Western International University | Alumni West Alumni Connection

Volume 2, Number 2  |  January 2012


Crops of Luv(tm) Logo
Bring your friends and family to West's Phoenix Campus and help us create beautiful memory books for families whose children are battling terminal illnesses. The Phoenix-based non-profit organization, Crops of Luv™, will bring photos provided by the families along with page kits and decorations.

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Time: 8 am – 4 pm
Place: West's Phoenix Campus, Room 206
9215 N. Black Canyon Highway
Phoenix, Arizona 85021
RSVP: laura.lee@west.edu by Friday, February 10

Come when you can and stay as long as your schedule permits. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

If you are unable to join us on February 25th, you can still join in the spirit of giving back by volunteering somewhere else in your community. If you do, send a photograph and description of the volunteer work you did to Laura Lee at laura.lee@west.edu.


by Kathryn Scahill, NCC, DCC
About the author: Kathryn Scahill is a National Certified Counselor, Distance Credentialed Counselor, Certified Career Coach, and ReadyMinds counselor and trainer. Here she shares some of the highlights from the Career Search Seminar she conducted for West Alumni in October 2011.

Kathryn Scahill

Kathryn Scahill

Whether you are just starting a career or are 20 years in, you can benefit from creating a personalized Career Action Plan. You can develop your plan with the help of one-on-one Career Coaching, which is a complimentary benefit available to all West Alumni. Your Career Action Plan will involve four basic steps:
  1. Goal Setting
  2. Market Research
  3. Apply and Keep Track
  4. Lead Follow-Up and Networking

If you are just starting down a career path, it is a good idea to follow these steps sequentially. Otherwise, you can begin at the step that meets your current needs.

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Step 1: Goal Setting
The first step in goal setting is to decide what careers you would like to explore and pursue. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a comprehensive site with detailed information about thousands of careers. It is a great place to begin career research and provides information on educational requirements, growth rates, salaries and related occupations.

The next step is to think about what you want in a potential employer and job. Consider your values, interests and skills, and what is important to you in a career.

Step 2: Market Research
Once you identify your goals, you have to find potential companies and job positions that match them. One of the most effective tools is to create a "target list." You can target companies, industries, job titles or a combination. A target list can help you organize your search and can be an excellent starting point for networking. You can use sources such as your local business journal to help you identify companies. Many job seekers create a list of "dream" companies where they would like to work. Your list is specific to you and can include whatever criteria you find important. It may be companies that have been recognized as excellent places to work, those that are a close commute, Fortune 500 firms, places where you have friends or relatives working, or just have an interest in their product or service. Once you have identified your companies, you can begin researching them to see what types of positions they have available.

Step 3: Apply and Keep Track
As a Career Coach, I often hear people say. "I have applied to so many places, I can't keep track!" This can create confusion when you start receiving phone calls from potential employers. It is important to keep a record of which jobs you have applied for, in order to be ready for an interview and to stay on track with your goals. You may decide to apply for at least 5 positions per week, so keeping track will help you meet your weekly goal. You can implement whatever works for you: an Excel spreadsheet, a hand-written list, a job search notebook, even just a note in your calendar for each time you submit an application. This will also help you plan when to follow up.

Step 4: Lead Follow-Up and Networking
Once you apply for a position, go through your network to see if you have any contacts with that company. Start by reaching out to anyone you know, let them know you applied, and see if they have any suggestions or advice. LinkedIn is a great resource for building your professional network.

Make a note on your calendar to follow up on each application in one to two weeks. If the posting says "no phone calls," then follow up with an email. If you applied directly through the company site, it may take some searching to find a general or Human Resources email address. When emailing or calling, it is important to ask a pertinent question about the status of your application, provide some additional details about yourself or reiterate your interest in the position. Your Career Coach can help you in crafting effective follow-up communications. He or she can also assist you with resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation and salary negotiations.

Continue working your Career Action Plan, and you will most likely be rewarded with a position that will move you toward your professional goals.


West’s Career/Alumni Services Manager, Laura Lee, and West alumni volunteer Hanada Ishaq
  West's Career/Alumni Services Manager, Laura Lee (R) with West alumni volunteer, Hanada Ishaq (L)
There was a large crowd at October's career event, where Career Coaching expert, Kathryn Scahill, shared her tips for not just surviving but thriving in today's job market. Here is one of her many tips: Prepare well for interviews — find out as much as you can about the position, the company and even the industry before you set foot in the door. Said one attendee: "This event was inspiring, and the location, food and drinks were excellent!"

Do you need a Career Coach? Sign up now on the Fast Track Career Tools page.


Thumbs Up

Many West Alumni have taken advantage of our one-on-one Career Coaching services, and here's what they're saying:

"Kathryn provided me with interviewing tips, informational websites and reformatted my resume. Her mentorship helped me focus and, most of all provided me with the confidence I had lost by being out of work for a longer-than-expected period of time. I believe this program is very much needed during these uncertain times. I encourage others to try it out."
West Career Coaching Participant, BS.BSN

"Thank you so much. You gave me the confidence to get out there and show myself. In return, I ended up getting an interview in Marketing at my current employer. I interview this Thursday! The difference was that I followed up with an email and sold myself. I said if they are looking for a charismatic, enthusiastic, and effective person - I am the one. If they are looking for a creative minded person who comes up with ideas no one has thought of - I am their person. I said that the position is still posted and that tells me they haven't found the right person. I would like the opportunity to show them I could be the one they are looking for. I sent it on Sunday and got a call Monday morning." :)
West Career Coaching Participant, BS.BSN

"I enjoyed my time working with Karen and found that an outside, unbiased opinion and insight was very helpful for me."
West Career Coaching Participant, BA.BEH

"My coach was absolutely wonderful! She really helped me put my career goals into focus and helped me outline a plan to reach those goals. She provided helpful websites as well as personal experience with my career choice."
West Career Coaching Participant, MA.HD


Candace Craig

Candace Craig

Manager, Corporate Development
Institute for Supply Management
Phoenix, AZ

Candace Craig used to talk with her children about the importance of getting their college degrees. She felt a little hypocritical, though, because she didn't have a degree of her own. So despite her busy life, Candace decided to go back to school and get her B.S. in International Business from West. Five years later, she has found herself with a great new job and plans to pursue yet another degree starting this year.

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When you decided to go back to school, why did you choose West?
I used to drive by West's campus all the time and finally decided to check it out. I was so impressed by the offerings and excited to find out that I could work toward my degree and still work full time. I remember talking with a West professor during my first visit, and I just knew it was a perfect fit.

What did you like best about your West experience?
The real-world perspective. My instructors were not just teaching; they were out there doing it. For example, I took an import/export class with an instructor who owned an import/export business — he knew so much!

How does what you learned at West help you in your current job?
As a Manager in Corporate Development, I have to give presentations just like I did when I was at West. Also, the office where I work is fairly small, so I find myself using many of the general business skills I learned at West like marketing and accounting.

Are you done with school?
Not at all. I plan to start an MBA program at West later this year. I want to keep learning — it's a personal goal. I've always been intrigued by new things, and my love of learning will never change.

What words of advice do you have for people who are thinking about going back to school?
Stop the excuses and just start. I kept telling myself that I had no time or ability to go back to school, but I did and I'm glad. Start from wherever you are and just be patient. Eventually, it will happen. It just might take a little time.


Winter time is savings time for West Alumni! Go to our University Marketplace website and check out the discounts on everything from books and watches to cell phones and computers. Simply login to west.edu/alumni and click on University Marketplace to find out how to qualify for these not-to-be-missed offers!


Tiffany Gates
Tiffany Gates
Phoenix, AZ
Iron Man Triathlon Competitor
West Degree: MBA, 2001

One of biggest challenges that many West Alumni face is how to have a life outside of their work. With all the hours that many are putting in at the office or in the classroom, it's hard to have the time or energy to do much else. The answer lies in your ability to make time for other areas of your life, like spending time with friends or indulging in your favorite hobby. It IS possible — you just have to be diligent about doing it. Just ask Tiffany Gates, an MBA graduate, who manages to train year-round, compete in Iron Man triathlon competitions, and serve on the board for the Phoenix Triathlon Club!

What fun or meaningful things are you doing outside of work? Let the West Alumni community know! Send an email to laura.lee@west.edu and include a photograph and short description of what you're doing. We may feature you in an upcoming issue of this newsletter.

Volunteer Event
Career Action Plan
Career Event Follow-Up
Career Coaching Rocks!
Alumni Spotlight - Craig
Alumni Hobbies & Interests
Need a Career Coach?

Take a minute now to register for West One-on-One Career Coaching. You'll get an experienced career coach who will conduct an initial 1-hour career planning session, plus give you targeted career resources and strategies, resume assistance and more. To sign up, just go to the Fast Track Career Tools page

Get started now.

Link Up with LinkedIn

West Alumni now have their own sub-group on the West LinkedIn page. It's a great way to stay in touch and network. Join us today and add to the discussion!

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Make the Connection

Become an active member of the West Alumni Connection, and take advantage of all your complimentary Alumni benefits, like career tools, networking events, valuable discounts and much more.

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