The might of Hampden-Sydney’s alumni network is storied not only among the H-SC brotherhood but also in national rankings such as the Princeton Review. Capitalizing on the strength of the nation’s number two “best alumni network,” the College’s Hire a Tiger program is helping H-SC students find professional success off the Hill.
Hire a Tiger is not a new initiative, but it is better than ever. A joint effort of the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement and the Ferguson Career Center, the revamped program is already producing results, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened the job and internship prospects of so many undergraduate students across the country.
“All of our regional leadership teams across the 21 active alumni clubs now have a career center liaison who communicates directly with the College’s Ferguson Career Center,” Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Cameron Marshall’12 says. “The Hire a Tiger program is a bridge to connect students with alumni who have the ability to facilitate opportunities for full-time jobs or internships.”
"Between November 2019 and April 2020, 133 internship and 128 permanent-job resumes and cover letters were submitted to H-SC alumni clubs across the country,” says Vince Decker, associate director of career education at the College. “Through Hire a Tiger, students upload resumes and cover letters to ‘Resume Books’ in Handshake, which are then reviewed by career center staff and distributed to volunteer representatives with H-SC alumni clubs from D.C. to Dallas.”
Just as spring recruiting was getting started, though, COVID-19 brought the national job market to a grinding halt. But even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, Hampden-Sydney alumni showed what it means to be a Tiger. “Even though a lot of our clubs couldn’t guarantee any open positions, they still enthusiastically accepted the spring resume book,” Decker says. “Going a step further, several of our alumni requested that we set up phone calls with every student who submitted a resume to their region just to offer them words of encouragement and advice for going forward in what is probably the most difficult job market ever seen in our time.”
Hire a Tiger is just the latest initiative brought to life in the collaborative partnership between the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement and the Ferguson Career Center, strengthening relationships between current students and the alumni network to which they will one day belong. Increasing student access to alumni events, bringing alumni back to campus for panel presentations and networking events, and creating micro-internship opportunities are all ways the College is leveraging the alumni network to empower a new generation of Tigers.