taft School in Watertown, CT. In the midst of meeting new friends, being cut from both the Varsity and the JV soccer teams, and having more homework than I ever thought possible, I noticed a recurring theme that seems to be at the heart of social and professional advancement: “Networking.”
I was gradually exposed to the significance of networking over my remaining years at Taft, as I continued my education at The Northwood School for a PG year and at Wesleyan University. All three campus experiences stressed that, upon graduating, I would be joining the families of each of their respective alumni networks.
Over the course of those years, I witnessed progressive networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and EverTrue making it increasingly easy for newly minted graduates to quickly boost their social and professional connections.
When I accepted a job at Proctor Academy after graduating from Wesleyan, I was excited to share my networking knowledge with the amazing Proctor students I interacted with. While working with them, I realized two things: 1) kids today are more connected than I could have dreamed of being at their age, and 2) with the increase of networking tools, students need to understand that the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is NOT truly how you obtain a job or get accepted into school.
Networking should not be approached with the intention of knowing as many people as you can. Rather, networking is meant to open up the opportunity for people to learn what you actually know and who you are. When someone recommends you for school or a job, they are associating their name with yours; they are demonstrating faith in your skills and abilities, which can only be achieved when a personal connection is made. This important understanding that attracted me to work at a company like EverTrue.
To date, my alumni networks have been key in connecting me with social and professional peers. My membership in each of these networks uniquely connects me with people who already have something in common with me: our alma mater. Whether we ran sprints together on the same sports team, struggled through the same class, had the same favorite teacher, or even just walked the same halls decades apart, it is the shared experiences that connect who I am to the individuals within each of my networks. It’s this connection that makes alumni networking so effective and successful for the individuals involved and for the school itself.
I am thrilled to join a company like EverTrue that promotes and facilitates this type of alumni engagement. So whether you’re a Taft Rhino, Northwood Huskie, Wesleyan Cardinal or any other mascot at heart, go out there and connect with members of your alumni network. Remember that in doing so you have the opportunity to show who you are to an abundant community of possible future mentors, peers, and friends.
The post below is by Mike Palladino, the newest member of the EverTrue team. Mike is a proud Taft, Northwood, and Wesleyan alum and is excited to help EverTrue better connect alumni to their alma mater and one another! Follow Mike on Twitter at @PalladinoMike