Career Resources

Questions to Caroline

Caroline Player, Director
Career Services and Networking
Georgia Tech Alumni Association


How to host a career event if you are an out of state network

Out of state networks are excellent networking resources for Tech alumni all over the country! Since alumni surveys indicate that career services are at the top of the services alums would like to receive, Georgia Tech Alumni Association's established networks provide an excellent framework for program delivery to alumni near and far.

First of all, GTAA recommends discussing the idea with the local leadership team. Certainly, a group could decide on a networking mixer that is more intentionally based on professional rather than social interaction, or they could opt for having a speaker address the local group on a career-related topic. Perhaps a local company is expanding and a hiring representative could talk about hiring practices or some new technology or product their organization is utilizing.

After the leadership team has determined they are able to host a career event, feel free to reach out for help! The GTAA is happy to assist in planning a format and locating a speaker. There are professional organizations for career professionals in most, if not all, states. GTAA can certainly leverage these organizations as well as local universities as resources for identifying potential speakers. At times, career professionals in private practice are willing to talk to a group for a reduced cost or for free to expand their practice and visibility in the local market.

If an out of state network is confident that they want to host regular career events, and needs help planning these programs, please contact Caroline Player at GTAA (caroline.player@alumni.gatech.edu).

Career Services for Out-of-State Alumni

Even if you are not still local in the Atlanta metro area anymore does not mean that you cannot access career services! The Georgia Tech Alumni Association would be more than happy to offer remote advisement, resume reviews, mock interviewing, or assistance with any other career related matters. You can connect with the GTAA and address your career needs over the phone or even via a Google hangout. Because a large number of the positions/job openings the GTAA receives are in the Southeast or state of Georgia, they may need to work on an individualized plan based on personal professional and geographic interests. With that in mind, please be assured that the GTAA can help you in leveraging your Tech network as well as identifying other networking opportunities and resources related to your search!

For more information on how to connect with the GTAA, please contact Caroline Player:

Top 5 Career Services/Advice Questions Asked by Alumni

It does seem that in interactions with alumni, I receive the similar questions from time to time. Some are regarding job search pursuits others are concerning career direction. Here are some of my most popular inquiries:

  1. What can I do with this experience I've obtained!?! Many times alumni come back to chat after they’ve been out in the working world for a while and realized maybe their first job isn’t one he/she wants forever. They know what they don’t want to do but don’t know exactly what to look for…. Important to know there are resources available to research career options for specific majors. Another terrific resource is using LinkedIn to research career paths of other alumni. Certainly, considering what particular elements of your job both you did and did not enjoy is critical moving forward. Leveraging certain skills and experiences without staying in the same type of job is completely possible. Staying with the same organization but performing a different type of job is also a real possibility that sometimes job seekers overlook.
  2. I have been applying online for jobs with no results. What is wrong? Sometimes I meet with alumni who have spent a few months applying (unsuccessfully) for jobs online. Unfortunately, making online applications exclusively is not generally going to land a person a job. Certainly do use online applications as an expression of interest but don’t simply leave working at that company up to chance. Supplement job applications by making contact with professionals working in organizations and areas of interest.
  3. Do I need a cover letter? Just last week I spoke with an employer who will not read a resume when it is not accompanied by a cover letter (either formal or in the body of an email). Bottom line answer is: ALWAYS include a cover letter when inquiring about a specific job or general opportunity within a company. I am of the opinion that this could be accomplished through a formal letter or in the body of an email. Especially in this economy, express interest and communicate the reasons you’d be a good fit!
  4. Which companies/industries are hiring? Obviously, in my work with job seekers, this is a question I receive quite frequently. Certainly, if I were to single out a specific industry or functional area, I would say that I receive the most calls from employers looking for candidates for technology roles or to fill other functional positions in the technology industry. I also have noticed a strong uptick in hiring from companies that offer products and services in the areas where technology and healthcare intersect. I think it is important to realize, though, that even in this economy, there are opportunities out there in a variety of industries. It is important to consider which organizations are hiring. It is also critical to determine where you’d be a good fit. Use business and industry news sources to determine which companies are doing well in areas where you can leverage your experience!
  5. I am an introvert - How can I possibly network? Please believe me when I say that networking is “easy” for a very small percentage of the population. Even the most extroverted people find networking a challenge. So, that alone should be a comfort. Here are some other recommendations that I hope will help.
    • Be prepared! If you are going to an industry function be prepared to discuss the news events related to that industry. In a more general sense, simply prepare certain questions or prompts you know would be safe to use to start a conversation. Don’t focus on questions where yes/no answers will suffice. Dig a little deeper to keep conversation going.
    • Be genuine and courteous: When you are at a networking event, greet people warmly and listen to what they have to say intently. Certainly, don’t scan the room for the next better contact.
    Give and take: While you may be attending a network for your own benefit (increase professional contacts, listen to a respected speaker, etc.), remember not to look past an opportunity to help someone else. You may know a professional contact you could introduce that person to or may have an article you could easily pass along to them.

GT LinkedIn group and the resources that alumni can find through that group that they may not know about.

Linkedin continues to evolve and be a terrific means for all sorts of organizations (educational, corporate, interest, etc.) to meet professionals who share an affiliation. The Alumni Association has consistently promoted its group as the official GTAA LinkedIn Group. With over 20,000 members, our group can be a great resource for research and connection.

The Advanced Search function on LinkedIn is one tool that I always share with alumni. When I started using LinkedIn years ago, I really only connected with people I would call on the phone. While good to have a permanent point of professional connection, I was not truly using LinkedIn. For me, the groups function brought about an amazing change in the way people utilize LinkedIn. It allowed people with certain elected commonalities to reach out to one another more easily. Using the Advanced Search function, alumni can search our GTAA group for people who mention specific skill sets, majors or employers. It provides a great chance for connections but also an excellent tool for research. In just a couple of clicks, you can see where International Affairs alumni are working in DC. That’s a terrific base for targeted networking!

Group Statistics is a relatively new feature you can access for any group of which you are a member. Using this button, you can easily learn about your fellow group members in an aggregate fashion—You can obtain information about industries, experience levels and functional areas of your group members. This can be a great jumping off point for getting to know your groups a bit better.

Interviewing Tips

As Georgia Tech alumni, you likely have participated in an interview process: either as the interviewer, or interviewee. For those of you who may be new to interviewing, or need a refresher - let's review what questions can, and cannot, be asked during an interview. This summary gives an overview of the important laws that affect the interview process. The main theme to keep in mind is to always relate questions during the interview to specific job duties, responsibilities, required skills, and minimum requirements, and also adhere to the laws below.

Laws that employers must adhere to during the recruitment process:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Race
    • Sex
    • Color
    • Nation of Origin
    • Religion
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
    • Citizenship
    • Nation of Origin in the United States
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
    • Union membership
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
    • Membership or service in the uniformed services
  • Bankruptcy Act
  • Child Support Enforcement Amendments

Interview Questions: Examples

What not to ask: Are you married? How many kids do you have? Are you pregnant? What country are you from?

What to ask instead: Are you able to work a flexible schedule? Can you travel domestically as needed for this position? Can you provide unexpired documentation that you are legally eligible to work in the United States?

What not to ask: When do you plan to retire? When did you graduate from college?

What to ask instead: Can you provide education verification for your undergraduate degree?

What not to ask: Are you disabled?

What to ask instead: Are you able to perform the minimum job duties of this position with or without an accommodation?

If you’d like to learn more about the "do's and don'ts" of the interview process, you can visit www.shrm.org to view additional resources.