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4 Tips For Staying In Touch With Your Professors Post-Grad

One of the greatest benefits of going to college is making connections that last for a lifetime. Whether it’s with your peers, best friends, coworkers, or fellow interns, there’s no limit to the people you can meet and the networks you can develop.

One of the strongest connections you can make, though, is with your college professors. Regardless of if you’ve graduated or are a current student, including your professors in your networks can be extremely beneficial to your success in the workforce. And, while it may be easier to connect with your college professors while you’re in school, it’s still possible to build those connections after you’ve graduated.

Here are four tips for how to stay in touch with professors after college that will allow you to make stronger connections and build your post-grad networks.

Connect on LinkedIn

For the current college student and college graduate alike, LinkedIn is one of the easiest and most standard ways of connecting with your network no matter who it’s made up of. LinkedIn allows you to inform your network of your recent successes, notify them if you’re on the job hunt, and even let them know if you’ve got a job opening at the company you work for. It’s also extremely easy to reach out to your professors through the messaging platform on the website. 

If you aren’t connected on LinkedIn but want to be, it’s super easy to reach out. All you’ll have to do is find their profile and hit the ‘Connect’ button if it shows up — if it doesn’t show up, that may mean that they’re a premium member, which you can identify by the letters ‘in’ in an orange-colored square. If they are a premium member, though, you’re still able to find the ‘connect’ button by clicking ‘more’ on their profile beside the ‘message’ button. If they aren’t a premium member, then it could be absent for a few reasons: one, you’re already connected with them; two, you’ve already sent them a connection request; three, you haven’t confirmed your email address. LinkedIn requires your email to be confirmed before you’re able to send connection requests. 

Once you’ve hit that ‘Connect’ button, the platform should prompt you to send a message with your invitation to connect, which you should definitely do!  It can literally just be something as simple as, “Hi, Professor ______! I recently graduated from ______ and was in your ______ class and would love to connect.”

Take time to reach out periodically

Even if you’re already connected with your professors on LinkedIn, you aren’t actively building a relationship and keeping in contact if you aren’t reaching out to them periodically. You should take time to send an update email about yourself, but also to ask them how they’re doing. When these communications are related to the job field, they may be able to help with any questions you have

As you begin to reach out to your professors, though, keep in mind that they’re super busy during the school year.

“While professors are always happy to hear from you, they also have so much going on during the busier days of the semester,” Yang Zhang, co-founder of Plasmic, tells Her Campus. “That’s why you should plan your communication around breaks, or send them during the summertime.” 

Don’t be afraid to mention if your company is hiring so your professor can pass the message on to current students. Zhang also says to not be afraid of being purpose-driven. His contact with previous professors has had a huge impact on the success of his business. If you know of (or are a part of) a company that’s hiring, ask your professor to mention it to their students. 

Communicating with your professors via email, or even through social media if they’re on it, is a great way to stay updated on things happening with them and to have a connection in a field you’re in or want to be in. It’s also a very quick way to stay in touch. Just make sure that you include the courses you took with them in your email; professors see a lot of students each year and, though it may not be on purpose, it might be difficult for them to place a face to your name.

Find time to visit in-person

Nothing beats a coffee date to help strengthen your network and meeting with your previous professor in-person helps make sure they know who you are. Another way to stay connected with your college professors is to find time to visit them in-person on-campus.

“If you have concluded their course but are geographically close to campus, you can take a similar approach as an enrolled student,” Dr. Kendra Millay, academic advising team Leader and law school admissions counselor at IvyWise, an education consulting company, says. “It can be helpful to drop into their office hours and express gratitude, display intellectual curiosity for their field, and mention that you would like to keep in touch.”

If you’re like me, you may want to send a quick email to let them know you’re interested in stopping by and to find a time that would be best for them, but attending their open office hours is a fantastic way to find a moment to chat with a professor.

Join your university’s alumni group

This tip goes hand-in-hand with finding time to visit your professor in-person. It’s pretty standard to join your university’s alumni group (or at least the email list) after college, but sometimes universities have alumni events that allow you to reconnect not only with your peers, but also with professors. 

“The best way to stay connected with professors after college is to join your alma mater’s alumni network,” Claire Westbrook, founder of LSAT Prep Hero, tells Her Campus. “Most colleges and universities have robust alumni networks that offer a variety of benefits, including access to professors, career services, mentorship programs, online resources, and more.” Westbrook adds that a lot of schools have networking events specifically for alumni and it’s a great time to ask professors for advice and to catch up. 

No matter how you go about it, building a network that includes your college professors is super important. They may have connections that you don’t and they may even be able to help you get your professional life together (resume help, anyone?). 

It can be scary to reach out to a professor you may not have spoken to in a few months or a year, but it’s so worth it if you’re able to build up that professional relationship and keep that contact flowing.

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Katie is a Contributing Writer for Her Campus and works retail to pay the bills. She loves all things creative but has a specific love for writing and photography. She hopes to one day find the inspiration to write a book but, in the meantime, likes to write about life after college, traveling, entertainment, and the people who create things (and what they create).