Career Center at Work
Wide range of services, contacts and prospects available to Dickinsonians
by Bill Sulon
April 20, 2010
Patrick Mullane, executive director of the Career Center and assistant vice president for student development, advises students not to rely solely on the Internet when searching for jobs.
Don’t rely solely on the Internet for your job search.
The job market, while weak, was worse in the early 1990s for newly minted college graduates.
If you think your personal information on Facebook is secret just because you set your profile settings to limit access to family or friends, think again.
Patrick Mullane, executive director of the Career Center and assistant vice president for student development, shares those employment truisms (more on those later), and much more, with anyone who asks.
With the official national unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, job seekers all over are asking questions. Some have reason to wonder where they fit in with Newsweek’s April 19 red, white and blue cover story declaring, “America’s Back! The remarkable tale of our economic turnaround.”
And while the jobless rate doesn’t reflect the underemployed, the people who are stuck in jobs they don't want or the downtrodden who have simply given up their search, it also doesn’t reflect the fact that economic conditions are far better for individuals with college degrees.
For college graduates, the jobless rate is 4.9 percent. For people without high-school diplomas or their equivalent, unemployment is at 15 percent.
For Dickinson students entering the job market, the odds of success, already strong, improve if they take advantage of the services—including career counseling, employment connections with alumni and on-campus interviews—offered by the Career Center.
“There’s not much we can do to make students do career work,” Mullane said. “They’ve got to be ready, willing and able to do the work.”
Those who make the effort find opportunities, and jobs.
“I have been using Career Center services since my sophomore year, when I was looking for an internship,” said Luan Nguyen ’10, an international business & management (INBM) major. “The Career Center staffers, especially Heather Champion [’97] and Rachel Weaver, have been very helpful in working with me to edit resumés and cover letters and prepare me for various interviews. I also appreciate the fact that they work with the [INBM] department and Baruch College to coordinate the New York City semester program, which is the single most helpful program in terms of career orientation for INBM and economics majors.”
Nguyen landed a job as an analyst at Cornerstone Research, an economic consulting firm in San Francisco.
Alumni connections are a major resource for job seekers. Last month, Sightlines, a Guilford, Conn., firm that specializes in comparative assessments of campus facilities, visited Dickinson for on-campus recruitment interviews with students. Last week, the company offered three students jobs after graduation.
Sightlines’ regional account manager in Pennsylvania is Matt Bausher ’05.
“At Sightlines, we need well-rounded individuals that we can rely on for multiple job responsibilities,” Bausher said. “The analysts that collect and process data from our institutions are the very same people that interact with and eventually present the information to our clients. We find that a liberal-arts education from Dickinson College prepares students for far more than just our analytical job responsibilities.”
Connections, networking and diligence are key to success in finding a first job or a dream job, said Mullane, who has 21 years’ experience in the career-services field.
The Dickinson advantage
Many Dickinson students land rewarding jobs and internships soon after graduation or, in some cases, before graduation. Six out of 10 students earn a graduate- or professional-school degree within five years of graduation, further enhancing their job prospects and earning capacity, Mullane said.
“Coming to Dickinson sets you apart,” Mullane said. “Taking a foreign language, doing study-abroad—it all sets you apart.”
And setting yourself apart from other job seekers is a job in itself—one that won’t likely pay off if you spend the bulk of your time surfing the Internet.
“The biggest mistake people make is to limit their job search to the Web,” Mullane said. “Only 20 percent of the available positions are advertised on the Web, and 60 percent of companies looking to fill positions never advertise at all.” Of the positions that are advertised on the Internet, many are either high-skilled or low-skilled jobs, and still more are scams, he added.
“If people think they're doing a job search on the Web, they’re not,” Mullane said. “Well, they are doing a job search, just not a good one. Alums, parents, faculty, family, friends—a vast majority of the best resources involve people, not the Internet.”
Newsweek’s cover story notwithstanding, the economy remains weak for many. However, “it’s not as bad as I’ve ever seen it,” Mullane said. “In the early ’90s, college graduates were affected more than they are now. Most recessions, including that one, have an across-the-board effect. This one is hurting the less educated more.”
As for Facebook, users should clean up their act. Don’t post anything you don’t want prospective employers to see. Many look. And in some cases, prospective employers, including government agencies, have the ability to access all areas of job candidates’ profiles, including those limited to family or friends, Mullane said.
“I know of some people who were not interviewed because of what they had on Facebook,” he said. “Locking it down doesn’t always lock it down.”
In addition to the Career Center, students should use LinkedIn, an online professional networking site, Mullane said. And when students and alumni land jobs, internships or acceptance at graduate or professional schools, they can help fellow Dickinsonians by keeping in contact with the Career Center and posting their accomplishments at Life Beyond the Limestone.
“We’re here to help,” Mullane said. “Whether you’re a student or alumnus, we want to hear from you.”
Learn more about the Career Center. For more information about the alumni networking database, visit Dickinson Works.