Career Services Helps Students, UVM with NYC Career Networking

Nana Minkah works in the Academic Support Programs office in the Living/Learning Center now but he can see the New York City skyline in his future. The second year pre-med student said he plans on returning to the city he calls home after graduation. To find a job, he knows he’ll need to network. Networking can have many benefits. One that appeals to Minkah is knowing that you have contacts and friends who have their eyes out for your future. “It’s like a crew,” he said. “A group of different people in different fields come together to form an alliance.” During winter break, students like Minkah who plan to live and work in New York City have a chance to begin laying the groundwork for their careers. Past and former students can meet and mingle with successful UVM New York alumni from a variety of industries at the Career Services Career Networking Event. There will be workshops and panels featuring representatives from the fields of corporate management, higher education, marketing, finance, human resources, information technology, and much more. The New York City Career Networking event will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 8, 2004. Students will be able to attend workshops on networking and how to conduct a job search beginning at 5 p.m. Participants will be asked to pay a $10 fee and show their UVM ID to get into the event, which is being held at the Young and Rubican Headquarters, located in the Ney Center for Global Leadership, 285 Madison Ave. Space is limited, said Career Services Assistant Director Mary Beth Barritt, so students have to make reservations by calling the Alumni Relations Office, (802) 656-2010. Minkah said he plans on changing his major from computer science to art, which will also affect his career route. Before he changes his major, he’d like to know someone who has been a pre-med student before. “You never know who you’re gonna meet,” he said. Even if there aren’t many art major pre-med students like him, Minkah will benefit from the Career Networking Event in order to explore career options and develop a list of contacts. Alumni can provide tips on “how to crack the industry,” even if they aren’t actively recruiting for positions that night, Barritt said. Not just New York City residents will be able to work on their networking skills. The Regional Boards and Career Services staff will be busy organizing programs in Boston and Vermont as well. Students who want to live or work in the Boston area can attend a Networking Event just for them. The event will be held, free of charge, on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 from 6 – 8 p.m. The Boston Networking Event will be held at the Newton Marriott Hotel, 2345 Commonwealth Ave in Newton, MA. Again, interested students need to make reservations with the Alumni Relations Office. A third networking event will be held in Vermont in March. The Career Networking Events provide an opportunity for individual networking with alumni volunteers, said Barritt. At each program, panelists will present information on their careers and on making connections and conducting an effective job search in a wide variety of careers and industries. In addition to the panel presentation, alumni networkers will be at stations around the room, available to discuss careers and fields one-on one with students. Maragaret Kostelnik, a student employee at the Career Services Office, attended the New York Networking Night last year. She found it a little overwhelming as a junior, she said, but now that she is a senior, she considers it great practice. “I doubt that will happen this time around,” she said. “I’ll go in knowing what to do.” Networking is very improtant, Kostelnik said. In her job search, she’s relying heavily on contacts she has made through internships and personal networks she’s made through friends and family. She said she was surprised last year when a woman on the panel say she got a job through a want ad in the New York times. “Who does that?” Kostelnik said. “It’s a rare case to get a job through a want ad.” Although the relationships formed at an event like this may help one in their job search process, it’s important to remember that the career networking events are different from job fairs, Barritt said. The alumni at these events are not recruiting and they aren’t necessarily aware of openings in their company. The alumni provide help for students to launch their own search. An alumnus may know of someone within the company to contact for a job or be willing to make contacts on your behalf. “You could meet a person who’s not in your job field but they could like you,” Kostelnik said. “Then they’ll call up their friends and say I really liked this guy.” Never underestimate the power of a first impression, Kostenik said. She advised students to take the networking events seriously. “You don’t want to show up in jeans,” She said. In addition, work on developing a repoire with your career contact. If you form a relationship with a contact, always follow throguh with an e-mail ro call to update the person. The two events are made possible in large part due to the work of the New York and Boston regional boards, Barritt said. Graduates who are looking for ways to remain active and connected to their alma mater can participate in programs like this or serve on committees that organize reunions and host special events. Organizers hope the events will give students the tools and experience they need when they are on a job search. They need to say, “This is important, I’m ready to get started,” Barritt said.