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Tools for the Alumni Jobseeker

Are you an alumni jobseeker? You may be and just haven’t realized it. If you attended a community college, technical school, or university, you may remember having a career services office or job placement center as a resource for finding jobs and internships. That office may have been the route you took to land your first job. Unfortunately, because of the economic downtown, that first job possibly hasn’t panned out to be the lifelong career that you hoped for. Now, you’ve found yourself back in the job search mode.

As a jobseeker, you may have used a variety of resources to look for a new job. Networking, online job boards, and classified ads may be a few of the resources you’ve tried. Have you thought about turning back to that career services office at the college or university you previously attended? Many institutions not only provide this service for former students… many even have specific staff dedicated and specializing in helping alumni jobseekers find the careers that their diplomas have earned them. These contacts are sometimes part of the alumni office and are there to assist their alumni members. Check out your alumni magazine or website for contact information.

Just as your resume has expanded, alumni career centers have expanded offerings for their jobseekers. They can help with career search strategies, networking resources, resume/cover letter editing, interview preparation, and accepting/negotiating employment. They may also offer phone consultations for out-of-town alumni.

Maria McGinnis, who is Employer Relations & Career Advisor for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shared with us that alumni connections are an important asset to their college, and she and her staff are always available to help those alumni out. “When it comes to career services, our alumni have access to our online system for life and are encouraged to make a face to face appointment if they need assistance with professional documents or job search strategy. In CALS Career Services, we don't turn away anyone with a CALS connection. We work with current students, alumni, and even high school students who are exploring career paths.

We have seen consistent alumni usage of our services - more than anything I see alums that contact me for access to our online job database that caters specifically to the majors we offer. While alumni are encouraged to use our in-house services, one of the best means to network is to attend a CALS sponsored event. We host countless events throughout the year that are geared towards alumni and friends, and they are a great way to connect with people in the Wisconsin ag and science industries.

Laura Bahn, a December 2009 graduate in Ag Economics & Dairy Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was recently hired by McCain Foods and is one of those alumni jobseekers who used the aid of the Career Services office. “Using CALS Career Services as an alum has helped me keep updated on what jobs are out there. Since graduating, not only am I no longer on campus, but I still don't have as much time as I'd like to search for all the great opportunities that are out there, and Career Services does that for me."

Scott Corrin, a Michigan State Alum who now works for the Michigan Food and Farming Systems, says he used his alumni career office “to find job openings, for resume’ and cover letter critiques, and even had them put him through a mock interview to help him prepare for a high profile final interview.” In 2004, he “became an unexpected budget cut” at his job. “After the initial shock of being unemployed, I started getting out the business cards that I had collected over the year and started making calls about possible openings. My first two calls were to the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Career Placement office and MSU Alumni Association Career Service center. Even though I am not currently job seeking, I have attended various seminars that both services have sponsored, to help keep myself up-to-date with the resources that they have.”

When looking for a new career, there is no such thing as utilizing too many resources. In addition to using as part of your job search, consider contacting the career services department your alma mater.

For more interesting articles, check out the newsletter archives by CLICKING HERE.

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