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CDC offers secrets to successful job searches

By : Sarah Lifshin

Counselor Scott Bennett from CDC above, discusses what resources are available at the center with sophomore Liza Schwartz, liza chwartz ,left,and senior Candace McCalla.
Nancy Paul does not get anyone a job. But the di- rector of Binghamton University’s Career Development Center and her staff work to help students make the transition from academia to the workforce. “We are here to facilitate,” Paul said. “We teach students how to find jobs, which is something they will need to do many times during their working lives.”

With Commencement fast approaching, a new wave of graduates is hitting the pavement to look for positions in hope of launching promising careers. Through recruiter visits, networking opportunities, programs that involve alumni and employers, and events such as the Employer Fair and Graduate and Law School fairs, the CDC team aims, not to conduct the search for students, but to assist them in learning how to conduct one for themselves.

According to Paul, there’s much more to it than simply using the Internet. “Some people think that going online constitutes a job search,” Paul said. “It is one strategy to use, but sitting at your computer is a passive approach.

A job search needs to be proactive. By visiting the CDC early each semester to learn about its resources and participating in programs and events, students can make the process much smoother and less stressful. Students have the opportunity to receive free and easy advice from the CDC, which is located in the basement of the University Libraries. In addition, the CDC’s web-based service, e-Recruiting, allows students to connect with employers who wish to hire Binghamton graduates.

Developing job search skills is also part of the learning process, Paul said. “Networking and internships are two of the greatest ways employers do their hiring,” she said. “Employers are nervous, too, about their hires, so they want to hire someone who has already proven themselves and shown an interest in the organization.” “The largest percentage of hiring remains through networking,” Paul said. “It’s still through meeting people, friends or family, alumni contacts, internships or just being referred.” Students need to tell everyone they know — and don’t know — that they’re looking for a job.

The Alumni Career Network, now available online, is a tremendous networking resource for students. Each year the center also hosts recruiters from companies such as IBM, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, M&T Bank Corp., KPMG LLP, JP Morgan Securities, Lord & Taylor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Prudential Financial. And those visits pay off for students. During the 2002-03 academic year, 92 organizations visited, conducting a total of 1,557 interviews. Approximately 222 offers were extended, and 163 students accepted positions.

One of the biggest challenges is teaching students that there are consequences to waiting until the last minute. “We will see many graduating students for the first time between now and Commencement who will receive a dose of reality about what a job search involves.” Paul said. “We help them begin from where they’re at.” The center, which remains open throughout the summer, is also available to alumni.

For next year’s seniors, Paul recommends starting early by doing an internship this summer or participating in activities to help clarify their goals. “When they return to campus in the fall, seniors will need to pay attention,” she said. “There will be a lot going on such as the Employer Fair on September 14. They need to come to the CDC early and treat their job or graduate school search just like it was any other class.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08