Ask Bucky: What’s the Directory?

The Directory provides a list of students and alumni currently using Badger Bridge. It is the place to look for old classmates, alumni working in your field, alumni living in certain parts of the world, and more!

For those of us who remember the “old” Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA) directory (and the old, old directory), all of that information exists in the current Badger Bridge Directory too. (Technology for the win!) If someone hasn’t already joined Badger Bridge, they will be listed under the section “UW–Madison Directory,” and you can message them from there if an email address is available.

So, now you know what the Directory is — but how do you actually use it? It depends on what you want to do.

Change careers.

Make a new Badger connection. Use the Directory to reach out to alumni in your industry of interest and ask to meet with them. Meeting people in your new industry is key to professional success, but so is demonstrating how your current skills are transferable. Talk to alumni about their careers, what they think are the top skills in their field, where they see the future of the industry going, and resources they might suggest. Their answers will give you ideas about training or expertise you might need, or highlight skills you already have and can leverage in a new position.

Search for a job.

Many alumni are willing to help. Use the Directory to search for alumni according to the kind of help they can give, such as offering advice, discussing internships, or reviewing your resume. You can post on the updates board, but people are more likely to respond if you reach out to them personally to ask for guidance. Why? Because reaching out helps you to connect one-on-one with someone and builds your personal brand (i.e., your reputation).

Ask alumni about their jobs, why they chose their career path, and any tips they might have for the job-search process. Don’t ask for a job outright. It puts the other person in an awkward position, especially if they aren’t able to hire, or if they don’t know you or your job history very well.

Move to a new city.

Badgers are waiting all around the world to meet you. Use the Directory to search by location for other alumni in the area you’re moving to. Ask which neighborhoods to live in, where good restaurants are, or any other bits of local knowledge to help you settle in. You may also want to consider getting involved with your local WAA chapter. A chapter is a group of alumni that hosts fun activities, from game watches to volunteer opportunities, and often raises money for local student scholarships. You can show up to every event or just pick and choose the ones you feel like attending — it’s up to you!

If you liked these tips and want to learn more about getting ahead in your career, check out the Career Resources Library at