Clark students who are investigating career paths have plenty of questions. What strategies can I use to conduct a successful job search? How do I build a network? Is graduate school right for me?
Fortunately, they have allies at Clark who can help them with the answers.
On Nov. 16, Clark’s Career Connections Center hosted Life After Clark, which gave students an opportunity to interact with alumni and members of the CCC staff about how to prepare for career and life after graduation. The day-long program included breakout sessions on topics like interviewing effectively, gauging a company’s work culture, and managing student loans.
Michelle Flint, director of career development at Clark, said the event was organized to supply students with a fundamental appreciation of the post-college landscape and provide tools and capacities to meet early-career challenges.
“Life After Clark is important to Clark students because it gives them a day to think about all the important questions they’ll need to answer when they graduate,” she said. “It also encourages students to start connecting with alumni early in their Clark careers so that they they’ll graduate with the networks and the professional skills they need to create a great life for themselves.”
A panel of alumni working in a variety of fields shared their personal journeys, offering wide-ranging advice that was grounded in their post-Clark experiences. They talked about professional successes and failures — and the lessons learned from both — as well as the challenges of balancing a robust career with a gratifying life beyond the workplace.
“It’s always exciting to connect with fellow Clarkies,” said Erika Labbe ’08, director of marketing communications for GSN Games. “The students had great questions. They’re committed to preparing for their careers and eager to make an impact when they graduate.”
Labbe recalled that she landed her first freelance job while she was a senior at Clark by connecting with an alumna at an advertising agency, a valuable early lesson about the power of networking. ClarkCONNECT, she noted, helps students begin forming their professional networks with alumni.
She advised students not to worry about “checking all the boxes” on a job description before applying. “There’s no such thing as a perfect candidate. Highlight your background and experience, and for anything else, be eager and excited to learn.”
Sami Noor ’15, project coordinator for strategic partnerships at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, noted that he got his start in the hospital industry by networking with Clark alumni. He urged Clark students to keep an open mind when considering career possibilities. “Having a narrow mindset won’t get you far,” he said. “Opening yourself to opportunities and different ways of thinking will help you in the future.”
Students also networked with alumni in “coffee talks,” which students a forum to learn about specific career paths in the sciences, health, nonprofit, business and development, and social services fields.
Emma Dinnerstein ’20 said she attended Life After Clark “to gain invaluable tools that I wouldn’t be able to google.”
“[Life After Clark] gives you a sense of a world that isn’t just the Clark community,” she said. “It gets you to use the relationships you’re developing, and have already developed, to give you a leg up on the competition.”