Friday, September 18, 2015

Viking Voices - Salem State University CSO (Career Services Online): part of Your Alumni Benefits

How long ago did you step on that stage to receive your Salem State degree? A year ago? Five years? Longer? For me, almost 30 years seem to have passed in an instant.

As I blogged in My Salem State Story: What is Yours? my time at Salem State seem seemed to quickly recede into the past as the momentum provided by my Salem State education propelled my career. I didn’t know then that the substantial resources of the institution would continue to provide benefits throughout my adult life. These benefits include my ability to succeed based upon the things I learned in formal education as well as the experiences and activities of my time at Salem. I would discover there is even more.

In 2013 my employer offered a deal that became too hard to refuse. Seeking to align the size of the organization with operating results the company offered an attractive separation package for more senior employees. I suddenly had to confront that recurring life’s question, “What will I do when I grow up?” This question turned out to harder to answer than I had anticipated.

The challenge wasn’t for lack of opportunities. More it became a confusing array of choices. I also faced a compelling desire to try to wipe the slate clean. I had been doing similar occupations for a long time. It felt as though I had the chance to reboot; start from career Jump Street; do a career Lido Shuffle.  

Doing so meant facing up the tribulations of someone who had not been in the job market for years. How to start? What resources could I tap? Here is where some of the many great resources available to Salem State Alumni came into my life.

Are you aware that as a Salem State University Alumnus you have available to you, mostly without charge, the resources of Salem State University CSO (Career Services Online)?  I learned this and took great advantage as the next chapter in my career life began to unfold.

Included in the extensive resources are:
  • The ability to build a profile which you can share with prospective employers;
  • A Resource Library including –
    • Career-related Articles/Blogs,
    • Career Services Fact Book,
    • Career Services Handouts,
    • On-Campus Recruiting;
  • Career Advice Videos;
  • Job Search Tools;
  • Résumé Creator Tools;
  • Career Event Schedules;
  • Access to the Campus Career Coach; and
  • Other resources.

Also available are helpful staff to provide guidance to you through your career search journey. I was able to update my résumé using the online tools and get valuable coaching to improve it for professionalism and marketability.

Part of my separation package from my former employer included several months’ subscription to a commercial career services firm. My experience comparing the two: the for-profit company and the Salem State University CSO? Point for point I found the Salem State University CSO to be as valuable to me as the very expensive commercial service.

The only thing I will say is that the staff at Salem State University CSO is in the head space of helping undergraduate and graduate students. Especially when conversing remotely especially via email with the specialist, an adult job seeker needs to make sure that the person understands your adult job seeker context and needs. Once you’ve established the proper working relationship the results will be exceptional.

My results were that after going through the process I decided that independence was what I seek. After many job applications, cover letters and interviews I founded my own business. 

Had I not gone through the job seeker processes supported by the resources of the Salem State University CSO, I may not have been so secure in my choice. Also, founding my business is not the end. Who knows what the future holds?

For this reason the Salem State University CSO will never be in my past. I keep my profile fresh. I log on periodically to see what new opportunities may become available. As a potential employer there are tools that give access to a substantial pool of well-educated, talented and motivated employee prospects.

Salem State University CSO has become a part of my professional regimen. If you haven’t discovered this unique resource and this valuable benefit of your membership in the Salem State University Alumni community, check it out. As Salem State University CSO for me, you will discover it to be yet one more value that Salem State University brings to your life. 

Best regards,
Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors member-at-large