Job Searching: How alumni can help each other

CLA recently celebrated its spring commencement, and many of our graduates are facing an uncertain job market. Even some of us who wore our caps and gowns several (ahem!) years ago may find ourselves also facing this market.

We spoke with Sarah Jackson, Sydneyann Chase, Emily Scholtes, and Jaime Seeley, four CLA alumni with careers in recruiting, to ask their advice for job seekers.

Students participating at a CLA job fair.

Sarah Jackson (history, 2006)
director, Client Services at Professional Edge, a CPI company

Three powerful tools can help you in your search.

1. Your Resume
Do not under estimate the power or importance of your resume. Think of your resume as people's first impression of you. It should convey your aptitude, skills and strengths while being honest. Your resume is a chance to detail who you are and why you are a good fit for the position.

Tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. Give a clear objective and summary that details the skills and experience you have as they relate to that specific position. Be honest on your resume but don't be afraid to sell your skills.

2. is a fabulous resource for a job seeker. With Linkedin you post your profile--essentially an online professional resume--and then invite people you know to be a connection. These connections can view your profile and recommend your work or refer you to open positions.

There are also thousands of user groups you can join, whether professional societies or the company site of your employer. There are a number of groups for University of Minnesota alumni.

University of Minnesota Alumni Association
University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Phoenix, AZ
Minnesota Daily Alumni Group

3. Your Fellow Alumni
As alumni of the University of Minnesota, the most powerful tool we have is each other. With thousands of new graduates every year, our reach as an alumni group is expansive. Not only will you find alumni working all over the world in a variety of industries and companies, but those same alumni may be hiring for positions or are fellow job seekers.

Don't be afraid to reach out to fellow alumni for help in your job search, especially new graduates and alumni in transition.

Here is a challenge for all of you alumni. Head over to and join the University of Minnesota alumni group. Think about a company or job you are interested in and do a search for a person who works at that company in your target job. If you see a U of M alumnus, invite them to connect. Send a short message that details who you are, that you are a fellow alumni and what year you graduated.

Let them know you are interested in a position similar to theirs and ask them if they would like to have a cup of coffee or a phone call to talk more about how they got into their field and what they like/ dislike about their position.

You can be the most seasoned veteran in your field or a brand new graduate, connecting with fellow alumni is a great way to expand your network and your career options. I make it a point to connect with at least 2 new alumni every month. Challenge yourself to expand your alumni network, and you might be surprised what opportunities open up.

Sydneyann Chase (mass communication, 2007)
recruiting specialist, LSS Data Systems

Don't just tell the interviewer that you are a hard worker; but demonstrate that you are a hard worker by providing examples of specific past experiences where you demonstrated this quality. Providing examples, even when not specifically asked to do so, builds your credibility and helps distinguish you among other candidates.

In a tough economy, it can be easy to take on a mindset of "I'll take whatever job I can get," and then start applying anywhere and everywhere. This approach often results in hastily completed applications that will not get noticed. Instead, take the time to put together applications for the select few positions that you really want. These are the applications that get noticed by employers.

Emily Scholtes (psychology, 2002), recruitment specialist, Fairview Health Services

The best advice I can give for current job seekers in a tight job market or when a job search is taking longer than expected is to network. Networking takes time, but it is crucial in your job search. In times like these, there is definitely a sense of camaraderie--people are much more willing to help.

Jaime Seeley (French, 1999), a recruiter for ShopNBC shared these tips for new graduates:
• Use the career services at your school!
• Build a network - use LinkedIn
• Use your network to do informational interviews
• Get an internship to build your resume and network
• Join professional groups for fields you want to work in

Helping Recent Grads and Future Grads
The CLA Career Services has a number of ways you can get involved and help graduating CLA students.
• Post open jobs and internships on GoldPASS (See CLA Career Services' tips for establishing an effective internship program)
• Be a speaker at a career development course or event
• Assist with practice interviews or informational interviews
• Be a panelist, sharing information about your current line of work
• Let a student job shadow you for a day
Get the details at the CLA Career Services website.



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on June 9, 2009 10:58 AM.

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