Eager & Earnest: The Employer Relations Interns

Benton Hall, the home of Colgate’s Career Services office, sees plenty of well-established names and faces walk through their doors. Just this past week, Career Services hosted three separate events with consulting-industry giants Deloitte, Gartner and EY. A talented team of student staff — Employer Relations (ER) interns — helps coordinate these visits. You might see the ER team’s work in your inbox, too, as part of the weekly “What’s Going On” email from the Career Services communication team — they organize the events that fill the newsletter. 

Junior Nick Cinnamo has worked with the ER team since last March. He explained the variability in the interns’ days on the job. 

“We post jobs, internships and networking opps on Handshake. We conduct outreach calls and emails to employers who want to partner with us, and we’re currently working on research campaigns to partner with more employers […] As a whole, the ER interns are looking to increase the number of partnerships we have with employers and to maintain the connections we already have, and to increase the number of jobs and internship opportunities for all Colgate students,” Cinnamo said. 

Junior Cindy Chen also joined the team last semester after she utilized the help of Career Services throughout her time as a student. 

“I have gotten a lot of help from Career Services, as I feel like they have a very comprehensive plan of helping students,” Chen said. “They have a great framework that includes connecting with alumni and offering premier opportunities that support students, and I felt like that was a place I wanted to work.”

One of the most visible aspects of the ER interns’ jobs is to organize employer information sessions and coffee chats. Chen spoke about the anxieties that can arise during these high-stakes events. 

“Because companies are taking a significant portion of their time to actually visit Colgate and interview our students and [the ER interns are] representing both Colgate and Career Services, we have to make sure we are our best – we don’t want to disappoint employers. But because [these events] happen so often, we get used to it, and we also realize that these employers are normal people who really value the students at Colgate, so we just have to be our best selves,” Chen said. 

The ER interns take care of the finer details at events where employers are present, too. It might not make a difference to the students in attendance, but it certainly goes a long way in the employers’ eyes. 

“It’s all about being a friendly face. We have to dress appropriately, wear name tag[s], and we make a welcome sign on the TV near the front door. We will sit at the front desk to welcome the employers and students, and we will have water out — there are more nuanced things we cover, too,” Chen said. 

Through their work, ER interns can garner valuable skills for their own professional development. Sophomore Malia Haakonsen spoke to this important aspect of the position.

“I wanted to see how I could continue to connect with alumni more and see a different method in understanding the internship and full-time offer process. I saw that [the ER team] was hiring for help in research and outreach, and I was interested in learning how to build my skills in connecting and networking with alums in the business world,” Haakonsen said.

Sophomore Omar Fagally was also just onboarded as an ER intern a few weeks ago during Career Services’ summer orientation. 

“I got to learn more about how the Career Service environment works, how they help students and the processes by which they help students to reach their career goals,” Fagally said. 

Fagally has certainly hit the ground running by doing research in his new role. 

“Some of our tasks involve communication with employers, trying to market Colgate as this really great liberal arts institution that offers students with perspective,” Fagally said. “We have one program that’s called Colgate Premier, where we add employers […] and basically help make connections between Colgate students and the employers […] So I have to research [the employers], research their jobs, research their history and make sure that they actually fit our profile.”

As for research and forming partnerships, Cinnamo’s work in the office has recently been inspired by an experience of his own. After working for the JED foundation, which works to prevent suicide and protect emotional health in teens and young adults this past summer, he hopes to facilitate a partnership with them. He’s now working on research campaigns to target non-profits and make additional connections that can create more jobs for Colgate students. 

“I know many students that want to get involved in mental health work, and the JED Foundation is one of the leading and fastest growing nonprofits in that sector. Plus, as the JED Foundation grows in size and scope, they can reach even more schools and even more students, having an even greater impact on the mental health of teens and young adults,” Cinnamo said. 

From the non-profit sector to consulting work, Career Services can help with it all, and the Employer Relations interns will remain a force behind the scenes.