Last month we shared with you UNC's commitment to supporting the Class of 2020 as they enter a COVID-19 job market. We understand that opportunities look different than what any of us, especially our graduating students, had thought only a few months earlier. That's why it is critical that the alumni of UNC step up to support their fellow Bears.

Over the next two months, UNC's alumni relations staff are proactively connecting with hundreds of Bears from across our Bear Network with the call "Bears Hire Bears." We will talk with alumni in human resource offices, past alumni career volunteers, alumni who have recruited on behalf of their company, and really anyone in our network who can help us:

  1. Identify employment opportunities that the Center for Career Readiness may share with graduates;
  2. Identify alumni willing to conduct informational interviews with recent graduates; and
  3. Gain industry and professional advice that we and the career team may pass on to our recent graduates and all alumni across the Bear Network.

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with alumnus Sean Flaherty, an Operational Excellence Manager in T. Rowe Price's Colorado Springs office. Sean responded to my LinkedIn post about our outreach plans and because he is an amazing advocate for both UNC and his company, he immediately accepted my invitation to chat more.

Sean may work in the financial services sector now, but he originally came to UNC to earn a master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership. He intended to continue his career as a student affairs professional having begun his career in residence life. While Sean's obviously not in that role now, his experience is a good reminder that it is okay to change your career plans.

Sean immediately called my attention to the fact that HESAL graduates, and graduates of other service and people-oriented fields, have incredibly strong communication and interpersonal skills. Their training and experience are transferable if they understand how to think about their interests and skills in a new way.

Sean encourages graduates to keep an open mind and consider what they enjoy about their field of study. Then explore where those interests align to occupational duties and industry or company values. Graduates can begin this process when they schedule an appointment with a UNC career counselor on Handshake. It's one of the great ways that UNC helps graduates put their Bear Network to work.

In addition to career exploration, UNC is busy helping new alumni develop skills through career development opportunities like our recent Bear Network virtual event series.

Last week we hosted our most recent virtual event on the topic of cover letters and resumes. In looking at our participant list, I noticed the name of a new alumna who had previously attended two other events. Her activity sparked my interest so I reached out to acknowledge her initiative and offer additional help.

Although she only just graduated, she already has part time experience in her chosen profession and is open to exploring opportunities and learning. Her initiative and drive are traits that I see in several of our UNC students and alumni. I know that an employer would be lucky to hire someone like her, so our next step is helping her build a job referral network beginning with alumni introductions and informational interviews.

When I think about our summer and the work we must do to support the Class of 2020, I see a great opportunity to activate alumni advocates and champions from across our network. No one alone can fix the challenges our graduates face, but when we work together we can give them every advantage to succeed after UNC.

After all...Once a Bear, Always a Bear.

Current Employment Opportunities & Referrals

Thanks to Sean Flaherty for sharing that T. Rowe Price still has, as of May 29th, opportunities targeting students and recent graduates:

Head over to Handshake to search for additional open opportunities.

Share Your Opportunity & Insight

We want to talk with any alumni who are willing to help. Please email me at lyndsey.crum@unco.edu to schedule a conversation and get involved in helping Bears Hire Bears.