The Alumni Job Search Process

Whether you are conducting a job search by choice or circumstance, the job search for alumni is a sales and marketing process which few job seekers embrace. Yet, by taking the "I am a product" viewpoint, you quickly realize that there are only two productive endeavors in any job search: sales and marketing.

Sales of the "product" involves having a strong understanding of your marketable features—how they create value and benefit an employer.

Marketing is simply the identification and development of logical opportunities for the sale of a product. You can't afford to waste time selling to the wrong customers. You have to know what you intend to sell before you determine who your potential buyers might be.

Step 1: Define the Product ("You")

The job search starts with a look inside, an inventory of your personal values, interests, accomplishments, and challenges. Through self assessment, you will discover new career possibilities and enhance self-understanding.

Strategic Actions

  • Contact us to learn about the assessment tools that can provide you with direction and determine your skills, interests, and abilities.
  • Do an inventory of your transferable skills.
  • Ask friends and colleagues to tell you what they consider to be your strongest and weakest qualities and capabilities.
  • Identify key accomplishments from your past jobs. What problems have you solved? What were the most marketable skills that helped you be successful? Be able to quantify and qualify results.

Step 2: Conduct Market Research

Did you know eighty percent of available jobs on any given day are not advertised or posted on Internet job sites! Researching and networking are the key to finding the hidden job market. Research to find out what's going on in your industry. Who's hot and who's not? Identify companies, organizations, or industries where your interests, skills, and abilities are most likely to be needed.

Strategic Actions

  • Use our resources to gather information on companies and organizations.
  • Determine if there is a local chapter of your professional association or a CWRU Alumni Chapter. Obtain a membership list for networking then join the group in person!
  • Read business and trade publications, literature, and periodicals. Clip articles that pertain to your target area.
  • Locate a minimum of five prime sources of new information about potential jobs in your field.
  • Visit your local Chamber of Commerce. Meet with the director and have a discussion about new developments, changes, and trends in your area.

Step 3: Build a Marketing Strategy

Build a marketing plan that includes effective strategies such as networking, informational interviews, direct mail, classified ads, recruiters, and job fairs. How you present, market, or "brand" yourself is extremely important to your job search or career change.

Strategic Actions

  • Develop a strategic plan that incorporates clear objectives and measurable goals to track your progress. How will I get to the goal? What specific actions will I take? When will each occur? Who else is involved in my plan, or should be involved?
  • Make a list of people you need to network with. Your professional network should include friends, relatives, former coworkers and supervisors, CWRU alumni, and other professionals. Keep accurate notes and follow up.
  • Contact us to identify alumni in your geographical area or at target companies with whom you can network.
  • If you haven't already, be sure to create a LinkedIn profile.
  • Build your brand. Clarify the message you want to convey and how you want to be known. Script out a 60-second commercial.

Step 4: Sharpen Your Marketing Tools—Your Resume and Cover Letters

Advertise yourself (the product) by fine-tuning your resume. Resumes are often greatly misunderstood. People treat them as personnel files, job applications, or detailed life histories! The sole purpose of a resume is to get you an interview, so it needs to look good, present a clear selling message, and communicate value. Use a cover letter to personalize your resume and demonstrate that you know something about the company.

Strategic Actions

  • Contact us to have your resume professionally critiqued.
  • Incorporate resume and cover letter tips.
  • When crafting your resume, decide what impression you want the employer to have of you. Complete the following statement: I want the employer to know that I can _________, demonstrated by my ability to __________.
  • Have a minimum of three people proof your resume and cover letter for clarity of message and errors in grammar and punctuation.
  • Identify the "decision maker" who can hire you and send a resume and cover letter to that individual in addition to following the directions of the job posting.
  • Make a clear request for a meeting at the end of your cover letter. Follow up by phone within a few days to schedule a meeting.

Step 5: The Sales Call—The Interview

The interview is your sales call where you must be able to uncover the employer's needs and articulate how your skills will create value for the company. Good preparation and practice are the keys to a successful interview. Researching the company will enable you to present your self-knowledge about their product or services. Practicing or role playing will help to reduce anxiety before an interview. Check out these alumni interview tips for additional guidance. Put your knowledge to work by assessing your job search readiness. Use the job search readiness checklist.