Fewer Seniors Use Pomona’s Career Office

This semester, many seniors are neglecting to visit Pomona’s Career Development Office (CDO) and to utilize its job search resources, a phenomenon Director Carl Martellino said is not unusual at liberal arts colleges during economic crises.Since the beginning of the school year, the number of seniors visiting the CDO has significantly increased, but job opportunities continue to outnumber applicants.“When the economy is booming, students will come to career centers, and the opposite happens during downturns,” Martellino said. “They think there is nothing here. They’re making false assumptions based on what they see in the media.”Tad Stebbins PO ’10 agreed, saying he believes some seniors may think education offers more opportunities than the economy does at this time.“I think some people are simply more interested in pursuing further education rather than jobs, given the economy,” Tad Stebbins PO ’10 said. Martellino agreed, adding that the students are afraid to confront the job market at this time.“They’re hiding,” Martellino said. “The truth is, we have a lot of opportunities.”Stebbins has a job lined up with the company where he was an intern the past two summers.Although the CDO did not help him secure this position, Stebbins has taken advantage of the CDO’s offerings in the past.“I have consulted with the CDO regarding my resume on several occasions,” he said. “I also have attended numerous on-campus recruiting events over the last two years, including the various industry fairs. The Claremont Colleges attract some top firms, particularly with respect to management consulting.”He also considered Route 47—the Claremont Colleges’ online job search engine—and the CDO library as helpful resources.Many students, however, do not share Stebbins’ positive attitude towards the office.“The CDO is useful for reading resumes and for interview preparation,” Elizabeth Ng PO ’10 said. “However, they are not generally going to be very useful for helping you find a job or an internship or to figure out what you’d like to do with your life.”Ng suggested that seniors are avoiding the CDO simply “because they’ve had disappointing experiences in the past.”Martellino, who has worked at the CDO for 11 years, maintained that in past years seniors visited the office frequently and successfully secured jobs with the help of its staff and “one of the largest career center libraries in the country.”He said students from the other Claremont Colleges have been benefiting from the wealth of resources this year.“We have so many job and internship opportunities,” he said. “It’s a shame to watch them go to students from other schools simply because our students are not applying!The CDO has debuted several new projects this year and in the recent past. Innovations include an e-mail newsletter called OnRamp, which highlights job opportunities during and after college; tips on how to “dress for success;” and interviews with Pomona alumni in a variety of professional fields. Route 47 is also offering targeted listservs by industry area for the first time.Martellino applauds the new online tools, but believes they cannot replace a conversation with a member of the CDO staff.“When we don’t see students, it usually means they haven’t started their job search,” he said.Other opportunities include the “Shadow a Sagehen” program—in which students can spend time on the job with Pomona alumni over winter break—and free, unlimited use of the Vault Online Library.Martellino also believes these new features and the heightened outreach on the part of the CDO have led to the dramatic increase in senior participation over the past several weeks.“I also think that as some seniors start to engage in the on-campus recruiting program other students feel pressure to get started,” he said.A record number of seniors attended the East Coast Opportunities information sessions this month. As part of the Selective Liberal Arts Consortium, Pomona sends students to East Coast cities over winter break to interview for post-college jobs. One hundred seniors also signed up for this fall’s Financial Planning Seminar for Seniors. Participation in this event was consistent with past years.“While the senior class seemed to be off to a very slow start this year, it does appear that they are now working to catch up,” said Martellino.He mentioned that many are still “hiding,” however, and insists that job opportunities abound despite economic strife.

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