As employment rates drop, attendance at USC’s “Pink Slip networking parties” has skyrocketed.
The first “Pink Slip networking party” — a networking event for USC alumni sponsored by the Alumni Association — had about 100 alumni attendees. But just three months later, about 500 alumni crowded into the venue at the Remedy Lounge in downtown to exchange resumés and attend career-oriented workshops Thursday night.
“These are essentially networking events for alumni seeking job search or career placement advice,” said Scott Mory, associate senior vice president for alumni relations. “We decided to start the parties because there was an interest among alumni.”
The program, which is open to all USC alumni, was started as a joint effort between the alumni association and Scott Turner, associate director of USC Marshall Alumni Career Services.
Peter Giulioni, executive director of Marshall’s Keenan MBA Career Resource Center, said the economy caused the attendance increase.
“The economy is horrid; [many] are unemployed and some of those people are going to be Trojans,” Giulioni said. “Unemployment is devastating both economically and personally and what better resource than the Trojan family helping alums review resumés and developing job searching strategies?”
Ginger Van Hook, an alumna from the Annenberg School for Communication who attended the Pink Slip party, said the event appealed to her because it was a “new way to recruit.”
“It was a completely different venue than I usually expect USC Alumni Association events to be,” Van Hook said. “I like it — it emphasizes networking in a fast-paced environment and that kind of environment is the way the world is now.”
At the party, alumni attended workshops about making themselves more marketable for the job search. They also went to one-on-one, 10-minute sessions with career counselors who saw their resumés and made suggestions on how to improve them.
“The 10-minute session was really beneficial,” said Ryan Dudasik, who majored in political science at USC. “They took my resumé and gave great advice on making it more specific, which is what you need in this economy.”
Some attendees came not to work on resumés or find a job in the Los Angeles area, but to bounce employment ideas off other unemployed Trojans.
“I’m hoping to leave Los Angeles and move to Seattle,” said Kathleen McElhenny, who recently lost her engineering job. “It’s always good just to talk to people who are in the same situation because they can have good ideas.”
This event was only geared toward USC alumni because current seniors and other students already have networking opportunities through the Career Planning & Placement Center, Mory said.
Despite these networking opportunities, some seniors still feel nervous about the job market ahead of them.
“I think we feel nervous about the job market regardless of the alumni parties because the job market is really bad,” said Crystal Cheng, a senior majoring in business administration. “It would be nice if more of those events were held on campus and seniors could go so that we can get to know the alumni on a more personal level.”