The third annual Career Boot Camp for sophomores followed a similar approach to the previous year, again with some modifications. In response to the desire of both panelists and students for more interaction, an additional small group alumni/parent panelist-student practice networking exercise was added to the program. In this activity, students received multiple chances to engage with alumni and practice their “elevator pitch” about who they are, what they’re interested in, and what they hope to learn or do in the future. Also new this year was a specific session on LinkedIn profiles, with different presentations to those who did not have a profile vs. further developing an existing profile.
In addition to the above changes, the career skills workshops were amended to be more interactive and potentially tailored to individual students’ needs. The networking workshop included crafting an initial “elevator pitch” for later use with panelists, and the internship sourcing presentation included time to search for specific internships of interest. The resume workshop started with an exercise of students evaluating “real-life resumes” against an internship description and then pivoted to developing/tailoring one's resume to an internship selected during the internship workshop. Finally, the interview workshop allowed additional opportunities for students to practice answering both open-ended and behavioral interview questions.
The industry panels remained largely the same, with the addition of consulting and return of government; the previous year’s arts panel was dropped due to low student interest.
In 2016, Career Boot Camp participants ranked their initial knowledge and understanding of career skills/topics somewhat lower than 2015, except for knowledge of writing an effective resume. This exception reflects the greater number of participating students who had an existing resume prior to the program and/or who had already used Career Services for this function. The percentage of students expressing a "great deal" or "fair amount" of career skill knowledge/understanding after the program was comparable to the previous two years (in the 88-96% range vs. 90-94%), with a slight decrease in the resume (88% vs. 92%) and slight increases in networking protocols (93% vs. 89%), talents valued by employers (96% vs. 92%), and communication skills valued by employers (94% vs. 92%). These increases may be due to additional emphasis on networking in the Boot Camp program.
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 professional interests and career preparation needs. The most commonly cited aspects in order of frequency were: connecting with alumni, industry panels (overall, as well as specific examples), networking activities with alumni (elevator pitch exercise, lunch, reception), LinkedIn workshop, and sourcing internships.
2016 Sophomore Career Boot Camp by the Numbers
- 179 registrants (up from 150), 53% men, 47% women; approximately 33% of class
- 38 Alumni/Parent Panelists (up from 34 last year)
- 10 Industry Panels (business, communication, consulting, education, entrepreneurship, environment & sustainability, finance/banking, government, nonprofit management, science/technology)
- 6 career skills presentations/panels (what employers want, resume, internship sourcing, interviewing, LinkedIn, managing digital identity)
- 3 Networking Events (lunch, reception, small group “elevator pitch” exercise)
STUDENT EVALUATIONS (61% 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 Effective Resume 13% 35% 46% 41%
Interview Questions, 8% 34% 52% 44%
Techniques & Protocols
Identifying Internship 7% 15% 44% 48%
Networking Protocols 6% 21% 59% 34%
Talents/Experiences 10% 22% 61% 35%
Valued by Employers
Communication Skills 13% 25% 58% 36%
Valued by Employers
Potential Negative Career 29% 35% 68% 25%
Aspects of Social Media
Potential Positive Career 7% 23% 64% 31%
Aspects of Social Media
Developing/Using 8% 23% 60% 24%
Additional Student Reactions:
- 88% agreed/strongly agreed that the Building Your Professional Brand Panel was useful in learning about the positive and negative impacts of social media on digital identity
- 91% agreed/strongly agreed that the What Employers Want Panel was useful in learning how to present themselves effectively to an employer
- 74-89% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that the workshops were helpful in developing career-relevant skills or improving awareness of opportunities
- 81% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel more confident in speaking to/following up with alumni after Career Boot Camp
- 90% of the student respondents would recommend this program to their classmates (9% said “maybe”)