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"Talk, talk, talk with your fellow alumni"

Zachary Loebel-Fried '09 may have graduated during an economic recession, but he still found a position working as an analyst for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office only weeks after Commencement. And he gives the Office of Career Enhancing Life Skills (CELS) much of the credit.

"Having CELS was definitely an advantage in my job search," he said. "They were great in getting information about positions out there."

CELS offers a comprehensive four-year career-development program for students during their years in College and also offers some services for alumni.

As an undergraduate, Loebel-Fried secured an internship at Smith Barney through a Connecticut College parent, attended workshops, and searched through CELS newsletters for positions. Though he didn't find his current position through CELS, he said that taking advantage of what the office had to offer led him to his current work.

Loebel-Fried is just one of many students and alumni using what CELS has to offer in career guidance, which includes employment newsletters complete with position listings, access to job search sites, and videos that offer tips on how to interview better or make your resume stand out.
Cheryl Banker, CELS counselor and program coordinator, urges job seekers to network. For alumni in particular, the most important thing to do is talk with others, especially fellow Connecticut College alumni. Networking can start with the Alumni Online Community (current juniors and seniors also have access) but also includes using sites like Linkedin and Facebook.

"Talk, talk, talk with your fellow alumni," Banker said. "Remember, you are not directly asking them for a job – they are a resource." Professors, parents, and friends can all wind up being helpful, she said. One alum actually landed a job after striking up a conversation with a woman sitting next to her at an airport.

Being creative and staying proactive is also effective, Banker said. Job seekers can identify companies they want to work for, and if there are no openings, they can set up an informational interview.

Visit the CELS website  or the Networking & Careers section of the Connecticut College website to find out more about what CELS offers.

- Rachel Harrington

September 17, 2009