How to Find Your Alumni Mentor

15 07 2014

The word Mentor in magazine letters on a notice board

Seventy percent of jobs are found through networking, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Whether you’re searching for an internship or trying to land your first job, your network is your best resource for finding opportunities.

A great way to amp up your networking efforts? Take advantage of your alumni networks and enlist an alumni mentor. Alumni are an excellent resource during your job search because you already have a common interest established — you both graduated from the same school. And an alumni mentor can serve as a resource during your job search and a guide to your industry.

Here are some tips to kick off your search for your alumni mentor:

1. Search your university’s career website

Nearly every college or university has a career website that contains a database of employers and alumni. For example, colleges and universities such as American University, University of Michigan, and UCLA have alumni mentoring programs within their career websites that connect college students and job seekers with alumni.

You can search your school’s career site based on career interests and industries. This can lead you to connections with alumni working in similar fields as you.

2. Use LinkedIn to your advantage

LinkedIn is another awesome resource for finding an alumni mentor. Most universities have an alumni group established for students. In addition, you can probably find specific alumni groups depending on your major, industry, or geographical area.

For example, if you’re a graduate of your marketing program, look for alumni groups within this department on LinkedIn. Chances are you’ll find a LinkedIn group specifically for marketing alumni of your college or professional organizations related to your major.

3. Send networking emails

After you’ve done some research and located a few professionals you’d like to contact about mentorship, it’s time to send some emails.

When writing networking emails, be genuine, concise, and considerate with your message. Remember, some of these individuals are very busy, so you want to write an email that gets read.

In your email, explain how you’re an alum of the same school with a degree in a similar career path. After you establish the connection, explain that you’d like to ask a few questions about their experience.

4. Schedule a meeting

During your conversations with alumni, make sure to request to meet in-person or chat over the phone. This is your opportunity to pick the alum’s brain and establish a genuine connection.

Once you’re ready to chat with an alum of your program, here are some good questions to ask:

  • What do you like/dislike about your job and why?
  • How did you decide this was the right field for you?
  • How did you get noticed by employers during your entry-level job search?
  • What are some related jobs I should research?

Finding an alumni mentor is one of the best things you can do for your career. Not only is this person a great resource for advice and tips, but they can also be easily located. Hopefully these tips will help you find you an alumni who can take your career to the next level.

Do you have an alumni mentor? How did you develop the relationship?

val-mattaAbout the author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift onLinkedIn.


10 Ways to Use Social Media to Land Your Dream Job

4 07 2014

Social Media ComicSocial media is one of the most life-changing developments of the 21st century. It has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, including the way we connect, socialize, entertain, seek knowledge, promote personal and corporate brands, and seek jobs. Gone are the days when our job search was limited to scouring “help wanted” ads in newspapers and other print media, visiting placement agencies and applying through job sites.

Today, companies have developed an ecosystem around social media, which is central to their corporate branding and marketing activities. Manpower requirements are also met through social networking, which is comparatively hassle-free and less time-consuming. For example, if a company is looking for an efficient marketing manager or vice president for its organizational growth, then it is more likely to contact people working at similar companies in its social network.

Hiring managers often review individual profiles on professional networks such as LinkedIn before actually initiating the process of organized headhunting. The time wasted in screening heaps of resumes is minimized to a great extent, and what they get are genuine leads for the open position.

To stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting your dream job through social media, you should follow these ten steps:

1. Keep your personal and professional accounts separate
Don’t make the common mistake of having one social networking account for both your job-hunting and socializing with family and friends. Keep a separate public account to network with potential employers and keep your personal account private, shared only with the close friends. Prospective employers are likely to snoop into your Facebook profile, and if it is not maintained professionally, it can work against you.

2. Shout out loud if you are looking for job
If you’re looking for a job, you should inform your friends and followers through your status updates on Facebook and Twitter. So, in case a friend of yours gets the inside scoop of a new opening in his company, he can in turn inform you before it goes public. Similarly, you can also change your LinkedIn profile headline to signal that you’re looking for a change. It will instantly inform your connections that you’re searching for a suitable opening.

3. Create an impressive LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the biggest global social network for professionals and it has the biggest database of companies, organizations and individuals. So, it’s important to create a professional LinkedIn profile to network with people in your target industry. Your LinkedIn profile is highly visible on search engines such as Google, which is a major advantage.

4. Use advanced features on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has many advanced features that can be used to make your profile highly visible globally. For example, you can add work samples, images of certifications, professional videos, recommendations and many other things. Apart from that, you can also benefit from LinkedIn job groups and the “Jobs” column. Get involved in different groups according to your interests and work profile, and share your knowledge with others for personal branding. Share your blogs in different LinkedIn groups, which will establish yourself as an authority in your field and could also attract hiring managers.

5. Make use of Twitter search
Twitter has many advanced features and powerful search capabilities. You can use hashtags to find people with similar interests. This way, you can multiply your social network beyond national boundaries.

6. Link to your social profiles on your resume
You can use the hyperlinks of your LinkedIn, Twitter and “” profile on your resume just below your name. It will not only make your resume look professional and social media-friendly, but will also help prospective hiring managers to know more about you, especially about your accomplishments and skills, which you can’t always mention in the limited space of your resume.

7. Stay informed
Keep yourself updated with the latest industry news and insights through social platforms and discussions; this will help significantly during interviews. For example, LinkedIn discussions are a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening around the globe in your industry.

8. Promote yourself through
This site will help you promote yourself through your professional profiles, blogs, videos, links, bios and maps.

9. Download job search apps on your smart phone
Apps like CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed will deliver job openings directly to your smart phone, so that you can be among the first to respond.

10. Seek jobs through networks such as TweetMyJobs
Take advantage of prominent mobile and social job distribution networks such as TweetMyJobs to speed up your job search.

****For this guest post, Campus to Career thanks Aditya Singhal!!****

About the author: Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of, which is a leading online tutoring resource for college students. Adi and his team are currently creating a courseware platform for MBA students. They are also launching later this year an eBay style marketplace for assignments. Adi gives back to society by contributing a portion of the company’s revenue toward the education of poor students in India.

Big Advice from a Tiny Tot

24 06 2014

olivia many facesMy wife and I recently became parents for the first time and boy, have we already learned a lot from tiny baby Baumann!  Someone once said that “normal is just a setting on the washing machine” and as new parents, we’re realizing how true that really is.  Life will never be the same. As we adjust to the “new normal,” I’ve learned a few lessons from our very wise (and very beautiful) baby girl.  It’s good advice across the board, not just for those seeking career insights.

What career advice can we learn from babies?

Get enough sleep.  Sleep is important – both for the baby and for the parent. Get it when you can. A well-rested baby is a happy baby. A well-rested parent is less likely to resemble the walking dead…which means you’ll be happy too. Most adults don’t actually get enough sleep and their productivity, relationships and overall happiness suffers. Now, there are trade-offs – you’ll need to make some sacrifices, but in the long run, they’re totally worth it. (TIP: 20-30 minute power naps can save your life. I’m still getting the hang of this concept.)

Smile, even if it is just gas. Nobody likes a grumpy Gus. A fussy baby can make you want tear your hair out and scream. Attitudes are contagious. On the other side, a smiling baby can make your entire day, week, month or even year. Smile – it does matter. Even if that smile isn’t 100% natural, a little effort goes a long way. Smile when you’re talking on the phone. Smile when you see someone in the hallway, in the elevator, etc. Smile and spread your happiness. (Editor’s note: Our baby girl’s favorite song? Happy by Pharrell. Coincidence? I think not.)

Cry for help. Babies are pretty dang good at this. They’re completely helpless, yet they have many ways of telling you what they need: a diaper change, food, or a good burping. They have distinct cries (or asks), whimpers or squeals to let you know how to respond. It’s a guessing game at first, but in the end, we learn how to identify their cues and respond appropriately. As a professional, when was the last time you asked for help? Do you ask for want you want?

Have a sense of wonder. Everything is new, bright and shiny. Babies see the world unbiased. I like to think that they see the good in everything. Babies don’t have preconceived notions about anything because they have no experience. For the most part, this is a good thing. As a professional, keeping a sense of wonder and a healthy curiosity about things will help you see the bigger picture. You won’t be held back by the “what-if’s” or “that won’t work because” thinking. As you tackle situations at the office, step back and act as if you’re seeing the issue from an unbiased, new perspective. You might surprise yourself!

PARENTS – what have YOU learned from your children? Please share! Leave a comment below. Thank you!

Now, off to the next diaper change…

5 Things They Don’t Teach You About Work in College

23 05 2014


Getting a first job is something that’s a milestone for every person. Whether you’re a college graduate or started working after high school, a first job is something that is nerve-wracking and unforgettable at the same time. Not only that, this is your first experience into a world that’s totally different from school. Your assignments and exams will be replaced with tasks and deadlines, bosses are the counterparts of your school teachers, and your peers will be equivalent to people of different ages and work status. It’s a change of scenery from the campus scene that you’ve gotten used to over the past years.

High grades and great student performance are equally important. But then, school doesn’t teach you everything you need to know about life after graduation. Here are 5 examples of things they didn’t teach you in college about “the real world”.

1. How to handle your salary

That feeling when you get your first paycheck can surely give you an adrenaline rush. It’ll make you want to buy all the things you can get. But before you go haywire on buying a new pair of heels or that snazzy gadget, think twice. Your salary is only enough to keep you covered for your basic living expenses, like food, rent, and transportation allowance. In short, you have to stretch your budget to make it last until the next payday.

It’s not like you can call up mom or dad anytime and ask for an allowance. The key here is not to go broke. Responsibility in learning to handle your money can help you. Save up, take another job if you can, and be creative with your budgeting skills. Experience in handling your own money can teach you just that.

2. Dealing with people and office politics

In school, you might have encountered these groups of people, like jocks, popular girls, and the strange kids. But in the office setting, these people will be replaced with the following: bosses, supervisors, and subordinates who have more work experience than you do. Years of working in a company can surely give other co-workers that air of superiority that can either be arrogant or inspiring.

In the office setting, you deal with people who may be younger or older than you. This kind of set up can pave way for office politics. Here’s some advice for you, fresh graduate: work wisely and don’t play dirty. Don’t do things that you know isn’t right just because you want to fit in with the office culture.

And if you’re worried about friends, accept the fact that not all of your office mates will be your friends. It’s a valuable lesson in learning to adapt without compromising your values.

3. Learning how to listen intently

If your student habit was pretending to listen to the teacher’s discussion, this won’t work anymore in a company setting. As an employee, you have to listen intently on what you’re being told to do. Nothing’s worse than working with an employee who doesn’t know how to listen and obey. You’ll have to do a lot of listening, from meetings to your boss’ task for you. Listen with your mind, and don’t just hear it.

4. Gaining new skills at work

Not everything will be taught to you by the book. You’ll pick up a few soft skills along the way without knowing it. Be aware of your weaknesses, and turn these into your strengths and skills.

5. Juggling work-life balance

It’s hard to balance work with your life outside of it. Don’t be a workaholic, but don’t slack off either. Have time to work hard and still enjoy life.

These five things are something to expect once you start working. Enjoy working, learn from it, and live well.

****For this great guest post, Campus to Career thanks Eliza Sullin!****

Author bio: Eliza Sullin is a college student and freelance writer for best essay au service. Working as a student taught her how to be responsible for her life and work.

Is an Apprenticeship the Stepping Stone to Your Dream Career?

13 05 2014

apprenticeshipFor many school and university leavers, an apprenticeship offers the perfect cocktail of education and experience. In fact, more and more students are opting to train on the job rather than pursue higher education to search of better job prospects, but is an apprenticeship the stepping stone to your dream career?

We take a closer look at the apprenticeship providing an essential guide to its pros and cons, applying for an apprenticeship that is right for you and what the future holds for former apprentices.

The pros and cons of an apprenticeship

The debate surrounding apprenticeship versus degree is likely to rage on for years to come, but due to the economic downturn and the rise in youth unemployment, many students are opting for an apprenticeship to achieve experience, education and a regular wage.

The benefits of an apprenticeship include:

  • Earning while you learn – whilst university students may struggle to hold down a part-time job and study, an apprenticeship allows you to get the best of both worlds
  • Gain experience – as well as combining on-the-job and classroom learning, apprentices work up to 30 hours a week, gaining the essential experience they need to help their CV stand out from the rest
  • Study without the burden of debt – Unlike university education, an apprenticeship offers a debt-free educational route. As companies receive grants to run an apprenticeship program, training is free
  • A practical approach to learning – many students favour more practical modes of study, and whilst there will be some classroom learning, the opportunity to put these skills into practice complements this particular learning style
  • Real job prospects – the education and experience gained via an apprenticeship opens the doors to a host of job opportunities.

Whilst the benefits of completing an apprenticeship are for all to see, many feel missing out on the university experience is the biggest compromise. In addition to this, competition to gain a place on your chosen apprenticeship program will be very high. The world of work can also be particularly daunting to school and university leavers and taking on an apprenticeship will mean you have to grow up fast to succeed.

Applying for an apprenticeship

Submitting an apprenticeship application has never been easier, there are various government backed organisations that help school and university leavers gain access to apprenticeship vacancies across the country. Alternatively, you can approach companies and apply to their apprenticeship program direct.

Competition for apprenticeship places is high so ensuring your application goes above and beyond will help you stay head and shoulders above your fellow applicants. Follow these simple dos and don’ts when completing your application…

  • Complete your application using as much detail as possible but remember to opt for quality, not quantity
  • As well as listing academic achievements give your prospective employer an insight into your personality on paper
  • Never create one generic application, copying and pasting may be easy but each application must be crafted to each individual vacancy
  • Check and double check your spelling and grammar to ensure you demonstrate great written communication and attention to detail
  • Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd, apprenticeship vacancies attract hundreds of applications so leave no stone unturned in your quest to be the best!

Life after an apprenticeship

According to a recent survey, around 85% of former apprentices find employment, a third of which receive a promotion within the first year! Whilst life after university has changed significantly in recent years, with a degree being no guarantee to a job, an apprenticeship provides a solid background for a long-term career.

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Brittany Thorley!!****


About the author: Brittany Thorley is from Getting-In, an educational resource that provides the guidance students of all ages need to thrive during their time at high school, college and beyond in their career.

Getting to the Winner’s Circle

22 04 2014


I’m not that different from War Admiral, Secretariat, Chocolate Moon Pie or JB Rich & Rare. Some of those names you may have heard before, while others are names you’re seeing for the first time.  They’re all names of horses that have won races, big and small.  They all have two things in common.  Well, three, counting you.

In horse racing and in your career, there are two very important people that can help you become successful in whatever you do.  You’re responsible for yourself, but you also have superiors who are supposed to be there to help guide you to the road to success.  In the horse racing world, these are the Trainer and the Jockey.

The Trainer makes sure the animal has a healthy diet, exercises properly and has the tools they need to be successful aka make it to the Winner’s Circle.  When trained and treated right which includes diet, human contact/support, they’ll typically perform well.  When treated poorly, the horse can end up hurting or even killing themselves and/or others around them.

I’ve seen this time and time again.  Horses that would be deemed as those not worthy of the race continue to prove everyone wrong.  It’s not about the pedigree or the owner.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some excellent Trainers.  Trainers typically make good mentors because they’ve been there, done that.  They have real-world experience and can share their wisdom with you so you can ratchet up your training plan, ensuring you’re in the lead.

Who is your Trainer?

Are you on the right track or are you endangering yourself and others??


The Trainer also has a responsibility for the Jockey.  They’re little guys (or gals) who can have a BIG impact on the race’s outcome.  The Jockey is the person who steers and coaches the animal to the finish line.  The Jockey in your career is whomever you report directly to…the boss.  They have direct responsibility to make sure you have the resources you need to do your job in a timely, effective manner.  Jockeys that beat their horses to just come in first don’t get a lot of respect in my book.   Jockeys that care about their animal’s well-being and safety as well as its future are the ones that get paid.  You may not win today, but with the right Trainer and right Jockey, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Do you have what you need to WIN??


Lastly, it’s not about who gets out of the starting gate first (just don’t trip and stay in your designated lane.)  The fastest horse doesn’t always win.  There are many variables, which is why it’s so important to have a good Trainer, a good training plan, and a great Jockey.  Preparation and perfect practice (not just “practice”) makes perfect.  When you factor in all the components which include training, health, track conditions, weather, your opponents and more, surprises still happen.  Maybe that’s Lady Luck…good or bad.

What will you learn from Lady Luck??


BONUS: Related post: Take Off Your Career Blinders

4 Things You Can Do to Network With Impact & Results

8 04 2014


It’s no secret that networking can get you closer to the job of your dreams. You’ve probably heard this countless times from recruiters, mentors, and career sites like Campus to Career. You’ve heard networking is important. You know it’s important. But when you go to a networking event, are you the person who stands around the edge of the room trying to “blend in”.

Networking is about being noticed. It’s about getting your name out there and becoming known to other industry professionals. You have to be bold, and you have to stand out from the crowd. In my experience, even if you’re a reluctant networker, there are 4 things you can do that will make you appear confident, and help you network with impact and results.

1) Arrive early

When you arrive early at a networking event, you give yourself a significant advantage – you can see who enters the room and you can be the first to speak with them. Arriving early means arriving at the designated start time, or within 15 minutes of that. If you arrive late to a networking event, groups have already been formed and the people whom you want to meet are already engaged in conversation. Breaking into a conversation is much more difficult that starting a fresh conversation with somebody who has just entered the room.

2) Create an outfit that gets you noticed

When you walk into the networking event room, it’s your outfit and your body language that others will notice first. Instead of wearing colours that make you blend into the crowd, opt for high-contrast colours and bold styles to help you get noticed. Ladies, add impact to a simple black dress with a contrasting red or white jacket. And don’t forget about your shoes. A pair of striking heels can instantly change your attitude and confidence. Gentlemen, you can enhance a simple white shirt with high-contrast cufflinks in navy or black. Or, choose a white shirt that already has contrasting buttons or colour detail in it.

3) Be bold with your body language

Body language has a major impact on the first impression we make. By simply adopting powerful body language poses at networking events, you can immediately change your impression from meek and insecure to poised and powerful, regardless of how you truly feel inside. Confident body language stems from good posture. Hold your rib cage up and keep your head held high. When you hold your head high you expose your neck, the most vulnerable part of your body, and project to the networking crowd confidence and poise.

4) Use a quality business card case

A quality business card case is probably one of the most underutilised networking tools in Western countries, but will absolutely make you stand out from the crowd. When the other person sees you remove your business card from a proper case, they’ll know that you’re somebody who cares about the smaller details. When they see you put their card in your business card case, it signals that you hold them in high regard. A few moments of respect for a potentially important business contact can have a long-term positive impact on your career.

I invite you to try these tips at your next networking event. By implementing just one of these tips, you’ll be noticed a little more. By implementing all four of these tips, you’ll absolutely have more impact and get more results from that networking event.

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Kara Ronin!****

About the author: Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and the author of the eBook, The Ultimate Networking Roadmap: Rise above fear to network with confidence and class. Visit her blog Executive Impressions to claim your free 7 Step Networking Roadmap and get fabulous tips on networking and international business etiquette.


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