2015 Career Connections Boot Camp Outcomes | St. Lawrence University Career Connections

2015 Career Connections Boot Camp Outcomes

Executive Summary of Student Outcomes

The second annual Career Boot Camp for Sophomores followed a similar template to last year, with some modifications.  As a result of the previous year's feedback from both students and panelists, along with the concluding networking reception, an additional panelist/student programming was added with a shared meal and conversation. 

Previous feedback and increased student registration also led to the creation of a two-tiered resume/cover letter workshop, grouping students according to whether or not they had prior experience developing these documents.  Additional networking instruction/practice was included, as was a presentation discussing the appropriate management of one's digital presence and the potential positive and negative aspects of social media.  New industry panels on arts, nonprofits, and science/technology were added by student and faculty request.

In general, the 2015 Career Boot Camp participants ranked their initial knowledge and understanding of career skills/topics higher than 2014 across the board.  The percentage of students expressing a "great deal" or "fair amount" of career skill knowledge/understanding after the program were comparable to last year (in the 89-93% range vs. 90-94%).  Similar to the previous year, students offered a variety of responses regarding the most valuable aspect of the program as it related to their particular profesional interests and career preparation needs.  The most commonly cited aspects in order of frequency were: Industry Panels (overall, as well as specific ones), Networking/Panelist Interaction, Interviewing from the Employers' Perspective, and Interview Preparation/Sourcing Internships.

After the program, students reported:

  • Higher confidence and ability to network
  • Increased desire for additional professional contact with alumni
  • Greater understanding of career-relevant skills (e.g. finding an internship/interviewing)
  • Appreciation of panelists' career path and knowledge

Boot Camp by the Numbers:

  • 150 Sophomores registered (57% men, 43% women; approx. 25% of the class)
  • 34 Industry and Skills Panelists (up from 30 last year)
  • 14 Career/Professional Skills workshops by Career Services/Career Connections Staff (resume/cover letter, finding internships, interviewing, networking)
  • 9 Industry Panels: arts*, business, communications, education, entrepreneurship, environment, finance, nonprofits*, science/technology*  
    (Top four by student interest: Business, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Communications)
    *added based on class of 2016/faculty feedback
  • 2 sessions by SLU staff on special academic programs/campus experiential learning opportunities; managing social media presence
  • 2 Alumni networking opportunities (informal lunch, formal reception)
  • 1 Alumni/Parent panel on interviewing from employer’s perspective

Student Evaluations (67% response rate)

Student description of knowledge and understanding of career skills and topics before/after Boot Camp:

                                                KNOWLEDGE BEFORE                        KNOWLEDGE AFTER

Career Topic/Skill                 Great Deal       Fair Amount             Great deal       Fair Amount

Writing an effective                    13%                 30%                            46%                46%
resume and cover letter

Interview questions,                   13%                 37%                            67%                26%
techniques, and protocols

Identifying internship                 10%                 24%                            52%                39%      
opportunities

Networking protocols and          13%                 17%                             54%               35%    
techniques

Talents and experiences             16%                 30%                             64%              28%                
employers value in candidates

The communication skills           12%                 35%                             70%              22%                
employers value in candidates

Potential negative career            33%                 34%                              74%              21%           
aspects of social media

Potential positive career             23%                 14%                              65%              29%
aspects of social media

Additional Student Reactions:

  • 90% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the alumni interview panel was useful in learning how to present themselves effectively to an employer
  • 74-88% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the workshops were helpful in developing career-relevant skills or improving awareness of opportunities
  • 88% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel more confident in speaking to/following up with alumni after Career Boot Camp
  • 80% of the student respondents would recommend this program to their classmates (20% said “maybe”)