STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/07/2009
As a Gordon grad you may want to contribute to the College but don’t have extra money or time to give at the moment. Or perhaps you live too far away to contribute your time in person. But there’s another way you can stay connected and help: You can tell current students what it’s like to do your job so they can see if your field is a good fit for their God-given talents and abilities.
A new networking program at Gordon is putting alumni like yourself in touch with current students and recent graduates to help them understand and connect to the working world. The Mentoring/GordonLink Program is an online tool through which alumni offer a range of help, from answering a few quick questions about their line of work to offering longer-term career advice over a period of months. They can also post internship and job openings at their companies.
The need to help current students and recent graduates transition successfully to the working world is particularly critical in these tough economic times. The ranks of alumni involved are growing daily, but many more are needed to field questions from students interested in a wide array of careers.
The time commitment is entirely up to you; Mentoring/GordonLink allows alumni to control how involved they will be. You decide how many students you’re willing to email and how long you want to offer advice (once or ongoing).
The Career Services Office manages the program under the direction of Pam Lazarakis, director of career services, who spent a year researching career center online tools to find one to enhance not only employment resources but also to house the mentoring program. Pam says, “We needed a tool for the first stage of job postings and hiring—a tool geared to juniors, seniors and their first five-plus years out of college.”
The program is offered through the Boston-based online company Experience Inc. Mentoring/GordonLink is an updated, online version of GordonLink, a 15-year campus program connecting alumni to students looking for career advice.
“This is a great way to help people find each other,” Pam says. “Students can get firsthand information from a trusted source, someone who has shared the Gordon experience.” Pam worked closely with Nancy Mering, director of the Alumni and Parent Relations Office, and with the Alumni Board.
“Getting the ball rolling has taken a lot of effort, and we wouldn’t be where we are without the Alumni and Parent Relations Office and the Alumni Board, particularly members Dave Evans ’77 and Noelle Graves ’93, who have championed the cause of alumni recruitment,” Pam said.
Many other colleges and universities, including the University of Massachusetts and several colleges within Harvard University, use the Experience tool. Pam will track the success of the Mentoring/GordonLink Program by looking at the number of mentor connections and by listening to student reviews. Gordon students are already on the site looking for alumni in their fields of interest. No matter how long you’ve been in your field—first year on the job or just retired—your experience is vital to a current student.
Your privacy is safe since only your first name and first initial of your last name appear to students as they search for Gordon grads in their field of interest. Students will not have access to your email address or any other contact information unless you supply it. Alumni participants are also welcome to network, and to post and search for job opportunities on the site.
“This tool is a valuable way to contribute to Gordon,” says Dave Evans, who has been working closely with the Career Services Office and the faculty to launch the program. “Alumni can offer a bit of time and career perspective to a student who sees the world through the same Christian lens.”