We are hiring!

The CCPD is accepting applications for the Career Ambassador position for the 2022-23 academic year. This is a student leadership position that is integrally involved in a broad range of career development activities and programs. Tasks include leading work in the Career Studio to assist peers as they draft resumes, cover letters, application materials, and correspondence for internships, externships, post-graduate employment or advanced study opportunities. You will also help teach fellow students how to utilize various online platforms, including Handshake, VMock, Big Interview and LinkedIn. Interested? Learn more and apply on Handshake at: https://kzoo.joinhandshake.com/jobs/6024974/share_preview

We are also hiring a CCPD Marketing Intern for the 2022-23 academic year. Does the thought of creating something and getting to share it with your campus community excite you? Are you passionate about creating buzz-worthy content to start a conversation? Are you excited about combining your love of graphic design, communication, and technology? If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place! Read more at: https://kzoo.joinhandshake.com/jobs/5519424/share_preview

Record #’s of students at Career Studio

This Winter saw record numbers of K students visiting the Career Studio— and we expect that this will only continue as we head in to Spring.

Haven’t visited us yet? Check it out— we’re here to help you. No question is silly, no visit is too late (or too early!) in your college career. We can’t wait to talk with you about your upcoming summer plans, new major, or next steps after graduation.

Stop by Weeks 1-10, 10 AM-2PM, Monday through Friday in Dewing Basement or on MS Teams at: https://bit.ly/KVirtualCareerStudio.

Text with your new boss in Handshake!

 

In a sea of applicants, sometimes it’s hard to stand out to employers. With so many amazing students like you looking for roles, having an advantage never hurts. Handshake’s messaging features make it easy to contact employers and get the upper hand you’ve been searching for.

Handshake is the only platform with a network of employees that have actively made themselves available to students. These employers want to speak with you and help you along in your career. Find your next connection on Handshake! Read more: Messaging Employers On Handshake Leads to Jobs.

chat with an employer

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.

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

Spring Clean Your Social Media Life: This Is The Way

It’s safe to say that since The Mandalorian busted on the scene in late 2019, most of us have been a little obsessed with it. Over the past year and change The Child has been a cultural nexus. Appearing in memes, music, gifs, toys, and clothing items, he has been a much-needed distraction and source of joy during this pandemic. Unfortunately, Grogu has recently lost one of his protectors. 

ICYMI, last week Disney announced that the actor who played Cara Dune on The Mandalorian, Gina Carano, was released from her contract and would no longer be a part of The Mandalorian moving forward. However, for anybody paying attention, the move came as no surprise. 

Carano has spent much of 2020 using her social media accounts to spread misinformation about voter fraud, she has made fun of mask mandates, encouraged businesses and churches to open during a pandemic in violation of safety guidelines, and has “joked” about pronoun usage, making fun at transgender people. The straw that seemingly broke the camels back was when Carano created a now-deleted post on her Instagram, comparing how Jewish people were killed in Nazi Germany to how republicans are treated in America today. 

Baby Yoda (Grogu) and Mando from The Mandalorian television show.
Grogu (AKA “The Child” AKA “Baby Yoda) and Mando – The Mandalorian

While her views are offensive, harmful, and illogical, the fact that she was fired because of her social media usage is interesting and worth discussing as a large number of the senior class is preparing to join the workforce most of whom are active social media users. 

Here’s a Spring Break to-do list for your social media presence:

  1. Review your online presence. Start by Googling your name, including nicknames and permutations with any middle names and/or initials. You might also want to include your home city or schools you attended. See if you can find your social media accounts: what are the top posts that show up? Look them over as if you were a prospective employer. Are you confident in what they will see?
  2. Do some spring cleaning. Sure, it’s 19°F and snowing… but it’s the thought that counts. Go through your social media and Marie Kondo everything that might give an employer a reason to pass over your application. Consider deleting or making private anything that includes heavy profanity, provocative content, or anything illegal. Consider the organizations to which you are applying and their brands and reputations. Engaging in social activities during the pandemic (particularly unmasked indoors), discriminatory comments (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc), excessive political views, spreading misinformation could be a turnoff. Even drinking alcohol and/or using marijuana (where it is legal) could be a potential hindrance. Decide what you’re comfortable sharing and delete anything that doesn’t fit the image you want as your first impression.  
  3. Keep an eye on your friends and tags. Just because you’ve gone through the steps of cleaning up your profile doesn’t mean that your friends have. You might get tagged in a post or photo that you might not want a prospective employer to see. If you find a post like this, try talking to your friends to either untag you or make it private. Create a free Google alert that will send you an email anytime when your name (or someone with a similar name) has something new posted on the web to help you stay vigilant. 
  4. Check your privacy settings. Even if you’ve done this in the past, it’s always a good idea to re-check them occasionally as platforms get updated, settings change and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. You can likely limit what people can share about you, tag you in, or limit what kind of posts people who aren’t your followers or friends can see.
  1. When in, doubt, just don’t.  There is an old adage that goes, “Discretion is the better part of valor”. When it comes to managing your social media during a job search, if you ever have to wonder if what you are about to post might get you in trouble, just don’t post it. Sometimes it’s just better to be safe than sorry. 

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

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