Since graduating from Elizabethtown College, many alumni have been playing a large role in helping current students get their foot through the door marked “Job Hunting.” The Office of Career Services gives students the ability to connect with these alumni through an online networking database. Typically used by seniors, Career Services helps students, as early as their first year, build a resume and form relationships with successful alumni.
Joining the Career Services team in 2009, Outreach and Alumni Liaison Mary Krikorian works with Etown students in helping them benefit from such a large, helpful alumni network. With over 1,000 alumni, Krikorian has been helping students search through job and internship possibilities from alumni postings.
Krikorian stated that many times networking or getting advice from people in the field are good stepping stones in searching, but there are students that don’t know anyone or just don’t know where to begin.
“It’s good to have someone help you, and that’s the kind of service we [Career Services] provide. Certainly the best pool for us to pull from is our alumni,” she said.
Krikorian noted that alumni post internships and various positions on Career Services’ other website, Jobs For Jays. Job hunting all starts with networking and making contacts, whether it be through email, phone or in person. January, Krikorian explained, is when seniors get access to the alumni network database. Completely voluntarily, many alumni are willing to work with students and help them in the job hunting process.
“You can look up a person’s specific name or major,” Krikorian said. “You can also search by location and see what field they are working in or what company they work for.” Krikorian also said, “Career Services does not encourage the first contact with alum to be asking for a job or an internship. You have to establish a relationship before you can ask something like that.”
For new students seeking help from Career Services, looking through the alumni database is usually the first step. Krikorian said it is best that a student comes prepared to meetings knowing what they want to look for, but realizes that it might not always be the case. Career Services will help those students build or edit a resume and help them find the right path. That being said, contacting alumni is always the crucial step. The alumni tend to respond quickly within a few days, but there are some that take more time.
Many students have already made connections with alumni through jobs or internships. Junior Emily Butler was looking for a summer job or internship over the summer and decided to contact Career Services for their help.
“Being in the medical field, this can be really difficult because students are allowed very minimum participation in these job settings because we aren’t certified to do anything yet,” Butler said.
With help from Career Services, Butler was able to have dinner with Dr. Gurtej Singh, an alumnus practicing in the spinal therapy and rehabilitation field. The two conversed about career paths and how to plan ahead, including when to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GREs), who to go to for letters of recommendation and when it is best to apply for graduate school. Singh was also helpful in finding possible job positions at the hospital for which he works.
“It was really neat talking to an alumnus because he could relate to where I am in my education,” Butler explained. “Hearing his experience was nice too because it will probably be similar to mine. We are still in touch now, and he is still helping me out whenever he can.”
Career Services also holds various events through the year to help prepare Etown students.
Career Services will hold a job shadowing program on Apr. 20 with approximately 15-20 alumni. This event is targeted toward sophomores because Career Services feels that it is important for them to explore the one-on-one experience with someone in their field, hoping to expand their career development.
Senior Michelle Hare came to Career Services during the second semester of her first year in search of guidance on picking a major. She decided on communications after interning for a man whose friend she had shadowed in the Career Services’ job shadowing program.
“I wanted to learn more about the communications field and gain experience,” Hare said. “The first internship I worked was as a marketing intern for The JDK Group, a full-service event coordinating company in Camp Hill, Pa.”
The program put together by Career Services is a reputable one. With a friendly and helpful staff and a very willing and accessible market of alumni, it is no surprise that students like Hare find themselves in the Career Services’ offices their first year.
“My internship experiences have been an invaluable asset to my education and have helped me develop real-life skills related to my field of study,” Hare said. “I have been exposed to different types of work environments, which has helped me understand what types of places I am looking to work at after graduation. I would not have had these valuable experiences if I never contacted Career Services.”
Whether searching for a job or an internship, each student should entertain the notion of setting up a meeting with Career Services or attending one of their many events throughout the school year. The resources within the alumni database are endless and are no doubt the best place to look for a job or internship in such a tough job market.