In the interviews I’ve been conducting for my project In the Driver’s Seat: Work-Life Navigation Skills for Young Adults, I hear loads of complaints about college career counseling. Very few Gen Y’s a few years out of college have good things to say about that aspect of their alma mater.
I sympathize, since my experience a long time ago was also a bust. But despite the complaints the truth is that, despite your having graduated however many years ago, you can still count on your college career center to help in your job search. And the difference is that this time, you know a lot more about the world of work.
Since the economy tanked, colleges have been inundated with requests for help from undergrads of all stripes–even those who are now middle-aged. To make themselves relevant to those who have already embarked on their careers, they are creating all kinds of programming to bring students back and reignite their interest so they will a) feel positively toward their school and b) they will donate funds. The career centers and alumni relations departments are therefore inextricably linked. So what can you do to take advantage of what they have to offer?
- Give them a call and ask about their services for not-so-recent grads.
- Find out what events are coming up and attend. These can be good networking opportunities, and you might learn something.
- Offer to speak on a panel. Or propose a panel relevant to your field or situation, and offer to put it together. Schools are always looking for grads to speak with others, about all kinds of topics. Many schools create panels about careers, and you might have an interesting story to share.
- Find other alums who are job hunting and put together a support group.
- When your company is looking to hire, use your alma mater’s database. As an employer, you will receive different kinds of perks.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Please share others and I will post them.