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

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!

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.

Why You Should Attend A Career Fair (Even if You’re Already Employed)

Hey there, Buckeyes!

It’s June, and that means that it is once again time for the HireOhio Alumni Career Fair here at The Ohio State University.  This event is one of our biggest and most successful programs here in the Office of Alumni Career Management, and with good reason.  In the 7 years since the program’s inception, HireOhio has facilitated the career growth of thousands of Buckeye alums of all backgrounds – and it can help yours as well.

Of course, if you are an unemployed, or employed but searching alum, the justification for attending HireOhio are obvious.  However, even if you are not someone who is currently in the search, attending a career fair (HireOhio or otherwise) can be really helpful to you in your current and future positions.  Here are three reasons why you should attend a career fair – even if you’re not looking for your next position.

  1. – Practice networking and using your “elevator pitch”

    Regardless of where you are in your career, there are some skills that you should be regularly honing – networking is one of those skills.  Rather than waiting until you are ready to re-enter the job search, you should be meeting new people and growing your network organically on a regular, on-going basis.  Understandably though, this can be difficult sometimes.  Career fairs offer an excellent opportunity to meet with people who are in a position to hire candidates and seek their feedback on the way that you present yourself.  You can practice your elevator pitch (or, 30-second commercial) and ask for honest feedback with out the pressure of having your actual livelihood on the line.  Take notes on any critique that you receive, so that you can make the necessary adjustments well in advance of your next search.

  2. Gauge the current market for professionals in your field

    Another great benefit of attending a career fair is that you can get information about what the market is like in your field or industry.  You can talk to recruiters or hiring managers, as well as other seekers, about salaries, upward mobility, and the growth of your field in general.  It is very easy to become out of touch with what is going on in the industry around you when you are satisfied with your current position, but it is important to remember that you will not be in your current position forever.  Even if you plan to continue with your current company, you will need to do salary negotiation and more when you are ready to move into your next role.  Any additional information that you can glean that will help you have an idea of what this market looks like will be beneficial to you in the long run.

  3. Get feedback on your resume from hiring managers and recruiters

    One of the biggest mistakes that jobseekers make is waiting until they are ready to begin the search to worry about their resume.  Doing this puts you at a disadvantage because it requires you to “think back” to achievements or duties, meaning that you may not remember some of the key things that you have accomplished that would be beneficial to you moving forward.  Additionally, depending on how long it has been since you last sought a new position, there is a risk of appearing dated and out of touch to hiring professionals if your resume has not been updated and reformatted in some time.  However, by attending a career fair, you can get feedback on your resume from one (or several) HR perspectives, which you can then apply to your document, ensuring that it is ready when the time comes and you are ready to take on your next role.

If you are interested in attending the HireOhio Alumni Career Fair, there is still time to register.  You may do so by visiting us here.

Hope to see you there – Go Bucks!

 

Ask the Coach – Working with Difficult People

 

Last week, the Career Management staff conducted a webinar on “Working with Difficult People”.  We had some really great responses to the presentation, as well as some great questions from the audience.  Below are those questions, as well as answers from our expert career consultation staff.

Working with Difficult People Webinar Q&A – (from 6.29.18)

Q. – How do you handle a boss that is unprofessional. ie. She gossips about her subordinates to subordinates.  This makes me uncomfortable because she supervised both of us.  I can only imagine what she states about me to them.

 A. – When dealing with a situation like this, the best thing to do is to redirect the conversation with your supervisor.  Be sure to keep things as professional as possible, and not to delve too deeply into your own personal background.  It is possible that she is doing this as a way to make friends or to establish a rapport with you (and is just really bad at it).  However, if it continues or becomes even more uncomfortable for you, it may be worth it to speak with HR and get their advice on the situation.  Remember that your talks with HR are confidential unless you choose to file a formal complaint, so there is no worry of being retaliated against for simply seeking some advice.

Q. – What if the difficult person is your boss? What about when a supervisor is being inappropriate and difficult?

 A. – Well, the best answer for this depends on the relationship and level of comfort that you have with that person.  If he or she is difficult because of a situation like the one mentioned above, it may do you well to simply talk to them about it.  A conversation where you clearly outline your boundaries in a friendly but firm way may be helpful.

If, on the other hand, your boss is behaving maliciously toward you, then your best recourse would be to involve HR.  Full disclosure:  this may make things more tense/awkward in your workplace for a while.  However, involving HR would be the best way to begin documenting what is happening around you, and provides you some protection from retaliation in the event that things begin to escalate.

If it’s just that your personalities clash, perhaps you should try some tips on “Managing Up”.  We have an upcoming podcast on this subject, and in the meantime, a great book on the subject is “It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss” by Bruce Tulgan – this book contains some awesome strategies for creating a better relationship with a difficult boss.

Q. – How do you deal/respond to someone who doesn’t listen to your responses to their questions or what you are talking about?  They are already on the next question to ask you or thinking about something else.  I am constantly having to repeat what I had just told them or repeating what another person just said in a meeting.  It seems rude and that they are not listening.

 A. –  This may sound a bit brash, but the easiest way to deal with this is to simply stop answering their questions for them.  It is quite rude that they have chosen not to listen, but saying that outright probably won’t go over well.  However, enabling their bad behavior by not addressing it isn’t helpful to them and will only serve to continue to frustrate you.  Perhaps say to them that you are working on focusing more on meetings so that you can get the most out of them, and suggest that they take notes during the meetings.  You could even offer to go over the notes later on and discuss, if they feel that it necessary.

As far as them not listening to what you’re saying or moving on to new questions without giving you the opportunity to respond, the best approach would be to stop talking once they start.  When the person inevitably notices that you’ve stopped speaking, let them know in a kind, but firm way that   you’ll finish your thoughts/explanation when they’re ready to listen.  You don’t need to be condescending about it, but this is an important boundary for you to establish in order to maintain a strong working relationship with this person.

Q. – What happens when the organization and the people in the organization are stuck in the past with their methods and they don’t approve you trying new things?  This is very difficult and doesn’t change when I’ve tried to have one-on-one conversations.

 A. – If you have had conversations about improving methods in the past and they have not worked, you have two options here.  The first is that you can revisit the conversation(s) with a new approach – perhaps bring in some evidence that shows a correlation between trying new things and an improvement in processes or bottom line outcomes.  The second would be to analyze “fit” – meaning how well you fit into the organizational culture of the company.  If it has become a difficult place for you to work in, then perhaps you should begin exploring other options for employment.  Feel out the opportunities for different departments in your company, or explore options for other career paths.

Q. – As a manager, how do I address an employee who is extremely blunt with her co-workers?  Co-workers feel that she is abrasive and they don’t want to work with her but her work quality is extremely high.  I have discussed it with her several times but it doesn’t resolve.

 A. – Because you are her manager, you are in a unique position to influence these relationships.  Although you wouldn’t want to be seen as singling her out unfairly, it may be a good idea for you to suggest/assign some additional training for her along the lines of emotional intelligence.  Depending on the company that you work for there may be resources available through your human resources department, or you may look outside of the office for webinars, short classes, etc.  A few good books on the subject that you might use as a starting point are:  “Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Golman and “The EQ Edge” by Steven Stein and Howard Book.   

 

The ACM Staff is Out and About!

 

Believe it or not, occasionally we here in the Office of Alumni Career Management step outside of our hallowed halls and enjoy a little sunshine!  When we are not busy coaching clients on how to build a career that they love, we enjoy doing professional development and partnering with our fellow Alumni Association and University colleagues to further promote our mission.

In the last week, we have been doing a lot of that.  Here is a quick catch-up on some of the things that we have been up to lately:

 

GradFest!

Our illustrious university graduated more than 11,000 students last week, and we appreciated the opportunity to help welcome them into the alumni family!  On Friday, May 4, the ACM staff participated in GradFest – an event hosted by our friends in charge of connecting with Young Alumni.  At this event, we were able to talk to hundreds of new grads as they told us about why they chose their majors, what their plans were after undergrad, and some of them even let me in on a few tidbits about “what I wish I’d known” going into their degree programs.

Each department in the Alumni Experiences unit was represented at GradFest, and we all sought out special ways to connect with the new grads to make them feel welcome, and assure them that as Buckeyes, they always have a home here in Columbus, no matter where their journeys take them next.

 

National Conference on Diversity, Race, and Learning

OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is holding it’s 24th annual conference on Diversity, Race, and Learning this week, and the ACM staff had the wonderful opportunity to attend the pre-conference diversity training.  With topics ranging from “Improving Educational Outcomes for Underserved Students in Postsecondary Education” to “Creating and Flourishing with Diversity and Inclusion in a New Era,” my colleagues and I were privy to some great training that opened our minds to new ways of looking at diversity and inclusion, and how we can apply those principles in our everyday work lives to better serve our clients.

The larger conference is being held today, with Twitter’s own Candi Singleton as the keynote speaker – this should prove to be an excellent experience all around!

 

Also coming up soon, our staff will be attending a retreat with the University Career Services Council, which will feature training on working with clients with intellectual disabilities.  We are also planning some excellent professional development events for you all as well – be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks!