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Careers101: o


yt o y o BY HELEN S. EDELMAN ’74 AND SUSAN ROSENBERG


“Dressing formally may help you feel more prepared for an interview. Drink juice beforehand to stabilize your blood sugar. Thank-you notes should be sent very soon after an interview.”


TO LAND A JOB THESE DAYS, such tips on personal presenta- tion are part of the package. According to Deborah Loffredo, Skidmore’s director of career services, 80 percent of jobs are now filled through networking, not from want ads, so person- al contact matters from day one. Loffredo says success starts with “who you know and what they think of you,” moves into soul searching and resume honing, features internships and other practical experiences, includes some targeted phone calls, and then—with luck and moxie—the candidate is front and center, in person, asking for information or a job. Loffredo has data and experience to prove that networking opens the doors for students to get started on career trajecto- ries. That’s why her office and others help students meet alumni, parents of other students, and friends of the college who are active in professional life; facilitate internships and shadowing; mount workshops on how to take advantage of online social media that connect working professionals to each other; and organize discussions of careers in particular fields and of how the liberal arts can anchor a professional vi- sion. Recently Skidmore’s “Evening of Transition and Transfor- mation” attracted 184 seniors and alumni in New York City to


10 SCOPE SPRING 2012


talk to 40 professionals about what might come next for them. On campus there was a more lighthearted “What Not to Wear” student fashion show, co-sponsored by career services, the Stu- dent Government Association, and the management and busi- ness department. Wall Street 101, Living the Liberal Arts, and many other programs fill the calendar year-round. Alumni on their own are also strengthening old school ties. The alumni-run Skidmore Business Network started in New York City and has spun off chapters in other major cities; members connect both online and at in-person events, sometimes including Skidmore upperclassmen. Ken Freirich ’90 underwrites a business-plan contest that attracts students from all majors, matches them with alumni mentors, and lets them pitch their ideas to alumni judges for $10,000 in start- up support (with a $5,000 second and $2,500 third prize). The Skidmore Web site added “Creative Thought at Work” pages, profiling alumni and how they went from college to career. Trustee Bill Ladd ’83 and alumni-affairs staff even cre- ated a Green and Yellow Pages directory. What’s behind the networking flurry? One impetus may be the Skidmore “town hall” meetings of recent years, where


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