Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Build a Network of Alums, Employers, and Career Center Staff

Written by Carol Ormand & Molly Kent, based on ideas compiled from the 2007 workshop on the Role of Departments in Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals, and supplemented with material from the 2013 Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce workshop.

There are many people who share your goals of wanting your students to be well-prepared for their professional careers. Collaborating with them can help take the burden off of you while benefitting everyone.

Work with your Alumni

A key recommendation that arose from the January 2007 workshop on The Role of Departments in Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals and the 2013 Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce workshop was to keep track of your department's alumni, so that you can give specific examples of what students have done with degrees from your program. Most alumni are thrilled to be asked for their advice about how to best prepare students for their job, too. Here are some suggestions about and examples of how to work with your alumni.

Work with Local and Regional Employers

If there are any employers in your area who have employed more than one of your graduates, you have an opportunity to work with them to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your program in preparing students for those jobs.

What knowledge, skills, and abilities are they looking for? Every job is different, so this kind of inside information can make a big difference in student advising. Invite employers to campus so students can showcase their talents.

Join Regional Associations and Attend Meetings

For small schools without a large alumni base, community-based efforts are an important point of connection. Contact local associations and clubs to look for service-learning partners.

Attend regional and national meetings, and encourage students to do the same. Collaborate with other departments on your campus to increase your profile and pool resources.

Work with your Campus Career Services Office

The Career Services office on your campus exists to help students identify and prepare for the careers of their choice. To be successful, they need to know about your programs: what do you do, what kinds of students are you looking for, and what kinds of careers do your alumni pursue? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do students need to be successful in those careers? Help your Career Services staff to understand the world of geoscience careers, and they will help you and your students.

Observations from a Career Counselor

Julie Vick, from the University of Pennsylvania's Career Services office, offers her advice on how departments and career offices can work together in this presentation (Acrobat (PDF) 274kB Feb5 08) from the 2007 workshop on preparing future geoscience professionals.