Colleges Helping Alumni Search For Jobs

By Staff
September 1, 2009

College career counselors are increasingly assisting alumni with their job hunts.

The Philadelphia Inquirer [from an article originally located at] reports that even alumni who graduated decades ago are turning to their alma maters for help with editing resumes and cover letters, mock interviews and networking events. This month, for example, a 1967 alumnus of Villanova University sought guidance from the school's career services office after being downsized from his executive-level position.

"The university has the advantage in that they have access to a lot of alums," he explained. "They're impartial, and they're already set up to do career counseling."

According to a survey published in 2009 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the majority of colleges and universities offer career counseling services to alumni. Career counselors note that helping alumni with job networking results in a win-win situation: Alumni receive help with their job hunts, and the college reconnects with former students who can potentially offer more support to the institution.

Many schools offer alumni full access to online job postings and databases of alumni contacts. At the University of Pennsylvania, students and alumni can download Web-based presentations or follow job advice and postings through the school on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

At Bryn Mawr College, meanwhile, where nearly all the graduates are female, career counselor Debbie Becker's job entails working solely with alumnae. Her position, which was created about 15 years ago, allows alumnae to make receive career counseling without having to wait for appointments.

Cheri Butler, associate director of career services at the University of Texas at Arlington, explained how the university assists alumni. "We have started job search groups for alums," she told in an interview," and we meet bi-monthly in the same location. The alums come back and we hold a small support group for them. . . . People give their 30-second self-promos, the highlights and lowlights of their week and share any information with the group regarding open position they may have heard about."

Other colleges and universities, seeing the need, are expanding career services to alumni. The Tampa Tribune reports that the University of South Florida will offer a workshop to alumni this month on interviewing, polishing a resume and job search strategies, followed by free access to the university's career counseling services.

The career center typically charges $50 to alumni for six months of service, but the charges are being dropped through June. About 250 alumni are currently using the service to help find work, but that number is expected to rise as more take advantage of the fee reduction. As a result, the university is considering hiring more career counselors.

At Villanova, career counselors have been visiting area schools to search for way to improve and expand services to alumni. "We have 95,000-plus alumni," noted counselor John Murray in the Inquirer. "Especially in this economy, we needed to be prepared for an onslaught."

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