Most of us graduate from high school and college and lose connection as we move on with our lives. That’s a shame because most alumni offices genuinely enjoy hearing from its alums and just like the adage, “you get out of life what you put into it,” you never know what may come out of returning to your school campus.
Offer to speak to a class about your work or serve as a mentor to a student interested in your industry or career. If you’re in a position to hire interns, offer your place of employment as an internship site and supervise the intern. Allow students to shadow you for a day to see what goes on in your day-to-day life.
I’ve done all of the above and I can tell you firsthand that each and every one of the experiences have not only allowed me to give back to both my high school and colleges, but it’s generated short and long-term business, allowed me to make business contacts, introduced me to students whom I would later hire as interns and staff. And, yes, it also introduced my business to hundreds of people, students, professors and staff members, who would never come into contact with my business otherwise.
One word of caution, though: my intent was really to give back to the educational institutions that have given me so much. Granted, I was very involved in school’s activities, everything from internships (plural) to serving as an editor of my college newspaper, but I also remember how I felt when professionals would come to our classes, take time away from their busy schedules, and speak openly and honestly about their positions, what to expect when we graduated, salary ranges, and how to prepare for interviews. I vowed that when it came time, I would do the same. The rest of it is really a bonus for me. And it can be for you as well.
Marketing isn’t always about strategies, analytics and results. Sometimes it’s the intangibles that reap the greatest rewards. Let’s not forget that giving back can come back in more ways than one.
Have you been back to your high school or college campus since graduation day?
Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm that specializes in working with both for profit and not-for-profit organizations. Her last visit to her undergraduate alma mater, by invitation from her favorite college professor, presenting on her career trajectory resulted in a new client more than a year later, proof positive that when you love what you do, success will follow.