Hiring Fellow Alumni Through Switchboard

Cameron '13 hired two fellow Reedies through Switchboard.

Cameron '13 hired two fellow Reedies through Switchboard.

Young alumni turn to Switchboard to find jobs and career help every day. They also use Switchboard to return the favor.

When Cameron '13 used Reed Switchboard to help his company hire two fellow alumni, one of the company's founders praised it as their best source of new employee prospects. Cameron's company has hired a total of four Reedies since then, and he hopes to help his company hire a few more.

We asked Cameron to share his story.

Why did you start using Reed Switchboard?

I believe I started using Switchboard primarily to both seek advice and to see opportunities/jobs that Alumni were posting.

I knew Switchboard would be a community that would have a lot of really high quality offers, genuine people, and better odds at both success and finding things in my fields of interest.

Once I secured a job post-graduation I switched from searching for opportunities to mostly posting jobs that I knew would be great for recent grads and upcoming graduates.

You've used Reed Switchboard to hire a number of other Reedies. Could you share your story?

I'm very happy to say Switchboard has got four Reedies jobs!

Two work directly on the team I work with and the other two work for a related team/pod. I think a big reason this was possible is because of my company's relatively young staff and it's really rapid growth. We're always seeking bright, hardworking new people that can fill our ranks as we bring on exponentially more business over the past two years. Our biggest struggle as a company is to find enough qualified people to do all the work that is flying onto our plates.

One of the co-founders specifically told me (after our success with the first two hires) to do the same thing I did to find those two because it was the #1 best source of new employee prospects out of all our different efforts (Craigslist, job boards, LinkedIn, word-of-mouth etc.). I think that the quality of candidates that applied was infectious and it got every Reed resume extra looks and consideration.

I've also posted a few asks related to the Portland high school debate community and found some incredibly knowledgeable people. I'm amazed at the breadth and depth of topics that people on Switchboard/part of the Reed community know. Like small grants for school activities—that is an actual topic someone had intimate knowledge with.

What do you tell other Reedies about Switchboard?

I just inform others that Switchboard has an incredible variety of offers and that the Reed community is full of people that want to see other Reedies succeed.

I know I have some ambitious goals to get three or four more Reedies working for my company in the next year or two, and Switchboard so far has been the way I've been accomplishing that.

Plugging in to Your International Alumni Network

Accessing your alumni network in another country can be difficult, even when you know there must be alumni out there who are eager to get in touch. Switchboard gives alumni an easy way to connect with each other abroad.

Sasha '15 of Reed College wanted to get in touch with alumni in Berlin after she received a Watson Fellowship to spend a year in Europe. She immediately turned to Switchboard for help and connected with nine alumni in Berlin within weeks of reaching out.

We asked Sasha to share her story.

Why did you start using Switchboard?

I can't remember the exact reason I started using Switchboard, but that's because I've used it to ask for so many things. I've asked for advice on jobs and fellowships, for places to stay, and for meetings with people I've never met before.

You most recently used Switchboard to find contacts in Berlin. Could you share your story?

I used Switchboard to ask for advice on getting a Watson Fellowship, and once I got it, it made sense to use Switchboard for help during the fellowship year.

I started the year off in Berlin, and I casually posted asking for a place to stay or people to meet. For my first four weeks, I stayed for free on Reedies' couches. They were all people who offered me places to stay because of my Switchboard post! For the next month, I sublet an apartment from a Reedie who was going out of town.

I also met Reedie journalists who connected me with the journalism scene in Berlin, helping me figure out how to do this podcast thing on my own. And I met some friendly Reedies for coffee, just to talk about our experiences. I can't believe how many people I met who were so willing to help in any way they could.

Would you recommend Reed Switchboard to other Reedies? Why?

Yes, I always recommend Switchboard to other Reedies.

If we were still living in a pre-Switchboard era, it's likely I wouldn't have met a single Reedie in Berlin. But Reedies ended up being my gateway to the city in ways I wouldn't have thought possible. 

A Supportive Space for Networking

Students and new graduates don't always feel confident reaching out to established alumni for help—even when those alumni are eager to help.

Switchboard provides students and alumni with a friendly space to connect.

When Caroline '14 started using Switchboard as a sophomore at Reed College, she got nothing but support. Thanks to the help of her community, Caroline was able to turn around and offer the same to students and alumni in return.

Why did you start using the Reed Switchboard?

I started using Switchboard the summer after my sophomore year.

Initially I reached out an alumna to talk about film, which was really interesting and motivated me to pursue internships in production. It started off as an informal conversation about internships I might consider and her experience as a freelance producer in LA.

When I actually started looking for summer internships, she put me in touch with several other Reedies in film and was super supportive and willing to listen to me and offer advice. That experience really sold me on Switchboard. 

You posted your first offer after contacting another alumna. How did that go?

I actually contacted her because I realized that she had produced one of my favorite episodes of Planet Money, and I just wanted to say hello and that I loved her piece. She suggested that I offer some advice since both I and another alum were interns at NPR headquarters.

I was really pleased with the response. Unsurprisingly, Reedies love public radio and a number of current students reached out and told us about their plans to get into news and radio.  

Would you recommend Switchboard to your friends?

I absolutely recommend Switchboard, especially for current students.

Networking after college is both awkward and important, at least in my experience, and I like that with Switchboard you can practice and hone some of those skills in a safer and more forgiving space.

All of the people I've connected with on Switchboard have been excited to help in whatever way they can. It has made me so much more comfortable reaching out to people I admire and want to learn from.

I show Switchboard off to friends from other schools and usually get a kind of jealous response like, "I wish my school had that."

Caroline's NPR intern class. Caroline,  at right, is  standing on the one and only Tiny Desk.

Caroline's NPR intern class. Caroline, at right, is standing on the one and only Tiny Desk.