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Career Empowerment

With a Viking network of more than 126,000 alumni, CSU graduates provide the brainpower and personpower for successful careers in Northeast Ohio, the nation and the world.

Yet whether it’s a bad boss, lack of professional development opportunities or simply wanting a change, many people find themselves in need of career guidance at one time or another.

For alumni, CSU’s Career Services Center is there to help. From recent graduates looking for their first job to mid-lifers facing layoffs to seasoned professionals seeking a change of pace, alumni account for 30 percent of the appointments made with Career Services.

The Center offers alumni lifelong access to assistance in career transition. The services are free and include: one-on-one career advising, assistance with resumes and cover letters, guidance and coaching on job search strategies, networking and interview techniques, and access to job opportunities though the Hire A Vike online job board.

The process begins with a 15-minute phone call, requiring submission of a resume and reason for the call ahead of time. During the call, a career specialist will provide guidance on job search techniques, networking, articulating career accomplishments, strategically reaching out with a message, and more.

Those seeking assistance are given homework – a pie chart to fill in to help identify networking contacts, and spreadsheets to log networking and job search activities.

“Being strategically organized with short-term and realistic to-do lists helps clients monitor forward progress without feeling overwhelmed and frustrated,” says Jessica Colombi, executive director of Career Services.

Associate director Amy Goldman adds that sometimes alumni need a gentle but diplomatic reality check.

“If you have a degree that you’ve never used and have worked in a totally different field your entire career, it’s not realistic to think you will find a job in your degree field,” she says. “If you go to an interview dressed inappropriately, it’s not surprising that you aren’t getting the job.”

For alumni, the career planning process includes knowledge of self and of the world of work, adds Goldman. “That means knowing your own personality, interests, skills and values and knowing where and how to look for work,” she says.

Based on the outcome of the initial phone call, alumni can make an appointment with Career Services on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“In the past, people would come to Career Services and say, ‘match me with an employer,’” says Colombi. “Today, we are awareness-raisers. Career Services empowers people to help themselves.”


Career Services welcomes alumni who want to share their success by helping current students. Ways to give back include:

Hire a Vike – Employers can establish accounts, post positions (internships and part-time and full-time employment) and search for candidates that meet qualifications on CSU’s internal, online job board. Jobs must require a four-year degree and align with students’ course work – no waiter or retail clerk jobs, please. Alums can also search for jobs themselves by completing a profile and uploading a resume that will be searchable by employers.

Resume Rx – A walk-in, on-campus event for current students and alumni, during which their resumes are reviewed by area employers. If you would like to participate as an employer and review resumes for students, please contact Career Services.

Mock Interview Day – Students register in advance for 30-minute spots during this on-campus event. If you are interested in facilitating mock interviews for students, please contact Career Services.

The next Resume Rx and Mock Interview events will be held during fall semester.

“Alumni who share their own experience, expertise and story help students understand that career paths are rarely straight,” notes Colombi. “Participation in Resume Rx and Mock Interview Day helps students understand the nuances of how to be successful in the world of work.”

Alumnus Kurt Steigerwald, BA ’86 and MBA ’88, adds, “I was energized to see such talented and engaging students who are looking for help as they hone their professional persona. This was a good opportunity to give back to CSU and the students in a very tangible way.”

Informational Interview – Be available for students to reach out to you to inquire about your work environment, career path or industry.

Offer job shadowing opportunities

Conduct on-campus recruiting and participate in CSU’s Career Fair

Offer experiential learning through internships or co-ops

Internships are paid or unpaid work experiences. They support a student’s academic learning and are meaningful jobs that teach students valuable skills, such as time management, how to work with a team, or how to manage a project.

During the last academic year, Career Services tracked 2,860 internships across the University. However, the number is actually higher because neither students nor employers always self-report internships.

Co-ops are alternating semesters of work and study. A student works full time for a semester, then returns to classes for a semester. It takes five years for a student to graduate when doing co-op and 90 percent are hired by their companies.

For more information, contact Career Services
at 216-687-2233 or

Pro Tips

It’s your most important job search strategy. Some 80 percent of people are hired by someone they know.

Perfect your elevator pitch.
Know how to tell your story in 60 seconds.

A resume is a first date.
Be truthful and highlight only the essentials – what you’ve done and the results. On average, employers look at a resume for eight seconds.

You’ve taken countless selfies but do you know yourself?
Grow and succeed by being yourself.

Internships are like broccoli. 
They’re good for you and essential for those looking for their first job.

Also in this Issue...

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Waves of Inspiration

“I was born with one skill, writing,” says Mark Lantz, BA ’87 and MACTM ’90.

Some might call that an understatement.

Lantz’s deft skills were honed at CSU and have been expressed over a 30-plus-year creative career, culminating with the founding of his own ad firm, Factory Detroit Inc. in Royal Oak, Mich.

A Lab Made for Dreamers, Makers and Doers

Entrepreneurs and startups have a new home in the Weston Ideation Lab, a space designed around the unique needs of venture development. Read more >>

CSU Salutes Outstanding Alumni

Congratulations to recipients of CSU’s third-annual Alumni Recognition Awards and to the fourth class of Fascinating Alumni. Read more >>

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Cleveland State University Alumni Association
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