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Career Center program educates students by deepening alumni relationships

Counselors, recruiters and faculty often give students sound career advice. But students also appreciate the advice of alumni, whose suggestions resonate deeply because of their shared experiences at Cal.

consultation between two people

Ryan Hoang photo

Observing this phenomenon, Berkeley’s Career Center worked closely with the Cal Alumni Association and campus partners to create an innovative event series that brings students and alumni together for casual networking conversations with members of Berkeley’s rich alumni network. In the fall of 2015, Career Connections was born.

“It’s become our most popular networking series,” says executive director Tom Devlin. “Students have an opportunity to interact with alumni representing a wide variety of employers — and they get to do so in an informal environment.”

Career Connections is one of the newest offerings of the Career Center, which for decades has eagerly helped undergraduates, graduate students, alumni and employers achieve their goals. The center helps students achieve clarity in their career goals, enhance their career competitiveness through real-world experiences such as internships, and foster connections by engaging with employers and alumni.

An exciting first year

More than 20 events were rolled out in Career Connections’ inaugural year. Most focused on traditional areas such as consulting and engineering, but other times industries were flipped on their heads, with themes such as with “Non-Technical Roles in Tech” and “Business Roles in Health.”

The events broadened students’ perspectives by showcasing the diversity of careers found in a given field. “It wouldn’t be surprising, for example, to find an alumnus who majored in English working in the banking industry,” Devlin says.

The series, which will continue again this year, is not limited to campus, with events having been staged from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Career Connections “treks” take place during spring break and other times with Google, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games and more.

To learn more, visit career.berkeley.edu.

By the numbers

How useful a resource is the Career Center to Cal students? The numbers tell the story.

staff members assist with counseling

13

staff members interact with employers

8

employers were visited by staff members during the last year

63

employers attended career fairs and conducted interviews at the Career Center in 2015-16

1,000

alumni participated in Career Connections events last year

317