Searching for Work – Help Hire Olivetians

With expert advice from alumnus Russ Bredholt, Jr.

Historically, Olivet Nazarene University has excelled at providing an exceptional classroom education for students, and preparing graduates for a successful transition into graduate programs and careers in their chosen industries.

The University is consistently recognized by third-party organizations such as the U.S. News Best Colleges Report and College of Distinction

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Additionally, Olivet biannually announces the dean’s list, recognizing the academic achievements of more than a third of the student body. Alumni from the classes of 2018 and 2019 exceeded national averages for career outcomes rate. Respectively 95% and 96% of alumni from each class were employed, engaged in military service or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. These rankings and endorsements emphasize the value of a college education at Olivet.

However, over the past few months, the global economy has shifted. Workplace norms have changed and competition for jobs has increased. This year’s graduating class is facing unprecedented challenges in entering the workforce due to factors outside of their control – and Olivet wants to help!

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The University has a network of approximately 40,000 alumni who are employed in a diverse range of industries. One Olivet alumnus, Russ Bredholt, Jr.’71 is president of Bredholt & Co., a consulting group that focuses on strategic leadership development, based in Winter Springs, Florida. The following text was excerpted and updated from his article, “Finding Meaning” in the 2018 Parent Guide of Olivet The Magazine.

Searching for Work
Whether you are a recent Olivet Nazarene University graduate or a seasoned alumnus or alumna now out of work, what are some ways to search for a job during a Covid-19 economy?

1. Enlist a credible third-party referral. The importance of someone speaking, making a call, or writing on an applicant's behalf cannot be overstated. "It's not about who you know, it's about who knows you." (Jeffrey Gitomer)
2. Combine character with skills. Sixty percent of businesspeople polled by Zogby say they have had more trouble finding job candidates with adequate character skills than adequate technical skills. Good character and critical thinking skills are two ways Christian college graduates are uniquely positioned to contribute from day one. 
3. Rethink your time. Job seekers should consider increasing their networking (70%) spending less time searching job boards (30%)

Mentorship
How to encourage those in search of work:
For the job seeker:
•    Never tell yourself "no." Do not assume the job you want is out of reach.
•    Part-time jobs and internships can lead to permanent positions. Get inside the organization – and go from there.
•    Contact family, friends, pastors, neighbors, former professors, or employers. And don’t overlook Handshake or Linkedin which posts a list of who is hiring on its website.   
•    Consider your willingness to relocate. 

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For the coach:
•    Never promise a job, only that you will assist in the process.
•    Be careful vouching for someone you do not know well.
•    Intervene but let the job seeker do the rest.
•    Offer check-in accountability to keep things moving.  

The Next Chapter
Work is more than a title or way to earn a living. For the Christian, it is a vocation, or a sense of calling. Therefore, consider acting on behalf of an Olivet graduate. If you have responsibility for hiring, give Olivet referrals a close look. Maybe you know of businesses, school districts, or other organizations that are hiring. If so, pass that information along.

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Your efforts could make it possible for someone to break through algorithms and multi-tiered interviews to find meaningful employment sooner rather than later. It is a worthy goal to help one person find a job. The time to support our graduates is now!

For more information on how you can help, contact Erinn Proehl, Director of Alumni and University Relations by emailing eproehl@olivet.edu or calling (815) 928-5553.

Published 6/1/2020
LB