Carnegie Mellon University

Connect and Grow

Advance on your career goals with tools and resources from the CMU Alumni Association during Career & Professional Development Month

By Amanda S.F. Hartle

Tartans share a love of learning, and the CMU Alumni Association wants to help you expand your knowledge and skills through career and professional development — with an entire month of events and resources just for Carnegie Mellon alumni. 

During CMUConnect’s Career & Professional Development Month in May, we’ll be sharing tasks, tips, programs and activities to help you jump start your career, master new techniques and build your network.  

Stay connected all month by following us on Facebook, joining with more than 110,000 CMU alumni online in Community and watching for weekly posts on our website every Monday 

Week 4: Build Your Professional Toolkit

Finish Career & Professional Development Month strong this week by dedicating at least one hour to constructing your professional development toolkit. An easy and beneficial way to spend 60 minutes — access our Online Webinar Archive and tap into the expertise of your fellow Tartans. 

Advice for Crafting an Image of Success with David McKnight (HNZ 1996) 

The first step in constructing your image is understanding the difference between identity, image and brand, says David, president of McKnight Image Lab and author of “The Zen of Executive Presence: Build Your Business Success Through Strategic Image Management and “Leading with Style.” 

”Your identity is who you are on the inside ― your values, belief system, morals and religion that inform how you view the world and respond to things,” he explains. “Your image is what you project to the world, like your appearance, lifestyle and actions, and how the world perceives you. Your brand is the collection of perceptions that people have of you over time. We always have an opportunity to inform or craft our personal brand, especially in new situations.” 

David helps individuals develop an authentic image by focusing on the details of their appearance and the perception they want to project in their professional setting.  

“Your image is a tool, and it can be used as a lever to accelerate your career,” he says. “We tell stories about who we are and what we believe about ourselves through our image.” 

Harness the Power of a Professional Development Group 

Share helpful resources and ask questions about your current career challenges in the Professional Development Group in Community. Take a few minutes this week to review past threads and comment or post within the group with your own insights or queries 

Learn From Our Top 5 Must-Watch Webinars” 

Week 3: Tackle the Job Search

Searching for a job can seem like a full-time job in itself, so this week, focus on making a plan for your next steps toward a new position. You can start with updating your resume, visiting the CMU Job Board, tapping into expert guidance from the CMU Career & Professional Development Center or signing up for the Alumni Virtual Career Fair on May 28.

Advice for Job Search Success from Elizabeth Gross (DC 1990) 

Start out with a realistic plan for managing your search, resolve to stay organized, employ effective networking strategies and keep the momentum going, says Elizabeth, head diva at Job Search Divas.  

The single most important thing you can do to improve your odds of getting an interview is to make sure the platform for your job search is solid.  

Gain more tips from Elizabeth by watching her webinar “Conquering Your Job Search Journey.”

Benefit from Professional Guidance 

Set up an appointment through the Alumni Career & Executive Coach Directory. CMU alumni have access to a valuable directory of fellow alumni serving as professional executive, communications and career coaches who provide discounted fee-based personalized professional development services.  

Plan a session with one of the CMU Career & Professional Development Center Career Consultants. Consultants offer advice and tips on numerous essential topics including job offer evaluation or negotiation, interviewing skills and ideas and tips for job searching. This program is preferred for alumni who have graduated less than five years ago, but it is open to all. 

Find Your Dream Job on Handshake  

Register for Handshake, CMU’s online job board, and join the Professional Development Group in Community to browse positions posted by fellow Tartans or partner organizations. 

Week 2: Strengthen Your Network

Expand your network and use our Carnegie Mellon University resources to connect with two or more people this week. You can engage with a Tartan at your company, reach out to a leader in your field, start a relationship with someone who shares a similar expertise or contact a fellow Tartan at a company where you can see yourself on the team in the future! 

Search and Connect with Fellow Tartans 

Stop by Community and say hello to old friends, while also creating new connections. Launched last fall, Community is CMU’s online hub that combines the personal connections of social media with CMU's global alumni directory, professional development resources and the latest CMU news. And, it’s only for Tartans! If you haven’t established your account yet, why not make one today 

Explore a CMU Network 

As a Tartan, you have an opportunity to join one of our many volunteer-led regional, identity or student organization networksNo matter your locationyour career, your favorite hobbies or what you did for fun on campus — like Buggy, Scotch‘nSoda or Kiltie Band — there is a network for you! 

Networking Advice from Juan Carlos Acosta (DC 2015)

Learn tips from Juan for building your network by checking out his webinar “From Awkward Encounters to Real Connections: Networking 101” in our Online Webinar Archive.

Be sure to bookmark Networking Like a Rock Star: Part I and Networking Like a Rock Star: Part II, for future viewing, while you’re perusing the archive. 

Week 1: Expand Your Knowledge with a Virtual Event

Review the CMU Alumni Association’s upcoming online events and see what fits your interests and schedule. These webinars, panels and networking events can expand your knowledge and your career horizons, while also connecting you to your fellow alumni and Carnegie Mellon. 

Sign Up for a Virtual Networking Session

We’re offering a variety of engaging virtual networking sessions to allow alumni opportunities to connect and network through hour-long Zoom meetings. Discuss how to navigate social distancing as extrovert, tips to thrive as a parent/caregiver while working from home, advice on entrepreneurship, career transitions, managing people and much more  from the comfort of your own home!

Seats are limited, so register today

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Webinars and Online Events

Take note of informative webinars and events such as the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship’s Corporate Startup Lab Public Demo Day on May 5, Protecting your IP for Startups on May 7 and Three Vicious Circles: Links Among Financial, Physical and Mental Health on June 4. 

Pay it Forward with Tartan Talks

Participate in the Career & Professional Development Center’s Tartan Talks program and welcome current CMU students to the alumni family. Sign up for 30-minute phone or video call to share your professional experiences.