It’s graduation season and about this time last year, I wrote a post focused on new college grads. We’ve all been there! Fresh out of school and ready to make an impact on the world. Employers are asking a lot of new grads these days and are expecting them to arrive with a basic set of skills that they can immediately use on their job. But, really, where can those new grads get some of those skills? Volunteer work! Alumni clubs have lots of opportunities to apply and build new skills that will look great on a resume.
This week’s post is a repeat of that post from last year. It’s still relevant and a great reminder that the newest class of graduates can make an impact on their communities (and resumes) by simply volunteering a little time to their alma maters.
Volunteering With Your Alumni Club Can Be a Great Resume Builder
Hey, new college grads! First, congratulations. You’ve worked hard to earn that degree. Now you’re about to go out in the world and get (or start) that first “real” job. Are you looking to build some critical skills that you can add to your resume (or just impress your new employer)? Did you know that your local alumni club has volunteer openings that will allow you to develop marketable skills? Alumni clubs have moved into the 21st century. This isn’t your grandparents’ alumni club anymore! Clubs are always looking for eager volunteers to help manage their social media pages, send club emails, write newsletters and press releases and help plan events. Here are the kinds of resume-building technology and business opportunities that exist on your local alumni club board.
Here are some resume-building . . . opportunities that exist on your local alumni club board.
Alumni Club Social Media Management
Today, most universities are asking local alumni chapters to maintain regular contact with their alumni using at least one social media channel. The ins and outs of social media can be tricky. There’s getting the right mix of posting “enough” with content that engages and informs, not just posting club events. Want to build (or already have) some solid skills around social media strategy and content management? Your local club needs you! Clubs want to have content that not only engages but informs their alumni (in addition to posting events). And clubs have a number of different social media channels that need to be managed, each reaching out to a different demographic with its own best times to post and algorithms that control showing the content. These skills are in great demand at the club level and can easily be transferred to a professional environment.
Alumni Email Management
Most universities ask their clubs to engage with alumni by email. Usually this tool is managed by University staff. The club needs good writers to author those emails and provide pictures or graphics based on the university’s deadline. Some clubs however prefer to also manage their own local email list that they can use to notify their alumni on a more regular, informal basis. Clubs often create a Yahoo or Gmail account, create a simple email distribution list and send “low-tech” emails to their club members. But some clubs make an investment in a tool like MailChimp or Constant Contact to brand their emails. These tools are very common and businesses are always looking for employees who come with experience in them. Your alumni club can give you the opportunity to develop some pretty serious email management skills that look impressive on a resume like:
- Creating custom templates and mobile-friendly content
- Learning the best times to send and schedule emails
- Developing auto-responders which can send automated emails based on custom triggers
- Designing custom email sign up forms that can be embedded in your social media pages and website
- Analyzing email data and report
Your alumni club can give you the opportunity to develop some pretty serious . . . skills that look impressive on a resume . . .
Club Website Administration
Every university has a central alumni page from its own website but a lot of universities also provide their clubs with their own websites. This way each club can customize its site with club contact information, local events and club news. Many times the club is responsible for updating their own site. Are you familiar with content management systems? That’s what these websites are and learning to develop and share content through one can prepare you for using something similar in your new job. Typically clubs have one (or several) website administrators who can post events and news items. Those administrators also perform some system administration tasks by managing site users and site settings.
Graphics and Photography
With all these emails and social media posts, clubs need pictures to promote and share their events. Are you looking to create an online portfolio of your photography or graphics? Start with your local club. Clubs have a number of events and promotions going on throughout the year that need fun pictures. Some of those pictures even get passed on to the University, who then posts them on their national website. Many clubs design t-shirts and they need talented folks who can come up creative designs. And those social media channels need to pictures, memes and graphics too. Those posts are shared not only with 100s of alumni but others in your community who like and follow those pages. Terrific exposure and a great way to flex your job skills in these areas!
Club Event and Project Management
The backbone of any club is its events – social, sports, service, enrichment. Local alumni clubs exist to connect its alumni and further the missions of its university in the community. Event planning skills are always needed and skills in that realm can easily be transferred into event management and project management in the business world. Companies are always looking for new employees that have skills in these areas and getting involved with your club’s event planning committee can translate into real skills that look great on a resume like:
- Project Management – put together a list of people, materials, money and dates and manage them through to success
- Logistics – figuring out the details of how to make an event happen with the tenacity to get it done
- Promotions – letting people know about your event and getting people to come out and support it
- Media and Public Relations – working with the local media to let them know about the club’s presence in the community
This isn’t your grandparents’ alumni club . . .
This is only a start
Bet you didn’t know that all this was going on at your local alumni chapter. And this is only a fraction of the kinds of skills you can build by volunteering. Many clubs are involved in fundraising and working with local non-profits to perform community events. Some have specialty committees that focus on young alumni development, student outreach, entrepreneurship, and travel. Not only are there opportunities to build job skills but local alumni clubs give you the chance to network with other alumni who may be able to help you in your career. So as you start on this next chapter of your life consider volunteering with your local alumni club. Volunteering is a win-win!
Are there other ways that new grads can help with alumni clubs while building their resumes? We’d love to hear your ideas.