Colgate’s Center for Career Services is making huge strides in the services and connections it provides to Colgate’s student body. It is located in Spear House, which was formerly a faculty residence, Public Safety and the original Counseling Center.
Recently, Career Services has added new career advisors and upgraded their budget in order to accommodate the growing numbers of students utilizing their services. Over the last academic year, Career Services had 16,549 interactions with more than 88 percent of Colgate students, whether it be quick questions, scheduled appointments or career events and programs. 90 percent of the Class of 2015 has used Career Services last year, and this year’s numbers indicate that the growth will continue.
Career Services has a five-year strategic plan driven by five focus areas: leading students to commit to career self-management and resilience through EMBARC, Career Services’ new ten-year career development model, harnessing the Colgate community’s passion and influence for the students’ benefit, ensuring that all students build core career skills and gain competitive experiences, achieving career outcomes at a high rate and realizing operational excellence to maximize resources.
“We really put students in the driver’s seat when it comes to moving themselves along in a career development process,” Director of Operations of Strategic Planning of Career Services Teresa Olsen said.
All students that go to Career Services for help do it of their own will with the desire to move themselves along in the career-seeking process. Whether a student is at the beginning stages of career development or an alumnus needing career coaching, Career Services is able to provide a coach for all levels.
“Career Services often gets a reputation for only helping students interested in finance or banking, but there is more than that,” Employer Relations Intern senior Rebecca Hasenfeld said.
Career Services has been working through this stereotype, employing with strategic efforts to diversify the opportunities available to students. Already the number of employer partners increased by 75 percent last year, with an upward trend this year too. Last year Career Services was able to bring almost 3,500 diverse job opportunities and internships to the student body. According to Associate Director of Career Development Vera Chapman, Career Services advisors can handle a variety of specific industries beyond finance and banking, including STEM, creative communications, sustainability, common good, start-ups and lots more.
Alumni relations play a key role in Career Services’ operations. Over the past year, there have been more than 1,200 alumni and parent volunteers working with Career Services as sponsors, employers and mentors. The external outreach part of the office is moving forward in order to expand these connections.
“The Colgate Alumni network is our single best resource. The affection – bordering on rabid fanatical cult status – of Colgate alumni toward the university is legendary,” Director of Career Services Mike Sciola said.
By partnering with Alumni Relations and Institutional Advancement, Career Services has been able to support the creation of create the Colgate Professional Networks, making alumni more accessible than ever. Programs like Linkedin.com/alumni and the online alumni directory (iCAN) allow access to the majority of alumni in every field. Career Services offers guidance and strategic outreach planning so that each student is able to take advantage of these resources. Students like Peer Career Advisor junior Justin LoScalzo do presentations on these networks in order to educate the student body on how best to use their resources.
“The Career Services staff is a welcoming group of people who want nothing more than to help students be successful in their endeavors,” LoScalzo said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by both Outreach Intern junior Sara Hinton and Outreach/Social Media Intern junior Miriam Charry.
“I went to career services for help with my resume and it was very helpful,” sophomore Taylor Ellerkamp said. Students seeking resume and cover letter help can make appointments with Peer Career Advisors, like LoScalzo, and work one on one.
“The earlier you go, the more that they can help you, even if you are really uncertain in what you want to do,” sophomore Tad Sherwood said.
Many people are taking this advice. So far this year, 69.7 percent of the Class of 2015, 48.0 percent of the Class of 2016, 39.8 percent of the Class of 2017 and 62.1 percent of the Class of 2018 have visited Career Services.
“The primary goal of Career Services is to help students to first define their unique passions, skills and interests, and then to identify career fields that have great opportunities,” Sciola said. “Career Services is where passion meets opportunity. Today is a great day to get started.”