On the Web

Visit the University of Colorado Career Services Web site at http://careerservices.colorado.edu/ alumni.

Anselma Lopez locked in a gratifying job immediately after graduating from the University of Colorado 21/2 years ago.

She was coordinating catering and corporate travel for a finance company until she lost her job amid the first rounds of layoffs. Her next stint was at the Aveda Institute, where she helped enroll students in the beauty school, organize fashion shows and student activities.

"I'm looking for my next move," Lopez said, as she circled the career fair at her alma mater last week, with a bit more outward confidence than the other job-seekers, many of whom have yet to step into the real world.

CU is among a growing number of colleges that are tossing out career ladders to alumni, offering job coaching, resume reviews and other services to those who have been laid off or are looking for a change. The Boulder campus this semester hired a new counselor whose job is the first alumni-specific position in Career Services. Already, the newcomer has met individually with 50 alumni.

Lopez said she has applied with 100 companies and organizations over the past five months, and has now turned to her university for assistance. She double-majored in marketing and management while at CU.


"I'm optimistic," she said.

Lea Alvarado, the new alumni career counselor, said she's consulting with a mix of job-seekers -- some who graduated back in the 1970s, and others who are relative rookies in the job market.

"A lot of individuals are in a place where they have jobs, but they are not happy, and they want to find that dream job or that occupation that is more fulfilling," Alvarado said. "I've seen some who have been laid off, too."

Alvarado comes to CU with more than a decade of experience in the career counseling and recruiting field, with past jobs at schools including the University of California-Los Angeles and Pomona College in Southern California, and with the biotechnology and aerospace industries.

This week she will be sending a survey to 5,000 alumni to hear what kind of services they'd like to see from career counselors. She plans to do Web conferences to reach out to out-of-state alumni, and is working with the University of Denver to co-host an alumni career fair in the spring.

The university this semester no longer charges alumni to access its services, a shift that comes with the "Forever Buffs" program that automatically admits CU students into the Alumni Association when they enroll at the university.

New CU students now pay a one-time $70 fee, and the association stopped soliciting $45 membership dues from graduates.

Alvarado's job came about as Career Services saw an increase demand from alumni. She assesses their interests and strengths to help identify ideal career fits, and brings them up to speed on social networking sites that can assist with their searches, such as LinkedIn.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers will be releasing its annual survey later this fall, and this year's survey added inquiries about special outreach programs to alumni who have been displaced, according to Ed Koc, research director with the association.

Nearly all schools offer job listings for alumni; 90.5 percent offer career counseling; 67.1 percent offer career workshops and 61.5 percent have "special programs for dislocated alumni."

The extension of alumni services isn't entirely altruistic, as colleges say this is one way to connect with graduates who have lost connection with the school and could help cultivate donations once they land jobs, or find their ideal career.

That's the case for one financial planner who graduated in 2003, and is now coming back around to CU, seeking help searching for a new career.

"I want to donate in the future and support CU," said Margaret, who didn't want to use her last name because she has yet to notify her clients about her new job plans.

Margaret is now looking into jobs in the career counseling field, and considering jobs that would help solve conflicts between employees and build employee morale.

She said she's relied on CU for help while she launches the new job search, which she admits is scary.

"But I've had a small voice in me saying this wasn't the correct career for me," said Margaret, who was a psychology and communication major and taught English in Italy upon graduation.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.