Reaching Out to Alumni

From

editione1.0.1

Updated August 25, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

If you went to college, you have an alumni network. Universities usually do an adequate job at keeping records on their alumni—after all, who else are they going to call for more donations, though in my experience, they don’t do a good job of promoting these resources to the alumni themselves. Most of the time they do exist, so it just takes a bit of time to search for them on your alma mater’s website.

As an alum, you’ve paid a ton of money to go to school, so make sure you get the most out of your investment.

Here are some resources your school might have:

  • Official local alumni events in your area, or see if you can find your local event organizers to potentially organize an event together.

  • Online database of all the people who graduated from your school—great resource if you’re looking to connect with someone.

  • Informal groups that have been created and organized by your alums for professional development.

  • Identity, affinity, and interest groups.

  • Emailing lists informing you of (career or networking) events, latest school news, or alumni stories.

Usually there are tons of resources available for alums, and in my experience either they’re not well advertised or not very well maintained, but they do exist! You never know what famous alumni went to your school. If you went to different schools for your undergraduate and graduate degrees—your potential network is bigger by default.

Same advice applies if you’ve recently done a design or UX bootcamp or have gone through workshops. Although those networks tend to be smaller, they also tend to be more specialized. Leave no stone unturned. It’s highly likely there are resources out there at your disposal that you might not be aware of.

Here are some low-effort online strategies to help you land the first interview. Using a blend of different methods, both offline and online, will help maximize your chances of landing the phone screen.

Make Companies Apply to You

What if instead of applying to companies, the companies applied to you? Reverse job auction sites flip the traditional model of filling out the same form repeatedly for different companies. Instead you submit one candidate profile and companies bid on your profile over several rounds.

You’re reading a preview of an online book. Buy it now for lifetime access to expert knowledge, including future updates.
If you found this post worthwhile, please share!