College students often worry about developing their career — whether it’s through jobs, internships, or doing research. To help students with this process, many colleges offer career services. At Macaulay Honors College, these services are provided by the Office of Career Development.
To get to know more about the Office of Career Development, we asked Gianina Chrisman — the Associate Director of Career Development at Macaulay Honors College — a series of questions. Her responses are below.
Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
What services does Career Development at Macaulay provide?
Career Development at Macaulay offers a range of services to complement the services that Macaulay students are already receiving at their home campus. Jamie Ruden and I are available to meet with students to discuss anything and everything career related – from questions about how to find an internship, what to include on a resume or cover letter, all the way to deeper conversations about approaching graduation and the job search, salary negotiations, performance evaluation strategies. Our services for students are for a lifetime. They can return at any point as alums to get our advice and access our job portal.
Here’s our website that outlines our career coaching services.
We also manage employer relations to get key employers to recruit Macaulay students, which leads them to post opportunities on our job portal. Students can access CareerPath as soon as their freshman year, where they can apply for internships, jobs, fellowships, research assistantships, and part-time/full-time jobs. It also houses our Alumni Mentoring Program, where students can connect with 90+ alumni mentors in a variety of fields. And, if a student doesn’t find a mentor in their field on CareerPath, we’re always willing to connect them with alums from our larger alumni directory.
We also host a range of events that will help students learn more about certain careers/industries or companies. Our newest program is the Professional Lunch Series, created by Jamie Ruden, that hosts young professionals (most of the time, with a few exceptions) to speak about their journey to their current position. Our biggest events are our fairs, and we host three every year: Business & Tech (first week in September), Health Science Resource Fair (Friday, November 9th from 10am-2pm), and Spring Career Fair (Friday, March 1, 2019). Information about different ways to meet employers can be found here.
We’ve also created guidebooks for students to use, which can be found here.
And, here’s our main page on Macaulay’s website.
Which of these services do Macaulay students use the most, and which do you feel are under-utilized (but still beneficial)?
That’s a great question! I think CareerPath is the most utilized because students are looking for opportunities (although I wish students would take a look at our mentoring program and resource library on there). We can see that students log in and go directly to the jobs section and then log off.
The most under-utilized services are our events, but I think it’s a tough one – we’re located so far from their home campus that, I’m sure at the end of the day, they would rather go home than travel to the Macaulay building. But Macaulay students have two great resources – their home campus and the Macaulay resources. Why not take advantage of both, if you can? It will only increase your chances of getting some great insight or opportunities. We’re making plans to bring some programming to their home campus, but that will take time to build. The employers we work with want Macaulay students. And, the information sessions and career fairs that they attend are great ways to see how engaged our students are and it encourages employers to continue coming to us for talented candidates. They want to meet students face-to-face. Applying online just isn’t enough. It has to be: apply online, meet in person, follow up with an email.
What kinds of events does Career Development host for students? What are some events that are coming up?
See the event calendar on the right. What’s most important and what we spend four months of planning for is the Health Sciences Resource Fair on November 9th. Students interested in health sciences will get the opportunity to meet with program coordinators and recruiters from a variety of programs. We have graduate school admissions representatives that will share information about their pharmacy, dental, medical, etc. school applications. We’ll be hosting morning and afternoon workshops. And, we’ll also have research and internship opportunities available for students via our recruiters and program coordinators of those organizations there to meet with them.
Also, our second guest speaker, Hugo Krawczyk, for the Professional Lunch Series, is holding a talk with students on Friday, October 5th from 1pm-2pm in the screening room. He’s a cryptographer at IBM (really cool!).
What kinds of events, services and/or programs do you hope Career Development can expand to in the future?
As I mentioned earlier, we’re really hoping to bring some programming to the campuses. We’ve been working on restructuring a few of our previous initiatives and created a sort of ambassadors program, where student leaders will host workshops on campus on various topics. We’ll be working with the Macaulay advisors, directors and some other groups to see how we can make this work. Over the summer, we already expanded our staff (which used to be just me) to add the fantastic Ms. Jamie Ruden. She’s available to speak to students as well, and I’m so happy and elated to have such an incredible person work with me. She’s the reason we’ve been able to create such a robust list of events this year. She is also starting a careers blog! If students are interested in contributing, they can contact her at email@example.com.
It’s another way for us to pass along important information/knowledge to students.
Work is never done, so a lot of plans are to improve on the services that we already provide and increase the number of employers that come to us to hire Macaulay students. We’re also in talks, because of our meetings with advisors over the summer, to create an internship for credit course for students who are unable to gain credit on campus through any other department. Lastly, I would like to expand our mentoring program to include non-Macaulay professionals. With any programming that we create, we always want to make sure that it’s adding value to the student’s experience on their home campus.
Why do you think it’s important for Macaulay students to use Career Development’s services?
Knowledge is power. Not to be cheesy, but it is! If you don’t educate yourself about something, then how are you supposed to know?
I’ve met folks with 10 years of experience and some with as little as 1 year of experience who didn’t know how to format their resume. I’ve met with juniors and seniors who missed an opportunity because they didn’t know that that particular industry only does their recruiting from August to January, for example. Students don’t need to go into hyper mode to access our services, but I always tell folks that they should get to know the landscape. What’s out there for me? What opportunities are available for me to explore different careers? How can I gain the right experience or talk about my experience to land that job/internship/research opportunity? That’s true for any career development.
In particular, why use Macaulay Career Development… well, why not? We’re here to personally help you. It’s one more resource. It’s one other way to gain entry to a company. We’re a smaller pool of students/candidates, and students get more exposure with employers. Don’t be afraid to ask us questions. We’re here to help and, as long as it’s done respectfully, if you see a pain point… let us know. We want to make your experience with career development at Macaulay a great one. And, we’re always looking for ways to improve.
What is one thing you think most students don’t know about Career Development at Macaulay, but should know?
Students are never bothering us when they reach out. We love meeting with students and getting to know them. And, yes, I am actually writing you an email directly when I reach out to you. It might go out to more than one student, but I had to look for your qualifications to send you an email (via their areas of interest, major, minor, etc.).