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By June 2005 Zirkind had a position at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, which focuses on developing and improving weapons systems. She stayed in touch with Lufkin off and on and, at his advice, continued to hone her communication and management skills.

In 2009, when a higher managerial position opened up, Zirkind was well prepared to fill the spot. She e-mailed Lufkin the good news on June 25: “Rick, I just wanted to let you know that I have been offered the higher-level job in my department … thank you so much for your guidance so far.”

To date, more than 3,000 alumni have offered career advice through ICAN. Alumni have used the database to connect for one-time consultations and longer-­term counseling. They’ve reached out during unexpected moves as well as planned and unplanned career transitions.

Zirkind’s advice to alumni who need support during career transitions–or just in general–is to tap the alumni network online or in person. “If you think you need clarification, seek out someone–that person will probably be happy to offer their experience and expertise,” she says. “Don’t hesitate.”

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