Marketing & Communications

Alumni: need help rolling along the want ads?

By: Bridget Tharp

The job was worth moving his entire family across the country. That is, until the professional he was meant to replace decided not to quit. As Marc Levey '99 became a job seeker in a city 2,000 miles away from the extensive professional network it had taken 15 years to build, he looked to his alma mater for guidance.

The Alumni Career Services program helped him to reach new professional contacts, which ultimately led to a new opportunity in his industry. Any alumni may attend career fairs on campus or request career services via in-office appointment, or remotely by phone or video chat with a representative from the BGSU Career Center.

"Looking for jobs is all about getting your foot in the door and that initial discussion"Levey spent most of his finance career as a controller for a large architecture firm in Nevada. He was a financial consultant on CityCenter Las Vegas, the largest privately-funded project in the United States. The $7.8 billion project including luxury resorts, shopping, gaming and residential housing was complete in 2009.

Then, the perfect job opportunity emerged to move back closer to extended family in his hometown of Cleveland - a new position as a director of finance for an architecture firm. But just four months after moving and training for his new position, Levey learned that the employee he was due to replace had chosen to abandon his plans to retire.

"I immediately started scrambling, reaching out to recruiters," said Marc Levey '99. "I found the process to be very much a black hole. I'd often send out resumes and never hear a word. Because I couldn't get any feedback, I thought I'd reach out to the alumni center at Bowling Green."

Dr. Kacee Ferrell Snyder, assistant director in the Career Center and liaison to alumni, used the alumni database to contact a group of professionals in the finance industry in greater Cleveland on behalf of Levey. More than 170,000 living alumni of BGSU stay connected through the Alumni Association, and several professionals responded by inviting Levey to meet or to submit his resume for critique.

But first, Dr. Ferrell Snyder had her own advice for Levey. She suggested that he use his resume to emphasize the transferable skills he acquired during his varied experience in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to food production.

"I felt that she really nit-picked, which was actually a good thing. Your resume is in a stack and employers are looking for a reason to eliminate (applicants)," Levey said. The critique "gave me an opportunity to erase those items."

The interaction with BGSU gave Levey a confidence boost before meeting Jeff Baker '77, finance director for the labeling and package manufacturer, Avery Dennison. Baker stays in contact with BGSU and its Alumni Association, as a frequent recruiter at student job fairs on campus. Baker invited colleagues to his initial meeting with Levey, who impressed them enough to earn a job. Levey was hired at Avery Dennison as a temporary employee. The opportunity may lead to a full-time position, Baker said.

Baker's best advice to job seekers like Levey is to use a resume to reflect how he's shown initiative or leadership on the job, how his creativity has improved his workplaces, and perhaps even how he's saved money for his employers.

"Looking for jobs is all about getting your foot in the door and that initial discussion," Baker said. "I feel good about being able to help a fellow alumnus."

That's music to Dr. Ferrell Snyder's ears, because professional networking among BGSU alumni has never been more important. The average worker will change jobs as many as 10 times in their lifetime, and change careers at least three times.

"It is important to help alumni because it is no longer common to stay with the same company for your whole career," she said. "I often hear, 'If there is anything I can do for anybody else, let me know.' It just builds good relationships. Alumni will always help other alumni or students."

The BGSU Career Center serves alumni by offering resume critiques, job search assistance, and career assessments related to a possible career change. Webinars are frequently offered on special topics related to the job search, such as salary negotiation and using social media for professional networking.

Another tool that Dr. Ferrell Snyder sometimes recommends is the Strong Interest Inventory, which links a job seeker's personal passions to at least 130 possible careers perhaps never previously considered by the job seeker. There is also free access to an online career management platform that is especially useful for building a resume from scratch.

It all adds up to preparing BGSU alumni for new professional opportunities.

For more information or to make an appointment with the Career Center, email acs@bgsu.edu or call 419-372-2424. 

 (Posted April 1, 2013 )