Last week I had the privilege of returning to UMASS to participate and network in a Communication department Alumni Board meeting. I wasn’t given the ‘secret handshake’ but seems that I’ll be formally invited to join later this fall. As part of my visit, I had a great time meeting with four current students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare communications. Yes, the future was in front of me.

Nervous Networking

Amazingly, for all that we hear about today’s confident college-aged students there are two words that seem to put fear in their psyche… ‘alumni’ and ‘networking’. For something that seems so fun for ‘us’ to ‘them’ it presents sweaty palms time. As smart and successful we may think we are, in their eyes we are super smart and super successful and would never have the time to help them out. Pish posh – in all honestly it’s probably more fun for us, than helpful to them.

Leaning on the Career Center

So the purpose of this week’s post – I’m challenging you to reach out to your alma mater’s career center and ask them if you can help spend by spending a few minutes with a student(s) who may be interested in your career. Interestingly, feedback from the students I met with suggests if you opt-in to welcoming a conversation, they won’t take you up on it. Find a way to force a conversation and after the first awkward 30 seconds, they will really start to mine you for an opportunity (internship or job) and tap into your network.

Attention any and all UMASS students, I’d be happy to help you out – but of course I can’t help from this blog post. Of the four I met with last week, two may have landed internships already for Spring and Summer 2016.