Lean on Alumni to Land a Job

I went to college so I could get a job.

I took some interesting classes at UCSB, yes, and I enjoyed learning new things, but the entire POINT for me attending school was to get a job afterward.

Yes, I went to a lot of parties, I learned how to surf, made tons of friends, experienced plenty of new things, but I wouldn’t have applied to UCSB in the first place if I didn’t think it would help me start my career.

I spent four years at UCSB, and I, in fact, get the job I wanted. Now that I’ve done that, here’s what I‘ve learned: The greatest benefit of a college education – the part that will help you the most in finding a job – is the people you meet.

It’s not the classes, it’s not the chapters you’ll read, it’s not the projects you’ll do, it’s not the papers you’ll write. It’s the people you’ll meet.

Think about it:

  • There are thousands of UCSB Alumni that work at interesting and impactful companies all over the world. Gaucho grads love to help graduating seniors get their career started.
  • At UCSB, you learn directly from professors, graduate students, coaches, mentors, and administrators that have been published in academic journals, have won Nobel Peace Prizes, have worked with Fortune 500 companies, have created brilliant advertising campaigns, have written books, coached Olympians, and much more.
  • At UCSB, you’re surrounded by motivated, smart, attractive, athletic, and hilarious students that all want to succeed. As students, you can help each other get ahead.
  • UCSB has great internship and career services programs that connect you with the Santa Barbara community – an engineering, business, advertising, design, and entrepreneurial hotbed.

Each point above is an avenue that will lead you to a job, trust me.

These benefits are granted to you only because you go to UCSB. There’s no way you’d meet any of these people had you not gone to college.  You can take classes any time (e.g., University of Phoenix), but forming strong connections with the great people you’re rubbing elbows with… that can only be done now.

Take advantage of the opportunity you have, the time you have, the access you have, and form a broad and meaningful network of people that can help start your career.

Below is a breakdown of how you can benefit from the four groups I’ve mentioned above:

UCSB Alumni
When I was a senior, I was dead-set on working at an advertising agency in Los Angeles.

In order to be hired by one, though, I needed to get an interview. Sending blind resumes to “Apply Now” websites is a dead end, so I needed to meet people working at the companies I wanted to join.

It’s much easier to be hired by a company if you know a few people there. They’ll say good things about you, they’ll pass along your resume, they’ll tell you about job openings not listed on the website, and they’ll introduce you to the HR recruiters.

You may think it’s impossible to meet people who work at Merrill Lynch, TBWA/Chiat/Day, ESPN, Google, and Tory Burch, but it’s not. Look for Gauchos that work there.  They do… you just need to look.

Gauchos form instant bonds. We’ve shared the same crazy experiences, lived in the same crappy apartments, and have taken the same tough classes. Those similarities form very strong connections; they build trust. Graduates will think “they know you” before ever meeting you.

Students, take advantage of that.

To get your foot in the door, have a fellow Gaucho open it for you. They will. I have, for Gaucho seniors, many times. As you progress along your career, there will be UCSB graduates all over the world that can help you. Don’t forget that.

Professors and Grad Students
I’m a product of the UCSB Writing Minor Program, the Technology Management Program, SB Media Group, and the Recreational Sports Department. I had the honor of meeting dozens of accomplished, successful, well-connected, and caring professors that, as Gauchos, are willing to help students build a great future.

For example, my Writing Minor professor helped me land my first internship at an advertising agency in Santa Barbara. She also wrote several recommendations for me, which got me into the advertising training programs that, later, lead to my opportunity at Wieden+Kennedy.

Your professors, especially at the upper division level where classes are smaller and teacher-student interaction is greater, want to help their students. If you show commitment, energy, and are genuinely interested, they will.

UCSB Students
Early in college, very few of us know what kind of career we want to pursue. It’s hard to decide!  If you don’t have any experience, or don’t know too much about a specific industry, it’s even more difficult.

But your friends might know what they want to do. Say you’re a senior, and you’re roommate is preparing to take the LSAT – ask her about it! Find out what she’s learned about law school, ask her about what being a lawyer is like, learn about the requirements for that kind of career.

While I was at UCSB, I didn’t know what job I wanted, but I saw my roommate, who was aggressively pursuing admission into law school, knew exactly what he wanted. I admired that devotion, and envied that sense of direction.

My junior year, my roommate helped me get a position at the internship he had, at the Santa Barbara Superior Court. It was an invaluable experience (I learned I didn’t want to be a lawyer), and it wouldn’t have been possible unless I relied on my friends for opportunities.

UCSB Career Services
Santa Barbara is full of smart people, both on and off the campus. It’s easy to meet the smart people that work on campus — just attend office hours, volunteer for research projects, etc.

UCSB Career Services is your direct link to the smart people off campus. They have people trained to help you get an internship. They have connections with professionals in all sorts of industries all over the city, the state, and the country. They ask graduates like me to work with students like you, to get them jobs.

They even bring recruiters on campus to talk directly with you and help you find a career.

Don’t miss this opportunity. Meet people. Have a Gaucho open a door for you.

Ask yourself what your goal is. What’s the point, for you, of being at UCSB? Mine, ultimately, was to find a good job.

If that’s your goal too, then start now and meet everyone that you can. You never know who might be in a position to help you in the future.

Cody Corona is a Marketing Coordinator at Rockstar Games, a leading developer, marketer and publisher of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. Previously, Cody helped lead integrated advertising campaigns for Old Spice and Denny’s restaurants. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and currently lives in New York City.

Follow Cody on Twitter or visit his webpage.