OCC improves website, database

It has never been easier to have an unforgettable summer – while working.

This year, the Office of Career Counseling (OCC) is adding several new strategies to its already ample collection of resources available to students looking for internships or permanent jobs. Many new services now appear online as part of the OCC website.

“I challenge any student to find any similar institution that offers as much as we do in terms of programming and services,” said Ron Gallagher, one of four counselors who assist students in finding jobs.

The OCC recently employed an online e-recruiting program that will replace the old JobTrack program. The new service offers better features and opportunities for recruiters to register for an information session or schedule an interview with interested students.

“The website is always evolving and we’re always creating what we think are better resources for students to access information,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher also advises students to frequently check the OCC Calendar, which gives a day-to-day account of happenings in the office, the new programs available, important events and listings of recruiters visiting campus.

The website also offers a vast selection of links to other sources. For example, the Career Research link lets students research the field of work they are interested in. Visitors to the site can look at anything from work conditions to numbers of people employed to what type of training is required. The website also includes the status of the job prospects.

Given today’s shifting economy, Gallagher urges students to keep a realistic outlook on job prospects. “With the economy being in such flux that the recruitment will be probably on the same level that it was last year, with the prospect of it being even a little lower,” he said.

But Gallagher also reminds ambitious students that the On-Campus Recruiting Program is only one tool in the range of services the OCC offers to make connections with prospective employers:

“There are dozens of programs that take place right here at OCC,” he said. “We invite alumni and other professionals to give students a first-hand account of the work they do and the opportunity to ask questions about that field of work.”

Gallagher adds that these events often help students make the kinds of connections that sometimes lead to employment.

He urges anyone interested in finding a job to also visit the OCC Career Resource Library. It contains several directories, including Management Training Programs, Year-of-Service Programs and Non-Profit Resource Guides.

In addition to visiting career fairs in Boston and New York, students can attend the annual OCC-sponsored non-profit fair. This year, the event is co-sponsored by idealist.org, of which Gallagher is a co-chair on the board of directors. Idealist.org lists over 30,000 non-profit organizations, over 2000 internship opportunities and a listing of various career fairs.

There are 11 alumni sponsored internship programs in which students can participate. These include Arts and Entertainment, Citigroup and Williams Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian and Transgendered Alumnae/ I Network (BiGALATA) internships. The Williams College Alumni Sponsored Internship Programs 2002 book, available in the OCC, features student-written summaries of their experiences.

Foster Cronin ’03 served as a literary intern at the Manhattan Theatre Club as part of a Citigroup internship. “I thought this was a truly amazing experience that helped me focus on what I want to do once I graduate,” he wrote. “It opened the door for me to a whole group of different directions that I can take in an art form that I love.”

“This internship showed me one key thing: I want to be somewhere in music for the rest of my life,” wrote Jeremy Da ’03, who interned at Atlantic Records in New York and met Duncan Sheik, Taproot, Project 86, Uncle Kracker, The Donnas and many other artists.

Susan Combs ’04 worked at Visiting Nurse Service/Hospice of Suffolk this summer. “My experience will be most helpful in shaping my career path,” she wrote. “After Williams, I will be prepared to enter both the for-profit and not-for-profit business worlds. This experience will help me prioritize.”

Samantha Goldman ’05 accepted an internship in the art therapy program at Valley Hospice, where she combined her love of art with an interest in psychology. “By going through a personal experience like this with a family or with specific children in a group, I felt extremely close to everyone, as they also formed a bond with the rest of the group,” she wrote. “I was honored that they felt comfortable enough to allow me to be a part of this private process.”

These satisfied individuals seem to have satisfied the goal of the OCC: to give students a chance to have a unique and worthwhile job experience. “Open up your eyes as to what’s here, and combine what you’re learning in the classroom with some practical experience that’s available,” Gallagher said.

His advice to all students is to visit the OCC website and take advantage of its resources. “There is a smorgasbord of choices that are offered to students, and just like any buffet, students may be interested in only some of the items we offer,” he said. “But until you sit yourself down at the banquet, you’re never going to get a taste of it.”

For more information, go to http://www.williams.edu/admin-depts/occ, or find the OCC website on the Especially for Williams Students page, listed under Services.