When it comes to the job search process, there have been many changes during the past couple of decades. But, according to Carleen Pallante, there are some constants. Employers remain interested in people who have strong interpersonal and communication skills; are confident and detail-oriented; and enthusiastic about their field and the company.
Carleen is Sage’s Director of Career Planning and has been in the field of career services for 13 years. She says Sage students are equipped when they enter the job market because they received individualized assistance from their professors and administration at Sage, and many students actively participate in leadership roles through volunteering, service learning, on-campus employment, internships, research and full- and part-time work related to their field of study. When they enter the job market, they have had many experiences related to their major and have gained the skills employers are looking for in candidates.
The biggest difference today Carleen sees as new students begin pursuing careers is the way technology has changed how we communicate. Online communications, like social media and texting, have left some students needing practice with oral and face-to-face communications skills.
“Students often need assistance with conversations to market themselves in networking and interviewing,” she says. “Relationship building is really important, no matter what industry you go into.”
That’s why Carleen provides students with opportunities to take part in mock networking events and interviews.
“Our office brings employers and alumni to campus for students to practice their communication skills and receive feedback to improve. We also do mock interviews in our office to help students get ready to present themselves best and increase their confidence.”
Carleen says these are difficult times to be looking for a job, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic shrinking opportunities in some industries. But, she says, the idea is to become more creative and innovative, which will make you that much more of a standout.
“Employers are really looking for candidates who are quick to solve problems and are life-long learners. Our students have learned these skills over the last few months during COVID-19, and at their time at Sage.”
The Sage Office of Career Planning helps students and alumni to explore their industries of interest, create a career plan to achieve their goals and acquire “career ready” skills.
Carleen says part of the process is providing students with realistic expectations.
“We refer to it as ‘planning’ because it takes time and it’s a process. With careers evolving, our goal is to prepare students for their lifetime of career pivots.”
Sage students do have one more advantage, she says. Sage alums are ready to help. They host interns, shadows and take part in panel discussions where they can share their own career stories and insights.
“We work together here as a community,” Carleen says. “And being part of a caring community can be a tremendous plus when it comes to getting started in a career.”