- Attend networking and social events. Have you checked to see if your college alumni association has a chapter in your city? Major cities like LA and NYC are home to many regional chapters that have special alumni programming. If so, find out what events are coming up (entertainment-related or not), and GO! Some universities have dedicated entertainment and arts groups, and if you can find those, that’s awesome, but don’t disregard sports watch parties, workshops, community service events, or holiday gatherings hosted by your school’s alumni association. They’re a great way to meet new people in a relaxed environment, and if you’re in NYC or LA, you’re likely to meet at least one person who works in the industry, and maybe you’ll even make a new friend or two!
- Use your alumni directory. Many schools have an online database where alums can share contact information as well as what company they work for or career path they’ve chosen. Figure out who works at companies you’re interested in, and reach out to ask for informational interviews. You can do this via cold calling/emailing, or you could try to find mutual connections on LinkedIn. And on that note...
- Search LinkedIn. Unless you went to a very tiny school, it’s probably not going to be helpful to do a blanket LinkedIn search for people who went to your university and live in your city. However, LinkedIn can be very useful for finding alumni contacts that work at the companies you’re interested in. Once you’ve started the job search and made a list of companies you want to work for, you can use LinkedIn to learn who from your school works there and send them an email or message about setting up an informational interview. One thing to note here -- if the person works at a major company and has a straightforward name (i.e. not hyphenated or multiple names), do some research and try to figure out the company’s email format, and contact them that way. If this isn’t possible, send a LinkedIn message, but make sure you actually write a short note explaining why you’re asking to connect. Otherwise, there’s a good chance the person won’t pay attention to your request or will disregard it because they don’t know you.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to reach out! Most people love helping fellow alums and will gladly accept a request for an informational interview. After all, people love talking about themselves, and who better to give sage advice to than a recent grad? If you make a great impression, your contact could become an excellent resource as you start the job hunt.