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Skidmore relies heavily on alumni and parents, both as mentors in the discovery stage of career planning and as sources of employment. And alumni are also welcome as clients of career services, to get guidance (in person or by e-mail, Skype, or phone), search the databases, or re- ceive its bulletins. Even decades after graduation, alumni have sought and received counseling about a career change, grad school, or employment in specific regions. After the 2008 economic crash, Skidmore sent spe- cial invitations to alumni in need of career help. Loffredo says, “While this is still an extremely challenging economy, there are opportunities. That’s why I advise students and alumni to ‘network, network, net- work’ to find out where the jobs are and who can help you.”

Jonathan Zeidan ’12, SGA presi- dent, has worked closely with Lof- fredo to get the word out to stu- dents. And he’s personally benefited from career services, which helped him network with a graduate and se- cure a summer internship at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. He says, “Deb is changing the culture of career services. Instead of just to going in to get a job, students are beginning to go there to learn skills, whether it’s networking tips, how to tailor a resume for a particular position, or how to present your- self to an employer. The economy is scary, and you can either hide or harness your energy. Her office is motivating more peo- ple to market their intellectual product, and to manage the skills they might learn as a club officer or an intern within a holistic liberal-arts experience.” Zeidan also worked in a Skidmore ad- ministrative office and feels that between the bank and the college, he has “learned a lot about the corporate climate that I could not have gotten inside the class- room.” Career services was essential, he says, “but you can’t just go there as a senior and expect it to be easy. You have to start earlier to gain confidence in your skills and interests and learn how those can be supported by programs on campus and then by jobs.” Loffredo agrees: “We tell our students to major in something they love but to keep trying out new internships or clubs or projects, to help them figure out what they want to do and what they’re good at. Interests change with exposure and opportunity.”

Louise Mallette ’74, a human-resources expert who chairs the alumni board’s Career and Professional Development Committee, is a case in point. She calls Lucy Scribner Skid-


more’s idea of engaging mind and hand “unusual, special, and very cool—and Skidmore achieves it at a high level.” As a new graduate in English and government, Mallette took paralegal training, then worked for the City of Boston as a labor relations and grievances ana- lyst. “From my work at Skidmore,” she says, “I was able to research, write, and figure things out. I capi- talized on my curiosity and my problem-solving skills—my ability to think, analyze, and engage broadly. These weren’t explicit job skills, but they connected me to my work.” In the early 1980s her work also included heading Skidmore’s career planning programs. Now helping Skidmore’s new ca-


reer services, Mallette is surveying students, faculty, administrators, and parents to learn “how can those groups best partner? Who are the biggest influencers on students? What will help students plan and integrate what they’ve learned?” She sees a need for “self-assessment that


goes along with experiential learning. Students may feel they shouldn’t get an internship until they know what they want to do—but how can they know what they want to do until they try some internships?” Mallette adds, “Parents and alumni can help, but it’s important to allow students to be self-guided and self-aware, to get a handle on what they want to commit to, what risks they want to take, what questions they want to ask.” The role for career services, she says, is “the segue between the liberal arts and the ability to translate passions into job skills.” For Loffredo, “The beauty of the liberal arts is that its diversity makes students capable of following many amazing paths, whether volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, getting an MBA, or shad- owing a dentist.”

Loffredo emphasizes, “A job is an activity that earns you a living, while a career is an arc that represents a lifelong journey from your first interest in a professional field through the posi- tions you hold as you build your career, maybe until you be- come a mentor yourself.” In fact, the career services office is now training students as peer mentors who can help with everything from resumes to interviewing, while of course hon- ing their own skills along the way. Zeidan says, “It doesn’t sur- prise me that Deb came up with that, because what you feel in career services now—and students are acting on it—is a mood of high energy driving creative solutions. If you go there to ask for help or talk over an idea, the answer is always ‘yes.’”


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