Career Resources

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The University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association wants to continue to be a part of your professional development. With an alumni base of almost 113,000 strong you will find Panthers in almost every city across the United States.  

Our resources are here to help you whether you are looking for your first job, changing careers, building your network or even looking to retire. Please take some time to explore what we have to offer

WEBINARS : Everyone will benefit by joining live and recorded webinars featuring authors who will introduce strategies to improve soft skills like leadership, communication, creativity and teamwork.  And last, but not least, Boomers are invited to participate in webinars that will share tips and strategies that will help them lead the kind of retirement they deserve.

TalentMarks- Monthly webinars ranging from finding a job to planning for retirement. View upcoming webinars. All TalentMarks webinars are free of charge. Register today!

Iota- Comprehensive financial wellness program with assessments, webinars and coaching. Affordably priced. No financial products will be sold as part of the program. Sign up today! To receive your discount enter code: UNIALUM

Tips & Ideas from UNI Career Services

Networking is crucial when you’re on the job hunt. Some of the best jobs are never advertised. Many are filled by successful job seekers who networked with the right people and got the job before it was ever posted. Making those professional contacts through organizations or mutual friends can help with getting hired.

Effective Networking

Most job postings already have preferred (internal) candidates, so get off national job boards and start making personal connections. Employers are fond of referrals and first look to their own workers for people they know that can sufficiently fill positions.  By effectively networking, you increase your chances of being referred, which gets your foot in the door. Below is a list of things to do to become a better networker:

  • Develop relationships

  • Establish trust

  • Make connections—pay attention to the “small-talk”

  • Gather contact information

Using Online Job Boards
There are countless organizations who utilize job boards, which is convenient and easy for both the company and job-seeker. Be sure to not waste your time on large national job boards that are often filled with undesirable jobs (and even scams). Instead, use quality job services, such as or 

Using Social Media
Utilizing social networking sites for hiring purposes is becoming more common among organizations. Business executives have also turned to online forums to release job information. Employers can explore social networks to find high-quality candidates that they can't find elsewhere.  Such sites also help job hunters market themselves by creating profiles, listing professional credentials, and acquired skills.  Useful professional networking resources include: LinkedIn, the UNI Alumni Association, and your own personal contacts. These will assist in uncovering the hidden job market.   

If you have been laid off, a working mom, or had a career change, you face unique challenges getting back into the working world.  But there are a few things you can do to overcome the pressure of job market competition. Listed below are a few tips to get you back into the loop with work. 

  1. Six Month Rule: If the last update on your resume was 6+ months ago, you are perceived as "unemployable." To fill the gaps, engage yourself in volunteer work, unpaid internships, or help out your community. Attempt to mend the breaks in your resume to make yourself more marketable to potential employers. 
  2. Networking: The best way to do this is to stay in touch with former co-workers, people from organizations you were involved in, and other contacts. They are the ones who can keep you up to date on job openings.  Also, be sure to maintain memberships with professional organizations.  You should attend industry events frequently because it will keep you on the radar.
  3. Get involved: Don’t be afraid to apply for part-time positions or get involved with volunteer work.  Lots of times, people who haven't worked for extended periods of time will have to take small steps to get into an organization. Start off by applying for part-time positions.  Part-time work will keep your skills current and will help fill in gaps on your resume while getting your foot in the door.  Often times, working part-time at any organization means there may be opportunity to get hired on full-time.
    If you’re more interested in helping your community, volunteerism is a great asset to resumes. Volunteering at local organizations gets you familiarized with the type of work they do and how they contribute to the community. This is an excellent way to get to know an organization, which can lead to a possible pursuance of a professional role.
  4. Educate yourself: You may want to go back to work but not to the same job you had before.  Ponder areas you might be interested in.  When you discover an area you want to pursue, get the training to make getting that job happen. 

Resume is:

  • A short document that highlights your professional credentials

  • It is not a biography of everything you have done

  • Its purpose is to get you an interview

  • Descriptive, yet concise, resumes are excellent marketing tools for applicants because they emphasize the skill sets and professional/academic qualifications

Resume Tutorial

15-Second Test 
Most employers spend 15-30 seconds when first examining resume.  In this short amount of time, employers determine if you’re a worthy candidate. Make your resume stand out!

Comparing College vs. Professional Experience 
Describe the skills you gained while working in the “real world.” Those experiences will outshine college accomplishments because they are most current. What Works

  • Simple: Keep to 1-2 pages, clean font (size 10-12) with one inch margins

  • Demonstrate: Describe how you gained experience and where

  • Summary of Qualifications: Create a list of career highlights/qualifications

  • Bullets: Use a bullet list to describe your skills and experience

  • E-mail: When e-mailing, convert your resume and cover letter to a PDF

  • Online: Create a plain text version of your resume and cover letter to paste into company job boards

What Doesn't Work

Errors: Typos and grammatical errors

Unique: Using overstyled, unique layouts on unprofessional paper 

Photocopy: Using the exact resume or cover letter for every job application

Objectives: Objective statements are unspecific and lack a focus. Write a Summary of Qualifications instead

Tasks: Focusing on tasks instead of skills or achievement

Interviewing is an inevitable part of the hiring process. Interviewing well is an acquired skill that comes with practice and readiness. Listed below are interview's "do's" and "don'ts":

What Works

  • Research: Research the employer using websites, print media, and your network

  • Respect: Treat everyone you meet with respect

  • Introduction: Start off strong and be able to answer "Tell me about yourself"

  • STAR: Use the STAR approach (Situation/Task, Action, Result) to answer behavioral based questions

  • Examples: Give specific examples and details to back up all qualities. People remember stories better than specific details, so tell a story about your successes

  • Confidence: Smile, use good posture, and show genuine interest and enthusiasm!

What Doesn't Work

  • Unprofessional appearance or dress, wrinkled clothing, poor hygiene

  • Late arrival (best to arrive 10-15 minutes early)

  • Using filler words, such as: "um," "like," "yea," or "you know"

  • No prepared questions to ask recruiters

  • Making negative comments about previous employers

  • Not sending thank you notes to the interviewers

  • Poor eye contact

Ways to Succeed in an Interview

  • Rehearse Delivery: Conduct a mock interview with a friend or mentor. Work to improve your performance by noting body language and facial expressions

  • Make a Good Impression: People want to hire people they like. Be likeable, friendly, and respectful

  • Sell Yourself: Develop a list of your own career successes and challenges you have overcome

  • Change Your Perception of Interviews: Organizations may be interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them to see if that company is a good fit for you

  • Questions: Prepare to ask the interviewer questions. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask insightful and probing questions which you did not find answered in your research

Click here for Sample Interview Questions