Western International University | Alumni West Alumni Connection

Volume 1, Number 3  |  February 2011


As a member of the West Alumni Connection, you have access to professional online career tools that can help you find a job and give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Optimal Resume Available To All Alumni
Get help creating job-search basics like standard resumes and cover letters. Simply log in to west.edu/alumni and from the Fast Track Career Tools link, access OptimalResume.com. You will also find web-based tools to hone your interview skills, build your own website, put together a video resume, and more.

Click here to view our recent OptimalResume.com webinar.

Coming In March—CareerBuilder Tools Brought To You By West
Through the alumni site Fast Track Career Tools, you can soon take advantage of our new partnership with CareerBuilder.com, where you'll find articles, a jobs-by-salary calculator, resume uploading, job postings, and many helpful job-search tools. Look for it in March!

Fast Track Career Tools


Come to the next alumni mixer and join guest speaker Carlos Rodriguez—West alumnus and CEO of Virtual Space LLC—in an insightful discussion about networking for success.

TIME: 5-8 pm (MST)
DATE: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
PLACE: Maggiano's Little Italy
16405 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
(480) 333-4100  maggianos.com
PRESENTER: Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of Virtual Space LLC

Complimentary drinks and appetizers are included!

Register now

Carlos Rodriguez earned his MBA at West with a concentration in information technology. He has done business around the globe and networked his way into high-profile jobs and projects. Come hear Carlos share many valuable networking tips and insights at our February 23rd event.

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What did you like best about West?
I really appreciated the diversity and different points of view. I also felt that the West teaching methodology, course selection, and instructors were the best I have had.

How has your West experience helped you?
I was able to expand my company from a very specific information company for the architectural, engineering, and construction industry to one that provides web-based applications and database management. I was also able to secure one of my biggest contracts in IT/IS, and became director of construction management for a multi-billion dollar project in Loreto, Mexico.

How did West shape your view of networking?
Since many West students come from different countries and have different backgrounds, it helped me realize that we don't all have the same goals, but we do have knowledge that we can share with each other. We just need to initiate a dialogue and then exchange our intelligence and ideas. That's when networking really works.

What do you want people to take away from the February 23rd event?
I want people to leave feeling good about themselves and what they have to offer. I also want them to have an understanding that networking isn't all about what a person can do for you. It's a two-way street, where you have to have something to offer them in return. In order to do this, you need to understand your core strengths, and then look for people who can fill in your weaknesses. It requires an open dialogue with a person, where you say "Here's what I'm good at—what are you good at?"


We are pleased to introduce to you our new brand, the culmination of an intensive process in which we examined how we are communicating to prospective students, current students, and our alumni.

Our name, Western International University, will stay the same, but in order to foster school spirit and better embody who we are, we will refer to ourselves in shorthand as "West." You will begin to see and hear the phrase Go West, which will be our rallying cry for our community.

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In creating our new brand, we aimed to create cohesive elements that give Western International University a stronger identity, so that we can continue to build a robust community.

Western International University will continue to deliver the education you sought when you chose to enroll here. We will continue to innovate and create the most engaging, interactive, and accommodating experience possible.

Over the next few months, you will continue to see the rollout of our new brand, which we believe embodies the spirit of who we are—innovative, modern, energetic, practical, and real.

A new frontier in learning has just opened up. Go West!

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT:  Ar Lena Richardson
Owner of ar lena richardson agency and smarter biometrics
Houston, Texas

Ar Lena Richardson is both a dreamer and a doer. While she could easily sit back and enjoy her successes in business and in the classroom, she chooses instead to continuously set new goals for herself. One of these goals was to get her MBA with a concentration in information technology, which she obtained from West in November 2010. Ar Lena is using her West degree as a stepping stone to expand her business and fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.

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Why did you decide to attend West?
I was attracted to West's approach of individualized learning. I liked that I could customize my education and also engage in a virtual environment where I could cultivate relationships with other students and my instructors. Another deciding factor was my enrollment counselor. I appreciated her honesty and compassion, and I felt that she was really in tune with what would make me successful.

What did you get out of your West experience?

My education allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I gained a greater perspective on my own leadership and communication skills, and I was able to excel and earn membership in the Golden Key, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, and Delta Mu Delta honor societies.

What is your current career?

I run a sports marketing and athlete branding consulting firm called the ar lena richardson agency (arlena.com). I provide management, marketing, publicity, research, and personal coaching services for professional athletes. I also have corporate executives and entertainment personalities as clients.

How has your West degree helped you in your business?

With a greater knowledge of IT, I can really leverage the power of technology and use it in more ways to help my clients. It has also enabled me to launch a new business, smarter biometrics (smarterbiometrics.com), which is a distribution company for personal ID products like biometric USB drives and vaults.

Do you plan on continuing your education?

I am just beginning my doctoral studies at the United States Sports Academy. I want to branch out into research and also teach sports technology. I enjoy teaching and want to become an online instructor. This will enable me to extend my reach and also to give back to my community.

What other plans do you have?

I will be submitting a monthly column called "Deeper than Academics," which will appear in the West International Friends newsletter. I will also pursue additional opportunities to remain actively involved in the West Alumni Connection.


Every time you go to our University Marketplace website, you'll find opportunities to save through exclusive alumni offers. Want a discount the next time you send someone flowers? Want to save on gourmet chocolates, music, DVDs, and outdoor gear? Want extra savings when you join Costco? Check out the Consumer Products section of the University Marketplace. Simply login at west.edu/alumni and click on University Marketplace.


Taking an innovative approach to your career strategy could help you land a new job in 2011. With more people competing for fewer positions, you have to get creative in order to get in on the best jobs and get noticed. Start by thinking beyond the traditional approach of mailing out cover letters and resumes, and come up with a new strategy that will help you find that perfect job.*

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Think Vertical
One of the most powerful tools you can use is the vertical job search engine. Sites like indeed.com and simplyhired.com search through millions of jobs from thousands of resources, including the major job boards, classifieds, associations, recruiters, company career pages, newspapers, and more.

Be One Of The First
Use Twitter to find out first about the latest job postings. You can do real-time Twitter searches by position and location (e.g., marketing assistant, New York) to pull up recent tweets.

Aim Small
There are hundreds of job boards that focus solely on a particular industry. Employers often post on these boards exclusively, because they're much cheaper than the major job boards. Examples of niche job boards include jobsinthemoney.com (accounting & finance) and healthjobsusa.com (healthcare & medical). To find a job board in a particular industry, use a search engine and type in keywords such as "engineering jobs." Here's a hint: look past the first few search result pages to bypass the major job boards and find the niche sites.

Advertise Yourself
A lot of job searchers wait for a job to be posted and then respond to it. Why wait? Post an ad for yourself on a networking site like Facebook or LinkedIn. Include a link to your resume or website to give readers the chance to learn more about you.

Get Out There
Think beyond the interview as a way to meet potential employers, and focus your energy on networking and mentoring opportunities. Externships, for example, can give you the opportunity to shadow employees for a few days. Employers can get to know you better than they would in a short interview, and you can get a better idea about how a company works and whether you want to work there.


We had an impressive turnout for our November social media seminar! Alumni heard guest speaker Dave Schneider, VP of Global Marketing for Apollo Global, talk about the power of social networking and how to do everything from cleaning up undesirable "digital dirt" to actively managing your "personal brand" on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Said one attendee: "I have resisted jumping in to social networking for some time. This presentation helped me realize how important it is to participate."

Fast Track
Networking Mixer
Go West
Alumni Spotlight
Job Strategies
Social Media Seminar
Get on Board
West maintains a job board for alumni employers. Go to west.edu/alumni and register as an employer. If you are personally not an employer, you can still take advantage of this service and register on behalf of your employer.
Register now

Link Up on LinkedIn
Leverage your current West connections and make new ones through the West LinkedIn page. Over 2,000 West alumni have already made the connection and use it to network, share ideas, and find resources.
Check it out

Make the Connection
Take advantage of your status as a West alumnus. Join the West Alumni Connection. It's free and comes with many benefits, like career tools for job seekers, networking opportunities, seminars, special discounts, and more.
Sign up today

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Western International University is a registered service mark of Apollo Group, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
Western International University, 9215 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Copyright © 2011 Western International University; all rights reserved.

CareerBuilder and CareerBuilder.com are registered trademarks of CareerBuilder, LLC.
Optimal Resume and optimalresume.com are registered trademarks of OptimalResume.com, Inc.
Golden Key International Honour Society is a registered trademark of Golden Key International Honour Society.
Upsilon Pi Epsilon is a registered trademark of Upsilon Pi Epsilon International Honor Society.
Delta Mu Delta is a registered trademark of Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business.
Costco is a registered trademark of Costco Wholesale Membership, Inc.
indeed.com is a registered trademark of Indeed, Inc.
Simply Hired is a registered trademark of Simply Hired, Inc.
healthjobsusa.com is a registered trademark of CJ Ventures, Inc./Absolutely Health Care
jobsinthemoney.com is a registered trademark of Jobsinthemoney.com, Inc.
Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc.
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.
LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corp.
Flickr is a registered trademark of Yahoo!, Inc.
YouTube is a registered trademark of Google, Inc.

*References for Career Strategy article:
Krus, J. (n.d.). Innovative Job-Searching Strategies and Job-Searching Secrets. Ezinearticles.com. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Innovative-Job-Searching-Strategies-and-Job-Searching-Secrets&id=2743410
Peterson, E. (n.d.). 5 innovative job search strategies. Bankrate.com. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-innovative-job-search-strategies-1.aspx