Alumni share valuable advice at Career Breakfast

On Saturday Sept. 29, the Career Services office hosted a career breakfast in the College Union Ballroom. The breakfast was a way to help students make connections and network with alumni.

Students filled out forms to participate in the Career Breakfast and wrote down their top three choices for careers they would be interested in learning more about. Then, the coordinators of the event proceeded to match students up with alumni who were in that specified field. Before the breakfast officially began, President Christopher Dahl gave a speech regarding the reconnection with alumni to their alma mater and being involved in the process of helping current students network and find out more about the field they're considering.

Alumni were very willing to answer questions in regards to their job, what they did while at Geneseo and important things to do while at school. "Put everything on your resume," said Amanda Hinchcliffe, class of 1997. "Spin anything you've done to your advantage. You worked at Applebee's; there you go, you know about selling a product to a customer."

"Make sure you partake in plenty of internships," said Bill Kirchoff, an alumnus who worked in sales for Kraft foods. "The internship will give you a clear idea if you want to do that job or not. My first internship is what made me decide not to go into Human Resources."

The breakfast helped students, many of whom were seniors who are getting closer to the inevitable job search, to realize that they have plenty of job opportunities. Dahl, while giving advice to students on how to make the most of their time at Geneseo, stated, "Your major or minor may or may not predict where you end up, career wise. An alumnus was an anthropology major, received a masters in geography and is now in banking."

In addition to receiving great advice from alumni, some students felt that the breakfast helped them make good connections with potential employers and expand their networks. "The woman sitting at my table was a corporate coach who worked for Electronic Data Systems," senior Kale Smimmo said. "Having worked in the industry for several years, she provided our table with a lot of practical advice."

"It was definitely a good event," senior Jose Rios said. "I got to make good connections with people who I can now contact if I need to in the future."

A crucial bit of advice given by Kirchoff was to network within the school. "Build up good references with advisors and professors," she said. If an alumnus or company looking for students for a job approaches a professor, those with a closer connection to their professors have a better chance of being considered.

The breakfast seemed very short: the allotted hour and a half flew by. There was a clear abundance of students and a smaller amount of alumni. In many cases it was evident that students had many more questions. "The only qualm I had with this event was the lack of time," Smimmo said.

While the event coordinators attempted to have the students and alumni associate with those who were not seated at their tables, this endeavor was not as successful as they had intended. Many people seemed resistant to walking around to visit other tables.

The breakfast was a great starting point for many students who were not quite sure how to start presenting themselves to companies and how to make connections. Although it could have been organized differently, the morning was still a successful event that fostered many different connections for students and alumni alike.