In a challenging economy, finding a job after college can easily come down to the networking. More than 26 percent of external hires came from a 2009 referral, according to a 2009 survey by CareerXRoads, a staffing strategy firm.
While the Albion Advantage’s promise of post-graduate assistance is only open to the graduating class of 2014 and after, the college’s Career Development Center has spearheaded a number of new networking opportunities for students and alumni, said Mary Jones, director of Career Development.
“We are now collaborating with the Ford Gerstacker and pre-med institutes on ‘Dinner with 12 Brits,’” Jones said. “(It involves) a couple of alumni hosting 10 students at their home; we’ll be doing three of those during the fall term and three during the spring term, one per institute.”
Practice events and workshops, which allow students to practice etiquette and networking skills, will be offered as preparation for the dinners, Jones said. Students enrolled in the institute are encouraged to attend and bring a non-institute friend.
“Experiential learning experiences”—whether an internship, research experiences or service learning—are also critical. Jones said she recommends that all students complete at least one experiential learning experience during their time at Albion, though it is required that the class of 2014 do so to receive post-graduate assistance.
Libby Adeline, Novi senior, found three accounting internships during her junior year at Albion with the help of Career Development. Due to her experiential learning, she has already has accepted a job offer at the accounting firm Plante & Moran.
“Mary Jones makes sure to email me periodically just to check in with me, which is really nice,” Adeline said. “I doubt if I had gone to Michigan State or University of Michigan I would have had the same opportunities.”
Career Development also has initiated an alumni-mentoring program—twenty students currently participate in areas ranging from marketing to medicine. The program matches students with alumni who work in the student’s particular field of interest and lets the student ask questions, build connections and set up job shadowing experiences, Jones said.
Because Career Development was reassigned under the supervision of Academic Affairs last year, it now works very closely with the academic departments to connect Albion’s liberal arts curriculum with career preparation, Jones said.
“We were invited to do presentations in multiple departments that we’ll tailor each presentation for each class and offer additional presentations to student groups and residence halls,” Jones said.
The English department asked Career Development to collaborate on assignments for students, which included a cover letter and career development application; students received class credit for completing the assignment.
Seth Dawson, Ann Arbor senior, has also taken advantage of the services of Career Development more than once as a biochemistry major planning on attending dental school.
“I made an appointment with Mary Jones, and she helped me reorganize my resume and personal statements for summer research opportunities as well as for dental school,” Dawson said. “I also plan to visit the office again in the future for mock dental school interviews.”
To evaluate the first-year class’ response to the Albion Advantage, Jones said that Career Development had created a survey to distribute; the results will be released next semester as the various parts of the advantage are implemented.
This article is the last of three in a series about the Albion Advantage.