Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why Wait | Importance of Networking

Powers '13
By Leilani Powers '13

With only a month left to go here at Pacific University, I have found there are an infinite amount of life lessons people will tell you throughout your college years, and even your high school career, that you find to be all too true. 

Sometimes, when it’s too late to act on the advice. 

One of the lessons I caught on to just in time through my time working in the Office of Alumni Relations was the importance of networking. 

At first, I didn’t truly understand what networking really was or its importance. 
Why would knowing somebody who has been in education for the past thirty years have any influence on my career in marketing? 
Why would keeping business cards or in contact with people I hardly know be useful to me as a sophomore in college?  
What could talking to somebody for only five minutes ever do for me in the future?
Well, as many of my fellow graduating seniors may know, it’s now all about who you know when it comes to looking for work in this extremely competitive job market. In many cases, it’s about who people in your network know that may be more important. 

Because they may act as a great referral to someone in your dream employer, making a connection you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to make on your own.
As I got older a common message was that building your professional network is key to being successful in this day and age. Having a vast professional network is even more important for recent graduates. The people in your network may be able to help you get your “foot in the door,” sometimes the hardest part of getting a job. 
Remember, you could have a great resume and fantastic interview skills, but if the employer’s key word search doesn’t find what it needs when scanning your resume, they won’t even look at it and you definitely won’t get an interview. However your friend, family member, or colleague who works in that firm (or similar ones in that industry) may be able to get your resume to the top of the list and personally read by the right person in the company you’re going for.

Powers '13 networking at an alumni event
While interning for the Office of Alumni Relations, I quickly learned that the people who you may meet at events like Pacific’s Speed Networking, Portland Networking Breakfast, etc. are not just people who have become successful in their field (whatever that field/industry may be), but they are alumni of Pacific University, same as I will be soon, and they truly care about students and are willing to help in anyway they are able.
In almost all the events I’ve gone to, there have been at least a handful of alumni who wouldn’t hesitate, if not insist, they connect me with a member of their network in the field or company they think would be of value to me. 
My advice I hope you heed sooner than later: if something as simple as meeting people can possibly get you the leg up when trying to advance your career, why wait? Go to as many networking events as you can wherever you are in life. Believe me, they’ll come in handy later, and if you don’t start early, you’ll kick yourself later.

Powers '13 is a business major at Pacific University and has worked in the Office of Alumni Relations as a Marketing and Communication Assistant during her time at Pacific. Powers is also the Co-President for Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring | A Time for Revitalizing the Events Calendar

Moshofsky at Patton Valley Winery
By Ginger Moshofsky

Now that I have been here all of four months, I am more excited than ever to plan, implement and create interesting and fun events that will get all of us together.
I have loved getting to know many of you and I loved meeting the Alumni Board and the Trustees a few weeks ago. I also had a wonderful time with the Golden Guard on March 14 and am already thinking about how I can get together and visit with them again.
I heard of an event done successfully at another school that I would love to do here. It is an event that would bring the 1960s to life as a theatrical experience through the reading of letters and journals written to and from students while they were in school at Pacific. It's called the Pacific Letters Project. If you come across your journals from college, please consider submitting them to alumni@pacificu.edu or by postal mail.

Alumni Relations staff at Patton Valley winery
I am thinking about ways to integrate more family friendly events and opportunities at Homecoming and throughout the year.
How about a croquet game where the wickets are costumed theater students who may or may not stand still as you try to play through.
You and your family can look forward to the Boxer Bingo game we are creating for Homecoming 2013.
The Alumni Relations staff recently visited local wineries to plan the wine tour during Homecoming weekend which sparked many ideas on possible events we can plan throughout the year.

I would love to design an arts season where for one price and one registration, you could attend a variety of musical and theatrical performances and gallery exhibitions by current Pacific students, with a dessert reception before or after the show.

I am busy planning the Trivia PUB Night featuring Byron Steiger at the Lucky Lab in May. There will be rivalry, revelry and prizes. You can view all of the upcoming events at www.pacificu.edu/alumni.

I would love to know your thoughts. Do you like any of these ideas? Do you have ideas of your own? Please share with us. Call, email or come by and visit. The Abbott Alumni Center, 2209 Cedar Street, is your home on the Pacific campus in Forest Grove.
You are always welcome to come home!

Moshofsky is the assistant director of alumni relations and can be reached at ginger@pacificu.edu or 503-352-2828. In her spare time, Moshofsky enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, volunteering as vice president of Mask and Mirror Community Theatre and writes stories about her hometown of Tualatin for The Oregonian.