Fordham Notes: Career Assistance for Alumni

Friday, February 1, 2013

Career Assistance for Alumni

Whether you are a recent graduate looking for your first job or an experienced professional ready to make a career change, Fordham’s Office of Alumni Relations is here to help you achieve your employment goals.

Alumni relations offers several specialized services for all alumni who need assistance finding work, changing jobs, networking, polishing their interview skills, updating their resume, and much more—all free of charge.

The services include career development workshops, individual counseling, and a monthly career support group hosted by two Fordham alumni.

“Alumni need an objective sounding board—whether it’s updating their resumes, learning about growth fields and how to align their skills with them, or how to use social media,” said Annette McLaughlin, who hosts the workshops and offers personal coaching and referral services.

McLaughlin has more than 20 years of experience working with job seekers. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, she was vice president of talent at the Response Companies, a recruiting and advisory services firm. Since 2008, she has been helping Fordham University’s alumni with their career needs.

“I offer a broader perspective,” said McLaughlin, who has an M.B.A. in personnel and employee relations from Georgia State University. “I can show alumni different routes they can take with their career paths.”

She hosts four workshops on career development each semester—at the Westchester and Lincoln Center campuses—covering such topics as defining a personal brand and an “elevator pitch,” and making the most of connections and networking events. She also provides individual coaching to alumni of the Graduate School of Business Administration.

McLaughlin also emphasizes that LinkedIn can be an effective tool for career support. The alumni-driven Fordham University Alumni Networking Association LinkedIn group offers an online resource for alumni to network, set up discussion groups, and exchange ideas. The 11,000-member group includes alumni from a variety of industries—from law to public relations.

In addition to the workshops, alumni can benefit from individual counseling with Jorimel Zaldivar, a career counselor based at the Lincoln Center campus. With a master’s in counseling for mental health and wellness and a certificate in career planning and development from New York University, he also brings to Fordham more than 10 years of experience. Zaldivar provides one-on-one counseling and career assessments for Fordham’s undergraduate students and alumni of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s very person-centered,” he said. “Wherever alumni are in their career process, I help find out what they want to do, how to transition to another career area, review their resume, or offer advice on networking and interviewing skills.”

Networking skills, he said, are a key component to the job search process—a component that many alumni can find challenging.

“Alumni are very curious about how to network,” he said, but one of the only ways for alumni “or any job seeker to advance is to have some face time with their fellow professionals in the field. It’s very important.”

Zaldivar offers about 26 counseling appointments per week to students and alumni throughout the year.

“We want it known that the service is available. We like to help those who need the help,” he said. “The job search can be very tough and alumni don’t have to go through it alone.”

Alumni can also get help from fellow Fordham alumni Nick O’Neill, FCRH ’55, and Bob Miller, FCRH ’55, who have been sharing their advice and professional expertise through the Career Continuance Support Group for 17 years.

O’Neill and Miller founded the group in 1995, one year after O’Neill, an independent insurance broker, was seeking a new job. He contacted former classmate Miller, a principal in a New Jersey-based career outplacement and consulting service firm, for help, and when O’Neill landed a job, the two decided to help others benefit from the strength of the Fordham alumni network.

Over the many years, the two men have helped hundreds of Fordham alumni and friends who are out of work, contemplating a career change, or searching for more meaningful employment. The group’s sessions, held on the last Saturday of each month at the Lincoln Center campus, cover resume writing, interviewing, and many other topics.

“We get a lot out of this, too,” said O’Neill. “It’s amazing to see the growth [of the University], and to still be a part of it.”

Zaldivar added: “We try to communicate to students that Fordham is always here for you.”

Visit the alumni events calendar for more information on Annette McLaughlin’s upcoming workshop, and on the next Career Continuance Support Group meeting.

To set up a session with Jorimel Zaldivar, e-mail or call 212-636-6280.

—Rachel Buttner

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