Darden’s Alumni Career Services has the honor of working with talented global alumni, established in all industries and functions, as they navigate every career stage, including job transitions. Who better to ask for job search advice than some of these amazing individuals who have just gone through the process? I can’t think of anyone. So, thanks to our recently landed clients for sharing their words of wisdom.

Leveraging Networks and Resources

  • My biggest surprise in the job search was how strong and supportive the Darden alumni network is – people are willing to help and offer time, advice and guidance.
  • Get help from Darden Alumni Career Services to get you up to speed quickly with the latest and greatest approaches to pursuing and landing your next role. If you’re rusty or if it’s been a while, don’t go it alone.

Self-awareness and Clarity of Goals

  • A career break of a year or less allows you to do two of these three things well: 1) truly enjoy your time off 2) do self-discovery or life design and 3) run a job search. I expected the self-discovery could be done on a ski lift or on a bike saddle, but at least in my own case, I was wrong!
  • Determine where you get your energy from and keep that healthy. If you show up to a networking coffee or call without a good energy level, it could negatively impact the outcome. I ran myself ragged with networking calls at certain times during my search, pushing myself to do as much as I could, but I needed time to process, reflect and improve to stay balanced.
  • Make sure that you are clear on your personal career roadmap and story. Bringing a compelling case to the interview and being able to clearly articulate your value in a succinct way will differentiate yourself in this job market.
  • Take stock of what you really need and want from a job. Think about how you view work generally. Is your next job an important steppingstone for where you want to be in five years? What is your lifestyle? What are your financial needs? Family commitments? Is the job simply a way to earn while you think about a long-term plan? It’s important to think through some of those questions to find a fulfilling role!

Open-mindedness and Adaptability

  • Stay patient and be open. Focus on the people you would be working with and not the brand name.
  • Have patience, continuously improve or adjust and take a break when needed—sometimes you look at applications and LinkedIn for so long, it feels like there is nothing more to look at, until you stop and return to it a week or two later.
  • Be open-minded. The HR screen I had for one role led to an interview for a different role, which led to an offer for a third, more senior role.
  • Be open-minded to companies and roles you might not have been open to a year ago. The unexpected opportunities might surprise you and accelerate your career.

 Negotiation and Confidence

  • Everything is negotiable. Title, compensation and topics you want to work on are all up for discussion if you show them your capabilities and what a great fit you are to the team. Be patient. Be humble. Be bold.
  • Don’t personalize rejection. Often, these things are out of a candidate’s control. So many factors play into the final decision to extend or not extend the offer.
  • Don’t assume you’re a “no” for potential employers. They might see something in your application or interview that makes them say wow even if you aren’t 100% sure they are going to call you back.
  • Be confident and know you’re worth it.