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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.