How can students begin connecting with the more than 24,000 Gettysburg College alumni who could help with a future career? Start by introducing yourself.
The Center for Career Development offers programs and events to make that introduction easier. Take Courtney Small, a 2009 graduate from Connecticut who majored in sociology at Gettysburg.
Between her junior and senior year, Small participated in an externship with the zakHill Group, an entertainment marketing and promotions agency in Los Angeles. She spent a week shadowing co-owner Cynthia Hill, a 1990 Gettysburg College graduate. Small learned about movie, television, and video game marketing and promotion from the inside out. Small also found out that she really liked California.
"I was looking for a variety of jobs last spring when I came across a position with the ZakHill Group," she said. "It was offered to Gettysburg College seniors on the internal job posting site. I found out on my last day of class that I got the job."
Almost a year later, Small is still happily working at the zakHill Group. She credits the externship with Hill as the pivotal experience that helped her find the right career in the right place.
Hill is just one of dozens of alumni and parents who host externships and internships for Gettysburg College students. She has been involved for four years.
"If we have an opportunity, I'm going to look at Gettysburg first. I'm a huge proponent of alumni networking and helping people," said Cynthia. "My first two job experiences have been through networking and connecting with Gettysburg College alumni."
Young alumni have also made introductions using social media, such as LinkedIn. The college's professional networking group has almost 2,000 registered users. It helped Jack Kern, Class of 2009, land a job with Epic Advertising in New York.
"I joined the group and saw a job posting by Sara Fry, Class of 2007, for a position at Epic Advertising," Kern said. "I reached out to her by email on a Friday and we planned to speak the next Monday. When I called, it seemed as if the position had been filled; I got off the phone feeling dejection for the 183rd time this year."
"But then Sara phoned me two hours later, explaining that her supervisor would love to meet me and asking if I could come for an interview the next morning. I agreed and began to research the company straight away. The next day I met with Sara and three others at the company. I was offered the job only one week after I had inquired about it through Gettysburg College LinkedIn group. I can't wait to begin working."
Hill's advice to students entering the job market this year is simple: Take advantage of the programs and services offered by the Center for Career Development and leverage what you've learned at Gettysburg to become employable.
"They've got to come to the table prepared and they have to be serious about it," said Cynthia.
Contact: Kendra Martin, director of media relations
Posted: Mon, 29 Mar 2010
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