I went to college at a large state school; the kind of place with an alumni population of 100,000+. I knew there was a network of alumni that I could tap into, but I didn’t know how to do it, didn’t have anybody to help me, and quite frankly, I was too scared or too lazy to do it.
I didn’t really understand how alumni could help me and the idea of contacting them overwhelmed me.

Now, with the wisdom of 10+ years and the experience of working in career services since that time, I have a whole new appreciation for what alumni know and realize that it was just silly for me not to have taken advantage of that resource.

Don’t miss your opportunity. Puget Sound students are fortunate to have an active alumni community willing to reach out and connect with you.  Just a few of the resources available include:

  • The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network is a database of more than 2500 alumni who volunteer to share career information with Puget Sound students
  • Alumni on campus for events: ASK Night, Career Fair, classroom visits, campus lectures, and more
  • Boards and committees…behind the scenes, there are groups of alumni working together to support students

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Business Leadership Council, and got some excellent tips that I’d like to pass along:

Tip: A liberal arts education helps you know a little bit about a lot of things which can be a real advantage. Liberal arts grads are information gatherers and problem solvers.

Tip: Even if you don’t see yourself working for a specific organization, do an internship with them if possible. You’ll gain valuable skills and may even find something you love.

Tip: Take time to pursue career-related opportunities like internships or part-time work in an area of interest. These opportunities are mutually beneficial. You learn about the field and employers learn about what you bring to their organization. In fact, internships can be like extended interviews and sometimes a job offer follows.

Tip: Think about what you like doing and then find a job or position that fits that. Like people? Look for a job working with others. Enjoy contributing to a cause? Perhaps a non-profit would be a good fit. Think about your values, keep an open mind, and let the possibilities roll.

Tip: Think about how you are uniquely qualified for a position/employer and be prepared to articulate it during an interview.

Tap into what alumni know: Imagine what tips they could offer you if you were able to talk with them about your specific situation.

Take a step: check out the ASK Network and reach out to an alum to ask about their career path.

Wondering how to get started? Stop by CES during our drop-in advising hours (M-F from 2-4) and we can help you out.

Thanks to Kevin Millison ’87 and Alva Butcher for their contributions.

© 2010 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: Ross Mulhausen