Career Services Launches Robust Summer Programming with a Virtual Twist
St. Lawrence’s nationally-ranked Career Services will use the summer preparing students and recent grads to navigate an evolving job market.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising college sophomores, juniors, seniors, and recent graduates across the country are wondering what’s next. At St. Lawrence, the office of Career Services is preparing students to answer that question confidently with a full range of resources and programming throughout the summer that will feature an array of voices from competitive industries and organizations—including those in St. Lawrence’s alumni network.
“The goal is to engage students with alumni and employers to utilize their knowledge, expertise, and connections, and assist students with their career development,” says Jillian McKernan-Walley ‘93, P’21, director of Career Services.
McKernan-Walley and her team are well-positioned to help students navigate the uncertainties of the current moment. St. Lawrence’s office of Career Services, which is consistently ranked among the best in the county by The Princeton Review, spent the spring semester working to make their on-campus offerings available to students remotely during the pandemic. The University’s focus on providing students with opportunities to explore career options while empowering them with the resources they need to launch a rewarding career after graduation is just one of the things that sets it apart from comparable liberal arts institutions. Its office of Career Services has pioneered a number of signature programs—from fostering mentorships, to job shadow opportunities, to the popular SLU Connect initiative.
This summer, their virtual programming will consist of five Alumni Insights sessions around professional and skills-based topics, as well as a few new Employer Insights sessions presented by other industry experts. These are not intended to be recruitment tools, but rather opportunities for employers to discuss what their industries and organizations look for in potential candidates, review expectations for new hires, and offer tips for entering the workforce during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These sessions are an opportunity for students to get facetime with alumni and employers, ask questions, and make a connection that they can follow up on after the session,” says McKernan-Walley. “They are networking tools as much as they are education and information gathering tools.”
Career Services has also helped to facilitate remote micro-internships, which allow students to be paid for short-term, professional assignments while they fine-tune practical skills, explore their career interests, and build their network. They’re available to students of all majors and offer exposure to a range of industries, from sales, marketing, and technology to human resources and finance.
In addition to their summer line-up, Career Services plans to offer career workshops and is always available for individualized advising and resume review sessions. Students are encouraged to explore their options and make appointments to meet with a counselor early in their time at St. Lawrence.
“Start now! Please don’t wait until the fall or later to begin thinking about your resume or LinkedIn profile, or to sign up for Laurentian Connection,” says McKernan-Walley. “Begin networking now, follow up with your connections, do research, and keep up with the news.”
While McKernan-Walley acknowledges that members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will face some difficulties in their job search, she stresses the importance of using this time to become a better candidate, which means finding creative opportunities to build their skillset.
“Stay active in your job search. Conduct informational interviews, virtual job shadows, and career conversations,” she says. “Take a free online course to gain or enhance a skill. Volunteer, virtually or safely through social distancing, to gain experience, assist a cause you believe in, and test out a career path. Ultimately, use your time wisely to make yourself a stronger candidate, as well as a more well-rounded, informed person.”
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