Alumni utilize Career Center

The job hunt is leading some former students back to Foggy Bottom.

The Career Center has seen an increase in the level of alumni actively using its services in the hopes of finding employment, after the economic recession forced job cuts and froze hiring. In response, it has teamed up with the Office of Alumni Relations to launch an Alumni Career Consulting pilot program. The program, which will provide two free job counseling appointments in person or over the phone, will be made available to the first 100 alumni who seek services and have graduated prior to Dec. 31, 2008.

For new alumni within one year following graduation there is no charge for career consulting. For all other alumni, the fee is $60 per hour. Alumni may meet with career coaches, who will come to their place of business for $150 per hour.

Marva Gumbs Jennings, the Career Center’s executive director, said the program will allow graduates to polish their skills and present themselves with full confidence. It will also help the center aid the influx of former graduates looking for work, Gumbs Jennings added.

“The Alumni Career Consulting Pilot Program is our newest program and gives our graduates an opportunity to gain jobs faster,” she said.

Some of the Career Center’s services, including GWork and alumni networking events, are available free of charge to all students and alumni, but professional services – including custom résumé help and interview preparation – are free for students and alumni who have graduated in the last year.

Gumbs Jennings said that the Career Center has increased its efforts in recent years to pair graduates and students with potential employers.

“We have eight career fairs per year, which is much better than the five we had a few years ago and this doesn’t even include the number of expos that we have each year,” Gumbs Jennings said.

Carrie Schenk, who graduated in 2006 from the Columbian College, said she has received help from the Career Center.

“Being unemployed at a time such as this adds an enormous amount of stress to finding a job, but I am feeling a renewed sense of confidence in both my résumé and myself,” she said.

Schenk said she was particularly happy with the individual services available at the Career Center.

“Tom Stowell, whom I have been working with [in the Career Center], has been incredibly positive and encouraging, offered up excellent advice and made himself very available,” Schenk said.

After graduation, the Career Center helps students expand their network of relations by encouraging them to connect with the Alumni Association and LinkedIn, Gumbs Jennings said.

The Alumni Association also offers resources including the Career Advisor Network, Alumni Online Tools and Networks, and Educational Programs and Alumni Events. Alumna Sarah Jacobs, who graduated in 2008 from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said she had utilized both organizations since being laid off last summer.

“The Career Center has been a huge asset since I was laid off from my job in June,” Jacobs said. “Not only has the Career Advisor Network been extremely helpful, the staff – particularly Marva Gumbs and Toy Tavarex – have been as well.”

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