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Students get career advice from alumni at Merrill Lynch,

Students talk with Liz Kennedy '04, center, after the Seminar on Success.
Students talk with Liz Kennedy '04, center, after the Seminar on Success.

Know what people can find online about you. Put yourself in the shoes of a job interviewer. Don't be afraid to take risks. Be yourself and build your resume with activities that show who you are. That is some of the advice students received during recent networking events with alumni at companies ranging from to Merrill Lynch.

"Network - now," Mathew Cooney '95 of told students during the annual Seminar on Success in January.

He suggested students post short video resumes on YouTube, experiment with blogging and use Twitter. But he added that the most effective networking is still face-to-face.

"This is a fantastic time to be who you are with the skills you have," he said. "Want to be a journalist? You should be blogging. Want to be a celebrity chef? Where are the videos of you on YouTube cooking?" Liz Kennedy '04 of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center suggested students take every opportunity to get involved. Alex Feinstein '07, who owns an environmentally friendly frozen yogurt company in Massachusetts, told them the variety of things they're exposed to in college will help them later on.

"Each different thing you learn and experience helps to build up a pyramid to a point where you finally reach what you really want to do," added David M. Brown '02, founder of Basketball Stars of New York.

In a separate event on Feb. 7, four financial advisers from Merrill Lynch teamed with the College's career office (CELS) to co-host a panel discussion on careers in wealth management at the financial services company's downtown New London office. Michael S. Stryker '86 moderated the discussion with advisers Martha L. Gibson, Derek S. Pirruccello and Dwayne Stallings '99. Stallings, who played basketball on the 1998-99 Division III Final Four team while at Connecticut College, encouraged students to explore different interests and see what works for them.

Before finding his home in the financial world, Stallings played basketball overseas. "I always knew I wanted to be a business man," said Stallings. "But I didn't know that I would settle on finance until well after graduation." It's the perfect niche for what he describes as his "competitive personality."

Stryker advised students to take advantage of the many opportunities available through the College, such as internships, student-faculty research, study abroad and mentoring. And he offered words of encouragement for those students who don't yet know exactly what their path may be. A job that doesn't seem perfect can still teach you a lot about your field and yourself, he said. Stryker, who treated students to a viewing of "Margin Call" at the Garde Arts Center Winter Film Festival following the discussion, has coordinated more than 60 funded internships through the Merrill Lynch office. Additionally, he works closely with students as an adviser for the Peggoty Investment Club.

- Sam Norcross '14 contributed to this article.

February 15, 2012