Student and Alumni Resources at USCC Upstate

Student and Alumni Resources

Assistance from Career Management

This page is for current students and alumni who are looking for assistance from Career Management. We have put together information that is critical for landing the career you have always wanted. We touch on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, references and thank you’s.

Below are some helpful links to aid you in your job search. If you need assistance or additional resources, please contact Career Management directly. We are here to help.

  • Why LinkedIn? 

    • 80% of LinkedIn members consider professional networking to be important to new job opportunities and career success, according to LinkedIn research
    • 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection 
    • More than 20 million professionals including recruiters, hiring managers and decision makers use LinkedIn every week

    With 530+ million professionals in the LinkedIn community, there is no other place where you can access such a wide range of knowledge, skills and resources to help you reach your goals. 

    Let LinkedIn do the work for you

    Searching for jobs can seem like a daunting task. More than a quarter of professionals say they have no time to search for new opportunities. 

    But worry not, with search alerts you can get notifications and updates to a saved search via email or shared with you on LinkedIn. Use advanced search filters to narrow down opportunities by industry, location, experience level and more. Once your filtered search is set, simply create the alert. 

    Let recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities by simply flipping a switch on your LinkedIn profile. It’s called Open Candidates, and yes, it’s that easy. Open Candidates is accessible from the “Preferences” tab on the LinkedIn Jobs home page. 

    By flipping the switch, you privately signal to recruiters that you’re interested in new opportunities. Don’t forget to update your career interests. This helps you appear in the search results that recruiters are regularly scouring. Additionally, this helps inform the daily job recommendations LinkedIn sends you and surfaces on the jobs homepage.

    Discover your earning potential

    LinkedIn tapped into its network of more than 530 million members to give you deep insight into salary and the compensation landscape. You can also dig deeper into compensation insights about specific companies you’re interested in. That way, you are ready when the time comes to talk about your salary.

    LinkedIn Salary includes base compensation, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level. 

    Entrepreneur? Create your own job — become a freelancer 

    LinkedIn ProFinder started as an idea that has grown into a vibrant freelance marketplace being used by more than 70,000 freelance professionals across the nation. LinkedIn has seen client demand surge with weekly requests for proposals growing more than fivefold in one year. 

    Seek career advice from others

    • More than 80% of professionals on LinkedIn have stated they either want to have a mentor or be one to others 
    • More than half don’t know where to begin and more than one-third have a hard time finding the right person 

    LinkedIn launched Career Advice, a new feature that helps connect members across the LinkedIn network with one another for lightweight mentorship opportunities. Whether you need advice on your career path, switching to a new industry or best practices for a project you’re working on, Career Advice can help you find and connect with the right person who can help. 

    Learn the skills needed for your next gig

    • One-third of job-seekers have expressed concern that they don’t have the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market 
    • Many people who are looking for work from home jobs use LinkedIn learning to gain the skills needed to be an ideal candidate for remote work. 

    With LinkedIn Learning, you can now access a gigantic database of online courses on topics from coding and graphic design to public speaking. And here’s the best part: each course is typically sliced up into very manageable 5-10 minute learning chunks. Learning a new skill over the course of a week quickly becomes very achievable.

    Connect with alumni 

    One of the easiest ways for students and alumni to make connections is through LinkedIn Alumni tool. It’s an easy way to explore the alumni directories and find who graduated from your same school, where they work now and in what cities. Simply search for your school and select “see alumni” to get started. You can access career paths for more than 23,000 colleges and universities worldwide.

    What now? — Get started 

    Create or update your LinkedIn profile today. This provides other LinkedIn members with a better understanding of the unique skills, interests, and experience that make you — you. 

    • Make sure you have a profile photo - it will help get you recognized and connect to potential opportunities. Members with a profile photo receive up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests. 
    • Members with current positions are discovered up to 16x more in recruiter searches 
    • Members with more than 5 skills are 27x more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters 
    • Including the city where you are based makes you stand out up to 23x in searches 

    Bonus: Check out Resume Assistant, a new integration from Microsoft and LinkedIn to help you use Microsoft Word as a powerful and professional resume builder.

Career Competencies

Are You Spartan Ready?

Push the boundaries of your potential and step from the classroom into the workplace! Whether you completed an internship, have part-time work experience, or have volunteer experience, you have demonstrated valuable skills that employers are looking for.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, here are the eight career-ready skills that will help you achieve a fulfilling and successful career:


Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively and efficiently using verbal, nonverbal, digital, and written methods. Be a good listener.

  • Develop and deliver a presentation for a class
  • Ask questions to gain understanding
  • Proofread online and written communication to avoid errors

Teamwork and Collaboration

Build collaborative relationships by valuing others and taking responsibility for your role within a team.

Seek and appreciate the viewpoints of those from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions and lifestyles

  • Collaborate with others on a class project where responsibility is shared not divided
  • Handle difficult conversations in person
  • Consider others' perspectives before making a decision


Use interpersonal skills to coach, motivate and develop others by recognizing their strengths to achieve a common goal or shared vision

  • Take on a leadership role in a group or organization
  • Demonstrate initiative at your job/internship by taking on additional responsibilities
  • Motivate team members with a positive attitude and leverage their strengths when delegating work

Creativity and Problem Solving

Analyze issues, think critically, make decisions, and overcome challenges. Obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data to make decisions.

  • Develop an action plan with specific steps to solve a problem
  • Brainstorm solutions to a problem before bringing it to a supervisor/professor
  • Activate your mind--read, do puzzles, write, etc.

Professionalism and Productivity

Demonstrate responsible work habits (i.e. punctuality, accountability, workload management) while displaying integrity and ethical behavior (i.e. acknowledge and learn from mistakes)

  • Use a planner or calendar to prioritize work/assignments and meet deadlines
  • Reflect on a recent challenge and identify areas of growth and improvement for the future
  • Review your social media through the eyes of a future employer and determine appropriateness

Application of Information Technology

Select and use technology and computing skills to solve problems and accomplish goals

  • Effectively use Excel or similar spreadsheet application to track data and generate tables and graphs
  • Create a strong LinkedIn profile, join groups of career interest, and ask for recommendations. Connect with alumni through LinkedIn.
  • Get comfortable with performing internet searches, using commercial databases, creating and administering surveys
  • Become familiar with the most relevant websites for your career field(s)

Global Perspective

Respect the viewpoints of those from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, and lifestyles to build collaborative relationships and communicate effectively.

The ability to appreciate, value, and learn from other cultures and perspectives to move beyond tolerance.

  • Attend an event on campus that encourages you to step outside your comfort zone
  • Engage in conversation with individuals who have different perspectives than your own
  • Participate in a study abroad or volunteer experience to broaden your horizons

Career Management

Understand one’s skills, strengths, experiences, and areas for improvement in order to explore career options, take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understand how to advocate for personal and professional success.

  • Gain knowledge of job search strategies from start to finish (search strategies, best web sites for your field, application, negotiation, accepting the offer, etc.)
  • Write a professional resume, customized cover letter and reference list
  • Implement networking strategies to build an intentional network, include active use of sites like LinkedIn
  • Develop the skills necessary y so successfully interview for jobs or internships
  • Identify resources to explore graduate/professional school

Spartan Ready (Career Ready) Competencies developed by National Associaton of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 2017.

Cover Letters

The cover letter allows you to introduce yourself in a memorable and personal way during the job application process.

Cover Letter Information
References and Thank You Letters

References and Thank You Letters

Some employers may ask for references when applying to jobs or after an interview. Do not include them in your resume.  If an employer wants them, they will ask. The same holds true for letters of recommendation. You may have them available, but you do not need to include them unless asked. Letters of recommendation are rarely asked for as a part of the hiring process. Having 3-5 people listed as references is ideal.

Whom should you ask?

  • Selecting people that have supervised your work in extracurricular activities, volunteering, jobs, and internships are appropriate.
  • Utilize Faculty and staff members that you have connected with at USC Upstate.
  • Personal references should not be family members and should only be used if they can speak to your skills and talents that would be applicable to an employer.
  • Make sure you ask the people you are planning to list as references and provide them with background information on the position for which you are applying.
  • Only list people that you know will give you a professional and glowing recommendation.

How do you provide the information?

  • Have a prepared Reference Page that is formatted like your resume (same font and style) with you when you interview, otherwise be prepared to provide it at a later date.
  • Provide each contact’s name, job title, company name, work address, phone number, and email address.
  • Send each of your references a thank you note when your job search is over.

Thank You Letters

Thank you letters are important and follow up is critical during the interview process. A thank you letter, restating your interest in the position and the organization, should be sent within 24 hours of each interview, and should be sent to each person that you spoke with. Be sure to ask for business cards or ask the person arranging the interview for the correct spelling, titles, business emails, or business addresses of each person you met. Make each note somewhat different, and try to reference something you discussed in the interview. Take no further action until at least one week beyond the date when they said they would contact you. At that time, a phone call to see if a decision has been made is appropriate.

Sample Wording for a Thank You Letter (use same formatting as a cover letter)

It was a pleasure to meet with you to speak about the Marketing Representative position at ABC Organization. I especially appreciated talking with you about ….

If given the opportunity, I am confident I can make valuable contributions to your organization. Thank you for the time you took to interview me. I look forward to hearing from you about this position.

The Basics
  • Be prepared
  • Have two or three good questions for the interviewer
  • Be yourself at all times
  • Remember: the interview is primarily for you to sell yourself
  • Be punctual, arrive 5-10 min early

What is the interviewer looking for?
Regardless of the interview style used, the interviewer is looking for certain traits or benchmarks in order to compare you to the "typical" person who has been successful in that firm, such as:

  • Personality
  • Verbal communication
  • Ability to be convincing
  • Self-confidence/poise
  • Assertiveness
  • Professional appearance
  • Motivation
  • Leadership ability
  • Understanding of the organization you are interested in
  • Extent of interest in a career with the firm/organization
  • Academic preparation
Things to Avoid:
  • Do not be overly concerned with the possibility of rejection. Instead, focus on the possibility of getting the job and on what you can do for the employer.
  • Never be critical of a company or the performance of anyone employed there. Above all, do not "bad mouth" a former supervisor.
  • Do not argue. Sell yourself with confidence, but always keep the discussion friendly and open.
  • Do not show irritation with delays or interruptions--even if you are irritated. Help the interviewer run a good interview, whether he or she is good at it or not.
  • Do not apologize for things you cannot change or are not responsible for (e.g., your age, education or work history).
  • Do not lie or pretend. Do not be afraid to admit there is something you do not know 
Preparing for Events

Students and alumni, please visit Career Management prior to an event. It is important to plan before you attend an event. You want to impress the recruiters and show them why they need to hire USC Upstate students and alumni.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

  • Update your resume and bring several copies with you
  • Determine your objectives for attending
  • Review the companies attending and position descriptions
  • Visit company web sites to review mission statements, annual reports, and products or services
  • Develop and refine networking skills
  • Develop your “30 Second Message”
  • Dress for Success. Wear business professional attire. If you need assistance visit the Career Closet!

A 30 second message includes:

  1. Relevant background information: education and experience
  2. Summary of your career interests and skills
  3. A question or request for assistance
Helpful Links

O*NET OnLine

The O*NET OnLine is a great resource for career exploration, providing detailed descriptions on almost 1,000 occupations in the U.S. economy, including information on job requirements, job growth, salary, and required education. 

Apolitical Career Guide

Apolitical has put together information aimed at those interested in careers in public service. The career guide includes the qualities and skills necessary to succeed in the field, and other tips for those ready to start their career in government or public service. Their main website also provides current developments in policy taking place across the globe. 

Salary Calculator

A free salary estimator and calculator provided by