TEAM NETWORKING PLATFORM KEEPS TOREROS CONNECTED
The University of San Diego’s Torero Employer and Alumni Mentors (TEAM) program is USD’s version of a LinkedIn-meets-Facebook platform.
TEAM provides a space for new connections through networking and mentorship, exclusive to the Torero community. One major difference from bigger social sites is that all TEAM users volunteer to be a part of it and are open to providing support and career advice to current and past USD students.
“This platform makes every Torero just a click away from reaching out to one another and seeking support,” says the Career Development Center’s Assistant Director of Alumni Career Engagement, Dee Kayalar.
The platform has five different functions to help users make connections within the USD community: Flash mentoring connections allow alumni and students to connect and share career advice; the group function lets users join communities based on shared interests/industries; the alumni job board is where open positions are shared with the community and users can connect directly with job posters; the peer-to-peer function is a place for students to connect with one another and share experiences; and the discussion forum provides a space to post events, campus updates and more.
“What essentially makes a difference in the job search is not only working on your personal branding or applying for jobs, but coupling that with very intentional networking,” explains Kayalar.
“TEAM gives students the access to connect with networking prospects and alumni contacts within their preferred industries and companies. When they go to the flash mentoring connections functionality of the platform, they can actually use advanced search functions to filter down alumni by where they work, where they live, what they’ve majored in and what industry’s they’re working in, so they can identify those networking prospects and connect with them directly,” adds Kayalar.
The platform makes those connections easy to develop. Users are able to reach out openly to other users by connecting in the way that they’re most comfortable — via text, video conference or messaging. Users can also join and use their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to connect.
There are currently more than 4,000 Toreros on the platform, an increase of more than 600% since the platform was created in 2017. Out of this group, more than 2,000 are alumni and more than 1,300 are students.
The platform has become an essential part of networking for the Torero community. Since its creation in 2017, TEAM has become an essential networking tool. The numbers are impressive: There are currently 685 users — USD students, alumni, faculty and staff — engaging back and forth via more than 3,500 messages. To add to that momentum, more than 40 job opportunities were posted or referred by alumni from January through March 2021.
“People are considering transitioning industries or transferring skills to other areas because they may have been furloughed or laid off as a result of the pandemic,” explains Kayalar. “Also, our more established alumni — who might be in career transition due to the current circumstances — can look to see what else they might do with their talent and skills,” says Kayalar.
USD’s Admissions and Student Affairs divisions are now also using the same hub, under a different name, to connect with future Toreros through the Torero Ambassador Network. That network was launched as a direct response to the pandemic as a way to welcome prospective students and transition them to the TEAM platform once they become students, supporting them from day one of their
Moving forward, the Career Development Center team is looking to create specialized communities within the platform for different regions, such as in the cities where Torero Clubs are located. — Elena Gomez