Career Help from Schools Doesn’t End at Graduation
Chances are you took advantage of your school’s career services when you were ready to graduate and find a job, but many people don’t realize that their alma mater can be one of their greatest assets at any point in their career. Whether you’re searching for a new job, looking to expand your network, or polishing your professional skills, staff from your college or university may be able to help – oftentimes for free or a nominal fee.
Possible aid might include:
- Access to job search databases
- Facilitating internships
- Invitations to campus job fairs and career enrichment seminars
- Introductions to potential mentors
- Assessment testing
- Interview practice and feedback
Services vary by institution, so contacting your school is the first step. Don’t despair if you no longer live nearby; help often can be provided remotely.
“With technology today, it’s easier to provide direct assistance,” says Toni McLawhorn, director of career services at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. “I receive a call or email daily from alumni needing assistance. Career services will aid them with networking and other special requests, as well as with resumes, cover letters, job sources, and other services.”
In addition to checking out career services, consider connecting with fellow graduates. “Networking opportunities are a tremendous benefit to attending alumni events,” says Ryan Brechbill, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. “Statistics show that at least 75% of positions are obtained through networking. In addition, learning more about various career paths of alumni could be useful as well; it may open some new professional pathways that hadn’t been previously considered.”
Think about joining a local chapter of your school’s alumni association or heading back to campus for class reunions at Homecoming. Fellow grads can be a great source of information and assistance, and the educational experience you have in common provides plenty of easy ice-breaking conversation starters.