Career benefits of your alma mater

This article is ideal for those in interested in how to find an internship or job in the States or for any American readers considering an internship or graduate job!

One of the most rewarding experiences in a person’s life has to do with walking across a stage, shaking hands with your college’s president, and accepting a little piece of paper called a degree.

Whether it is a bachelors, a masters or something else, one thing immediately comes to mind. This degree should be a ticket into a company, where an employer will interview you for a job right away.

Of course, it doesn’t always work this way. Maybe you are having trouble getting your first job, which is understandable in today’s rough economy. Maybe you are employed but finding your job isn’t satisfying, and that leads you to look and see what is elsewhere.

Rather than curse your college for not preparing you well enough for the future, this is where you may want to revisit your alma mater and seek out advice.
While everyone would like to step from the graduation stage to the career stage without taking a stumble along the way, the reality is the path from college to the working world is fraught with pitfalls. You think you planned ahead when you really planned to spin your wheels finding a job. It depends on your field. If you majored in communications or journalism, the transition from print to digital is making the going rough for employees young and old alike, for example.

You may think your college’s careers and guidance department serves only current students. You would be surprised how many former students from the past few years routinely come back for career advice. It might be wise to pursue that avenue. Your college routinely places students into internship programs all the time, for example. Internships are a big part of the college experience, and often you can’t complete your degree without one. These same companies sometimes have entry-level jobs available, and rather than advertising an opening to the masses these companies go back to the colleges and seek employees.

Were you close to certain professors in college? Keep in mind these professors are often connected to your area of study. They may hear from time to time of openings at companies, and often these openings could come with a letter of recommendation or an e-mail from a professor talking about how good a student this person was. The health care programs at Sanford Brown, for example, offer guidance to current students looking to break into the medical field, and they also welcome back former students for career advice and guidance. Having trouble fitting in with your old job? Maybe there is a job out there better suited for you.

Keep an eye out for alumni functions involving your school. If you went to a school of business at your college or university, often these functions may have a guest speaker or special attendee that may talk to students about opportunities out there. This guest may have a connection or two to a job that is opening up, or they could steer you down the right path.

Finally, take a look at your college’s website. Your advisor may give you access to a jobs board that current and former students can look at with a username and password. You may even be able to post your resume on the website and let future employers see your handiwork.

Do not be discouraged if the economy doesn’t cooperate to the point where you can find work. It happens to everyone from time to time.

Just know when it is your time – when an employee congratulates you and says you are hired – you will know these steps were worth it.