2019 Career Boot Camp Outcomes | St. Lawrence University Career Connections

2019 Career Boot Camp Outcomes

Executive Summary of Student Outcomes

The sixth annual Career Boot Camp for sophomores had a similar format of presentations, workshops and activities to 2018, with some minor modifications.  We removed the alumni presentation on financial literacy, with the option to add it as a follow up program later in the semester.  In addition, all students attended presentations on internships/funding sources and received training and structured time to search local and other resources to identify opportunities.  In addition, a number of industry panels were further combined (education & counseling, nonprofit & public service, business & consulting) which led to increased student attendance over separate panels.  One early industry panel (real estate) was absorbed into business & consulting due to lack of sufficient student interest.   

Continuing the trend from previous years, significant numbers of 2019’s Career Boot Camp participants rated themselves as having "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of previous knowledge and understanding of career skills/topics, particularly regarding the talents & experience employers value (51% compared to 48% in 2018;  33% in 2017).  In addition, 51% claimed the same standard of knowledge for networking techniques and protocols (48% in 2018 and 28% in 2017). 

The prior awareness of positive aspects of social media remained unchanged (45% in 2019 vs. 45% in 2018; 35% in 2017) and interestingly, prior awareness of negative aspects of social media actually declined (72% in 2019 vs 79% and 69% in 2018 and 2017).  Similarly, students’ reporting of prior knowledge of communication skills valued by employers dropped slightly (52% in 2019 vs. 57% and 44% in 2018 and 2017).          

Nearly four-fifths of students registered for the program had an existing resume; slightly more than half had already created a LinkedIn page.  This continues the “early-engager” trend among Boot Camp attendees (if not the sophomore class in general) and supports the need to develop more sophisticated programming for participants. 

Given the apparent high prior knowledge numbers, unsurprisingly the percentage of students expressing a "great deal" or "fair amount" of career skill knowledge and/or understanding after the program was in the 94-95% range (slightly higher than previous years). 

The increased prior knowledge numbers likely indicate an increased interest in and exposure to career and professional development by students through Career Services programming and/or other influence (e.g. faculty, peers, parents).  This will require more nuanced and targeted programming from Career Connections and Career Services staff for participants moving forward.  

Selected Student Quotes About Their Experience:
“Up to this point, I have struggled to uncover possible career paths in sustainability and the environment, but this panel helped me to realize the incredible breadth of opportunities and applications for this course of study. I left with some valuable new ideas for paths to explore.”

“In talking with the panelists….they were very helpful to me in a discussion of urban planning and sustainable development. It became clear to me how much opportunity for specialization there is in the field; I realized my search for careers has been too broad.

“One of the panelists seemed to [have gone] through a similar thought process to mine during his college years. He was easy to resonate with and a great connection to have.”

“It is important to take advantage of all opportunities even if they are not directly related to health and/or medicine as the skills that you can gain are most likely applicable in some way even if they initially seem abstractly related.”

2019 Sophomore Career Boot Camp By The Numbers:

  • 200 registrants (highest ever; actual participants closer to 180 due to weather/illness/late-breaking conflicts)
  • 36 Alumni/Parent Panelists registered/attended
  • 9 Industry Panels (business & consulting, communication, education & counseling, entrepreneurship, environment & sustainability, finance/banking, nonprofit & public service, health/medicine, science/technology)
  • 7 career skills presentations/panels: What Employers Want, Elevator Pitch, LinkedIn Use, Candidate Selection/Resume, Managing Digital Identity, Young Alumni Panel, Internship Search
  • 2 Networking Activities (lunch & small group networking with panelists)

Sophomore Career Boot Camp/Professional Skill Development Outcomes
(70% response rate—highest ever)

                                                            Before Boot Camp                  After  Boot Camp
Student’s Knowledge &
                    Fair amount     Great deal        Fair amount     Great deal
Understanding of:

Talents & experience employers          34%                 16%                 39%                 56%
value in prospective candidates          

The potential positive career/               30%                 16%                 39%                 54%
professional impacts of social media  

The potential negative career/               33%                 39%                 26%                 68%
professional impacts of social media  

The communication skills                       28%                 23%                 37%                 56%
employers expect        

How to network                                       37%                 14%                 36%                 58%

Student Motivation
As a result of having attended Bootcamp 2018, how inspired or motivated do you feel to continue career exploration (internships), professional development and/or networking activities?

                            2019       2018       2017
Not at all              2%          1%          0%
A little                  4%          2%          4%
Somewhat          16%        14%        11%
Quite a bit           43%        53%        50%
Greatly                35%        30%        35%

Additional Student Reactions

  • 93% (up from 89% in 2018; 96% in 2017) said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the What Employers Want Panel was useful in learning how to present themselves effectively to an employer
  • 77% said they would recommend Boot Camp to their classmates (20% “maybe”; 2% “no”); essentially unchanged from the previous year (76%/20%/3% in 2018

For the third year, students were asked to name the two most important "take-aways" from the boot camp.  In descending order of frequency were:                           

Importance of Networking/Networking Skills     34                                        
Communication/Self-Presentation Skills            23
Internship Search Strategies/Resources           13
Resume Skills                                                    12                                          
Developing/Demonstrating Confidence               7

Also mentioned multiple times were:
Social Media Skills/Use, Differentiating Yourself, Importance of Experience, Cultivating Career Interest or Passion, Elevator Pitch Skills (5 each); Achieving Career Clarity, Importance of Internships (3 each); Challenges of Life After College, Understanding Employer’s Perspective, Industry Panels, Major is Less Important than Experience (2 each). 

Mentioned singly were: Career Uncertainty is Okay, Multiple Jobs is Okay, Read/Absorb Current Events.