Graduation is the conclusion of a journey that deserves celebrating. University of Phoenix Provost Dr. Alan Drimmer understands that this is a moment for joy and pride, but he also knows that earning a degree is just part of getting your career on the right track. Of course, every job seeker needs to build a strong resumé, practice interview skills and conduct job research. Phoenix Career Services℠ will always be a good place to start, but you'll want to do everything you can to succeed. Here, Drimmer provides five tips for recent graduates on growing and building a rich career:
Network at every opportunity.
Most people are going to find the best jobs through connections. Friends, church groups, the Alumni Association - no group should be ruled out, Drimmer says. Find ways to strategically broaden your network in your field, such as by joining an association that sponsors events around your area of interest. And don't forget about LinkedIn®, your online Rolodex. Use it to join a group or to see if any of your friends have contacts at a company you're interested in. "You have to be bold and explore every avenue," he adds.
Connect with a mentor.
Don't be shy about getting help, Drimmer emphasizes. "People are busy, but many people will respond to you if they see you're eager to learn and you have something to offer," he says. "Identify people you'd like to learn from and figure out a way to get their attention."
Start by taking advantage of the Alumni Mentor Program, which pairs both University of Phoenix students and alumni with a career mentor. The great thing is you can be paired with someone who has expertise outside your field of study if you'd like to grow professionally in another area.
Stay current in your field and get involved.
Reading about current events can help you broaden your network of professional connections. "I used to read industry publications and then send some of the featured businesspeople an email if I was interested in what they had to say," Drimmer says. You should also go to conferences, fundraisers and the like - anything that will give you new insights into your field.
Take advantage of continuing education.
Even though you've completed your degree, it's important to remember that you should never stop learning. Identify the areas you need to strengthen and take related continuing education courses that will help you develop your skills in those areas.
Be proactive about the jobs you want.
Make things happen, Drimmer advises. "One of my first jobs was as a management consultant. Over time, however, I decided I wanted to break through in education," he says. He paid his own way to an education conference and introduced himself to the president of a school he was interested in. "I would email him articles on education that I saw in the press. He thought I was a bit of a nuisance, but he remembered me."
Years later, Drimmer says, that relationship led to a job opportunity. The bottom line: When you don't have the exact qualifications specified but know you can do a great job, be creative about connecting with the right people who can help you get your foot in the door.
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-By Claudia I. Provencio
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