Alumni Coronavirus FAQs

Alumni Information and Resources for a Challenging Time

This is definitely a challenging time for all of us. If in addition to juggling personal and family issues you also find yourself in a position to have to conduct a job search, you’re facing even more challenges.

We are available to offer assistance and support during your job search and have listed some general tips and resources to help. For individualized assistance, please contact Kris Stehler, and she will connect you with your Career Services Coordinator for one-on-one advisement.

  • Get information on and apply to any applicable unemployment insurance benefits to which you’re entitled. 
    • There is additional unemployment insurance available to workers affected by COVID-19. See attached for more information on Pandemic Unemployment Insurance.        
  • Take care of yourself
    • Make sure your immediate needs are being met
    • Where possible, stick to a routine – eat, get enough sleep, exercise
    • Stay connected to your support system, and let them know how they can help you with your search – i.e. can they make a connection with someone in your field?
    • As with any job loss, it’s ok to take time to grieve, then get back into activity.  Set small goals for yourself that are achievable.
    • Volunteer – look for ways to give back.  In helping others, you will help yourself – and the connections you make may help you with future opportunities.
  • How to Survive a Layoff
    US News & World Report
  • Short term plan – a job to generate immediate income
  • Long term plan – for your dream job. Conduct a simultaneous search, to continue working towards your goal.
    • Use all general and field-specific resources to catch all opportunities
      • See our online web resources and get additional suggestions from your Career Services Coordinator
      • Continue to use RIT Handshake – login with your RIT account and search job postings
    • Focus on networking
  • Conduct an organized search, manage your time, set SMART goals, regularly evaluate  your activity and goals

Take the time to make your marketing materials are strong; they should all reflect your brand, or what you have to offer employers, and are the best representation of your qualifications as they relate to your targeted industry, field and the companies to which you apply.  In this time you especially want to stand out from the competition for the jobs that are available.

  • Resume: Targeted to each specific company you apply to, especially at the experienced level. Start with a profile or summary of qualifications section, and focus on your accomplishments; you want to demonstrate a record of success.
  • Cover letter: Targeted to each specific job, and match your qualifications to the job, so that the company can see you in that position. Elaborate with stories that showcase your relevant skills.
  • LinkedIn and other social media profiles: Should be branded, using the headline and summary areas to emphasize your strengths as they relate to your targeted field, and to differentiate yourself from others. Fill your profile with relevant keywords that ensure you’ll be found by recruiters. Find and develop the appropriate supporting materials for your field, and be sure they enhance your brand and qualifications.
  • Elevator Pitch: Strong introduction to you and your brand, tells where you’ve been, why you’ve been successful, and where you want to go.   
  • Interviewing Skills: Prepare by assessing your key qualities, develop responses to common general questions and specific questions for your field. Practice responses. Conduct a mock interview with your Career Services Advisor, especially in a virtual environment.
  • References: Be sure your references are up to date, and keep them updated on your job search.

Use this time to develop new skills and gain knowledge to make yourself a stronger candidate.

  • Training opportunities at RIT:
    • Lean Six Sigma Fundamentals: May 14 – August 5 (online). Complete this three-credit graduate course and receive Yellow Belt Certification. You will also be considered Green Belt “trained,” ready for Green Belt Certification once you complete a value-added project (after course completion). Register here or contact us directly at cqas@rit.edu. Your employer’s tuition reimbursement policy may apply. 
    • Basic Statistics and Design of Experiments (DOE): June 15-30 (online). Normally a three-day on-campus workshop, we are making the same content available over two weeks to give you plenty of time to master the material when it’s convenient for you with continual instructor support. Learn how to use powerful experimental design techniques to solve challenging problems in engineering, R&D, marketing, and operations. Register here.
    • Introduction to Minitab: July 13-15 (online). This half-day on-campus workshop is now available online over three days to adapt to your schedule.  Learn how to use a powerful but user-friendly software package, Minitab®, to collect, manipulate, analyze and graph data effectively. Register here.
    • Data Analysis & Problem Solving with Excel: August 3-12 (online). Normally a three-day on-campus workshop, the content is now available over ten days to give you time and flexibility to master the material with instructor support. Learn how to use Microsoft® Excel to organize, visualize and utilize data to solve problems and make data-driven decisions. Register here.
    • Lean Six Sigma Certification: learn how to improve business processes and become a certified Lean Six Sigma professional with one of our fall programs: Register here
      • Yellow Belt: August 19-21 (on-campus)
      • Green Belt: September 21-December 15 (online or on-campus)
      • Black Belt: October 5 – January 28 (online)
  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – many free or low cost
    Coursera, EdX, Udemy, Alison
  • LinkedIn Learning Free For 30 Days
  • Experts Webinar Series – library of job search and career management webinars by leading experts, to advance your career. Free for all RIT alumni. 
  • Pluralsight Free During Entire Month of April: #FREEapril!!!
  • Specific online training for your field.  Find applicable training options to become stronger in your current field or to gain skills to make a career change.
    • For example, PE license (The Principals and Practice of Engineering exam)       
    • FE/EIT exam (Fundamentals of Engineering)

The importance of networking cannot be overemphasized, especially in this uncertain time.  Use this time to create a firm foundation of contacts and develop your professional network, so that when opportunities become available, you’ll be well-positioned to hear about them.

  • RIT alumni are a great resource for networking. Find them in several places.
    • LinkedIn – Rochester Institute of Technology page, click the alumni tab. Search by major, a keyword for your field, or company, and reach out to make a connection
      • Groups – RIT alumni group, RIT Career Services
    • RIT Alumni Association – log in and click Contact Old Friends from RIT; this gives you access to a searchable database
  • LinkedIn – connect with RIT alumni, contacts in your targeted companies, current and former colleagues. Join groups (you can join up to 100) for your field, to stay knowledgeable in your field and make additional connections, participate in discussions to demonstrate your expertise.
  • Professional Associations – these organizations offer the chance to grow professionally through conferences and other knowledge-based resources, and especially the ability to connect with like-minded people in your field for networking. The more you participate, the more members will get to know you and will feel comfortable recommending you for opportunities as they become available. Find professional associations by doing a Google search, by seeing what organizations alumni are involved in through their LinkedIn profiles, and through recommendations by people in your field.
  • Volunteer and community organizations – any group of which you’re a part provides an opportunity to connect and network with its members. You never know where you’re next job lead will come from, so stay connected to these groups. Think broadly, i.e. the parents of your child’s sports team

When things return to normal, it will most likely be a new normal for the work world, with many more remote jobs and alternate work arrangements. To be successful you’ll need to demonstrate the skills valued in a remote environment. You may also need or want to consider an alternate work arrangement.

  • Be prepared to demonstrate accomplishment with these critical skills, through specific examples from your experience – including volunteer experience:
    • Adaptability
    • Flexibility
    • Critical Thinking/Problem solving
    • Ability to navigate change
    • Communication and conflict resolution

 

Consider these ways to share your time and talent with RIT students who may need extra support and assistance at this time during their own job searches.

  • If your company is in a position to hire students, at the co-op/internship or full-time level, please let us know. Many summer co-ops have been canceled, so we’re especially interested in connecting with companies who are able to retain workers.
  • Share your expertise with students through a webinar. You can offer tips and suggestions for a student’s job search, provide information on an industry or your company, and just offer support and encouragement from an employer’s (an alumnus/a’s) perspective. We’re happy to help you set up the webinar, and will advertise it to students. 
  • If you’d prefer to write, send us some advice through email and we’ll share it with students. 
  • Conduct a virtual mock interview with a student, through Skype or Zoom; your feedback will help students who are unfamiliar with a virtual interview feel more comfortable with the process, and selling themselves remotely.
  • Review and provide feedback on a student’s resume. Feedback from an alum in the field is invaluable.
  • Offer to do an informational interview with a student who’d like to get into your field or who is in your major. This helps them gain information and resources to move forward in their career.

However you’re able to provide assistance, know that students will be very appreciative of your guidance and support!  Contact Kris Stehler if you’d like to assist.

If you’re looking for a job in this challenging time, we’re here to assist.  Check out our recorded webinars below that provide information and tools to help move you forward towards your goals and job search success.

RIT Alumni Career Services & Programs, and Handshake online system – Get an overview of the career services and programs provided by our office, and take an in-depth tour of our Handshake online job and career management system.

Retool Your Resume - Our tips will ensure your resume stands out from the intense competition of today’s job market, and get noticed by recruiters.

Networking Essentials – Get tips to help you develop, grow, and maintain a network of contacts that can help you gain access to the Hidden Job Market.

Interviewing Success - Get the tips you need to successfully “sell” your skills and accomplishments to prospective employers in this challenging environment.