Ask Jen

Have Diploma, Will Travel, Must Network

Dear Jen,

Since graduating from UT in December, I’ve been struggling with the job search. I’ve applied for about 75 jobs, but haven’t landed a single interview. My career advisor worked with me on a solid résumé, my cover letter is strong, and I’m using lots of resources like CareerBuilder and Access UT. Am I missing something?

—New Grad in Colorado


Dear New Grad,

You’re doing a lot right, but you’re missing the most important part of the job search: networking. In this “referral economy,” where employers have their pick of candidates, you’re more likely to find your next job by connecting with someone. I tell job-seekers to spend 80 percent of their time connecting with people—and only 20 percent behind a computer.

Luckily, you’re already connected to an alumni network with nearly a half million of your fellow UT grads. I suggest you use LinkedIn and the Texas Exes Alumni Directory to find a Longhorn who’s working in a field that interests you. Reach out to them for a casual information session—not an interview—over coffee. They’ll likely be happy to share their experience, and you’ll have a valuable new contact.

Having a diploma just isn’t enough anymore. You’ve got to cover all your bases to get a job these days, and that includes networking and learning to market yourself. While this can be intimidating, Texas Exes Career Services offers guidance at every step of the way.

An alum once told me, “Once I determined that I was not just my degree, I was able to market myself and land the job.” You’re more than that thesis, capstone, or final research project—take all that you’ve learned and put it to work.

Hook ’em!


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Photo courtesy David Goehring on Flickr.


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