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 got during recent networking sessions with alumni at companies ranging from monster.com to Merrill Lynch.
"Network -- now," Matthew Cooney '95 of monster.com 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. The variety of things you're exposed to in college will help you later because you've learned so much, said Alex Feinstein '07, who owns an environmentally friendly frozen yogurt company in Massachusetts.
"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," said David M. Brown '02, founder of Basketball Stars of New York.
"Make connections early. It's been shocking to me how important those early connections were," Kennedy said.
You can build your resume by volunteering with local businesses or nonprofits, Cooney said. Be flexible, have an open mind and tackle your first job with a willingness to do anything.
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, job shadows, 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 over 60 funded internships through the Merrill Lynch office. Additionally, he works closely with students as an advisor for the Peggotty Investment Club.
-- Sam Norcross '14 contributed to this article