Alumni help students ignite 'careers'

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Matt Erickson spent Tuesday night lighting ‘career candles’ that were placed in water lanterns and sent down the south campus stream. The ‘career candles’ that Erickson and other students illuminated Tuesday night were symbolic of igniting future careers upon graduating from BYU and moving into the professional world.

The lighting of ‘career candles’ was used to kick-off the event “Ignite Your Career,” sponsored by the BYU Alumni Association. “Ignite Your Career” is a movement to help students¬† become more aware of the resources that are available to help them bridge the gap between the college and professional world.

BYU Alumni Association said the program isn’t all about lighting candles. The purpose of “Ignite Your Career” is to show students that alumni are here and are willing to help students overcome the obstacles of college to career transitions.

Erickson, who is a junior studying sociology, said that working with alumni is one aspect of college that is very important to him which is why he is participating in “Ignite Your Career.”

“I came to learn more about mentoring because I value mentoring,” Erickson said. “Its kind of evident that the Alumni Association is dedicated to helping to create a good atmosphere for those who are entering the workforce.”

For Erickson, the event helped him understand the importance of networking early with professionals to help prepare him for the professional world.

“Hearing examples and how they have networked motivates me to form relationships with people, maybe people who I normally wouldn’t form relationships with,” said Erickson.

Linda Palmer, executive director of BYU Alumni Association, said that professionals can relate to students because they have been in the same situation as the students.

“We were students at one time and now we’re a long ways away from being students and we can help transition from college to career,” Palmer said. “I think sometimes students look at alumni and think ‘what do we have to do with them?’ Let us reach our hand out and help you.”

Terry Seamons, president elect of BYU Alumni Association, says that “Ignite Your Career” is a chance for alumni to work one-on-one with students to help them bridge career problems.

“It’s not so much the opportunities, its more the chance to sit down with that student and help them bridge this gap between graduating from school and going into the job market,” Seamons said. “Then we can connect them with certain people that might help them get the questions answered that they need answered.”

For Jared Colton, president of the Student Alumni Association, working with alumni has been a productive opportunity for him in preparing for the career world.

“There is a program called ‘Take a Cougar to Lunch’ with alumni in your chosen field and they come and take you to lunch at BYU. You can talk to them about their career and get resume advice,” Colton said. “I met with somebody who was the CFO of a very large multinational company and he took an hour and half of his time and met with me and gave me great career advice that I’ve applied.”

Jared Colton said one of the good things about working with the BYU Alumni Association and BYU Student Alumni Association is they already have names of alumni to talk to for students.

“The great thing about this program is you go onto a database and you choose people that are in the career you’re interested in and you contact them and they’re very willing to help,” said Colton. “That’s the thing many students don’t realize is many alumni are willing to help, you just have to connect with them and that’s where we come in as the Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association to help them connect.”

Just as Erickson was able to symbolically ignite his career, BYU Alumni Association want students to know that they are here to help students ignite theirs by helping them connect with alumni who can help them bridge the tough college to career gaps.

For more information on “Ignite Your Career” or BYU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association visit alumni.byu.edu or http://igniteyourcareer.byu.edu/

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