Sep 21

Navigating Your Career with IrishCompass

Today’s guest post was written by Sharon Keane, Notre Dame Alumni Association.


Important dynamics are at play in today’s marketplace and in the minds of professionals. They include the mindset shift from “career for life” to “career for me,” the rise of the “gig” economy, and increased job changes. Research reveals that individuals will experience more job changes going forward. Key stats include:

  • The average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times during his/her career.
  • Many workers spend 5 years or less in every job.
  • Millennials will constitute 50% of the workforce by 2020 and will change jobs on average every 3-5 years.

What does this mean to a Notre Dame graduate student who will enter the job market?

It is reasonable to assume that working professionals will need a robust network in order to navigate these realities successfully. Actively cultivating your network now so you have the positive relationships over the life of your career is the way to go. For many, networking is uncomfortable or disappointing. You want to network with purpose and clarity as you build relationships. One concrete step in this direction is to develop a clear, concise elevator pitch so that as you connect with others, you are able to communicate your distinct value. In return, you want to listen well as others share their professional pursuits so you can help direct them too.

Many say that the time to build your network is before you need it. I agree. No question that building your network takes time, energy, and focus. You want to invest these resources wisely.

Enter the Notre Dame network, filled with people who are successful and willing to help others achieve their professional aspirations. To start, there are 140,000 alumni who have valuable experience, perspective, and referrals. How do you plug into this network?

Join IrishCompass.

IrishCompass is the University’s new official online community for professional growth and development in support of students and alumni. As a member of the Notre Dame family, you can participate in a wide variety of ways — from networking and mentorship opportunities to a private job board and industry groups. Here are a few specific ideas for this exclusive community:

  • Match with alumni based on interests and career goals to engage in 30-minute career conversations or three-month mentorship relationship.
  • Participate in the industry-specific online discussions by joining industry groups for your current and desired fields.
  • Access the job board featuring professional positions (as graduate students, you also retain access rights to Go IRISH.)
  • Explore the library with helpful videos, webinars, books, articles, guides, and worksheets that address a variety of career-related topics and help with the career discernment process.

Engage with the ND network. Give others the benefit of your experience as you gain from theirs. Your active participation will ensure that IrishCompass is a vibrant community of alumni and students who learn and achieve together.


Sharon Keane ’84 serves as the Director of Professional and Academic Programs in the Notre Dame Alumni Association. She is responsible for career services and intellectual engagement of Notre Dame alumni. In her role, she draws upon her work experience in government, business, and academe.