Keene State alumni return to campus to help current students with the transition from college to the real world.
Former KSC students returned to Keene for Alumni-Assisted Job Fair Month to give back to their alma mater. Alumni held separate events to help students with the resume process, offer job and internship possibilities, and to help students on their way out of school.
On Thursday Nov. 16, the science center lobby held a job fair with over 35 tables of companies ranging from New Hampshire Public Radio to Wal-Mart to Citizens Bank. Alumni were at 12 different tables, ready and willing to help out any and all students.
“I come back because I wanted to give something to the college and its students,” Scott Ettl, KSC Alum Class of ’96, said. Ettl said this is his second year at the job fair and he has been mentoring students for about six months.
“Good people will always get good jobs,” Ettl said. “And right now when you get a little monitoring and guidance you get an advantage over other people out there, and that’s how you get a job.”
Ettl, who works for an IT research firm in Connecticut, said he was lucky to get a job right out of college. He has been working at Gartner Inc. for 14 years after graduating from KSC with a degree in environmental science.
The fair was open for three hours and students were asked to dress professionally and bring resumes to this event. For senior Matt Foster, this wasn’t his first experience with a job fair.
“I went last year just to check it out a bit, but it’s senior year- crunch time- so I’m talking to more people,” Foster said.
Foster, who is majoring in safety studies, said he liked that there were alumni coming back and working at these events.
“Personally I liked it having the connection with people from Keene State and seeing their success,” Foster said. “It helps a lot with networking having people from the same school at these different jobs.”
Foster mentioned how graduates in different fields form their own groups as safety majors, education majors, and others and then are able to network that way too. He said he found that true when talking with a construction management company whose representative was in the safety field.
Another alum at the job fair was KSC Class of 1972 graduate Mike Maher. Maher said he has deep ties to Keene State as both he and his wife graduated from here, as did both their daughters, as well as his in-laws.
“We always find quality students to serve in our internships,” Maher said. “Every year we have a few students that do an internship and come back changed by the experience.”
Maher, who works with the Student Conservation Association, said his company is a national organization with over 1,800 interns and student workers.
Students could also participate in resume building exercises, one-on-one with alumni. Half-hour meetings were set up between students and alums, to focus on resume construction, formatting, and job preparation throughout the week of Nov. 10.
David Westover, a KSC Alum Class of ’72 and member of the KSC Alumni Board of Directors, said he was very involved in the resume process.
“I work with undergrads on resume building, interview skills and a few of us are here to point students in the right direction,” Westover said.
Westover added that he teaches a one-credit course on transition into the workplace. “I teach students how to dress for success,” Westover said. “We work on resume building and perform mock interviews when students pick a job they want, interview in front of the class, and are critiqued by their peers.”
“My goal is to put students in the much better position for when they graduate,” Westover said.
Maher has also worked in the resume building process in the past. “I did resume review last year and had a lot of fun,” Westover said. “I enjoyed connecting with the students and hearing their experiences and figuring out how they could best capture those experiences in a resume.”
These events were put on by the Alumni Office of Employers as well as the Career Services and Advising Office, in which Westover also works.
Westover gave credit for the job fair to Kelly Graham, associate director of Career Advising. “This is really her baby,” Westover said. “Between here and the alumni offices and good relationships with Keene State College and the connections of alumni, it makes the conversation go a little smoother and things can get started earlier. This is a good chance to generate leads and opportunities.”
Kevin Butler can be contacted at email@example.com.