Salary Negotiation – Your Questions Answered!

Here in the Office of Alumni Career Management, we often receive questions from alumni about salary negotiation.  In anticipation of next week’s Job Club meeting on salary negotiation, we thought we’d post a few answers to the most common questions we get here for your review.  Enjoy!

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Q. – Are you able to negotiate when the job is in the public sector? It seems like pay and benefits are pretty well set, at least at the state level.

A. – There are a few sectors that do not allow for salary negotiation unless you advance to another level. Some government agencies and K-12 Education have set pay scales. However, some public sectors get around this by hiring a candidate into a higher level than the posted job so that they can be sure to keep that valuable candidate.

Q. –  How should salary negotiations differ between internal and external positions?

A. – Internally, know the salary request schedule of your organization. Give your manager plenty of time to discuss with you and then enter into the request process for you. Be ready for that conversation with your manager. Show your accomplishments and progression in your role and market value data to support your negotiation. External negotiation is with a hiring manager that does not know you and has not seen your work. However, the process is the same with research, strategy, and negotiation. In both cases, be prepared and strategic.

Q. – Do you have advice for salary negotiating when making a career change or going into a new industry?

A. – When changing industries, you have to focus on the transferrable skills that you are offering to the employer. If you are at point of offer, then you did well in selling yourself. If you are referring to the research phase and setting your range, then you should still honor your years of work experience. Networking definitely helps in getting interviews when you are changing careers.

Q. – How do you inquire about merit increases? In my experience, I have been able to negotiate salary a little bit but was told they could not offer the top amount in the range because the person in the role before had not reached that amount when they left the position. I am wondering if the range listed accounted for merit increases and the potential of what you could get up to for salary after some years in the role.

A. – In the negotiation process, ask about opportunities for advancement. This will lead discussing merit increases. Ask the hiring manager to be specific about the salary range listed. Does this include a merit or bonus structure and what is the history of employees reaching that top dollar?

Q. – I’ve heard before that your first salary is the most important, or that it dictates what you’ll make later in life. What’s your take on this? How important is that first, out-of-school salary?

A. – Your entire future career does not rest on that first salary because you will not be sharing that figure in negotiation. You will focus on the market value of each job for which you apply. However, initial negotiation is important for each job because every year the typical 2-5% raise will be calculated from that initial offer. That is what we mean by do not leave money on the table.

Q. –  What happens if you give a range and the employer comes in at the top of that range with their offer? Have you just run out of room to negotiate?

A. – No, because you gave that range at the beginning of the process to determine if you were both in the ballpark. And in may cases, that initial person is not the decision maker. They are not determining your offer on that initial conversation. They are determining your offer on the market value for that position. So, do your research and know what the market is dictating for that role. At point of offer, you know much more than you did at the beginning and can base your negotiating on how your skills match up to their needs. In addition, you will have your data to support the market value range. Remember, their first offer is not usually as high as they can go. And if it is as high as they can go, they will tell you. However, you won’t know if you don’t try. And they will respect you as a savvy job seeker.

Q. – What else can you ask for to strengthen a job offer once salary is set or can’t be moved more?

A. – Please consider all the benefits that can possibly come with an offer. Prioritize what is most valuable to you at this point in your life. Is it flexibility, autonomy, working with a team, travel, a car, cell phone, vacation time, working remotely, a bonus structure each year?

Q. – Would it be best/more likely to get more with haggling with the paycheck or a bonus like 401K match, etc.?

A. – It is easier to negotiate the salary than a set 401K structure. However, you can ask for a sign on bonus.

Q. – What % of salary is standard for a sign-on bonus?

A. – It is more of a flat fee of 1K-5K.

Q. – Is asking for the offer in writing insulting? You mentioned reneging on an offer but can you speak to an agreed upon salary, yet the employer doesn’t hold to their offer?

A. – Absolutely ask for the first and final offer in writing. They can quickly send a letter via email and then typically HR will follow up with a benefits package.

Q. – Are there any unwritten rules about requesting stock in a salary negotiation? Ex: You should only negotiate after working with a company for 5+ years or holding a specific position within a company.

A. – There are benefits that may come after working for an organization for so many years, like education credit, some insurance benefits, and family leave, and yes, stock options. These are typically not negotiable.

Q. – I was given a raise at the beginning of this year and lost it due to Covid. When would be the right time for me to revisit this topic with my manager, if ever?

A. – I’m sorry about that. Yes, many organizations are freezing raises so that they can keep positions intact. I would check in at your official review period. In fact, they will probably bring it up first at that time.

Q. – Any strategies particularly important for women to keep in mind for negotiating (who may be offered lower amounts relative to worth)?

A. – Have your research and data ready! Fall back on the market value. Be confident and assertive.

Q. –  Any advice on approaching the topic of a raise if you feel like you deserve it, but want to stay with the same organization?

A. – Know the salary request schedule of your organization. Give your manager plenty of time to discuss with you and then enter into the request process for you. Be ready for that conversation with your manager. Show your accomplishments and progression in your role and tie them to the goals of the organization to support your ask.

Q. –  What would be the proper way, if at all, to negotiate more PTO/Vacation Days in a job offer?

A. – Once you have settled on salary, then launch into the other important factors that you want to negotiate to include PTO/vacation time. Research shows that vacation time is one of the easiest to negotiate.

Q. – Can you make up some numbers about what to ask for… Lets say walk away point is $40k, top of range is $60k, and initial job offer is $50k…What should I ask for? $51k? The full $60? or even higher to hope that you can ultimately settle at top market value.

A. – This would depend on your market value. Your years of experience will determine where you should fall on this range. If you have less experience (1-3 years), then you would be on the lower end. If you have more experience (6-10), you would be on the higher end. If 50K is about right, then try for an additional 1-2 K.

Q. – In negotiations, of a current job, is there an unspoken limit?

A. –  Typically, there is a set range for your position. Glassdoor.com is good for this research.

Q. – When the application requires you to enter your current salary and anticipated salary, how should you answer?

A. – Always try to leave current salary blank. If you cannot, then offer a range of your last position. For the anticipated, offer your anticipated range. If you are only allowed one number then put the middle of the range.

Q. – How do you negotiate a salary match of a current job?

A. –  Always negotiate from market value rather than with your current salary. However, if the offer is close to your current salary, but a bit lower, then use that as leverage. State that you need to at least match your current salary and would like to obtain an increase in this transition. Then suggest $2,000 or 5% over your current salary as long as it is still in the market value range for the job.

Why Network? – From the Director’s Desk

As career coaches, we often find that job seekers spend 100% of their time on job boards applying to as many jobs as they can. What they often don’t realize is that one thing has remained steadfast through ups and downs in the economy and job market. The fact is that 80% of how most people find their next role is through networking. And the 20% of job seekers who obtain a job through job boards also need to then network into an interview.

Why is that? Think about how many resumes HR professionals or hiring managers need to comb through to choose candidates to interview. Even if the organization uses AI technology to narrow down the candidates, there is still a human element in choosing the right hire. You can imagine that the hiring team welcomes a good reference or referral beyond the stack of resumes.

Building a network of trusted colleagues affords you two things. You may learn about job openings that are in the works and not yet posted. This gives you the opportunity to connect with people in the organization through your contacts. Or, if you have already applied for a particular job, your network can serve as a reference on your behalf. Either way, you get the scoop on the opportunity, the culture, goals, and mission of the organization.

Once you land your next role and join your new team, it is wise to continue to build your professional network. You can keep up on current industry trends, meet mentors and experts, or promote your business or product. Today, it is smart to take ownership of your career inside and outside of your specific job or organization. Increase your visibility, gain professional development, and advance within your industry.

On April 13, we will meet for our next session of Job Club. We’ll focus on the Art of Networking and the importance within your job search. We’ll discuss how to put together a strategy that is comfortable for you as you begin to network and build your board of directors. I hope that you join us.

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Marilyn Bury Rice, Director

Marilyn has 30 years of experience in the career management field within higher education, non-profit, and corporate settings. She has advised students and alumni at Purdue University, Hanover College, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio Wesleyan, and The Ohio State University. She had the privilege of assisting women in becoming financially self-sufficient as a career consultant for Center for New Directions (a United Way Agency). And Marilyn spent 15 years working with experienced professionals in career transition at Right Management, a global talent and career management firm.

Marilyn holds a BS in communication and psychology and an MS in counseling and higher education administration from Purdue University. She values assisting alumni
in their ongoing career development and connecting with fellow Buckeyes around the globe

The Other Side of Fear: Pivoting to Your New Role

Written by alumna Marissa Lee

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic tens of millions of people have requested unemployment benefits. According to David G. Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, we might see an unemployment rate of 20%. That’s significant and rivals the unemployment levels attained during the Great Depression. With these numbers, it’s not a surprise that people are taking a “wait and see” approach to pivoting to a new opportunity. However, pandemic aside, LinkedIn Learning research shows that 47% of all professionals ages 35 – 44 say they aren’t sure what their career path should look like, even after spending more than a decade in the workforce. To take this a little deeper, research shows the average American has been in the same job for 9.88 years, rising to a substantial 13.91 years for professionals over 55 years of age. This can lead one to draw the conclusion that whether we are in crisis or in a season of certainty, people are averse and belated in moving to their next opportunity. One of the biggest factors holding people back is fear.

Fear is the feeling manifested because of the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or be a threat or detriment to your progress. Fear is an enemy of success. It causes you to second guess yourself. It makes you think of everything that could go wrong. It shows up in the form of an excuse. Fear has caused people to hide themselves since the foundation of the earth and continues to keep people from fully realizing their potential. When it comes a career pivot, fear usually reveals itself in four major ways:

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. Fear of Rejection
  3. Fear of the Ambiguity
  4. Fear of Falling Short

Fear of Failure is the fear of doing something and later finding out it doesn’t work. It’s not a good feeling so in an effort to avoid failure, people decide not try at all. They choose to play it safe and stay with what they know. It keeps the person stuck in that moment, space, or role and makes it difficult to move forward.

There are benefits in failing and they can actually help you conquer your fear of failing. Past failures hold the key to all the ways you shouldn’t be doing something. Ask yourself what are the biggest lessons learned and how you can use your learnings in the future. Another thing that can help you overcome your failures is showing yourself some grace and giving yourself space to fail. I’m not saying to go in with a mindset to fail. I’m saying to leave it all out on the proverbial floor and be kind to yourself if you come up short. This will help you get more comfortable with putting yourself out there.

Fear of Rejection is the fear of doing something and others discard it or cast away. Whether it’s a romantic or work relationship, it doesn’t feel good to be or be perceived as “unwanted.” A great example of this is applying for a job and receiving that “we regret to inform you email” or worse the company just “ghosts” you and you don’t hear anything. Often times people internalize this rejection to mean they aren’t good enough or they are lesser than and that hurts. Depending on the individual, rejection is processed differently and on a deeper level especially if encountered numerous times in the past.

If rejection is stopping you, you have to find a way to overcome it. First it’s important to understand what aspect of rejection is holding you back from pivoting to your next role. Are you worried about being told no or is it something deeper? You have to figure that out and further address those concerns. In addition to that, I would say keep things in perspective. Remember a “no” doesn’t necessarily mean a “never”. It mean a better “yes” is on the way. I’m a witness to this. Hindsight is 20/20 so I’d encourage you to reflect on the times you’ve been told “no” and write down the “yes” that followed or the things the “no” kept you from. I’m sure you will look at your situation differently.

Fear of the Ambiguity is the fear of the unknown. You may fret because you just don’t know how things will turn out. Most people who are scared of ambiguity worry if they take the leap and it doesn’t work out then they will have sacrificed their security. A sense of security is valuable especially at times like this so if people can’t identify a sure opportunity they usually decide to stay put. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…no role is 100% secure whether old or new. You can still be in a vulnerable position if you fail to position yourself appropriately and show your value. I’ve seen where people stay in a role for years and get labeled a talent “blocker” because they haven’t managed to demonstrate valuable contributions and they are preventing someone else from transitioning into that role who can make an impact. I say all this to say, the known can be just as much as an enemy as the unknown.

If you struggle with this fear really make an effort to embrace change. We all know what they say, “the only thing constant in our lives is change” and that’s true. When we started of 2020, no one was planning for a pandemic. It didn’t even cross our minds but it came and we had to adapt. Lean into change and exercise your resilience muscle to help you conquer this fear.

Fear of Falling Short is the fear of not believing in yourself and what you bring to the table. It’s a confidence thing. It’s the self-sabotaging and deprecating mindset that you don’t have what it takes especially when it comes to transitioning to a new role. It’s the constant questioning of your skills and abilities and not in a productive way. It’s believing that regardless of your accomplishments you are a fraud. Those feelings are known as imposter syndrome and according to research 70% of people experience these feelings so you are not alone. Even I have questioned my capabilities and competencies to be effective in one of the roles I had so I know what it feels like. I also know that it’s toxic and can stifle your career and wreck your career experience if you let it, so don’t let it.

If you struggle with the fear of not measuring up to the standard needed for a new role, remind yourself of your worth. Sit down and write out your accomplishments then celebrate yourself. Give yourself permission to be great! Come up with a mantra that encourages you. Hype yourself up! Do what you need to do to get yourself in the right frame of mind so you can articulate and position yourself for the role you want to pursue.

A couple of the things I cover in the SOW EVOLVE Bootcamp are mindset and toxic behaviors. Sometimes we have to unlearn and deprogram ourselves to preconceive notions and archaic beliefs to ensure we can position ourselves for success. Fear is one of the feelings you have to learn how to detach from if you want to take the leap and pivot to your next role. Once you deal with fear and other limiting factors you will have more clarity around if and when you should pivot. In my new eBook Pivotal Moves-Shifting to Your Next, I discuss some things you should consider while thinking about a pivot and even included a short assessment to help you go deeper in your evaluation. Once you determine if you want to pivot you have to understand what you want to pivot to, what transferable skills you current possess, understand how you need to reposition your personal brand and then actually pivot.

Final Thought

Your next role is waiting for you but it may be on the other side of fear. Overcome fear and you will have conquered half of the battle to making your next move. Don’t extend your stay in role because of fear. Don’t allow fear to make you forfeit your next opportunity.

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Marissa Lee is a global HR leader, career strategist, and author with a unique approach to helping us rethink the relationship between employer and employee. For the past 10 years, she has combined her passion for people and processes to provide strategic business solutions for Fortune 500 companies in the fashion and chemical industries. Marissa is the founder of SOW EVOLVE, a career and business consulting firm which helps organizations and individuals address contemporary culture and career ownership issues.  If you would like to connect with Marissa, you may do so via LinkedIn or email at Marissa@IAmMarissaLee.com.

Wow Them with Your Winning Elevator Pitch

One of the most important tools for a jobseeker to have in their job search toolkit is a strong 30-second commercial, also known as an “elevator pitch”.  This is a great way to introduce yourself to new contacts, and allows you to communicate professionally and appear polished when meeting new people.  There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your 30-second commercial makes the best first impression for you.  Read on below to find out how to create your own winning elevator pitch.

What should I keep in mind when developing my 30-second commercial?

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Your 30-second commercial should be conversational and natural. Although prepared in advance, it should never sound memorized. You want to appear confident, enthusiastic, poised and professional. Make it memorable but not outrageous. You are competing with many other qualified candidates. Your commercial should allow you to stand out a bit from the crowd. Whether it is the vocabulary you choose or a specific achievement you mention, you want to engage the listener and give them an opportunity to see your personality.

Questions to Think About in Developing Your 30-Second Commercial:

1. What is your career goal? (Frame it in the form of doing something for someone)

2. What skill, strength, or experience do you have that would help you realize that goal?

3. What accomplishment proves you have that skill, strength, or experience?

4. What are you searching for in a job?

5. How can you immediately benefit the organization?

How should I format my 30-second commercial?

First sentences: Include your name, where you are from, your alma mater and what you studied.

Middle sentences: Quickly summarize your relevant experience. Do not reiterate your resume. For example, mention your industry and your most recent roles, the key skills you use and developed as well as an accomplishment with results. Mention your future career goals. Try framing it as, “One accomplishment I am most proud of…” or “One key strength that I would bring to your organization is…”

Last sentences: Briefly relay how your background led you to your career exploration. If you are in an interview, explain why you are interested in the organization and this role.

Pro Tip:  Even though you may get the request, “Tell me about yourself”, this does not mean that you should share personal information about your family, marital status, health conditions, or negative stories about former employers. The employer or networking contact can get a sense of your personality by your responses and attitude regarding work. If you share personal information, it may be used against you in their decision to stay engaged with you as a candidate or networking contact.

We would love for you to join us at the April meeting of the Alumni Career Management Job Club, where we will be providing networking time for participants to practice their elevator pitches with one another live.  If you’d like to take part, register here.

Job Club FAQ – What You Need to Know About Our New Series

We in the Office of Alumni Career Management are so excited about the launch of our new series, the Alumni Career Management Job Club!  We know that the last year has been challenging for many, and in the constantly changing environment of the post-COVID world has many considering a career transition.  With that in mind, our office endeavors to assist job seekers through this transition.

Structured as a four-part series, the Job Club is an immersive and interactive career readiness program designed to give you the latest industry information and proven methodologies for landing your next role.  We will hold one session per month, with short presentations on a timely topic followed by Q&A and an interactive networking session. We will provide a certificate of participation for each session attendee, and those who attend all four sessions will receive a small gift from our office as a token of our congratulations.

Below are answers to your frequently asked questions:

1. – If I miss a session, will I be able to make it up?

Yes!  This is a series that we plan on making an ongoing effort.  We will be offering the four sessions this spring, and taking a break in July before starting again in the fall.  We will cover the same basic topics in each series, with some modifications based on industry trends at the time.

So, if you miss out on a session this time, don’t worry!  We will be offering it again in the fall!

2. –  Will we be doing anything outside of the monthly sessions?

Yes!  Although the sessions are monthly, our office will work to continue the conversation over the weeks between each meeting by engaging in discussion on AlumniFire.  AlumniFire is Ohio State’s exclusive professional networking platform – it is free to join and open to any member of the Ohio State community.  If you don’t already have an account, we encourage you to set one up here. If you are an alumni, staff, or student of Ohio State, please enter with that status. If you do not fall into those categories, please check Job Club member.

3. – Should I prepare anything for the networking session?

The networking sessions are designed to be a casual exercise in getting to know others in a virtual setting.  There will be facilitators in each breakout room assigned to help guide the discussion along, but the goal is for you all to get comfortable in conversation with strangers in a professional setting.

While you don’t have to prepare anything formal for this portion of the presentation, it might be helpful to practice how you would like to introduce yourself to others ahead of time.  Things to consider are:

  • Name
  • Educational and professional background
  • Industry or companies you are interested in

You might also want to have a notebook handy so that you can write down the names of people in your group that you want to connect with individually on either AlumniFire or LinkedIn.  This is a great way to open a conversation into a new connection that could very well turn into your next big opportunity!

4. – What are other ways that I can connect with the Office of Alumni Career Management for additional assistance?

Alumni Career Management has several resources available for you to utilize in addition to our Job Club.  The webinar archive holds dozens of presentations on various job search and professional development topics to support your career growth.  Career Corner, our official departmental blog has weekly updates with various timely topics, including alumni spotlights, a weekly hot jobs listing, podcast episodes, and more.

Finally, though we no longer offer individual coaching, we do have a dedicated email address where you can submit your questions.  We send weekly responses for alumni seeking guidance on a variety of job search topics. To submit an individual question to the Alumni Career Management team, email us at ADV-CareersOSUAA@osu.edu.

Introducing the Alumni Career Management Job Club!

Many in our alumni and friends community are currently in career transition, or are considering making a change in their career in the near future.  With that in mind, the Bill and Susan Lhota Office of Alumni Career Management is excited to announce our newest project for supporting you through your career development – the launch of the Alumni Career Management Job Club!

Structured as a four-part series, the Job Club is an immersive and interactive career readiness program designed to give you the latest information and proven methodologies for landing your next role.  Each monthly session will include a short presentation on a pre-determined topic, along with Q&A/discussion time, and a guided networking exercise. Those who attend each session will receive a certificate of participation from our office, and those participating in all four sessions will also receive a small gift as congratulations.

Although the sessions are monthly, our office will work to continue the conversation over the weeks in between each meeting through engaging discussion on AlumniFire, our Ohio State exclusive professional networking platform.  AlumniFire is free to join, and open to any member of the Ohio State community.  If you have not already made an account, we encourage you to do so here.

Dates and times for the spring Job Club series are as follows:

March 9, 2021 – 12 noon ET – Resume “Must Haves” in Today’s Job Market

April 13, 2021 – 12 noon ET – Networking in the New Normal:  Link In or be Left Out

May 11, 2021 – 12 noon ET – Interview to Win the Offer

June 8, 2021 – 12 noon ET – Salary Negotiation:  Don’t Leave Money on the Table 

Register for the Job Club meetings here, and stay tuned for more information about this exciting project. We are looking forward to connecting with you!

Alumni Spotlight – Melissa Wasser, Policy Counsel at the Project On Government Oversight

Recently, the Office of Alumni Career Management sat down with alumna Melissa Wasser to talk about her time at Ohio State, and how that has impacted her career since graduation.  Below are Melissa’s answers to some of our questions, as well as her advice for current and prospective Buckeyes considering following in her career path.

Melissa Wasser

Degree: J.D. & M.A. in Public Policy and Management
Graduation Year: 2017
Current Occupation: Policy Counsel at the Project On Government Oversight

  1. – What brought you to The Ohio State University?

I always knew I wanted to go to law school, but I still had an interest in policy work that I wasn’t able to explore during undergrad. Knowing The Ohio State University has one of the best dual degree programs in the country at the Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs was the main reason driving my decision to enroll at Ohio State. I wanted the opportunity to challenge myself at a top-tier university while building the necessary skills to enter the workforce as a lawyer.

  1. – How did your experiences at Ohio State shape your career path?

Ohio State gave me the opportunity to participate in the Moritz College of Law’s Legislation Clinic, which gave me clinical placement experience working at the Ohio Statehouse. Learning how to monitor and analyze legislative issues at the state level is valuable knowledge that I still use in my current role every day. I was able to work with state legislators, give input on legislative language, and see how the state legislative process really worked. Being able to have this experience in one of the few legislation clinics in the country really set me apart from my peers and I credit that experience for helping me realize what my dream job now looks like.

      3. – What advice do you have for OSU alumni and students interested in pursuing a career in your field?

If you’re looking for a career in the policy space, I highly recommend finding a mentor that can help guide you in your career. When I was searching for my current position, I reached out to mentors that I’ve had since college, mentors in law school, and other Buckeyes in this space to just ask for some advice. Find people who are where you want to be in 5 or 10 years and ask them how they got to their current position. Sometimes, all it takes is a random email or LinkedIn message asking another Buckeye for 15 minutes of their time to find the person who will make a profound impact on your professional life. Take advantage of resources at Ohio State that can connect you to alumni in the career field you want to be in! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to not only better yourself, but to find that next opportunity.

  1. – What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment would be testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet last summer on the federal judiciary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to speak to members of Congress directly on how important access to the federal courts is, especially so early in my professional career, was challenging and highly rewarding. I’m very grateful that I was able to have this accomplishment just three years after graduating from Ohio State. I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store!

  1. – What inspires you in your profession?

Working hard at work worth doing and setting an example for others inspires me in my profession. Whether it’s breaking down complex issues for Congress or highlighting government accountability options for policy wonks, I want to be able to champion good government reforms and make more people aware of how corruption and abuse of power hurts us all. It’s also very important to me that I set an example for those looking to get into the legal and policy fields, both in my work as a Policy Counsel and in the mentoring space. Knowing what it took to get here and being real about the struggle is something that I want to be able to give back to others who are just starting out. If I can lift up another Buckeye to join me in this space, it makes it all worth it.

For more information about Melissa, or to connect with her, please visit her online here:

Twitter@Melissa_Wasser (https://twitter.com/Melissa_Wasser)
LinkedIn: Melissa Wasser (https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissawasser/)
Instagram@Melissa_Wasser (https://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Wasser/)

 

Looking Back and Moving Forward – How Alumni Career Management Supports You from 2020 and Beyond

Wow… 2020 was really something, right?

The Ohio State University Alumni Association launched the Bill and Susan Lhota Office of Alumni Career Management in 2012, largely in response to a significant movement among alumni requesting career guidance following the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s.  For the last nine years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to supporting Ohio State alumni in their lifelong career management.  We strive to provide assistance in career development and transitions through a robust variety of resources, keeping our clients abreast of current trends and dynamics within the industry.  Through a combination of relevant programming, original content, and other offerings, we have remained true to our goal of inspiring, motivating, and encouraging alumni in their journey toward finding satisfying and successful careers, all within a professional environment fostering a community of Buckeyes helping Buckeyes.

The goal of the Office of Alumni Career Management has always been to ensure accessibility to resources for every member of our 550,000+ strong global community of Buckeye alumni.  We are proud to have been pioneers in providing virtual career resources among alumni offices in higher education for several years.  When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the university, and the world at large, in early 2020, we were well poised to pivot to all virtual offerings, ensuring that we could meet the needs of alumni that we knew would need us now more than ever.

Although this is a scenario that no one imagined or could have been prepared for, the Office of Alumni Career Management staff was able to quickly assess and address the challenges stemming from our “new normal”.   The most urgent issue was the need to create programming and materials to guide alumni in navigating this new career landscape.

Looking Back – How We Adjusted to a COVID-19 World in 2020

In March of 2020, we began offering webinars tailored to topics immediately relevant to the COVID-19 crisis.  Our presentations, “Laid Off – Now What?” and “Career Pivots for Experienced Job Seekers” had more than 250 combined registrants – many of whom were first time attendees for an event hosted by our office.  Our presentation, “How to Optimize Your Job Search During COVID-19” featured alumna Marissa Lee, who provided invaluable insight as a human resources professional and career coach. We supplemented this with podcasts relating to topics including, “Managing Stress when Working from Home”, “Maintaining Connections Across the Digital Distance”, and “Work/Life Balance for Working Parents”.

In addition to reframing our existing webinar curriculum to reflect the new circumstances we found ourselves under in 2020, the Career Management team also launched a new initiative to assist the influx of new job seekers with their many questions surrounding the search.  Job Search Q&A sessions were held monthly beginning in May of last year, with a total of 724 alumni and friends registering for these events throughout the year, an average of 80 participants at each of these roundtables.   We also piloted a biweekly group coaching program for six months last year as we worked to phase out one on one coaching and were able to support a number of alumni in crafting an effective elevator pitch, learning to network in a virtual medium, and job searching in the hidden market.

All told, in 2020 the Office of Alumni Career Management website had a total of 435,600 individual visits to our departmental website, which includes invaluable resources for alumni and friends such as resume and cover letter templates, our webinar archive, job search tools, and our alumni-specific job board, Alumni Career Connection.

Our departmental blog, Coach’s Corner, also received significant attention in the last year, with more than 13,000 individual users visiting the site during the year from all over the world, including 14 countries other than the United States.

Moving Forward – What We Are Looking Forward to in the New Year

It is safe to say that the Office of Alumni Career Management was successful in pivoting our offerings to meet the quickly changing needs of the Ohio State alumni community over the last year, and we look forward to continuing to elevate our offerings as we move into 2021.  In February, we will launch Career Corner, a monthly newsletter curated to include relevant career content, advice, and events for alumni interested in job search or professional development topics.

In March, we are excited to announce that our office will launch a monthly Job Club series.  Inspired by our group coaching pilot last fall, the Job Club will be a monthly meeting that combines guidance on a specific job search topic and a guided networking experience for participating alumni. We look forward to engaging with you in a fun and interactive way that provides meaningful assistance to those alumni who need it most.

Other projects on the horizon for the Career Management team include the launch of three self-paced mini-courses on leadership and professional development, for which we will be offering a Certificate of Completion for alumni who participate in those modules, collaborative partnerships with our colleagues in the alumni association, around campus, and around our community to further the reach of our services and advice, innovative volunteer opportunities for alumni who would like to give back to the university, and engagement with companies seeking to connect with our alumni and our university.

Where We Need You

For alumni who have not yet taken advantage of the many resources offered through the Office of Alumni Career Management, we extend an invitation for you to do so now – there is so much that we have available, and it is our sincere hope that you will utilize these resources as you continue in your own career development journey.

We’d also like to lean on alumni in the coming year, asking you to weigh in with your own expertise as our subject matter experts in your individual fields.  We would love to see you engage with us on social media – particularly in our LinkedIn group or on AlumniFire – where your commentary can be seen by thousands of your fellow alumni, as well as current students.   If you would like information on how you can get involved with our office, and ways that you can contribute, feel free to contact us directly at lacount.7@osu.edu.

Buckeye to Buckeye – Top Free Career Resources to Help You Get Started

Below are just a few of the great offerings available to you through the OSUAA Office of Alumni Career Management. Your fellow Buckeyes have been utilizing these continuously in their own career search, and we invite you to take advantage of them as well.

  1. AlumniFire

AlumniFire is Ohio State’s premier professional networking tool that allows you to connect directly with other alumni and students, as well as employers seeking to fill positions with Buckeyes like you!  Here you can find people volunteering to give general career advice, resume reviews, relocation assistance, and other fun topics – you can also raise your hand to help another Buckeye in need as well!

  1. Alumni Career Connection

Alumni Career Connection is our Buckeye alumni exclusive job board.  With more than 20 new jobs posted every week from all around the country, you’re sure to find a position that fits what you’re looking for in terms of a next career move.

  1. HireOhio Virtual Alumni Career Fair

Ohio State’s biggest alumni career fair will be going virtual once again this year! Join us in June and November as we provide opportunities to get in front of employers looking to hire someone like you.  Upcoming career fairs are posted regularly on our departmental webpage in the “Upcoming Events” section.

  1. Goin’ Global

COVID got you thinking of taking a wander year somewhere outside of the United States?  As an alumnus of the university, you have free access to Goin’ Global, a database that contains country-specific career and employment resources for more than 90 locations worldwide.  Create a free account to access this resource and find your next great adventure abroad.