To kick-off the 2010 Homecoming week, alumni and business leaders from around Northwest Arkansas learned how to successfully navigate their job search process after college and to find pathways to possibilities. This is the third year that Intercollegiate Athletics, Career Development Center and the Arkansas Alumni Association have joined forces to produce this program for student athletes as well as students from across campus and young alumni.

The program was designed so that students and alumni had the opportunity to hear about networking, receive advice through a panel discussion and then had the opportunity to network in person during a reception. The introductory presentation introduced the concept of networking in addition to applying for jobs. Students and alumni learned how to find a job opportunity on Razorback CareerLink and to then seek out an alumni connection with the company or in a similar position utilizing LinkedIn or the online alumni directory. After identifying a prospective network contact, students were encouraged to schedule an informational interview with their network contact to learn more about the organization and/or position.

Download a PDF version of the Arkansas Alumni Career Network Presentation.

The next portion of the program included a panel of alumni and business leaders in career connections.  Panelists included:

  • LaTayna Greene ’90 ‘95, Principal of Asbell Elementary – Fayetteville Public Schools
  • Raymond House ’02, HRIS Strategic Business Analyst for Tyson Foods
  • Broderick Daniels, Human Resource Director for NWA Media
  • Karie Moss ‘01 – Sr. Recruiter/Project Manager for Walmart Stores
  • Jerry Spencer ‘82 – VP of Replenishment for Walmart Stores
  • Jeff Spencer ’88 – Director of Customer Development for Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
  • Angie Scott ’09 – College Relations Recruiter at Tyson Foods
  • Anh Gist ’98 – Human Resources Client Manager for J.B. Hunt Transport

Panelists encouraged students to be flexible and realistic in their initial job search. Many on the panel did not start off in their dream job, but instead all found ways to build transferable skills that would assist them in moving closer to the position they wanted.  Additionally, the panelists advised students on do’s and don’ts of networking. Students were encouraged to have a networking objective and to not just randomly network.

Panelist Jeff Spencer highlighted a student in the audience that he had come to know through networking.  He initially met her at a campus presentation and was surprised to receive a thank you note from her highlighting all the key things she learned from his presentation. He kept her information and reached out to her when he knew he would return to campus. He highlighted that her attendance at the event showed initiative and that she would naturally come to mind when he had a position opening arise.

Check out our “Pathways to Possibilities” photos on Flickr

Panelist Raymond House encouraged students to have a plan by which to network. Additionally, he encouraged them to have their elevator speech ready and to make sure it clearly states what their career and networking objectives are. He stressed that in the end, “Companies hire people,” and that through developing relationships you demonstrate your ability to relate to people within the company where you would like to work.

Chase Truttling, a student majoring in industrial engineering, attended Pathways to Possibilities for the first time and walked away amazed and armed with information and tools to help him prepare for his career beyond college. Chase felt that, “The alumni really showed an interest in the students and shared good advice with us about networking.” The next day, he immediately contacted the Career Development Center and scheduled an appointment to start putting everything into action. According to Chase, “I have already joined LinkedIn and am using it to locate U of A alumni.”

Pathways to Possibilities left the students and alumni in attendance with a road map for navigating the career path after college. The U of A Campus Career Development Center and Arkansas Alumni Association both provide additional programming, communications and online tools to help students and alumni throughout the year.