University of Oregon

My Experience with the Alumni Job Search Group

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The University of Oregon's Alumni Career Center in Portland offers Fall, Winter and Spring job search groups, which are designed to prepare recent graduates to enter their job search with full force. The sessions are held twice a week for three weeks and focus on a variety of subjects, such as branding, networking and salary negotiation. Melissa Moore is a participant in this term's job search group and wrote to us about her experience:

I graduated from the University of Oregon in December 2010 as a German major and business minor. I recently moved to the Portland area after deciding this is where I want to live long term and have begun searching for a full-time career. During these hard economic times, it has proved more difficult to find a job than I expected, which is why I have chosen to utilize the Career Center in Portland and all its offerings.

Before I came to the Career Center, I had basically relied on applying to positions online and hoped that I would receive a call about an interview. After a few months of rejection letters and interviews for somewhat unappealing jobs, I decided to change my strategy and from now on I am going to network with as many people as possible and go to every function the Career Center and Alumni Association puts on. 

Changing my strategy would have been much harder if it weren’t for the help of the Alumni Career Center in Portland. I am currently signed up for an intensive three-week alumni job search group. I have been to two sessions and already feel like I am learning invaluable information that will help turn me into the most desirable candidate and snag the job that will be the foundation to my career. These sessions are great because they are small (open to eight people at a time) and are extremely interactive. They are led by Linda Favero who is very helpful and insightful. There are also a lot of guest speakers who are successful alumni and it sends a very positive message. I am grateful that there are so many Oregon alumni who are willing to help people like me who are just starting out and really don’t have any idea where to actually start. I highly recommend this group to anyone who feels discouraged about the job market and needs that helping hand. 

Today’s group was the second session and we covered techniques to help better design resumes and cover letters. This class was definitely helpful because it not only gave me a chance to go over what I needed to edit in my resume, but also helped me figure out exactly what I need to put in a cover letter. Up until this point I have been winging my cover letters and now I feel I have a much better grasp on them.  Here are the topics we covered:

Resumes:

  • Length and composition
  • How to list experience and what details are included to describe each previous job performed.
  • How to communicate strengths through action verbs
  • How to make a resume accomplishment oriented rather than focusing on duties performed

Cover Letters:

  • How to make a cover letter make you stand out over the other candidates
  • The composition of a good cover letter
  • You- Me- We: how to set up a three-component cover letter

During this workshop we watched short videos on examples of video resumes and cover letters, which showed how the market is changing and how interesting one needs to be now to catch the eye of an employer. We also broke into groups and edited each other’s resumes. This was definitely beneficial. Then we did some exercises that helped us think about past experiences we are proud of to help get into the mindset of talking about accomplishments through stories. After we worked on our resumes, we did a few exercises that helped prepare us for writing cover letters. This is where I was having the most difficulty and I can now say that I am truly prepared to write one that I think will stand out better. We once again got into groups and edited our sample cover letters and I was glad to have peer feedback on that as well. As an added bonus we received handouts to go over at home that gave us even more tips and strategies about building resumes and cover letters. This class was definitely helpful. 

Each class we have taken seems to blend in with the next and each class has been extremely beneficial. I definitely recommend these groups and am excited for the next class on how to effectively search for a job.

-Melissa Moore, German Major, Business Minor ‘10

To register for the Spring Job Search Group, give us a call today at 503.412.3701 or email us at careerpdx@uoregon.edu.

Ayn-Marie Hailicka's picture