By Chandra Harris-McCray
As director of alumni career services, Andrew Hart meets regularly with UT graduates eager to take the next step in their professional lives. Until recently, their conversations often ran into a frustrating stumbling block.
“Recent grads, mid-level managers, people wanting to jump onto a different career path altogether—everyone I talk to is looking for the same thing: good advice from an unbiased, seasoned professional in their chosen line of work,” Hart says. “‘Networking’ is too generic a term for what our alumni are requesting. We’re really talking about facilitating strategic and personal connections. Alumni want a phone number to call or an email address to write to, someone willing to answer hard, industry-specific questions.”
The UT Alumni Association’s newest online tool, the Career Guide Directory, was designed to address this need. Over the past few months, more than 1,600 UT alumni have volunteered to serve as career guides. In that capacity, they’ve agreed to provide one or more of the following services to fellow alumni and current students:
- Participate in informational interviews and answer questions about their careers.
- Offer general advice—about salary negotiations, for example, or strategies for getting a promotion.
- Review resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
- Identify opportunities at their places of employment for student internships and job shadowing.
- Attend professional networking events.
- Speak about their careers on campus or at alumni events.
“We chose the name Career Guides because this isn’t mentoring or coaching, with all of the time commitment those words imply,” Hart says. Rather, each Career Guide has committed to answering the phone or responding to an email and giving frank advice.
Hart has already begun using the Career Guide Directory during one-on-one consultations with alumni. “Their eyes get really big when they see it,” he laughs.
And now it’s available to all UT alumni.
How do I find a Career Guide?
Search the directory (by occupation, specialization, major, city, and so on) at utaaconnect.com/guide. Please note that the searchable Career Guide Directory is available only to UT graduates, and to access it you’ll need to register for the online community.
How do I become a Career Guide?
We’re always looking to grow our pool of Career Guides. Let us know you’re interested by updating your UT Alumni Professional Profile at utaaconnect.com/pro and answering “yes” to the last question—about your interest in serving in some capacity. We’ll follow up immediately with more information.
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For more information, email Director of Alumni Career Services Andrew Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.