Alumni head back to college campus to look for work


Finding a job or changing careers has never been more difficult. Over eight percent of all Americans are unemployed. 

While it's tough for recent graduates to find a job, it's even more difficult for their parents. Yet there's one trend that seems to be working, especially for alumni who haven't been back on campus for awhile.

Many graduates cross the stage and say goodbye. But if you are looking for a job or trying to figure out your next career move, it might be good to dust off the diploma and head back to your college.

It's been 30 years since Mary Ann Patterson finished her Communications degree at DePauw University in Greencastle. She's been a stay-at-home mom, and outside of volunteering, she's not worked. But a recent divorce has her looking for a job.

"It is a little bit overwhelming," Patterson said.

Through a friend, Patterson realized that her alma mater was still there to help: "I am going to go to a networking event tonight. I am looking forward to meeting some classmates. A lot of them will be younger but that is all right."

Steve Langerud at DePauw University says his office has seen more and more alumni calling them for employment help. "We are talking to graduates who have been out for a year and those that are about to retire," he said. 

The Director of Professional Opportunities tell us DePauw helped more than 200 alumni last year work on their career goals - everything from creating a resume to interview coaching.

"One of the things that has resonated with alumni is that we understand them. We understand their education," said Langerud.

For many college graduates, coming back to their alma mater is often comforting, but it can also save them money. The program for alumni at DePauw University is free.

Courtney Rousseau, a graduate from Butler University, used her alumni connections to find her next career path: "Many people don't have the means to go and pay someone to help them find a job."

After returning from teaching English in France, Butler graduate Country Rousseau needed a new career path back in the states. She turned to her old stomping grounds and met with the career development staff every other week for a year, free of charge.

Gary Beaulieu with Butler University thinks there is a reason for more success with alumni relationships: "You get personalized attention and you also get the networking connections that alumni can provide."

Many of the universities in Indiana, including IU and Purdue, also offer counseling to help alumni with their job search- and many of these programs are free. 

Also, at the end of August, the second annual Alumni Job Fair will be held in Indianapolis. Most of the larger Indiana schools will be there.