Serving Our Seniors

We hear you. And we’re still listening. Amidst this slowly-waning pandemic, the CCPD is taking a targeted approach to offer career guidance and support to graduating seniors. 

We launched the annual First-Destination Survey two months earlier than usual. As you complete the survey, we are responding to each one of you that is “still seeking” with tailored outreach. Our goal is to connect with 100% of the graduating class.

8th Week will be Senior Week at the CCPD. During that week, 50+ Alumni have signed up for Hornet Huddles, opportunities for 1:1 appointments between you and an alum in your field(s) of interest. You’ll start to see appointment availability for these Huddles in Handshake beginning in Week 4. Who are these 50+ alumni? Check out the full spreadsheet on the Senior Class Team. A 20-minute appointment with an alum (or two, or more) could literally change your life. They get it. They’re amazing. And they’re here just for you.

Senior Week will also see career coaching appointments ONLY available for seniors, so you’re likely to get a spot that fits into your schedule. We’ll also be holding extra drop-in office hours just for seniors that week on MS Teams (noon-1PM).

And, we will be sharing targeted senior content via the Senior Class Team, email, and social media.

We also have our regularly available 24/7 resources like Handshake (job postings, career fairs, events), VMock (artificially intelligent resume reviewing platform), Big Interview (interviewing preparation platform), and assessments related to interests, values, and strengths. In addition to our weekly drop-in hours with CCPD staff, we have senior-focused 1:1 appointments with career coaches available in Handshake.

It’s certainly not profound to state that your upcoming transition from student to alum (including determining your next steps) is hard. And yet, here you are. You, members of the Class of 2021, have had a truly incredible set of extra challenges thrown your way. There isn’t space to list them all. None of us here at the CCPD know the individual impact this year has had on you personally, academically, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc. All we know is that we want to hear you, support you, and meet you where you are. And we want to remind you that we don’t suddenly go away after you graduate. We’d love to see you sooner rather than later, but our services don’t suddenly “expire” once you get your degree. We hope to see you soon.

Spring Term Letter from the Director

Welcome to Spring Term! In the latest installment of my quarterly letter from the director, I wish to share three things with you: hope, insight, and a call to action.

First off, I am hopeful. More hopeful than perhaps I’ve been since the pandemic began. I’m hopeful because a mass vaccination plan is in the works, meaning we are getting close to whatever our collective ‘new normal’ will be. I’m hopeful because businesses are slowly but surely starting to reawaken, redevelop, and reimagine new opportunities. And that translates to plans for more internships, more jobs, more hiring, and an overall recalibration of the world of work.

With that comes my insight: keep forging ahead. The path toward the other side of the pandemic is going to be hard; it might feel harder than when we first started because we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve spoken with many students who feel unsure about how to think about their lives after K, given all that they’ve had to carry over the course of the past year, personally, academically, emotionally, financially – the list goes on and on. I do not profess to assume the extent to which you have struggled: some of you have lost loved ones to Covid, many of you are deeply impacted by xenophobic hatred, and others are experiencing mental health challenges that were exacerbated by the weight of it all. I hear you, I see you, and I empathize with you. But this K community is here for you: you are fortunate to be at a place that cares for you, deeply. As a still new-ish member of this community myself, I can attest to this care and concern. We all believe in you: we want you to thrive, and to succeed.

To succeed, you must not remain complacent – this is my call to action. No matter whether you are a first-year student lamenting the unexpectedness of an entirely virtual first college year, or a graduating senior nervously trying to find their way into a still-uncertain job market in constant flux, please be vigilant. It is never too late to set up an appointment with a Career Coach – they are here to help you figure out answers to questions you’re not even sure you know to ask yet. It is never too late to attend a virtual networking event – we post opportunities all the time in Handshake for you to consider. It is never too late to apply for a part-time or full-time job, or internship – there are close to 10,000 different opportunities available in Handshake right now! It is never too late to do something.

And, to our graduating seniors: please know that the CCPD is working to reach out to each of you. You likely saw an invitation to complete the First-Destination Survey. Your responses will help us connect you with alumni, resources, and opportunities that align with your individual post-K goals. We know that some of you may have landed that dream job or gotten into your top-choice grad school (hooray!!), but for those of you who haven’t, know that you are not alone – and there’s still time! My team and I are planning a Senior Week (during Week 8) devoted to launching your life after K. You’ll soon see more about this weeklong series of events and resource-sharing, tailored specifically to seniors, so please take advantage of all the career-related guidance that’s coming your way!

All in all, I encourage you to hang on a little longer as you think about the future. What can you look forward to? What brings you joy? What items on your to-do list are *somewhat* exciting? If you’ve never thought about including the Career Center (or your advisor, your mentor, your supervisor, or another staff member) in any of these thoughts, maybe now’s the time! As we look to the Spring for rejuvenation, renewal, and expectation, know that my team and I are here to champion you toward your next step.

How can we help?

With continued gratitude, optimism, and encouragement,

Tricia

Beware of Job Scams

by Valerie Miller

As if coping with a pandemic and an uncertain job market aren’t enough, you also need to be on the lookout for job scams. The Muse reports Job Scams Are on the Rise and you’ll find hundreds of other articles about employment scams online. Read more on our website Job Scams: Advice from the National Association for Colleges and Employers.

What is a job scam? Here is a description provided by the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

Employment scams typically occur when job applicants are led to believe they are applying or have just been hired for a promising new job, but they have actually fallen for a scam. This can mean giving personal information that can be used for identity theft or sending money for “training” or “equipment.” In another variation, the victim may be “overpaid” with a fake check and asked to wire back the difference.

Scam alert signs

According to the BBB’s 2020 Employment Scams Report, victims found these jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ziprecruiter, Craigslist, and other sites, and the median reported loss was $1000. The most common duties in these job descriptions included: 

  • Reshipping of packages 
  • Envelope stuffing 
  • Product assembly
  • Mystery shopping

And, these are only a few examples of job scams that continue to emerge. What can you do to avoid falling for one of these scams? Listen to your gut, use your critical thinking skills, and do your research before pursuing or accepting opportunities. 

Take a look at how they attract victims.

Work from home!

Flexible hours!

This may seem benign, particularly since many companies are hiring more remote workers due to the pandemic, but the BBB reported that 53% of employment scam victims pursued an opportunity because they could work from home. Remain vigilant when considering work from home jobs

No experience necessary!

Earn a generous salary!

Even if these exact phrases do not appear in a job posting, you may notice that the skills required are minimal while the pay is high. Be on the lookout for opportunities that appear to be too good to be true.

We want you!

In 80% of employment scams reported to the BBB Scam Tracker, the scammer initiated contact, often by email or text. While it’s nice to be wanted, proceed with caution if you are contacted about a job out of the blue. If it sounds like it might be real, ask for a link to a job posting on the company website. Don’t provide personal information, including your résumé, until you’ve researched the legitimacy of the company and the opportunity.

We want you now!

If you apply for a position and hear back immediately (within a day) or if you are offered a job without going through a formal hiring process, it’s probably not legitimate. Even if the process includes what appear to be traditional hiring steps (phone interviews and offer letters), if the recruiter seems overly anxious to hire you and get you started, proceed with caution.

Consider these questions before applying for a job or responding to a recruiter:

  • Does the recruiter actually work for the company they say they work for? 
    • Are they listed on the company website? 
    • Does their email address include a legitimate company domain?  (not gmail, yahoo, etc.) 
  • Can you find the recruiter in LinkedIn? If so, does the profile look like it belongs to a real person?
  • How professional is the communication from the recruiter?
    • Are they texting you or contacting you through social media instead of email?
    • Is their communication free of typos, spelling, or grammatical errors?
    • Do they include a professional signature in their emails?
  • Is the position with a legitimate company?
    • What does the Better Business Bureau report about this employer?
    • Does the company have a website? How developed is the website?
    • Was the website only recently created, and is it associated with a legitimate physical address? (search for the domain at https://lookup.icann.org/
  • What exactly will you be doing? Be wary of vague job descriptions.

Before accepting a job and providing any sensitive information (social security number, bank routing numbers for direct deposit, etc), be sure you understand the nature of the job.

Do not accept the job if they ask you to:

  • Pay fees for training, products or start-up kits.
  • Cash a check and/or send them money.
  • Help process payments or transfer funds using your personal bank account.

While we vet each employer before approving them in Handshake, we can’t guarantee that job scams won’t get through. Here are additional tips from various websites, including Handshake:

If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of an employer, a recruiter or a job, please don’t hesitate to contact the CCPD at career@kzoo.edu

edX Trial Subscription Offered to K Students

Interested in exploring some of the career development tools that edX offers? K now has a trial subscription available to students at https://enterprise.edx.org/kzoo. If you are new to edX, they recommend viewing the welcome video from their CEO Anant Agarwal. You can also take DemoX, a fun and interactive course designed to help you explore the edX learning experience. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Additional Resources

Chemistry Connections

I want to share how excited I was to be a part of the planning group for our 4th annual Kalamazoo American Chemical Society (KACS) networking event, co-sponsored by Kalamazoo College and KACS. Over the past several years, we gathered in person in the Hicks Banquet Rooms on campus. Given the enthusiasm of wanting to continue this type of program, we shifted to the virtual format and I am happy to report it was a success!

On January 26th, Dr. Blakely Tresca and Dr. Jeffrey Bartz led this award-winning program virtually using Zoom. Participants met in this virtual space to talk about their shared interests in the chemistry field. Zoom breakout rooms provided one-on-one meeting space for students to ask specific questions based on mentors’ career paths. Industry professionals served as mentors and talked about their professional pursuits.

“I started attending the yearly KACS Speed Networking event as a freshman and it was helpful in making meaningful connections and learning more about what I could do with my chemistry degree. Currently, as a senior, I am planning to attend chemistry graduate school in the fall, and being able to talk to Ph.D. scientists has given me a perspective of what I could do with a Ph.D. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to attend the speed networking events during my time at K and for the impact it has made to my career.” – Subi Thakali, K’21, Chemistry​

“The KACS Speed Networking event was a great experience that helped me develop professional communication skills and provided me with the opportunity to make real connections with mentors throughout many different fields of chemistry. Additionally, the conversations I had with the mentors were fascinating and inspiring… these conversations made lasting connections that could be very helpful in the future.” – Marissa Dolorfino, K’23, Spanish and Chemistry

In between the student/mentor conversations, K Chemistry faculty, Ed Thomas (local American Chemical Society President, and Dr. Tricia Zelaya-Leon (our CCPD Director) made announcements and shared resources. Dr. Ben Maxey also spoke, highlighting Pfizer’s lead in the global development of the COVID vaccine.

Group planning members Dr. Tomasz Respondek (Principal Scientist, Zoetis Inc.) and Dr. Lucas Chadwick, K’95 (Sr. Scientist, Bell’s Brewery), lead outreach efforts.

We are hopeful that these area industry professional mentors and students will continue their conversations, well-beyond this event.

Jacqueline A. Srodes
Assistant Director, Center for Career and Professional Development
Kalamazoo College

What Can I Do With This Major?

Excited for Declaration of Major Day this week? The CCPD’s resource, “What Can I Do With This Major?” gives you some great ideas of not only career paths but links to job outlooks, professional networks, etc.

Whether you’re exploring majors or searching for information about your chosen field, this website will help. Learn typical career areas and types of employers that hire in these fields, as well as strategies to make you a more marketable candidate. Continue your research through the websites provided.

“What Can I Do With This Major?” is only available through the Resource Library in Handshake.

Logo for What Can I Do With This Major service with additional logo stating Kalamazoo College CCPD and Handshake

Job/Internship Fairs Held Virtually This February

Save the date for three upcoming Winter job/internship fairs at WMU. K partners with WMU on these events, so students are highly encouraged to attend. Typically these fairs are the largest local recruiting events of the year for college students. This year they will be held virtually due to COVID-19.

  • WMU Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Job Fair 2021 Virtual Event Wednesday, Feb 10, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. https://bit.ly/3bUKDFM
  • WMU Career Fair 2021 Virtual Event Thursday, Feb 11, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. https://bit.ly/2MlkKnV
  • WMU Government and Nonprofit Job Fair 2021 Virtual Event Thursday, Feb 18, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. https://bit.ly/3iKAQn2

Wondering which employers will be there, and/or what they’re looking for in applicants? Check out the links for each— they have all the info you need.

K to the Pacific Northwest: A Virtual K-Trek Series

Slide advertising K to the Pacific Northwest, a series of virtual K-Treks to Nike, Amazon, and Starbucks.

Gorgeous coastlines. Spectacular mountains. Innovations in technology and service. Classic coffee. Where are we headed? The Pacific Northwest!

Join us this Winter on a virtual K-Trek series to the Pacific Northwest, visiting Nike, Amazon, and Starbucks!

Ready to book your “travel”? Sign up for one or more of the stops on our virtual trip. All students are elligble, no application required.

Full Itinerary:

K to Nike

Our first stop will be a virtual visit with alumni who work for Nike in Beaverton, Oregon (just outside Portland) on Thursday, February 4 from 3-4:30 p.m. EST. 

Alumni at Nike work in a variety of areas, including sustainability, risk management, government & public affairs, and service and experience design. These alumni typically work at Nike’s World Headquarters, a beautiful campus filled with every kind of athletic field and activity imaginable, walking trails and more. This event is co-hosted by the Kalamazoo Sports Business Club. 

Map of trip from Kalamazoo to Portland.

Next, the CCPD is travelling (virtually) to Seattle, Washington for the first of two visits. 

K to Amazon

First meet some of the 15 alumni who currently work for Amazon on Thursday, February 11 from 7:30-9 p.m. EST.

These alumni work in marketing, human resources, business development and more.  Some of these alumni even have the opportunity to work in the unique Amazon Spheres, described as “the result of innovative thinking about the character of a workplace and an extended conversation about what is typically missing from urban offices– a direct link to nature.” Here is a virtual tour.

This event is co-hosted by the Marketing & Investing Club.

K to Starbucks

Finally, a virtual visit to Starbucks on March 4, time TBD. 

More information to come about this final K to the Pacific Northwest Virtual K-Trek!

Starbucks in the News

This Virtual K-Trek Series is open to all current students! “Book” your spot at each event (you can attend some or all) on Handshake.

Winter Term Letter from the Director

Happy New Year, everyone!

Typically, the start of a new year brings with it the excitement of renewal, recalibration, and resolution. Unfortunately, January 1st, 2021 came in with that hope and then, just a few days later, our country saw a violent uprising at our nation’s Capitol. Some were shocked by the events that unfolded, while others saw it as an outcome of years of racial inequity and mounting civil unrest. Now, more than ever, we as a populace, find ourselves uncertain, anxious, and exhausted.

Here at the CCPD, we continue to be here to support you in your pursuits, both personal and professional. If you are like so many college students, you are feeling overwhelmed with academic work, trying to maintain a social life, and feeling the tension between seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and still not knowing when life might return to some semblance of normal. Oh, and add to that the ongoing search for internships and jobs, preparation for graduate school, all in the midst of an ever-evolving and chaotic job market.

I know it’s a lot. But my biggest piece of advice to you is to PERSEVERE. When we find ourselves in a crisis, it is easy to disengage, to give up, and to do nothing. I implore you to fight that urge. My team and I stand at the ready to meet with you, to listen to you, and to help you create a manageable professional development plan, one that starts small and can be customized to your goals over time. Simply setting up an appointment with us (via Handshake) or popping into our drop-in hours (via Microsoft Teams) can help you feel like you’re making some progress toward your goals.

The CCPD’s mission is “to educate and empower Kalamazoo College students and alumni to discover their talents, build their professional networks, and apply their learning to meaningful lives after K.” This process of discovery, building, and application is just that: a process. It takes time and it takes work. But, with one-on-one, personalized support from the CCPD team, know that we care about you and your goals. We exist to guide you along this journey!

This Winter Term, renew your excitement for being a student at K. Recalibrate your goals. And resolve to not give up, no matter how overwhelming things get. The Center for Career & Professional Development is your destination for career resources, supportive Career Coaches, and most importantly, hope. Let us move forward with you.

In solidarity,

Dr. Z

Masking Up The Interview

“I wear a mask. And that mask, it’s not to hide who I am, but to create what I am.” – Batman

Superheroes wear masks. That’s what I told my son as we walked to his first day of kindergarten. We had been preparing by wearing the mask around the house. But, since he hadn’t been inside a building other than our house in several months, he didn’t have much experience.

Us adults? We’ve all had plenty of time to get used to wearing masks. However, we might not have thought about how they might impact our job search— especially when it comes to in-person interviews.

Lego Batman

It’s important to take mask-wearing seriously. And even more important to do so in an interview, since you may be in close contact. Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Wear the mask properly. A properly worn mask must be worn over the nose and over the chin. Anything below the nose and above the chin puts you and the interviewer at risk. It is important to keep in mind that you are wearing a mask for your protection and for the employers’ protection. If you are both wearing masks, the chance of spreading infection decreases significantly. 
  2. Practice. Make sure you can be heard clearly and that you can articulate through the mask without sounding muffled. Practice at home in front of a mirror, record yourself, or practice by speaking to someone directly while wearing it. While half of your face is covered, be sure to practice an appropriate tone of voice, projection, and articulation.
  3. Notice your non-verbal cues. Facial expressions are harder to read. Consider the story your eyes are telling. Worry less about using hand gestures to help get your point across. Be mindful of your overall body language.
  4. Safety first. Safety should always be the first priority when considering what mask to wear to an interview. Coordinating with your interview attire may be of interest, but is secondary to function. Refer to CDC guidance on appropriate masks types and usage.
  5. Plan your specific mask choice. Don’t just grab a mask last-minute. Consider your options. Is your mask visibly clean? Do you want it to match your interview outfit? Do you want it to make a creative/artistic statement? Will your political or social affiliation, sarcastic comment, etc. help or hurt you in this particular situation? Answers to these vary by individual— think critically ahead of time and go with your gut. We recommend keeping things professional at all times.

CONCLUSION

“The mask is not for you, it’s to protect the people you care about.” (Batman, of course.)

In-person interviewing in the time of COVID-19 takes extra planning and precautions. Keep mindful that the interviewers themselves are also relatively new to this, and everyone is likely to give grace regarding the slightly awkward realities that inevitably happen.