Palm Trees

Career Development Center

» Welcome Alumni!

Although your time at Chapman University as a student has ended, many of the Career Development Center’s services are available to you at little or no charge. To access our full set of basic resources and tools, visit our CDC Students section.


+ - Alumni Association


Chapman University Alumni Association is a vibrant volunteer-based organization guided by an elected Board of Directors, supported by staff operating within the university Alumni Relations office. The Alumni Association reaches out to degreed alumni. Regardless of where alumni live, they can be active with the Alumni Association and thus strengthen the future of their alma mater.

The Alumni Association states their purpose as specified in Constitution and Bylaws of the Chapman Alumni Association, its purpose is to promote the welfare of Chapman University by:

  • Being a source of mutually beneficial influence between the University and the alumni.
  • Assisting the University in its growth and development.
  • Providing a vehicle for continuing established relationships.
  • Supporting and advancing the cause of private higher education.

Get Involved

+ - Be a Panther Mentor

Interested in giving back to the university on a more personal one-to-one experience?  There are dozens of opportunities offered each school year for alum to become more interactive and involved with students.  Contact the Chapman Career Development Center at  to learn how to get involved. 

Balancing your Life

+ - How to Build a Community After College

Building a personal network is all about building personal relationships. How do you build a life, make friends, and fill your time? It is critical that you find a way to build a community where you live, no matter where that is or how long you plan to be there. One of the great things about life right after college is that for the first time you get to pick the people you choose to spend time with.

Live where you are

Even if you are only moving somewhere for a short time (ex: one-year fellowship or graduate school) don’t act like you are just visiting the place. Hang pictures on the walls. Put down roots. First, you never know what will happen. Life and plans change, often unexpectedly. Second, acting like you live in a place will change your attitude towards that place tremendously. Take advantage of what this new town has to offer you, while you are there.


Join a group

In your first year in a new place, join anything and everything. Join civic organizations, social organizations, alumni groups, faith-based groups, anything and everything that is an organized gathering of people. You don’t have to stick with it all. But take the time to check these groups out and figure out what works for you.


Think about what matters to you

This is a great opportunity to assess what you value and how you want to spend your free time. You’re not going to be able to do everything, so what are those few things that you want to invest in? Time, in the adult world, is a precious commodity. Be thoughtful about how you use it and share it.


Continue your education

If you’re not in graduate school, there are tons of great opportunities to further your education in formal and informal ways. Look for continuing education courses at the local community college. Or learn that second language, learn how to knit, play a new musical instrument, or do some creative writing. Seek out interesting speakers and cultural events hosted by book stores, libraries, and art centers. You will have the opportunity to meet all sorts of interesting people.


Have patience

It’s important to recognize that you have been in this place before, even if it didn’t look exactly the same, and all of the tools that you need are within you. This is the same situation you were at as a freshman in college. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. And remember, life is long and this is all part of the adventure.

+ - Building a Professional Network

Networking includes building off of your professional and personal relationships that currently exist, and being intentional about meeting new people through various channels. Having access to a professional network provides you with a support system of individuals who can connect you to future projects, people, opportunities, and organizations throughout your life and career.


Alumni Networking Events & Online Opportunities


Create & Maintain a LinkedIn Profile (online toolkit)


Attend a Career Bar focused on building your LinkedIn! Get more information at 


Join Your OFFICIAL Alumni LinkedIn Group


Think Chapman First

A referral program designed to engage the Chapman Family of alumni, students, families, faculty, staff and friends in an effort to strengthen career connections and increase the number of job/internship opportunities for the Chapman community.


Get Involved

Alumni are an important part of the Chapman Family and your involvement enriches our campus community. Volunteer, attend activities & events, or become a member of an alumni community.


Life Stages

Chapman University is with you every step of the way, from your first tour of campus to your 50th class reunion and beyond. 



+ - Creating a Work/Life Balance

If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you're not alone.  Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call when they're not physically at work. Sometimes achieving a better balance between work and the rest of our lives is a matter of tweaking our attitude, like accepting that we can’t do or have everything.


Millennial workers place a higher value on being able to spend time with friends and family than Baby Boomers did when they were younger. Likewise, millennial are less likely to define themselves by their careers.  As many as 70 percent of college students believe it’s unnecessary to be in an office regularly.


Even if you don't have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself in what ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?  Focus your time and attention on things you can control.

 Be Proactive In Your Scheduling

  • When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge
  • Combine your work and personal calendar so you can prioritize your responsibilities
  • Have an activity to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time to make your week easier to handle. 
  • Wake up earlier & spend time focusing on exercise/family time to create a more productive and peaceful workday
  • Back-to-back appointments are a no-no, give yourself some time in between appointments; give your brain and body a chance to catch up. 

 Drop Negative Activities

Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value -- for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping.  Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them. 

 Rethink Your Errands

Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands.  Even if you're on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you'll save will make it worth it.  You can also trade services with friends. Offer to do tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway.

 Rethink Your Responsibilities

Ask other people to help you manage your responsibilities. Talk to coworkers about filling in for each other when one of you has an outside commitment, or to family members about sharing dog-walking or babysitting responsibilities on days when someone needs to stay late at the office.

 Squeeze it in

In an ideal world, we’d be able to spend two hours lunching with pals every day and attend salsa lessons every night. But sometimes it’s more realistic to grab coffee with a friend and go dancing every other weekend. This schedule might not be exactly what we’d like, but it’s certainly preferable to not socializing at all.

 Put Your Health at the Top of Your List

It's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate. Have regular health assessments and plan exercise into your weekly plan. Get professional help and then the support and cooperation of your family to make the needed changes.

 A Little Relaxation Goes a Long Way

Don't assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life.  Slowly build more activities into your schedule that are important to you.  Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries.

 Accept imperfection

  • Mistakes are inevitable; obstacles and challenges will pop up unexpectedly, try to enjoy yourself and be productive and present with whatever you’re doing. Then refocus on your priorities.
  •  Once you’ve decided which responsibilities and relationships you find most important cut yourself some slack when it comes to other achievements in your personal and professional life, and remind yourself that you’re making progress where you believe it really counts.

 Recognize Your Value

  • Figure out what’s personally meaningful to you, as long as you find your life fulfilling, it doesn’t matter if your schedule looks different from someone else’s.
  • Accept that your priorities might change over time. Maybe you’ll start a family, take a new job, or pick up a new hobby—be prepared for your values and schedule to shift, and make adjustments accordingly.

 Reconsider your commute

The physical trip to and from the office can be more draining than work itself. Consider moving closer to your workplace: You’ll have a better attitude toward work and feel less like you’re wasting a big chunk of your day. On the other hand, don’t be afraid of a long commute if it means going home to a neighborhood you love and feeling happier.

 Don’t Bring Work Home

To work from home can be liberating, but it comes with challenges, like potentially getting distracted by the pile of dirty laundry on the floor. To avoid these issues, set up a physical boundary between work life and home life by designating a whole room (or even just a corner) as your office space. Try to keep all work-related paraphernalia and tasks contained to just this area.

 OR Bring Your Work Home

Just because you’re working a lot doesn’t necessarily mean your life isn’t awesome. Some of us (ideally, all of us!) love our jobs, so much so that we’re willing to spend hours brainstorming, emailing, and sitting in meetings. If it makes you happy to bring your laptop home and continue working after dinner because you feel like you’re making a difference in the world or you simply love the work, go for it!


Requesting & Assessing Professional Feedback

You need feedback to learn and grow, and if you’re waiting for your annual review to find out how you’re performing, you’re not getting enough of it. But how do you get the focused input you need? And if your boss is stingy with pointers and advice, how do you encourage her to give you more? Who else should you be asking to help you improve?

+ - Requesting Feedback

What the Experts Say

If you’re having a feedback conversation every week, there is less to be surprised by and more opportunity to modify your behavior. The process will also make you happier and more productive at work. People who go out and solicit negative feedback — meaning they aren’t just fishing for compliments — report higher satisfaction.  They adapt more quickly to new roles, get higher performance reviews, and show others they are committed to doing their jobs.

Understand What You Are Looking For
Think about the kind of feedback you crave. Do you want more appreciation or acknowledgment? Or evaluation of your performance on a particular project or task?  Or, is it general coaching about how you can improve and learn? Knowing this will help you craft your approach.  There is value in asking for positive feedback as well. Don’t hesitate to ask your boss to review your performance on an obviously successful project because it can be an opportunity to build a stronger relationship.

Ask for Feedback in Real Time
If you want some insight into how you did on a particular task or how you might improve on the next project it is best to ask sooner rather than later. Just reach out to your boss, colleagues, or clients and have a very quick and informal coaching exchange.  You might pull your boss aside after a meeting, or close a conversation with a parting request for her reaction to your role on a recent project.

Pose Specific Questions & Press for Examples

Asking questions that begin with ‘how’ or ‘what’ will elicit fuller responses.  You can ask questions like -

  • What is one thing I could improve?
  • What’s one thing I could have done better in that meeting or presentation?
  • How did that go from your perspective? 
  • What do you think I might have done differently?
  • Can you explain what you mean? 
  • How could I have been more assertive just now?
  • What kinds of things should I do to be more assertive going forward?

+ - Three Questions for Effective Feedback

  1. What should I stop doing?
  2. What should I keep doing?
  3. What should I start doing?



  • Are you hearing that you should quit doing something that you feel is a skill or strength?
  • Is your first response that quitting this behavior will have catastrophic consequences?
  • On reflection, is it possible that you’ve fallen into a behavioral rut?
  •  If you stop doing one thing, might you have an opportunity to try something new and different?



  • Is there something you’re doing right that people feel you should do more of?
  • Have you been dismissive of this particular behavior or skill for some reason?
  • What might happen if you used this “keep” more?
  • How might it impact your effectiveness and satisfaction with your job?



  • Are people recommending you do something that feels foreign or scary?
  • What about it makes you anxious?
  • Is it because you are afraid of looking like you don’t know what you’re doing?
  • Why are people suggesting you start doing this new thing?
  • What benefits do they feel will accrue to you, your group, or your organization?

+ - How to Handle Negative Feedback

1. Listen carefully. First, there’s no question that not interrupting and listening carefully is the right thing to do when you’re getting negative feedback. That’s familiar counsel. What’s often left undiscussed is the question of what, exactly, is it that you should be listening for?

  • First, is what’s being said fact or opinion? Both may be accurate, but sorting out facts from opinion while you’re listening will make it easier for you to respond effectively.
  • Next, is it accurate? Distinguish the accuracy of the feedback from the quality of its presentation. Even though negative feedback may be badly delivered, it may be accurate.
  • What’s the intent? What’s the motive?
    •  If the person who’s giving you feedback is someone who’s usually trustworthy and reliable, this is feedback you’ll want to pay close attention to.
    •  If the individual is egotistical, or is into one-upmanship, or has a tendency to dramatize, you should still be professional and listen to what’s being said. Consider the source, and take it with a grain of salt.


2. Don’t get defensive. The key is to listen to the other person without planning our reply. Simply nodding until the other person has completely finished will make sure that your counterpart has said everything intended.

Asking questions helps eliminate the appearance of defensiveness and keeps us from immediately jumping in to justify our actions. Ask, “I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying. Do I have it right that you feel . . .” That question can help the other individual communicate clearly whatever his or her core message may be. Asking for examples may help you gain useful insights that are buried in the unconstructive message.


3. Ask for time. Unless the negative feedback concerns something that is right-on-the-spot fixable, it’s good to ask for time to consider. This provides several benefits. It defuses the immediate situation. It tells the other person that you consider their feedback important enough that you want to consider it carefully and calmly. And it allows you to think through the accuracy of what you’ve been told, perhaps testing its validity with others.  Asking for time also helps defuse the emotional load.


In that following conversation, whatever explanations or defenses you offer will be more carefully considered than if they were blurted out right after the negative message was received.  Once you fully understand the negative feedback that’s been delivered, it may be appropriate to offer an apology.  Don’t over-apologize. Apologize once if necessary, sincerely and maturely. Remember that criticism and negative feedback are a fact of life. Learn from your mistakes, and move on.

Setting Career Goals & Measuring Success

Your current employer most likely has a document or process by which he/she create an annual performance plan based on the goals, objectives, and/or action steps related to your job responsibilities.

Having a clear vision of what you are working to achieve before you take action is a key factor in accomplishing the goals you set. 


These goals can often make great bullet points for outlining responsibilities and accomplishments on your resume as well as your LinkedIn and serve as interesting stories and examples in future job interviews.

+ - Articulating a Vision Statement

Articulating a vision statement is the first step in helping you eventually reach your professional goals.  Follow these steps, adapted from Randall S. Hansen of Quintessential Careers:

  1. Career visioning cannot be rushed. It may take several efforts and false starts before things begin to clear and you start getting a grasp of your ideal future.  Express your goals positively!
  2. Review your core values. Take advantage of opportunities offered by the CDC to take a free assessment including the STRONG to review your values.  Set priorities on which goals to focus on first.
  3. Break down your goals into small achievable pieces.  With a career vision anything should be possible to accomplish, so find a way to turn off any negative thinking that will block you from thinking big. Don't assume the future is limited to what is happening today.
  4. Try one or more of these visioning exercises.
    • How do you define career success?  
    • Are you achieving some level of success in your current job?
    • What would you want to do today if all your bills were paid and you had relatively unlimited cash reserves?
    • What would your career be like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?
    • What you would like your obituary to say about your career accomplishments and the types of impacts you left with the people you worked with?
    • If absolutely no obstacles stood in the way of your achieving it, what would you most like to attain in your career?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or their careers that attract you to them? Is there something about what they have or do that you want for your career vision?
    • Imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved success.  What is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like?
    • Do you feel as though you have a gift or calling? How can you share this gift or best answer the call in a way that will fulfill you?
    • What's the one activity you most love? Is it part of your career? If not, how can you make it part of your career?
    • Where would you like to be in your career in 5 years? In 10 years? In 15 years?
  5. Put it all together. Consider writing a short vision statement along with a short description of how you currently see yourself accomplishing it - reaching your vision. Write everything in the present tense, as if you already have accomplished it. This creates the right frame of mind – confidence about your future – rather than keeping your vision in the distant future.
  6. Keep your vision realistic. Imagine yourself achieving your career vision. Reinforcing the positive image of you in your career vision will help you develop goals and action steps. Be precise in setting dates, times, and amounts so that you know when you have achieved your goals.
  7. Review your vision statement. Your vision can and will change as you move closer to it. Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that are in your own control.  Review your career vision statement and make any adjustments that you feel are necessary.

Goal-setting techniques are used by successful people in all fields. You will be able to see forward movement & by setting and taking action toward your goals, you will raise your self-confidence.

Making Your Next Career Move

Even as an alumni, it can be difficult settling into a specific career path. Identifying your career can be difficult at any age.  Changing career paths is a common practice, so making sure you have the right tools to identify your strengths and feed your passion is very important. 

+ - Am I Ready for a Change?

If you have decided that a change is necessary, consider these questions:

  • What is my motivation for wanting to stay or leave? 
  • Am I satisfied with/enjoying my career?
  • Do I feel motivated by the people I work with?
  • Is my work-life balance meeting my wants and needs?
  • What skills do I still need to build upon my current role?
  •  Have I learned everything I can possibly learn within my current position?
  • What are my long-term professional goals & what are my action steps to achieve them?
  • Do I need a graduate/professional school degree to get to the next level, or to change careers?
  • Does my current company, manager, or team provide opportunities for professional growth and promotions?
  • Is there a career path for me within this organization?

+ - How Do I Make a Change?

Career change statistics suggest that the average person will be making a career change 5-7 times during their working life.  About 1/3 of the total workforce will change jobs every 12 months.  By the age of 42 you will probably have had about 10 jobs.  So what do you need to do?


  1. Do it with others, not alone.  The effect of connecting with others is accessibility to different ideas, connections and accountability.  Connect with other dissatisfied coworkers, connect with the CDC and/or the Alumni Association.  Take advantage of your network.


  1. Act it out, don’t figure it out.  Similar to your experiences as a student exploring career and professional opportunities via internships, job shadowing, and informational interviewing – this is the time for you to begin to rediscover your professional passion and the course of your next direction.  It is only through questioning and exploration that your next path with become clear.


  1. Look for people, not just for a job.  If you consider the questions you asked yourself when you were considering a career change, it often had some part to do with the people you worked with/for.  It is the connections with people that motivate you to go in your next direction.  Consider your current network and begin the process of growing it all out into new areas of discovery and growth.


  1. You need to believe that it will happen.  It can be difficult redefining yourself as a new professional, but making the conscious effort to redefine yourself as your new role will help you embrace it and grow.


  1. Don’t let your resume/CV get too long.  It is tempting to make your resume an “everything” overview.  Most employers don’t want to read it and are really looking for the pieces of your resume that are most relevant to them.  During the interview stage is when you can bring up the rest of your professional experience.

+ - Who Should I Be Talking to About My Plans?

Review the section on building your professional network.  Contact the alumni association for job search, networking, and mentorship opportunities.  Contact the Career Development Center for assistance in resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn construction.