Two days after fall classes began, Career Planning kicked off its annual preparatory program for seniors. Steps for Recruiting Readiness is designed to help students begin the process now of finding a job, internship or graduate program after they leave Bowdoin next spring.
Career Planning requires all seniors to attend its workshops and meetings, as well as sign a code of professional behavior, before applying for on-campus or off-campus recruiting opportunities sponsored by Bowdoin.
“[The program is] really about preparedness and understanding how to market your skills and abilities to a potential employer,” Career Planning Director Timothy Diehl said.
Career Planning launched its program Sept. 2 with a senior meeting for the Class of 2013 in Pickard Theater. The group of advisors who work in Career Planning introduced themselves and their fields of expertise, which include nonprofits, education, sales and marketing, the arts, law, international careers and more.
In the week following the senior meeting, students attended a workshop offered by Todd Herrmann ’85, Career Planning associate director of employer relations, on networking and interviewing skills. (See sidebar.)The final step in the program has students schedule a one-on-one resume and cover letter critique with a Career Planning staff advisor “to ensure they optimize the story they’re telling employers,” Diehl said. “These two documents are a major part of differentiating yourself as a candidate.”
The office is also offering a mock-interview day on Oct. 12, inviting professionals to campus to meet with students who wish to practice their interviewing skills.
Senior Mariya Ilyas said Career Planning is helping make her planning less stressful and daunting. “The senior class meeting was a really great way to kick off my final year at Bowdoin because it reassured me that [Career Planning] is committed to helping students find post-grad opportunities, be it grad school or full-time employment,” she said. “[It’s] a great resource and the people there are always warm, welcoming and ready to help.”
Tips and Advice from the Career Planning Center
At the Steps for Recruiting Readiness kick-off event on Sept 2, Diehl urged seniors to get an early start on their job searches. He also recommended they take advantage of Career Planning’s many resources, such as its specialized advisors, online resume builder and large alumni network. His message stressed the importance of networking with as many people as possible – alumni, parents of friends, uncles and aunts of roommates, etc. – any of whom could open doors for new graduates.
Dighton Spooner, associate director of Career Planning, followed up on this theme, urging students to begin telling classmates, friends, teammates – and all these people’s parents – about their ideas for the future. “This is the beginning of your network,” Spooner said. “Engage with it and let people know what you want to do.”
Sean Sullivan ’08, the employer-relations coordinator, provided students a timeline of when companies typically begin hiring seniors. He noted the wide spread for different sectors: for instance, while finance and consulting jobs are being posted now, teaching and nonprofit jobs typically come up in March, April and May. Positions are listed on eBEAR, a Bowdoin-specific database of jobs, internships and upcoming campus events and programs.
Assistant Director Meg Springer, who advises students interested in nonprofits, education, public interest and international work, also reassured seniors who might be fretting about finding the perfect job right out of college. “Your first job won’t be your last,” she said. “Explore your interests.”