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Alumni as career planning partners for students

April 7, 2017 — 

University of Manitoba alumni are some of the best resources for current students. They’ve walked the same hallways, travelled the same paths and taken similar courses, possibly with the same professors! While current students represent the future, our alumni form a solid foundation, lending ongoing support for continued institutional success. These same alumni, almost 138,000 strong, are also an excellent source of career planning information and support for students. Here are a few ideas to tap into this great resource.

Meet with an expert

Set up an informational interview. An informal yet informed conversation can be a highly effective tool for gathering career information and advice. University of Manitoba students can access the Career Mentor Program in order to connect with alumni and other professionals in the community. Career Mentor profiles, published to celebrate the Career Mentor Program’s 25th anniversary, provide snapshots of the types of questions these dedicated individuals can answer. Students may also choose to arrange their own informational interviews. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can also use the alumni tool to identify prospective interviewees. To use this tool click “my network”, then “find alumni”. From there, you’ll find a list of over 76,000 alumni to choose from. For tips on how to conduct great informational interviews, consult the Career Mentor Program guidelines. Don’t forget to check careerCONNECT for upcoming LinkedIn workshops.

Find direction with a Career Compass

The Career Compass is a single window resource for academic and career planning. In addition to providing valuable tips for students at all stages of their programs, the online version features interviews with University of Manitoba alumni.  Through these informative stories, students can discover new occupations, learn about continuing education opportunities and get valuable career planning and job search advice.

Get involved and take action

Networking events are a great way to get involved. Many faculties, departments and student groups host networking events to help current students connect with alumni for career advice and support. Career speed-networking or roundtable events are hosted annually in a number of faculties and provide wonderful opportunities for meaningful interactions with alumni. Check career CONNECT regularly for information on these events. If networking feels challenging, visit Career Services during drop-in times to chat with a Career Consultant.

Many University of Manitoba student associations and groups, including the Engineering Society, the Actuarial Club and the Human Resource Association also hold annual networking events for members. In addition, sororities, fraternities and colleges can help facilitate access to alumni who share common experiences and who may be willing to provide career support. Visit UMCommunityLink to explore relevant organizations and student groups.

Don’t forget to explore student membership in relevant professional associations. For a relatively low price, students may gain access to job postings, as well as professional development opportunities.  Examples include the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association, Manitoba Association for Volunteer Administration and the Manitoba Editors’ Association.

Many ingredients go into an effective career plan, including accurate information, a positive outlook, support and advice. Remember that many U of M alumni are ready and willing to help and provide needed support to students as they set out on their career journeys. Make sure to access this important and inspirational resource.

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