Many recent alumni are unsure of what they are able to do with their degree once they have graduated. There are a few important things to remember as you begin to explore your opportunities in employment:  

  1. Your degree is not a permanent stamp: you need to consider the skills you have rather than what program you pursued in school.
  2. Take the time to research your options.
  3. Schedule informational interviews. They are one of the best ways to gain first-hand, tangible information on how those with careers you admire got to where they are.
  4. If you know you would be unhappy in that position or moving to a town that doesn't suit you - don't apply. While your dream job might not open up right now, a job you can tolerate certainly will.

Resumes provide the employer with quick, easily scanned information as to who you are and what you can do for the company. This is often your first opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd. Resumes must be concise, to-the-point, and complete (all within two pages of text, at most!) Luckily, resume content is relatively standardized. While it is important to develop and format your own to best shape your career ambitions and competencies, make sure your resume provides the reader with a sense of who you are, what you've done, and what you can do for the company. It's not about what you write; it's about how you deliver the information. We’re happy to help you build or update your resume in the A_LAB. Please give Optimal Resume a try first, then contact us for an appointment.

Evaluating and establishing a career change after several years in the field can provide a sizable advantage. At this point you have gained the experience and knowledge to effectively compete for desirable positions. There are several steps you can take to increase your marketability and land the perfect position for your career goals.

Don't apply for just any position, and don't start hunting before you know what your ideal job factors are. Take a moment to consider the following before applying

  • What job title do you seek? Check out the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics to see the variations of what may be out there for your skill set and degree. Another option, and a great database for a variety of employment information, is O*Net OnLine.
  • What salary do you hope to earn? Again, there are several resources to help you determine what is average; check out and to get started.
  • What are the major skills you would like to utilize? You can search skills and competencies.
  • What is your preferred company or work environment? Browsing LinkedIn company profiles and O*Net OnLine can lead to a wealth of company information. From there, you can begin to research the particulars of the places that stand out to you.

Jot down a few notes of your own job buzzwords and seek out positions and companies with similar ideals. The employer is looking for the right fit for the job, and you should be seeking out the right fit, too. So should you. Make sure to consider your competencies and strengths as you're deciding where and how to reach out and apply.

Everyone you know could be a potential lead for a new job. Put it out there that you're looking for something new, mention a few of your strongest professional qualities and skills, and keep checking in!    

  • Perfect your "elevator speech"
  • Find opportunities and meet-up groups and organizations in the area (this is where social networking can be especially helpful)
  • Consider your interview skills and tactics, are you prepared to compete with the energy and confidence of professional competitors.
  • Consider the changes in interviews over the recent shifts in job market and demand

While some choose to relocate, there are often local and untapped options:
Think small. Often people believe that the only way to advance is to "move up" in position, salary, or company size. This is not the case. Incredible opportunities with smaller companies are often not advertised in want ads, internet sites, or other traditional measures. Try cold-calling or simply walking into the places where your skills or expertise may serve well. You never know when you'll meet your next job.

Starting to think about retirement? Here are a couple of resources for you to check into:

Many studies say that staying connected and engaged are some of the best ways to stay healthy post retirement. Here are a few resources for you to consider that you may find helpful:

  • Administration on Aging (202) 619-0724. (Help older people in need.)
  • The National Retiree Volunteer Coalition (800) 899-0089 ext. 5091 (Work with universities and local governments.)
  • Senior Corps (800) 424-8867 (Helps seniors find opportunities in their local community.)

The OU Office of Alumni Relations thanks the MSU Alumni Association and the OU A_LAB for their contribution to this page.

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