Department of Career Development introduces informal career lab initiative

The Department of Career Development has launched a program aimed at helping students create resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Students have thus far responded positively to the new initiative. 

Career labs are currently being offered four times each week, according to Associate Director for Internship Opportunities Robert DiCarlo. The career labs are split between resume and cover letter labs on Wednesdays and Thursdays and Linkedin labs on Mondays and Tuesdays. Each of the labs is meant to offer informal group advising sessions, according to DiCarlo. 

 “I want students to feel like they’re not the only ones who are in that boat,” DiCarlo said. “To make it more like a team effort, we’re all in this together for our careers. We want to make it less competitive, less intense and a little bit more fun.” 

Career mentor senior Samuel Frenzel, one of the students who helps run the career labs, has seen that the program is more helpful for students who might be sheepish. 

“A lot of times in the big groups, people don’t want to raise their hands and go out on a limb and sound stupid,” Frenzel said. “I think it’s more helpful if you can go and help people in smaller groups or individually, rather than in a big group setting.” 

Senior Erika Esquire , who serves as a career mentor, expressed that she would have wanted similar programs when she was originally assessing her career resources.  

 “I know personally I didn’t know where to start when I wrote my own resume a couple of years ago,” Esquivel said. “I think the career lab is a great way to get started or continue your resume and improve it.” 

The response from the student body has been relatively positive so far, according to DiCarlo. Although political science major junior Remington Spoor had not previously used the Department of Career Development, he said he would be more likely to take part in a career lab than a Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development workshop covering the same topic.

“I think that it’s a setting that is more conducive toward learning,” Spoor said. “It seems like a resource that would be very valuable to me at least … these are skills that every young person should have.”

The career labs will continue throughout the semester and in the future, according to DiCarlo. After this term, the department plans to evaluate the program and potentially make some tweaks depending on students’ responses. 

Beyond the career labs, the Department of Career Development received a $250,000 portion of a donation from two Geneseo alumni in October, according to DiCarlo. Where the money will go has yet to be determined, as the gift was just donated, DiCarlo said. 

 The Department of Career Development’s new programs are a part of a shift toward career advisement, according to DiCarlo. This has included training for area coordinators and staff at the Writing Learning Center, with plans to reach Access Opportunity Programs, academic departments and the dean’s office as well. 

“My philosophy is that everybody is interested in the success of our students,” DiCarlo said. “What I’m trying to do is shift the focus of the office away from career counseling to more career coaching and career advisement. I want … to create some sort of synergy between my staff and the students.”u