There is certainly no shortage of newly minted university graduates floundering around in stagnation, miserable, directionless and jobless and envying their peers with the nepotistic business-owning relatives looking to usher them in for sure-to-be-successful interviews. Some students are lucky enough to stumble across esteemed professionals in their field and can cultivate relationships with them that might one day yield promising job prospects. Occasionally a spontaneously chosen internship leaves a student perfectly poised to take on a permanent position as soon as his or her diploma is framed and ready to mount on the wall behind the newly name-plated desk.
In the absence of this great fortune, alumni connections are the next best bet for networking, as anyone who has ever been a member of a close-knit campus organization, sports team, academic department or even graduating class can testify. The Black Bear Business Network, a new comprehensive online directory compiled by the University of Maine Alumni Association, will allow current students and alumni to connect or reconnect with each other easily and efficiently.
This is meant to be a resource for any user who wants a job, is looking for a specific job, or has already found success and is looking to give back the time and resources invested in their education during their years at UMaine.
All students hope that their university will help facilitate their job search once they have to venture out beyond the security of its walls, and there can be no easier way than to go online and find people in your field who share your connection to the university and who have an interest in your success just because you drink to the same Alma Mater. Students are encouraged to use the Black Bear Business Network as a way to get in touch with alumni who might grant an interview, give a reference or even provide something as abstract as personal insights about the foray into the professional sphere; however, it is a resource meant for more than just networking and enhancing employment opportunities, post-graduation.
This network that will provide a way for students to reach out will also provide a readily accessible port of call for alums who want to reach back to the university. Keeping a connection to the school after graduation dignifies the education it administered and honors the individual student experience.
The network has the potential to provide instantaneous and wide-ranging access to your history here — whether that involves your graduating class, the program you were enrolled in, the professors you will never forget or the campus itself — and will make it that much easier to remain invested in the success of the institution and its currently enrolled students, and to pay tribute by way of sharing your success with the young hopefuls. Prior to the establishment of the Black Bear Business Network, such a way of anchoring oneself to the university did not exist.
Beyond providing a way for students and alumni to contact each other more easily, the potential of this network to help keep UMaine graduates employed and successful may not have yet been fully realized. Over the next couple of years during its continued formation, it will likely gain direction and build momentum, enhancing and expanding the opportunities it seeks to offer now. But even in its early stages, the project has great potential to achieve its goal of aiding the university community, if only the community would take it up to its advantage.