The Hand that Feeds You: How Your Alma Mater Can Prepare You for the Job Market in More Ways than One

Posted January 20, 2012 by

Jesse LangleyRegardless of the state of the current job market, your alma mater can put you in a better position to land the job of your dreams shortly after you graduate. If you’re conducting a job search on your own, your school can give you the professional guidance you need. Whether you graduated last week or several years ago, you can count on your alma mater to help you make the initial transition or get back on your feet in the professional world. 

Career Services department

Nearly all academic institutions in the country have a department devoted to helping recent graduates and alumni find employment. Career services departments sometimes have access to an entire database of job listings and are staffed with experienced professionals who can work with you one-on-one. In addition to supplying you with helpful resources, you can also gain invaluable advice on how to approach the job market, tips for improving your resume, and guidance for a successful interview.

Professors and peers

Even if you only spent a semester with them, your professors and peers can be the professional ties you need to make connections with potential employers. Many professors will have several close connections with professionals in your industry, and they may be able to assist you by providing a personal recommendation. You may also have peers who are already established in the field you are trying to join. Leverage those relationships for advice and additional recommendations.

On-campus events

From job fairs and resume workshops to industry association meetings, your alma mater likely holds regular events that can help you build professional connections and work on your professional development. Stay up to date on event calendars at your alma mater to take full advantage of the benefits these events can provide. Attending workshops and speaking engagements is not only effective for improving your own approach to the job market, but doing so can even help you develop professional connections just from being present in these kinds of environments.

Advanced degrees

If nothing you’ve tried is working, it’s possible the root of the problem can be found within. You may feel like your degree is substantial enough to attract attention in the job market, but the truth is more people have access to higher education today than ever before. For this reason, your associate’s or bachelor’s degree may not be standing out in a sea of other applicants with similar credentials. For an edge on the competition, consider pursuing a higher degree to increase your chances of landing a job. With the growing availability of high-quality online degree programs, you can extend your education without running into schedule conflicts or interrupting your job search routine.

Searching for a job can become a full-time commitment that can leave you feeling exhausted and defeated. Although this is just a natural part of the process, you can significantly reduce your own stresses by seeking support from the highly qualified team of professionals at your alma mater. These resources can help you bridge the gap between recent graduate and new employee.


Jesse Langley specializes in writing about education, professional and personal development, and career building.  He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.

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