Colorado College is on Winter Break from Dec. 21 to Jan. 22, but that doesn’t mean that students can’t be productive. Geoff Falen, director of CC’s Career Center and pre-law advisor, says the break is an ideal time for students to network.
“I think the Winter Break is an underutilized time for many college students in their career exploration and networking process,” Falen said. “I would encourage students to spend time over the upcoming holidays to identify potential contacts in industries and fields they are interested in through their alumni offices – both college and high school – and ask for informational interviews,” he said.
Some companies offer formal shadowing or externship programs, but even if a company does not, it may be possible for students to set up their own individual shadowing opportunities or informational interviews. “This kind of work can give students exposure to potential career fields, help them develop their professional network, and even serve as something of a ‘soft’ introduction as a potential employee.”
New career-related initiatives by CC’s Career Center include:
- A newly created position, associate director for employer relations. The goal of this position is to increase and sustain the development of internships and jobs. The position also fosters alumni and parent engagement with the college through participation in career-building activities such as mentoring, job shadowing, informational interviewing, and serving on career panels.
- CC Experts, a lunchtime series which taps into the knowledge and experience of college employees in areas of interest to students. More than 70 students have attended presentations given by staff relating to communications, public health, event planning, counseling, graphic design, and library science/data management.
- Programming to support students with entrepreneurial ambitions. “How to Start Your Own Nonprofit,” inaugurated in Spring 2011, provides students with training and guidance in creating a mission statement, developing a business plan, and presenting a proposal for a nonprofit. A similar program, “Start Your Own Business,” launches in February.
Overall participation in Career Center programming has been strong throughout the fall semester. “Anecdotally, there seems to be a greater understanding on the part of students that they have to start their career exploration and job search process earlier in order to be competitive,” Falen said.