Two people sharing a laptop

Spark Your Career event kicked off ASU virtual professional development series

By

Hannah Moulton Belec

Though the world and the economy are rapidly changing around us, free ASU virtual career resources are helping to meet people where they are. 

“Career and Professional Development Services at ASU wants you to know that even in this climate, we are dedicated to offering our resources to you however possible and making sure that you always have access to free career services for life,” said Veronica Aguilar, associate director of Alumni Career Services at ASU.

In May, ASU Career and Professional Development Services hosted the first event in a series of virtual webinars that are being planned to continue throughout the fall 2020 semester. 

“We’re very aware that we have 200,000 alumni here in Arizona, but you know, we also have hundreds of thousands all over the world, so we want to make sure that anything we do is recorded and scalable for all alumni to view,” Aguilar said.

The Spark Your Career event has more than 18,000 views, and includes tips on networking, resumes and virtual interviews. 

“Since COVID was happening, we knew that a lot of virtual interviews were going on, and many of our alumni were trying to figure out Zoom and different types of platforms, so we wanted to go over that with them,” Aguilar said.

Each career event is designed to cover different topics that may be helpful for alumni. There’s also a breadth of programming for current students. 

“The idea for this event was to have a keynote speaker who was inspirational and really understood the landscape of the virtual and digital world,” Aguilar said. 

Jaime Casap, then chief education evangelist at Google and an ASU alumnus who graduated in 1993 with a master's degree in public policy, facilitated the event. (Casap and Google parted ways in July.) Casap emphasized that whether it’s because of the lifestyle changes or career transitions that are an effect of COVID-19, it’s important to be in the mindset that you can take advantage of this point in time.

“I think we should look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to think about the role that you want to play in life and what you want to do about that,” Casap said.

“You’ve been asked your whole life, what do you want to be when you grow up? And the question I want everyone to think about is, 'What problem do you want to solve?' You're never going to have a shot like this again. What problem do you want to solve, how do you want to solve it, what skill sets do you need to solve that problem?”

ASU alum Diego Gettler, who graduated in 2009 with an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA, was one of the attendees at the event. 

He attended to learn new ideas for himself and the young people he works with. “I’m part of this network for ASU. I do work with a lot of young people, so I am always looking for new ideas. I kind of believe that ideas are the currency of the future,” Gettler said.

His biggest takeaway from the webinar was the advice given by Casap in his keynote speech. 

“I just really enjoy that he provided that framework on how to look at maybe a profession or career. It puts you onto a pathway that is both very satisfying and rewarding,” Gettler said.

The event concluded with ASU alumni-owned restaurants sharing special offers to those who attended. 

SPARK Your Career is just one of the many free events provided by ASU Career and Professional Development services. Sun Devils have access to career resources including virtual drop-in career advising, the ASU Mentor Network, interview practicing opportunities, access to employers who are currently hiring, the Linkedin Alumni Tool and more. 

“We want to make sure that alumni feel heard, empowered and supported, and know that they always have a place to come home to, whether they are pursuing a personal or professional endeavor. They have ASU as a resource no matter when they graduate,” Aguliar said.

A recording of the SPARK Your Career event is now available to view online. The next alumni event will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

More upcoming virtual events can be found through ASU Career and Professional Development Services, including virtual career and graduate school expos in the fall. ASU community members interested in registering for future events can do so here. Updates on ASU Career and Professional Development Services can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube and Pinterest

Written by Madeleine Williamson, Sun Devil Storyteller