Stop Alumni Unemployment with These 6 Tried-and-True Solutions

Aug 31, 2016 - Joe Matar
What did college do for you? Some met their best friends or even the love of their life in college. Others found amazing career opportunities. Some authors would never have been published without the help of their college professors. Whatever your personal answer is, the goal 90% of students today have is better their job outlooks. Over half of alumni say they need still need help developing basic career skills post-college.  

Looking for a new way to engage your alumni? Download our free ebook to learn how online networking events can rally your alumni community.

  Even though national unemployment is at its lowest level in recent history, young graduates continue to struggle to find good jobs. According to a recent report, the percentage of 18-29 year olds who are employed is at an all-time low at 71%. While the causes of this situation are varied, there are actions alumni departments can take to help former students fare better in the world of work. According to the 2015 Workforce Readiness Survey, over half of graduating students don’t know how to write a resume, conduct themselves in job interviews, or even network to build contacts. In fact, only 58% of surveyed graduates felt adequately prepared for the professional world. Providing alumni career services is a rising trend to combat many of these issues and build a successful, employed, and connected alumni base — it’s truly a win-win decision.

How to Engage Alumni for Career Building

Help your alumni put that diploma to good use —  here are a few ways you can engage alumni and stop alumni unemployment:

1. Alumni Resume Reviews

Some alumni just need to tweak a few qualifications and change the color of their resume. Other resumes are complete tear-downs. Wherever your alumni lie within that spectrum, hosting live, online workshops can greatly benefit everyone involved. There are several different ways schools conduct resume reviews:
  • Schools like Georgetown have websites featuring steps in writing and editing one’s own resume or CV. From there, when students feel the need for a second, professional opinion, they can email their resumes off to the career center and have the edits returned the following Friday.
  • Online Review Sessions. Columbia Teachers College, along with having in-person resume reviews and career advice drop-in hours have also hosted online review hours and chat sessions to help not only students but alumni with their career endeavors!
  • Social Media. Bryant University have hosted a myriad of resume review sessions, both in person and online through chat sessions, but they have also incorporated social media reviews as well. Hosting a LinkedIn Profile Review Session, especially online where career services representatives can assist former students and candidates with their resumes and profiles from wherever they are, has proven to be just as helpful as classic resume reviews, as universities like Bryant have proven.

2. Alumni Career Fairs

Career fairs may seem standard, but they remain a highly effective way of connecting alumni and students to valuable employers. The University of South Carolina, like many other schools, host two separate on-campus career fairs each year. These fairs are open to students and alumni. The school recruits employers from local and big name businesses, so if you’re in the area, it’s a true opportunity. On-campus events work great for on-campus students, but they lose a lot of luster when serving a dispersed student or alumni base. Do you have alumni all over the country, or even all over the world? Consider hosting an online eventhere are five tips on how to make sure it’s successful.

3. Mentorship

Mentorship is a vital part of combatting unemployment and underemployment in young professionals. If your students are struggling to find mentors of their own, make it easier for them to connect with older, more established alumni in their industries. Schools such as Emporia State  and Fordham University have both established programs where they pair experienced workers with non-experienced students and alumni interested in building a career in the same field. Programs such as these facilitate networking, career experience, and learning.

4. Career Networks

“When I think about my own career, I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking.” – Tom Farley, President of the NYSE (Fortune.com)
Networking can be an extremely powerful tool to create new job opportunities, develop your business or form new partnerships. Unfortunately, networking doesn’t come natural to everyone — many people, introverts especially, dread in-person networking. This is one of the many reasons online networking is a great solution for your alumni. Georgetown University took their networking endeavours online so all their alumni could network with people they normally wouldn’t have had a chance to meet. This kind of online chat-based networking can not only result in powerful career connections that will pay off for years to come.

5. Grad School Resources

A student’s higher education doesn’t always end after a four-year college experience. Many alumni continue to graduate school to further explore their opportunities or travel to countries for research. Help alumni decided whether or not grad school is right for them by offering them resources long after graduation. The University of Delaware has an entire page dedicated for alumni who are thinking about graduate programs after school. Is this the right decision? Which school is best for which program? How do they decide? All of it is there on their website. University of Missouri takes a similar approach on their page, helping students explore what they like to do, which careers would match their major and/or interests, and whether or not grad school is in that mix. If so, the steps fall into place for applying, deciding, and further exploration.

6. Video How-To’s

Your alumni (and students) love video. You probably do too. Studies have shown that the average viewer retains 95% of a message when they watch it, as opposed to a mere 10% retention rate when reading it. Our brains are hard-wired to understand concepts better when we’re shown, not told. How-to videos are a great way to help alumni who don’t have time to attend events. Create a library of how-to videos for anytime, anywhere career advice. On Georgetown University’s YouTube page, for example, they feature old webinars, how-to guides for career advancement, and different tips for separate groups in the workforce like women.

Stop Alumni Unemployment Today

Alumni are incredibly in debt and less likely to give back to an alma mater whom they feel estranged from or unengaged with.Engage alumni with much-needed career services to get them feeling as warm toward their alma mater as they did while tossing that graduation cap.