Career Studio Now Open!

The Career Studio, located in Dewing Basement, is a dynamic drop-in space where all K students can stop by without an appointment with “Life After K” questions. Student Career Ambassador staff can answer questions about resumes, cover letters, job and internship searches, and more!

The Studio is open Monday through Friday from 10 am – 2 pm for unlimited visits during Fall Weeks 2-10. It is closed on College holidays.Center for Career and Professional Development

Collaborate with the CCPD

Good morning, K Faculty and Staff,

The CCPD regularly partners with faculty/academic departments on career development projects. Are you interested in a presentation or class visit from the CCPD? Let us know here: https://career.kzoo.edu/outreach-request/. We prefer one week’s notice to ensure coverage, but are open to your contacting us whenever you need. We will get back to you within 2 business days.

If you are interested in collaborating on a different type of project, please don’t hesitate to contact us at career@kzoo.edu. More CCPD resources are available at : https://career.kzoo.edu/faculty/

Best,

The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)

Fall Term Letter from the Director

Dear Students,

Welcome to the new school year!

Not long ago, I celebrated my one-year K anniversary; I started on September 1st, 2020. When I initially interviewed for my position, I did so virtually. From my first conversation with the search committee chair to my full-day interview, every meeting I had was either on the phone or on Zoom. I did my research on Kalamazoo College, met wonderful people, and still dressed up for an in-person interview, even though I never left my bedroom.

When I was hired, I was living in Florida; I then began my job as CCPD Director while still living there. For two and a half months, I engaged remotely with my new K colleagues. Then, my family and I moved to Michigan. We purchased our Michigan home sight-unseen; our realtor FaceTimed with us several times, but when we arrived in November, we had never physically set foot inside the house. As you might expect, there were unanticipated surprises: unpleasant paint colors that hadn’t been detected from a phone’s camera, inconsistent carpeting throughout, and small fixes that we simply couldn’t have noticed from even several virtual tours. So, we got to work renovating and updating the house. All while I continued to work at K, remotely.

For the next few months, I would continue to work from home and learn about K, meet more amazing colleagues, and strategize with my CCPD colleagues on how best to help students and alumni navigate career and professional development amidst a pandemic that kept us isolated, anxious, and staring at screens all day.

It wasn’t until June of 2021 that I was able to start meeting my coworkers in person. Each day that I went to my physical office, I would run into people I had worked with for nine months, but had never actually met in person. Some people wouldn’t recognize me because I was wearing a mask, and others would stop and say, “You look familiar to me.” I would then frame my face with my hands and say, “Imagine me as a box on Teams. I’m Tricia, the new-ish CCPD Director.” “Oh yeah! So nice to finally meet you,” they’d say. Whenever I’d attend a meeting in person, the meetings always seemed to last a little longer even though I’d been working with my colleagues for months now – all because now, in person, we could engage more spontaneously and more naturally, about life, my transition to K, and of course, work.

Why do I share this with you in my first Letter from the Director of this academic year? Well, because this experience might seem a bit awkward and strange, but it just might be the future of work for many, and even you. Perhaps, long after the pandemic (can’t wait for that!), virtual interviews may just be more common because employers have found that they are efficient, relatively easy, and often cheaper than meeting with someone in person. You might get hired for a job that is 100% remote, hybrid, or one that allows you to work from a distance for a certain period of time, and then relocate so you can work in-person. You might complete all of your new hire training and onboarding virtually. You might not meet your boss or your coworkers until months into your role. And then, when you do, you might be wearing a mask (gosh, I hope not, but who knows?). You may receive multiple job offers (that’s the dream!) and choose the one that is most flexible for you, the one that gives you the option to work from home or allow you to select a customized option.

The world of work is continuing to evolve every day. Industry standards are changing. Hiring managers are choosing different recruitment practices and procedures. Job duties are looking different. And, trying to prepare for this uncertain work environment can make anyone nervous. Believe me: I have been working as a professional in higher education for quite some time, and I still tripped over my words in a Zoom interview; the process of fully virtual engagement is still new to many of us!

But, here is where you, as a Kalamazoo College student, have all the advantage: you are not alone. The Center for Career & Professional Development is here for you, to help you discover your talents, build your professional networks, and connect your K experience in a way that stands out to employers and graduate schools. Can it be intimidating to set up an appointment with an adult to talk about your future? Yes. Might it be scary to think about preparing for a job search, no matter how old you are? Yes. Do you sometimes not even know where to start? Yep. I’ve been there, I get it, and my team and I are here for you.

So, where do you start? Your first step should be into our new Career Studio, which officially opens Week 2. Located in Dewing 004 (the ground floor, or basement level), the Career Studio is staffed by your peers, student Career Ambassadors. They are excited to greet you, get to know you, and provide guidance on major and career exploration, resume reviews, job and internship searches, and so much more. The Studio is open Monday through Friday from 10 am – 2 pm, and you don’t need an appointment; you are welcome to stop by, stay as long as you’d like (until 2 I mean ), and visit frequently. We’re hoping that this space will provide you with a welcoming, calming, and comfortable atmosphere where you can bring your future-focused questions and get some practical advice on steps you can take to get you where you want to go. And feel free to bring a friend, if that makes it easier!

The world looks different today than it did a year ago. And figuring out who you are is never easy, especially when we’ve all been so isolated from the human engagement and interaction that we were used to. But, instead of putting it off until later, why not get ahead of it? Why not give the Studio a try? Why not start now, with the help of your friends in the CCPD? You will find that your dreams, your skills, and your insights are just what this changing world needs right now.

See you soon,
Tricia

In-person meetings in the time of COVID-19

Handshakes? Masks? Social distancing? What is proper etiquette? Experts agree: public health is more important than traditional U.S. cultural norms. And… you still want to know how to make your best first impression. Whether you are heading to a networking event or interviewing for a job or internship— the return to the possibility of in-person events brings new challenges on top of typical nerves. Here’s what you need to know:

Door sign that states "Handshake free zone".

Ask about COVID-19 etiquette in advance of interviews

Certain normal pleasantries like handshakes may be out and replaced with a friendly nod or wave. The interviewer might ask you to wash or sanitize your hands before the interview begins. Knowing this information beforehand will help you come across as prepared and professional. If you don’t know the expectations, decide on what feels comfortable to you: nodding, waving, and bowing are all ways to acknowledge meeting someone for the first time without touching them. If meeting in person feels awkward, it’s fine to call out that awkwardness. “It’s so nice to meet you— I’d shake your hand, but of course the pandemic makes that awkward.” Then, move on to more relevant conversation.

Be prepared to discuss the pandemic

The pandemic is not a topic that can or should be avoided in conversation. Be prepared for comments about it (and questions!) to come up. Think about how you might answer questions about how you’ve been handling the chaos. Note that people you meet likely have a wide variety of experiences and an even wider sense of how much they do or do not want to share (as do you!). Preparing in advance and practicing deflecting inquiries that feel uncomfortable will go a long way. How might you answer some of these newly common interview questions?

Keep your face covered

Face masks are the new normal in situations with new people or large gatherings (recommended by the CDC and may be required by the hosts). Despite our collective experience, they still make expressing enthusiasm more difficult. Body language has become more important, including nodding, making hand gestures, facing your body towards the person you’re talking to, and making eye contact. Practice enunciating and speak slower than normal to ensure that you don’t have to keep repeating yourself. And, when awkwardness surrounding masks inevitably comes up (“Sorry, what was that you said?”) remember that it is happening to everyone; don’t let it derail your confidence.

Keep your distance

Pre-pandemic, conversations between folks were often closer than 6-feet. Take note of where others are standing/sitting, and be mindful of your own comfort level with physical distance. Again, it may still feel awkward, but it is collectively awkward. You may need to speak a little louder than normal.

Practice

New problems need new solutions. Use the CCPD’s 24/7 Big Interview platform to set yourself up for success. Then meet with a career coach for a mock interview to feel most prepared.

BLM – CCPD Spring Update

Black Lives Matter. 

The CCPD acknowledges that individualistic and systemic racism continues to be pervasive in the United States and around the world, and stands in solidarity with those that are fighting for basic human dignity. Our previous announcements reported on the work we had completed at that time. This announcement serves as a Spring 2021 update. Our work is ongoing.

Actions Completed:

Data Analysis and the Creation of SMART Goals:

Staff Professional Development:

As of the end of this academic year, all of our staff have participated in at least one College-sponsored training experience focused on equity and inclusion: ERAC/CE, Justice at Work, etc.

Work In Progress:

Employer Engagement:

The CCPD is developing a DEI scorecard based on the ARGE Anti-Racism and Gender Equality (ARGE) Scorecard developed by Roderick Lewis of UNC Chapel Hill to evaluate our top employers. The scorecard will be used to assess employers’ transparency of their data around various indicators of diversity, equity and inclusion. Employers will be assessed on the following dimensions based on publicly available data: Management & Leadership Demographics, Employee Workforce Demographics, Onboarding Strategy, Career Pathing Programs, Employee Engagement & Well-Being, DEI Accountability & Training, Recruitment Strategy. Once this initial evaluation is complete, the scorecard will be expanded to include additional indicators. A final review will consider if/what employers are doing to address inequities in the organization.  The information gathered will be used to inform our employer engagement efforts moving forward. 

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 include: 

  • 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 on 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