How UA Alumni Find Their Jobs

Susan Kaleita, director UA Alumni Career Lab
How do UA Alumni find their jobs? By talking to people

We asked UA alumni for stories and advice about getting hired, and you shared excellent tips about choosing a career, interviewing, finding a job and more. We’ll be sharing them over the next few months on Twitter (follow @HireACat) and in articles on different career topics.

We also asked the question: How did you find your current job?

There was a very clear top answer: Through a referral from someone you know.


Chart showing where UA Alumni find their jobs

Chart showing how UA alumni find their jobs. Question asked in the Career Lab's December 2016 email.


How did you find your current job?

We heard from graduates from the 1960s all the way up through the class of 2016, from all different industries. Most (about 68%) got their last job within the past five years. 

Across the board, the most common way people got their job was through a referral from someone they know (47%). The second most common way was through applying directly on the organization’s website (13%). Alumni also found jobs through some form of campus recruiting, such as a university job board, career fair or other employer connections on campus (10%).

A smaller percentage of alumni got their jobs through working with recruiters, receiving an internal promotion, LinkedIn or other online job boards.

Clearly, who you know is important. Or, as I often tell people: the best way to get a job is by talking to people.


Talk to people.

Photo of Wilbur Wildcat networking with recruiters.

When you’re contemplating your next steps, talking to people helps you better understand your options and get insights into companies, roles, industries, a new city and more. It also helps you cultivate relationships with people that may be able to send opportunities your way. And when you have specific career goals in mind, talk to people about them; they may be able to help.

As Nicollette Daly '08 '10 says:

Make connections, keep those connections fresh and nurtured, and get involved in and outside of your organization. Let people know what you imagine your next steps are – you'd be surprised how many opportunities others come across – and they can't share those with you if they don't know you are interested. 

This requires some self-reflection. Know yourself, know where you want to go, and know what you bring to the table.

Know you have value before you expect others to see your value, says Brittany Hultstrom ’11.

And figure out how to articulate that value to others.

Retailing and consumer sciences grad Sarah (Losse) Fox ’09 advises:

Sharpen those one minute commercials/elevator speeches and ensure you critique them for every type of audience. 

Are you able to describe, clearly and succinctly, what you’re all about in your professional life? The key skills, experience, and accomplishments you bring to the table, and where you’re looking to go in your career?

This is hard, but it’s worth thinking about and worth practicing. If you can walk into any situation – from a networking event to meeting someone in the grocery store line – with a thoughtful, brief introduction of yourself and the next steps you want to take, you never know what relationships you might strike up and what opportunities they may generate.

So how do you meet people?


Connect with professional associations.

Nearly every industry and job function – no matter how niche – has a professional community. Just Google “___ professional association” and you’re likely to find a number of organizations to connect with.

Large, national professional associations often have regional chapters that hold professional development and networking events. These are often volunteer-run, giving you opportunities to meet people and expand your leadership skills by volunteering, too. 

Look for conferences, LinkedIn groups, online forums and even Twitter chats related to your professional interests, and you’ll find lots of opportunities to meet people.

Getting involved in a professional association helped Alexi Clinton ’05 get a job:

A connection I made by joining my local professional society told me about a job opening at the hospital where I work now; I might not have known about it otherwise, and she was able to put in a good word for me.  


Join your local alumni chapter.

SeaCats Chapter meetup at Amazon

Seattle SeaCats UA alumni chapter networking event


Meet fellow Wildcats through UA alumni chapters and clubs! Take it from Tierney Faulkner ’10:

I had just moved to Seattle in June 2013 and joined the Seattle SeaCats Alumni chapter to help with networking. The SeaCats group posted on Facebook about a networking event that was at a large company based in Seattle, open to all Arizona alumni interested in learning more about there. I attended the event and met about 20 Arizona alumni, many of whom I am still connected to today. I brought my resume to the event and talked to different people about why I wanted to work for this company. A week later, I received a phone call from a recruiter for a role with their recruiting division and ended up getting the job! I’m now a Program Manager working on exciting technology.  I am so grateful to the SeaCats and my fellow alumni for helping me find my career. Moral of my story: it's all about who you know!

There are about 40 alumni chapters and clubs across the country.

These groups hold more than 150 events throughout the year, including networking, professional development, educational speaker series, community service and scholarship fundraising events.

Even if you don’t find your next job at a UA alumni happy hour, you might at least find out what sports bars in your city have the UA basketball games on TV.

And what if you’re one of the nearly 10,000 UA alumni living outside the United States?

Connect with the Global Alumni Network. 20 UA alumni are serving as Global Ambassadors across the globe, willing to be your point of contact in Australia, Thailand, Pakistan, Germany, Chile, and more.


Build real relationships.

Get out there and meet people. Talk about your goals. People will help you. And you should help others out anytime you can, too. Be good to your network, and it will be good to you.

A final piece of sound advice from Jon Fagg ’90:

Network for relationships, not to get something from someone!  Relationships lead to jobs, "networking" doesn't.