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Skidmore College

Alumni Flock to NYC Career Event

January 28, 2013

It’s Thursday evening, January 17, in a Midtown Manhattan high-rise, and 177 Skidmore College alumni volunteers, alumni job seekers and changers, and even a few students nearing graduation are networking like crazy. The energy is high, the vibe is good, and the conversations are flowing. Participants are busy following speaker Adam Wald’s advice to “meet at least three people and e-mail each of them the next day.” They’ve been reminded that networking is the best way to land jobs, bar none.

Jenna Hartwell, Skidmore’s associate director for alumni career development, kicked off the Evening of Career Transition & Transformation with a pre-workshop, “The Road Not (yet) Taken,” in which she led small-group brainstorming exercises and provided a roadmap for nearly 20 alumni considering career changes. This is the event’s second year and is a direct outgrowth of Skidmore’s commitment to “provide free career counseling to alumni for life,” as Hartwell puts it. “How cool is that?” she asks. “I’m so excited. At most colleges you have to pay for it or you get two sessions and you’re done.”

Director of Alumni Affairs and College Events Mike Sposili, along with Wald, Skidmore NYC’s president and a 1994 grad, and Hartwell set the context for the main event in which 43 alumni volunteers (with some Skidmore parents and staff) from 13 career fields made themselves available for face-to-face networking for almost two hours. The event was “sold-out” well in advance.

Wald, a commercial voiceover actor who also provides career advice to artists, made a simple suggestion. “Write a little elevator speech for yourself—your own personal story,” he says. “I’m not saying to memorize it. I’m just saying that the next time you’re on an elevator you can have the same confidence you had when you were a student and told someone very naturally, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m a student.’ That’s what you want to do with your elevator speech. In interviews you’re often going to get the question, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ So be ready!”

One popular alumni volunteer was Wendy Wilson ’96, news editor for Essence magazine, who for most of the evening had a line three to four people deep waiting to talk with her. “Your first job won’t be your last job,” Wilson told a number of younger alumni. “And you might even lose that job. Or you might find out that it’s not what you enjoy, not your passion. Being young is the time to experiment, the time to figure out if this is where you should be or the time to turn 360 degrees and figure out something else.”

Wald captured the main message of the event. “Tonight, we had nearly 200 Skiddies in one room,” he says. “We’re creating a community, helping people reconnect with Skidmore, and showing them that their alma mater has something to offer them throughout their lives—that career development is there for them for life, and that they are Skidmore students for life.”

For further information:

Office of Career Development:

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