Looking for a job or a change in your career? Lea Alvarado is here to help. With more than 15 years of career development experience, she helps CU alums in one-on-one career sessions — the first two sessions are free — and provides career-oriented workshops. Last year she and her team saw 1,118 alums and offered 23 events.
What should be top of mind during a job search?
It is important to know who you are, what you can offer an employer and the type of job you’re looking for. Take an inventory of your accomplishments and achievements and reflect on your skills, interests, values and strengths. To experience a successful job search, everyone should begin by going through some kind of self-assessment process.
What is the full breadth of your services?
All of our services are designed to assist alums with the resources they need, whether they’ve been laid off, are looking to make a career transition or need resources to advance their career. We review résumés and cover letters, assist with interviewing skills and job-search strategies and help people overcome challenges hindering their career success.
We utilize a variety of assessments. We also host two Career Services events a month featuring coaches to help alumni with their job search.
Describe a typical career session.
Sometimes it may look like all the person needs is a résumé review, but it turns into a session about his or her fears of leaping into a whole new career. Fear is something I talk a lot about with my clients. It’s a big risk to follow your heart. Part of my role is to help them create a plan of action, so they can transition successfully.
Has the economy impacted your workload?
Absolutely. But no matter what’s happening in the economy, people will always be in career transition. A lot of people who come to me are employed but unhappy in their work. I’ve also been seeing a trend — people in their 60s who can’t afford to retire and struggle to find work because of their age and other factors. For the first time in our history, we have four generations in the workplace.
Do you have advice for those unemployed?
Many people who have been unemployed for a long time are spending too much time behind a computer sending résumés. Being willing to connect with people through things like social media, meet-up groups and networking events ultimately is how people find jobs.
What is your advice for interviews?
First, research the company. Then, practice. If possible, spend time in advance going over questions. Companies want to know that you’re someone they want to spend time with, so be yourself.
Lastly, be clear in your interview about what makes you stand out and how your strengths fit with the position.
Learn more at colorado.edu/career/alumni.
Photo courtesy Glenn Asakawa