Tips for Using the Alumni Directory

Getting Started

Alumni are an invaluable resource for gathering information on a specific field or occupation, a particular organization, how best to approach the job/internship search, or on a specific geographical location.  Keep the following in mind as you use the directory:

  • Informational Interviews: Whether you are researching career opportunities or seeking a job or internship, it is best to pursue the information you need in the context of an informational interview.
  • Make an Excellent First Impression: Alumni may not be in a position to offer an internship, summer job or full-time employment, but can often offer valuable advice or assistance in how to go about securing these opportunities. Doing your research and using the right approach will ensure you make an excellent first impression on alums who could very well remain important members of your professional network in the future!
  • Introductions: Alumni may not be aware that students have access to the online Alumni Directory. Be sure to introduce yourself as a St. Olaf student (include class standing and major), specify that you found the alumni through the directory, and indicate your purpose in making the contact.
  • Do Your Research: Prior to contacting an alum, use the resources on Find Your Path: Explore Careers to learn about their organization, industry or role.
  • General Principles: When connecting with alums, keep the general principles of professional networking in mind.
  • Get Feedback: The Piper Center staff members and peer advisors are available to help as you prepare to reach out to alumni.  Drop in to talk with a peer advisor or schedule an appointment with a staff member through Handshake. Bring draft(s) of initial emails you plan to send, as well as an updated copy of your resume and any questions.

Using the Alumni Online Directory

  • Log into the directory
  • Search by entering a combination of two or more variables to get a more refined list of alumni.
  • Search both current and “birth” names
  • Search for all names that begin with the information entered, i.e. finds Olsen and Olson if “Ols” is entered
  • If searching by place of employment, graduate institution, or degree, you may need to enter variations of the name you are entering as the search variable (i.e. “MA” instead of Masters).
  • Each search will pull a random sample of alumni fitting the search criteria entered and will produce a maximum listing of 50 alumni.  If you are interested in contacting specific alumni listed, click on their name to get contact information.  If you do not have time to gather the contact information on alumni listed, jot down the names of those you’d like to look at more carefully in the future.  That way you can locate the specific alum the next time you use the directory by entering first and last name as the search criteria as the next sampling of 50 produced may be different than the first.
  • Use Keywords search to garner results from all categories.

Be sure to clear the form before beginning a new search.