Last year will go down in history, but this year’s still a bit of a mystery for job seekers and hiring managers alike. Known as the year of the Great Resignation (among other monikers, such as the Great Reprioritization and the Great Reshuffle), 2021 was the year that employees fled their workplaces in record numbers.

“Months of soul searching, remote work, rising inflation, and an awakening that prioritizes workplace diversity all contributed to the trend, leaving most of our alumni impacted in some way, whether as managers, business owners, or employees,” says Colin von Liebtag, associate director of alumni career development at Rutgers’ Career Exploration and Success (CES). “In fact, alumni reached out to us about career engagement opportunities in one form or another over 11,000 times in 2021—that’s more than double the previous year.”

Here, von Liebtag LC’08, SSW’15 shares a few resources and resolutions that can help Rutgers alumni in the months ahead:

Take your playlist to the next level

Building on an existing series of livestreaming events on Facebook and LinkedIn, Alumni Career Services will continue to present alumni experts’ tips on hot topics. For example, in January, How to Combat Imposter Syndrome featured Masiel Torres SAS’17, L’Oréal’s social media and public relations manager. Other programs included:

If you don’t already receive email newsletters from Rutgers, update your contact information with the Rutgers University Alumni Association. This way, you can receive the Scarlet Together newsletter, which will alert you to upcoming events. You can also sign up to receive Think Scarlet (news from across the university and stories about Rutgers’ vast alumni network) and Rutgers Magazine (a digital and print publication celebrating the research, teaching, and service mission of Rutgers as well as the achievements of its alumni).

Make more meaningful connections

Whichever side of the hiring desk you’re on, now is the perfect time to tap into the diverse, talented, and qualified network of Rutgers students and alumni via Student-Alumni Career Connect. “This is one of the most underutilized resources we offer,” says von Liebtag. “And it puts the half-million strong community of Rutgers graduates to work for you.” The social platform offers Rutgers alumni the inside track to job opportunities, personalized career support, and rewarding mentorship possibilities:

  • Find job opportunities and career support tailored for Rutgers alumni, as well as short- and long-term internships.
  • Access the mentoring and networking community of students, alumni, and faculty.
  • Tap into career communities where like-minded alumni in similar careers can share industry trends, discuss work-life balance, get help with résumé or interview prep, and share insights on how to navigate the workplace. Some of these groups already include more than 3,000 members.
  • Join experiential learning projects, such as a two-week project doing product research or two months of supply chain data analysis. (This is great for students as well as alumni seeking to upskill or make a career switch.)

Even if you’re not in the market for a new job or a new hire, take a few minutes to visit Student-Alumni Career Connect and make sure your info is up to date. You’ll be in good company since the platform already has more than 4,200 active users.

Bonus points: Help Rutgers build this community in 2022 by sharing a referral link via social media. You never know: What you do today could lead to an opportunity 10 or 20 years down the road.

Give virtual fairs a shot

While some would-be jobseekers have been waiting for a return to “normal” job fairs, von Liebtag says that virtual events are here to stay—and those who embrace the approach may find more (and more diverse) opportunities than those who limit their searches to in-person events. “Virtual career fairs, or at least hybrid recruitment models, are on many companies’ radars,” says von Liebtag. “We hope alumni will embrace them the way they once did in-person fairs.” Here’s what’s on the calendar for 2022:

  • Rutgers Career and Internship Fairs: In 2018 and 2019, there were more than 1,500 in-person attendees from New Brunswick, Newark, Camden, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences at the Rutgers Career and Internship Fairs hosted by Career Exploration and Success, and more than 200 employers. Starting in 2020, these events were shifted online, where they may remain for at least part of 2022, but von Liebtag says CES plans to add in-person events to the calendar when it’s safe to do so.
  • HireNew York–Metro Virtual Alumni Career Fairs: These events were so popular in 2021 that CES is bringing them back, with plans for two or three in 2022.

Check out the Virtual Career and Internship Fair page for dates and times of events, as well as detailed information for employers and candidates—including links to helpful fair prep articles and tools.

“It doesn’t matter what year you graduated from Rutgers or which campus you were on,” says von Liebtag. “All these opportunities and resources—and more—are available to you.”