Tennessee Alumnus

Pearls of Career Wisdom

By Andrew Hart

The world was your oyster!

Or so it seemed when you got that prized piece of paper signifying your graduation from UT. You may have been on the verge of becoming a six-figure salary dream-chaser or a next degree realist or a wonderer of just what the future holds.

Whether you framed your diploma after just graduating in the spring or many moons ago, the question of how you are doing on your career journey will likely continue to creep in, whether you are a newbie or seasoned pro in the workforce. There are answers to your burgeoning questions: Am I happy at my job? Why am I not being promoted? What can I do to make myself more marketable? What would it take for me to make a career change and not start from the bottom of the totem pole?

I may not give you the answers you want, but as the director of alumni career services for the UT Alumni Association and a certified career facilitator, I am here to give you what you need—free of charge—to become the best you can be in the marketplace. I serve all alumni—no matter which campus colors reign in your heart and closet. I can review your resume. If you need tips on how to search efficiently for a job, consider it done. I am your new best friend if you need career transition advice. But if you want someone to get you a job, lose my number.

Almost 1,000 alumni I have personally coached keep my number. A Knoxville graduate moved to New York City without a job because being in that city was his priority. After four months in the Big Apple, he landed a job as a senior marketing analyst with American Express. A Chattanooga graduate rebranded herself to get noticed by more employers and immediately received multiple interviews. A Martin graduate seeking a career transition updated her resume and leveraged her network, which netted her an attractive offer. After a Health Science Center graduate was out of a job as a pharmacist, he relied on his Health Science Center contacts and learned of multiple opportunities in Memphis.

Now, moving through 34 jobs in 10 years (a resume I once reviewed) is a deep dive in career development that I would not recommend. Instead, what I suggest often starts with Google global education evangelist Jaime Casap’s mantra: “Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they want to grow up but what problems do they want to solve. This changes the conversation from whom do I want to work for to what do I need to learn to be able to do that.”

Going beyond reviewing resumes and coaching, alumni career services offers a plethora of free online tools, including one of the best online job searching tools, CareerShift. The road often becomes my office as I strive to bring career services, networking events and one-on-one coaching appointments to you in cities like Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville, Martin, Atlanta and Dallas. And the Strong Interest Inventory career assessment was just added as another resource to an already chock-full career services toolkit.

Whether you’ve graduated recently or decades ago, UT Alumni Career Services is here to support you. I am here to help you figure out your greatness, so go ahead, ask me what your next career steps should be. You invested years in your educational journey at UT, and now it’s time for UT to invest in you and your career.

Andrew Hart (Martin ’04, ’06) is director of alumni career services for the UT Alumni Association. He can be reached at 865-974-2115 or ahart@utfi.org. To learn more about the career services offerings, visit alumni.tennessee.edu.

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