One of the game's best moves is networkingespecially with SU alumni who have valuable professional perspectives. "It's understood that when you contact these alumni, you're asking for advice, not a job," stresses Michael Nahum '98, a School of Management marketing major looking for a job in the entertainment industry. "I've been contacting alumni on the Newhouse database. But first I had to attend seminars to learn to use Newhouse's resources. It's amazing that all this help is available to us." |
En route to his summer job with Procter & Gamble, Matt McFadden quickly witnessed the power of alumni connections. In SU's School of Management Career Center he found the name of a management alumnus, Jay Dinwoodie '73, who worked at GE Aircraft. McFadden sent Dinwoodie a resume with a cover letter asking for advice, then followed up with a phone call. "He picked up the phone and said, 'Hey, what's up?'" McFadden remembers. "We chatted for a while, then he offered to forward my resume to GE's recruiting people."
Mike Daley G'77 (left) and Steve Gruebel '87, service
coordinators for The House of the Good Shepard residential treatment facility in Utica, return to SU to recruit graduates from the School of Social Work.
After GE Aircraft made him a job offer, McFadden learned that his SU contact was the company's chief information officer. "It was complete luck," he marvels. "I sent my resume to someone two steps from the top. He must have been really busy, but he took the time to shoot the breeze with a 19-year-old."
Alumni networking is especially essential for S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications students, whose nationally acclaimed Career Development Center keeps a database of 2,400 well-positioned graduates. "We post job listings, but we don't encourage students to wait for them; in this field, that's the lazy way of looking for a job," explains Karen McGee, director of the center. "What's unique about communications is that it's so unpredictable; there are always new projects starting up with just a few weeks' lead time. So you have to get out there and network. In communications, it's important who you know."
The School of Management Career Center also keeps an alumni database with 2,000 names, plus a corporate listing of more than 1,000 contacts. "This career center almost pleads with students to pursue the job openings in its newsletter and on its website," says Scotty Andrews, Career Center director. "We sometimes have trouble rounding up enough students for interviews. Our students have so many opportunities." |
The College for Human Development aspires to a similar predicament of more jobs than students to fill them. To help generate placement and internship opportunities it has established national and regional advisory boards in restaurant management, retailing, and fashion. The college's director of career development spends a half-day each week in the Center for Career Services to encourage Human Development students to take advantage of the full range of career resources. "We've been concentrating on improving career services for the past three years," says Dean Susan J. Crockett. "In a professional school like ours, we have a special obligation to help our students segue into their careers." Almost all Human Development majors take a one-credit career course that helps them anticipateand navigatethe professional development path that lies ahead. "Hopefully it opens their eyes and motivates them to set higher goals," Crockett says. "Of course, you can't make them do it. Ultimately, the responsibility for career development lies with the student."
The one career development tool that's almost universally used at SU is experiential learning. With academic credit as the carrot, students flock to these temporary job placements at some of the region's and nation's most high profile organizations. Placements that are integrally linked to the academic curriculum and completed during the academic year are generally termed co-ops. Internships are more apt to be electives, taken in the summer, with or without pay. Internships are available through the various career centers and the Syracuse University Internship Program (SUIP), which coordinates about 700 placements a year.
"Internships have become an essential component of a college degree," notes Carmel Piccoli, SUIP coordinator. "Students use them to explore career options, gain practical experience, and make very valuable connections."
Bioengineering major Cathryn Ungermann '98 completed two summer internships at the SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse. One focused on osteoporosis, the other on muscle loss due to aging. Neither turned out to be of major interest to Ungermann, but she says the experience did a lot to help her focus on the future. "As a senior you are overwhelmed by the number of directions you can take," she says. "So far I've applied for positions with the Peak Performance software company and the Olympic Training Center because my goal is to one day work with Olympic athletes. However, I may need a master's degree for that. In th