At some point in our lives, most of us have felt scared thinking about graduating and not knowing what we will do next. As a foreigner in Vienna, this fear can become even worse if you don’t speak the local language and don’t have enough insight in the Austrian professional world. Finding a job can be a stressful task, and the fear of future is real.
That’s why we took the time to interview Carna Filipovic, the alumni officer from Webster Vienna and ask her for advice . Here’s what she has to say:
The Fear of Future as a Student: How to deal with employability anxiety
1.) As an alumni office at Webster Vienna what are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are: creating databases of Webster Vienna alumni; keeping in touch with alumni by sending newsletters, conducting interviews with successful alumni and updating our social media platforms; informing alumni about the benefits of being an alumni from Webster University; organizing events for new alumni such as the Alumni Cocktail and other events like the yearly symposium or WebTalks to encourage professional and social networking opportunities.
2. In which ways have you helped past students make connections with the alumni network?
Whenever a student or alumni has been looking for a position in a company, I help them get in touch with an alumni that is familiar with the company or the field and set a meeting for the student and the alumni. In this way students can get insights on what it’s like to work for that particular company or get first-hand advice. Moreover, I often post job/internship offers on our social media platforms from the companies our alumni are currently working at.
3. Why do you think it’s important for current students to reach out to the alumni office even before graduating?
I think it’s very important because they can already start making connections with alumni, get insights, and learn what they can expect after they graduate from Webster. Additionally, if students choose to volunteer for events organized by the Alumni Office, they have the opportunity to network and meet alumni that could help them find job openings after graduation. For example, during the WebTalks event we had a student who was there interviewing alumni in the field of psychology for a research he is currently conducting.
4. Which tools are there for current students to make connections with alumni?
LinkedIn is a very useful tool when it comes to contacting alumni directly. On LinkedIn students can see who studied at Webster Vienna, what they are currently doing and reach out to them. A second tool is the Alumni Map, which is a visual representation of Webster Vienna’s international identity and offers a link our alumni worldwide (https://www.websteralumnimap.com). On top of that, we have an alumni email through which students can reach out to me and then I can help them make a connection with an alumni.
5. In your opinion what are the greatest challenges alumni face when graduating and how do you think they can overcome it?
I would say one of the greatest challenges for students that would like to stay in Austria after graduation is the German language. Sometimes we get opening positions for internships or jobs from our alumni, but in about 90% of the cases the applicant must speak German. So, if the alumni does not speak German, he or she might have more trouble finding a job. On the contrary, those who speak German find a job/internship by themselves or I easily link them with an alumni.
6. Do you have any particular success story you’d like to share regarding an alumni?
Yes, once I helped and alumna who wanted to start her own NGO by supporting her in organizing her first event here at Webster Vienna and sharing information about her NGO’s mission and goals. Today, her NGO is very successful and it keeps growing steadily.
7. Speaking of employability anxiety: What piece of advice can you offer to current students that are soon to become alumni?
To not count only on their degree but to get involved in projects, network as much as they can and gain as many different skills as possible so that they can succeed in the professional world. However, there it’s also very common that good students do well in the real world after graduating. So, work hard for your degree but also get involved, make connections and develop other skills outside of the classroom.
To learn more about the Webster Vienna Alumni Association and what they offer, click here: http://webster.ac.at/alumni