Alumnus finds job via The Elon Network
The online community on LinkedIn connects alumni to job seekers and provides networking opportunities for students.
By Taylor Sharp ’16
In February, the Office of Alumni Engagement launched The Elon Network, a professional networking group on LinkedIn for students, alumni, parents and friends of Elon University. The group, which currently has nearly 6,000 members, has proven to be greatly successful in helping alumni connect on a professional level.
Recently, Greg Robson ’03 was browsing the group when he noticed a job listing from Paul Mirek ’10, content coordinator for 3 Birds Marketing, a Chapel Hill, N.C.-based software and automotive digital marketing firm. Robson easily contacted Mirek, set up an interview and a few days later landed the position of content writer. Without The Elon Network, Robson said, he would have never known that the position that fit him so perfectly was even available.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I wish everyone in the Elon community would use it.”
For Mirek, the usefulness of the group was in finding Elon graduates to bring in to his company. “We have a lot of UNC grads working for us,” Mirek said, “but I really wanted to offer opportunities to Elon students, and The Elon Network was the perfect way to do it.”
This dynamic between job hunters and job seekers is the driving force behind The Elon Network, according to Tait Arend, interim director of alumni engagement.
“The world of success, professionally, lives inside the ability to network with one another,” Arend said. “The Internet initially offered job-seeking websites like Monster and Hotjobs, where someone could directly apply for jobs. Now, every position open on those sites gets hundreds of applications. Ultimately, everyone starts looking the same.
“Networking professionally provides this great opportunity—if you know someone at the company you want to work for, that can put your application at the top of the heap.”
Members of The Elon Network can tap into the group's large professional network, categorize their profiles by industry and region, and receive updates from faculty and deans on current academic and industry trends. The Network also offers valuable opportunities for members to stay engaged with the university, such as educational programming and details about upcoming networking events.
For students, The Elon Network provides a convenient way to learn more about their prospective career field from real-world professionals with whom they share an Elon bond. Arend encourages students to make the most of The Elon Network by seeking out an Elon graduate who either lives in the city they want to move to, or works in a position they are interested in, and setting up an informational interview.
“We’ve found that students have had tremendous success when they reach out to alumni,” Arend said. “It’s much more difficult to get a response if they don’t have that connection.”